After browsing a blog of a friend-o-mine, I am ‘inspired’ to write this article as a very first entry for this new blog. This post is about things I expected in anime (and applicable to all kind of visual entertainment too). And why am I writing this? Because I have my stance in anime too and not just you. I don’t care even if they doesn’t make sense or ridiculous to you. And just for the record, this article is not directed towards anybody (sorry if it might seems to be though), nor it does not act as a counter-post against any other blog articles. Take note that I also have the right to say my opinions regarding the above issue, and I have the right to do anything that I think is right, as long as it doesn’t bring any harm to anybody.
First and foremost, I expect a story. A story is something to tell about and not just something that you can merely see in day to day life. It’s more less like a news; a dog bites a postman ain’t news but a postmen bites a dog is. So what if the anime is just about a girl living her otaku life or a bunch of girls performing in a band and doing nothing but having fun and chit-chatting in their daily hi-school life? I’d say it’s boring, nothing interesting and no fun at all. If that is fun then I’d have fun watching school girls around me instead of watching anime but I didn’t. Besides, if it is fun to watch that kind of thing why bother to watch anime, or rather why bother to make anime like that? Where is the fun if it is something like “Hey! I can see that happen in real life!” Although I am an observer/spectator, I do that for a more serious purpose like history and human behavior analysis. What can you expect by observing a ‘life’ in anime when the ‘life’ inside are just fictional and modeled after real life? If observation is the key here then I better go watching real people instead and don’t never to watch anime for that because real life is the best way to observe human life. That being said, I’d reject slice of life anime, unless it touches on serious subjects like psychology, relationship (communication and interaction) and things like that. However, I do watch those that perfectly fall into such category such as Lucky Star and K-ON! but it was done purely out of curiosity although in the end I felt tortured by watching those titles that would easily fall into my ‘unwatchable’ category. Why do I expect a story from slice of life genre? Again, I believe anime is a platform for stories, not for certain somebody’s life or rather not for us to watch how some girls live their “very-ordinary” life. We put variety of food and flavors in one plate, not just rice or bread, and that makes our meal delicious, if you know what I mean. In other words, a ‘real’ story should have the ups and downs, rise and falls, the change of the tide, turning point in life, and most importantly, the purpose of the storytelling.
Second, not just a mere story, I expect a decent story. Interesting story is one thing and a thought provoking one is another. For some people a slice of life is interesting enough that they are able to enjoy it but definitely not me. Just like how I am able to see documentaries as entertainment, I enjoy serious stuff like philosophy, history, science (the real one; real application) and humanity in general. No, it doesn’t has to be action-packed, killer-thriller stories. Even romantic-comedy or shoujo anime may fit into this category because from my observation all this time, many shoujo anime did well when it comes to playing with people’s heart and emotions, triggering empathy and sympathy in the audience’s heart and managed to ‘fool’ the audience into thinking that they are watching a live-action drama. However, I have to admit that shounen titles fit this genre better than shoujo, due to the fact that shounen anime are bold enough to venture into the higher level of human emotion. That’s why it’s not uncommon for us to see people die in that kind of anime. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is one example. Talking about Gurren Lagann, I’d say mecha/super robot genre also fits this category well too, as shown in many Gundam franchises and Code Geass series. Last but not least, I also see many fantasy anime fit this genre as well. However I could not give any examples in this genre since it’s quite hard for me to see any good fantasy anime so far. Don’t forget there are also anime that really touches the philosophy subject deep down to the root, such as Kino no Tabi and Haibane Renmei. The currently airing Angel Beats! is one example where things like God and afterlife is being manipulated into a story. Not to mention this anime ‘affectionately’ touches human emotions (if you have the heart though).
So some of you may ask my if I don’t like/watch those slice of life anime then which anime would soothe my mind? Well, I never found those kind of anime can have any soothing effect on me but even if I really need to soothe my mind by watching anime, there are many comedy titles out there. Sometimes I do watch ecchi anime too but just like those who watch slice of life anime for the entertainment, I do the same thing too for ecchi titles. Therefore, those who don’t like being questioned of their interest in slice of life anime should refrain from questioning my interest in that kind of thing either, or that would make you a hypocrite. Speaking of hypocrite, there are times I found people feel disturbed when I hate/despise some anime titles, which coincidentally happen to be their favorites. They said I don’t have “good enough” reasons to hate those titles, but the same people would say “there’s no need for a reason to like something”. Isn’t that contradicting to their statements? If there’s no need for a reason to like something, then it should not be a problem for me to hate something even without any reason, or if there should be reasons to hate something, then I can just use any reason to like anything either. Fair enough, for the sake of the balance between good and evil. Well, that makes me recalled an argument between me and a friend o mine where he questioned the authenticity of my interest in certain game title (the game and its non-game franchises, including the unofficial ones) just because I never tried the game, but that person is also the one who agreed that one doesn’t need a reason to like something. Heck! People don’t mind when I like the anime Shuffle! even though I never played the game, so why bother? You the reader be the judge. Meh! I know there will always fans for whatever anime titles out there because there are always people who think they are good but it doesn’t mean they also good to me. So, if I happen to hate an anime title that happen to be your favorite, it can’t be helped. Anyways, comedy titles like Hayate no Gotoku! also works great and have great effects on me, if you’re really asking about titles to relax my mind and release myself from tension.
I may be picky when it comes to anime (and all other forms of art too like music and drawings/paintings) but it has to be like that since I don’t want to waste too many resources by opening myself to too many things. Life is short so it is better for me to focus on things that I know is certain rather than greedily giving a try to everything. I want to enjoy my life and being greedy won’t give me any good either so most of the time I need to rely on other people’s reviews and opinions before picking any titles. Besides, what are those reviews for if not to help other people in judging stuff? Reviews are, to me work just like an attorney in a court trial. The judge doesn’t experience the case on trial himself but he has to rely on the attorney’s arguments. As in my situation, anime are the cases, I am the judge and the reviews work as advocates/solicitors. The only difference is I can choose the good and reliable reviews rather than just picking random ones on the net. Well, I don’t mind missing a few good titles because I know there are always more other titles to compensate those losses. More over, I don’t want to be in a situation as in a Malay sayings, “Yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendong berciciran” (roughly translated into “you missed what you wanted, you lost what you had“).
I know somebody is gonna call me an elitist or something like that. Well, let hypocrite people do what hypocrite people do, because I know those people are most likely going to hate me since I am mostly right. And whatever you are going to say against me, I am still stand corrected, but at least I have the will to change my mind but of course not without having some ‘awesome’ arguments/debates first. I am just a one of billions of people in the world so you should not be bothered by what I’m saying as they won’t have great effects on everything. I may have some followers who share the same mind with me but for you who don’t like it, mind your own business. This is my way, or rather our way of having fun, just like some of you who are having fun on things that appear to have no fun to us.