the_sun_is_up: Yahtzee's speech bubble has been censored by a black bar that has the text "horrible things" written on it. (zero p - horrible things)
[personal profile] the_sun_is_up
This week on the Magical Girl Project, I take on that other unholy abomination known as CosPrayers.

Most of you have probably never heard of this series. Those of you who have might have also heard of the minor meme it spawned: "worse than CosPrayers." This meme uses the show as a litmus test by which to judge other shows, in order to separate the truly wretched from the merely crappy. Saying a show is "worse than CosPrayers" indicates that it's the very suckiest of suck.

Even the production company seems to have become aware at some point that the show sucked because right after it came out, they made another show called "Smash Hit" in which CosPrayers is a show-within-a-show that is acknowledged in-universe to be really terrible. This is what we in the biz refer to as a "parody retcon," in which the creators of a really shitty work turn around and go "Oh, no no, we made it shitty on purpose! As a satire of, um, stuff! Please believe us!"

Hell, even the name of the thing is sucky. Its full title is "The Cosmopolitan Prayers," and the shortened title intentionally resembles the word "cosplayer." Yes, it's a groan-worthy pun based around the Japanese tendency to pronounce "L" and "R" the same. KILL IT.

So since I'm the type of person who always gets morbidly curious whenever fans declare something to be the WORST EVAR, I decided to give CosPrayers a try and see for myself just how bad it is. Honestly, I came away feeling kind of disappointed.

CosPrayers is not the fun kind of bad. It's not the hilarious, campy, hubcaps-on-strings kind of bad that makes the work of Ed Wood and Coleman Francis so unintentionally entertaining. CosPrayers is just dull. And I know I panned Wedding Peach for being dull, but at least Wedding Peach had a clear idea of what it was doing and how to do it. CosPrayers, on the other hand, is incompetent and incoherent, with the storytelling and the editing being its biggest problems. It's like the creators had a bunch of story elements and bits of plot, but instead of arranging them in a way that flowed and made sense, they just kind of dumped them all out on a card table and let chance decide. The characters are shallow and bland and never get a chance to talk or develop relationships with each other, and the plot is so poorly executed that it invites plentiful fridge logic.

That 52-card-pickup method of storytelling gets even worst in the latter half of the series which offers up several plot twists that make no sense whatsoever, only serving to confuse the audience further. Again, it's like the creators wanted to have some plot twists in their anime, but had no clue of how to go about constructing such things. Alternatively, it's like they wanted to make a show about some cute girls fighting monsters, but they didn't realize that a functional anime series needs more than literally just "some cute girls fighting monsters."

I guess I should also mention that the show is full of gross, in-your-face fanservice that completely shatters the dramatic tension whenever it shows up, and the art style is typical of moe-esque fanservice shows in that it makes all the girls look like they're made of plastic, but none of this is unique to CosPrayers.

But back to that question of the parody retcon: According to Wikipedia, Smash Hit premiered only a week after CosPrayers ended, so it does seem possible that the producers had planned all along for CosPrayers to be crappy. But if that's the case, they're still complete blockheads. First of all, where's the sense in airing the intentionally sucky show-within-a-show before airing the making-of show that gives it context? Your audience will get bored and/or annoyed and go off to watch something else long before you have a chance to reveal the whole "it was supposed to be crap all along!" twist. And secondly, a crappy work does not automatically get any less crappy just because you made it crappy on purpose. If you sing a song horrendously off-key, it doesn't matter whether you did it because you're tone-deaf or because you're doing it intentionally to make some point — either way, it's still going to make my ears bleed. Being sucky on purpose isn't enough by itself — you have be entertainingly sucky, and preferably also include some satire on the sucky thing that you're imitating. Plus, I don't think CosPrayers is outlandish enough in its suckiness to qualify for the "haha sucky on purpose" crowd. Simply put, it's not bad enough. Despite that "worse than CosPrayers" meme, it's not the worst anime out there, nor is it even the worst I've seen. It's just kind of mediocre and incoherent. It fails even at being legendarily awful.

Date: 2012-01-28 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] vihm
Being sucky on purpose isn't enough by itself — you have be entertainingly sucky, and preferably also include some satire on the sucky thing that you're imitating.
Is there anything you would recommend that is both entertaining and bad?

Date: 2012-01-29 04:40 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] vihm
Thanks! I haven't seen Puni Puni Poemi, but I did enjoy Ouran. Though I don't know if I'd consider Rocky Horror to be in the same category as the others...

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