I knew my patience would pay off in the end!
The references this episode are Dragon Quest and Ghosts ‘n Goblins!
Pastel Memories thought it could just keep on using obscure references to keep me in the dark, but even I have heard of these two games.
And that’s just about all that needs to be said.
Until next time!
Ok, ok. You’ve called my bluff once again. One of these times though, I’m going to end the post just like that – I promise you it’ll happen. Just you wait.
Pastel Memories Episode 7, go!
I Understood the References
Dragon Quest is one of those anime references that I’m sure any of you would also recognize. Even if you’ve never played a Dragon Quest game (I’ve only played the most recent iteration), it’s referenced so often in anime that you’ve probably seen it somewhere before. My personal favourite is when Gintama parodied Dragon Quest.
Making fun of NPCs with their repetitive dialogue and similar appearances, the combat (and how sometimes the enemies just get stupidly lucky), losing money on death… and the old save system where you had to write down a code. Lots of great aspects of Dragon Quest / old RPGs to poke fun at. And it was entertaining!
There was also some brief references to Ghosts ‘n Goblins, that 2D sidescroller that I’m almost certain none of you have ever completed, even if you did play it at some point in your lives. Does anyone even know what the second level looks like? Is there a second level? All I remember is that it was very difficult – just like pretty much every game back then. It’s funny because I’ve looked back at old NES games before and thought “I was just bad at games back then”, but then after replaying them recently I’ve realized “No, the games just cannot be beaten. It is not I who is at fault here.”. An exaggeration but I’m sure you get my point!
So yeah, the point of this whole tangent was to say that the episode was very enjoyable, more so than previous episodes, thanks to the fact that I actually knew the references and understood the jokes!
Just a thought I had watching episode 7 – did this episode break the budget? Or what I should say is: will future episodes go back to obscure episodes and lazy plot / action? There were some scenes where the animation was pretty spotty, just like previous episodes, but it definitely felt like this episode had a a little more going for it in the visual and audio departments.
This was absolutely the best episode in the series so far, but my lack of faith in the series leads me to believe it’s downhill from here. I guess we’ll find out soon enough though!
Weak Plot Ties
I’ll also mention that while I enjoyed the episode, and think it’s a good episode, the plot ties to Pastel Memories were weak. The episode jumps right into the action, starting in the game, which was great. The immediate assumption of course is that the virus has infected the game, which makes sense. The problem is that you can tell this was more a “let’s do a Dragon Quest themed episode” than it was a “let’s adapt the Pastel Memories plot / premise to the Dragon Quest world.”.
Basically, the tie in to Pastel Memories / the virus was weak at best. We saw a couple enemies that were viruses, and then no sign of the virus at all for the rest of the episode – until the very end, when Maya + the mother virus appears and get defeated in an instant. You can tell the virus wasn’t the focus at all, even though the REASON the girls are there is to defeat the virus. The episode would have been the exact same if Maya / the virus weren’t present at all.
I guess the issue I have with this is, why even have the virus as a plot point if it’s not going to be used? Why not just change Pastel Memories to girls jumping into manga / anime / games for the fun of it?
It’s lazy to me. Instead of coming up with some unique / funny interactions with the virus and the game, they just threw the virus in for a couple of seconds here and there. I think it could have been funny to see the little floating virus dudes struggling to function in the 2D environment. Or even a scene with Maya messing up or getting frustrated at the game world’s limitations. There definitely are ways that these antagonists could have been better used.
I still loved the episode, but this just furthers my belief that the series has plateaued with this episode. If the most enjoyable episode basically omitted the antagonists, maybe there is something wrong with them? Or the way that the anime uses the antagonists is at fault.
Fact is, Maya & the virus by extension are very weak and undeveloped, only making brief appearances. An excuse to let the main characters jump into anime / manga / game references, and not much beyond that. Maya especially is a weak character that gets next to no screentime. It’s not too late to make her more interesting, but I don’t think that will happen. The less we see of her the better at this point.
Lack of Cafe
I was beginning to look forward to writing more criticism about the Pastel Memories cafe, where 12? (I can’t even remember the size of the cast…!) girls are employed to stand around and do nothing, or worse, sit around and play games / mess around even though customers could walk in at any moment. Something else to look forward to next week!
In The End…
At least the series managed to produce an episode that was fairly enjoyable. Even if the entire episode was basically a parody / reference to Dragon Quest (& Ghosts ‘n Goblins), it was fun to watch.
Next weeks episode has big shoes to fill, comparatively.
I just don’t see the series getting better from here.
I’ve been wrong before though, so we’ll see.
Until next time!
Thanks for reading.