February 18, 2007

Are episodic series really so bad?

Filed under: Jigoku Shoujo, Misc — Ren @ 1:00 pm

I see a lot of people ragging on series like Jigoku Shoujo because of their episodic nature. I don’t think this is really fair. Don’t get me wrong, I love epic series with rich, continuous storylines as much as the next person. But I also enjoy the occasional episodic series as well.

If the characters are likeable and interesting enough, it’s fun just to watch them do their thing. Then, when something big happens, you feel like you’ve already been through a lot with them and it makes the event even more powerful. An example of this that comes to mind at the moment is Kekkaishi 11. At this point I’d definitely label Kekkaishi as episodic. I’d be pleased if at some point they developed a continuous plot, but I’m also okay if it stays episodic as episode 11’s confrontation absolutely blew me away.

If you still don’t agree with me, think about your childhood. What do you remember about the friends you had when you were growing up? I remember going to the pond, sitting in the long grass and listening to the crickets chirp as we wiled away lazy summer afternoons. I remember how content we were just to be together even if we didn’t speak for hours. Years later, when crisis hit, I was all the more devastated because I felt like something had come along and violated that very peace that encompassed my memories.

I don’t always need big action or flashy effects to be happy. The interactions between the characters are just as likely to give me goosebumps as any grand battle; those small things that you’d probably miss if you weren’t paying close attention. I can still remember the first time Mulder took Scully’s hand and gave it a little squeeze in The X-Files. Nowadays, holding hands isn’t a significant event, but in that moment, for those two, it was huge, and it said more than any passion-filled dialogue could even hope to express.

So that’s why I don’t mind episodic series. Ah, maybe I’m just easy to please…