Well, at least it’s better than some crappy harem anime (that’s plural) I watched ages ago.
Some of you have probably heard the hit series, The U.S. Presidential Elections, currently in its 57th season. If you haven’t, you can still catch up on new episodes of its currently running first part, called the The Republican Primaries. So far, I’ve been watching a few episodes of The Republican Primaries, and I have to say, I’m actually kind of fascinated by all the drama and plot twists and so forth.
Even though this is the 57th season, the producers and writers did not really attempt to do anything too new, probably in an effort to keep the show’s fanbase – not that I mind. Thus, the story is still the same as it had been for the previous seasons, concerning a big fight between two factions, the Democrats and the Republicans. Basically, a bunch of misfits compete within both factions against each other in a contest of wits, strength, and charisma called the “Primaries,” and the Democrat and Republican champion then goes on to claim the glorious title of President.
Anyways, I’ll rate this season using the same rating method I use for all works of fiction. So far I’ve used this method mostly on anime, but it can work for any medium. In this method, I judge a piece of fiction based on four criteria: character (how well-written are the characters and their dynamics), structure (the plot and internal consistency), atmosphere (ability to invoke emotion/inspiration), and guts (a gut rating of the series). A series can get a maximum of five points for each criterion, with five representing the highest standards in storytelling technique, and zero representing absolute abomination.
Character – 3/5
The 8 heroes of The Republican Primaries are believable and deep characters for the most part. Unfortunately, most of the season seems to be focusing on two of these heroes, Romney (a recurring character from the previous season) and Perry. The dynamic between the two is admittedly interesting, with methodical and “I AM A POLITICIAN” Romney going against fiery cowboy Perry. Still, I would appreciate that the other Republican characters get more screen time other than the once-in-a-way “spotlight character of the episode” episode. We have fiery Bachmann (who surprisingly isn’t considered to be much of a token female), crazy old guy Ron Paul, normal and reasonable (i.e., boring and unassertive) Huntsman, pizza dude Cain, other crazy old guy Gingrinch, and angry-face Santorum. Why is the screenwriter not bringing them out more? And furthermore, what about Obama? Why does he seem to be more of a background character? I don’t even know if he’s a villain, anti-hero, or (in a plot twist) the true hero. Is he planning something?
Ultimately, the characters are good. But there needs to be more interesting interaction other than the Romney vs. Perry dynamic, and the other characters need to be given more screentime. I love good character dynamics and characterization, and while this season has been doing a good job so far, there’s still room for improvement.
Structure – 2/5
I usually don’t care about plot as much as I should. Still, The Republican Primaries doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere much in terms of plot. Sure, as I said above, we have our Romney vs. Perry dynamic, but even that is starting to fade out a bit with the last couple of episodes. There isn’t really much clear conflict – who’s on whose side, who’s against who, and so forth. In some stories it’s good to have lots of uncertainty and confusion, but this isn’t one of them, especially since The U.S. Presidential Elections has always been a series defined by reasonably clear divisions and sides to support and love. However, the plot isn’t terrible, so I’ll just say it does its job, but it could do a lot more. At least everything stays consistent, right?
Atmosphere – 3/5
Atmosphere concerns the general, well, atmosphere of the story – whether it can invoke emotion, or inspiration, or imagination, and so forth. With the possible threat of the 2012 Apocalypse, an Islamo-Socialist America, and worst of all, the downfall of freedom and democracy and American power around the universe, The Republican Primaries has been precisely doing that. But perhaps the real genius of the series is that the audience doesn’t exactly know where the threat is coming from – is it from the inside, or the outside? The many twists also irk the interest of most who’ve seen this, and I can’t disagree. However, I don’t exactly love the atmosphere of Patriotism (and/or lack/manipulation thereof), so I can only say the series does an adequate, even good, job here, but not necessarily a great one.
Gut – 2/5
The Republican Primaries is definitely a well-crafted story, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t really get that heavy of a reaction out of me. My guts simply tell me it could do better.
The Republican Primaries, so far, gets a 10/20 in my book. While that looks like an atrocious score, it’s not. 10/20 is somewhat equivalent to “decent” or “average” in my book, so sort of like a C grade. I mean, at least it did better than some other anime abominations. Still, on the other hand, it isn’t evoking the same kind of reactions as, say, stuff like Azumanga Daioh or Samurai Jack did. The story is solid, of course, even great, but it simply doesn’t have the *punch* to it.
I’m still waiting to see what twists the next few episodes will bring, and I wonder what the fans will think. Just as long as there isn’t Romney x Perry yaoi fanfic.