Friday, 2 July 2021

TWEWY the Animation: Beat week and general thoughts

Joshua the smol character in TWEWY.

I expected Beat's week to last 4 episodes where the last episode can be spared for something else. It turns out that they spent 4.5 episodes on the week. This is not a bad choice as spending a complete episode decoding (unless Vivy ep.12.5 just trying to reiterate from another POV) will surely scare the pure anime audiences away. 

At the same time, problem arises: there is not enough time to decode everything that is necessary to give a full story. Well that even happened in the original game: the secret reports contained a vast amount of information yet they are not enough to tell the full story that an average player/reader could understand. What they did in the anime is actually a wise move -- instead of covering everything essential, they highlighted the difference between OG and the anime which is considered the "true storyline" that leads to neo. There are already too many unanswered questions throughout the episodes and it is a waste of effort to answer them all in 12 minutes -- just leave them to neo instead.

I think I have criticized enough about the choice of pins (and their effect) and monsters so I do not plan to do that in detail again here. That is again disappointing in ep.8-12 as we observe loads of week 1 monsters and more boring (and wrong) presentation of pin psychs. So instead I would highlight the differences between OG and the anime here. Some of them are quite influential and some are not (and probably also true in OG just not explicitly shown), but most of them are worth mentioning.

Episode 8:
- Reapers had their eyes hidden in OG, but as shown in the anime although they still their consciousness (for now), they are probably under partial control of the pin already.
- I said that I don't want to criticize the choice of pins anymore but here's something that I actually appreciate. They used a few Pegaso pins in the late episodes but I couldn't recognize them easily. The only thing that I noticed is the Pegaso icon on the pin -- but then when I stared at the pin list, every Pegaso pin has the same logo on it! This is a funny little observation from me.
- We can see Kitaniji's hand timer in the anime which the time running out -- this is not explicitly shown in OG although he said something like that.

Episode 9:
- Makoto finally appeared! Well there is none other than him who can do a better job to distribute the red skull badges.

Episode 10: 
- Eiji's truck appeared in the anime, but it is clear that the Shibuya sheeps didn't care anymore. They were already under unification of consciousness.
- Starting from the last episode it feels like the battle lags quite a lot which is surely disappointing.
- But Sho's teleportation is so cool! I wish that is shown in the week 2 final fight because every OG player would agree how painful it was to hit him in that fight...

Episode 11: 
- Konishi has the potential to do ASMR on YouTube.
- Kind of interesting to see that Shibuya river is not linear -- where do the other branches lead to?
- The battle is horribly simplified and even more it's not happening in the Dead God's pad. If you do not plan to show the fight there, why putting that in previous cutscenes and also in OP?
- In OG the formation of the special space created in the Konishi fight was explained and that the pact were explicitly sent back to ambient space before the fight concludes. Instead in the anime the space simply crumbled without further explanation. The same problem happened in the Sho fight already.
- Shiki reappeared but Joshua didn't as in OG. This is actually making sense because it is said that their return was due to the return of the entry fee. Shiki's part of the entry fee, but Joshua isn't. It is possible that he just showed up randomly after playing enough Tin Pins (see secret reports week 3) and try to get into the team. 
- Sho was not found dead under garbage heap. Instead he was able to talk to Neku in the anime. In fact if you think really carefully almost all characters were erased at the spot after being found severely injured, and Sho was the only exception. That could be a hint that he's not dead even in OG.
- They combined the two fights (Kitaniji phase 1 and berserk Shiki) into one. Other than my complain that it didn't happen in the pad, it's sad that the badge cutting scene was not replicated in the anime.
- Golden chain psych...that is not in the game, and no pins were specified there. The Mr.Mew ball is utterly nonsense but still made me smiled right there.
- It's still a mystery what happened when Kitaniji trapped Shiki, Beat and Joshua and try to drain energy from them. Nice to see that to be removed in the anime.

Episode 12:
- First of all, there was no indication that day 6 was gone. Were they still in day 6 or in day 7? If it's day 7 it would be cool to see the "LAST DAY" as shown in OG title.
- In OG the ultimate fusion pin just somehow appeared for you to finish the boss. In the anime this is due to the combination of power also from Shiki and Beat. But the representation is quite similar: the quintuple laser beams with a big cross.
- A door appeared when after the final fight -- the same door when Kitaniji was defeated in the pad in OG. Behind the door is a graffiti room that we have never seen before.
- Josh should have banged right after Neku's final words, just as in OG...
- Tin pin bro (and Makoto) appeared as cameo. Naomi's team as well as the 777 band are also revived.
- Half the face of RG Shiki, will she appear in neo?
- Mr.H tried to take an extra sip from the canned coffee after flipping it to confirm nothing's left
- Beat raised the question "why are they able to use such psych" and Neku guessed it's Mr.H's support. In some sense this is correct because that's in fact upon "imagination" according to OG secret report.
- Josh revealed that the player pin given to Neku is special and not the ordinary one. That explained why Kitaniji couldn't destroy that particular pin and shout "so that's why...!". He thought he couldn't gain control over Neku because Neku got an extra player pin, but it's in fact a special player pin that cannot be destroyed by him.
- It's a shame that the anime did not end with the OG ending song "A Lullaby for You"'s such a fantastic song. I know something's wrong with the artist but still it's worthy to be put here.

As you can see most reactions came from the last 2 episode as the 2 episodes contain the core information of the story. Regarding the conversation at the end there are a few things that are worth mentioning:
- The golden key pin was an actual master key pin in OG (also in secret report), but here it become the pin that allowed them to do the final attack. We know that the harmonizer pin/fusion pin setting was abolished in the anime where the pact just use the fusion attack somehow, but are there any further implication about that?
- Mr. H explained about his graffiti. This may not be obvious but the exact same's in secret report 12.
- Joshua said that composers cannot be defeated by reapers even in RG. According to secret reports this is because the frequency of the repeaers are also lowered in RG that composer being vulnerable to reapers is invalid. However Mr. H somehow thought that Sho can do that with with the help of Taboo sigil?

The largest difference between the anime and the OG is perhaps the treatment on Rhyme. As much as the treatment being a lot less cruel it also leaves loads of extra question or even potential conflicts with the OG setting.
- In what form does Rhyme exist in UG in week 3? As some sort of energy (or soul -- see explanation from secret reports), something summoned upon psychs/pins (as in OG), noise a creature form? 
- Human beings if not repeats are not supposed to be in UG during the game. In what way Rhyme was allowed to stay with the team without any problems?
- Rhyme probably did not turn into pin in the anime, but if we do not know the nature of existence of Rhyme, how do we now the nature of reincarnation that "composers can do"? Of course what Beat refereed to is to revive Rhyme as a human, but this is not necessarily what others meant.
- The most interesting thing about Rhyme is how she managed to damage Konishi. As mush as that being a reasonable answer, it is also extraordinarily funny.


It is not hard to find games that has a similar setup/plot as TWEWY: teen based; "game" or more generally being tagged into unexpected events; confined in a specialized area in Tokyo; the growth of character along the story: Shin Megami Tensei (SMT), Persona or even Trip in Akiba. 

Comparing with these games, the story in TWEWY looks incredibly shallow. This is kind of an inherited problem due to the nature of the 7 days game where everything has to be done quick. The story maker had taken that into consideration and made reasonable stories for the three weeks. Shiki week is kind of relaxing so they can spare the time to reveal the background of Shiki and allowing more interactions. Joshua from Neku's point of view is a complete enigma and hence doesn't need much story. Beat's week is more of a decode and the big story unfolding, so the attention is shifted to the overworld as well as Rhyme. That part of the story is shallow but fitted into the game properly. 

What I wanted to know more is the big story behind. It's ok for me not to dig into the discussion of angels, vibes or anything that is of "higher existence", but what happened around UG and RG should be explained clearly at the end.

For example, it was said that Neku changed (in a desirable way) so that Shibuya is saved, but how? One may argue that Neku's personality changed positively given the social norm, but these are never objective. Why was Shibuya considered boring that needs to be destroyed? Such judgement could not be made just by looking at Neku or people around him -- unless this is commonly observed in Shibuya. There are many dreading regions in a city around the world, so why Shibuya? Is it about the imagination (which, was never properly defined other than its literal meaning) declining in Shibuya? That is never addressed in the story unfortunately. In the worst case scenario everything was set up just because Joshua wanted to without any reason, then the whole thing is no more than a child's play...

At the end of the day, TWEWY is still my favourite game by a long shot. The anime may not be the best reiteration of the game, but it is good to have that as a refresher or teaser before we meet NEO. I have already order the game and is ready to stream my gameplay (for the first time). Hopefully I will see you there in 25 days :)

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