Preair Impressions: RDG and Karneval

The Spring 2013 Season is still a few weeks away, but that doesn’t mean companies aren’t going to try to get a leg up on the competition by getting stuff out early. In some cases they’re just digging their own grave, but there’s plenty of great shows I would never have watched save for an early airdate and a snazzy intro.

In RDG (Red Data Girl), they established that the main character wanted to change herself. And a bunch of other things; her hair may have spiritual power, one of the guys is a childhood friend, her parents are largely removed from her life, etc. That’s not bad per se, and a few of the tidbits could have spelled the beginning of a decent plot. It was the way they did it that ensured I wouldn’t be won’t be watching this show. Because far more important than the basic plot is how it’s presented, and this episode was one big infodump. Every fact dropped was essentially a stand-alone bit that didn’t lend itself to a mounting sense of, well, anything. Sure, some scenes looked pretty, and there was a tad of indirectness, but there was just very little coherence between scenes. Worse, RDG also didn’t do much to tie what was happening in with the personalities of the characters, choosing to make them all dialogue and no action. The 3 characters that got real screentime were cookie-cutter versions of the shy girl (who at least cut her hair at the beginning), rude guy, and powerful mysterious guy. There was a big line at the end about the main character not changing, but thinking she wanted to change, which felt like it was supposed to carry weight, but it just didn’t. Watching this makes me feel too much like someone took a book and just grabbed the words and stuck them in a screenplay. I know it sometimes takes time to get a show going, but I’ve seen no-action first episodes done much better than this.

In the 10-minute Karneval preair, they made all the motions of a standard erotic submissive guy yaoi show, and then went in a fairly different direction. What this episode actually was was a fluid, multilayered action scene. After the suggestive beginning with the guy in handcuffs, it goes through scenes of a burglar and said handcuffs guy fighting off a reptile-woman with loads of c4, a rich girl and her butler on a train being jacked, and a pair of mysterious strangers conversing on the street. That’s not exactly championship material right there, but the way it played those first 10 minutes, cycling between the 3 groups just as each scene was getting interesting, was suave. By the time I hit the end of the preview, as these 3 plots were all linking up as the burglar hopped onto the train being jacked, I was pretty into it. The actual plot may not be that intriguing, but if they’re telling it in classic intersecting threads/adventure novel style, I don’t really care. Especially since making the conscious choice to do this means the director at least has some idea what he’s doing; complex chase-based action intros work. I’m a sucker for ’em, I really liked this episode, and I’m willing to give this show 2 episodes at this point.

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