In last week's article by Gregory Marques entitled "What You're Not Seeing!," Greg vilifies Marmalade Boy on several counts; some may have some merit, but as we'll show, many aren't founded upon a solid basis. What we also want to say is that in making a tough decision like the one that was made between Marmalade Boy and Fushigi Yuugi, it's not possible to satisfy all parties but that hopefully through a logical process, we can carefully weigh the options at hand in order to make an acceptable decision. Thus, there is no need for such a strong outcry of protest.
In his first point, Greg states that the romantic element in Fushigi Yuugi "is never petty or shallow," unlike that in Marmalade Boy. Certainly, the romance that develops between Miaka and Tamahome in Fushigi Yuugi is deep and heartwarming. However, the romances that come about in Marmalade Boy are far from the opposite; they are just as believable as the ones in Fushigi Yuugi. In Miki's case, she is going through a natural stage in life; she is trying to decide, for the first time, who to love and from whom to accept love. How can this be perceived as being "petty or shallow"?
In his next point, Greg makes an argument against the genre, stating his preference for fantasy over "realistic-comedy." While this preference is perfectly acceptable, it is after all just a personal preference; instead, we need to look at the overall picture. This year, as in previous years, CJAS is showing a lot of anime, such as El-Hazard and Evangelion, that can be classified under the fantasy genre. Why show another fantasy-type anime if it means sacrificing a quality series that is in a different genre, one in which CJAS is usually deficient? Our most notable past showing in this genre is Maison Ikkoku, but other than that and a few scattered OAV's, fantasy genres have greatly outweighed "realistic" genres. CJAS's mission is to expose people to quality Japanese animation as well as to the diversity and richness of this medium; thus, it is preferable that we show a wide range of genres. After all, just because a show doesn't belong to the fantasy genre doesn't mean that it's not a quality anime.
Next, Greg complains about the character composition in Marmalade Boy, saying: "All of the Marmalade Boy supporting roles are plain high school students: one a bit cool and aloof, one a bit rambunctious and bullyish, one just plain indecisive." Although we could make many arguments about the accuracy of these simplified character analyses, since every character in Marmalade Boy grows significantly throughout the series, with major changes evident starting episode 17, the core argument is still rooted in the genre complaint of the previous point. Yes, all the main characters are "plain" high school students. Agreed, they have no powers or abilities, nor are they on any sort of quest to save the world or the universe. That's because this is a "realistic-comedy" genre, not a fantasy genre. Marmalade Boy has a great diversity in character composition, personality, and design. Sure, you don't get the clear-cut "Earth! Fire! Wind! Water!" separations, but that's not the point of this genre. It's not about good-versus-evil; it's about the way people live their lives.
Greg continues on to denigrate what he calls "super-pastel-mode," used whenever "Miki finds herself in a situation that is very emotional or upsetting." Granted that everyone has his or her own taste in color schemes, he is perfectly justified in disliking this style. However, this "super-pastel-mode," with its changing background colors and camera perspectives, is used as a very powerful tool in Marmalade Boy for portraying the thoughts and emotions of the characters in a very accurate and convincing manner. In addition, since the overall color scheme of a series tends to capture the meaning and tone for that series, the bright colors used throughout Marmalade Boy is essential in achieving this purpose. After all, if Marmalade Boy were a "red and black" series, the entire mood would be radically different.
Finally, Greg compares the music between the two anime series, claiming that the music for Fushigi Yuugi is "more complicated (on a theory-type level), which makes it more interesting." Again, this could be attributed to the difference in genre between these two series. It is certainly not surprising that a show of the fantasy genre would have music that is more up-beat or "mystical" than that of a show of the "realistic" genre. Moreover, just because one style of music may be preferred to the other does not necessarily mean that the same could be said for their respective anime, especially since anime relies so much upon the mixture of sight and sound. With this in mind, do not shortchange the music of Marmalade Boy, especially the vocal songs played in the episodes. The emotions of the songs and scenes blend wonderfully to evoke similar feelings among the audience.
And this really brings on our main point. Granted, there are elements of Marmalade Boy that may not be to Greg's liking; however, the decision to show something is not based upon likes and preferences alone. Because of likes and preferences, many, many people love Marmalade Boy, perhaps even for the very reasons that Greg dislikes it. From viewing, reviewing, and considering outside opinion, it has been established that Marmalade Boy is a quality anime series, worthy of being shown at CJAS. Likewise, Fushigi Yuugi has been viewed, reviewed, and subjected to outside opinion, and it has also been established as a quality anime series.
The decision to show Marmalade Boy versus Fushigi Yuugi cannot also be made simply with a direct comparison between elements of the series. One could argue for years over whether or not one color scheme is better than another or if one character blend is better than another. The overall relevance and applicability to the club's goals and the interest in satisfying as wide a range of our membership as possible is paramount. This argument of series versus series cannot be made in a self-contained system but must be considered in the context of all the shows which are presented in an attempt to arrive at an overall optimal solution.
CJAS exists to show the best anime out there, and we have a responsibility not to target only one or a small range of interests. When the E-board was planning the schedule for this year, we attempted to produce a schedule that would have elements that would be able to satisfy everyone. So far, from the feedback we've received, we seem to be succeeding. However, we would like as much participation as possible. If you have an interest in the direction and focus of our club (whether you like Marmalade Boy or Fushigi Yuugi, or perhaps you don't care for either one), please join E-board and voice your opinions and concerns, or just find a random E-board member and tell him or her what's on your mind. We really are interested in acting in your best interests and really do want to hear what you have to say.