This past weekend I had maybe half a dozen ideas to write up. I only retained this one only because it’s the only one I still remember. Also probably because it’s the newest one.
So there’s NouCome. The jokes write themselves when the premise is a joke. The Excel Saga-like insanity to episode 1 is supposedly no different than when Excel Saga pulled the exact same trick. “Put it in” it said. Well, that explains why all of the choices tend to have something in that line of thought.
Fast forward to today. NouCome still has some roots to these types of games. The character profiling and presentation come across the same. The choices play off known tropes and genre conventions. It, however, opens up a new world of orthogonal surprises.
It’s better explained using “expected” and “unexpected.” In most situations in an anime plot, you probably only expect a few things to happen at any given time. With enough foreshadowing and quality storytelling, the audience can be expected to expect a given set of choices of things to happen at any given time. Usually this is done to eliminate possibilities so the audience can be intrigued and surprised (in a good way). NouCome does that in the opposite way by telling you it’s not just going to draw on its canvas, but also on the floor, on the wall, on your nose, on your mother, on the bus, in the air, wherever it can. It’s built in with that mechanism. Since you are expecting everything, you become more susceptible to surprises, which is kind of counterintutitive but that’s how it works.
It’s easy to call NouCome random. Well, it is. But when you draw a dick on a canvas or on your notebook or on your Pictochat screen, it’s still a dick. It’s like I can’t explain if the face I see when I saw the close-up of that maggot candy with a >_< face is any different than any other “manga-style” emote I usually see, despite that I laughed a lot at that little visual gag. It’s just a face that you will see on your average LINE sticker or whatever. So, it isn’t that the randomness is in the content; it’s in the context. The story in NouCome is really nothing too special, at least outside of the initial montage about choices. (That little vignette is pretty special, though.)
To take a huge step back and look at it as a data point in a progression, NouCome is no different than Log Horizon or Arpeggio in that the story is always the same, but the context keeps going up, raising the stakes. At some point we will end up playing some kind of dating sim in your late night TV anime, or buying ships, or actually playing as an Enchanter; or I guess that is the joke. Note that I left out the average incest romcom… It makes you wonder what would happen to the actual things these extremely orthogonal and meta works will be when it happens.
It neatly segues to another idea I had over the weekend: wouldn’t the ultimate sports anime be the one that turns you into an American? Because it would make the transition of sports drama from totem worshiping to an actual way of life. Can’t ESPN do one of their docu-shorts on these Japanese imported pitchers or something?