New seasons comin’ round the corner
September 30, 2011 9 Comments
Almost every season, I see the same pattern of reactions towards the new shows. A majority of the anime community seems to flow a certain way when it comes to the new seasons. It’s normal to have these kinds of reactions, but at the same time, they appear so narrow-minded. I’d like to think there are times of the year when there are exceptions, but the truth is that it doesn’t change at all, and never will change. I won’t deny that I’m not among the populous or that I feel like I’m an exception all the time (Believe me, I’m not a hipster). Perhaps it’s something I need to get off my chest.
Reactions begin with the announcements and previews. Whenever new shows are announced, people will tend to make preconceived judgements. “It’s gonna be the best show of the year! Everything else will pale in comparison!” or “It’ll probably be shit. Mega shit. I know I’m right, guys.” These kind of reactions are based on variety of things, but the biggest details are source material, who’s voice acting in it, which studio is making it, and cover art. Not too much is based on source material because content of the work is basically in the hands of someone other than its original creator. It’s not necessarily terrible news for the fans. A studio could be well capable of building on and improving onto the original content. I’ve been enjoying Baka to test’s animation way more than its original content. I’ve heard similar thoughts on Elfen Lied that the show surpasses the manga. Subjective, I know, but that just goes to show that some people may actually do prefer an anime adaptation over its manga.
Next is voice acting. Seeing who’s voice acting in the shows you’re planning to see, is much like seeing celebrities you know in upcoming movies. I tend to avoid basing judgement on voice actors and actresses due to the fact that they simply aren’t consistent with their work. Every actor and actress has had their share of awful roles. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re terrible at their job in any way. It simply means that even the best actors and actresses can be involved in some terrible shitty works. Kana Hanazawa? One of the most popular voice actresses in the anime industry presently, had a role in one of the most negatively received shows earlier this year, Freezing. Aya Hirano, also one of the popularized voice actresses, had a main role in freakin’ Queen’s Blade, and Seikon no Qwaser, two among some of the most despised shows among the anime community. Voice actors and actresses just don’t know always for sure how well it will do until it airs, but they do their job as best they can.
Now when it comes to studios, it plays somewhat of a big part in the judgement of the audience, when it simply shouldn’t matter as much. Lemme say this right off the bat: No studio is consistent with its work. Each and every one has produced some pretty great stuff, along with some awful crap that should’ve never aired. Even Xebec, which nowadays makes some not-so-great stuff like Hen Zemi and Softenni, made the Love Hina animation series. Arguable that it wasn’t a very good adaptation, but I still enjoyed it for what it was. People tend to forget that every studio has its ups and downs, and not every show they produce is an instant hit. It’s fine to have some faith in a studio, but I wouldn’t be so quick to judge anything they do before it’s released. “It’s Gainax so it must be the best of this year! They made FLCL, GURREN LAGANN! ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER!”and then they made Panty and Stocking. In all fairness, P&S got very mixed reactions and surely wasn’t the hit that some people expected it to be. P&S was meant for a very exclusive audience, so not everyone was expected to fall in love with it.
Finally, there’s the cover art, and the previews. I understand we’re all human and some of us can’t help judging a book by its cover. But to be blunt, people shouldn’t. It’s horrible misjudging a series based on a picture or two, not to mention it may prevent people from even touching a series that has the potential to be absolutely great. When I saw the cover art and the previews for Kuragehime, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about seeing it. Something about the character designs just didn’t sit well with me. However, those things alone didn’t stop me from checking it out. That’s the least I owe that series. After watching the first episode, I thought to myself, “You know, this show is pretty damn interesting.” And I’m glad I stuck with it till the end, because it turned out to be much better than I expected. Even if the art style of a series can be a turn off, I can still pull up my pants and bear with it until it finishes. There may have been only one or two occasions where I found an anime’s art style nearly unbearable to look at, and it was a short segment in a movie. Other than that, it’s a minor hindrance.
Personally, I like to remain optimistic. I like to take things in for the sake of enjoyment, not to criticize everything that is released. I rather be hyped for a series and be disappointed if it results in being much worse than I thought it’d be, than be the stubborn angry little troll under the bridge who’ll proudly claim, “I WAS RIGHTTTT!!! THAT SHOW WAS SHITTT!! HAHAHAHHA!” Congrats, you gain nothing. By god, does it get annoying when people just love to spout their ego when they take a wild guess how the series will end up. There really is no pride in being right about a show ending up terrible. If anything, the only reward is the experience of seeing a terrible show. All I see is something that was really unfortunate, especially when it comes to shows with a lot of potential. It’s a damn shame seeing a series set up with great exposition and characters, go to waste and ruined by a confusing, or untapped plotline. It happens, and all one can do is hope the creators do a better job next time.
Then the season finally starts. Time to get down to business. The first episodes are released and the real first impressions are made. I’ve noticed how quick people are to judge a series, solely on the first few minutes. I’ve seen people on forums say how much they’ve despised a series so much, they dropped it within the first few minutes of watching it. Isn’t this a tad extreme? Is their time that much precious to them that they can’t take the time to even finish the first damn episode, but will take the time to rant about it on the internet? Imagine how awful the animators and directors might feel if they’ve heard that some of the audience couldn’t take a few minutes of their time to see their completed work. Surely it’s not that offensive to the eyes that people just had to turn it off and cleanse their eyes by watching something else. I’ve also noticed how easily people are swayed by the first episode, judging by how many reviews there are of a series when only a single episode is out. It’s almost as bad as judging it by its looks. I’ll admit I’m curious to see what other peoples’ first impressions are on shows by checking out their blogs and seeing what they have to say about it. I’ll sometimes write my own but by no means are they my definite thoughts on a show. First impressions are what they are. The impressions you initially gain after first seeing a series, but they are almost certain to change over time as the series progresses. I’ve also taken upon myself to quit dropping shows after the first episode. It’s always interesting to me to see how a series can change, and boy do they after a certain number of episodes. It took me 6 or 7 episodes before I got around to really liking Steins;Gate. Before then, I watched the series half halfheartedly, not caring too much about the characters or storyline. Same applies to Legend of Legendary Heroes, which I thought had a meaningless and awful first episode that gave me a terrible first impression of the show, but I stuck with it and it turned out to be way more enjoyable that I thought. First episodes aren’t everything, guys. Recently though, I’ve gotten around to picking and choosing shows that I would decide to watch. It’d be nice to be able to pick them all up and be able to be up to date with them as they come out. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time. However, I’ll likely pick up those “missed” shows on a season where there’s not much a lineup. It’s not an easy task but I can manage.
Finally we get to the bulk of the season, where we get the “Can’t wait for this fuggin’ season to be over.” reactions, as if it’s some chore to watch the shows that are released nowadays. I never hear, “Man this season’s great! I never want it to be over!”. A lot of people become so very bitter and grumpy like they just got off work and feel the need to complain about how their day was. It becomes difficult to express the delight in watching a show other people dislike, as well as getting riddled with rants about how show B surpasses show A. Every now and then, I’ll see some people show some good interest in a show that many others may dislike. It’s almost guaranteed to find someone, somewhere, who will like the same shit you do. It sucks to be a part of the minority. It always does, and finding someone who actually cares about the shows you like, can relieve such a heavy burden off the back.
When the season comes to a close, it can be the satisfying end of something beautiful or the relief of something terrible finally coming to a close. Either way, it’s the start of a new season as well. A fresh new start. It’s the best way to wipe away those bitter feelings because it’s a new batch of shows, and there’s always something different to watch. I also find that there’s at least one great show to watch every season, even if the rest may seem pretty mediocre. It would be nice to see people get back into the habit of, well…enjoying anime for once again.