SHUFFLE 12-15

With a new eye-catch, Ep 12 ushers the series into its story-centric phase beginning with Primula’s tale. Much as I would like to classify eps 12-15 under the Primula arc, the equal emphasis on Nerine’s story and Asa’s major plot revelation/character development in these same eps resist such a designation. This is what I personally deem to be SHUFFLE’s greatest strength.

Unlike many HGTAs (h-game turned animes) which feel heavily segmented (complete with clumsy transitions) as girls’ tales are resolved individually, SHUFFLE does a wonderful execution of parallel stories, developing most of the female cast simultaneously. Eps 12-15 attest this to masterful storytelling as Primula’s story unfolds and concludes concurrently with Nerine’s arc. The twin intertwining tales are undergirded by immense Asa/Rin relationship development setting the stage for the subsequent plot, providing connectivity and improving the flow of the series. (Yes I have the benefit of hindsight of up to ep 18 :P)

Too many HGTA have also their female leads erased from the series once their stories are resolved (Kanon, Air for example) Contrast this with Nerine/Primula’s continual influence(not mere existence) in the series after ep 15 (Nerine’s impact on Sia in ep 16 and Primula sensing Kaede’s growing uncertainties in later eps) and we have in SHUFFLE an intricate script that manages to skillfully graft ‘expended characters’ onto the remaining stories. Magnificent storytelling indeed.

SHUFFLE achieves a feat I have yet to see in any other HGTA and that is the impeccable weaving of multiple storythreads into a flowing tale, while incoporating much of the game’s plot elements and retaining the spirit of the original game (check out Zyl’s very excellent SHUFFLE game expositions). A truly tremendous accomplishment since major elements in the individual girls’ stories can sometimes be diametrical, making the integration of these critical elements into a seemingly natural tale, close to impossible. Kudos to the ingenuity of the SHUFFLE team.

As of ep 18, SHUFFLE ranks up there with Kiminozo and DaCapo on Stripey’s HGTA charts. If only DCSS had the strength of SHUFFLE’s scriptwrights..

Sigh.

3 thoughts on “SHUFFLE 12-15

  1. Actually I’m not entirely sure what the “spirit” of the game was as it seemed fairly ordinary and the anime has fundamental differences in structure to it – most importantly the single thread vs multi-interconnected thread that you’ve mentioned in your post. As such, I felt that it was important for the anime to rearrange the game chronology so that the anime narrative could be more integrated and make more sense (e.g. Primula’s origins as the third artificial life form experimental body) as well as to add innovations not present in the game (e.g. Rin and co. going to the demon world to see and save Primula).

    That said, I do think that the producers and scriptwriters of the anime were helped by the fact that the game did not have a clear “winner” which can be extremely problematic for complete storytelling if there is divergence e.g. the Arcueid vs Kohaku endings in the Tsukihime game. Some might argue that Navel’s follow up to SHUFFLE!, Tick! Tack!, favours a Nerine ending but I’d say it was ambiguous at the very least. How they’ll be able to make a successful follow-up anime (assuming it is a Rin-Asa ending) remains to be seen.

  2. ahhh it’s great to have been informed by the game personally :P Actually i get all the game insights from your posts :) I’m surprised that the story in the game does not diverge very much from girl to girl. Are there not some story elements that will not manifest for other girls once you have chosen a particular girl’s track?

    From the way things are shaping up, I have faith that SHUFFLE will end satisfactorily. It does look like a Rin-Asa ending as of ep 18. If they want to finish off with Kaede/Rin, they would have a lot of convincing to do. Well they still have 5 eps to pull it off but given Rin/Asa’s foundation thus far, it would be tough.

    But hey, I love surprises :)

  3. I’ve only played the Asa and Sia threads of the game so I can’t say for sure but in both cases, once you make your decision, the story focuses on just one girl.

    It seems that the anime has also changed the Kikyou emergence part significantly – Sia apparently sought to give Kikyou a chance to be happy (since Kikyou also loves Rin) by reversing positions i.e. Kikyou in the driving seat while Sia is sleeping inside. In the anime, we got Kikyou forcibly taking control instead.

    Seems that there was divergence as well in Nerine’s case (from secondary sources) – Licorice was absorbed because she was aging too rapidly rather than to cure Nerine’s illness. Someone please correct me if I got the wrong impression.

    I have no idea how faithful the anime is to the Kaede thread but I’m just too exhausted to do a lot of translation right now even though I really want to know how it fits the story vis a vis the Asa thread.

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