And we all know MAL wouldn’t lie to us…right?
We’ll have to see what happens when people can access a copy of the movie that isn’t a shitty Chinese rip, but the fact that the audience who watched said rip rated the film so high in the first place really speaks well regarding just how far Makoto Shinkai has come over the years. Regardless of my actual thoughts on the movie – which I’ve made clear was far from masterpiece levels of positive – I’m really glad for the dude and am hopeful that Your Name’s success (no, I’m not calling it by the weeaboo name) will finally put him on the same level of recognition as Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon. They may not make the best of anime these days, but in an industry that is getting increasingly commercial with no end to the growth in site, directors like Yoshiura Yasuhiro, Makoto Shinkai, and Mamoru Hosada are our last remaining auteurs. And when one of them makes an anime that’s not only successful with the anime fans, but also a good chunk of the mainstream in general (the Japanese box office has got to be a good chunk higher than the initial $58 million on opening day by now), I think that should be celebrated, even if you may have wished it be a different director instead.
Of course, with fame comes trouble, and there’s already a bunch of people pouring out of the woodworks to talk about how they don’t care about Your Name, or Shinkai in general, arguing about stuff like “I need more than two minutes of actual character interaction” or “this makes no sense”. Which I’d say is a good thing. I like seeing a little controversy on products, regardless of whether or not I actually enjoy it, because it helps to keep anime alive for years on end (certainly helping Clannad after all this time at any rate). And more importantly, it keeps the fucktards who either lean too far to one side or the other to go to war with each other, far away from me, and hopefully they’ll kill each other in the process so I never have to meet them. People say neutrality is submission to the enemy. I say as long as both sides say that and I stay alive long enough to see One Piece finally end, it doesn’t matter one bit.
I said this before in the latest season preview, but I really don’t like to keep up with the anime community, or whatever they think is cool at the moment. These days, I don’t even read other blogs or the anime news or whatever. Anime fandom has always been a bit insular what with anime still being seen as too silly a medium for the mainstream, but I can’t even understand what the nerd crowd is saying anymore. I know the Internet Age has made being into Spiderman the next “sexy” or whatever, but there’s a difference between “sexy” and “special”. And I don’t see the appeal nor the specialness in regards to speaking in a language that only those who get anime-isms would understand, whereas a normal person would be left scratching his head regarding the logic that allows young women to stand in line outside whilst wearing thongs in the middle of the rain. Or why this tweet that consists of nothing but a non-Simpsons quote just got a hundred likes. Or anything involving Gundam nerds.
The biggest problem I have with being surrounded by a community though is that in this age of overblown hype and instant information, they can make you misremember your own opinion on a show (in both a positive or a negative way), and it doesn’t exactly help that sometimes I feel like I’m the only blogger around whose brain works properly. I thought Kabaneri was a solid show after I finished it, but I’m not sure what I would have thought if I had paid attention to the Biba hatred during that final stretch. And I’m pretty sure a bunch of my hatred for Classroom Crisis was because people were praising things that I didn’t get or didn’t think was worthy of praise (although that didn’t change the fact that I thought that start was awful visual novel garbage before I even knew it was written by a visual novel writer). Ultimately, my opinions are my own, but I’ve been in enough situations where I’ve coasted on hype during a show’s airing to know how dangerous it can be, especially when said hype inevitably fades and the show has to stand on its own. Remember Mayoiga, guys? How many of you who found it funny on airing think it’ll hold up if you saw it now?
And of course, there’s only so much hype to go around, so when a community pays attention to a select few shows and you don’t go out of your way to do your own searching, you can miss out on good shit that no one’s paying attention to because some fucktard didn’t like it/pre-judged it before he even saw it and spread his cancerous word amongst the masses to watch his own shit instead (if you think I’m talking about you, relax. I’m not). Further complicating things is when people only pay attention to a show for its style, which as I’ve stated in my review of The Get Down is a shit reason to give hype towards because that sort of appeal fades after five seconds. Then there’s people using past history as a reason to avoid something, which is the main reason why Euphonium and Shirobako got shafted during their early runs. Granted, they turned audiences’ minds around as they went on, but it shouldn’t have gotten to that first stage for either of them in the first place. Don’t even get me started on people using past history as a reason to look forward to something. Need me to namedrop Mayoiga again?
Also, is it me, or does the anime community just not watch much non-anime shows unless it’s stuff like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead (and even that kind of fan is hard to find at times)? I notice that none of the people who praise Re:Zero for how shitty its main character is has ever name-dropped Bojack Horseman aka the most famous cartoon as of right now next to Rick and Morty for its jackass characters, depressive story lines, and the amount of weirdness combined with its unique animation techniques used to express all this heavy shit. How come I’ve never seen a single one of you guys mention this thing? What, not Japanese enough for you guys? Or do you find the sight of a half-man, half-horse too ugly?
So yeah, the anime community can be very selective in mostly bad ways. But at the same time, this community I actively avoid is the reason that anime continues to get made in the first place, so I can’t just dismiss them out of hand. As much as I don’t care to read the forum posts on MAL (especially the ones that are asking if the anime deserves to surpass FMA: Brotherhood in terms of ranking), Your Name needs these sorts of discussions if it wants to survive in the long run because anime creators care more about the faceless online masses than they do me. And if it’s controversial, even better, because that’ll keep Shinkai from ever playing it safe in his career. After all, you don’t want to end up like Naotaka Hayashi and be held up to an impossible standard after just one
amazing kinda decent anime that he obviously can’t reproduce. Not that that’s stopped the general anime fandom from getting their hopes up, of course.
Even elitist bait I love that’s destined to never be popular like Concrete Revolutio exists because the creators wanted to impart something to people that they’ve never experienced before. And they can only do that by paying close attention to the community’s activities and figuring out what hasn’t been done yet. Sure they’re more often going to do the thing that makes them money like Light Novel Adaptation #3864, and it didn’t exactly help that Revolutio ended up getting little marketing and a disappointing budget (especially compare to the other two Bones shows that season) in response to its lackluster reaction, but you got to afford that apartment somehow, right? I mean these guys obviously love cartoons, but they aren’t exactly worth sacrificing everything over. Shinkai’s just one of the lucky few who can get away with listening to the fans whilst not sacrificing his vision. Not only has he stated at AX that he made Your Name in response to the reaction he got from 5/cm (or something to that effect), but Your Name is a serious upgrade in regards to his skills as a director and the story itself is undoubtedly his as well.
I’m not above poking fun at the ridiculous reaction to its quality whilst laughing how it actually is better than everything else in the top five, but at the end of the day, regardless of how good you think it is, is Your Name’s new position as the #1 anime on MAL really something to care about? I’m going to say no. First off, for everything that surrounds an anime and whether you care about the community or not, the only thing that should be used as evidence for an anime’s quality is the anime itself. Pay attention to what’s in front of you. Don’t pay attention to those Metacritic scores that say Monster Hunter is a great game despite the agonizing amount of grinding and unfair mechanics you have to wade through to get to the actual monster hunting in the first place, because obviously they like them for some weird reason and you don’t. And that’s fine. Everything is subjective.
Second, does it really matter these days what connects with the mainstream and what doesn’t? A lot of people loved One-Punch Man when it aired whilst hating on Concrete Revolutio when it came out in the same day, and look at how that turned out for me? I ended up putting the latter amongst my favorites, eagerly look forward to it getting released on blu-ray, and still talk about the former with my friends. I have no beef with the large amounts of OPM cosplayers and events every time I go to a con. In addition to the fact that you never should, I’d been dealing with the Deadpool fandom for a while now, plus the me on this blog is a me that I leave behind when I close my laptop. Which I should do soon, because I’ve been typing this thing for hours now, I’ve said almost everything I wanted to say, and I’m getting sleep…
…ah crap, fell asleep for a bit. Anyways, how you deal with this current generation of anime fandom is up to you, but remember this: they are important to the medium that you love, but that doesn’t mean you have to care about them. Just watch Your Name when it comes out properly, decide whether you like it or not, and ignore everyone else’s thoughts whilst doing so. If you’re having trouble with the last part, just treat them the same way you want to be treated and things should work out fine. Seems to be doing alright for me. I don’t want to know, nor care at all, what activities those folks at AniTwitter are participating in at this very moment. And they don’t know or care that I just murdered four prostitutes in the back alleys of Downtown Dallas.
- Hopefully I’ll still be alive when The Simpsons finally ends.
- So who wants to place bets regarding whether or not Koe no Katachi ranks just as high?
- Isn’t watching a shitty ripped file of a Makoto Shinkai movie like watching an Alfonso Cuaron film with the TV turned off and the external blu-ray speakers on?