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Branching Out, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love…

Stilts Out Loud   002   Branch chan (small)

Don’t try this at home.

Before I begin in earnest, all of you should stop and click on the picture to the left. See that glorious, full-sized image there? That was drawn by our very own Stereoman as a special treat for this post. Why? Well, because I’m a massive nerd who thought a Dr. Strangelove reference would be hilarious, provided the boisterous Texan was replaced by a cute anime girl. The unfortunate implications of her riding on a missile-shaped bomb only became obvious later on. So, an added bonus!

Now, I’m sure you all have a few genres you really love, right? I know I do. My absolute favorite is definitely fantasy, as I’ll watch or read almost anything that involves swords, magic, quests, and maybe a good old war or two. Sci-fi is also really high up there, especially when it’s detailed and thought-provoking, as are romantic comedies for the funny things they do to my insides (because of the laughter, you perverts). And speaking of funny things, yes, I do enjoy a good ecchi show…but I’m not the ecchi writer, I swear! *tsun tsun*

So, does this mean that I only watch shows that fit into those genres? NO! And that’s what this post is about. How many of you have a few favored genres which 95% of the shows you watch fall under? Being the smart and attractive RandomC readers that you are, I’m sure you don’t do that…but let’s pretend you do. When we were working on the last season preview, I compiled a list of all the genres that Divine has used over the last few years. Would you like to guess how many there were? 31. Thirty-one different genres. Of course, many shows straddle multiple genres (hur hur hur), but that’s still a lot. Out of those 31 different genres, what gems might you be missing?

Stilts Out Loud   002   Gems (crop)

Gems like this one. Look at that and tell me it’s not awesome. You can’t, right? Exactly!

I can almost hear the skeptics. “Stilts my friend,” they’re saying, “why should I watch shows from genres I don’t like? I don’t like them. It’s right there in the name. Also, you smell.” Ouch guys, seriously. That hurts. Okay, here’s why: yes, you don’t like them. You don’t like them yet. But what about tomorrow? And how can you know truly if you don’t occasionally try?

That’s what my “Branching Out” series will be about. Every time I do one of these, I’ll take one genre – or sometimes a single trope or common plot point – and try to convince you that it’s really not all that bad after all, and you should give those kinds of shows a shot. But for today, I’m going to take a more expansive view and talk about something that I think impacts many people’s enjoyment of every show they watch, even among the genres they already enjoy – inappropriately high expectations.

Now, we all know that too much hype can turn a great story into a good one, a good story into a mediocre one, and a mediocre story into a complete and utter trainwreck. I mean, we all saw what happened to Guilty Crown, right? HAH! But joking aside, this is a legitimate problem. Not everything is going to be a masterpiece, but that’s okay. Different stories are good for different reasons, so all you need to do is focus on those attributes in order to enjoy watching them. If a show looks like it’s a silly harem comedy, that’s alright. It doesn’t have to revolutionize anime as an art form for it to be fun. Sometimes, just being a good story with an enjoyable plot and a few memorable scenes is enough. The key is to go in with the right expectations, so you don’t sit down to watch Ichiban Ushiro no Daimou and expect it to be the next Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Fortunately, we here at Randomc provide you with an excellent tool for figuring this kind of thing out, in the form of the season previews. I know I’ve used Divine’s insights to great effect in the past, and hopefully the rest of us will be able to keep providing those going forward.

Stilts Out Loud   002   No ones perfect (crop)

*reads the season preview for Guilty Crown* Eh, nobody’s perfect.

Okay, so now your expectations are set. Now, go ahead and adjust them downwards a bit. I call this tactic “skeptical optimism.” I go into every show thinking that it can entertain me – I specifically allow for that possibility, and for specific reason – but I stay somewhat doubtful that it actually will. I do this because I would rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed. That’s what skeptical optimism does. That’s why I wasn’t disappointed when Guilty Crown flopped, because I never really expected it to be good in the first place, and why I was so pleased with Ano Natsu de Matteru and Rinne no Lagrange, because they blew my tepid expectations out of the water.

This is a balancing act, of course, and a delicate one at that. You have to make sure not to go too far in either direction, or you’ll end up either opening yourself back up to irrational hype, or becoming so cynical that you’ll never want to try anything new again. I also don’t mean to excuse shows that are genuinely atrocious. All I’m saying is that if you can strike the right balance, you’ll be ready to enjoy all sorts of shows that you wouldn’t even have watched otherwise.

So what do you guys think about Stilts’ Grand Unified Theory of Skeptical Optimism? Is it a good way to approach things, or complete bullshit? Also, feel free to share any stories about your own expectations, such as times you went against the hype and were right, or maybe went along with it and ended up horribly, and perhaps hilariously, wrong. Either way, take it to the comments below! Oh, and remember that if you have any ideas for future topics, you can email them to me at StiltsOutLoud@gmail.com, or message them to me on twitter at @StiltsOutLoud.

Stilts Out Loud   002   Zetsuboushita (crop)

Yes, this post would have been more useful two weeks ago. Zetsubou! Zetsuboushita!!

April 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm
104 comments »
  • April 18, 2012 at 7:08 pmDa5id

    Can we call it Stilts’ GUTSO?

    Anyway, I CAN tell you about a situation where I went into a show knowing nothing about it but expecting a lot: Fate/Zero. I had seen all of the Kara no Kyoukai movies, and heard great things about the other areas of the Nasuverse and figured mixing that with ufotable yet again would be downright phenomenal.

    And what do ya know, it was!

    • April 18, 2012 at 7:44 pmStilts

      Hah! I didn’t even realize it had such a good acronym. Clearly I’m more clever than I thought…or Da5id is. One of the two!

      Yeah, sometimes higher expectations are both warranted and exceeded, Fate/Zero being a good example of that. I still went in not sure on Ufotable (I haven’t watched the Kara no Kyoukai movies…yet!), but they haven’t disappointed yet.

      • April 18, 2012 at 7:58 pmThe Moondoggie

        GUTSO huh? I vote we give it a try. Starting this season?

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:21 pmDa5id

        I AM TEH CLEVRAR ONE. LET ME BLOG A SHOW NAO. LIKE VANGUARD OR UPOTTE. (since everyone has such low expectations, they’ll likely be huge hits!)

        And dude you have to watch Kara No Kyoukai…IN THIS ORDER:

        2, 4, 3, 1, 5, 6, 7

        That’s chronological order.

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:42 pmRakkyo

        @Da5id
        Upotte is a hit for me bro. I mean, I actually learned something about guns. Comes with free moeblobs too.

        How to watch KnK movies actually depends on what you want. If you want to more easily understand the story, watch it in the chronological order. If you want an interesting story, watch it normally.

      • April 19, 2012 at 12:23 amCybersteel

        My blog has a review and some full-length shots of Upotte, RC-style!

      • April 19, 2012 at 3:04 ammundox

        I haven’t watched the Kara no Kyoukai movies
        Goog god man! What are you waiting for?! They are so good…

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:08 pmcancerlad

    Great start to your new diggs, yo. Liked the theme. Wish I had something witty to say, but it would pale before your comedic prose. Thumbs up.

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:16 pmShinmarizu

    I absolutely agree with the second image. Stilts, you have good taste!

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:21 pmpwnzarsaurus

    keep those pics coming! great post!

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:26 pmjrj

    haha, thanks stilts for your insight :)
    we really appreciate your effort to make these fun and informative posts :3
    to do GC some justice… if you are not going to watch the show, at least get OP/ED/OST! the music is absolutely awesome!
    Ichiban Ushiro no Daimou, just like legend of legendary hero, suffers from the multi-directional problem, but I believe the source material are all good…
    now I wish I have more time for anime/manga/LN, instead of finals, papers, presentations, and RL :(

    • April 18, 2012 at 7:48 pmStilts

      Yeah, I still enjoyed Daimou, I was just well aware of its deficits. That Korone, though…oh my :3

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:07 pmcancerlad

        Oh, Korone. You’re snarky cuteness and bunny tail still haunts me.

      • April 19, 2012 at 8:23 amjrj

        am I the only one that likes Junko? but oh well… I got to read the source material one day :)

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:33 pmMasterDragonKnight

    You know, I’m starting to expect semi-ecchi pictures from Stilts with each of his posts.

    Onii-chan no ecchi~

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:02 pmThe Moondoggie

      Stilts plan was to add one for each post until all four are echii pics XD

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:39 pmCroos

    NICE very NICE.
    Well said Stilts. Every anime is not to be expected as the next “……” anime . Every story is different. :)

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:40 pmBass.EXE

    Alright, Stilts, my man. With all these new types of posts, it’s kind of like RC itself is *puts on sunglasses* branching out.

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:59 pmMasterDragonKnight

      Stilt’s favorite genre is fantasy.

      So I guess you can say he is…

      ( •_•)
      ( •_•)>⌐■-■
      (⌐■_■)

      …Living the dream.

      YEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!

      • April 18, 2012 at 10:20 pmprojectnoa

        JAJAJAJAJAJA XD

        Jokes aside, great post Stilts. I have to say i would love to have your writing and entertaining skills.

        Keep them coming. :)

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:40 pmRakkyo

    Exactly the reason why I’m watching 20+ shows this season.

    You and I may be more similar than I thought Stilts.

    Though I did make the mistake of getting hyped up for GC…

    • April 18, 2012 at 11:22 pmmintyroll

      Same here. Although, the only time when I don’t do that is when I don’t have the time.
      I’ve never really been attracted to specific genres of anime so I’m pretty much open to everything and drop ones that lose my interest.

      I’m also guessing I’m one of the rare few that watch Queen’s Blade for the story. There’s rarely any high fantasy anime being made like it which is the main reason why I watch the series. I couldn’t care less for the excessive fanservice. If only they could bring the quality of the plot and characters higher, the series would easily be at the top of my list of favourite anime.

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:42 pmZanibas

    I think you mean…virility? :3

    …wait, that’s a good thing, right?

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:46 pminfo600

    I shall reject your preception (of reality expectation) and substitute my own – a single expectation bar across every broadcasting anime for the cour…

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:48 pmZephyr

    Hmmm. You make a good point on quite the relevant topic, good sir.

    I know a lot of people have many differing views regarding their expectations before deciding to watch an anime and it’s really quite the spectrum. You get people who start with higher expectations than most people… You have people who have lower expectations than most… You have those who just go into a show with no expectations at all. From what I’ve seen though, it’s not necessarily the expectation itself that ends up being the decisive factor of enjoyment. It plays a big part for sure, but there are also other factors like the tendency for viewers to want to compare it to other, similar anime, as well as personal preference/reactions after the fact. The comparisons I feel tend to make views a bit biased and somewhat unfairly negative to the show… and in regards to personal preference, what I mean is that some people are naturally more optimistic/pessimistic than others, some people’s expectation style makes them more prone to not care about certain aspects (like some with naturally above avg. expectations will probably rate the average show higher and let more things slide).

    Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is it’s a really hard topic to talk about and get a real consensus, but I love that you’re putting it out there to discuss regardless. I’d say your way of going about it is probably the “safest way” per se and is a good way to go about it, as it stays as neutral as possible when considering personal preference, but yeah, finding the balance between that fine line is quite difficult. I personally think staying completely objective and not bothering with any expectations/comparisons, and just taking the show at face value is potentially better, but that’s just my opinion. Furthermore, it’s not quite easy to be completely objective either, so… eh. XD

    Anyway, just my two cents.

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:50 pmewok40k

    Well, I usually take the basic premise of the show, confront it with a first few eps and decide, and I usually drop one show or 2 around ep3, to seek the hidden gems of the season (which is RC very helpful with!). My usual pick of genres is from military/sci-fi/swords & sorcery, and the occasional gem that has the genre hidden somewhere within another genre (I’d argue Higurashi despite all its basic horror premise is actually as much sci-fi and military series about bio-weapon research spec ops unit going rogue and resulting mess…). I do not seek out fanservice/ecchi shows , but they do not put me off by being there as long as the narration is sound and characters interesting – one such example is for me Sekirei.

    • April 18, 2012 at 9:46 pmEclipse

      Agreed that RC is a fantastic tool to find the hidden gems. If there’s a show getting raved on at RC that I initially didn’t bother with because it looked like “the same old” of a premise I usually don’t find entertaining, I’ll take that moment to hop on the bandwagon.

      I initially looked over True Tears because it looked like the run-of-the-mill highschool love drama, and midway in, Omni was raving that it was one of the best of the season. I jumped in at that point, and it became one of my all time favourite romance shows.

      However, I can’t wholly invest in your skeptical optimism theory. If you see a show slated to air that features your favourite director, favourite voice actor, favourite composer, etc, then there really isn’t a rational way to convince yourself, “this might be complete and utter garbage! I think I’ll go into expecting it to disappoint”. As optimistic as one’s skepticism might be, the fact that it’s skepticism at all seems to insinuate to me that it’s rooted in an expectation that it has a likely chance it’s going to fail you. That by nature is a negative emotion, and as such, I can’t really call that optimism.

      What you might be talking about is something closer to a blank slate, but that requires little to no preconceptions as to what might happen. I think you have a great approach regarding genres you’ve never tried before, but if you’ve watch 10 tits-in-your-face comedies then your precedent has been set, and if you don’t want more of that humour, it will be hard to want to watch another — unless the RC writers convince their readers it’s something special!!

      So I’m all for branching out, but since I don’t have 12 hours a week to watch anime, I count on you guys to alert us of the sleeper hits that are worthwhile.

  • April 18, 2012 at 7:55 pmThat Bored Shounen

    I go in commando – with no expectations whatsoever. x)
    But maybe that’s why I feel confused after finishing with shows like Madoka Magica, Kara no Kyoukai or Durarara. :S
    Someone help? XD

  • April 18, 2012 at 8:00 pmBenzene

    What anime is the second banner from? The red/green eyes makes me feel like I should recognize it or is it fanart? Btw, thanks for your musings… look forward to reading more!

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:03 pmStilts

      Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. That art isn’t from the show, if that’s why it doesn’t look familiar. Awesome show though :D

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:07 pmBenzene

        Ahhh okay, I knew I had seen it before. I actually dropped Kyoukai Senjou after 5 episodes. I couldn’t make sense of plot :(

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:11 pmThe Moondoggie

        @Ben

        Did you watch it subbed? Watch it with subs that isn’t from Hadena: most people are having a hard time with their subs.

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:19 pmStilts

        Horizon was supposed to be “impossible to adapt,” but Sunrise tried anyway, so that hiccups are understandable. Still, expect a little something special from me when Horizon 2 draws nearer ; )

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:25 pmfragb85

        Its easy to see why Horizon would be difficult the adapt. The narration is chaotic and there is so much useless technobabble that doesn’t add anything. The fact that Sunrise was able to give it some semblance of coherence and make it fun to watch was quite an accomplishment.

      • April 18, 2012 at 10:34 pmZen

        The fact that Sunrise was able to give it some semblance of coherence and make it fun to watch was quite an accomplishment.

        Indeed, and the fact that there were only 12 episodes has a lot to do with it. Horizon’s story is too complex and nuanced to be adapted well into a single, self-contained cour (notwithstanding the upcoming season two). Omissions were inevitable, and that is what hurt the show, turning its story into a mess that is sadly nigh-on incomprehensible without prior knowledge or self-research. As I’ve said many times before, personally I adore this show; its faction mechanics are some of the most complex and theoretically accurate that I’ve ever seen in anime, and the author’s unique conception of love, represented through Toori and Horizon’s relationship challenges traditional romantic notions and attempts to explain what true love really is, beyond all the hormones and fleeting emotions- a convergence of purpose. But as a critic, I just can’t say that it was all that well-produced; if they’d given it two double-cour seasons, I daresay things would’ve gone far better, with more time to flesh out the complex faction mechanics and whatnot- risk adverse investor b*stards; they’ll spend money on something like Guilty Crown, but never on something groundbreaking like this…can’t blame them though, anime’s a business after all; cast the first stone, who’s to say I wouldn’t act the same way in their position…

        On diversity of tastes in spoilertags

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 19, 2012 at 5:01 amJonz

        Why is it considered impossible for Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon to be adapted as an anime? Can someone please explain it?

      • April 20, 2012 at 7:48 amStilts

        @Jonz
        Because the source material is veeeery extensive, meaning that only a fraction of it made its way into the anime. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is a high fantasy epic, so to do it correctly it really should have started out slow (to get in all the world-building / character backgrounds, etc), and then continued with episodes indefinitely until the story ramped up organically.

        Unfortunately, super long-running anime epics like Legend of the Galactic Heroes don’t get made anymore (I doubt they’re economical, due to how much it costs to animate at today’s level of quality), so it was proclaimed “impossible.”

        However, like Mr. Impossible himself, Sunrise made it happen. It might not be perfect, but it’s still a damn good story!

  • April 18, 2012 at 8:02 pmTOP2NE1

    You’re not supposed to explain references son! It defeats the joke.

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:05 pmStilts

      Yes, but…erh, you’re right. Orz

  • April 18, 2012 at 8:20 pmfragb85

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  • April 18, 2012 at 8:21 pmBakaMochi

    Awesome picture, Stereo! :D

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:22 pmverdant

      I was about to say the same thing, haha! (glares at Mochi) Maybe you can design the t-shirts we’re gonna eventually sell someday?

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:26 pmZephyr

        ^

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:30 pmZanibas

        Who needs drawing when our first shirt can be like this! (incoming color joke)
        http://www.outdoorsports24.com/images/product_images/popup_images/13146_2.jpg

      • April 18, 2012 at 8:32 pmBakaMochi

        Hey, hey, don’t hate on me for being fast :P

        As for me, I tend to watch whatever catches my interest, but there’s a higher chance I’ll watch something if: a) it looks nice and b) it has my favorite seiyuu. I guess that’s like my preliminary cut? Then I’ll watch the first episodes of the shows I thought would be up my alley, and decide whether or not to continue. But generally when I watch stuff, I don’t really have any particular expectations… I like being surprised XP

        I know I miss a lot of hidden gems being shallow though, so that’s when I rely on insights from other people to help me see what I missed.

      • April 18, 2012 at 11:16 pmZen

        b) it has my favorite seiyuu

        Finally this issue comes up somewhere so I can talk about it. Seiyuu and production team pedigree are relatively low on my priority list when it comes to forming a pre-premiere impression of a show. The reason for this is because people are dynamic creatures that can change over time (for better or for worse) who always deserve the benefit of doubt. Even if x production team and y seiyuu did a crappy job at z show, that doesn’t preclude the possibility that they might improve over time, or do better at something in a different genre. That’s not to say that these things don’t matter when you’re trying to form an early opinion of a show; good seiyuu and good production team pedigree clearly increase the probability that a show will be good, but it doesn’t do so definitively- nowhere near it, in fact, therefore one cannot preclude the opposing possibilities.

        Anyone who takes these things as absolutes has fallen victim to a kind of genetic fallacy, concluding that a show is good or bad simply because of its origins. As long as I’ve been watching anime, I don’t really have any seiyuu or studio that I’d call my favorite; generally I don’t even bother to look up or pay attention to who’s voicing a certain character; as long as they do a decent job, I’m good. As for the production teams, I tend to just look at what everyone around here has to say about them; if their opinions are good, then it tends to make me more optimistic about a show and vice-versa, but never do I condemn or exalt a show based on that alone…

      • April 19, 2012 at 12:45 amBakaMochi

        I do agree with you and perhaps I should clarify: I don’t judge shows based on production values or seiyuu.

        “But wait! You just said-”

        Yes and no. I said there would be a higher chance I’ll watch something if it had a seiyuu I liked. Doesn’t mean I’ll immediately devalue something just because they aren’t in it. It’s simply an appeal. Conversely I won’t watch something JUST because they’re in it… If I watch a couple episodes and am not interested that’s that. I’m not going to make myself sit through hours of torture just to hear a voice’no mater how velvety it is too my ears; I’d rather spend the time looking for another show to watch :P

        While I don’t personally use production staff pedigrees as a means to judge a show it is a criteria that works for some people so I would be careful in referring to it in such a strong manner. Anime is a diverse medium designed to cater to a variety of tastes… it’s encourage there will be differences in opinion.

      • April 19, 2012 at 12:56 amverdant

        I don’t think you should have waited for someone to bring up seiyuus and show pedigrees for you to address them, since it seems to have caused you to misinterpret what BakaMochi was saying. It makes your reply seem like you’re unfairly responding to something that was never stated or even implied.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not flat out disagreeing with everything you’re saying. All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t feel like you have to wait for others to say something just so you can reply to it. Nothing’s wrong with starting a convo yourself.

        Anyone who takes these things as absolutes has fallen victim to a kind of genetic fallacy,

        That said, your arguments would also be taken a bit more seriously if you didn’t call out someone on an absolute while throwing in an absolute of your own, along with an ad hominem attack as well.

      • April 19, 2012 at 2:02 amZen

        @Bakamochi

        I’m truly sorry if you perceived my comment as a criticism directed at you personally, that was not at all what I intended. I merely wanted to address the issue of seiyuu and pedigrees because your comment happened to bring it up. My statements were meant to be general and overarching bits of information, and not directed towards you at all; I did understand that you didn’t treat them as absolute factors, I just wanted to put out my views on the matter because what you wrote reminded me of them. The thought process that was going through my head when I was writing that comment was, in fact, quite the opposite of what it evidently appeared to be; I was really impressed with how you didn’t take them as absolutes. ;)

        @Verdant

        Chill dude, clearly there’s been a miscommunication here; I’m truly sorry if you perceived me bringing up this issue right after Mochi brought it up as a form of a circumstantial ad hominem attack against her “biases.” Like I said above, I didn’t mean to criticize Mochi at all, if anything I was impressed by her lack of bias; I just meant to make general overarching statements about seiyuu and pedigrees. I was well aware of the fact that she doesn’t take seiyuu and pedigrees as absolutes, the comment was addressed at anyone who would like to know about my views on those things; it was not meant as a criticism directed towards Mochi (or anyone else for the matter), it was merely meant as a general statement to inform, as is almost everything else I comment on around here.

        Anyone who takes these things as absolutes has fallen victim to a kind of genetic fallacy.

        And I do suppose that you’re right in saying that this statement is patently false without a qualifying appendage saying “…unless they somehow by chance happen to be right.” The only absolute is that there are no absolutes, after all…Peace, bro ;)

      • April 19, 2012 at 2:33 amCybersteel

        I judge shows by the amount of ecchi scenes in the first episode, op and ed.

    • April 18, 2012 at 9:19 pmMrRei

      That picture says “Don’t try this at home“… but… (>_>)

    • April 19, 2012 at 12:31 amStereoman

      Thank you so much for the kind words ;o;

      And Stilts: This is an amazing post! I, pretty much like you, don’t set my expectations too high for shows. Looking forward to your next post! :]

  • April 18, 2012 at 8:26 pmahelo

    I like setting high expectations because its very sweet when it actually delivers. Though it does hurt a lot when it fails terribly (Guilty Crown).

  • April 18, 2012 at 8:38 pmbertman4

    You call it “skeptical optimism” but I’ve always called it “pessimistic optimism.” I’ve gone into many shows expecting to be disappointed but hoping to not be. Some expectations are correct while others are not. But I think the most pleasurable are the ones where you pick up a series on a whim (for me last season’s Ano Natsu is one such series) and it ends up being great. So yeah, keeping an open mind (regardless of genre or hype or recommendations) will net your more viewing pleasure than sticking to your bread and butter.

    Good first post Stilts. Looking forward to future ones.

    • April 18, 2012 at 9:53 pmKoroshiyaKi

      I just call it adjusting expectations.

    • April 19, 2012 at 2:32 amDivine

      The term I’ve been using in my season previews for some time now is “cautiously optimistic”.

  • April 18, 2012 at 9:41 pmLightnDark

    I simply call it managing expectations. Nowadays I feel that people simply expect too much whenever it comes down to watching anime, especially if it is hyped because of X reasons.

    GC: Was a prime and note worthy example. It’s hype readings were off the charts and when it failed to deliver people started bashing it non-stop week after week. Personally it did disappoint me as well but not to the point where it was cringe-worthy to stop watching or start hating on it.

    Blood C: This..I did not even make it past episode 3 (I do know action picks up from the next episode onwards), somehow I did not even resume watching it when things are finally happening, in the end even the ending was a bit of a big ?

    Ano Natsu: I “expected” this series to be cliche, but episode one just blew me out of the water and save a couple of differing opinions, the majority agrees that this is beautifully done.

    At the end of the day, it still comes down to having expectations, which is inevitable. What we can do however is to manage them, I personally don’t have high hopes, since I prefer pleasant surprises whenever I watch a new series. (TOxA comes to mind)

    When a series does not turn out the way we quite expect it to, just accept it and try to look at it from a different angle, or lower the expectations. If it is still unacceptable then simply drop it. No need to start hating.

  • April 18, 2012 at 10:07 pmjoce

    yes! I totally agree with trying out new genres
    Flashback to 2 years ago when I only watched romantic comedies and the occasional fantasy
    Now I’m trying almost every series each season! (except ecchi which ain’t my thing at all)
    I may not end up watching every series but I try to watch the first 2 episodes to see if they’ll whet my appetite for more (:

    That said, those older series that you decided against watching? Maybe its time to give them another chance (:

  • April 18, 2012 at 10:19 pmxRichard

    expect a little something special from me when Horizon 2 draws nearer ; )

    Can’t wait for that.

    Horizon may be the most under-appreciated, miss-judged, under-watched hidden gem (not so hidden in Japan) of the last few years.

    • April 18, 2012 at 10:26 pmArcad

      lol damn, i looked into this series after reading this. My response: How the hell did I miss this? It would have been right up my alley, lol I know what Im doing this weekend.

  • April 18, 2012 at 11:05 pmMissingnomer

    I think skiptical optimism is the way to go about watching anime. You got it right Aneki, don’t have high standards because the reality is that no story concept can warrent a “This is going to be a great show!” Feel. I really enjoy reading these kinds of posts so keep it up Aneki! You have a big thumbs-up from your Otouto from Hawaii.

    A side note….just wondering…have you taken a shower recently Aneki? :)

    • April 19, 2012 at 12:12 amKoroshiyaKi

      You’re from Hawaii too huh. Yo.

  • April 18, 2012 at 11:35 pmMisa

    I thought the same thing about Rinne, I wasn’t expecting to like it but I’m uually open minded when it comes to shows, so I decided to give it a shot anyway. By the end of the first season, I ended up really liking it.^^ So, I totally agree with you there.

  • April 18, 2012 at 11:54 pmD-LaN

    Well, maybe now is the time I should made myself see some other type of shows…. (Hmmm…Uchuu Kyoudai and Sakamichi no Apollon…. Nyarko-san….)

    But there are just some show tht I just can’t get into becuz I did not watch the 1st season/part 1 (Lupin III, Eureka Seven), too extreme for my taste (Upotte, Nazo no Kanojo X) or just not suitable for me to watch (i.e. kid shows, its not tht I don like them, but I just don watch anymore but will tk a peek when I hv free time). But yeah, skeptical optimism is needed for watching anime.

    Speaking of which, is Horizon good ‘cuz I dropped it on the 1 st ep…. Also, I recently bought the Kara no Kyoukai DVD after watching F/Z S1, and I think its a bit too graphic for my taste….. (I am halfway at 2nd movie) Will there be any typical T-M “stuff” in it???

  • April 19, 2012 at 12:26 amCybersteel

    My plan for watching anime is to sit through all the anime for the season and start dropping after 3 episodes of each.

  • April 19, 2012 at 12:49 amDavetheZombie

    This post best describes why I enjoy reading RandomC so much. Some of the aniblogger I check out nowadays seem to be filled with so much pessimism and negativity. RandomC writers strike a nice balance when they write about the shows. It’s nice to hear a balance of what a show does right and what a show does wrong, rather than just ruthlessly bashing a show for all its flaws. I try to go into most shows with an open mind, sharing some of that optimism that a show has the potential to be great. Though, all I really ask for is that it’s entertaining.

  • April 19, 2012 at 1:25 amFT5Havok

    So is STILTS like the BIG BOSS now here in Randomc?

    • April 19, 2012 at 1:38 amDivine

      No, not when he’s making a lot of jokes at my expense (…even if they are amusing).

      • April 19, 2012 at 1:47 amDa5id

        A wild Divine appeared!

        Da5id used a Master Ball!

      • April 19, 2012 at 1:48 amMrRei

        ^ This guy is the boss! Everyone’d best remember that or he’ll make you say goodbye to solid food! XD

      • April 19, 2012 at 1:53 amDa5id

        I’m the boss?!

        YATTAAAAAAAAAA

      • April 19, 2012 at 1:59 amCybersteel

        I’m pretty sure everyone @IRC is making jokes at Divine’s expense.

      • April 19, 2012 at 2:51 amMrRei

        *slaps Da5id*
        You’re no boss! The Divine is boss..
        Shooting lasers out of eyes = boss!

    • April 19, 2012 at 6:40 amStilts

      Big boss? As much as I’d like to agree, not really. I’m probably more like the jester, heh. Fortunately, that means I get to make fun of the king without getting my head lopped off, nishishi~ :3

      • April 19, 2012 at 7:41 amCherrie

        I think onii-chan is the only one who can poke fun at Divine without getting scolded at =P

      • April 19, 2012 at 8:51 amCroos

        I guess we have the same job now. :3
        Jester

        Runs away before the adroid sensor detects him

    • April 19, 2012 at 9:18 amCroos

      And here I was expecting someone to say “Oh, so is Verdant in charge now.”. But I guess it didn’t turn out that way then.

  • April 19, 2012 at 2:43 amCrook

    Ecchi Master Stilts continues to take all the attention… I like it :}
    Nice job on the art Stereoman, do you maybe have a DeviantART account worth checking out? :)

    • April 20, 2012 at 4:44 amStereoman

      Thank you so much for the kind words. ;o;
      I do have a deviantArt gallery but it’s definitely not worth checking out.

  • April 19, 2012 at 2:57 amRockmanshii

    Like someone else said, I’m also surprised. I didn’t know we had such similar views about that Stilts.

  • April 19, 2012 at 3:58 amarcanes

    After Haruhi, everything KyoAni related had me like – oh man this is gonna be huge!!! but later, after growing up a little, I became like Stilts and I always go with somewhat unbiased expectations and I try not to be too critical on little things and try to give shows a chance before making judgement on them.
    Also, I have RandomC to send before me to do battle on all the shows I’m not sure about :)
    Great post Stilts keep it coming.

  • April 19, 2012 at 4:20 amn0216332

    this sceptical optimism sounds like a good idea, but how does one lower their expectation O_o? if the trailer looks awesome people are going to hype it. afterall, it’s why trailers are there for i guess.

    • April 19, 2012 at 6:43 amStilts

      Conscious thought, practice, and experience. You have to remember other times where you got hyped up and were wrong and tell yourself “Wow buddy, hold on now. This could be another of those. It looks good (for X, Y, and Z reasons), but there’s still a lot that might not work out. I better take it easy and just wait and see.”

      …something like that!

  • April 19, 2012 at 4:21 amMian

    Man, you hit the right spots there. One thing I really unfavored in anime nowadays is the original ending from the anime producer. Like ore imo and mahou sensei final anime… Why you made it bad while it can be good? Well, definitely some of them are good too…

  • April 19, 2012 at 4:28 amsaviourshadow

    cool

  • April 19, 2012 at 5:01 amshamaticgrl

    I totally agree. I’m the type that rarely follows the crowd and like to stick to my own. I sometime use that strategy whenever I venture out of my genre…once a year and Clannad was the very first. Waited to all the hype was gone and finally sat down thinking it’ll be like any other boring highschool romance stories. Fortunately, I was proved wrong 100% and cried my eyes out.

    BTW, I love the pics *o* ECCHI ATW!

  • April 19, 2012 at 5:14 amasba1991

    I agree but sometime it can be pretty hard. Giving something you dont like a chance can be challenging. But if you did give it chance and it turns out to be good, it can blew your mind. So far, I experience this moment like two times.

    The first was TTGL, back when i only watch shounen anime and rarely watch mecha anime especially super robot anime. At first I thought it is the most stupidest anime ever but BAM! *Giga Drill Break right in the face*, it is super-duper awesome and ends up being one of my favourite.It also caused me to watch my other favourite, Getter Robo Armageddon.

    Another one is Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, back when I see mahou shoujo genre as a some sissy girly crap. I give it a chance and BAM! *Starlight Breaker right in the balls*, it also ends up as my favourite anime.

    tl;dr : Sceptical optimism is hard (and painful) but can have very pleasant result…

  • April 19, 2012 at 6:27 amMason

    This doesn’t even strictly apply to anime, works just as well with tv/movies in general, music, gaming, etc.

    I’ve been having the “skeptical optimism” mindset for years. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

  • April 19, 2012 at 6:50 amYes!@

    This is interesting discussion I have watched anime for years. The way I used approach it was by type. My favorite is romance. I hate shounen and detest giant robot mecha. Well thru the years by talking to people and reading around I started giving others types a chance. Did watch stuff I never considered before, some were good some were bad. I never expect years ago to fall for Saki and Chihaya like I did. Oh my GOd! Divide you remember Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin !!! Best drama story ever !!!

    The way I go now is every season I watch every show episodes 1-3 and make my own desicion what to drop what or what to follow. I try to avoid the buzz and waves of the net. If I like it I watch it no matter how much banter the show can get. Yes I have drop series that turn out to be gems. I keep them in my to watch the queue. But my real joy is to watch under appreciated shows that turn out to be gems. Like Campanella de la Bendicione. That little show was so hearth warming or fighters: Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls was such a treat to watch also Ikkitousen (Ryofu Housen is my waifu).
    So I don’t try to close my watch list any more and give almost everything a chance to win me over.

  • April 19, 2012 at 9:28 amDusk

    I used to only watch shows from genres that I like, until Divine started recommending shows that he watches but aren’t blogged on the site in the “First Impressions” posts. I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to try one episode, and that’s when I decided to start taking chances. Nowadays, I watch almost 80% of the shows in each season. And I started following seiyuus too (Also due to Divine’s influence).

    Which reminds me… Why aren’t there any first impressions of shows that aren’t being blogged anymore? Shining Hearts, Queen’s Blade: Rebellion, Sengoku Collection, Upotte!!, to name a few. Or does none of the writers here watch these shows?

    • April 19, 2012 at 11:11 amStilts

      We intended to do those, but the newer writers are still getting a feel for their weekly posts, and us (slightly) older ones just sucked this season =X

      • April 20, 2012 at 3:37 amDusk

        I just had an idea. How about a corner where the readers discuss among themselves about the anime highlights of the week? People could inform their fellow readers about shows that are particularly good or bad for that week, and recommend shows to others who aren’t watching it.

        For example, last season I wanted to recommend the 6th ending song of InuXBoku SS, but could not find an appropriate place to do so. This season, I’d hope to recommend the ending song of Shining Hearts to the other readers here, but my hopes are dashed.

        Writers (like yourself) probably wouldn’t need to provide much input besides bringing up certain aspects (i.e. choreography, animation, songs) of an episode that got their attention, so as to give the readers a direction for their various discussion. This would definitely make it less of a chore and make this weekly corner more feasible, even with the usual obligations.

        Hopefully, you’ll be able to see this post and give this proposal a proper consideration with your fellow staff. Since I’m posting this so late, I fear that you will miss this post, even with the “bolded” first sentence, which I had hope would grab people’s attention.

  • April 19, 2012 at 10:35 amdoctormo

    I think this philosophy has always been the hallmark of RC. Without RC, I would have never watched Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and other shows that exist outside my bailiwick. This site covers so many genres and do it very extensively. The number of new contributors, we only help to enrich and strengthen this viewpoint.

  • April 19, 2012 at 10:37 amdoctormo

    Oops… I meant, “The number of new contributors will only help to enrich and strengthen this viewpoint”.

  • April 19, 2012 at 10:47 amAniya

    This could be interesting if you applied such an open-minded and tolerant stance towards anything that supposedly looks like it would appeal to female audiences/fujoshi/BL fans/whatever as well. There’s an incredible amount of double standards within the anime community and I do hope that you’ll truly branch out and be diverse with your picks.

    • April 19, 2012 at 11:21 amStilts

      Funny you say that, I’ve actually wanted to do that more. As a creative writer, I don’t have any problems climbing into a female main character’s head and looking at things from their point of view (I’ve got to do it to write my female characters, so I’m used to it), so why not? Mind you, I don’t think I can go all the way to yaoi (I’m a straight male, so the two guys kissing isn’t exactly entertaining for me), but I don’t think other female oriented shows wouldn’t be a problem.

      In fact, I consider Inu x Boku SS a slight example of this, as I found myself watching it more from Ririchiyo’s point of view than I ever did from Miketsukami’s. That didn’t feel strange for me at all, so once again…why not?

      Now I just need to find the time to actually do that, lol

  • April 19, 2012 at 11:22 amGhostalker

    Reading this, I realize how terrible an anime viewer I am…

    Why?

    Because “most” of the time, the reason I ever tried watching a show is because of “that” attractive female character in the promotional art, this regardless whether its sci-fi, romance, comedy, fantasy, etc, etc,..

    Simply put it, female characters are my main “prerequisite”

  • April 19, 2012 at 1:17 pmPot Noodle

    Interesting post. I can tell you what immediatly comes to mind for myself. Chihayafuru. A series based around a card game can’t possibly be any good right?

    I’d already read a couple of the posts on RandomC about the show, but still wasn’t convinced. Finally not having anything to do one night I decided to give it a shot. From then on I was hooked, and each week found myself cheering the cast on. Easily one of my favourite shows. I will miss my Taichi Tuesdays…

    To think I might have just passed by such a jem out of sheer ignorance!

  • April 19, 2012 at 1:23 pmgungnir

    So here we have Onii-chan’s first order…. eh I mean suggestion to how to approach new genres of Anime. I do agree a bit as I was never really a romance/school life/ genre person but changed my mind after Clannad and Angel Beats. School Days was a… interesting adaption too. Though I find using logic approach to Anime a big too exhausting sometimes, my God Guilty Crown fried my brain on that. Sometimes one just need to watch something new just for the experience and a fresh feeling, and hey you never know, you might just like it.

  • April 20, 2012 at 7:54 amSynchronicity

    Genres? Please do not tell me you are gonna bring yaoi into this….

  • April 20, 2012 at 9:24 amDCLXVI

    After seeing this, I’m reminded of a quote I saw a few days ago: “We hate some persons because we do not know them; and we will not know them because we hate them.”

    I agree with the concept of branching out, but I go about it in a different way. I think it’s better to have as few expectations as possible for any show. I say “as few as possible” because it’s quite impossible for a person to have absolutely no expectations—unless it’s your first time being exposed to moving pictures.

    While I do try to look at reviews, trailers, PVs and whatnot for individual shows so I can see what I’m getting into, I’m an adherent of the Just Watch It doctrine when it comes to genres. What I mean by this is that when you have no prior experience with a certain genre, I think it’s better to simply jump into it — in fact, it’s better when you have no experience with the genre, because you can expect anything to happen, which means that you have no concrete or definite expectations, which means that your viewing experience is less biased, which means that you can better appreciate the show on its own merit.

  • April 20, 2012 at 1:33 pmNaYa

    With my OCD, I tend to force myself to finish a series once I start watching/reading, because I can’t stand not knowing how it progresses or ends. It has to be REALLLy bad, completely deviate from its main appeal or get too repetitive for me to drop it. (like how Air Gear’s plot just fell apart and simply became eye-candy manga or Conan had the same old formula over and over x 100)

    I enjoy any and every genre as long as it’s enjoyable to my standard (emphasis on personal standard) be it mahou shoujo, battle, mecha, horror, slice-of-life, harem (yes, even females enjoy ecchi harem series) or even ecchi zombie masou-shoujo. Having been fully exposed to all these things makes parody animes much more enjoyable because it helps me ‘get’ the in-jokes. (It was sad that I was the only one who laughed at the ‘Tetsuko’ reference while watching Excel Saga with friends, among others)

  • April 21, 2012 at 10:19 pmNexus

    I have a quick question seeing as how we are discussing guilty crown in here. Why is it not in the popular series thing at the top of RC? I mean every episode had over 200 + comments and over 15,000 views. The drop down is called popular series and not top rated. Soo… yeah just really curious.