Monologue: I Can’t Accept This Story Proposal Until You Place It In A High School

I’ve looked over your script and I’ve gotta say – this is an amazing job you’ve done with the setting, but I think it would be better if you put it in a high school.

Having an original place for your story to unfold is nice and all, but there’s no way in Hell that I’m going to be invested in a show like that. It doesn’t have the same umph. Do you get what I’m saying? Like, uh, it would have that high school feel to it. Yeah, that’s it. I wouldn’t be interested in this anime because it’s not in a high school.

Trust me on this one, I don’t think you can get away with not having a high school in your anime these days unless you’re some renowned buff like Watanabe-san or something. I don’t remember what he does. He’s already lost me because my favorite seiyuus never appear in his anime.

See, for example, this script of yours has nothing for me to latch onto. The amount of interesting content in this script is negligible at best. Where’s my first day of school? What about the opening ceremony? I need someone walking uphill amidst a row of bleeding sakura trees, or perhaps a horde of enthusiastic students seeking hapless freshmen to drag into their dinghy, sweaty little clubs. I want a class representative to reassure me that my life choices are correct, and so that I can ignore everything they say anyway.

While you’re at it, plan a culture festival, too. And don’t make the class do something generic like a haunted house or a maid cafe. That would be sooooo predictable.

And isn’t using a high school a winning formula, anyway? Just splapp-me-do a high school into your script and it will be mainstream, for sure. As it is right now, I can’t accept this. I don’t feel safe in it. Where’s my plucky sidekick to feel superior to in comparison? Why can’t I join a club? Do I ever see my favorite girls in swimsuits? Do I have at least five possible love interests? C’mon, man, throw me a bone.

You can’t pull something like this stuff you have in your script and expect people to be comfortable. It’s too risky, I tell you. We don’t know how people will react to something that’s not the same stuff they’re used to seeing. They might retaliate. They might call us shit on Twitter and 2chan. They might accuse us of being 2deep4them. Our sales will drop. My family and friends might shun me because I approved an anime without another bloody high school. Why should we take that chance when we can just do as I suggest and put in that stupid high school already?

Don’t you get it? High school is life. Any anime fan should know that you can’t be very interesting unless you’ve been in one. That’s why they’re so popular, right? Because people think high school should be the most interesting part of any human being’s life, right? Right. So, if you want this little project of yours to succeed, you will do as I say.

Also, before I forget. Last Exile is such a dumb name for your script, so I changed it to Love Song of a Certain Pilot.

Perfect. That sounds a lot more forgettable now.

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14 comments

  1. Aleksei Edison · · Reply

    It’s all about the formula. You see, Japanese animation studios have an their own version of the Enigma Machine, and that’s their editing process. It razors up the plot into it’s most minute details and it’s considered from that point on.

    “Says here your plot is too complicated for the general viewing audience we want to reach. Is it alright if we make a few changes?”

    “That’s fine with me, but I don’t to lose sight of what I wrote.”

    “That’s fine, that’s fine! Now, let’s consult the formula…”

    High schools, it’s the go to script saver. Mecha in high schools, romance in high school, or maybe the characters do all kinds of special things like fight aliens but return to some sort of school? It’s the formula, and the money rewards the stagnant status quo.

    1. HIGH SCHOOL WAS SAVING ANIME ALL ALONG

  2. The Kenosha Kid · · Reply

    High school is the new realism. And at the very least, psychological high school is demanded of a good writer. (The less the actual building appears, the more the characters need to act like they belong in it.)

    also im liking my shitty aviation show so stfu

    1. I WILL NEVER BOW TO YOUR TYRANNY.

  3. […] Perpetual Morning […]

  4. That was a hilarious read! One of the reasons I stopped watching anime for a while was because I got tired of the high school setting. The worst part is that I swear that every high school looks the same too! Talk about recycling backgrounds!

    1. Glad you liked it. Thanks for the reblog.

      1. You’re welcome! It even managed to spread to another blog!

  5. Reblogged this on Medieval Otaku and commented:
    A hilarious satire of the excessive use of high school settings in anime.

  6. I laughed when I saw the title and opening lines of this post, you know! I’ve read engaging Japanese pop fiction plots set in a high school setting, but only a few, or maybe one (Can Dangan Ronpa count here?), have come really close to my heart. Maybe this trend kinda signifies some sort of longing for wild, youthful days or something?

    Anyway, I don’t mind a high school or some sorta school setting as long as the story is something that can connect with my heart. We all have different tastes, you know! And these tastes can change, too, you know!

    1. In the end, anime’s targeted demographic has largely been, and will always be, teenagers. If anything, I would assume most companies would be thinking about this from the opposite direction; interesting stories are important, but immersion is necessary. I suspect some adults find the juxtaposition of high school and a comparably more exciting storyline to be endearing because it invokes a sense of nostalgia alongside a desire to self-insert within a more interesting world.

      I don’t know how old you are or if you concur with all that bullshit I just made up, but as long as these anime are so readily available to us English-speaking viewers I can at least speculate why the high school setting invariably comes back every season, and why some anime, like this season’s Love Song of a Certain Pilot, feel the need to center their floating island antics around a high school.

  7. […] Otaku links to a monologue about the average thought process in an anime producer these days, namely, make everything high school. It’s funny because it’s true; more than […]

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