Why do we like certain Anime? Is it the quality of the animation?! The depth of the story, the characters? I have noticed that quite often I can’t follow the opinion of the crowd. I very much dislike anime like Sword Art Online, Code Geass, Attack on Titan, Death Note and am less enthralled by My Hero Academia and Re: Zero than most. I think all of them are good series in their own way, I also like a lot of anime the public doesn’t think is very good! Mostly childhood classics.. but is that just Nostalgia or is it something else?
This is my personal opinion throughout, even if I decribe them as factual that is only because this is the truth in MY head for me as a person if you prefer to think of it another way, you are not wrong for doing so, nor am I for feeling this way. Multiple opinions can exist and for each and every one of us our opinion is true please respect each others opinions in the comments as well
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Charisma over Quality?!
If you have read my favourite anime A-Z challenge you know that I do not necessarily favor the BEST anime. I have always preferred the one that speaks to me the most. Sometimes it can be a really low quality anime. I prefer Cardfight Vanguard over Clannad or Code Geass. Now I dislike Geas so that is not saying much..but I still recognise the quality of the latter. It is a good show! It just has no appeal to me! I do think the writing style is pretty bad too.. but I can’t really say I think Cardfight does story better. However Vanguard feels much less pretentious to me. Where Geass aims high and in my opinion strikes out due to some plot events feeling incredibly forced. The card battle anime basically aims to be a commercial. Within their respective parameters I feel the trashier anime of the two exceeds my expectations of what a show like that should be, while Geass to me fumbles in being that high stakes political war game. It doesn’t fail badly but enough for me to be dissapointed.
Compare it to two passengers on a plane. Code Geass is the hot woman sitting next to you and Cardfight Vanguard is a plain mousey looking woman with a baby. You expect the baby to cry and have a hell of a journey, but it is surprisingly quiet. Even though it is still a baby and doesn’t offer much in terms of conversation .. you still think… WOW that was such a sweet child. Meanwhile the Hot woman next to you yawns and despite being nearly perfect in every way she has one blacked snaggletooth in her mouth. It’s just one tooth and you can probably get over it, yet you can not help but think about that one element that is wrong with it. It’s NOT that I would not date Rotten-Snaggletooth if the rest is good enough don’t get me wrong but as for a general impression one is much more likely to talk about that thing that was not in line with your expectations than the things that are. You could pretend to be the one that would not do that.. but as humans I think we are kind of rigged to spot that one off element.
Every anime has an innate charm. Which can be anything. Sometimes you see this really is a passion project of it’s makers. Like for example the sort of anime Oban Star Racer. There is this effort in it to present itself well, people clearly wanted to make this, and even if it is not perfect that anime has an amazing vibe to me. You can see the intent to make something unique and something they cared about. Big companies never talk about that in their reviews its just visuals, story sound and usually some fourth metric.Lots of stuff in Dragon Ball isn’t that well written but there is a charm in the way Toriyama forgets things, in the way he cheats things. You see the humanity behind the creator in the series if you pay attention. You see that through its flaws.
As such I find Dragon Ball a much more human product than say My Hero Academia which to me feels much more “mechanically” constructed. It feels as if Dragon Ball really is a story Toriyama wanted to tell versus my MHA being a story that was made because people want to see it. The Mangaka’s most of us know by name aren’t know because of their amazing work.. They are often named with their quirks. Toriyama forgets, Araki has this weird thing with dogs, Miuara put some people on a boat for a few years to play with Idol-Girl-Games. It brings humanity to the manga and anime medium. This also explains my draw towards the weirder shows it is a story a person really wanted to tell. Then take Geass again for example where Mecha’s were added to the story to make it cooler, while not a thing in the early manga and you can see that the anime is not a passion product of one person. It is that vision of a person of a person, shifted by a marketing department and maybe a think-tank on how to sell it to the public. While it has all it’s flaws polished out.. it lost a bit of personality or charisma if you will.
It is no secret that I really like Dragon Ball and all it’s series. I love Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh and even Beyblade and Medabots. I like Zoids New Century, Yu Yu Hakusho, heck I had a lot of fun with Shaman King as well. While plenty of us love at least one show in this list, much less would put them in their favourite list. They are too silly. they have too simple plotlines or haven’t aged well. Yet if we take a look over the internet.. millions of people are still talking about the Yu-Gi-Oh anime, analysing Dragon Ball or doing Sailor Moon fan content. Now there are a few newer big anime who get this too..but it’s still on a smaller scale. Re Zero and My Hero being the most noticeable exceptions. Yet there is a difference. My Hero is less quirky then those old shows.. no pun intended. Back in the early days there was much more ambiguity on how a power worked, less was explained about the world.
Did you know for example that it took until Dragon Ball Z Kakarot to explain why the King of Central City is a dog?! Why do there live animal people?! Techniques were forgotten, more loopholes to get around problems were needed.. and then the fans came together and tried to find explanations to it. To this day people still try to polish the mistakes out of Dragon Ball with weird theories! We do that to certain games or western series as well. Is it all due to nostalgia?! No! That would blind us to a lot of their mistakes but we are aware of them! We just have grown to love them DESPITE these flaws. The modern modus operandi however seems to really nitpick the shows that we love and even go as far as drop them and shun them for having one character that portrays a gender or race in a less than adequate way.
It’s easier for me as well.. because I don’t feel like I am demeaning Horikoshi’s work when I say My Hero is something I think makes a few wrong choices… it’s more sterile.
Modern anime have so many benefits that it makes them objectively better. They have the internet to easily look up what happened before, they have fans point out a flaw so it can be retconned immediately. Yet because this happened in anime.. and media in general for that matter feels much more like a team effort. It does no longer feel like it came from the pen of a single man or woman. Teams are often very big and we get a joined effort that is always increasing in quality! I really think anime is getting consistently better over time. At least objectively! Stories make more sense, animation has less and less flaws.. (at least in a situation where corporate doesn’t force people to use cheaper studios..but cheaping out is a whole other problem) but because of it. .that airplane is more and more filled with “generic” people. With a whole team monitoring who gets on board you get less weirdo’s. So no tranquil baby and no Snaggletooth woman. Maybe a woman with a slightly loose tooth and a baby that cries at a less annoying pitch..but they now fulfill much more their intended roles.. everything is as it should be .. but does it really have to be?!
While it might seem like a critique on big names only it is not. Isekai Cheat Magician, Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two Hit Multi Target Attack and Uzaki Chan wants to hang out are for me deeply flawed products. But their main gripe is the same. They are boring and generic. They lack a passion. They are made for the audience as such if they offer you what you seek they can still be a hit with people. Yet once they stop providing that they die out quickly. Dragon Ball Z and One Piece might have tricks in them for cash and to sell more figurines but they are also MORE than just that. Märchen Mädchen that I watched recently was also more. It’s not just what fans one.. it’s a love letter to classic stories but also an awareness on how poorly they aged. The author was in there.. somewhere!
You will always remember your first kiss. You will always remember your first anime. What defines a classic to you is also up to your age. To some Naruto is a classic.To me.. it is a transition period. For everyone that golden point will shift. Too many people much younger than me Naruto may already be that cheesey flawed product that Dragon Ball was to me. Something they love despite what they see as flaws.. as Anime become objectively better and better and more mainstream accessible.. much more tools are being used, sales are being measured so precisely, polls on the internet, fan magazines whatever.. no matter when you start anime, in a few years that gateway of yours will show some cracks and you will learn to appreciate them I think.
It creates a much stronger love for anime for me at least than a series that just is good. Would I use the visuals, music and story metrics to measure what I think about all the anime I watch? I would be much more positive about most anime At least if I compare it to the quality I need, not so much if I compare everything to the 10/10/10’s out there. Yet to me they often lack the charisma Sailor Moon has. When I hear that poor quality transformation music I become genuinely happy. Even the quiet shrill sounding opening song bestows me with so much more emotions. Even though the Soundtrack of MHA is vastly superior to Moon’s.. the highs I can reach with Moon are much higher than with the more recent anime. I do love You Say Run a lot and rock out to it, but I like it because it IS good. I am not sure if the Sailor Moon transformation song IS good..but I love it for it’s personality! That retro vibe, the over usage, I don’t like it because it is good. I like it because it is the Sailor Moon transformation theme. Somehow that love feels purer to me.Less earned maybe.. but that makes it more intoxicating.
It’s all relative
This is a weird kind of love, though as it has zero base in objectivity. There are people like me who love Dragon Ball.. but I can’t tell a random anime fan I love Dragon Ball and expect to be understood. When you love something despite of its flaws you really need someone who loves it as well to get that. Goku’s Japanese voice actor for example gets a lot of flack from the Dub loving people. “He sounds like a kid that is so stupid”. No he does not sound LIKE anything, he sounds like Japanese Goku.. that is the voice of Goku. I find Japanese Goku to be more versatile than Sean Schemmel. Still, Sean Schemmel is also the voice of Goku. There is nothing wrong with him…well that might be pushing it.. there is nothing wrong with his voice acting. However, to explain why Goku works in Japanese.. you gotta like Goku in japanese ..because it is one of those things. My love for the Digimon universe is much the same. The new show really does show me how poorly the first run did on storytelling.. but it doesn’t make me love it less. It just makes me glad I now get a good story in addition to that and makes me enjoy both even more. Yet to understand that.. you really have to love Digimon like me.
I can safely walk up to someone and say “You Go Run goes with everything” and a random animefan probably will go heck yeah! If I walk up to a random guy or gal at a convention and tell them I genuinely love Digimon, they have a much bigger chance to be weirded out. It is because all guides on blogging or journalism tell us to be objective. To write objective reviews. It made us believe anime can objectively be bad. It made us afraid to love something that isn’t well reviewed. It allows us to unify behind a single vision or at least with confidence step up to someone and say! Hey the visuals for this anime are stellar! Yet in the process we lose something.. the ineffable part of loving something. When I fall in love with a girl it is never because she has pretty eyes or a nice rack. It’s not because she has a great personality either because otherwise I would fall in love with all of my friends and most of you too! It’s not because of her voice or clothing choice either.. It is that hidden factor , something unspeakable, something that can not be put into words. It can only be stated. It can only be understood by peers who fell for that girl before.
Let’s say that girl I fall in love with is an anime… Let’s say she is also on the plane I used earlier, because why not! I see her much more in the past. If she is Digimon she might tell me some weird stories or maybe she is built a bit awkwardly. If she is Dragon Ball , she might not be the prettiest and has a bit of a weird voice.The girl is out in the open though.. not hiding displaying her flaw for me to see and acknowledge. If she is a modern anime…she is wearing the make-up that got the best rating.. We now know what tests best. She is a pretty smooth talker because she saw a youtube video on how to talk to strangers. As we now know so much more about properly fleshing out dialogue and there are bigger teams who proof read stuff. She wears the most popular clothes as found on review sites. All in all in her modern form the girl is a lot more marketable and she will find someone who will like her , heck it still could be me. Yet I have to look much deeper to see her true self beyond that stuff everyone wants. I will like her faster because she is wearing a pretty as heck mask that I can deeply enjoy! However it would take me much longer to fall in love, because for that I have to see behind the mask. I am not saying it doesn’t happen but it will take me longer to fall in love.
So my plane experience has shifted. From an uncomfy ride with one or two people who rock my world I now found myself in a plane full of pretty and acceptable people..I have a much more pleasant flight but by the time I take off next season I will have forgotten most of the pretty people… while that girl I saw 20 years ago is still haunting my mind. She had her quirks.. but she wasn’t there for me.. she was there for her! That is a charisma I like to see in everything I love. If we only judge and measure objectively at one time that experience might fade away. For now it’s fine.. in general it’s as simple as switching over to a smaller airline and taking some risks. Just remember that if you review something it’s okay to look at quality.. but look at the charisma sometimes. It might not be as useful to the people reading your review but I do think it would be healthy in the long run!
I really hope I have not offended you guys or that you think I am super shallow now! In the end we all like what we like! If you came here for objective reviews , I might have shot myself in the foot! Because you will not be getting those! I am just a pink avatar, telling you what I personally like and what I don’t like! Speaking of what I like! I would really appreciate it if you support my Kofi by clicking on the link below! Or if you can’t spare or want to part with the money leave a comment below! I really appreciate you all in every way you support this blog! So while I might not approve of your favourite anime! I approve of all of you!