Yesterday, my blog had broken through its old visitors’ count in one day, as a result of my comment in a Reddit thread titled “Controversial Anime Opinions” where I had the “top comment”. I’ll begin with reposting my list of opinions – note, opinions only, and the whole assumption is that these are controversial, rather than iron-clad truths (for the most part):
Some of the more relevant shows mentioned in this list: Sword Art Online, Angel Beats!, Girls und Panzer, “Big Shounens”, Spirited Away, Code Geass, Btooom!
2. Angel Beats! started great, but then worked hard to make me lose my respect for it, episode by episode, until the final episode had betrayed the show completely – I don’t think it’s bad, but I think it’s disappointing, which might be even worse, because it could’ve been so much better. (See blog post.)
3. The Big shounens aren’t terrible, and watching them is fun and doesn’t cause mind-rot. A lot of the blame can be laid at the feet of the anime studios – even without fillers, the padding they add within episodes not only killed the pacing, but actually changed the way you look at the characters – and even still, these shows are enjoyable, to me and many others, even as thinking adults.
4. “Favourite != the best” – that you love something doesn’t mean it’s great, that something is great also doesn’t mean you have to love or even enjoy it. And having something you love which isn’t the best doesn’t make it a “guilty pleasure” – it can still be good, and even if “bad” you’re still allowed to enjoy it without having to keep apologizing on its behalf.
5. Pursuant to #4 – belittling shows others like, or them for liking them, only makes you a douche. I mean, you can do it without being a douche, but if you seek their threads/discussions just to piss on their parade? No matter how articulate and polite you are there, you’re probably still a douche (though exceptions exist).
6. Many anime studios don’t care about anime-watchers, unless after the fact something is found out to be a runaway success, and sometimes even then – unless it’s an anime original it’s only here as promotional content, that we get to enjoy it is an afterthought (also see recent Index/Railgun news). We’re not even second-rate citizens, being western anime lovers.
7. The difference between rank emotional manipulation and shows we laud as bringing us to tears is only to a small degree based on how much they built those emotions during the show, and has almost anything to do with the mindset and experiences we bring to the show – Clannad, Shigofumi, Uchouten Kazoku, Gosick – all these things that make you cry? It’s usually not really the show, it’s you, and it could’ve just as easily been the other way around – with you crying at what you found ridiculous and vice versa. (See somewhat relevant blog post.)
8. Anime doesn’t know how to handle comedies, for the most part. Most anime-viewers don’t know what comedy is. Being trained to consider that something is funny doesn’t make it funny – it just makes you a conditioned watcher. Blood Lad wasn’t funny, Servant x Service wasn’t funny – ok, let me correct that, since humor is a deeply personal thing – I didn’t find them funny, and they were shoddily crafted “Comedies”, relying on viewer conditioning, rather than humor being an outgrowth of the characters’ personalities – you could have replaced the people there with faceless humps of flesh and the level of hilarity wouldn’t have changed, which tells you what level of comedy we’re talking about here (first grader slapstick).
9. Anime isn’t a special medium – I can’t believe it when people say “This is the first anime I’ve watched, I don’t know how to think of it.” – no, you don’t know how to think, period, if you say that – you’ve watched TV shows? You’ve watched movies? You’ve read books? It’s the exact same skill-set, the problem is you’ve done all these other things uncritically as well.
10. Pursuant to #9 – those things you “must be in the know to understand”? That’s not a good thing, that’s pandering to people wanting to feel “included” when they recognize an “inside joke” or “reference”. (See blog post.)
11. Resultant from #8 and #10 – anime are increasingly lazy, throwing non-comedy comedy (which includes references to other things), fan-service, or just gonzo to keep you from noticing that there is no plot, and that the characters’ interaction/chemistry is zil. This is pursuant to #9, turn your brain on and you’ll see it.
12. Spirited Away is beautiful, but has the plot structure of a bedtime story you tell 5 year olds – two friends go to meet a third friend, then they all go together to a 4th friend! The story is simplistic to non-existent, and the story coats by on being a “feel” movie. Here, have a blog post on the topic.
13. Girls und Panzer was at best an example of Poe’s Law. I sure hope it was a parody…
14. Btooom! didn’t suck, it was a by the numbers psychological pressure cooker story. It wasn’t anything special, but it was exactly what it needed to be, and it was miles better than the Danganronpa anime.
15. Anime viewers are not really very progressive – some discussions here on Genshiken Nidaime and Shin Sekai Yori are all you need to see it, but you can easily see discussions that are much worse.
16. Code Geass‘s Second Season felt “Slow”, but it was the true way the show should’ve taken and indeed took, to be true to its theme, to its core message – you guys just came for the spectacle, and when the spectacle felt slow due to the shift in focus to the internal as shows often have in their second halves, you just lost focus. In other words, Code Geass? Second season may have been a bit dull, but it was thematically great. (See somewhat relevant blog post.)
If you want to see the whole thread including others’ opinions, check here. If you want to see the numerous comments and protests people have had, then check here. Almost every single item on this list can be expanded to a blog post, in case it hadn’t already been, but feel free to ask.
I am going to post in a couple of days a post examining the issue of controversy, controversy as attention-drawing, controversy and not being a douche, and a couple of others. I’ve decided to let the list speak for itself for now.
Question of the day: What opinions that you consider controversial regarding anime/anime-fandom do you hold?