I’m about to have a serious nerd moment here, but bear with me – pretty much all modern anime that I have seen sucks. I may enjoy watching Attack on Titan, but that’s because I can at least appreciate the insanity of the series. I enjoy watching it for the same reason that people like watching Michael Bay’s Transformers movies. I hate those movies, just so you know, but I get the appeal. It’s the adrenaline. You get to have two hours of watching shit blow up, almost non-stop. That’s what Attack on Titan is, but minus the explosions. It’s non-stop adrenaline, fueled by insane levels of madness. Granted, one of the selling points to me was the supposed gore fact the series supposedly had, but that was REALLY overhyped. The worst it gets is blood. That annoys me, because this series could have been SO much better if they had gone balls-to-the-wall and made this series violent, grotesque and horrific. But then it wouldn’t have the massive appeal that it does. Gotta love how studios work so hard to tone down good ideas, huh?
Lately, all my experiences with anime have been SO disappointing! And the worst part is that I can tell you exactly why – the need to try and appeal to a broader audience. Let me give you two examples. First, there was a series made by the creator of Cowboy Bebop, Terror in Resonance. This series had so much going for it! It had so much awesome style! It had these two interesting protagonists. It had a really neat mystery. There was also Yoko Kanno returning to do the music. I was so stoked! There was even this interesting cop character as well, who was slowly unraveling the mystery. That was great too. But then, right in the middle, the series tried to be Death Note. And that’s exactly where it fell apart. That exact moment is when the series died. It died so damn hard. It was almost painful to watch, after that. What’s more, I don’t get why! For real, what did having the evil chick character add? It was good enough having a gruff cop who was slowly working the mystery out. Why deviate from that? To keep the tension going? It already had that! This series died because it abandoned what was making it so good so that it could be something else. I have no idea why it was done, but it ruined the series for me. Almost-instantly.
Next up, there was a series that was about a school where a bunch of girls are there as assassins. Their goal is to murder another student. Each of them is trying to kill her, and one of them makes a choice to try and save her life. This series had the potential to be gruesome, violent in the extreme, with some admitted fan-service. But hey, at least the romantic element of the series would have been better. Instead, the series never committed to its premise. It just chose to abandon it. It chose to play down the violence and the romance. This boggled my mind too. Why? This show was CLEARLY too niche to work mainstream. It was a strange mish-mash of ideas in one show. Violent action, yuri romance, and making characters who are plainly evil try and be sympathetic. But it never could commit, to anything! It rode this fine line of ideas, without giving itself to one or the other. And in the end, the series became so forgettable that I don’t even remember the title. No joke, I’ve been trying to think of it for some time.
This is modern anime in a nutshell. Because apparently, making high-quality stuff is too much work, shows now either try and appeal to a niche or go as mainstream as possible, the vast bulk of it becomes garbage. Then there are the shows that are non-stop cashing in nostalgia. Honestly, I still love the animes that truly speak to me, but the reality is that I’ve just grown apart from the modern stuff. If something REALLY catches my eye, I’ll look into it, but more often than not, I just end up being disappointed. There are shows that try and push the envelope, but they are fewer and further between than ever before. It sucks because I used to regard myself as something of an otaku. No I barely even pay attention to the medium at all, unless someone tells me about something that is great. Or a series getting a fantastic reboot like with the Rebuild of Evangelion films (the third of which I am STILL waiting for to come out on blu-ray. What the fuck, FUNimation?!).
A lot of people think that it’s because I’m getting older that my perspective has changed on stuff. Maybe that’s true. But I tell you now that I can plug in any of my favorite animes and watch them even now and it still is super enjoyable. If I still love the classics the way I do, and see all the modern stuff that’s garbage, it can’t just be me. And I still recognize when a series has good ideas but just won’t commit. So it can’t just be me. Or maybe it is. Maybe I am getting all old and dull. Perhaps.
But there might be hope. I saw a preview for an new series that was using Kickstarter to fund its existence called Under the Dog. That looks pretty slick. Hope might exist, but there may be precious little of it. Sad-making. Especially when you consider – does it take having to go to Kickstarter to get a show that isn’t garbage made? If so, then this medium is dying, fast.
Until next time, a quote,
“Perhaps this will be it. The one I don’t come back from. The end.” -Spike Spiegel, Cowboy Bebop