Opinion Piece: Otherworld Mediums

I feel that Maquia is an excellent example of the power of what I like to call “otherworld” mediums of fiction such as stories told in fantasy or sci-fi settings, and animation in general, when it comes to drama and eliciting an emotional response. I consume fiction for a variety of reasons, but I want to focus on drama specifically for this. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

I enjoy drama pieces because of their ability to cause an emotional reaction in me.  I’m more likely to get that reaction if I am fully immersed in the world where the story is taking place, and I experience what is called the “suspension of disbelief,” meaning that it feels real; the fact that this is all a made-up story that never happened and these people aren’t real isn’t at the forefront of my mind. A lot of things can break the suspension of disbelief, such as bad acting, plot holes, characters acting in ways contrary to how they’ve been established, etc. Basically anything that makes you say “oh that wouldn’t happen” or that reminds you this is a production, a story, an act.

You might think “then why the crap do you like these “otherworld” mediums? That’s SO far from reality, how is there ANY suspension of disbelief?” Well that’s the secret, Cap. Because there are other elements that are outlandish/foreign/alien, I can compartmentalize. Orcs, goblins, magic, space aliens, etc. aren’t real and so I don’t try to prove how they aren’t (unless of course the writing is terrible and doesn’t follow its own rules). Instead, you can focus on the aspects that ARE real, that much more: the characters and emotions that exist, and how my experiences relate to them. To make up for the fantasy I find myself pouring that much more emotional investment into that which I can relate to.

If the setting is completely normal, then the suspension of disbelief is ruined easier by trivial things such as “that’s not how hacking works,” “that’s obviously a fake rock,” “Why didn’t they just call the police?”, etc. In “otherworld” mediums, it’s easier to ignore those and focus on what IS real about it. That’s another reason I prefer subs: it’s one step further into “otherworld” that allows me to focus on the story and not be bothered by voice acting.

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