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.
Animation/art style, color choices, etc.
I didn’t know what to expect going into a comedy about classical music. Maybe I expected elegant costumes or wigs that took inspiration from Baroque-era decadence and then simply exaggerated it. (I’d say only one ClassicaLoid lived up to that expectation; it was Bach.) In any case, what I got was a riot of bright colors in terms of character designs (the good kind of riot — like in Kiznaiver, or Nanbaka but without the constant sparkling)… and Beethoven wearing either ripped jeans and a leather jacket, or glittery coattails and cravat, with zero decent in-between. (But hey, you think Beethoven’s bad? Check out Mozart.)
Beyond that, the show has “Musik” sequences consisting of everything from penguins dressed up like Napoleon, to giant robots, to floating skulls, to people turning into babies… all while rainbow measures zip through the background and/or colorful quarter notes fall from the sky. In other words, ClassicaLoid is animation chaos that borders on dazzling the eye too much — but not as jarringly as in, say, Gankutsuou… or as creepily as in certain kaleidoscopic Madoka Magica sequences.
Some of the episodes here and there even involve changes in drawing style completely. Just to keep you on your toes.
Reaction as a fan: SO MANY COLORS. I love it. I love that when they transform and start using their Musik, their outfits get fancy and GLITTER. Hell, I love that they have transformation sequences like magical girls! The imagery that happens when each character uses Musik and plays one of their famous songs… I’d say it feels like Fantasia, with the images bringing the song meanings or moods to life, except most of the resulting illusions seem so ludicrous I don’t see how they call up anything relevant. It’s hysterical. And which character am I supposed to cosplay?! ALL OF THEIR DESIGNS ARE SO EXTRA.
Reaction as a writer: For some people, I’m sure the animation gets to be too much and thus removes focus from dialogue and plot. But since I’ve seen crazier stunts pulled, I’m jaded, and this aspect of the show didn’t bother me. For the most part, unless Musik is happening, I’d call the animation tame enough not to be a problem.
But if Barbie pink or lime green hurts your eyes… maybe don’t look too hard at Mozart or at Liszt.
Each time a ClassicaLoid wants to use his or her Musik power, they first have to transform into their special outfits while shouting a unique catchphrase. Beethoven’s, for example, is “Spielen wir unsere Musik!” (German for “Let’s play our music!”)
Reaction as a fan: Oh, boy, I understand that, that’s German! Hah — Beethoven, you’re so cool! SPIELEN… WIR… UNSERE… MUSIIIIK!! Oh, is someone else going to transform, too? Wait — wait, what did they just say? What language was that in, though?
Reaction as a writer: The catchphrases are pretty cool. I wish the show had spent a tiny bit more time addressing them. Like most of the neat, in-plain-sight Easter eggs in the series present for savvier viewers, the catchphrases don’t really need addressing for basic understanding to be had… but I still wish they’d poked at the concept. It would have been cool if, say, Kanae had lampshaded the shouting and given us more of a taste of meaning by asking what the ClassicaLoids were shouting, then having them respond somehow. While I can cobble together some basic German… not all the ClassicaLoids are based on German composers. Chopin and Badarzewska, for example, were Polish — so their catchphrases are in Polish, a language that I know nothing about.
Of course, a quick trip to the ClassicaLoid Wikia page can fix my cluelessness — it can translate the catchphrases and get me thinking about how each phrase fits each ClassicaLoid’s character — but I personally hate checking the internet when I’m watching a new show for the first time (I prefer to avoid spoilers).
In times like these, I feel the series actually gets too careful not to “bore” regular viewers with high-brow stuff like music trivia or foreign languages; every now and then I think it’s okay to educate your audience a bit. To be fair, ClassicaLoid does educate — but when it does, it feels very simplistic, i.e. just having Sosuke’s pad name a song and telling us who composed it, when. That is absolutely useful to viewers who’ve come in knowing nothing about classical, but I don’t think the show would have gone awry to occasionally educate with something beyond the basics. Share a couple of those Easter eggs more openly with the regular viewers; make them feel even smarter!