Don’t Take Season Previews Too Seriously, Guys

Remember, most of us don’t even live in the country that creates these cartoons, let alone act as the primary audience for them.

I don’t want people getting the wrong idea with my season previews or anything like that. Despite the fact that I just can’t stay away from giving you guys my own pre-thoughts on what’s to come, I still stand by my opinion that these things are ultimately worthless, and not just because I assume that most anime fans can read a chart whose information makes up more than 90% of what I write with far better organization, as well as detailing stuff I skip over. Everyone has their own gimmick with these things (Scamp with his fake charts, Bobduh with what creator to jizz all over, Draggle with his graffiti, etc.), and the personal one I’ve formed for myself over the years is to cool down pre-hype caused by news, source material fans, or my own colleagues. After all, we won’t know how the show is going to be until it actually comes out, and even though I’m as hyped for Persona 5 as can be, there’s no getting around the fact that my liking of the game is only an assumption at best. I’m going to need to actually play the thing to see if it appeals to me, and I’m going to need to watch Mob Psycho 100 or orange to see if they’re actually good.

There’s nothing wrong with people getting hyped or anything, but I’ve noticed two common cases that tend to occur if said pre-excitement gets too high: they either get massively disappointed when it doesn’t live up to their expectations (Terror in Resonance, Active Raid) or they judge the show more for who made it than what it actually is (Aldnoah Zero, Yuri Kuma Arashi). Being someone who’s experienced both cases multiple times, as well as someone who’s discovered the good when you don’t do that, I can say with certainty that this is a shitty practice that you should never partake in lest you want to end up looking like a fool after all is said and done. Don’t even get me started on the third case when a sequel to a promising/good show occurs and you only tolerate its increase in bullshit because you liked the original. Sure Durarara has pretty much lost all its dignity in most corners of the world by now, but it’s still ranked decently on the big anime sites.

I have a quote on my MAL profile that I’m really fond of, and not just because I personally wrote it: “I don’t have favorite genres, franchises, or studios. I have favorite anime”. People have asked me in the past what my kind of anime is, and I always respond “the good kind” because I’ve seen way too much from all sorts of genres at this point to bother drooling over sci-fi or westerns or whatever – and whilst I don’t like all anime that are “good”, it’s not like most sci-fi fans like all sci-fi films. Favorite directors, I do have, but I don’t love everything they make, and they’re all the popular elitist guys who either don’t put out much or are fucking dead to begin with. The most I do regarding Shinkai is actually take the time to watch the PV to his latest film and then wait for the completed product to get subbed. And whilst I like most Studio Ghibli films, only a select few are on my favorites list (and they’re unoriginal choices too, but fuck you guys. Porco Rosso is overrated).

The reason I feel so strongly about this is because I was like that once. I used to be a naïve anime fan who coasted on the pre-hype, the fandom’s word, and the creator’s history. Whilst that would help bolster my enjoyment for a while, the hype eventually ends by the time I get to buying the Blu-ray, and when it does, I’m left with both a product that makes me scratch my head regarding why I liked it before and eighty dollars charged to my credit card. And the reverse (giant hype turning me off of a product) is true as well, although in retrospect I’m glad I watched Tokyo Ghoul’s first season after it came out in the States because the broadcast censorship would have been really annoying and the dub is pretty decent. Whilst your opinions are ultimately your own, other people being able to affect them is something that can happen, especially on the Internet (pretty sure that’s the main reason why Mayoiga got as popular as it did with Anitwitter at any rate). And if you can’t beat the system, then you might as well take advantage of it – hence my season previews and this very post doing their best to calm as many of you guys down as I can before everyone else’s previews inevitably hypes you up again.

Speaking of Mayoiga, I’m wondering how many people would have found it to be The Room of anime if they didn’t know the team behind it? And on the flipside, I wonder how many people would have been as negative with the show as they have without that same knowledge? Now I generally make a habit of learning who directs and writes the majority of the anime that I check out and I have no problem informing you guys either, but it’s really nothing more than a formality at best (and I rarely talk about them positively), because as I said earlier, anime should be judged on their own standards and not by the people who made them. Sure I rag on Tomohiko Itou and Mari Okada quite a bit, but if I really hated them, I wouldn’t have bothered watching ERASED or Kiznaiver, let alone get grabbed by their initial episodes (even though both shows ultimately ended up shooting themselves in the foot). And I’ve never once brought up Okada or Mizushima when discussing Mayoiga with you guys anyways. Too busy complaining about how no one in that anime ever fucking dies to really bother – which is a problem that would have affected that awful show no matter who wrote or directed it.

For another example, when I brought up Mob Psycho 100 in my preview, did I ever once mention how I felt about One-Punch Man besides the fact that the same author wrote both manga? No, because a single manga adaptation isn’t much to go by, it’s a different team doing the adaptation, and I never read the original manga to boot. Sure that prevents me from getting hyped for it, but the point is that I am watching that show and I’ll judge it based on what I see. I don’t care about my brief history with ONE, and I really don’t see why anyone else should factor their experiences with him either in regards to that show. If the only takeaway you’re going to get from learning about his involvement is a pre-emptive opinion, why don’t you just do yourself a favor and not look up any information about the anime at all? What kind of fan are you?

It’s been argued to me anti-hype methods are worse than other people’s hype methods in regards to potential enjoyment, but I personally don’t see it. I mean I was all set to hate Concrete Revolutio when I saw who was behind it and now it’s my favorite anime in years. The reason Perfect Insider didn’t get the same treatment that same season is because that show didn’t try to prove me wrong when I thought it was going to suck as well. And just for the record, when I made the category “what I might enjoy”, I don’t mean “what I might find watchable”. This is a different topic for another time, but whilst the new Shokugeki no Soma will probably be simple fun like the first season and Berserk might be solid sans the CG, I’m looking for an anime that makes me go “yes, I want to own this right now”. And let’s be honest, that’s almost impossible due to how much I avoid source material and pre-hype that doesn’t concern my favorite anime guys, as well as how I feel about sequels in general. Granted, I had hopes for Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, but I didn’t really think they’d make another Guilty Crown/Attack on Titan with that. And lo and behold, I was (unfortunately) right.

But you know what? Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is still fun enough. Aside from some instances in the beginning when it was struggling to differentiate itself from Araki’s other anime, I judge it as its own thing and have come to the conclusion that it’s nice action spectacle. And that’s the sort of treatment the show deserves. It’s the sort of treatment that all the shows I’m going to look at in a month deserve, even though there’s no fucking way that Masou Gakuen HxH is going to be good. There’s a difference between being fair and being an idiot. Nevertheless, whilst some of you probably still think my preview is an admission that I hate your favorite anime before I get to even seeing it, I see it as a fun gateway to entertaining you guys with respectable opinions sometime down the road. I mean if I didn’t think there was a chance that one or more of next summer’s shows would appeal to me, why don’t I just put them all under the “what I’m avoiding like the plague” header and marathon my The Wire blu-rays or something?

Minor Quips

  • Incidentally, I haven’t watched any of the PVs I put in my last post. They’re just there for you guys’ benefit, as I don’t see the appeal in watching them.
  • No, I have no idea when I’m going to watch The Wire either.
  • Should I order the “Take Your Heart” edition of Persona 5 or not?

7 responses to “Don’t Take Season Previews Too Seriously, Guys

  1. There’s nothing wrong with people getting hyped or anything, but I’ve noticed two common cases that tend to occur if said pre-excitement gets too high: they either get massively disappointed when it doesn’t live up to their expectations (Terror in Resonance, Active Raid) or they judge the show more for who made it than what it actually is (Aldnoah Zero, Yuri Kuma Arashi).

    This oh-so-very much. It’s also worth noting that in 99% of cases, the fans don’t actually know what level of creative input the various staff members actually had, which leads to a whole lot of baseless speculation about who was responsible for whatever aspect of a show they don’t like.

    That said, even if it is confirmation bias in the end, people are more likely to enjoy something that was created by staff who have previously made other shows they enjoy… and I guess that’s why we have season previews.

    • I’m just astounded by how far people take confirmation bias sometimes. You didn’t need the astonishingly horrible sales in Japan and massive backlash from our community to realize that Durarara was nowhere near as fresh as it was five years ago. And of course, I haven’t forgotten about Kekkai Sensen.

  2. I didn’t realise people were disappointed by Terror in Resonance (I loved it and it got released in Australia so it can’t have been buried too much).

    I agree that anime should be judged on its merit, or lack of it, but it is still hard to do that sometimes emotionally. I know I tend to give anything BONES does a better change than other anime and anything Sailor Moon related has to be really bad before I’ll criticise it. But that’s just me and I appreciate that others have their own preferences and hang ups.

    Thanks for sharing this discussion.

    • and anything Sailor Moon related has to be really bad before I’ll criticise it.

      Yeah, I don’t expect to find an anime franchise that’s going to appeal to me anytime soon. Just can’t stand stories that go on like they’re Spiderman comics.

  3. If an anime is worth it’s salt, it will turn around a negative mindset that you had going in, as long as you’re willing to judge it for what it is. That being said, I’m going to go try and watch Mob without taking my opinions of the manga into account; if it’s good, it should win me over on its own merits. It’s been awhile since I read it anyway

  4. I think one of the great advantage famous staffs and source materials have is the trust. A lot of people did complain about the slow ass first episode of Fate SN or Zero, but the fanboys managed to convince everyone to stay and see it get better. It didn’t work for me, but for many, Fate SN did get better. Those fringe fans would never watch the second episode if not for the strong core fanbase’s effort. Hell, somehow even Scamp was tricked.

    Same with Yuri Kuma, really. I liked it from the start. But if it was not made by Ikuhara, lots of people would be dropping it 10 minutes in. Some anime do get better, but most people don’t like to wait that long.

    • Hell, somehow even Scamp was tricked.

      You’d think Scamp would have learned to avoid them given how he’s never liked Type-Moon.

      Some anime do get better, but most people don’t like to wait that long.

      It doesn’t help that unlike sitcoms, you can’t skip the rough episodes when they’re still getting used to the characters and all that.

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