What? What? What? #01 — In Potentia

April 11th, 2017

I'm not typing out the entire paragraph of a title.


Something I see bandied around all the time as I glance at other first impression posts around the web, especially this season, is 'potential.' Usually, it's a weasel word meaning that some character mentioned something in passing in an exposition dump about the setting that seemed somewhat interesting, or there were fifteen seconds of something completely unlike the other twenty-one and forty-five seconds of the rest of the episode. Almost invariably, "has potential" means "I already committed to liking this, and I hope that the rest of the show won't be like this episode." I harp on about it for an entire episode, because holy goddamned hell am I exhausted of saying "fantasy world where the fantasy part is all but ignored to have people sit around a table/campfire/stump/classroom and deliver five straight minutes before moving to a slightly different table/campfire/stump/classroom for yet more, doing absolutely nothing of any ambition or worth noting, completely wasting the visual medium that it has been soulessly rendered in."

So here we have an episode with a lot of 'potential.' Fifteen seconds of 'adventure' followed by talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, and then when you think there might be some half-assed T&A, more talking. It almost makes one long for the cudgel of random rapists popping out of the woodwork just so that I could say that something actually happened in the episode. Not quite, mind you, but does make me slightly regret coming down so hard on the other show today. Anything is better than nothing, and while this doesn't have quite as much nothing as some other shows, nothing is still what takes up at least 80-90% of the episode. I'll take bouts of rolling my eyes and/or incandescent rage over constant numbing tedium. Make me feel something for your characters and story, even if it's scorn. You can work with that. No matter how much you want to talk about how unique your setting is, how interesting the politics are, and how fantastic the world is, it is the characters and the events that are ultimately the heart of the story, and right now, the characters are Some Dull Guy, Some Boring Girl, Some Wearisome Goblin, and Some Vapid Maid. They kind of… wander around, ramble at length, and… that's your grand fantasy… story… whatever thing. Wandering, rambling, and a maid. Potential!

Posted in What What | 6 Comments »

6 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Dave Baranyi says:

    Nowadays I use the word “potential” when any new anime doesn’t leave me feeling at the end of the first episode that I’ve just undergone a simultaneous pre-frontal lobotomy and castration without any anesthetic at all…

    I haven’t used “potential” very much this season…

    Aroduc says:

    It mostly reminds me why I stop looking at other people’s opinions, and then, like clockwork, 12 weeks later, “Eh, let’s see what people are saying. Maybe I’m being too harsh.”


  • Tiresias says:

    I see people writing “potential” and thinks they actually mean “the presentation sucks but the (ahem) worldbuilding expositions is gonna be good for fanfiction writing”

    Aroduc says:

    “World building” is also a fun buzzword (buzz phrase?) that includes literally everything, and means absolutely nothing.

  • LUNI_TUNZ says:

    I figured out the “twist” after about the fifth time he mused “I’m supposed to be watching military weapons, but instead I’m here with these kids. HOW COULD THE TWO POSSIBLY BE CONNECTED!?!?!?”

    Could have cut some of the talking and got to the point much quicker. You’re not that clever show.

  • anise_punter says:

    When I say potential I generally mean “I like the character designs and if they let me write it, it wouldn’t be painfully unfunny or atrociously melodramatic” [depending on genre] so I guess that would apply to that Love Tyrant and the armed girls magic battle high school #347