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.
Liszt affectionately-not-so-affectionately dubs Sosuke “ponkotsu” (“tool” or “piece of junk”) at one point, and the nickname sticks. In fact, throughout the series, usually only Kanae properly addresses Sosuke by name. Beethoven just calls him “boy.” Bada and Tchaiko never get the syllables in Sosuke’s name right, despite his proclaimed devotion to their pop idol band and his always hanging around them and the other ClassicaLoids. In short, none of the other characters seem to like Sosuke; he’s a mooch, and despite repeatedly proclaiming that he wants to be a musician, he doesn’t show any talent, he never, ever bothers to practice, and he spends all his time trying to get internet famous on the coattails of others without doing any work himself.
Reaction as a fan: I swear I only enjoy you at all because of your voice actor being Iwatobi’s famous Haruka. I guess you’re not as offensive as you could be, but seriously, do you serve any purpose at all? Your talking computer/ipad is more amusing than you are, ponkotsu!
Reaction as a writer: Sosuke’s character is actually useful and handled rather brilliantly. He’s played off for laughs, but if you look closely… Sosuke is even more relatable than Kanae, the protagonist, meaning he also works to connect viewers to the show.
Sosuke is every one of us that’s ever wanted to achieve something, every one of us that’s ever dreamed about making something of ourselves. His portrayal is only uncomfortable to watch because it touches on an unflattering truth; Sosuke is us before we heard Shia LeBeouf yelling at us to “DO IT,” before we figured out that nothing less than hard work — nothing less than starting or actually trying — would bring us the progress or product we dreamed of. Sosuke is every one of us that’s ever procrastinated or felt blocked in a creative endeavor because we were scared of trying and only failing, or because we lacked too much confidence in our abilities. It’s less risk and less effort to dream about being successful than it is to actually do the damn work to get there — and these are the ideas Sosuke’s character presents loud and clear, making us cringe because we’ve all been there, and “there” is not very flattering. (Watching Sosuke is a great way to remind ourselves of what doesn’t work in terms of pursuing a goal.)
But it’s not all bad. Throughout the show, Sosuke gets a few chances to shine — and each chance he does something fairly cool. Is it as cool as what the ClassicaLoids can do? No — because that wouldn’t be realistic, considering Sosuke’s overall effort level is still pretty freakin’ low. But Sosuke’s small triumphs show viewers that forward steps can be achieved once effort is increased — an inspiring message through a character! And viewers like inspiring, empowering anime. (Plus Ultra!)
Renditions of classical songs
I give ClassicaLoid huge credit for getting interpretive, creative, and wild about adding vocals, guitars, and genre-twists to previously established classical pieces. Putting modern spins on classical songs while still preserving the original to a recognizable degree can’t have been an easy undertaking. That said, I found the new versions of the songs were very hit or miss for me in terms of whether I enjoyed listening to them.
Reaction as a fan: Chopin is such a miss. Why is every single one of Chopin’s songs as rendered here so annoying? (Hint: Because it sounds as if they mostly Vocaloided him — which fits his character, but still grates on my ears.) How dare ClassicaLoid destroy one of my favorite composers like this? THIS ALL SOUNDS WRETCHED; TURN IT OFF.
Conversely, an example of near-constant hits? Just about every song they made of Beethoven’s. Those are good. I like those. Yes. But I realize this is all very personal, because my personal tastes come into play, and I favor rock over Vocaloided stuff.
Reaction as a writer: You don’t want to annoy your viewers. But in this case, I don’t know if the point was to be annoying for extra humor — so I feel like I can’t say too much. Instead, have this nicely compiled list of what I personally enjoyed most (and least) of the song interpretations this show churned out.
Because to me, this is hands down one of the the BEST THINGS to come out of ClassicaLoid… feel free to watch this scene of Schubert’s — which is, to be clear, a spoiler for his character development. (Schubert is usually polite, uptight, and reverent of his idol Beethoven despite how the other characters only ignore him or make fun of him, calling him a Mozart knock-off, etc. — but in episode 21, thanks to a realization involving an avocado, he finally gets sick of everybody’s shit, changes his outfit, and busts into this brand-new Musik performance; it happens to provide a good run-down of each of the other characters and their traits, too… as well as being plain ridiculous.)
And now for the list.
Songs I loved:
- Beethoven is a god
- You can’t change my mind
- Tell me you don’t like all his songs
- Bach-sama can marry me
- Just play these all the time, thank you
- Liszt will love me if you don’t
- Schubert will take nobody’s crap
- Tchaikovsky got it going on
- Wagner, YES, please bring me your revolution
- Badarzewska the one hit wonder
- Mozart should wear his hair down all the time
Songs I hated:
- Chopin, shut up
- Please just stop
and all the other Chopin songs
- Mozart, your farts smell terrible
- It hurts, why do you do this
Again, I do give the show props for trying to explore a plethora of genres in terms of what to mash-up with classical. I also like that each ClassicaLoid seems to have a genre their Musik sticks to — for example, most of Beethoven’s songs sounding rock-ish, most of Mozart’s sounding pop-ish. It’s another clever way to characterize and modernize the composers being brought to life.