Tuesday, April 16, 2019

I Don't Like (Some) Anime

Not every anime is a masterpiece and some just don't match with my tastes.

It is unbelievable to assume that every anime is a masterpiece. Some anime are poorly written and animated, and some have problematic elements in their story or presentation. And not everyone is going to agree on what is a bad anime. There are many examples where the hottest anime of the season is kinda "meh" to me, and where I'm so amazed by a series and I keep hearing from everyone else that it is trash.

Being a member of the anime community and the aniblogging community, I have seen many different forms of criticism and outrage. Anger that doesn't make much sense to me is anger towards people who criticize an anime's story or animation, or who point out problematic and derogatory elements in the series. I don't get how people cannot enjoy a series and accept that others may not experience it in the same way.

I love anime like Kill la Kill and Death Note. I would recommend either of those series to friends and I will retweet any gorgeous fanart that I come across on Twitter. However, I know some people do not like those series as much as me and some that probably hate them. I know that there are some arguments that the series are sexist or misogynistic. I have heard those arguments, and I think that some of those arguments make good points...but I still love Kill la Kill and Death Note.

There are not many anime that I dislike or hate. That is part of the reason why I do not consider myself an anime critic in anyway. Though I have realized that the more I read critiques and the more I watch anime, that I am developing higher tastes, or in other words, I'm developing my own set of standards on what I like and what I don't like.

I like comedy anime and I like anime with cute girls doing cute things. There are many series that fit into those categories that I love, but that doesn't not mean that every anime with comedy and cute girls is going to be my absolute favorite. I remember hearing all the hype and seeing all the memes about Eromanga-sensei that I was convinced to give it a try. It was okay, but I realized at some point that watching the series was more of a chore than anything else.

If you're someone who liked Eromanga-sensei, I'm happy that you were able to enjoy it. It just wasn't for me. It wasn't to my tastes. I am not saying that I have a more refined anime palate compared to others, I'm just saying that my I don't like the same things as others and others aren't going to like the same things as me.

There are also anime that don't just fail to appeal to my tastes, but also that I find a little offensive or problematic. I mentioned before that some of my favorite anime contain problematic elements, specifically that they may be sexist. I'm a man so I have male privilege. It is not always going to be obvious to me when something is offensive to women. When or if it is apparent to me, it is something that is easy for me to look past. It may not be easy for everyone else to look past.

A few seasons ago, Goblin Slayer made a big splash in the anime community and caused a sizable uproar because of a very graphic rape scene in the first episode. I and many others thought that it was very uncomfortable and unnecessary. Some called it a cheap way to shock viewers and that it was inappropriate. I'm not going to argue here about whether it was necessary or not. I just want to point out that some people who didn't like the scene, didn't like the anime, or dropped it completely, had a legitimate reason to be upset. 

I actually watched all of Goblin Slayer and enjoyed it in the end. It wasn't my favorite series, but I think that I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy stories with magic and monsters. I would never say that people who like or love Goblin Slayer are awful people. I think that that kind of behavior is uncalled for and not even real criticism of the series. But I want to emphasize that people who didn't like it were never under any obligation to give it a chance.

Currently, I see a lot of discussion around The Rising of the Shield Hero. It's probably one of the most popular series right now, but there are some who have a problem with the main character being a victim of false rape charges. And maybe in today's political and social climate, especially in the United States, people are obviously going to be a little irked by that to say the least.

Of course, I have noticed that a lot of critics have moved on from that point and are more concerned about how slavery is portrayed in the anime. I know that Raphtalia's status as a slave was just another reason for me to drop the series early on. I think that it is a legitimate reason to drop the series or criticize it. However, I think that because I dropped the anime and have no real idea what is currently happening in the series, my opinion doesn't carry much weight. If they kind of cleaned up the whole slavery thing, someone should let me know because I might give Shield Hero another chance...maybe, it also didn't appeal to my tastes.

The main point that I want to make is that no anime is perfect and that no anime is exempt from criticism. Some people aren't going to be able to get into your favorite anime because they have different tastes. And some people have different backgrounds and experiences that is going to lead to them noticing aspects of your favorite series that may be inappropriate. You either have to make arguments of your own that counter those critiques, or just accept it and move on.

I will also add that it is wrong to shame fans of an anime that you find bad or wrong. If those fans are doing bad things, then call them out on those bad things. Watching Goblin Slayer doesn't make automatically someone a misogynist and watching Eromanga-sensei doesn't make someone a pedophile. And as an extension, I do not think that it is ever appropriate to threaten or send hate to creators and anime production staff. That doesn't help anything.

So with all that being said, let me know what you think about this topic. A lot of this is based on my own experiences in the anime community, so I'd be interested in hearing your own perspective.

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