Of Being Spoiled and Different Viewing Lens

Its commonly known by now, but being spoiled sucks.

For one it took away one of the reason we go to watch a series/movies which is the intrigue of the unknown and if you already know what’s going to happen, then the mystery is pretty much lost along with interest. Especially if it contain several twists that could turn our viewing experience around.

Of course, people react differently to this. Most often responds however, is that it ruin everything and making watching the series/movie valueless. Usually with anger.

To be honest, that came off as hyperbolic for me.

Granted, people wants and value with their media is definitely varied and like i said earlier that its definitely suck. But i don’t think it’s worth all the rage that comes with the complaint. In fact, i’ve been thinking that it might actually giving us the opportunity to look at a series differently.

It all began when i started watching a certain series.

You really do can’t judge a book by its cover huh

So the story is that a couple months ago, i’ve decided to watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica. If you don’t know about it already, PMMM is a twelve episode anime series produced by Shaft, written by Gen Urobuchi airing on 2011 about in the most simplistic matter, what would happen if Faustian Tragedy meets Magical Girl genre.

I am held back on doing this because when i heard about this show, instead of watching it, i’ve decided to look for spoiler online (Don’t know why i do that) which resulted with me knowing pretty much the entirety of event that transpired in the series and yes that also include the twists.

But, i’ve decided to do it anyway because a) its only twelve episode long b) it has great animation c) i don’t want to be left out on not watching this even though i already knew what’s happening.

And surprisingly, i still like it more than i thought i would.

Sure because i already know about the twist, the entire event felt less shocking and emotional for me, but i still liked it (it does help that the series was great to begin with) and being spoiled actually gave me a different insight on some things.

One of the example is Homura’s dialog.

Watching it first time for all of us, she came across as cold, aloof and cynical especially during her conversation with Madoka about the nature of magical girls. However since i already knew her backstory, her dialog became much more meaningful, more weight and also has more emotional resonance to it. It really shows that she was tired, worn out and despaired over having to relive same event and fail each time. Seeing death and tragedy over Madoka and the others repeatedly really got to her. The stoic facade and the cynical mindset are because of her feeling and emotion becoming numb after meeting so many tragic fate in each cycle.

It’s quite saddening 😦

Screenshot from 2014-11-16 16:54:43

This was one of the example

 

The next example that i want to talk about is the twist execution.

Gen Urobuchi is well known in making shocking tragic twist in his works and for a good reason. It was well executed, it was used sparsely and it always has meanings or impacting the narrative as a whole, instead of using it for a mere shock value.

Of course, because almost nobody expected that a magical girl anime got grim and dark rather early on, it hit people quite hard. Thus, making it easier for people to overlook the build up to the said twist. But, because i already knew what’s going to happen, I can focused myself to examine how did Urobuchi build up the twist in this series.

Urobuchi uses the first two episode as a way to establish both the characters personality and the rules of the world that the characters live in. He also uses it to lure the audience into a false sense of security that the characters will be just alright with the established rules, but if you examined it further, there’s quite several indication of something deeper, sinister and it also foreshadow future tragedy, all of which  through characters dialog (mostly Mami’s). Leaving just a small window of opportunity/possibility that what you hope don’t happen, well happened. Making both the twist plausible and believeable.

Just because you want to shock the audience, doesn’t mean you can made up event and broke the rule that you’ve already established.

Anyway, that’s probably my share of experience on watching things despite having been spoiled. Hopefully, this could also help you as well 🙂

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2 comments

  1. miharusshi · December 1, 2014

    The internet is full of spoilers, so it’s pretty much inevitable to know a thing or two about what happened in the series you’re about to watch. I myself hate spoilers, but only those spoilers that revolve around the so-called twists. I’m not up-to-date with my anime and manga, and being in online anime communities, I can’t just close my eyes all the time to prevent seeing stills from the more recent episodes.
    In a way, these little spoilers actually help me build my interest towards series that I am yet to watch. For instance, *that* scene in episode 7 of Inou Battle, which I didn’t start watching yet, was popular in twitter. After finding out that it was Hayami Saori that voiced Hatoko, I immediately checked out the scene and even watched the first episode. But spoilers and other people’s impressions on the series don’t guarantee our enjoyment from that that series.
    And as you said, spoilers aren’t all that bad. It just depends on how the viewer takes on the series, knowing some of the little details beforehand.

    Like

    • Namhur · December 1, 2014

      Yeah internet is a really easy places for spoiler especially when looking up a certain series. And yeah, sometimes in order to be interested, you need a glimpse on what’s about to happen. I mean, i never would have watched Madoka unless people told me what’s going to happen. It hampers enjoyment sure, but i would have never let me discover the series in the first place.

      Liked by 1 person

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