Blogger’s creed

I decided that as a belated introduction post, I should write a list of things that I believe about art, about the anime industry, and about my personal standing on some hot button issues. Some of these were already adressed in earlier posts, others will be in the future, and some are too self-evident or mundane to waste a whole post on them.

  • I believe that matters of taste are mostly subjective. Even if there is a line beyond which we can separate objectively good art from bad, I’m much more interested in narrowing that area down, than expanding it.
  • I believe that all genres that are based on an attempt to produce a certain reaction out of it’s viewers have the potential to be done well, with artistic skill, or done badly, as soulless pile of tropes. This includes the reactions of titillation (ecchi) and adoration (moe). I’m interested in finding out what makes them work well.
  • I believe that the desire to be popular in the largest possible population, and the desire to be acclaimed by a small niche of devoted fans that recognize your work as superior art, are both legitimate, healthy directions for artists. I’m fascinated by the art of finding out what has mass appeal, and making money with it, but on a personal level, I’m more pleased by niche works that were tailor-made for me and a few thousand other people with the same oddly specific interest. As long as the industries can support themselves, none of these need to change.
  • I believe that Sturgeon’s Law is always in effect, and that it’s an ultimately not a bad thing. Many of our grievances wold be solved if we  would sometimes lay back, and realize that no matter what we do, 90% of everything will be crap, so there is no reason to start panicking or hating genres just because their crap is more transparent at a first sight.
  • I believe that financially speaking, the anime industry is in a good, sustainable position.
  • I think the quality of an anime is in 85% dependent on the original story’s writer, 10% on the key members of the animation team, and 5% on the studio commissioning it. The common emphasis on certain studios as sources of high quality is an illusion based on these studios’ luck at gathering the first two elements to themselves, and so is the idea that certain studios have their own stories and styles.
  • I’m confident in my theory that the publishing industry’s profits tend to gravitate towards the better  products, and that even if it is an imperfect process with an element of randomness, on the long term it helps the art, not destroying it.
  • I believe that the typical low production values, and cost-cutting measures that all Japanese media uses, are not a bug, but a feature. I really appreciate  how these methods make room for so many different stories to be told.
  • I’m more positive than critical about Anime’s “japaneseness”. This applies to my preferences in subtitles, that I would rather see using the occasional loanwords and common fanspeak terms, than imperfect workarounds just for the sake of being fully english, if a choice is necessery.
  • I believe that anime piracy as a method of following the presently running anime for those who can’t get simulcastings, is all right. The intended audience isn’t supposed to pay for viewing the first TV airing either, the average Japanese otaku only buys a small fragment of series that he legally watches.  It’s not our fault that we don’t live in Japan, obviously we shouldn’t  be expected to blindly buy everything either.
  • I believe that lolicon is meh. I’m personally not attracted to it, but neither am I morally outraged by it, and physically speaking, I’m not more squicked out by it than by most other fetishes that I don’t have.
  • I believe that the anime fandom has an issue with overhating, rather than overrating shows. Part of the reason why it feels like nothing great was made since the 90’s, is that in this huge internet community, anything with a visible fault will be welcomed with a memetic overeaction of that fault in a bandwagon effect.  while anything that would have a chance at universal popularity, gets hit in the face with Hype Backlash almost immediately, by people who are intent on making sure that we won’t “overrate” anything.
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5 responses to “Blogger’s creed

  1. ‘I think the quality of an anime is in 85% dependent on the original story’s writer, 10% on the key members of the animation team, and 5% on the studio commissioning it.’

    Yes! I love this. While I like how the fandom has become very much studio-focused now, as it does inform an anime fan’s view considerably, it’s mostly aesthetic and tone that gets affected. Ultimately very little matters so much as the story!

    Great entry.

  2. By the way, in case anyone’s wondering, I’m on a teeny-weeny hiatus for the exam season.
    I just didn’t want to write a whole entry about that, because an “I’m not dead” post at the top of a blog with an old date, is one of the saddest images ever.

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