I didn’t see this coming. Episode 13 of Re:CREATORS was the funniest episode of the last couple of seasons. It was also unexpectedly interesting and full of highlights. The new scenes were amazing and cleverly put. And it was a recap. The best recap in the history of anime recaps and the most meta episode I have ever seen.
Japanese Title: いつものより道もどり道
This is a difficult episode to review. Not so much because I don’t have anything to say (just go to the Comments section) but because the plot remained at exactly the same spot we left it in Episode 12. In true meta fashion, Meteora breaks the fourth wall and becomes the messenger of the Gods. She is not Meteora of Avalken of Reminisce. She is not even Meteora from Re:CREATORS. She is now Meteora of Makino Ryuuichi (character designer) who is directed by Aoki Ei and was written by Hiroe Rei. She knows us the viewers are on the other side of the screen and takes on the task of presenting the recap from her own subjective point of view. She describes Rui as a lolicon, Alicetaria as a brute with no conversation skills (Muscle Brains) and Yuya as Grasshopper Glasses. She even goes on to a lengthy description of Selesia and Mamika’s fight just to justify that Selesia was not pathetic for losing to heart-shooting magical girl. She then goes full meta with Altair as she describes her hair as ‘a pain to animate.’ She continues, ‘This character was designed just to make their jobs difficult. It makes us question the sanity of the designer.’
And that power over the intermission as its official narrator has no end. She can pause scenes, stop the music, commentate on events, and jumps to whichever scene she wants. She knows everything about the characters because she read the manga synopsis or visited the anime’s website.
She can sing off tune to a song used for the series and she can criticize the animation. In the end, she can also speak on behalf of the animation staff because in a way she is the animation staff. Every character, background, dialogue, and scene is the production itself. And what a wonderful way to realize that we are dealing with humans, after all.
I don’t want to bother you with more details because no matter what I say, I can’t do justice to the episode. I’m definitely watching it again because I did enjoy this intermission and I don’t want the director and producer to ‘end up like shriveled mummies before the second half even begins.’
SO MANY. As a recap episode, it was actually made of highlights, but here is my favorite:
Meteora the Sexy: Definitely THE highlight of the episode is the way Meteora takes advantage of her power as the narrator to reinvent herself. The new Meteora is the embodiment of proper fan service. With a new voice actor (is she?) providing a more sensuous voice, the new Meteora is EXCELLENT, SEXY, GLAMOROUS, and CUTE. She is a beautiful, buxom, and talented magician of the highest abilities who managed to defeat Altair in the first episode and then declared, ‘This is the end of Re:CREATORS.’
Of course, that would only ‘sound like a serialized story that was cancelled in the middle,’ and restores the intermission to the real events until the oversexualized version of Meteora comes back to explain the character dynamics with a pool table metaphor. Sexy.
Themes & Trivia
Lolicon: I feel uneasy talking about lolicon because no matter how open I am to all forms of expression, this particular borders close to pedophilia. The lolicon genre is a form of anime and manga that takes the explicitly sexualizes school girls. While Lolicon complex is interconnected to 2D complex, meaning that these people do prefer illustrated little girls than the real thing, it still is too creepy for me to accept as a legitimate genre.
Do you hate recap episodes? I do. Just like Meteora advised me not to jump into conclusions, I never considered these episodes to be a proof of the decline of the quality or an indication that the industry is in crisis. I think that there are more definite telltale signs that speak more about the industry than one recap episode. That doesn’t mean I like them. I usually skip them. I don’t even bother reviewing them. What is there to review from a collage of scenes we have previously seen? I’ve always thought of recaps as the company buying time to focus on quality or things that might have gone out of hand or whatever is wrong with the production. Like Meteora says, animating a title like Re:CREATORS is a demanding task that needs the full attention of the production team. And the client is needy. All clients are needy.
So, even if a recap is a necessity, that doesn’t mean it must be sloppy or amateurish. This episode is the only proof we need (and an argument to use in future debates) of a recap done right. If you know that you have to have a recap because you are doing two back-to-back cours, then plan ahead. Be creative like Re:CREATORS. Show that you love what you’re doing like Re:CREATORS did. Admit the reality that is usually obscured by the story. Anime are an escapism mechanism, no need to deny that, but that doesn’t mean that they should serve as a theater curtain that separates reality from fiction. This is fiction. Meteora is not real. These characters are not real. We are real and the people who create the anime.
I am always assuming that the people who read this review have already seen the episode. I fail to see why someone would read a review before watching an episode, but if you are one of these people, I recommend that you go and watch this recap episode. Don’t skip it because if you do, you’re probably skipping one of the most funny episodes of the season. Re:CREATORS has already secured a place in my anime-I-will-remember list because of its ingenuity and sincerity.