Yeah, I know this isn’t anime or film related, but that’s why I’m doing an editorial on it. After all, I’ve been looking forward to this since Scott Pilgrim ended. Which also goes into why I’m doing this editorial.
Put bluntly, Scott Pilgrim was a tough act to follow. At six graphic novels, it covered so much ground, told such a complete story, and seemed to resemble the definitive statement for an independent comic artist. So, the result is that Seconds will, inevitably, fall victim to the question “How does it compare to Scott Pilgrim?” As such, I’ll begin by getting that elephant in the room taken care of: Seconds barely, if at all, resembles Scott Pilgrim. It can’t compare because, despite several obvious similarities, their stories go in two very different directions. Scott Pilgrim resembles Utena-meets-DBZ-meets-Rumiko Takahashi-through-hipsterdom-and-video games. Seconds is more like a shojo narrative divorced from most of shojo’s more “definitive” traits.
However, Scott Pilgrim is something he clearly does not want to forget. After all, his protagonist of Seconds, Katie, is basically Scott but older and with an actual job. She actually shares several traits with him: air-headedness, inattentiveness, hurting others without knowing, and basically a selfish man-child. Replace “crappy bassist for a eight-rate indie band” with “chef awaiting her better plans to follow through and who acts bitter while waiting” and they are basically the same. And, in both cases, they don’t completely abandon their man-child ways by the end. The journeys in both stories are to realize their mistakes and the endings are more optimism regarding their newly-found desire to change. But, what is Seconds actually about?
If Scott Pilgrim was about Bryan Lee O’Malley finding a girlfriend after being a bum for several years, Seconds is about him writing Seconds after Scott Pilgrim brought him fame. Katie opened up Seconds four years ago with some friends. She is now the only one left and she was phased out as the cook. She’s not waiting for her new restaurant to open, which is going along slowly. As she says, “Seconds is my purgatory.” And then Hazel, a new waitress at the restaurant gets her hands burnt. That night, Katie finds a notebook, a mushroom, and instructions. When she writes her mistake and then eats the mushroom, she will then go to sleep, which will redo the mistake during the night, but while avoiding the mistake. She decides to use the mushrooms to make everything perfect. Bad things happen.
Thematically, it explores the same arc that Scott Pilgrim did, “can one keep running from their past?” The difference is presentation. Scott Pilgrim was focused on the fights in regard to his running. Seconds focuses on simply erasing everything. There is no action and, in that finale which shows her realizing what she’s done, it actually resembles the ending of, not a lie, Paranorman (please say I wasn’t the only one thinking that). It looks introspectively at the supernatural events surrounding her erasing of mistakes.
I liked this book. I don’t think it was as good as Scott Pilgrim, but few things are. I’m glad he went a different route with the story and I’m glad that he was still able to tell a good story……
IF ONLY HE DIDN’T REUSE THE BREAD JOKE!!!!!!!!