Horizon on the edge of endurance

by dm00

tl;dr: You can find in a work what you go looking for.  When I wrote off Horizon on the middle of nowhere as fanservice fluff, friends suggested that there was more there.  I went looking, and was surprised at what I found.

If you’ve found your way to this blog backwater, you’ve probably seen the Blinded by the Tits project*. When I first looked at Horizon on the middle of nowhere, I made the same mistake as the titterers — I assumed that with its character designs, the series was putting its sole asset up front, that there was no substance behind those designs. Like the titterers, I didn’t even bother with a single episode of the series.

Friends, whose taste I trust, told me the series was better than that.  So I set aside my prejudices and took a look at it. This led to Horizon becoming one of my favorite series of the past few years. I’ve found subtlety and creativity in the series that I think rivals shows like Kaiba, Tatami Galaxy, and Mawaru Penguindrum.

Because I delayed watching the first season, I was able to marathon it. Seeing it all at once probably makes it a lot easier to see how the plot threads weave together, and how the action draws you forward. This is clearly a series meant for home-video: for viewing and reviewing, pausing and thinking.

Horizon on the rings of Saturn

tl;dr: Horizon is science fiction steeped in Clarke’s dictum about sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic.

Horizon plays trope-a-dope

One of the titterers looked at the plethora of character types and proposed the theory that they just exist as a database-checklist of “tropes”. I’d like to propose an alternative theory: one can look at the same diversity as an illustration of an integrated science fiction theme of the series: there is so much variety because Horizon’s is a world in which so much variety is possible.  One problem with the “trope” theory is the presence of so many “tropes” in the series that are kept in the background, and aren’t exploited for their “tropism”.  These do add to the rich possibilities of this world, however.

When I wrote about this series earlier, I compared it to Samuel Delaney’s Triton or Charles Stross’ Accelerando. Karl Schroeder’s wonderful Lady of Mazes (with its interlocking, non-intersecting worldviews separated by locked doors of perception) may be an even better choice. These books have culture, perception, and identity made fluid through technology, resulting in echoes in the culture. Similarly, Horizon’s technology permeates life, mind, and materials until reality becomes as malleable as modelling clay, with bodies and minds and implements transformable into a stunningly diverse array of forms. Body form as fashion: cyborganic enhancements as fashion accessories.

Instead of populating the inside of a near-future online RPG, Horizon’s werewolves, half-elves, and other elementals populate Horizon’s world.  Horizon’s technology makes cyberspace and realspace identical. Just as in Accelerando or Lady of Mazes, the border between the real world and the simulated world is transparent and permeable: characters exist simultaneously in both. The result is a world populated with new kinds of beings, and new ways for those beings to look at their world. Horizon mixes these into its stew.

Horizon on the saddle of the White Knight

tl;dr: Instead of a series of inane, repetitive battles, each action sequence gains an added dimension from deriving its rules from a different metaphor. Plus, the economics works better than Spice and Wolf.

The name of this song is called “Haddock’s eyes”

Horizon is filled with action scenes that are downright odd.  Some of them aren’t even action scenes, they’re dances, some are debates: complex verbal chess games of negotiation, some hinge upon Proper Behavior, making it Rude to win.

Shakespeare-chan creates plays within the play

Beyond the verbal and martial gymnastics, Horizon is striking in the way that each contest uses a different metaphor: Neito battles blind Suzu and is defeated by her own chivalry; warrior Futayo battles dancer Kimi and is defeated by the amount of passion brought to the “fight”; a weapon that can counter any attack it has seen before is held at bay by a fighter with such a large repertoire of attacks she need never repeat a move; it is then defeated by accident.

You …. lose?

The battles in Horizon tend to be Looking Glass battles, like those that would be waged by Lewis Carroll’s White Knight. Half the weapons of the series are metaphors — they’re what happens when you weaponize a magic spell. Gin’s strategy in the fight against Drake and his weapon (“The Defense of British Justice Through Use of Precedent”, or something like that) is symbolic of the approach taken to all the conflicts of the series: no two are presented in the same way. The “fights” progress as puzzles posed by the nature of the “weapons”. The combatants don’t fight as much as manuever their opponents into a double-bind, a checkmate imposed by rules unique to this conflict.

It’s fun to see this animated, because at heart it’s a language game.

Victory through arbitrage

(The fights and debates aren’t the only sorts of word-play in the series: the witches run a delivery service (and take down their opponents with a “money-shot”), Toori Aoi has made a contract with the god of Happiness** (and is thus the blue bird (aoi tori) of happiness), Horizon, who was run over ten years ago by a carriage, starts the day at the start of the series by singing a descendent of Tooryanse the Japanese pedestrian crossing song.)

Victory through superior humility

I’ve been watching Revolutionary Girl Utena recently, and I’ve enjoyed the contrast to Horizon. Where Ikuhara works with ritual, stylized presentation and repetition, Horizon‘s creators Kawakami, Ono and Urahata appear to be working with deliberate novelty and variation (though otherwise remaining fairly conventional in their directorial choices).  They don’t step into the same trope twice.  Both approaches have their merits (especially when one of the rituals is Rock over Japan).

Tomo’s bargain — religion as a commercial transaction

Religion and commerce are mixed in Horizon, at least on board the Musashi. Characters are constantly negotiating payments and contracts for powers and abilities. The witch Malga lost her weapon in a battle and, as a refugee, is too poor to replace it (and has been put in peril several times as a result). Damn, that’s how C: the money of soul and possibility control should have worked, and Spice and Wolf could learn a few things, too.

Technology also makes animism concrete in interesting ways in Horizon.

Horizon on the lip of a melting pot

tl;dr: Is it coincidence that Horizon addresses one of the pressing social problems in today’s Japan?

Send me your tired, your poor, you huddled masses yearning to breathe free….

In the series, Musashi represents Japan. But what a different Japan it is: the Japan of Horizon is a melting-pot. Its vice-chancellor and chief military officer are refugees from Mikawa (admittedly, a representation of a different Japan), its chief defenders are: European religious refugees (the witches, the dragon), an Italian merchant and his Swiss colleague (there also appears to be a Chinese merchant among the older generation), a half-French “knight” (not “a samurai”), plus a wide range of others in the peripheries of its central cast (an incubus, a blob thing, a racist caricature of a curry-wielding Indian, even some Japanese).

I think what we’re seeing is variety of a different sort, one that addresses one of Japan’s pressing social problems — the dwindling of the younger generation, the greying of Japan. Horizon, almost as an after-thought has its Japan rescued by a diverse team of immigrants.

This is best exemplified by Margot and Malga’s pre-battle conversation: refugees from religious persecution, they resolve to defend the home that gave them the freedom to practice their religion and their love, no matter the cost.

Horizon on the edge of forever

tl;dr: Horizon weaves many stories of love, loss, regret, and redemption. Maybe it will have something to tell us about those things.

It’s clear that a dominant theme of both the first and second seasons of Horizon has been one of love, loss, regret, and redemption. The first season set up the story of Toori and his quest to restore his lost love, Horizon.

This season appears to be weaving more threads into the theme: Toussaint and Shakespeare, Tenzo and Mary, the Spanish chancellor and his lost innocence. Finally, the history-recreation project that provides the religious precepts of the non-Musashi characters is the product of humanity’s regret for the loss of its former glory and its hope for redemption.

Horizon on the middle of the bookshelf

tl;dr: You don’t have to read 100,000 words of commentary before you can enjoy Horizon, though sometimes the Cliff’s Notes help you appreciate the details of the episodes.

If I’d had more time I’d have written a shorter book

One of the complaints about Horizon is that critics don’t think the series stands alone. There’s some phonebook-sized novels, and fans sometimes make reference to them. When the series was announced, Japanese fans thought the novels would be impossible to animate. The in medias res beginning left impatient people thinking that the Japanese fans might be right.

The logorhea of Horizon’s author certainly is a cause for concern (though the Horizon page-count isn’t much worse than the Index page-count — damning with faint praise there). But Nadesico taught me that an anime can drastically improve upon its source material. I don’t think reservations about the novels has much relevance in judging Horizon as an animated work, any more than fans should rely on the books to fill holes in the anime.

It is true that there are lots of fan crib-sheets puzzling about elements of the series (but it’s not like the existence of extensive commentary as fans work out the significance of a series is a bad thing).

I enjoyed Horizon long before I read any of the crib-sheets or discussion of the novels. I don’t think any of them are necessary (though the crib-sheets and discussion help me recognize things I missed or inspire me to solve puzzles on my own, thus deepening my appreciation for the series).

I agree that you probably have to be a genius to catch the significance of everything on your first viewing, but that’s a feature, not a bug (especially in this day of home-video). One benefit is there’s so much going on that the second and third viewings are fresher than most first-viewings of other series.

* – There are at least two posts in the tittering series — Metanorn’s photoblog and Vucub Caquix’s bit of noir — that take a playful approach that makes the project worthwhile.)

** – This contract is why he’s so often nude — Aoi is contracted to the goddess whose raucous strip-tease lured the goddess Amaterasu from her cave (and Toori is trying to lure Horizon from her shell).

Update 28 Aug: minor word-smithing to clarify some sentences.

26 Responses to “Horizon on the edge of endurance”


  1. 1 omo August 28, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Hopefully your effort is not wasted, but short of nitpicking, I think you missed the point a lot of places. Or maybe I underestimate how you appraise Horizon.

    I mean, I think the proverbial shark jumped when you said Japan was a melting pot…. I mean, seriously. And what is up with Nadesico again? Horizon is by-the-book (literally) and Futakoi Alternative has nothing to do with the original source material? “They don’t step into the same trope twice”? I guess some tropes they do it a lot more than just twice.

    Anyways, I guess it’s a valiant attempt, but sometimes I wish you would stopped at the boobs and never got into this show. It kind of ruins the experience for me. At least I’m glad you like it so much to go this far.

    • 2 dm00 August 28, 2012 at 12:36 am

      I thought I was clear enough with the melting-pot argument, but I’ve tweaked the language a bit to make it clearer that I was contrasting the Japan of Horizon to the Japan of today. Thanks for pointing out that I wasn’t clear enough. And yes, it could be just seeing faces in the wood grain.

      And yes, I’m probably overstating the case as far as trope-stepping goes, but not by that much.

      I have no idea how closely the anime follows the books, but I don’t have to know, and that’s the point I was making. (Why the mention of Futakoi Alternative, by the way?)

      • 3 omo August 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

        It’s generally thought the anime is a companion to the novels. Basically if you enjoy all that setting crap, you really should just read the book because unlike the anime they explain everything. I think that is why they don’t bother with explaining 80% of the things in the show.

        I think it’s fine if you enjoy the show in that context but I think you confound that aspect of your personal enjoyment with what the show really is. A lot of the criticism on Horizon indeed has to do with the way the anime truncates a lot of the sense out of the story, or how the anime invariably has to go on long expositions to explain even that 20% it is animating. But basically all the good criticism on Horizon has to do with the stuff in the light novel, even if it is also in the anime. I mean for example, JP loves D-EVE and his Muv-Luv, balloon tits are least of his concerns, unlike you. Rather he has issues with the way what Horizon really is, like the setting–and that is something that has nothing to do with if it is in the anime or not, nor it has anything to do with episodes 1-15.

        • 4 dm00 August 29, 2012 at 11:36 am

          A lot of the criticism on Horizon indeed has to do with the way the anime truncates a lot of the sense out of the story, or how the anime invariably has to go on long expositions to explain even that 20% it is animating.

          I’ve not seen that. What I’ve seen (e.g., in JP’s post or in 8dayswithoutme’s advertisement of it) have been claims that you have to refer to the books in order to understand the anime, and that’s simply not true (this would be a valid criticism if it were true). JP then goes off on a rant of how terrible the books must be based on their page-count and the amateur translations he peeked at.

          I think there’s less unexplained in the show than you say — which has been the point of both this post and my earlier one. For most things “unexplained”, there are clues that turn the explanations into pleasant “A ha!” moments.

          JP’s list of supposed tropes: Why lemons concealing blades and a rain of lemon-juice? Walsingham was famous for using lemon juice as invisible ink — i.e., for concealing things with lemons (and the lemons were mostly just there to provide the lemon juice associated with him). Why re-enact history? Because of what happened at the “end” of that history, and the hope of arriving at the same place. Why is Toori always naked? It’s a reference to Japan’s creation-mythology. I don’t know about why the werewolves.

          The “balloon tits” are the least of my concerns, too (in all three of my blog-posts about Horizon the character designs have rated a grand total of four out of fifty paragraphs, with three of those paragraphs focussing on other people’s reactions to the designs). However, they seem to be a stumbling block preventing many people even giving the show a try, are the titular focus of the Blinded by the tits project, and are a source of griping even among people watching the series (see Katherine’s “male-gaze”/”man-children” comments, for example).

          • 5 omo August 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm

            Let’s just put this tits thing behind us. As much as you know we enjoy talking about it.

            You say “less than” and I think it’s still a ways to “enough.” In other words, there may be a big difference between 20% versus 50%, but 50% is still plainly not enough. In fact for a lot of people anything short of 95-100% it is not acceptable. I would say that any show that leaves enough room for the sort of 50k+-word companion pieces and ask-me-about-setting tumblrs that Horizon inspired is definitely not doing its job explaining it enough. It’s not that the show is internally inconsistent or there is no explanation for the stuff that happens. It’s more because of your ignorance of the source material, you were able to deduce the info from the novel–what you were suppose to know in the first place–and thus you find some pleasure in it. I really think that is not how it is suppose to work.

            Second, he and I both know the word trope is not applied here. It’s more like, why? Things gets explained in the mechanical, how-stuff-works kind of way, but not in the way that answers “why does the [chicken, or any character] crosses the street?” sort of question. I just want to clarify this before you jump into the deep end (maybe it is too late). Because for every “why” question I ask for your supposed “answer” in that paragraph about non-Tropes, you will not be able to find a thematic reason for an answer. Again, there are things that just is, because it is kind of a “trope” reference, not because, say, it has to do with social criticism of totalitarian state using childish media propaganda to enslave a population living on Jupiter’s moons. Instead you get “lol because we can since the setting is like, we’ll just take whatever is historic and turn it into moe shit.”

          • 6 dm00 August 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm

            I would say that any show that leaves enough room for the sort of 50k+-word companion pieces and ask-me-about-setting tumblrs that Horizon inspired is definitely not doing its job explaining it enough.

            I disagree. That’s why I linked to the Mawaru Penguindrum commentary at http://altairandvega.wordpress.com/, where such companion pieces and discussion, I think, are clear signs of a good series, “explained enough” or not. Indeed “explained enough” may actually be detrimental.

            Second, he and I both know the word trope is not applied here. It’s more like, why? Things gets explained in the mechanical, how-stuff-works kind of way, but not in the way that answers “why does the [chicken, or any character] crosses the street?” sort of question…. Because for every “why” question I ask for your supposed “answer” in that paragraph about non-Tropes, you will not be able to find a thematic reason for an answer.

            I’m sure that is true as I don’t yet know what the themes are. Unless, of course, one of the themes is the increasing malleability of reality as a consequence of virtuality permeating mind and matter (the reason I keep mentioning Accelerando), in which case most of JP’s examples fall under the general explanation: “to prove the point, to illustrate some of the implications”.

            If you think this “more-ideas-than-themes” notion is an important criticism, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. In fact, I think it’s a good thing.

          • 7 omo September 3, 2012 at 11:07 pm

            I don’t know if the draw of Penguindrum is its massive, immersive and futuristic science fictional setting, with its larger-than-the-September-callup cast of characters. Actually I do, it’s not. I can go on further but that argument/comparison of yours is significantly porous.

            >> as I don’t yet know what the themes are

            Something is probably not explained enough.🙂

          • 8 dm00 September 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm

            While I enjoy Horizon’s rhetorical games, you’re going to have to try harder if you want to play them, too.

          • 9 omo September 3, 2012 at 11:12 pm

            >> If you think this “more-ideas-than-themes” notion is an important criticism, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. In fact, I think it’s a good thing.

            Well, that’s at least honest on your part. Lots of people enjoy shit fanfiction out there, no shame in that. But it’s fair criticism to say something lacks in thematic elements because it’s too busy to refer to random shit just because it can.

          • 10 dm00 September 3, 2012 at 11:35 pm

            it’s fair criticism to say something lacks in thematic elements because it’s too busy to refer to random shit just because it can.
            It may be a fair criticism only if it applies. It’s not just “shit fanfiction” that engages in wordplay and games with ideas, or even that expects its audience to do a little thinking of their own. Nobel prizes in literature are awarded for works that do that, too.

            Horizon bursts with thematic elements along with all the other fun things going on. See above for several possible themes (we won’t know, of course, until the series is finished and we can regard the work as a whole).

          • 11 omo September 4, 2012 at 7:00 am

            Well, the first series adopted the first novel. I don’t know if it would be fair to consider it a work that stands on its own, but I’m leaning towards yes. Was there some theme that unified the work? It’s hard to say. I think the anime definitely could have spent more time simply going over things that it left out from the book. I don’t think it has anything to do with this “thinking” bit because it doesn’t seem likely anyone would be able to determine everything important that was left out.

            >> While I enjoy Horizon’s rhetorical games

            What rhetorical glame? You mean your entire post?

          • 12 dm00 September 4, 2012 at 11:38 pm

            it’s fair criticism to say something lacks in thematic elements because it’s too busy to refer to random shit just because it can.
            Actually, it’s not a fair criticism — it could easily be irrelevant. Why does Zaphod Beeblebrox have two heads? Why are the Vogons terrible poets? Why is there a restaurant at the end of the universe? Why mice? Having no obvious dominant themes (aside from the importance of towel awareness) but a lot of “tropes” did not hurt The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.

            I think the series was always going to be 26 episodes? If so, the first series need not stand on its own, thematically (and bringing the books into the discussion is a red herring — the anime should be able to stand on its own). Even so, I think the first series’ “themes” were mostly just introduced in that series. I’ve already discussed the theme of loss, regret, and redemption (this theme has deepened (a lot) with this second season as more foils for Toori’s (and humanity’s) losses are brought onto stage.

            There’s a bit being said about religion, too — the rulebook-following religion of the Testament Union vs. religion as a commercial-exchange with one’s kami of Musashi’s “Shintoism” (and maybe Bertoni’s commerce-as-religion). I think Horizon has an interesting spin on animism (AI really has imbued objects with spirit). So far, that seems pretty much restricted to the first season (despite the fact that the second season seems to have Protestant and Islamic participants). That may not be a theme as much as just something fundamental to the world (and perhaps the human experience in general).
            What rhetorical glame?
            You really haven’t been paying attention (to anything I’ve written about the series nor to the series itself). Reread this post, and consider that “rhetorical game”, “language game”, and “word game” may be synonymous. Even taking a strict construction on the term “rhetoric”, pay attention to the series most times (so far) when Masasumi is at the center of the action.

          • 13 omo September 5, 2012 at 11:58 pm

            I don’t know if Hitchhiker is the best example either. There is a motif to it that somehow I don’t think fits Horizon. Because it doesn’t invite you to seek it deeper, unlike Horizon. Things do make sense and there are explanations in this show. I don’t think I have ever said anything contrary to this. The question is how they make sense, are we given the tools to do so, and is this the point to the show.

            The ANIME to Horizon doesn’t explain most of this, nor does it care to (as it can’t given the time constraints). Can you reverse-engineer some of the information? Sure. Is it fun? It is certainly NOT the primary mode of enjoyment both by popularity or by design. I would rather enjoy its massive setting and the variety of inter-character relationships than trying to figure out what those things are.

            This has nothing to do with active or passive viewing. It has to do with the understanding that what you have here has nothing to do with what you are watching, but about something greater than the anime itself. I will give you that JP engages the franchise from the novel perspective as well, so maybe you can defend it on the whole. However I still don’t find any of your rebuttals on the matter of “why”-ness satisfactory. It does feel that most things in the show happens just because, not because it has real significance to the story in terms of theme or development. It’s a picture perfect example of the problem with otaku-database reconstructs.

            >> It’s not just “shit fanfiction” that engages in wordplay and games with ideas, or even that expects its audience to do a little thinking of their own. Nobel prizes in literature are awarded for works that do that, too.

            I highly recommend you just go read the novel. I assure you all of this is just a ruse.

            >> You really haven’t been paying attention (to anything I’ve written about the series nor to the series itself). Reread this post, and consider that “rhetorical game”, “language game”, and “word game” may be synonymous. Even taking a strict construction on the term “rhetoric”, pay attention to the series most times (so far) when Masasumi is at the center of the action.

            I don’t really know why this matters when the novel that these episodes of anime faithfully adopts from spells it out as plain as day. If you don’t even know how the first season is standalone because the first novel is standalone, then oh well. As said previously, there are worse things one could like, shit fanfiction is probably much better than, say, ratemypoop.com.

  2. 14 Mushyrulez September 4, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    I went looking, and was surprised at what I found.

    That’s the fundamental difference between you and the rest of us, especially those that don’t go looking. When you don’t look, you don’t find, and when you do look, you might find things that were never put there.

    However, I believe that most anime deliver passive experiences, washing the viewer in meaning instead of the viewer reaching into it for so. We’ve become accustomed to these anime, to the point where passive anime are associated with normalcy.

    In this case, both Mawaru Penguindrum and Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon deviate from the norm; yet, people went into Mawaru Penguindrum expecting an active experience, while not expecting such from Horizon, leading to many complaints and mass ridicule. You, on the other hand, went looking into Horizon, and saw good things. We didn’t.

    And that’s the problem.

    • 15 Mushyrulez September 4, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      okay yeah this blockquote thing sucks

    • 16 dm00 September 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      I don’t really view it as a “problem”, it’s just the way things are. We often find what we go looking for. That said, there’s really not much in the history of the director or series coordinator that would lead one to expect much. It’s not like the series is directed by Ikuhara, Sato (or even Akitaroh Daichi or Akiyuki Shinbo), people who’ve produced surprisingly meaningful series in the past.

      As I keep repeating, I originally wrote the series off — but I had friends who convinced me there was a reason to take a look at the series, so, yes, I went in with a reason to be patient with the series (though I liked the comic energy of the series, particularly the first episode (couldn’t stand Toori, even so)).

      I also think it really helps to be able to watch the series in big multi-episode gulps, so all the threads and their continuity remain fresh in one’s mind as one views the series.

      • 17 Mushyrulez September 4, 2012 at 11:32 pm

        I mean, the problem is that the rest of us didn’t go into Horizon looking for anything. Which is why none of us got anything out of Horizon. probably should’ve tl;dr’d that

        • 18 dm00 September 4, 2012 at 11:44 pm

          Of course. But it’s not too late! After all, the whole “Blinded by the Tits” project consists of people who haven’t watched the series, but for their one episode.

          It might even be worth it: Mostly what I found was some very sly and subtle humor hidden in plain sight. Delicious.

          • 19 Mushyrulez September 4, 2012 at 11:52 pm

            Then again, there are also those (including me) who enjoy Horizon for its (seemingless) nonsensical plot without delving into its mythos or into historical metaphors. Different strokes for different folks; Horizon’s ability to be entertaining on both a superficial and deep level is quite impressive.

          • 20 omo September 6, 2012 at 12:03 am

            I think Horizon can be quite enjoyable in a way that Touhou fandom is enjoyable, except that at least there’s a pretty solid primary text for Horizon. There are plenty of mind hooks and crannies to dig into.

            The anime invite you to do that, but on the whole it’s pretty much a slip ‘n slide that concerns itself primarily with plot and some fancy action scenes. All of that can be enjoyable, of course, and that’s pretty much I watch it. The breakneck pace helps a lot.

  3. 21 omo September 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    One more thing I just thought up: rhetoric or wordplay is something you can enjoy, but i have a hard time thinking it has any real relevance in this discussion. I guess it’s an attraction to Horizon, and Japanese fiction tend to do this word play thing a lot more (I guess it also works much better in that language) than Western text.

    Generally excessive use of puns and wordplay is not something a writer would do unless they want to use it to inject a certain sort of theme or introduce language that changes the feeling and mood of the work, at least in English. I don’t know if there are any serious life/death/politics/religious themed fiction that uses puns in this way, it doesn’t seem like a common thing (I wouldn’t know though). But you have it in Japanese all the time, if anime is any indication.

    • 22 dm00 September 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      Shakespeare, Joyce, Pynchon all use it for comic effect in longer works. Pratchett’s comic writing tends to engage in both wordplay and have a more serious element.

      But that’s all beside the point. In Horizon, like the others (Joyce especially), the wordplay is there as one of the rewards for paying attention.

      Yes, Hitchhiker’s Guide is a fine comparison because it refutes JP’s argument that “tropes” equals bad. Nope, “tropes” used for comic effect are just fine, thank you. Indeed, they can be a source of pleasure in themselves.

      I think Horizon goes one better by having hidden meaning behind many of the “tropes”. Easter eggs.

      The show may also have interesting themes going on, as well. They’re cream.

      • 23 omo September 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm

        Are you seriously reducing what JP is saying to “tropes” equals bad? I think the problem, again, is not that tropes are bad, but meaningless use of tropes are bad. In Hitchhikers it’s used to establish a consistent theme (and to an extent, I don’t think they are quite “tropes”, maybe some things). I don’t know if we can say that about Horizon.

        A lot of people use puns in comedy. I don’t think that is the question here. I don’t really think it matters, and the wordplay in Horizon is not one of rewards for paying attention–that’s more because you don’t speak Japanese and you are watching a truncated version of something that is much more obvious.

        I don’t know how many times I can repeat the same thing.

        • 24 dm00 September 7, 2012 at 12:27 am

          I pay attention and am rewarded, so I guess you’re wrong about that.

          Speaking Japanese isn’t completely necessary when the word-play is multilingual (e.g., “money shot”), or the puns are entirely visual (e.g., the witches and their delivery service), or situational (most of Masazumi’s word-games in her debates).

          JP may have many arguments, or not, but random “tropes” (in scare quotes because that’s where JP put it, and I don’t have a better term) in Hitchhikers refutes one of those arguments. I think you’re basically wrong that Zaphod’s two heads, the true president of the galaxy, the total perspective vortex, Marvin, and the Shoe Event Horizon all contribute to a “theme” or even set of themes. But if they do, fine — so do many of Horizon’s. And some of Horizon’s are just Neutromatic cups, or small dogs eating an invading fleet bent on retribution.

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    Sorry for the irrelevant intrusion!!!!!!
    Konnichiwaaa i have a group/page on facebook that is based on anime -games and manga.We are new so i wish to ask for your support in order for us to increase our members. If you wish to attend and become part of our small anime community you re more than welcome to share ideas- creation -thoughts anyhting you wish in general ^^.I hope you take my request in deep considderation and become part of our small anime family. For any further questions you can contact me on facebook
    Corina Cornaflake
    Arigato gozaimashu
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/235405056618251/
    https://www.facebook.com/DragonQuestX1


  1. 1 Not the bimbo I mistook her for — reconsidering Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere « Drastic My Anime Blog Trackback on September 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

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