Quitting anime (not)

For the first time ever since 2009, when I got into the anime fandom, I spent the past two months not watching anime.  And now I’m back.

I’ve learned a lot about the sometimes scary, hardly understood phenomenon of Fandom Quitting Syndrome, or at least about how it could apply to me. Blogs die, usernames drop out from forums, faces change at conventions,  and as long as we are still here, we can only speculate about whether we will eventually also get bored with anime, whether it’s a natural part of growing older, and whether there is an easy trick to trick our brain into avoiding it.

Yet, unlike most others, I got a second chance to come back and describe what happened.

You see, back in January, I skipped an episode of Psycho-Pass. It was exam time at school, and I simply didn’t have the time to watch it for a whole week. But I intended to continue it later, so on that week, I avoided most episodic blogs as protection from spoilers. There was only one little flaw in my plan: As my blog reading material drastically dropped, I had less and less reason to keep checking my RSS feed. And I usually use my RSS feed to reind me when there is a new episode.  I think you see where this is going. Like a snowball groving ito an avalanche, or fluctuations in how a few cars are breaking causing a traffic jam, the effects of skipping a few traditions grew day by day.

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What measure is a psycho?

Psycho-Pass, episode 11-13

As every viewer suspected, the Sibyl system is flawed. But that flaw isn’t just a technical detail, that it doesn’t accurately measure everyone, or a moral dilemma about “thought crime”, like in Minority Report, that it incriminates people who didn’t do anything, but a huge elephant in the living room that Makishima pointed out in episode 11:

“And how do you define a crime to start with?” 

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K, and the dangers of originality

It is common, both in the anime fandom, and in other media fandoms, to use phrases such as “originality”, “innovation”,  as synonyms of “good”, while dismissing all “formula”, and “trope” and “cliché” as signs of being bad.

Then again, it is also common, to argue against that, and claim that there is nothing truly original in the world, and it is the execution that matters, not that it is comparable to the things before it. In my experience, that argument usually takes a back seat, and normally only brought up as an excuse for why the speaker’s favorite show still happens to take place in a high school, or involve a mysterious girl dropping into a boy’s life.  But in principle, we all seem to agree, that the more innovation the better, and the more clichés the worse. So what’s behind this?

The way I see it, we all like to be surprised by the stories that we watch, but at the same time, to be surprising, every story needs to build from pre-existing expectations. We sometimes dismiss a show like Accel World or Sankarea with the claim that they are unoriginal, because they are so predictably following their genre conventions, that  you can pretty much tell how the characters will behave based on their hair color, and when starting an episode, have the unshakable feeling that the last scene will end with the protagonist shouting “Eeeehh???” while a girl moves in with him. They fail at surprising you so spectacularly, that you might as well be watching another show for the second or third time, and that would be just as exciting.

Then we have a show like K. Everyone can see that it’s original, even the first few scenes tell that much:

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Spring season roundup

I’m a bit late with this, I barely watched any anime for two weeks, so I didn’t even start the new season. In fact, I will have to interrupt the typing of this post several times to actually watch the finales that I’m talking about.

Anyways, if I already had season preview posts and first look posts, I guess I should also conclude my opinion on them. Here they are, the shows that I watched in this season, in descending order of how much I enjoyed them.

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Nazo no Kanojo X: The first pro-abstinence anime ever?

No, seriously. Just think about it. While it’s true that the overwhelming majority of anime characters are virgins, the reasons for it are varying from fetishist appeal, to the inherent moe appeal of youthful innocence, (that is also used in series that aren’t supposed  to be sexually appealing). Sometimes, it’s pointed out as a significant plot point. Other times, it’s just implied by the characters’ age and behavior.

And then here is this one anime, that finally bothered to actually discuss teenage sexuality. Continue reading

Tsuritama no Apollon: AO

Three more shows are here for first episode tests. This time, only the first two are comparable to each other in many ways, with the Eureka Seven sequel as the odd one out. I also wanted to add Jormungand, but I couldn’t really say anything meaningful about it that others didn’t. I’m not even sure if I like it. And I’m not so much interested in just reviewing episodes by describing all their aspects, as finding at least one issue in them, or around their audience reactions, that made me think about something unique. Continue reading

Sankarea Kanojo X Amnesia – And then every anime was a SHAFT series

Three more first episodes arrived in the past days, so here are my first impressions. There is a strange amount of connections between them. Two are about dead/living romances. Two were better than expected from their studios DEEN and Hoods. Two has exceptionally icky premises. Two of them are based on manga that I have been following, even though I rarely follow manga. All three make use of surreal imagery, or as the anime fandom likes to call it, “They look like they were made by SHAFT”.

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