It’s no secret that I watch a lot of anime I don’t like. I’m not as strict as I used to be, but I still have pretty narrow taste when it comes to this medium, and honestly that taste has gotten narrower again as of late due to certain crowds that I won’t name because I want to keep this focused on anime. I still don’t like light novel adaptations, let alone isekai. I can appreciate some of the high-profile ecchi shows, but I’m never going to idolize Monster Musume or anything of the sort. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is never going to appeal to me, no matter how many parts I watch. And no matter how much people say otherwise, I’m never going to see Assassin’s Pride as anything more than one of the most boring anime of this year. I’ve seen videos trying to explain why that show is actually fascinating, but all they did was go “those things you hate? That’s actually what makes it brilliantly engaging”. Uh, how? That’s the same logic people applied to Mayoiga, and they failed to justify why it was secretly a brilliant comedy back then as well.
Even now, although I hardly write about anime anymore, I still watch the bad shows, or at least the popular shows I don’t like. I still keep up with Fire Force despite the obnoxious fanbase-loving crowd dogpiling on people who don’t like Tamaki as if that’s the only thing wrong with that show. And speaking of that, why are we living in an age where you can’t complain about fanservice anymore without people calling you a cuck who supports censorship? Just because ecchi has become as sacred as cute girls in today’s anime fandom doesn’t mean that Knights of Sidonia S2 wasn’t a steaming pile of shit.
But obviously, I don’t watch these shows because I enjoy them. I think most anime in general are boring. I think finding an amazing anime is as hard to find as a good girl on Tinder, especially since the increase in quality that people praise as of late has made it so we get a fair amount of shows I consider to be pretty good like Mob Psycho 100 or Vinland Saga. But they’re not favorites of mine because you can’t be a favorite of mine with just great storytelling and emotional moments. You’ve got to have a certain “it” factor unique to your show, and a lot of anime that people hold to high regard don’t really scratch that itch. No matter how much bad anime I watch, I’m never going to look at the good anime and find them amazing by comparison, because I’ve fallen for that “overpraise because the competition set the bar so low” trap before. When you make as many mistakes as I did during my long time as an anime fan, you tend to learn a lot about having genuine opinions.
So why do I continue to watch bad anime? Well I’m planning to slow it down once the new decade starts because I haven’t been getting anything from shows like Cautious Hero or Fairy Gone other than background noise while I put up a Youtube video. Those shows are so lackluster that I literally cannot remember a thing about them after completion, and they’re not as insufferably awful as Isekai Cheat Magician or Wise Man’s Grandchild. I would still watch Fire Force, Oresuki, Assassin’s Pride, and No Guns Life though because they’re all bad in ways that are interesting to talk about. Psycho-Pass 3 is too to an extent, but I actually think that anime was alright. Its main issue was that it had almost no world-building, which just left you with a decently executed cop drama that you wouldn’t go out of your way to watch, along with its cliffhanger ending.
And that’s one of the main reasons why I watch bad anime: they’re fun to talk about. Even if I’m the only one who’s seen them, describing the experience to other people and their reactions upon the realization of what kind of shit I put up with is pretty enjoyable. Other reasons include enriching my anime knowledge and making fun of bad shows by comparing them to other bad shows that aren’t as bad as them, but those reasons aren’t very strong because of how much anime shovelware I’ve seen at this point. There’s also the memes, but it’s not like you have to actually watch the anime to get all of the “Senpai of the Pool” or “Mom Isekai” jokes.
However, the reason I enjoy the most for watching anime I don’t like are the fans who cosplay said anime. I love conversing with attendees who dress as Hisoka from Hunter x Hunter or Lucy from Fairy Tail and either doing some mild role-playing or discussing what happened in those shows. Said conversations don’t last all that long for the most part, but they’re still fun when they happen. Of course, the hard part of getting enjoyment from that is guessing what people are going to cosplay. Being popular helps. Just look at how Nezuko cosplay exploded once Demon Slayer got popular, as well as why Overwatch cosplay has almost completely died off aside from maybe D.Va. But you generally need a good design to be worth cosplaying. That’s why you never see cosplay of anyone from Shirobako.
Also, for some reason, I never see any Monogatari cosplay at any of the conventions I go to despite the fact that it clearly exists and that franchise is still popular after all this time. I do recall one Mayoi cosplay at Anime North in Canada, but that’s it.
Obviously, a lot of what people say about bad anime doesn’t apply to me because of how I’ve refined my status as a “shit anime connoisseur” over the years. It never dampens my enthusiasm for the medium. I never get burned out from it. And if it gets too insufferable, I can always just mute the volume and speed-read the subtitles whilst putting on a Smooth McGroove cover song in the background, because honestly why should I spare the effort to give something a proper chance if it’s not going to meet me half-way? My opinions on shows I like or at least thing are fine never suffer as a result of keeping up with the new Sword Art Online and whatnot. In fact, it’s kind of funny how SAO keeps giving me new reasons to dislike it. Alicization as of me writing this is probably the most interesting SAO has been in a while, and it’s still fucking up due to character overload.
As for sacrificing my time I could be spending on watching stuff I like, I’ve made it clear in the past that I like staying in the present and don’t really care one way or another about finding the next great anime. I’ll get to finishing my rewatch of Legend of the Galactic Heroes and binging my Akira Kurosawa film collection and actually watching Votoms on Hidive someday, but for now, I like what I’m doing and I manage my schedule in a way that satisfies me. The only thing that’s annoying me about that train of thought these days is how I don’t make time for video games, but nothing is perfect. People might say the abundance of choice may make it hard to choose anything, but I don’t see that as applicable to me. If I really wanted to watch something, I’d watch it. No questions.
It’s just hard to find something that gets me that excited. Even though I expected to like Demon Slayer and Vinland Saga going into them, I had low hopes that they’d astound me, and in my defense, they haven’t. I think Carol & Tuesday was the only anime series I saw where I wanted to watch it as soon as it came out on Netflix because the previews made it look enrapturing, and while people have told me the second half drops in quality, the first half alone would make the anime a favorite of mine if that was all there was. Movies get me more excited in all honesty because I prefer that medium’s brevity, and I was really glad when films like Promare and Parasite blew my expectations out of the water. But the trade-off is that I don’t like sitting through bad movies the same way I “enjoy” sitting through bad series. I think it’s mostly because bad movies rarely fuck up in interesting ways (especially these days), and while series are longer, you can also digest them in separate chunks more easily.
And I think the main reason I can think all of this whilst still being a massive anime fan is that I have a very limited view on what I consider good. More importantly, I consider that to be a good thing, because it allows me to go into anime without much bias whilst still talking about it in a reasonable way. There are a lot of anime elitists, as well as some casuals and certain other folks who I won’t call out for safety reasons, who think anime is not for them anymore or that good anime is getting increasingly hard to find, when in my reality, that’s always been the case and is always going to be the case. Even Heavenly Controller admits straight up that he doesn’t often look for good storytelling in anime because it’s rare, which is why he’s all about the shonen and fanservice. We complain about the isekai trend a lot, but I lived through the visual novel trend and it had more uninspired shit than the entirety of the Kinect’s video game library.
But this is a rant about why “I” watch bad anime, so I won’t dwell on that too much. Instead, I’ll just conclude by saying that I love anime, even when it often doesn’t love me back, and I hope you guys look forward to when I cover what I consider to be the best of the decade in a few weeks. And thank god I don’t like a lot of anime, because in its current state, that upcoming post is longer than Gab’s anti-porn diatribes.