Character Development is Fan Service (According to Cosprayers)

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Mar 072012
 

I know Cosprayers is supposed to be some parody show or something, and that there’s a couple of spin-offs where you get to see the “behind the scenes” of the series and how it sucks and stuff. But whatever. I’ll see those spin-offs eventually, but for now I wanna talk about Cosprayers as a stand along thing.

It’s kinda awesome.

Cosprayers cuts all the crap out of the typical magical girl series. It’s a bare-bones, almost Mamet-like endeavor. It doesn’t bother with unnecessary details like motivations and development and traditional coherence. Cosprayers is all about hitting the most important plot points, boiling everything down to the most necessary things needed to tell a story. Save for one comparatively indulgent flashback towards the end of the series, nothing’s given time to linger.

The series manages to hit every important plot point you expect from a magical girl series, such as “I’m the main character but I don’t know how to fight” and “my former friend may be a villain now,” but we get the bare minimum of exposure to these plot points before we move on to the next. It’s almost like a check list. “Did we deal with an ally betraying the heroes? Good. Next! ” Most anime would spend an episode or two just on one of these points, while Cosprayers barrels through and covers at least two or three of these things in the span of one ten minute episode.

So, Cosprayers manages to tell the same sort of story that the average 12-26 (or more) episode magical girl series tells in the span of 80 minutes. That’s shorter than your average movie. Some people’ll argue that it comes off as incoherent, but I don’t see it. Everything makes perfect sense. Girl is tricked into enacting a ritual that revives an ancient evil. Ancient evil tricks girl and her magical girl compatriots to release it and destroy the world. The “villains” are actually trying to help the heroes and stop them from being manipulated. The power of love and healing and friendship is magical singing saves the day. I think the “problem” is that most people are used to stuff dwelling on plot points. They’re used to establishing shots and exposition and taking time to develop characters, and Cosprayers is saying “is all of that really necessary to tell a story?”

I don’t think so. Character development is fan service, just like a panty shot. You don’t need to get to know a character in order for a story to be told. The desires to get to know a character and to have a story play out at a certain pace are just as indulgent and pandering as showing some titties. That’s what Cosprayers is telling us. If story is what people truly want, then Cosprayers is storytelling in its purest, undiluted form.

Also, it has a puppet getting crucified. That trumps everything else I like about the series.