So, I came across this article on Crunchyroll that’s been shared among my Facebook newsfeed. There have been times I wanted to reply to individual Facebook shares, but it seemed more of a lengthy editorial post. Hence this.
It’s not that we lack perspective, I’d argue that the genres that really defined anime in the 80s and 90s are very few and far between. What made anime appealing in the dark ages (aka the Time Before Internet) is that it was different – it was underground and edgy – American audiences weren’t used to this type of animation and storytelling. It was cool!
While I am open to what’s new, usually the first episode or two turns me off. I have no interest in Free! as I have no interest in speedo bromance (or boys love for that matter) and Genshiken series 2 as I have no interest in following fujoshi. There will be a title like Fate / Kaleid or Aikatsu or iDolm@ster that will pop up and I want to follow, but because I work 9 to 5, I only have time to commit for marathon weekends – in other words, yes I do miss the discussion that follows each episode, but at the same time, I’ve been one of those fans that enjoy marathoning through a series.
This is why I was a bit weary when an anime for Attack on Titan was in the works. Having read the manga prior, I was wondering if today’s audience would be into something dramatic and philosophical as Attack on Titan. This was a title that would have done well in the 80s and 90s. I can already hear Veronica Taylor’s Armin. I was quite surprised the anime community – old and new – ate the whole thing up! It’s been years since I’ve seen an opening theme of epic proportions and storytelling that dealt with humankind. That’s what I felt was missing. However, the other side is that I have difficulty finding people to have mature discussions about Attack on Titan since meme culture has taken over.
I’d still argue that the “moe” archetype is oversaturating the media. I get that toy companies want to sell to the 30-something pervert. It’s just that there’s a lack in variety of genres. Remember when girls-with-guns used to be a thing? Remember when ordinary girls had to save magical worlds? Remember when any ultra violent VHS title had to be stamped with that creepy Manga Man? Remember when cyber punk used to be a thing? I also feel that there’s a lack of storytelling – moe anime feels very cookie cutter.
There’s nothing wrong with following up on the latest slice of life anime, but I would recommend to expand your anime repertoire. Netlflix and Hulu have plenty of old school titles. Not every anime should live up to Cowboy Bebop’s standards, but it would be nice to have something come up that goes beyond schoolgirls-do-things. I just feel that this is getting to be a tired genre. There are a few new titles that don’t get as much love. Another, an awesome suspense thriller, was pushed to the wayside. Polar Bear’s Cafe is cute, but doesn’t get much love (it has a smart ass penguin!). Pretty Cure is always looking for new fans!
What’s enjoyable for someone may not be enjoyable for someone else. I do sympathize with the fansub tape trading generation that moe blobs have cornered the market, but don’t loose hope. Many companies are re-releasing titles we grew up with – support those releases. (oh hi Ranma 1/2 blu-rays!) At Katsucon, I also met 14 year olds who were interested in learning about 90s titles that would best suit them. It’s unfortunate that there’s a lot of young people that don’t want to expand beyond what’s new, but for those that do, it’s up to us in the older generation to pass on our traditions – Akira, Ghost in a Shell, Escaflowne, Noir, Trigun, El Hazard, Ursei Yatsura, Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, etc – before they are forgotten.