This would make a nice figure... o wait...

Four years ago, I was into stuff like the South Park, Futurama, maybe some Friends and Seinfeld once in a while. Sure, I knew about anime – I grew up watching Ranma and Kimagure Orange Road – but if you told me that four years later I’d be speaking Japanese and saying stuff like “fight-o! da yo” or “sonna koto iu hito kirai desu!” I’d probably think you’re crazy and go back to watching Yu-Gi-Oh reruns on the WB.

Ara ara, how people change.

It’s a long and gradual process to go from watching DragonBall on Cartoon Network everyday to getting trapped by Mizuho and Jun – mind boggling, really, considering these days I didn’t even flinch when Viletta busted out, or when Lollie ran around having naked flat-chested tantrums at Werec imouto. It’s quite the opposite, really – much of anime has become so generic and predictable that we revel in these unexpected moments of indiscretion – as I mentioned before in the Code Geass article, these moments have come to define some shows entirely. But I digress…

I think many of you would agree with me when I say there’s a clear split in the anime-watching population: there’s the ones who get excited with every new Naruto and Bleach episode, and those who gave up the ninjas of the whatever leaf and the something-society years ago and moved on to other things. It’s not that shows like Naruto and Bleach are bad – they are rather good at establishing a long list of memorable characters and such, but as one is exposed to a more diverse range of anime, these types of shows tend to drop out of favor.

The thing is, I can’t really argue for one side or the other. When I look at my recent favs, like OtoBoku, Manabi, Tokimeki, and even Kanon, I wonder where I went wrong. At least when I was into Naruto, there was good action and some pretty memorable moments – but now, I’m just getting suckered in by cute girls (and boys) doing stuff that all falls under the category of “cute sh*t.” Needless to say, I was horrified to find myself intently enjoying this new “Getsumen To Heiki Miina” anime, the spin-off from Densha Otoko. Where has my sanity gone? My integrity? In the quest to chart my plummeting taste in anime, I came up with this graph (heavily pixilated for additional melancholic effect):

i'm going insane

So, as you can see, when speaking of how much sanity one is allowed when watching, anime seems to have diversified to span from the very shamelessly worst (Happiness) to the award-winning best (Mai-Otome), especially in recent years. And well, somewhere in the middle of that continuum is a show about Lunar Bunny Weapon Miina with her rocket-propelled carrot hammers weapons that are shot down to earth from a huge facility on moon, psychokinetically requested by a floating kidney-shaped baby with bunny ears and a pacifier. Frankly, I find that less weird, or at least easier to enjoy than ogling a guy with purple hair that gets magically transformed into a pastel-aura pheromone-spewing girl. Not that it doesn’t get me all riled up when Miina transforms into her bunny gear for the first time, though. In the words of Densha’s friends Kawamoto-shi and Matsunaga-shi upon seeing Miina do battle against the evil legions: UUUOoohhhHwaaaahoooohhoohhaaaaaaooooo

I totally agree!

-jaalin

28 Comments

  1. “Thirteen years ago, I was into stuff like the Simpsons, Transformers, Silverhawks, Bravestar, maybe some Night Court and Cheers once in a while. Sure, I knew about anime – I grew up watching Speed Racer, Battle Of The Planets / G-Force, 3×3 Eyes… – but if you told me that thirteen years later I’d be calling for the firing of Hideaki Anno, Mitsuo Fukuda, and Chiaki Morosawa; I’d probably think you’re crazy and go back to watching Yu-Gi-Oh reruns.”

    It’s not really the problem of things changing. If it does, then it’s usually for worse. The problem is that things remain the same. There’s no drive from the industry and its “fanbase” to do anything different.

    Another problem is that there’s over 6 billion people on the planet. AND there’s this big grey area between the Narutards and the Haruhitards. So while some of the masses rate Mai-ZHime “one of the toppest anime out there,” another percentage of the masses see Akane crying as the 3-piece-suit-wearing nazies take Kazuya away. And that’s before Maya tells them both not to do the “H.” (If I was Kazuya, she’s be dead after saying that.)

    Finally, to rate Fukuda’s Gundam series somewhere in the middle of sanity… You should start watching the old UC series up to Victory (despite the bad animation) and spend time watching the Zeta movies. Because, last I checked, sanity’s required to understand the difference between somebody’s life work and someone else’s franchise byproduct.

  2. all i got to say is, i been watching anime for a good 8 years now, and thank god i never truly fallen for the shoujo thing. Seriously, i pretty much like Ouran and Fruit baskets and thats it. ^_^

    So yay me!! *Celebrates*

    *i am obviously being very smug lol ^_

    Elegant Destruction
  3. The graph is amusing. I doubt it is to be taken seriously…?

    Anyways, I think I fall somewhere between you now, and you four years ago. Except that four years ago, AND now, I have had no interest in South Park, Futurama, Friends, or Seinfeld. Most of the rest stands. Heh. ^_^

    cbhl
  4. Way back when, i was into Gundam, DB and YuYu Hakusho. Then i watched Love Hina and everything went south (harem) thereafter. About the only exceptions were FMP, Zegapain & Code Geass which are still technically triangles or harems, ne?

    PassinGass
  5. Like we all say in MY country ” TASTE IS JUST LIKE SOMEBODY´S ASS!!! ” i mean
    ” EVERYONE HAS IT´S OWN!!! ” a simple proverb for a simple pool!!!
    I am at 31 and I almost love all the animes….( sometimes even the ones with BAD stories)and do you know why???? Because sometimes my favorite seiyuus are doing some particular character at the show and I simple don´t want to miss the performance of those seiyuus!!!
    That´s all and with a very simple answer!! 😀
    ( comedy, drama, romance, mecha, action, schoolkids, fiction, haren, horror….etc and even hentai ones).Someday in my future I´ll try to travel to japan just to know the country, and to meet the serious persons that my friend that lives there told me that they are!!!
    That´s why I love SOOOOOO MUUCHHHH their culture just as much as love mine!!!diferent
    things for me means BEAUTY!!!!! 😀

    tensai_otaku
  6. I went from Naruto and Bleach to Haruhi and H+C in a matter of 4 months… Thanks to the Love Hina I watched 2 years ago. ^^

    I can’t believe you’re starting to enjoy Kanon. =O

    And I wished Shiawase would hurry up on Happiness!. I want to enjoy my guilty pleasures (while you take me for insane according to that graph).

    Pakxenon
  7. it’s not a hard transition for me… 4 years ago i had no pc, so i was playing soccer and basketball all day, or sneaking onto my bro’s pc to play warcraft…
    but ever since i got my own pc… things changed…
    i only watch japanese animes and dramas now… even when i dun speak the language… TV is just a decoration in my house (no, i have no tv in my room). everything i like are on the internet, namely soccer stuff and anime…
    well i guess i got absorbed into the japanese culture more than i expected…
    with that said, i think im one of the handful of ppl who are still watching Naruto and Bleach weekly, and also other good animes out there. For some reason, i enjoy watching long-running shows… which is probably why im still watching Detective Conan to this date (currently @ episode 463)
    im curious as to how much anime have u guys in the anime community watched so far?
    well here’s a short list of my own @ http://psychohare.myanimelist.net/

    psychohare
  8. I went from InuYasha and Tenchi just a few years ago to more esoteric anime like Twelve Kingdoms, Ergo Proxy, and Texhnolyze. Our tastes change as we get older and what we find relevant changes too. Naruto I could never get into (though my little cousin loves the show; it’s today’s new Pokemon), while Bleach I still enjoy though not as much as some of the younger folks I know.

    The shows I really look forward to watching include Code Geass, Death Note, Bakumatsu, Le Chevalier D’eon, and Nodame Cantabile. Other shows like Bleach, Pumpkin Scissors, and D.Gray-Man are a nice diversion now and then though I don’t try to look too deeply into their action or meaning. Cute shows like Kanon and Negima?! I should try to give more of a chance but for some reason I have a hard time getting past the loli style type shows.

    Ryuma
  9. How far have we gone, huh? ^^

    Reading this, I need to reconsider my bias against Narutards, shounen, and mecha, among others. I WAS among the Narutards back then, before Love Hina stirred away my interest, and now here I am. :/

    Still, that graph is smack dab sarcasm. XD

  10. I find the graph funy inded it’s just that you should divide Naruto and Naruto-fillers and then you qwould get one higher and one lower oh and where’s bleach I don’t seem to find it ^^

    RickaZ
  11. That’s totally wrong.
    You really need to be insane to watch, and worse, enjoy, stuff like Mai-Hime/Mai-Otome.
    It’s pure nonsense filled with fanservice and cliches. There is no content.

    loufoque
  12. i watched every kind of anime and a huge number of series but
    naruto and bleach are the best in anime history they are something else
    Suzumiya Haruhi is anime that you watch for short time and enjoy it but it never make me exicted
    can i find something like akatsuki or arrancar in any other anime
    and something like the big fights in those shows and they are no dbz
    i know i am crazy with naruto and bleach but believe me i judge by my mind not my love

    qwertypoiuy
  13. Naruto used to be on the top of my list until those damn fillers. I haven’t watched Naruto in about a year in a half, which gave me some time for other anime. Mai-Hime, Otome, Jyu Oh Sei, Initial D (awesome anime), and of course Bleach and GSD. The first anime to broaden my horizons was FLCL. Now I enjoy anime like Welcome to the NHk, Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien, and Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu.
    English dubbed sucks, subs rule…..who am I fooling, give me Sailor Moon, Ronin Warriors, Akira and Vampire Hunter D dubbed any day.

    Jounouchi
  14. =) I’m sooo glad I started with DNAngel. It makes the whole “transition” less de-masculine-izing… But c’mon… Both Da Capos getting such low scores? .__. And AIR too? *sigh* *sniffle*

    Ah well, an amazing article nonetheless. Pretty interesting to see another person’s path through the world of anime. ^^

    Chocobo

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