Well, I too got recruited to watch and write about a random episode of Horizon. I accidentally watched episode 5 by accident since I just went and watched the most recent episode on the date it was supposed to have aired without realizing that the Olympics had pushed it back a few days. So I am actually doing double duty and talking about both episode 5 and my assigned episode, episode 6. This also meant that I ended up with a little more background than I expected to have. Previously, my online background was the very first episode (which I promptly forgot everything from except that it had an incredibly exposition dump over the end credits to barely scratch the surface of the premise), and a few glances at Wikipedia and TV Tropes solely to say “lolololol this is nonsense lolololol.”
Let’s compare Horizon to another backstory-filled franchise. When the first episode of Total Eclipse aired, I mentioned that it was more or less pointless to watch unless one was already well acquainted with the franchise combined with how it it’s not exactly reasonable to expect something as entrenched in its source material as a spinoff of an spinoff of a sequel to a spinoff to a porn game. But even for those without familiarity with the series, the questions that it caused were more regarding filling in background details, like “Why are they using mecha and not airplanes?” rather than “No seriously, what is going on here?” Even the n00biest of n00bs was able to figure out that it was a show about mankind being pushed to the brink of extinction in a war against evil aliens.
Now yes, I do recognize that I’m randomly watching an episode of Horizon without watching the previous 17 episodes. Despite that, I can still make the following critiques about episode 5:
1) Each scene for the first 15 minutes or so of the episode featured a completely different characters from the others, with no apparent connection between scenes. Over the entire episode, only I believe 3 sets of those characters appeared a second time. While I may not be familiar with the characters, their designs are at least striking enough that I can visually differentiate between them.
2) When I attempted to look up information about these characters in a wiki, I realized that many of them were never actually addressed by name at any point in the episode. I found this especially weird since one generally addresses people by name in Japanese rather than using pronouns so I expected to constantly hear people’s names.
3) Many of these scenes consisted purely of characters speaking in series-specific jargon that was arcane to the point where I couldn’t figure out any kind of context for any of it.
4) When not speaking in jargon, the purpose behind the dialogue still managed to be completely incomprehensibe
5) The other scenes were action scenes with at best no buildup whatsoever and at worst resumed in media res
I got even spergier with episode 6 and took notes on each scene.
1) There were 18 scenes in the episode (not counting the cold open, which was a 20 second montage from the previous week), coming in at just under 21 minutes
2) Almost every scene consisted of exactly two characters talking and/or fighting
3) The median scene was only 49 seconds long. 10 were under a minute. One was 6 seconds
4) The fight scenes resumed right in the middle of where we left off from episode 5 (which again, were not exactly ending at natural stopping points), lasted for roughly 30 seconds, the often ended again fairly arbitrarily
In the interest of fairness, I sat down and watched a random episode from season two of Game of Thrones. Now yes, I have read all of the books and watched every episode of the show, but I still felt that I could apply a similar set of critiques to that episode as well.
1) Nearly every character was identified in some way, and of the ones that weren’t they generally were not for a good reason (such as being in disguise)
2) There was next to no jargon
3) Scenes had varied setups
4) There were fewer characters in a 50 minute episode than in the 20 minutes of Horizon 05 (22 vs. 27 by my count)
5) There were 9 scenes in 50 minutes rather than 18 in 20. The 4th scene was just beginning when Game of Thrones was 20 minutes in and the 18th scene of Horizon episode 6 was ending.
That’s a lot of discussions of length (or shortness, depending on the perspective.) The sheer pagelength of the series (9,000 pages and growing) reminds me less of lengthy epics like Wheel of Time (11,000) or A Song of Ice and Fire (4,500) and more of terrible fanfiction like Fallout Equestria, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, or Trial by Tenderness. As long as WoT and ASoI&F are, remember that those having been going on for decades. Horizon has managed that many pages in less than 4 years. Want another size comparison? I found out that I watched the wrong episode when I saw ExecutiveOtaku’s post. One of commenters linked to an introductory guide to the franchise. It was 50,000 words long.
Two of these are terrible fanworks. One of these is a series of published novels:
We sat up that night and discuss ideas on how to develope [sic] a new one. What we came up with was grim. We theorized that when you send an object through time, it does not create a new timeline that overrides the current like we had originally thought.
When the object enters the timestream, time begins to correct itself. Let me use this example: Imagine four balls on the edge of a cliff. Say a direct copy of the ball nearest the cliff is sent to the back of the line of balls and takes the place of the first ball. The formerly first ball becomes the second, the second becomes the third, and the fourth falls off the cliff.
Time works the same way.
■ Flow of History
○ Former Earth Age:People abandoned the Earth, which had a deteriorating environment.
○ People returned from space to the Divine States as Gods.
○ The environment of Earth had over-recovered, becoming unforgiving, and many returns lead to the occurence of problems with the ground.
○ The Harmonic World was created in Differed-Space, and each country decided to move there. However, only the people of the Divine states decided to remain in the Real World.
Why is there always an outcome of such historical events?
History is a series of events which have shaped the world over. Some events are good, while some are bad. While some may be either proud or shamed because of those events, what more people worry about is the outcome. The outcome of the series of events in relation to the group of people they affect is a way that shapes them, and the outcome cannot be explicitly written down in such history,l if not spoon-fed. It has to be analyzed and researched, constantly and constantly. And while some may like the outcome of the history, some just want to correct it. Or try to.
Some of these people who correct outcomes of past events, if they are capable, are called, time-travelers and analysts.
Horizon may be one of the purest examples that I’ve seen yet in professionally-produced media of what I like to call troperfication. In troperfication, one takes art/texts/works/media products/whatever you want to call them, throws them into a machine that breaks them down into their base components, and then measures the value of these works based on the number of these components (or as they erroneously call them, tropes) that are present. When I watch a scene in Horizon, or read any kind of information about the show, I get this at full blast. Nothing in the show is there because the setting, characters, themes, story, artistic vision, or literary ambition demands it. The question is never “Why should this be there?” It’s always “Why the fuck SHOULDN’T this be there”. Why the fuck shouldn’t there be werewolves? Why the fuck shouldn’t they be re-enacting history? Why the fuck shouldn’t Toori always run around naked? Why the fuck shouldn’t that character whose name I didn’t catch randomly shoot lemons with blades in them?
Because more equals better automatically, so go forth and fill up more pages with more completely random crap. I mean seriously, almost Wheel of Time Length in less than a quarter of the time!
PS: If you read this series or hell, any light novel series on Baka-Tsuki, for the love of god get off the internet and read a real book.