Saturday, December 1, 2018

I Like Bad Anime

Some anime are just bad...but some of those "bad" anime are also some of my favorites. (Some spoilers for Darling in the Franxx, Charlotte, and Akame Ga Kill! are ahead)

Darling in the Franxx was probably one of the most popular anime of this year, but it is also considered by many to be one of the most disappointing. I watched Darling in the Franxx since episode one and was always ready when a new episode came out. Halfway through the series, I was in love with it and already was calling Darling in the Franxx a contender for "Anime of the Year". And then the show took a really strange and fast turn away from what seemed to be a coming-of-age story about independence and sexuality towards a sudden cosmic war with giant spaceship women.

I remember hearing multiple times on twitter that Darling in the Franxx was going to be the Evangelion to a new generation, but now it is a series that is mocked in the anime community. The top five most helpful comments on MyAnimeList score the series from a 1/10 to a 3/10 , though it's average score is currently 7.61/10, showing that Darling in the Franxx is not a completely awful show and some people actually enjoyed it.

I am actually one of those people who enjoyed watching Darling in the Franxx and hearing and reading all of the bad reviews about the show remind me of other series that I am fond of that are also considered to be "bad" anime. Two of those anime are Charlotte and Akame Ga Kill!

Like Darling in the Franxx, Charlotte is a series that I watched as it was airing and I remember the anticipation I felt waiting for every new episode. A show about teenagers with super powers searching for and helping other teenagers with super powers was fun and even heartfelt at times...but then the series got a lot stranger with time travel, long lost siblings, and an ending that felt like an entire season crammed into a single episode. It was a pretty strange way to end a series but I still enjoyed watching Charlotte and even though it suffers from negative reviews, I loved it.

My experience with Akame Ga Kill! was a little different compared to the other two series. I didn't watch Akame Ga Kill! while it was airing and I actually started watching it because a friend who liked it recommended that I check it out. When I did start watching it, I thought that the series was a lot of fun with some interesting characters and a cool concept. However it did bother me that it was really obvious when a character was going to die and that characters I expected to fight each other never got the chance. The main character was also the least interesting of the cast and I think some characters definitely deserved more screen time. Akame Ga Kill! is a series that is criticized and considered "bad" by many but a series that I still loved watching and one that I would recommend to friends.

So what makes an anime "bad"? The way I understand it, an anime can be labeled as "bad" if it fails in one of three ways: the anime fails to tell a story, the anime fails to send a message, or the anime fails to be entertaining. Anime, or any medium of storytelling, needs to tell a story and if that story does not make sense, jumps around a lot, or feels too fast or slow, a large audience may consider it to be "bad". An anime should also send some kind of message, whether this be a moral lesson or a comment on society, and if that message is confusing, contradictory, or even too vague, the anime might be called "bad". And finally, is an anime is just boring and no enjoyment can be found in it, the series is going to be called "bad".

Whether an anime fails to effectively tell a story or make a certain point can be pretty clear to a large audience, it is also something that can be debated among fans. One thing that is not really up for debate is whether or not a person enjoyed a series. Someone can tell me that Darling in the Franxx is a bad series and we can discuss the upsetting plot twists and poor writing, and I might agree with them, but they can't say that I didn't enjoy the series. They may not have liked the show, but I did. I love shows like Darling in the Franxx, Charlotte, and Akame Ga Kill! despite their problems. Can they be criticized? Yes. Can others hate them? Yes. Can I get along with people who hate anime that I like? There's no reason why we can't get along.

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