What’s Wrong With Settling For The One Anime a Season?

This season is a bit unusual in regards to how I’m enjoying it. For one, I’m watching a lot of stuff that I’m enjoying after four weeks. Yeah, it’s possible that it could end up like last season where I was enjoying a huge selection at first, but either got tired of or disliked all but a quarter of them in the end. But for now, I’m embracing the fact that I’m liking such a good chunk of Japan’s output.

dandy

Hell, there are even three anime that are really clicking with me: Dandy, Hoozuki, and Zvezda. I would have been happy with just one of them, but three at once? That’s pretty damn rare.

So for something I consider an unusually strong season, what is this I hear about this season being weak? I can understand it being a weaker one by comparison or something like that, but “weak” itself? For the past year or two, I’ve been noticing at least one person per season say “There’s only three shows I’m liking. This season sucks! Anime is dying!” or some variant of that. To which I resist the urge to say “Stop being a spoiled brat!”. Yeah I can understand if you’re not liking anything this season, let alone what I’m liking, but that’s practically never the case.

sword_art_online

You want to talk about a weak season? Let’s buy into the fact that movies and OVAs don’t exactly count towards a season’s individual quality and look at what I consider the most terrible one I’ve ever experienced. It would probably be the season that I started blogging: Summer 2012. All of the big hits from then like the noitamina stuff, Humanity, and Kokoro Connect annoyed me big time when they weren’t putting me to sleep. I wasn’t watching Joshiraku during that period and the Spring leftovers don’t count, so my favorite anime then was probably Sword Art Online. Yes, that SAO. I didn’t really enjoy the anime by itself, but a bunch of good things came from it. It helped to get my blog well-known throughout the community and I bonded with a bunch of other people in the anime community as a result. Plus, watching Episode 24 as a group is one of the most fun moments I’ve ever experienced doing this hobby.

But yeah, as a season by itself in terms of getting enjoyment from actually watching the anime, it was bad, and if it wasn’t for the Spring carryovers, I might have taken another break from anime afterwards. Only thing I could think of that rivaled its awfulness was Winter 2013 and Summer 2013. But the former had Inferno Cop and the latter had Teekyu AND Turning Girls. Those anime rank pretty damn high with me. And don’t give me that “shorts don’t count” nonsense. Turning Girls aside since it ended early, those things aired weekly throughout the entire season like everything else. I seriously doubt you guys would have complained if a Looney Tunes short or Tom and Jerry was airing in those slots. I also notice nobody has any complaints about labeling Seki-kun as one of the better anime of the season either. The existence of those shows alone kept me happy, and thus I can honestly say I had fun with those seasons. That’s more than I can say for Summer F*cking 2012.

Is there some rule regarding anime that you have to be entertained every day that I’m missing? Do you guys not have other hobbies you partake in when you’re not watching the stuff? Maybe some backlog you could clear if you’re that anime snob who shuns books and live-action movies and stuff? Maybe a job that you kind of need to have in order to partake in this hobby? What’s wrong with current-running anime entertaining you for a brief period once a week and you filling up the time with some other stuff? It’s not like anime died or something. Well okay, it might be dying slowly and these series are the last gasps of breath left for it. But when they’re awesome gasps, I could care less.

StarWars

Besides, maybe anime needs to die. That way, it can be reborn into something stronger akin to how Obi-wan became a powerful figure of the Force after getting cut in half in the first Star Wars film. And it is the first. There are only three Star Wars movies. But that’s a topic for another time.

And that brings me to my main point: if you have at least one anime series you’re liking a season, then it’s alright. If you have one you’re loving a season, then it’s a good season. Saying otherwise is either naïve or selfish or some kind of optimism regarding the medium that I don’t take part in because I’m one of those “most anime suck” fans that happily accepts that ideology because it makes the anime I love stand out all the more. I thought when it came to enjoyment of fiction, we’re supposed to believe in “quality over quantity”.

What’s wrong with settling for that one anime you’re enjoying? You don’t see movie fans giving up on the medium because they’re not enjoying a new release every week for two hours, do you? I’m not familiar enough with live-action TV to do a comparison with that, but I doubt I’d think much differently regarding that medium the way I do with anime if I indulged in it more. Does it have something to do regarding the structure of the anime market? How it’s niche and how it’s released and all? I can’t deny that it’s affecting my view of how anime should be, so maybe that’s it.

This is pretty much how I picture people who aren't satisfied with what they've got for reasons I find shitty.

This is how I see the whiners as.

If you have some reason regarding why you think one anime isn’t enough or whatever, comment below. Because this is one of those topics that I can’t really back up with hard facts of any kind, nor give a definitive conclusion towards. It’s one of the most subjective things regarding fiction I have ever witnessed and any attempt to change that status quo is time better spent on those non-current anime watching things I could be doing instead. Besides the blog of course. All I can say as of now is that if you have one series you’re enjoying this season – and not enjoying by default because everything else is trash I might add – and you’re not satisfied in the least, then I’m not going to sympathize with you. Because I’ve experienced worse. It was called Summer 2012.

Note: I probably would have experienced worse regarding the year 2000, or the year 2005, but I wasn’t watching current anime around those times.

12 responses to “What’s Wrong With Settling For The One Anime a Season?

  1. I think this sort of attitude of valuing quantity over quality might just be another side effect of the changing perceptions people can have the longer they keep up with airing anime.

    Like how when someone first gets into anime everything seems new and exciting, and even the things they recognize as a cliche are enduring because you haven’t yet seen it repeated hundreds of times. But then time goes on and they become more and more aware of these tropes and cliches; their tastes develop and their standards rise, until eventually what they might consider to be “good” in their first year of anime watching might just seem mediocre or subpar in their third or fourth year.

    Which leads people to find less and less shows per season that they actually enjoy. And since they’re used to having a dozen or so shows that they enjoy, they’ll feel like having only one or two good shows a season is bad.

    At least that’s what I would conjecture, anyways. In my two years of watching airing anime I realized early on the flaws in dwelling too much on the quantity of good shows, so I’ve never really felt too let down by a season.

    • Personally, I’ve grown to be happy with less and less shows a season as time went on. Soon, the day will come when I’m happy with one show and swine flu.

  2. I tend to enjoy most anime I watch in some way (even if I have to apply some creative reading to see the appeal sometimes), but even so, I can say I’m actually having a lot of fun simply not watching any of the winter 2014 season and just watching one good anime from my backlog at a time. I absorb the content and appreciate it better. I would certainly take that one show I love over 10+ shows I find have middling entertainment value.

    • Personally, if a season has no anime that appeal to me, I will not be happy. Sure I have a huge backlog of films to go through, but if I don’t see enough I like to make a top ten for this year, I’m going to complain. Same with anime.

  3. Inexplicably, you and a lot of other people seem to be enjoying Space Dandy, but I think I’m not alone in believing it to be pretty lousy to this point, especially as measured against expectations. It’s an anime from someone who is considered one of the great masters and instead of being brilliant and enlightening, its filled with that genre staple: boobs. Even if you can get past the lame “breastaurant” jokes, everything else barely rises to the level of a crappy TV sitcom.

    Admittedly, a lot of people seem to be enjoying it, and that’s great, but I think some of us were hoping for something with the operatic grandeur of Cowboy Bebop, and instead wound up with an anime version of Two and A Half Men.

    That alone makes the season feel pretty hollow, at least to me.

    • Did Two and A Half Men have the characters dying every episode and reviving the next? Or a zombie tribute to George Romero? If so, than that show is a lot better than I remember.

      • It’s great that you, and obviously many others, find those gags funny, but South Park was doing characters dying and coming back to life in the next episode more than a decade ago, and zombie parodies are pretty old hat, too.

        I understand that comedy is very personal, so I’m actually criticizing Space Dandy less for the fact that I don’t find it funny than that I really was hoping for something sufficiently compelling that I could get my anime-hating friends to check it out.

        Space Dandy is disappointing chiefly because it plays into the lame stereotypes that people have about anime – that it’s all just about a puerile fascination with boobs and mecha.

        The fact that I find it exasperatingly dull, while you think it’s a riot is less important than that I’m fairly certain Attack on Titan makes an infinitely better “ambassador” for anime than does Space Dandy.

        And that makes this season deeply disappointing.

    • If you’re looking for an “ambassador” series, you could always go with one of the many solid choices released last year. Watanabe isn’t the only person directing shows non-anime fans would enjoy.

  4. Well, for a long time watcher, it’s easy to get disillusioned when you’ve been exposed to the anime-watching community. Some people I know would enjoy a certain anime, but then proceed to bash it afterward because of some cynical review they see on the internet. Not only that, but even mild detractors are usually more vocal about their opinions than, say, a casual fan.

    Perhaps it’s just that when exposed to the brewery of hate that is the internet, it’s easy to miss some indication that some people like the path that anime is taking right now. By your writing, I would expect that you mostly take part on discussions about anime you like. I would also reckon that you read stuff there that complains about anime dying and all that. But what about discussions about anime you don’t follow? We have long-standing franchises like Saki and surprise hits like Sakura Trick. Sure, you may not like them, but a lot of other people do. I won’t be the one to say that anime needs to be discussion-worthy, or exclusively appeal to a western audience. So yeah, anime is pretty much alive and well, and I don’t see it dying anytime soon.

    • Regarding anime I don’t follow, I only pay attention to a few, as there’s too many of them to keep up with even without watching them. And it’s just superficial details or whatever the bloggers I read write.

      Also, I’m fully aware that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I’m not going to blame people for enjoying stuff I don’t like. But if the trash takes over what I like about the medium, I’m going to complain, because I’m an anime fan first and a critic second.

  5. Maybe folks will stop being disappointed in having only a couple good shows when they realize that most of the shit coming out these days actually isn’t meant to cater to their specific whims to begin with*gasp*