Everyone has their own mental checklist that they go through when they are deciding how much they like an anime; some people have an extremely strict view on what series are worth their time while others have absolutely no filters whatsoever. I am no exception to this, and have my own ideas about what truly sets one anime apart from the rest.
For me personally, I believe that all series can be judged on a universal scale that is done without bias, and that there are obvious traits that make some shows stand high above others. With this in mind, I think that most people in the anime community that I have seen hold skewed thoughts about what a good anime is, and are too stubborn to change their minds. I wanted to share some of the major flaws that I find in their thinking, and expose the largest proponents of bias that I see within most people because I believe that removing outside influential factors will allow you to further analyze a show with a different view than before.
1). Nostalgia, or better known as the misconception that “all old anime are the best”
Now most otakus and weeaboos above the age of thirty may try to argue with this, but let me at least explain myself. Anime has developed and changed tremendously since it was extremely popular in the 80’s and 90’s, and along with that comes shows that are so blatantly dated. I mean if you look at the graphics from shows that were famous back in the day such as Ranma 1/2 and Akira it’s almost like taking a time machine into the dinosaur ages. This is not to say that shows with terrible animation are bad, but instead to point out that technology has advanced over the years.
At the very definition of the word “nostalgia” is where I feel that you cannot judge the quality of an anime; Google says that it means to have a “sentimental longing for the past”. Having a biased mindset before or after watching a series actually taints the lens in which you watch it, giving you a review that is more positive than it should be. Ever wonder why there are so many thirty five year old anime fans that swear with their lives that Dragon Ball Z is the greatest anime of all time? Pure, twisted nostalgia. This also produces a lack of understanding of the rest of what anime offers and honestly makes people very stubborn. I mean, these guys won’t even try shows that are extremely similar like One Punch Man simply because it is not DBZ.
I can relate to this group of people somewhat because I still hold the original Pokemon dear to my heart. Now I can say now that I have watched masterpieces like Anohana and Madoka Magica that my tastes when I was a young kid were horrible. I sometimes watch reruns of the first few episodes of the Indigo League arc, getting a rush of the past and remembering my fire for those amazing creatures, while also knowing that the anime itself is trash. I still love Pokemon so much, yet I have no fear in mentioning how terrible it is.
2). Fan service (Sexual Content)
Similar to nostalgia, fan service has the persuading power to grab a tight hold of your sexual feelings, manipulate them, and increase your opinion about an anime that would normally be viewed as garbage. I used to be a porn addict back in my dark past, and one of those shows that always had me hooked was Kis X Sis. My corrupted self always used to lust over the lolita girls, and envy how lucky the protagonist Riko Suminoe was for having the absolute attention of his cute step sisters. Obviously my mind was not thinking straight, and now as a recovering addict who has stayed away from these shows for a while I have a new perspective on the show: it was absolutely God-awful. Plenty of other “popular” shows (apparently male otakus are major perverts) suffer from this same problem such as High School DXD and Bible Black.
Now some people out there may argue with me and explain that fan service does have a place in defining how good a show is because it is heavily tied to the comedy aspects in a lot of series; I can agree with this logic to a point. Although I don’t find it funny or endorse it, the first few shows that used this cliché receive all the credit for inventing this sexual merge into comedy. However, almost all contemporary shows in today’s culture try these same boob grabs and panty shots, which make for some annoying repetition. It’s literally the same thing as hearing the “why did the chicken cross the road joke” every time you watch an anime, and I think that everyone would smash their TVs if that happens. Besides, if nobody can stand hearing one joke without sexuality, why can people suddenly handle comedy with it? This begs the question of the viewer’s motives, and by this it is very clear that they are rooted in solely desiring to watch this ecchi content.
It’s pretty easy to be caught into this trap of only watch viewing shows with a ton of porn content, but it really isn’t all that anime has to offer. Fan service is only present for producing companies to make money, and to take advantage of the sexuality of many males across Japan and other countries.
3). ONLY SHONEN ALLOWED!
Now before we begin with this portion, I want to name the top seven anime on Crunchyroll’s collection of shows by views and list the specific genre(s) that they fall under:
- Naruto Shippuden: Shonen, Action, Comedy
- One Piece: Shonen, Action, Comedy
- Fairy Tail: Shonen, Action, Comedy
- GATE: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
- Haikyuu: Shonen, Action, Sports
- ERASED: Mystery, Supernatural, Psychological
- Gintama: Shonen, Action, Comedy
Doesn’t this seem like such a creative list? Such diversity, right? I want to make this clear before I go any further: I have no problems with shonen anime. In fact, I absolutely LOVE them! Hunter X Hunter 2011, Fullmetal Alchemist, Durarara, and many others are shows that are some of my favorites. However, it is very clear that the anime community has an issue with being so hooked on one genre of anime. Now, this may sound extremely radical and crazy, but did you know that there are other genres of anime out there?! No way?! Seriously though, there are some other fantastic series that easily beat out every show on Cruncyroll’s most viewed, yet they do not gain the attention they deserve because they are not technically shonen.
This is why I am so pleased that a shows like ERASED were able to gain so much popularity without having to mimic the rest of its competitors. No joke, this show is beating Bleach, RWBY, and many other highly acclaimed anime because it offers the qualities of a masterpiece. One Punch Man is another amazing show that I praise greatly, mostly because it addresses all of these problems that I have noticed while mixing it into an amazing plot and hilarious comedy.
I would highly suggest to revaluate the anime that you watch and remember the ones that you have seen with a new perspective. Try eliminating all bias in your otaku binge watching, and I gurantee that you will develop a new way of thinking like I have.