With every new season comes the urge to sample everything that remotely interests me, no matter how much I try to avoid it. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as, in the words of the Aroduc, “you never know when your dream-eating insect wielding Mai HiME knockoff will turn out to be a psychological romantic thriller, or the strange moeblob show will be full of wit and urine jokes”. This way of thinking seems to be the most advantageous to me, as if I didn;t do this there would be many shows that I wouldn’t check out at first glance that surprise me when I first watch them.
But then there are those shows that don’t. Those shows that have irritating, underwhelming or just plain boring first episodes that make me want to stop watching immediately. In the past, I was much more accepting of these shows and continued to watch since I wished to see as much anime as possible to gain more l337 anime watching points. However, with the coming of the Spring season I have been inflicted with a disease, aptly entitled Everythingfromthenewseasonisshiteritis. With such a fantastic horrible disease I become more critical and possibly even prejudice against the current season, leading me to drop shows straight after the first episode. Around 2 seasons ago I wouldn’t even consider this: I’d be looking for the good points in any show I watched, or any single thing that would keep me watching the show for those precious l337 points. But on the basis of such revelations as this, I see no reason to continue to watch something I dislike from the off.
This is kind of relation to the ranting discussion I was doing over at Daijobu: in defence of the haters, I tried to justify why they had hate-spammed K-ON and dropped it accordingly.
What’s the point of continuing to watch something you immediately dislike, just because it might change or suddenly become appealing when you could be watching shows you want to watch?
TheBigN understandably called this kind of way of thinking “jaded”. As DS said, few anime have shown their true colours from the first episode. They could all develop after their premieres into something that is more often than not is far superior to how they seemed at first. But in my eyes that still doesn’t mean that hating (or just disliking) and dropping a show that’s currently airing after the first episode is a bad decision.
This has been said countless times but no matter what, the primary reason that your watching anime is to be entertained by it. As such, if you’re not being entertained, what’s the point of still watching the show? Sure, the potential is there (buried deep, deep down somewhere) but if you don’t feel like sticking around to see that potential be fulfilled, especially when such potential is being fulfilled in other shows, then you shouldn’t. There’s also always the fact that if you’re more involved with the anime community or at least know some people who do wish to continue watching the show, then they can give their general thoughts and feedback when the show is over and you can decide whether to give it a second chance. With all I say about loving the discourse that watching weekly anime brings, that doesn’t mean I won’t go back and check out past shows I’ve dropped if they’re heavily recommended enough.
There’s also the sense of pointlessness that comes at the end of a particularly bad show, or even halfway through. Case in point: To-love-Ru or however hell you spell the name of that travesty. I had a morbid fascination with this show even though the first episode was bad on so many levels. There was too much fanservice (though really, what could I expect) the animation was poor, the comedy was sparse etc. However, there were moments when the show hit the right note that made me feel that were I not to watch the next episode, I would be cheating myself of something that could turn out well. But it turns out it didn’t and the most fun I got from the show was mocking everything about it. The same thing happened with Kurokami, only this was mostly due to the second (and subsequent episodes). Watched the first episode which was 18 minutes awful and 2-3 minutes great, watched the next where that ratio became even worse until I finally just grew completely frustrated and dropped the damn thing. Had I not wasted my time believeing in thsoe shows, I feel like I would’ve been much better off.
The more critical method I had this time around may have meant I hate-raged on a number of shows, but this time round I’m following my gut feelings and it feels great to watch a variety of stuff that I’m greatly interested in.
Agree or disagree strongly enough to contribute to this poor effort? Trackback to this post and I’ll link back so we can get a round discussion going.
1. Owen_S makes his anitating debut in reply to this post. I would think that anyone would know why they’re dropping a show, just the same as anyone would know why they’re still watching. Those who are posting first impressions is essentially expressing their emotions on a show, while using the positives and negatives to support their opinion and making a judgement based on that opinion. An ill-informed judgement, perhaps, but still one backed up by evidence.
2. Sorrow-kun steals the name of a popular blog to form his anime diet theology. I can understand the benefits of watching everything as highlighted in the post, but when you’re prioritising being able to rant argue comment about anime beyond actually watching and liking the shows then I think something’s gone pretty wrong.
3. Ghostlightning’s reply.
Bloggers I feel drop shows because they don’t feel like reviewing them all the way through. Bloggers are different from non-blogging fans. There is a compulsion to write about shows. Writing is an end that requires discipline, and strategies like anime-dieting as presented here feed this discipline – whether it’s for critical sharpness, or balance, whatever. Non-bloggers I imagine drop shows because they simply don’t enjoy watching them anymore – and even if they acknowledge the show may get better later on, there are better alternatives than suffering through the wait (i.e. other shows, other activities). At least, that’s how my non-blogging friends do it (as well as my wife, who only blogs when I ask her to). Reviewers have may act as the ‘guardians of quality’ for the anime viewers, so in sticking with shows that are bad and writing about them, they are providing a service to the viewer. I’m no reviewer, but I do find recommendations useful.
I noted that you disagree with sorrow-kun, and have used quite provocative phrasing in your update. The way I see it is that The Nihon Review is a review site, and sorrow-kun is coming from a blogger|reviewer perspective; wherein he(?) would watch shows with the intent to review them (as a priority). Last I checked (a few minutes ago), Grand Punk Railroad is a review blog too, though now with quite a bit of editorial content (all well and good) and that you’ve discontinued episodic reviewing (which must have been a relief). If I read you correctly, you write as an anime fan first, and as a reviewer second.
The review is an incidental product of your primary hobby that is to watch shows. There is no right/wrong approach here – just a clarification. I am the same. To reiterate, sorrow-kun’s approach is quite legit especially since The Nihon Review is a service to the reader: they review shows so you don’t have to watch the ones you won’t like assuming you agree with the reviewers’ perspectives. That’s what Roger Ebert does, that’s what the aggregated Rotten Tomatoes articles do (for the most part).
Your comment in the post proper:
I can’t really agree with your anime diet ideaology. This is mostly because I’m watching anime to be entertained, and you kind of make it sound as if having a balanced watchlist is a requirement for being able to comment on anime in general. I don’t thnk that’s the case at all. If you truly like anime and you have Mad Debatin’ skills then you should be able to use whatever knowledge you have to stand your ground as a commentator, no matter how much you have or haven’t seen.
If I’m only into a limited number of genres (hypothetically, since I’m not really) then that’s all I’ll watch and that’s all I’ll talk about. For example: the many mecha fans on the blogosphere. There’s nothing particularly wrong with taht either.
It’s not a requirement to be a commentator. The barrier to entry is very very very low. However, it’s a requirement if you want to be the most balanced commentator – which may apply to the staff of TNR and not to you. It certainly isn’t my goal, but his position doesn’t invalidate mine (nor yours) at all. Some time ago Baka-Raptor called me out for not assuming the role of “guardian of quality.” From his POV, if we bloggers aren’t, then who is? Since I’m not a reviewer, I don’t take on that role.
The Nihon Review seems to take on this approach, while blogs like Sea Slugs are like water coolers where people gather to talk about the shows they just watched. How do you see your own blogging? Mine is primarily exploratory writing on anime (mostly mecha). I may advocate and recommend (yay Macross!), but it’s clear that I’m partisan about it and my opinion isn’t supposed to be taken as an objective evaluation of the shows I write about.
Let me apologise if I sounded like I HAETED everything about Sorrow-kun’s anime diet theory. What I meant is that that diet doesn’t work for me and many other anime watchers. I do understand that Sorrow-kun is first and foremost a reviewer of anime, and as such may think (perhaps rightly so) the more you’ve seen, the more credibility that you have.
But that’s not what I’m aiming for. I hope that people don’t see Grand Punk Railroad as a review site since I’ve tried to stop doing “professional” reviews since I realised I wasn’t really getting my own personal point across. There’s a reason that this is a blog. In fact, even when I was doing episodic posts, I wasn’t reviewing the shows (by which I take the word review to mean “weigh up the positives and negatives of the each individual episode and give a score that’s as objective as possible”). I was just expressing my thoughts on some of my favourite shows (hence why I picked them to blog in the first place).
But in any case, though I can understand his point of view, I still can’t agree that you will be considered a biased commentator unless you watch the good, the bad and everything in between. I watch a wide variety of shows myself but since I only watch the decent-ZOMGAWESOME shows in the genre, I have a more balanced view and a wider range of knowledge with which to comment on anime. I don’t have to understand or know in detail the worst in order to appreciate and judge fairly the best. And once you’ve seen enough bad anime (which you will within, say, two years) I think you’ll still know enough to pose a fair argument.
In any case, I don’t think I know anyone who goes to one specific review site to learn all the do’s and don’ts of anime from the past year. That’s exactly why we have (or at least should have) a variety of review sites and different perspectives, so thatwe can attain as wide a range of opinion as possible. That’s what aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes are for in terms of movies.
4. Ryan A weighs in on how DECLARING THE NAME OF OUR ATTACK affects the power of our attack. I think he’s right that bloggers do get caught up in saying “This is the series I will follow/drop like a hot potato” rather than just going with a flow. It would be easier and perhaps more enjoyable to watch anime this way, but then again, saying these sorts of things leads to arguments discourse like this so it’s not all bad.
5. adaywithoutme takes a similar viewpoint to me, as an anime viewer rather than an anime critic.
One of the nice things about the anime blogosphere is that having access to it gives you the opportunity to follow a show from a distance
Now there’s a thought, far from going back and rewatching a show when it’s done, just follow those trusted bloggers. They’ll most likely always have something to say and it you go off of that and common sense, you can’t really go wrong.
In any case,I’m an egocentric bastard, at the ery least on Tinternet so I’ll probably do and say what I want but phrase it as gently as possible. If I were to blog a show and it were to go to shit, I’d just troll post about it to make things fun again. Trolling is always fun.