Over and Over…

Recently I came across this blog post by omo, where he spoke of, interestingly enough, “cliché complaints”. He tied this into Guilty Crown, but I’d like to take a different direction first. What makes a complaint cliché? Well when I generally think of something that’s “cliché”, I generally think of something that has ceased to retain any meaning. It has moved beyond the realm of actual meaning and stepped into the realm of “evoked meaning”. To put it another way, something that’s cliché is only really there to remind you of other things, and not necessarily impart a meaning itself.

Can this framework truly be ported over to “complaints”? To take an extreme case, if someone really has no idea about what they’re complaining about, then yes, I would assume so. But most people generally think about something before they criticize something. However, that doesn’t stop a complaint from being generic or even overused. The point is, though, that the only reason complaints are overused is because that there exists an overused concept that elicits such a complaint.

To be completely honest, I think the burden here shouldn’t be on the watcher to have to enumerate exactly why he thinks X sucks every single time he sees it. I don’t have to watch Manyuu Hikenchou to criticize it. I’ve seen enough stupid “generic gigantic breast” shows to not have to waste my time to find anything specific about that show to criticize. The mere fact that Manyuu Hikenchou even included characters with such oversized racks that they begin to exert a gravity of their own is clearly to evoke meaning, and not create any. The visual cues are all there. Based on every other gigantic rack show I’ve seen, I know what’s going to happen. There will almost inevitably be a beach scene, an onsen scene; one of the women somehow falls on the male lead, etc, etc. The burden of proof is on the show itself, and not on the watchers, to prove that it is indeed not another generic “big breast” show.

But sometimes creators try to introduce small variations into a generic show to try to somehow make it more interesting. Does this truly make the show less cliché? I would argue no. Just because you stage something like Hamlet in a 1950s diner doesn’t meaningfully change anything. Sure you can interpret it differently, but Hamlet is still Hamlet. There will still be the ghost of his dead father, his now-king uncle, Hamlet will still kill Polonius, etc. Similarly, it doesn’t matter if you put women with gigantic breasts into feudal Japan, some alternate universe, World War 2, the Sun, planet Alpha Pi Theta the third, whatever. The meaning does not differ. I still know that there will be the beach scene, onsen scene, etc, and I can still criticize the show for still retaining the core of “women with big breasts”.

Also for having outrageous censoring…

The example of “big breasted shows” though is rather extreme, and I doubt anyone will meaningfully disagree with me there. But I would argue that there is no difference between applying this reasoning to those kinds of shows and to much more “mainstream” shows (I’m using the term rather loosely here) like Macross Frontier, C, Angel Beats!, Guilty Crown, etc. Criticisms that apply to earlier iterations of the same theme should apply to this iteration unless proven otherwise. Why can’t the criticism against Lelouch from Code Geass or Renton from Eureka 7 pretty similarly apply to Shu from Guilty Crown? For a derivative work, there should be no problem with using a derivative criticism. To be honest, it’s a waste of my and really anyone’s time to have to spell out the same criticism again. It’s enough to call Super 8 the “generic summer blockbuster” with all of its connotations without the criticisms being called “imprecise”, or having that criticism being called “cliché”.

Some complaints are overused, sure, but they cannot be imprecise if the work is similarly derivative. To return to the starting example here, Guilty Crown, there really should be little problem applying a generic criticism of rather mindless fanservice to it. In episode 2, I saw breast physics, Shu crawling behind a scantily clad Inori in an air duct, a tsundere HanaKana in a wheelchair, etc, etc. I shouldn’t have to explain the rationale behind such things being bad. There really isn’t a point behind me saying:

“The sort of fanservice seen in Guilty Crown is to obviously make people squeal in their chair as they get erections from fantasizing about these things. It doesn’t add anything to the plot, it doesn’t add anything to character development, nor does it add anything to the setting itself other than to make it look even sillier. In fact, what all of this fanservice does is to try to make more money for the animation companies by pandering to the otaku elite.”

The entire above paragraph can be simply spelled out in roughly 5 seconds with “Guilty Crown indulges in mindless fanservice that doesn’t add anything.” Is that criticism imprecise? Sure. Is it so imprecise that there is something valuable lost when someone reads it? No. If anyone asks me to clarify that statement, I will have no problem typing the entire thing out. But most people should understand what I mean by that criticism. I would like to type the entire paragraph out every single time. Unfortunately, I don’t have an infinite amount of time, nor do I have enough patience to type that out every single time.

Otherwise this would probably happen…

Thus you get distilled complaints; those that are brought down to their very essence. While some meaning is indeed lost, the complaint is no less valid than the full one typed out, nor is it any less precise by any significant value. After a certain point, distilled complaints may begin to look alike, but this is precisely because we keep on seeing the same faulty things over and over again. In the end, the fact that we begin to notice “cliché complaints” is, in my eyes, only another indication that the anime industry is losing creativity fast.

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  1. Jack
    Posted October 29, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I still have your old site as the top search result for that anime blog in google. You’d think after all this time, you wouldn’t be cockblocked by your own ancestor.

    Actually, I just tried it again to make sure it hadn’t changed since the last time I had and bitched about it, and it seems even Kurogane’s blog comes up before this one. So, getting cockblocked by your old address and Kurogane. :/

    So, was that a cliche complaint sensei?

    • Posted October 29, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      No idea what you’re trying to say, sorry.

      • Jack
        Posted October 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        You know, when you guys were on animeblogger? It’s still the first result of a Google search for “that anime blog”. This site was second, but I guess in the last few days, Kurogane’s blog has somehow managed to take the #2 position in the search results, so now you’re #3 behind your previous host, and Kurogane’s blog. :/

        Ever since you guys moved…almost two years ago, I’ve been waiting for your “new” site to take over the #1 slot, since I tend to do a lot of my navigation by typing a word into the address bar of Chrome due to having way too many damn bookmarks to the point navigating the damn things takes more time than doing a Google search. Just find it amusing a defunct site is still sitting at the very top, making me have to be a teensy bit less lazy and not click the first result that pops up on Google.

        • Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

          Haha well I’m not sure what’s going on there, but you would think that we would have put up a redirect link or something :P

  2. Posted October 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    The irony in this post is staggering. Most especially because you singled out Manyuu Hikenchou, which is like no other show I’ve ever seen (besides its sister series Qwaser), claiming that you don’t need to see it to know what’s wrong with it, which couldn’t be less true. That show had potential to be among the best of its season and some enjoyed it all the way through, though I felt it failed a little on the jokes side. But you can’t fault that show as “cliche” as its plot is one of a kind.

    Now, why the double standard? You make it sound like it’s not okay for a show to be cliche, but it’s okay for a criticism to be cliche. Why is that? Boring criticism is boring. I know I don’t want to read it, for one. Yes, you SHOULD have to explain why you think the fanservice moments are “bad” because that’s an opinion I think is “fucking retarded,” being as I’d call those moments “excellent.” So yes, back shit up. Fanservice isn’t bad as a necessity, you need to explain in what way you think that it is. But no, don’t use that longer explanation you did because that too was a load of cliche bullshit.

    Your lack of time and patience is not our problem, it’s your failing as a critic. Thus, we say that your criticism is cliche and boring. If you’re okay with that then fine but don’t try and defend it.

    • Posted October 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      What do you mean that Manyuu and Qwaser are sister series? As far as I know, the two series have little relation to each other. In any case…

      Considering what I’ve read, I’m very surprised that you didn’t react this way at all to our season first impressions, which was full of this sort of stereotyping and gut reaction criticism. And you seem to be getting the wrong impression about my criticism of Manyuu Hikenchou. I didn’t intend to criticize the show as a whole, but instead the clearly fanservice elements of it which definitely turn me off. There’s no possible way that I can extrapolate anything about the plot from the character designs, but the character designs in and of themselves suggest something fundamental about the show.

      And I see no double standard going on here. There’s no reason why two things can’t be different. It’s like saying that if water is frozen at this temperature, then ethanol must be frozen as well. And yes, I don’t deny that you shouldn’t explain why the fanservice moments are bad, but I would argue that there’s no need to argue anything beyond a criticism that you fielded earlier. I’m not arguing that you can say “fanservice sucks” and that’s it. That’s not any meaningful criticism and it’s a misreading of what I’m saying. I’m arguing that when one encounters a plot point or a situation that is fundamentally similar between two animes, that you can essentially distill the same criticism down to achieve the same point.

      It does say a lot if you criticize Shu from Guilty Crown” as the “generic protagonist who will gain confidence”. I’m sure that you’ve heard that criticism a lot. But if you isolate that statement, then it really doesn’t make any meaningful statement about why that’s bad. But if the criticism has been heard before, then it has a connotation all on its own. Do you have to explain any further as to why that’s bad? I would argue that you don’t have to repeat again why you think that that’s a bad thing unless pressed to do so. Your criticism may come across as being “reused”, but there’s nothing fundamentally wrong about that if the exact same problem appears in multiple places.

      At some point, once you’ve seen the same thing multiple times, you get accustomed to it. How many times have you seen people define exactly what they mean by “slice of life” every single time they use the word? If you think that that term has any concrete meaning among the anime community, then I suggest you go ask some people what they think that term means, because you’ll undoubtedly get a different response every time. What everyone has done is distilled a concept down into a simple term that they can reuse as a “catch all”. Can you not do the same with criticisms?

  3. Taka
    Posted October 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Cliche criticism just allows a reviewer to easily brush something off without giving any reasons. It says to me that a reviewer weren’t really trying to give the work any respect in the first place. It’s lazy and in my opinion if the reviewer doesn’t give a show at least some modicum of respect than you shouldn’t be reviewing it in the first place. Besides everyone knows everything has already been done before, it’s the slight twists to the story or characters that make anything worth watchable.

    • Posted October 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      I would also like to point you in the direction of our season preview as well, and see how many of our statements you’d brush off as “cliche criticisms” that let us brush something off without giving any reasons. If you do find a lot, then I’m equally as surprised you didn’t criticize our first impressions as having a “lack of respect”.

      The statement “everything has already been done before, it’s the slight twists to the story or characters that make anything worth watchable” is pretty much an oxymoron. If there’s a slight twist to the story of characters, then clearly it hasn’t been done before. If you mean something different, please clarify. That in and of itself seems like a rather cliche criticism to make of shows that have something different to tell like Tatami Galaxy or Kaiba.

      • Taka
        Posted October 29, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        I actually think I have at least once criticized a THAT season preview. I didn’t bother reading the others after that because it seemed that no one writing actually enjoyed watching anime enough to give a show a chance.

        If you want to disagree with my statement than I would suggest you taking back your point about changing the setting of Hamlet. Setting Hamlet in a 1950’s diner makes the story different just like changing the sexes of Lady and Lord Macbeth makes the story different or changing Romeo and Juliet to be a New York gang war instead of two feuding families. Never mind that most if not all of Shakespeare’s works were based on prior sources, I won’t get into that. It’s not cliche criticism. I am not making a criticism. I am stating a fact. Everything is influenced and derived from everything else. No one work stands alone. Kaiba would not be the same if it were not inspired by The Little Prince. Kaiba’s animation style could be considered a small tweak to the plot but it is largely what creates my enjoyment of the show. I actually don’t consider it a small tweak when considered as a whole. Still the plot of Kaiba has been done before, I only gave you the most well-known (and referenced in the show) example. What I meant by my statement was: little things matter. If you don’t think little things matter then I can’t imagine you enjoy a whole lot of stories.

        • Taka
          Posted October 29, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

          Ohaithar: http://www.thatanimeblog.com/index.php/2011/03/2011-spring-anime-season-preview/#comment-108746
          Personally I don’t try to have an opinion good or bad about a show prior to it’s airing. I’m don’t want to be pleasantly surprised or hopelessly disappointed, I want a series to show me what it has to offer and I want to give it a chance. I’m not like this just with anime, I’m like this with everything. Sure there is a niggling feeling in the back of my mind about a given seasons newest eroge adaptation, but I watch it with the same mindset I would Penguindrum, Madoka or Chihayafuru. Sometimes I even enjoy one or at least be entertained.

        • Posted October 29, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

          While I would like to spend all of my time watching anime, unfortunately I have to use imprecise filtering methods to screen out those which I see going nowhere. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of other people too.

          I don’t dispute that changing minute things can change the story, but you never change major elements in the story. If Hamlet doesn’t kill Polonius or Fortinbras doesn’t come in at the end, then you’ve made something that isn’t really Hamlet, and then the meaning thus changes. But if you merely change the setting slightly, you don’t change the meaning in a truly significant way. You can still interpret Hamlet as having an Oedipal complex, you can still debate action vs inaction, etc. Criticisms of Hamlet are going to be just as applicable to this Hamlet in a new setting. The entire point of that statement was to say that criticisms of some X in one setting are just as applicable to criticisms of the same X in a different setting. Perhaps my statement was too expansive.
          I don’t disagree that works can be influenced by other works, but that doesn’t mean their meanings are the same. You can’t apply criticisms to separate works. I can’t take a criticism directed at the narrator from The Little Prince and apply it to Kaiba. It just doesn’t work. The Little Prince and Kaiba are separate works because of, at the very least, these little things. Little things do matter, but when you see the same little things over and over, the same things that you said for the previous little thing should apply to this one as well.

          • Posted October 30, 2011 at 12:43 am | Permalink

            Little things do matter, but when you see the same little things over and over, the same things that you said for the previous little thing should apply to this one as well

            I’m interested in how you can see the “little thing” from big picture without actually seeing it in detail. It must be one awesome interpolating technique.

          • Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

            I’m somewhat confused by your statement. Mind clarifying? That kind of sounds like a holistic argument to me, unless I’m interpreting it incorrectly.

  4. passerby
    Posted October 29, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Looks like the people who like pandering series have shown up to be defensive.

    I think this post is a good rebuttal of omo’s post. As you point out, there’s nothing wrong making the same complaints about a show that have been made about previous ones, if the same elements exist in that show. It’s not as if anime viewers simply pick a list of complaints out of nowhere (in which case you could then fault them for always picking the same ones). The complaints are founded in the show to which they are directed.

    omo’s post also seems to confuse entertainment value (incredibly subjective) with other forms of value (some of which are more objective than others). It’s perfectly consistent to say that GC has “generic, cliché characters with stereotypical and predictable waffing, with just enough angst and fanservice to tick all those check boxes” and to enjoy it. But those of us who don’t like said clichés won’t enjoy it. Which is why hanging your assessment of a series on entertainment value alone doesn’t work.

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      Haha well thanks for being (apparently) the only one who agrees with me.

      I agree with your statement about the separation between entertainment value and other forms of value. For example, I currently watch Idolmaster, which, even with all of its obviously apparent shortcomings, is still somehow entertaining for me. There is a definite disparity between what someone actually derives entertainment value from and what someone actually appreciates in a show, at the very least. This, in part, is the driving notion behind “it’s so bad it’s good!” Objectively, the show sucks. Subjectively, comedy can be derived from laughing at how bad it is.

  5. Posted October 29, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Do people even use THAT’s season reviews/previews? I’m not sure why anyone would read the exact same thing every three months.

    Granted, JohnnyAnarchy actually added enough dissent for me to bother this time.

    • Posted October 29, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      Apparently yes judging from the comments. Frankly, I never liked the idea of season previews. The preview materials don’t really give you much to work with, thus leading to rather inane statements about most shows.

    • Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Well since several other people have said it, now I won’t feel like such a dick for saying it myself: The THAT Season Previews are shit. To piggyback on the point of this post, cliche criticisms are dull. They may be relevant to what you’re criticising, but they’re lazy and uninteresting. Although the problems with the season preview are more along the lines of it being contentless drivel. “durr looks shit” or “not interested” does not make for riveting reading material

      • Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        You still sound like a dick, but the truth hurts I guess :P. And like I said earlier, please don’t confuse “cliche criticisms” with statements that aren’t even legitimate criticisms. “Looks shit” or “not interested” is not what I mean by a “cliche criticism”, and I highly doubt that that’s what omo means by it either.

        That being said, the latter is mostly what our season previews are, so uhh yeah.

  6. Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    That last sentence pretty much sums it all up. In turn it divided the fans into groups, and we have these groups calling the other groups predictable/cliche just because of their preferences. Over and over the cycle continues…

    • Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      I see nothing wrong with dividing fans into groups. Unification of fans into one gigantic “we’re all happy and content” mass doesn’t do much for actual real discussion. Personally I’m happy with what I’ve been seeing in these comments. Where I draw the line is where discourse turns into pure ad hominem attacks that add nothing but hatred to the discussion. When people start calling others “too stupid to understand” or “cliche” with no explanation, then that’s where everything has broken down. But if people are willing to take a clear logical stand behind their ideas, then I see no problem with my last sentence.

  7. Cratex
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I’m a little tepid about saying anything here (mostly because it’s so hard to keep track of replies on this blog, but also because I’m not sure how many landmines are here abouts), but I did want to say something.

    Though my anime viewing history stretches waaayyy back, I’m fairly new to anime as a regular – only been regularly watching it for the last couple of years. During this time I’ve depended a lot on review sites and blogs to help me figure out what was worth watching, what made the anime ‘scene’ click, and an understanding of the jargon used. Sometimes, I’ve been more surprised by what I’ve seen on review and discussion sites than I have been when watching certain (in)famous shows.

    My tastes haven’t changed, but my understanding of what I’m watching has changed based on (my limited) experience. For example, and somewhat to the point of this thread, 18 months ago I turned my nose up at anything ‘harem’ oriented or tagged ‘fanservice’. Currently, I’ve relaxed that considerably if only because, like anything else, if done correctly and in limited amounts it adds to the value. To be more explicit, “Shu crawling behind a scantily clad Inori in an air duct,” to me was amusing because it highlighted the (to him) strange situation Shu found himself in, but she has yet to accidentally ‘sit’ on his face, and in fact I’ve not seen a lot of fanservice in this show compared to many others. “Should I expect this to eventually happen because it is a ‘fanservice’ oriented show?” seems to be the direction the line of thought this blog post is taking. Is it a valid one, and does writing a post like that help “the” reader?

    (which reminds me – I need to go look up ‘breast physics’ since I’ve never seen that term before.)

    Actually, what has so far bothered me about Guilty Crown seems to be more or less different from what has bothered others. In particular, that the

    …this is precisely because we keep on seeing the same faulty things over and over again. In the end, the fact that we begin to notice “cliché complaints” is, in my eyes, only another indication that the anime industry is losing creativity fast.

    hasn’t hit me yet because I’m fairly new to the scene, so I’ve not become overexposed to those elements. I guess that means I can enjoy (to a certain extent) Guilty Crown despite it’s use of a worn formula.

    (mind you, of the three episodes I’ve seen so far, while I won’t call it a great show I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen.)

    In the end, when we ‘write’ we’re really talking to ourselves, because we’re writing to an audience we conceive of in our mind. What we write has to satisfy ourselves first and foremost. However, if you ask the question of what value a reader gets out of it, then you really need to define for yourself what that reader is and how they will react to what you write.

    So, to me, the question “Can this framework truly be ported over to “complaints”?” really only has an answer of ‘yes’ if your audience can understand you, otherwise it is no.

    Now, generally the THAT season previews have a nice disclaimer at the top, and to me that pretty much sets the expectation for the intended audience and what the audience should expect. So, more often than not I’m reading the preview to see what these people’s reactions are compared to my own after I’ve actually watched the shows rather than using them as a guide as to what to watch.

    In short, the blog itself is entertainment :)

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      A lot of what I said here will only apply to someone who has been consistently exposed to the medium; I definitely agree with you there. It’s hard to see Guilty Crown as walking in the shadow of Code Geass/Eureka 7/whatever other comparisons you care to make if you’ve never seen those shows to begin with!

      I think that the reader can take away many different things from written out posts, and what a reader takes away from the post is often times out of the hands of the author. People can misinterpret many things, so the job of the author is to make his point as clear as possible. For that reason, the disclaimer at the top of the season previews do help to guide reader expectations, which is definitely nice.

  8. Posted October 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I can’t remember why or when I have this blog bookmarked, but it does feel like quite some time ago. I also can’t say that I’ve read every post and every comment. Still, between this post and some others, I’m starting to get the feel that bloggers for this blog don’t actually enjoy anime.

    You’re basically telling me: “I’m so disengaged that I don’t even feel compelled to articulate why I dislike it.” It’s like watching power rangers week after week, then complaining about it being repetitive; or this or that. It’s freaking power rangers. It’s gonna have a stock footage combine sequence, there’s gonna be a fight scene, and the bad guy is gonna explode.

    Now, you can indeed critique power rangers for being repetitive, unrealistic, and this or that. It would be “valid” to raise these points, to say, the general public. (Now, it’s here that I hold out some hope) Try that on a fan of the show? I do hope you have enough sense to see that your critique, while “correct”, becomes “irrelevant” or even “inappropriate”.

    It’s a problem for GC to have a “weak boy”, granted vast power by a “girl from the sky”? through few character arcs later, develops confidence and resolve to save the world? Of course, it’s absurd. You can take away the flashy reality defying parts, and the plot would still be absurd. But you know what? No one’s defending those points, for the same reason as the power rangers fan. Power rangers fans are talking about how awesome the latest and greatest Megazord is; how it has a shinny sword and THREE whole rocket launchers (yea, you’d better believe it’s a big deal).

    It’s actually quite fine not to like all anime. Granted, the ‘good’ ones are far and few in between (personally, 2 seasons without a SHAFT anime is a shame). I’m just wondering why the bother with blogging about it.

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

      I would urge you to not generalize to every writer on this blog based on just a few posts. I’m sure that everyone on this blog loves anime, just not ALL anime. I certainly don’t care about the next eroge adaptation or the next harem show, but I really do have a passion for other shows. I know that Crusader and EO are both real mecha fans, and they’ll get excited over any shows of that genre. However, there have been no real good mecha pickings for the last few seasons (to my memory), so obviously you might see more criticism that praise. That doesn’t mean that we don’t like legitimately good anime.

      As for your second point (about the fact that I say that I’m so disengaged that I don’t feel compelled to say why), that seems to be what a lot of people in the comments seem to be saying, so could you actually point out exactly where I seem to be saying that in my post? Because I’m not sure where people are picking that up from. In my opinion, some clear “thesis” lines in my post would be:
      “I think the burden here shouldn’t be on the watcher to have to enumerate exactly why he thinks X sucks every single time he sees it.”
      “Criticisms that apply to earlier iterations of the same theme should apply to this iteration unless proven otherwise.”

      I never say that I shouldn’t feel compelled to articulate why I dislike it, I’m just saying that if you see this “weak boy supported by a strong girl” role in two different animes, why can’t you criticize both by essentially saying “refer to my previous criticism of this”. And if someone has a problem with that, you shouldn’t have ANY trouble typing out your real problem with the show again, but the burden is not on you to consistently type out the long explanation every single time you see the same thing. That’s like saying you need to type out the definition of a word every single time you use it.

      I think your point about Power Rangers is actually distinct from the first line in your second paragraph. What you’re arguing there is essentially that fans of the show and critics lie in two separate realms. That’s substantively distinct from the other point you made.

      And if that is the point you’re making, then i think it’s important to realize that there exist more than just the diehard fans of a show. Casual fans actually do exist, and I can effectively engage in a dialogue with the casual fans who may like it or may not. Do I care about the diehard fans when I write? Probably not, because they generally do exist in a separate mode of thought. A rabid football (or soccer in America) fan will probably kick you in the nuts if you say that football has its shortcomings, and a riot will likely break out. It’s hard to engage in dialogue with those kinds of people. That’s not to say that it’s impossible, but both parties have to be engaged in something to get anywhere.

      As for your last point, see the above. There are actually people out there who have watched the first episode of Guilty Crown, maybe liked it, and wants to discuss it. It’s important to understand why average animes are only average. Why isn’t Hanasaku Iroha as popular as X other anime? What is Mirai Nikki doing wrong that it could be doing better? These are still important concepts to understand and the best way to understand it is to talk about it.

  9. Posted November 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely agree that not everybody likes every anime. I also agree that there exist some anime out there that’s utter trash. I will also note that there are people out there who likes said utter trash. Such is the way of things. For the most part, we’re not in disagreement. Shows that follow a certain formula tend to get stale. My position on it, is that new formulas aren’t always available; and we have to endure periods where we see nothing new. Until something fresh comes along, or our memory fades to make old things seem new.

    I’ll clarify : It’s not that you’re _saying_ you’re disengaged; it’s that from reading you post, I think that you _are_ disengaged. Your “thesis” outlined yourself, is that

    (1) you have no burden to respond to sucky anime. I don’t really argue with you on this point. However, to raise the point in the first place, indicates that you _are_ entirely disengaged from the suck (to be disinclined to even talk about it). Since the subject in question seemed to be vaguely open, I wondered if you’ve outgrown anime entirely (which can happen).

    (2) I’m of the view that criticisms don’t really have to be proven. You like something or you don’t. I don’t think there’s necessary grounds for personal taste. I love SHAFT and hate Gainax. Feelings like this are irrational. We can discuss it; but I wouldn’t go too far and say it’s “right” or “wrong”. However, you’re again showing contempt for “certain” themes, again being non-descriptive. Conversely, if preference in shows was indeed rational, those “checkbox” production lines that produce copy and paste would actually be successful.

    Many works do draw on the same themes and world elements. Single season shows don’t really have time to coherently describe worlds and characters if they are truly unique. This is greatly unfortunate, yes. However, as an earlier poster suggested, the variations on the themes are what’s worthwhile in those cases.

    You can have moeblobs fill a plotless show and produce Lucky Star, K-On, HIdamari, A-Channel, Yuru Yuri, (and believe me, more to come). Critiquing it for following the formula, at the very least, indicates you don’t like the formula (which, again, is perfectly fine). Not even wanting to articulate why you dislike each individual show is understandable. Keeping in mind, that the theme might be welcomed by some.

    So, it’s quite clear. You don’t like certain shows, and don’t want to talk about them. How about talking about shows that you do like? Unless you enjoy talking about suck sucking for some reasons.

    • Posted November 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      You’re misinterpreting (1). I’m saying that I have no reason to enumerate some sucky thing X every time I see it repeated. In other words, I have no reason to detail out exactly why X sucks every single time I see X. If I detailed it out once before, then I shouldn’t have to detail it out again if I see the same thing elsewhere. I’m not disengaged from the suck. I just don’t see the reason behind me needing to write a paragraph about why X sucks if I already wrote a paragraph about why X sucks earlier. I should just be able to paraphrase that paragraph for all future times I see X. I’m still talking about it though.

      I’m not showing contempt for “certain” themes. I’m not even showing contempt at all. I’m just saying that after a while, it becomes burdensome to explain why I don’t think X is good in full detail. It’s like eating too much cake. After a while, you just become desensitized to the taste.

      If you have a variation on a theme, then it’s a different theme. Analyzing corruption in the story of Adam and Eve is completely different than analyzing corruption in Faust. At the same time, the same analysis should apply to the same theme in different places. For example, analyzing the comedic role the Fool plays in King Lear is the same as analyzing the comedic role the Clown plays in Othello.

      It’s quite clear that I don’t like certain shows, and I want to understand why I don’t like them. It should be enough, though, to just note the presence of the “weak male who will gain confidence as the show continues” in Guilty Crown if I already saw it and criticized it in Deadman Wonderland or whatever. At the same time, I do talk about shows I do like. In length too. See my Tatami Galaxy posts. At the same time, I do like to pull off a somewhat half-joking satirical post once in a while. See my Kore wa Zombie posts (that I actually gave up because I really can’t keep that attitude up for an entire season! It’s actually pretty exhausting.)

  10. Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    >Implying Tsundere Hanakana is a bad thing! #blockandreportforspam

  11. Posted November 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Woah, what a controversial post :(

    I have to agree with you, though – there really is no reason to type out the same thing, (as this title says) over and over again. However, there’s also no point to writing a post if the only thing you’re going to say is something you’ve already said.

    I fully support cliché’d criticisms, but only if they’re used to say something larger. ‘The fusion of bad fanservice and an innovative concept make xxx an interesting anime to watch,’ rather than ‘xxx has bad fanservice, and so it is bad,’ or ‘xxx has an innovative concept, and so it is good.’

    I’m sure that’s what you also think, so I’m not sure why I wrote this comment. Y’know, most comments I write are the same thing, over and over again…

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