Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cinderella

Wouldn't a glass shoe be uncomfortable as hell?

I know, I know - it's not anime, and this is an anime blog (or at least pretends to be one).  But the history of anime is inexorably linked to Disney, with Osamu Tezuka (known for Astro Boy and other 60s classics), one of the pioneers of anime, influenced by Disney's feature films.  And part of having a 3-year old daughter is that you're going to watch Cinderella at least once, and most likely several thousand times.  Plus, technically, in Japan Cinderella is anime, in the sense of anime being the generic term for animation, so away we go.

So if I was reviewing Cinderella like it was an anime series, how would it rate?  If you're curious, read on...

Animation Quality: Actually pretty amazing, overall, even without considering how old it is, made back in 1950.  Motions are fluid, characters are drawn on-model, and there are no Yoakena-rage-inducing-cabbages anywhere to be seen.  Backgrounds are often stylized and not incredibly detailed, but still, it stacks up well against Kyoani in terms of fluidity of motion, and there's no 3D crap anywhere to clash with the cel-drawn artwork.  Of course, in 1950 a computer capable of 3D graphics would have ten million vacuum tubes and a footprint the size of Montana, so it's not like Disney had the option of going there anyway.

Story / Characters: Let's just say I'm glad my daughter was born in 2008 and not 1950.  Everyone knows the gist of the story, so I'll just skip to the flaws - first of all, the world it's set in is pretty sexist, which I guess given the US circa 1950 shouldn't surprise me.  The King basically wants to hook up his son the Prince so he can make grandkids for him, since as everyone knew in 1950 women were put on Earth mainly for babymaking, cooking, and cleaning stuff.  The gems like "leave the sewing to the ladies" date this a little too.

The Prince also has next to zero character development - it's like if Ryuuji didn't show up until episode 24 of Toradora, and Taiga was instantly smitten with him despite him despite his only having five lines.  Cinderella falls in love with the Prince because he's handsome, but that's really all you know about him, period.  There's no chemistry between them, no time they spend getting to know each other (outside of what, two hours at a ball?) and you're supposed to believe this is the epitomy of true love.  Although now that I think about it, the Prince is kind of like your typical harem lead in that girls fall for him for little apparent reason (I'm thinking Kanna falling for Kaitou in Ano Natsu just because he smiled during his self-introduction...).  Although I guess Princes tend to be loaded, so he has that going for him.

Having said that, the plot's not terrible - it's a classic for a reason, and the whole thing with the over the top wicked stepmother and stepsisters getting their comeuppance in the end is still fun to watch.  Gus is fun to watch with his Rihoko-like gluttony, but he's one seriously stupid mouse, in real life natural selection would finish him off in a New York minute.  He's going to be cat shit in no time if everyone else doesn't keep saving him from his own stupidity.  It's just a pity the Prince and Cinderella don't really have much chemistry given how little screentime they have together.

Character Designs / Moe Factor: Meh.  I think the little eyes ruin it for me, it's a problem I have with Miyazaki's movies too.  Bottom line, no one in Cinderella is moe.  Don't expect any fanservice either, Disney doesn't do hadaka aprons or maid outfits.


Like, happily ever after, until the messy royal divorce hits the tabloids

Overall: So from an anime standpoint, what grade would I give Cinderella?  Probably a C.  I'd say if it had a full 12-13 episode cour to work with, they could have developed the characters more, but as it stands it looks pretty at times but doesn't have a lot of substance.  Also, someone really needs to do something about all that bursting into song for no reason.

2 comments:

Zyl said...

I LOL'ed at your anime comparisons esp Rihoko.

wrt the prince having no personality and thus being similar to many anime harem leads, I think perhaps the more apt comparison might be with otome games - the self-insert isn't to cater for a male teenage high schooler but for the little girls who imagine themselves to be secret princesses.

BTW would you rather watch Cinderella with your daughter or Titanic with your wife? ;)

suguru said...

That's a good point - and maybe to the target audience it doesn't really matter, since the viewer can project their dream personality on the personality-free prince. Or in my daughter's case, I think she just likes all the pretty colors.

BTW would you rather watch Cinderella with your daughter or Titanic with your wife? ;)

Cinderella :) I'm fortunate my wife doesn't really care for Titanic either though...