Relative to other contemporary animated pornography, Girlfriends 4 Ever sets the high-water mark by nearly any conceivable standard. On the eve of the release of the first piece of DLC, I want to touch on what sets it apart from contemporary works.
There is a lot to be said about the product as a piece of software. Many aspects of its design are obviously informed by the insights of true connoisseurship: the locations of the chapter points; the way you can hit the Repeat button whenever you see the thing you want to see, and the automatic AB Repeat function will choose the two nearest chapter points as its bounds, etc. I hope none of these things change in the DLC or future works.
But what I want to address now is how the artistic and creative content reveal the operation of a savvy and sophisticated student of the erotic. I want the artists to know their achievement is recognized, and that the audience appreciates all the polish that is, as a rule, lacking in contemporary work. And I want pornographers of all stripes to start thinking bigger, and start working together. The market is still under-served enough that anything you make will probably open a lot of wallets.
The work demonstrates genuine insight into pornographic practices by the way each segment is book-ended on the one end by in-character narration that telegraphs upcoming events, and on the other by additional narration in a style common to high-quality pornographic literature, while highlights from the preceding segment play in slow-motion for the viewer to savor. I believe this aspect in particular is truly ground-breaking, despite it’s apparent simplicity. Whatever your tastes, you probably want something done this well, made for you.
These elements have been marshalled with real clarity of vision and singleness of purpose:
- Whoever wrote the screenplay is an attentive and discerning connoisseur of all the fetishes in the work, and a fine writer in every sense, even ignoring the content. The scenario is developed rapidly but with a delicate touch, and there is meticulous factual consistency among the narration, the dialogue, and the action. The spoken dialogue is believable, and works constantly to set a consistent tone and voice. There is real dynamic range that can be hard to find in any pornography.
- Whoever did the voice casting was a close reader of the work, and likely a harsh and unrelenting perfectionist.
- The actresses are inspired and convincing in their performances, which I prefer to think flows from an authentic relishing of something in it rather than a coldly exacting professional excellence.
- The animation – which in 99% of works is done by the sole author -- is technically accomplished to the point of decadence. The sheer length of the complete, original work represents an investment of time and energy unparalleled in animated pornography.
- Whoever edited the voice-over narration, the soundtrack, and the diegesis against each other has a thorough grasp of the way audiences approach pornography in all its forms. The work is structured to please those who prefer written work, still photography, and animated work, and every combination thereof.
Works like this are necessarily the product of collaboration. The alternative is to wait around for the occasional polymath to tirelessly pursue bona fide AAA-professionalism in a daunting number of production disciplines. Certainly that’s possible, but the odds are against it, and in fact the credits bear this out (as does the shortage of rival works).
I think there are a lot of real-world factors that keep creative teams on pornographic works small, especially works outside the mainstream. The futanari/dickgirl theme seems sure to alienate some viewers, and I’m excited about what it might mean that so much production effort was brought to bear on work that caters to fetishes so low in the creative community's pecking-order. Taking that kind of creative direction probably imposed an additional production burden. For example, something more vanilla might not have prompted miro to make the playback and mixing controls so versatile.
To miro, whoever you are, I want to say thank you for doing all this. You’ve set a standard higher than anyone to date, and by quite a lot. Eighteen months ago, there were no comparable works of such uniform quality at any length. If you keep making these, I will keep buying them. Charge more. Do a kickstarter. Quit your day job. Take on apprentices. Do whatever you prefer to multiply your efforts.
I want more artists to pursue excellence in their narrative skills, or partner with those who do, and to prefer those whose tastes align. This is the best writing I've seen in pornographic animation, bar none. Reasonable people can disagree about whether they think this is the best writing they've seen in larger domains, but I argue that none of them have succeeded in getting their work realized like this. If you think there's a better writer out there, encourage them to get in touch with your favorite animator instead of raging at miro. I will buy their work, even if I dislike it.
I want artists to step out of the shadows long enough to put out a call for actresses so they can find professionals like these. I suspect doing so is personally awkward, but I want those artists to believe it will be worth it. And I want to applaud the voice actresses for taking the work so seriously.
I want more artists to bring it on all these levels, and I think they are paying attention to how the audience treats miro right now.
I hope that people will reply to this post if they agree with me. I hope others will be motivated to critically analyze the erotic work in some of the ways I have gestured at, because I want this artist to know we recognized those things and were appreciative. I hope people will reply to this post if they want other artists to operate on all the same levels.
To the people who complain about the pace of production, and to those who may feel disappointed once the DLC becomes available, I suggest that you be kind to the developer. Machete work is hard, and we should be thankful it continues. Others are stepping up, and I’m sure someone will chastise me for forgetting that another artist or studio was here first. Good; let's name all those people and all those works so they can get some more recognition. You don't have to like or approve of miro's creative choices to appreciate the fact that the community of artists is growing, and lively creative and artistic competition seems to be brewing. We all have a stake in encouraging and cultivating that trend.
So, be kind to this artist so that the others that are more to your liking or meet your critical approval (and who probably post on these very forums) will be less discouraged from stepping forward to do similar things.