When I watch a show or read a book, I like to fully immerse myself in that world. That’s why I binge. So, I hate it when the story does something that pulls me out, especially when it’s silly. Here are five examples.
Friday Fives (Giant Beasts of Ars) – Five Times Immersion Failed
If a story has my attention, I can forgive quite a few things. That makes it that much more noticeable to me when something so intrusive happens that I’m pulled out of the story. It’s quite a jarring experience and makes you question the entire story. Worst case scenario, you stop and walk away. Grabbing the audience’s attention is hard, so once you’ve got it, you’ve got to hold on. Silly errors or things that don’t make sense can send them running for the doors. Giant Beasts of Ars, unfortunately, had several of those moments. It took me a lot longer to finish than most shows I watch and that’s not a coincidence. Subconsciously, I was probably wondering whether to continue or not. I did, but only so I could document these five issues.
5. The Giant Beasts!
One of the things I hate about so many monster movies is that the titular monsters end up becoming a bit of an anti-climax. The Giant Beasts are supposed to be terrifying and for the first episode, they might be. Then, Jiro sticks his magical spear into its glowing red eye (remember the red-eyed monsters are stronger) and one-shots it. So, from that point on, every Giant Beast with a red eye gets quickly dispatched. In fact, the fights are generally shorter than the magical-girl transformation sequence that precedes it (I’ll get to that later). Can we just have a series where the big monsters are the main threat and don’t become a joke after an episode or two?
4. The Chapeau!
In episode one we meet Mya. She is a cat chapeau which basically means she is a girl with a cat on her head – chapeau being the French word for a hat. Seems reasonable enough, but then everywhere they went, each community had a different chapeau involving all sorts of different animals. Each chapeau would speak with puns based on their animals. All right, now it’s getting annoying. But that was nothing. The chapeaus would have a conversation introducing the two parties before anyone else could go in. All of this was incredibly bizarre and might have made sense, but what if they didn’t have a chapeau? Would they be denied access to these places? It felt like an attempt to introduce some sort of local culture, but it felt ill-thought-through.
3. Romana’s Indestructible Clothes
Before you say anything, I’m not suggesting that her clothes should have been shredded in a fight like several battle ecchi series. No, my concern here was that we saw a flashback of Romana’s from five years ago. She was working in a makeshift hospital in a battle zone. There were injured and dying soldiers everywhere. Everyone was wearing their uniform except Romana. She was wearing the same clothes that she wore for the entire series. Are they suggesting that we might not recognise Romana without her clothes? Seems like a ridiculous idea. She has two very noticeable things that make her instantly recognizable – her ears! This just felt lazy, but it left me scratching my head.
2. Jiro’s Ship
Jiro’s ship started out looking like a boat. A fairly modern-looking boat for a fantasy world, but a boat nonetheless. Then, it started to fly. Well, maybe it was hovering, but it definitely wasn’t touching the ground or the water. So, when they reached the therianthrope village and were trapped there because of flooding, I looked at the vast lake before them and then the hovering ship and was puzzled as to why they couldn’t continue. There could have been any number of valid reasons why they needed to stop there for a while and this was not one of them. The mental gymnastics I went through trying to understand this decision were of an Olympic level. It just made no sense.
So, Jiro is a paladin and Kumi is a mage. When times are tough, they are able to join together and fight as one. Sounds cool! Not so much. The sequence by which they join was disturbingly jarring with Jiro’s body opening up from his forehead to his abdomen and from wrist to wrist. Then, Kumi transformed into some glowing bubbles and flew inside. It was not a pretty thing and it happened a lot. Each time we were treated to the full sequence too. Like we get it, but can you just skip it? It’s possibly the worst magical girl-type transformation I’ve ever seen and I saw it a lot. If they had shown us it once and then done a shorter version each time after that it would have been far less annoying. Every time it happened, I could feel my eyes roll – not this again!
So, there were a few things that happened over and over again and some that were one-offs, but each one of them was long enough that I lost interest in what was going on. It’s like when a commercial starts and you just kind of tune it out until the thing you’re actually watching starts. That’s not what I want from the actual thing I’m trying to watch. I’ve dunked on Giant Beasts of Ars and I believe everything I said stands. That said, it wasn’t a terrible show. I think I would describe it as fine, but no better. It could have been very good, however, even fixing these issues I mentioned above wouldn’t get it there. This is an epic fantasy that’s been squeezed into twelve episodes and it doesn’t fit.
Unfortunately, this was a very easy post to write. They usually are when there’s something you absolutely loved or hated. Anyhow, have you seen Giant Beasts of Ars? What are your thoughts? Thanks for reading.