Saturday, March 16, 2019

Actually using the term "Magical Girl" in universe.

My beef with the legacy of Madoka Magica is not any increase in "darkness" or "edginess" in the Magical Girl Warrior genre, no that was an inevitable result of the genre turning 20.  I'm more annoyed at how it's become more acceptable to actually use the term "Magical Girl" (Or "Mahou Shoujo" in Japanese) in universe.

For me it greatly helps the immersion of a Magical Girl show when they have their own uniquely Branded term for what a Magical Girl is in that universe.  Sailor Senshi, Love Angels, "Cardcaptors", Pretty Cure, Twin Angels and so on.  And some shows may have not really had a term for it at all.

Pre Madoka the only Anime that might have used the term in universe were one off parodies or hentai.  It is in the full title of the first two seasons of the Nanoha franchise, but in universe they never used that term, not in the Dub anyway.

In the case of Fate/Khalied Liner Prisma Illya the Manga predates Madoka but not the Anime, I think the term might have been used a couple times but it isn't standard.  At any rate because this is a Fate/ AU it doesn't need to immerse me, I'm already immersed in this multiverse just show us what happens when you throw Magical Girls into it.

I wouldn't mind having a throw away line where a character says something like "that girl sure is magical", like how some Comic Book Movies homage a Codename they don't actually want to use.

Now this is the kind of thing where in Madoka itself it works because....  well my mind continues to fluctuate on how appropriate I think it is to call Madoka a deconstruction, but whether or not it's a proper deconstruction the way Watchmen is, it's definitely a Meta Commentary of some sort.  So in that context using the name of the genre in universe works.  I also have only watched it dubbed and so don't know if the original dialogue uses "Mahou Shoujo" or "Puella Magi".

Not all post-Madoka shows have done this, leaving aside older franchises that either never stopped or got a revival, we've got Yuki Yuna Is A Hero, Symphogear, Hina Logic and I haven't watched Daybreak Illusion yet, but generally it seems like you know whether or not a show will do this based on whether or not it puts "Magical Girl" in the title.

But why don't I feel this way about other genres?  Superhero films and Comics use the term Superhero and it doesn't bug me, in fact I was annoyed at the 2015 Supergirl pilot for refusing to use the word Superheroine, insisting on saying "Female Superhero" every single time.  In fact you may be thinking "Yuki Yuna just calls them Heroes, isn't that even more generic?".  And when an Isekai uses the word Isekai the dubs I watch translate it in a way where I generally don't even think about it.

I guess it's just in the context of this genre's history, where it took about 20 years for a hit show to use the name of the genre in-universe, and that show was at least perceived as being some sort of important Meta Commentary. That makes it feel like now you only would use the term in universe if you want it to have the same cultural relevance, but it really just comes off as a lack of creativity.

Which is why this very superficial complaint of mine can easily be seen as overlapping with the more common complaints about post Madoka trends.  The shows that didn't simply throw "Magical Girl" in the title seem a bit safer from being completely dismissed as Madoka Clones, at least to some people.  They showed their creativity while the ones with "Magical Girl" in the title are just "Battle Royal with Magical Girls" or "Magical Girl Rambo".

I however am someone who has tried to oppose dismissing shows that way.  To me the most useless criticism you can make of any art is to say "it tried to be like _____ but without understanding why ____ actually worked in the first place".  Because to me all good derivative art is based on applying this new innovation differently, it should work for a different reason not the same reason.

Last year I was putting myself at odds with a lot of my AniTwitter mutuals by defending Magical Girl Site as it was airing, even though I was indeed thinking about this very nitpick at the time.  And I can't help but fear my being more critical of Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka right now is an unfair result of my not being in the same mood I was then.  Literally right after Site ended I experienced something that has since greatly decreased my tolerance for Nihilism in the media I consume.  Before that Site was lucky enough to air during the time in which I'd finally come to terms with the fact that I like Batman V Superman, so defending a darker take on something traditionally bright and cartoony was all the rage in my brain.

Still, all that context in mind something about episode 8 of Asuka feels like far more of a betrayal of the genre then anything last year's hated edgfest did.  Outside of my opinions about the state of this genre, I have low tolerance for military themed fiction, that's the first reason I can't get into Rob Skiba's Seed project.  So it's the last genre I was looking to see crossover with the Magical Girl genre.

But I'm never gonna blame Madoka or the very idea of Dark Magical Girl shows for the fact that a current show isn't one I like. It's simply that this one didn't appeal to me.

This issue might also relate to how only the Magical Girl Warrior sub-genre is doing this, which only further causes westerners to not know that the genre can apply more broadly.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Sailor Moon 90s Anime differences

 After reading this check out my Semi Filler Free Guide to Seasonn1 of the 90s Anime.
https://jaredmithrandirolorin.blogspot.com/p/smf.html

My understanding of the perspective of people who prefer the Manga and Crystal versions of Sailor Moon even for the Dark Kingdom arc has improved quite a bit lately.  Largely from listening to episodes of the, seemingly now defunct, loveandjusticepodcast.

The fact is the Manga was made for women by women while the 90s Anime was made by men to appeal to a much broader audience.  This podcast in particular gets really upset by what the 90s Anime thinks of teenage girls when talking about it's episode 16 in the Podcast on episode 5 of Crystal, and episode 36 in the podcast on episode 11 of Crystal.

I've also noticed that specifically the Ikuhara directed episodes seem more likely to have Panty Shots.  The Manga and Crystal go full Magic Skirt trope.  And I realize that can be seen as a fetishization in itself, but in the context of Sailor Moon where the original version made by a woman for women didn't want us seeing under the skirts but then an adaptation made by men goes "but Panty Shots are realistic" it really comes off as creepy.

To me the 90s Anime will always have the advantage precisely because it has so much filler, I want to spend time with these characters and I really feel like we don't actually in the Manga and Crystal.  And in this genre especially I prefer redemption narratives for the villains.  But there are a lot of issues.  Vrai is also someone who was very dismissive of Lindsay Elis's Stephanie Meyer video because they thing "we need to hold both boys and girls media to a higher standard" which is bull#h!t.

Two people who have gone all in on saying every 90s Anime change was for the better are Zeria in and Vraikaiser.  Zeria is a Lesbian Transwoman of color and Vrai is Non-Binary.  So they are more marginalized then Cis-Women.  But I think their preference for 90s Anime Sailor Moon largely comes down to being Ikuhara fans.  Like Zeria has literally only talked Sailor Moon in the Ikuhara video she made.  Utena was nearly perfect, but it seems a lot of people don't want to face that Ikuhara is still a cis-het male who isn't exactly perfect.  I like a lot of whiningaboutyuri's old critiques of Penguindrum, YuriKuma and the Utena movie. 

In particular both are pretty all in on the idea that Mamoru was an inherently problematic character and Ikuhara fixed him.  Zeria says this in the Ikuhara video, Vrai said in it a comment on one of Josienextdoor's Sailor Moon blog posts.  And this area is in particular one where the loveandjusticepodcast disagrees, they see the Manga and Crystal as a beautiful gender inversion of how romances usually go in Superhero stories, and 90s Anime Mamoru as a complete jerk and also a pretty bad father.  And I have to conclude that they're right, precisely because of the complexity in my history as a Cis-Het Male viewer of Sailor Moon.  Because in the 90s Anime he is at his most likeable when he's being treated as an audience surrogate for whatever male viewers the show has.  Like in episode 6 of SuperS where only he actually listens to Artemis, that episode is entirely a depiction of what a lot of dudes think women are like, and it's rather odd to see a Shoujo show seemingly vindicate it.

Every version of Sailor Moon has Yuri, but only the 90s Anime ever gave us any remotely canonical Yaoi.  Thing is the gay male representation on that show was always villains, sympathetic villains but still villains.  It's clear that Zoisite and Kunzite's relationship is what is good about them and not tied to being evil.  But at the end of the day the only Shitennou redeemed was the one most interested in women.

In the Manga and Crystal it is highly implied that Haruka may be Non-Binary or Fluid or something and not simply a very Butch Cis-Woman.  Some people are hostile to that, as if it would make HaruMi less Gay or something, but it really doesn't.

So I've kind of changed my mind a little bit on what I've said before about the Infinity Arc.  The core story is absolutely better in Crystal, but S is still valuable for the additional time spent with the characters.

Many of the characters are significantly changed, but the most controversial one is usually Rei.

Rei Hino's personality in the Manga is....... nothing, there is none.  And some people like her being all stoic and silent but it's not a good personality type for who's supposed to be the Lancer.  And Manga Rei was written to be this very Japanese notion of an ideal woman, so her lack of interest in men is NOT because of some western feminist value in having female characters who don't need men, it's very much about Japan's purity fixation which is also why none of the Senshi ever lose their virginity in the present narrative and only Usagi does in the future.  And this purity fixation has often been viewed as problem for this genre as a whole.  I value Asexual and Queer representation but I also feel it's precisely the hyper spiritual women who need to be allowed to lose their virginity.

Rei in the 90s Anime is written inconsistently, 90s Anime Rei is really two characters.

Rei-A who's a nerdy yet responsible young woman and is a Tsundere to Usagi because someone writing this show seems to ship them.

Rei-B who's boy crazy and selfish and a vindictive B!tch to Usagi because she wants to bone Mamoru.

Rei-A is who I'm a fan of, who I think the Sailor Moon lore needed.   Rei-B is very annoying, and unfortunately seems to be the only one of these two the loveandjusticepodcast ever sees when watching the show.

Now you can say those are pretty naturally different interpretations of the same characters.  Romantic rivals are constantly shipped together by the slash fans, and every Tsundere is accused of being a mentally unstable b!tch by whoever isn't a fan of that character.

For me there are Tsunderes I like, like Kagami Hiragi, Rin Tosaka, Taiga Aisaka, and interestingly many main characters of 90s Shoujo stuff I've watched.  And then there are ones I think are horrible like Misty/Kasumi, Asuka Langley and 90s Anime Mamoru.  Rei in the 90s Anime has this strange ability to both kinds of Tsundere.

I'm not even inherently opposed to the idea of Rei dating Mamoru briefly, again the prophetess is the last character I have any investment in keeping chaste, and if Tuxedo Mask is supposed to be the ideal male specimen in this universe then clearly Usagi wouldn't be the only Senshi to take an interest.  I'm pretty harsh on the last two seasons of Pretty Little Liars sometimes, but season 6b and 7a had this story-line of a brief romance happening between Spencer and Caleb but then inevitably brings Caleb and Hanna back together and it was sooo good.  It shows you can have a love triangle between two female friends without it becoming dumb cattiness.  But that isn't how this Rei and Mamoru story-line plays out.

The old DiC dub often leaned towards Rei-B in situations where the Japanese and Viz don't nearly as much.  That being many people's first impression of the show I think has had an unfortunate lingering effect on how people perceive Rei.  This is most clear in "Fractious Friends"/"Usagi Abandoned: The Falling-Out of the Sailor Guardians" where originally Rei was entrusted with the Moon Stick by Usagi but DiC had her steal it.  But ironically enough in episode 35(31 in DiC order) Rei is much better in the DiC.  First off early on she seems to just accept Darrien being destined to be with Serena, not much of a hint of jealously at all, I like moments like that.  And then there is the context of the Slap (which they tried to remove but it's basically still there), in the DiC Dub it's what that seen should have been instead of the Japanese and the Viz Dub where it mostly seems like she's just upset over losing Mamoru.  Now in fairness to Viz I think Christina Vee was trying to play it like what she's saying is not what she means, but this is one moment where no one would have been upset if they just used the DiC script.  I actually teared up a little re-watching the DiC version of this scene for this post.

Now I'm gonna get really speculative and say that I think Rei-B is mostly Junichi Sato's doing and Rei-A is Ikuhara. Now I know Ikuhara directed episode 26 where Rei does one of the most evil things ever, and there is no Rei-B type character in Hugtto.  But from what I recall (I still haven't watched most of the Black Moon and Dream arcs) Rei-B seems to be completely absent from the R Movie and pretty rare in Sailor Moon S, where Ikuhara had the most creative control.

One last thing I want to say about the loveandjusticepodcast is that I am annoyed at the hypocrisy of constantly bringing up the age gap issue when they're hating on Nephrite/Naru but being pretty enthusiastically for Nephrite/Makoto, Mako and Naru are literally the exact same age.  When it's a cartoon I never care about the age gap issue, it's all fantasy and for many both boys and girls being swept off our feet by an older person is our fantasy.  Of course this hypocrasy manifests the other way as well when people bring up the age gap to hate on Senshi/Shitennou shipping yet most of the time those haters are really just motivated by liking their romantic story-lines in the 90s Anime.

If only people cared about Wedding Peach enough to spend hours podcasting about the differences between the Anime and the Manga.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

I was mentioned in another Charles Q Banks Video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wtalvPqRvs&t

In response to my comments on that last one.  It's a good video, and I mad another interesting comment, but I'm not gonna copy/paste it here, I'm gonna recommend you watch the video then scroll down to find my comment.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

How does Palpatine know so much about the Sith anyway?

That's one of the memes going around about the Prequels, often said by fellow Prequel fans in jest.  But it is sometimes presented as a legitimate criticism "how can Anakin be so stupid" and so I felt like writing something about it.

First this opera scene needs to be understood in the context that Palpatine is someone Anakin currently trusts, who's been a father figure to him since he was ten.

Second, Palpatine does not present it as something only a Sith would know, he calls it "The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise" as if the Shakespeare of this galaxy had written a play about it (I was older then Anakin was in this scene when I first learned Shakespeare had done more then just the five plays everyone knows).

He says it's because it's a Sith legend that the Jedi wouldn't tell it, in a way that implies they do know it.  He's playing on Anakin's insecurities that Obi-Won and the Council are actually holding him back, (a feeling established in the prior film and exasperated just before this when they don't give him the rank of Master), by implying they're keeping this information from him.

He's almost saying it as if Anakin is the only person who hasn't already heard the story.

The problem is the audience had already heard before the film came out that Darth Plagueis was Sidious's direct mentor, and since the Sith were presumed extinct for a thousand years we know this isn't a story that's common knowledge, or learn-able via a simple search of those exhaustive Jedi archives.

But Anakin doesn't know what we know.  And it probably is true that the Jedi don't tell Sith legends, even the ones that should be well known throughout the Galaxy.  Palpatine could have asked about the Tragedy of Darth Malak or Darth Traya or whoever your favorite KOTOR era Sith Lord is and Anakin would have been just as clueless.  Frankly I don't think they even tell the story of Darth Revan given how in ROTJ both Yoda and Obi-Won seem to think the idea of turning back from the Darkside is impossible.  So if he doesn't know any Sith Legends there is no reason to be surprised by Palpatine mentioning one he hadn't heard before.

As a side note, going off the films alone it's not really confirmed Plagueis was Sidious's master, yes his mischievous grin as he talks about the Apprentice killing him in his sleep heavily implies it, but that could be read as him simply having done the same kind of thing, since presumably this is how most Sith Masters got that promotion.

So it's another alleged Prequel plot-hole based on not really paying attention to what's going on.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

I was mentioned in a YouTube Video

From the channel Charles Q Banks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwPvut34kkQ&t

It starts by citing a Comment I'd left on a prior video, unfortunately what I said was misunderstood, so I'll share here the comments I left.
Woah, this begins with citing me, I was not expecting that. I wasn't referring to morality at all, I was just referring to people who don't like it compared to the old FMA, it seems to be similar to Sailor Moon Crystal and Hellsing Ultimate in being more rigidly faithful to the Manga. I only used the word Abomination to be over-dramatic, I guess I should've known that might be misunderstood. If you've only seen Brotherhood you may want to try the older Anime.
I haven't watched any incarnation of FMA yet, right now I'm not looking forward to hearing Vic Migonogna's voice. He apparently had trouble accepting Ed being an Atheist, but that's the least of why people are mad at him right now.
I like Jesus Christ Superstar, I'm not overly concerned with how compatible the fiction I consume is with my faith, I just look for what does work with it, hence my Higurashi observations.
And I like plenty of stuff with Alchemy and Hermetic Magick in it, like the Fate/ franchise, and now A Certain Magical Index
 I have become increasingly aware of people who feel the opposite about Brotherhood. Again I haven't seen any version yet, but I know these people often similarly prefer Hellsing Ulitmate over the original Hellsing Anime, which is certainly not to my tastes. So looking at the general trend of these more faithful to the Manga reboots I tend to prefer the older Animes.
Mother's Basement said in one video (I forget which one) that he prefers Brotherhood overall but prefers the old Anime for the early part of the story, in particular the Nina story-line which was apparently just a one off episode in Brotherhood.
It is a pretty interesting YouTube channel, has one of the few reviews of Lilith I've found.

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Best Anime of 2017

You might be thinking “this is awfully late, even best of 2018 stuff is past it’s trending date now”.  Thing is I feel time needs to pass before you can truly pass judgment on something, and in the over a year that’s passed since 2017 ended my opinions on the Anime I watched that year have shifted a bit.  Nothing has completely flipped from a like to a dislike or visa versa, but I wouldn’t now rank them the same as I would have in January 2018.

I don’t feel like 2017 was the best year in Anime history, but right now I’ve seen more Anime from 2017 then any other single year so I feel it’s the year I’m most qualified to pass judgment on.  Part of why this is would be it being the first full year I watched Anime seasonally, and then plenty I didn’t watch when it was new I have seen since, even finished some shows I originally dropped.

I’ve currently completed 38 Anime from 2017, and there are others I have On Hold and even a few I dropped.  I’ve completed over 360 Anime, of which close to half are less than a decade old and only about 66 are pre 2000.  So yeah I’ve definitely seen more of 2017 then any other year.  If you wanna know all the shows I watched in 2017 here is my MAL profile.
https://myanimelist.net/profile/JaredMithrandir

Don’t think a failure of something I saw to make this post is an insult against it, if it’s a TV anime I had to have been enjoying something about it to have completed it at all, and I’ve given nothing from 2017 lower then a 6.  I’m not even structuring this as like a Top 10 list or anything, I’m just gonna talk about everything I gave a 10 and only some of what I gave a 9.

Section 1, what I gave a 9.

Section 1a, Movies:  As a warning, movies in general aren’t what I’m mostly into Anime for, as such I’ve seen no completely stand alone movies from 2017.  And when I do see A Silent Voice, I seem to be the only person who remembers that was 2016 in Japan.

Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale was a fun satisfying filler movie similar to how the Endymion movie works for Raildex, it’s not gonna be great to people who don’t like the series, but if you do it’s about as a good as a filler movie can be expected to be.  I’m not that big of an SAO fan so that’s why this can only get a 9.

Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Movie: Sekka no Chikai shouldn’t be watched as a Magical Girl show, but it’s a pretty satisfying Fate/ AU and decent Prequel to the Prisma Illya series as a whole.

No Game No Life Zero was a very good movie, not as great as a Prequel as the Star Wars Trilogy or Fate/Zero, but pretty satisfying nonetheless.

Section 1b, TV Anime.

Fate/Apocrypha is not the only TV Anime of 2017 I gave a 9 but it is the only one I’ll mention here even though plenty of others I probably like more then the movies I mentioned, but I don’t want to overload this post.  This is the one I’m choosing because I’m slightly tempted to upgrade it to a 10, but in the context of being a Fate/ Anime I don’t want to give the impression it’s on the same level as the UFO Table shows.  Speaking of which I feel I can’t fully pass judgment on any Heaven’s Feel movie till I’ve seen the full trilogy, and that’ll be awhile.

Fate/Apocrypha is ridiculous but fun.  I recommend watching the Dub even though I don’t like the decision to say “Heroes of Charlemagne” instead of Paladin. 

I’ve talked about this show on this Blog already, and it indeed demonstrates what I was talking about on how my perspective on this year of Anime has changed with the passing of time.  I was enjoying it at the time but was not expecting I’d consider it a potential best, but the more time has passed the more I keep returning to this show over so many others I thought were better at the time.

Section 2, TV Anime I give a 10 (no Movies quite made it).

New Game!!, this series as a whole has the potential to become the K-On of Cute Young Adult Girls shows, including how season 2 topped season 1.  But it needs a 3rd season and/or a movie to cement it.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon-Maid is still the best of the Winter season which I originally considered the season I most enjoyed.  It’s the most like what I used to enjoy about Sitcoms of any comedy Anime I’ve seen.  I recommend the videos on it from the likes of Digibro and Pedantic Romantic.

Princess Principal, with Yuki Kajiura on the music is the closest any recent Anime as come to making me feel like the Bee Train Girls With Guns formula is back.  It’s also a fun spy show that reminded me of the BlackCoatPress and Tales of the Shadowmen style stuff I enjoy, as well as Les Miserables.  And I again highly recommend the Dub, I was skeptical of the ability of Anime Dub actors to do British Accents well, but these pulled it off.

In Another World With My Smartphone is the only show from the last few years to make my 3x3.  I’ve talked about it on this blog already.  There is nothing ingenious about it but I simply love it’s basic charm, it’s unapologetic wish fulfillment and I love the non-monogamous resolution to the Harem.

It’s a personal favorite, I don’t expect to convince anyone else it was the best show of 2017, but I’m hoping in time to shut up everyone who dismisses it as worthless.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Could Buffy reclaim her throne?

Noir was my original favorite Anime, it had been temporarily dethroned by Utena for over a year at least, but once I did a more recent revisit of Noir it took the position back and now Utena doesn't even make my 3x3.  I still love Utena, it's a fantastic work of art and I don't think anyone should be allowed to claim to be an expert on Feminist Film theory if they haven't watched Utena (and I suppose that includes anyone wanting to discus how well Buffy holds up as a Feminist show).  But it's just not for me re-watchable enough to keep calling it a personal favorite.

So could the same happen with Buffy?  Now that I'm revisiting my Buffy fandom can she take her former throne back from Pretty Little Liars (hence forth called PLL for short) as my favorite Western TV Show?  If it does it would be largely on the strength of how much it ended better.  But comparing their first 4 seasons PLL was absolutely much more consistently great then Buffy was.  In fact with PLL season 4 was the best season, how often does that happen?

Now PLL was still good all the way to the end, even it's finale episode has material that will probably stick with me into Eternity.  But the moment *spoiler spoiler spoiler* with season 5 it started losing something, and then in the middle of season 6 it makes that massive mistake it never fully recovered from that I've already talked about more then I'm qualified to.

What I'm about to say probably makes me unlike most Buffy fans, but the last 3 season rather then the first three are what I'm most nostalgic for.  Dawn is my favorite Buffy character, Spike my favorite male character from the show, and the Magic Box was a more natural base of operations then a school library.  Now character wise neither Glory, the First or Caleb were the best Big Bads, but the Big Bad was a plot devise first and a character second.  Remember as I've already shared I used to be a major Spawn shipper.  And I've seen the MOTW Superhero show in a High School setting done as well or better by Magical Girl Anime and Smallville.

Season 6 was probably my favorite season of the show.  And season 7 I think was one of the most successful finale seasons in TV history, in-spite of how it kinda does some things I think a final season shouldn't do.

The Gift was a good episode on it's own, but in an awkward situation cause the first season being only 12 episodes where it has to be both the 100th episode and a season finale.  What I want form 100ths episodes and season finale are inherently not the same, a good 100th episode should be almost more about past season then the current one which is why it's convenient when they fall exactly in the middle of season 5.

But back to season 7.  My first instinct would always be to advise someone NOT to introduce new regular/recurring characters during the last season, winding things down is not a good time to suddenly start whole new character arcs.  The one exception could be a final Big Bad, but they should be introduced early in the season and connected to earlier story-lines somehow.  Buffy season 7 clearly goes against this a lot between the Potentials, Wood, and waiting till the last 5 episodes to bring in Caleb.

Now Buffy season 7 does still demonstrate why I feel this way, which is why it fails outdo season 6.  The Potentials I'm particularity mad at since I think they ruined what Dawn's role in the finale season should have been.  And as for Wood, he is a very interesting character who's background was a neat idea to add to the lore, but being in only one season limited the potential to flesh that out.

But over all season 7 was a pretty solid finale act for the show in-spite of all that.

For finale episodes, my advise tends to be focus on being a good season finale first, and if the finale season works as a finale season it should naturally make a good finale episode.  And Chosen mostly does just that which is why it's a great series finale.

On the subject of bringing back characters we hadn't seen in awhile, I believe finale seasons should try to do that, but the finale episode should not, it should just focus on ending the story-lines of the character who stuck around to the end.

Now you might think Angel's involvement in chosen violates that rule, but he's an acceptable exception because he was only at the very beginning, and being the lead of a spin off meant that in the fan's minds he was never completely gone.  You might also think Faith's involvement cuts it close but coming in five episodes from the end proved enough to reintegrate her.

PLL's finale season and finale episodes both do these things I said you shouldn't do, and doesn't make up for it as cleverly as Buffy does.  Again I always enjoyed the show, but it's last 2 seasons were deeply inferior to the first 5 and also certainly don't make as satisfying an ending as how Buffy ended.

Thing is no single episode of PLL ever got as bad as some of Buffy's low points.  And I'm not sure if any of my favorite episodes of Buffy can beat my favorites of PLL.

One thing both shows have in common is that some of my favorite episodes are their Halloween episodes, might have something to do with the weird fact that I was born on Halloween.  But comparing them, PLL's Halloween specials win out with their epicness, the one that's a back door pilot for the failed spin off is the weakest of them but still pretty great.

It's hard for me to pick a single favorite episode for either.  But for PLL Shadow Play is a strong candidate and for Buffy it would possibly be Once Moor With Feelings.  Comparing a Noir Episode to a Musical probably isn't fair.  But I think PLL wins here cause for Buffy's my favorite character was kinda sidelined while on PLL Spencer was the focal point of this episode.

PLL never had a Musical which is a shame.  And Buffy never had a Noir Episode, the Buffyverse did it's Noir stuff on Angel, where again I'd say no single episode of Angel is as good at being a Noir as Shadow Play is.