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Doubletakes: ClassicaLoid (part 2)

posted in: Conversations, Opinions

Welcome to another ClassicaLoid Doubletake! Each post, I dive into a noteworthy aspect of the show and present two “takes” — two commentaries on plot or character points that stood out to me. One take is from a fan’s perspective and the other is from a fiction writer’s.

Some of the ClassicaLoids are women

I went into the show wondering if the female lead protagonist Kanae would be enough to compensate for the fact that most of the famous/most documented classical composers of the western world were all white men. During those classical time periods, the western world was basically like, “Screw women and POCs,” so their music wasn’t really represented, and I wondered if this show would try to make up for that in modern day somehow.

The creators at least made up for the lack of women, and did it in a way I didn’t expect. They made two of the ClassicaLoids female — Liszt and Tchaikovsky— despite their being based off men and having all the memories and talents of the real life male composers. They also based a ClassicaLoid off a female composer named Badarzewska.

Reaction as a fan: This is AMAZING. Tchaikovsky is this tiny, blond Lolita-looking pop idol, but she downs vodka and talks like an old man. As for Liszt, she just acts like a normal human being and doesn’t seem to care about gender/sex as an identifier; she simply enjoys the idea of spreading love and making music. Despite the “love” angle of her character (probably partly drawn from Liszt’s “Liebestraum/Liebeslied”) and her massive oppai, I don’t find her over-sexualized, or worked for fan service, and I appreciated that. Gender-swapping a few composers really worked well for me. Gives female cosplayers who don’t want to crossplay more cool options for what to wear, too.

Reaction as a writer: I would have liked it if the creators were a little more careful with Badarzewska. Since she’s the only actually female composer featured in the show, and we know how under-appreciated women were and still are, in or out of the music world… it might have been better if her character’s main gag wasn’t based off making fun of her for being a barely-known, one hit wonder. There’s probably a reason she was like that, ClassicaLoid writers — like, that the patriarchal society of her time didn’t give a shit about her, didn’t educate her as much as her male counterparts, didn’t value her? (I know her critics didn’t; they’ve said some mean stuff.) Maybe because she died at only 23 years old? Don’t perpetuate even by accident the idea that women composers aren’t as skilled or prominent as male ones, jeez! I don’t care if Bada is a joke still tossed around in classical spheres; it wasn’t that funny to harp on it here.

A better, more creative choice might have been to include a different female composer. If they’d picked Clara Schumann, or Fanny Mendelssohn, that still could have worked. Sure, those two put out more work than Badarzewska, so the easy joke about a one hit wonder wouldn’t be usable any more; the writers would have actually had to work to come up with a character shtick, but c’mon. It’d still be doable. You could just have Clara or Fanny moan about how their male relatives got more attention than they did. 

Bach only speaks in music terms…

…and none of the other characters can understand what he’s saying. Did anyone bring you your coffee yet this morning, Bach? “Andante.” Should I tell that man to reschedule his meeting with you? “Adagio. Fine!”

Reaction as a fan: BRB, laughing my ass off. Bach’s voice actor deserves extra credit for his deliveries.

Reaction as a writer: The entire thing is played incredibly straight, and that’s what makes it so funny. The characters who can (or purport to be able to, or are just pretending to be able to) understand Bach simply answer him back without any unusual expression in regular Japanese. Tchaikovsky now and then adds to the humor and lampshades the situation for the viewers by reminding those around her that no one actually knows what the hell Bach is saying. I think everything works to brilliant comedic effect.

Bach’s speech is also another way the show is working to include both fans of classical music and fans who don’t know classical. You don’t need to know the meaning of the music words Bach spews to start chuckling at his circumstances, but if you do… sometimes you can kind of interpret him, and it adds to the humor; the writers definitely know a thing or two about music, even if their show mostly makes jokes out of it.

The following is a spoiler:

Eventually, it’s revealed that Bach actually can speak regular Japanese — and has just been choosing not to, most likely to screw with everybody around him. To me, this makes the humor of the situation even more effective. I absolutely love the choices the writers have made around Bach’s character.

Follow Frongi:
DEE CORe Contributor, DEE Kai (会) podcast co-host. Writer. Actor. Cosplayer. Generally found screaming about anime.
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