Moving through space and time, encountering more and more anime, tastes start to change. Your criteria for judging anime develop. Do I start to enjoy anime less and less this way?
A while back I wrote a post about how I judged Guilty Crown as a fairly good anime, because of the fact that I haven’t seen that much anime when I watched Guilty Crown. In the post I also mentioned that when you move onto more anime, your judgment becomes somewhat harsher.
This attitude towards anime is created because you see similarities in anime. You know certain formulas and start to recognize them. You get familiar with styles from a multitude of studios, and in some way you know what to expect when a particular studio is going to air a show.
I got aware that I started to watch shows without the same enthusiasm as before. I knew from many studios what to expect and a lot of shows ended up in the ‘watching it for the sake of completion’ category. I watch a lot of anime in the ‘head tilted in boredom mode’ position. Waiting for the minutes to crawl by, hoping that something unexpected will happen in the next minute. But soon enough the credits start to roll by.
Of course I still enjoy cute girls doing cute stuff and still can’t get enough of that. Series such as K-ON! are one of my favorite shows and I don’t enjoy them less after the first time I watched them. There are many other shows that I still enjoy even after seeing a wide variety of other shows. Frequent readers will know I am a fan of Angel Beats!, even despite its flaws. I enjoy many shows I’ve watched in the early days of taking watching anime seriously.
New shows on the other hand need some twist to them, or a formula I can appreciate. A formula such as: cute girls, tragic event, sad music, emotional development and a satisfying ending. That’s a formula that works for me. Perhaps you, as a reader, might enjoy another formula. A formula like: epic war event, a hero, next epic war event, romance, epic battle and a flashy ending.
All different formulas that work for different viewers. Still a formula needs something special, something magical that gets me out of the boredom position and take me to another world in the format I see fit. There are shows out there that are daring and try another approach in an existing genre. The one that comes to mind is Madoka Magica, a formula with a twist that made the most out of every minute.
Despite everything I want to conclude that I still enjoy anime and the media around it. From artwork to manga, I can respect and appreciate it. Not every show can be perfect and perhaps I’m not the target audience for most of the shows I watch. But what defines anime, still brings me back and keeps me watching it.