If you can’t tell by now, I tend to be garrulous, verbose, and rather redundant when I’m trying to make a point (probably comes with teaching, being long-winded and all that). In fact, when I first sit down to write an editorial, I typically spew out pages of material in a short amount of time, but this verbal diarrhea is messy, unorganized, rambling, and not really enjoyable to read (I already get several TLDR comments on the articles I have published so far, not that I really care about that). This article, in fact, was originally drafted as 7 pages with 0.5 margins, and I wrote it in about an hour. It has since taken me a week to cut it down to the following, which is still probably too long for a lot of you, but that’s how I write, so tough noodles.

Omni recently wrote about Code Geass R2’s low television ratings. And while I couldn’t care less what a large number of Average Joe’s and Josephina’s amassed into a mindless herd-like mob collectively think about a show I like (regardless of whether they are Japanese or American), I did start to wonder why I STILL have episodes 9 and 10 sitting unwatched on my hard drive.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love Code Geass (both the first season and the current one). With all the different genres of anime, I tend to lean towards large and epic plots with characters developing over several episodes (or dying thereafter), smartly written edge-of-your-seat cliffhangers, and a decently conclusive ending. The problem is that such shows often require a certain amount of intelligence and brain power to fully understand and enjoy them.

Before we descend into the immaturity that is calling someone too stupid to appreciate a show, let’s just acknowledge the fact that NOBODY is always capable of processing mentally intensive information ALL the time. I am sure you have found yourself at one point sleep-deprived, maybe from marathoning an entire 26-episode classic anime series your friends have been bugging you to watch, such that even though the latest episode of Code Geass R2 (or whatever plot-intensive anime you recently watch) came out, you just can’t quite find the energy to A) stay awake while trying to watch it or B) fully appreciate and enjoy it, so you opt to watch it with a fresh mind after some sleep.

Thus, it’s not hard to extrapolate the same reasoning for someone who is dead tired after a long day of work. Let’s say you woke up at 5AM, scrambled to put together a lecture and an experiment before your class started, yelled at some unruly students during class, dealt with some students who were complaining about their grades after class, met with some parents of some bad students to discuss ways to resolve the problems, attended a boring after-school faculty meeting where the principal went on and on about teamwork, graded 125 pages of homework, fought rush-hour traffic to get home, and (after dinner) decided to try to relax and unwind by watching some anime. You have your choice of the intellectually-stimulating-yet-mentally-exhaustive Real Drive or the refreshingly-cute-eye-candy-with-a-plot-thiner-than-Kate-Moss To LOVE-Ru. Me? (considering who the hypothetical situation described above is most directly applicable to) I’d go with To LOVE-Ru. And it’s not that difficult to change the job scenario to something that is more applicable to your situation; you could even make it a school scenario with Final Exams time.

ON THE SOAPBOX (even more so than normal)

Oh, but if you’re the type of student who pours all their mental energy into watching and enjoying such intellectually stimulating shows such that you have so little brain power left to finish an assignment or do a test well (if at all), then you have no right to complain if you get a grader lower than what you wanted. The same applies to an employee who doesn’t do their job right and gets berated by their boss, gets their paycheck cut, or gets fired – you don’t have a right to complain if you don’t put sincere effort into your work. I find it ridiculous that there are FANS who frequently stay up all night watching anime, such that they are regularly late for work, and, as a result, lose their job (and then have the audacity to complain about it).


This is what happens when you watch anime (or play eroge) all night long…

So, all we have to do now is take the argument further and apply it to people who don’t want to HAVE to think when they are being entertained. My wife is a good example of this. While neither of us would call her an anime fan whatsoever, she did enjoy watching CardCaptorSakura, Angelic Layer, Kare Kano, and Fruits Basket (so much so that she had me buy the DVDs for her), and she does help me make cosplay, as her sewing skills far exceed mine (I mostly make props). But when I showed her Neon Genesis Evangelion, I think she made it through 2 DVDs, before she called it quits.

Me: But we’re getting to the good parts. Just give it one more DVD.
Wife: No, it’s too confusing. I don’t get it. What are the angels exactly? And why aren’t they pretty with white feather wings?
Me: Well, we don’t really know – it’s kinda left up to interpretation, but they symbolize-
Wife: And who’s the bad guy? Is it NERV? Is it Shinji’s dad? And what’s this about SEELE?
Me: Well, you’ll find out about it later, but that’s part of the intrigue of the conspiracy in the st-
Wife: Half the time I can’t tell what they’re talking about, because there’s no context!
Me: You just have to take in the scene and remember it for later. It comes into play later.
Wife: That’s too much work.
Me: All you have to do is think.
Wife: I don’t want to think. I want to be entertained.

When a show becomes so “intellectually driven” that it exceeds the viewer’s desire to output that much mental effort, then watching it becomes work and not fun, just like trying to give every single character in Final Fantasy VII their own set of every single type of Master Materia or trying to get a triple star rating on all the courses and in all the different difficulties in Mario Kart Wii (yes, I’m still WORKING on both of those). In terms of why I haven’t watched the latest episodes of Code Geass R2, I find myself feeling the need to go and watch the previous episode, especially because we had a week without Code Geass. With each episode being so heavy and full of plot (with possible exception to the occasional school episode), there was just so much information to remember that I sometimes need a refresher (which is why I often rely on episodic summaries, like Omni’s, to help me out).

I’m not ashamed to admit that I fell off the Da Capo train after a few episodes in the first season of the first Da Capo, and now, there’s no way I can get back on it for the second season of the second iteration

This also explains why it’s so hard to get people interested in a show with a complex plot that requires a lot of thinking to sort through, ESPECIALLY if the show is already running. I’m sure you’ve experienced this feeling if you’ve tried to get people to watch (or you’ve tried to watch yourself) 24, Lost, or Heroes after the first few episodes (or seasons) have already aired. The same would apply to a series like Code Geass R2, which has an entire first season as necessary background to know. And so, the show loses ratings by possibly alienating new fans from starting to enjoy the show, as well as potentially temporarily losing old fans who are too tired from work or whatever to watch it.

But you know what? There’s really nothing wrong with that.

The problems occur when people get arrogant or in-your-face about their preference in entertainment (this part of the editorial is dedicated to long-time readers of Random Curiosity; they SHOULD be able to figure out what “drama” I’m touching upon here, but I’m going to behave and not make a link to the incident).

It’s easy to see how someone who enjoys the thought-provoking shows finds people who cannot enjoy them to be of less intelligence. It’s just not very nice to view such people in that way, much less say it to their face. Reviewers, critics, and even bloggers have to tread the fine line of showcasing their opinion without necessarily insulting their readers…unless it’s funny or entertaining, which (I must say with false smugness) I am a master of. Saying, “The plot is so predictable, there is hardly any plot at all,” is different from, “The plot, such as it is, is complete trash and drivel,” which is ALSO different from, “Anyone who enjoys the plot and thinks it’s captivating must ride the short bus.”

It goes both ways, though. Fans of slice-of-life shows or there-for-eye-candy shows need to not be so critical of or, more accurately, rude to those who enjoy the intellectual shows. Interestingly enough, these types of FANS do not tend to be snobby about their preference, but rather, as a reflection of their tastes, they tend to be annoying as they revel over their shows, inundating their posts and comments with frat boy-like cat calls, which for anime and the internet typically results in comments like “pwned” and “desu desu desu.” “Pull the Pocky stick out of your ass and lemme enjoy whats I likes,” is different from, “Those kind of thinking shows are boring,” which is different from, “You like what you like, and I like what I like. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Everyone has their own voice and tolerance levels of criticism, so the best solution would be to present one’s opinion fairly and in a balanced fashion. And in my opinion, both sides need to every now and then taste a sampling of the genre they have decided is not really for them. You cannot criticize something you haven’t even tried out, and while genres help us classify a type of show, really good shows blur those boundaries, such that even if it looks like a type of show you wouldn’t normally like, you might just end up surprised. Isn’t trying new things better than pigeon-holing yourself up in a box of safety and ignorance? After all, this lack of fear to remain constrained by what is canon allows us to ship characters we’d LIKE to see together, even if they will never become romantically involved in the actual story.

Trying someone something new and different from what you’re used to can be surprisingly delicious

But, fine, you don’t want me preaching to you on what anime you should like (which I’m not), how you should be open-minded to try all sorts of shows (which I am), or how you should voice your opinion fairly and receive other’s opinions nicely about shows (which is rather ironic, considering that this is an editorial – and I can already see the comments that are going to call my a hypocrite…). So, as an editorial, let me just leave you with how I personally classify and prioritize shows, based on my tastes and lifestyle:

These are shows that I need to sit down and concentrate on when watching. They need my full and undivided attention, because they’re like bratty little buggers who will throw a hissy fit if I’m not paying attention, and by hissy fit, I mean the story will convolute in such a way that I am left bewildered as to where the plot is, where it was, and where it’s going. Often, though, ESPECIALLY in the case of good shows, whatever they’re doing is awesome enough that my attention is regularly glued to them. However, it can still be difficult to give them the attention they need on little sleep or energy, so I must prepare for them like I would prepare to go to the movies or, perhaps, how I would prepare to take a test. Examples: Code Geass, Real Drive, Ghost in the Shell.

These are shows that I can watch while eating, and sometimes while grading something simple like multiple choice tests. They’re like a good kid who you can leave to their own devices, because you know they won’t do something stupid like stick a fork in an electric outlet, but every now and then they do something cool, such that your attention is naturally drawn to them. And since I have taken courses in Japanese at the university level, these types of shows often have fairly simple dialogue without too many complex words or technical jargon, thus allowing me to understand what is going on even without reading subtitles 100% of the time. Examples: Kanokon, Kamen no Maid Guy, Shugo Chara.

These are shows I can “watch” (more accurately, listen to) while plucking my pubic hair (not that I really pluck my pubic hair, but that sounds funnier than “these are shows where I simply turn up the volume and listen to while cleaning up the house”). They’re like a bed-ridden senior citizen, who you know you should probably keep watch over, but all they do is lie there and lie there, and you simply have better things to do with your time. Sure, sometimes, they’ll make a loud, elongated grunting noise beckoning you for something, and so you come over and give them attention, but after some time, they go back to sleep or their blank stare of the ceiling, and you can go about your business. For such shows, pretty much any action scene requires you to stop what you’re doing and watch them, although some of them are horribly prolonged with unnecessary internal monologues. Examples: Naruto, DragonBallZ, Super Sentai (Power Ranger) Shows

Regardless of my labeling of whatever genres or shows you particularly like (which may illicit some hateful comments or cries of hypocrisy), the point is that I pretty much sample ALL types of shows (including J-Dramas and kiddy shows), and watch them according to what mood and/or state of alertness I am in. Can you say the same?

who was so very sad that a couple of students stopped watching Gurren Lagann in the high school anime club because they lost interest (especially once Yoko’s breasts stop being a visual gag after the first few episodes)…


  1. Oh, and I forgot to add, the same usually happens to me. I have to re-watch the previous Geass episode before going to next one. When I watch a lot anime at the same time I tend to confuse the details and I mix what I’m watching. Of course, I usually watch intricate shows.

  2. I’m throwing my chit in with you. Anytime you need my vote just give me a holler.

    Yes I totally agree with basically everything you said above and I think that sort of behaviour is what is slowly killing animblogger and sucking the life and fun out of watching anime. I could point my finger at a few people in particular one the scene, but I don’t want to start a flame war and would sooner leave it up to them to realize just how much of a negative effect they are having on everybody ability to enjoy what is supposed to be a simple passtime.

  3. Part of the entertainment factor also is reflected by tastes; not everyone’s going to want to watch an anime where everyone sits around talking, and want more action and suspense (or drama) than they want character development. That way lies Black Lagoon, for example. There’s others who want more relationship development and no real drama or action… that’s where shows like Maria-sama ga Miteru show up. It’s not just about the ‘thinking’ – it’s about tastes, and what sort of things happen (or don’t happen) in order to entertain.

    Macross F’s done a dandy job drawing in quite a few women as well as men, thanks to the focus on relationships which aren’t completely cliched along with music and mecha battles. Code Geass’s TRYING to draw them in with implied yaoi as it gives yuri-style fanservice for the guys… but it’s not just about the amount of plot that one has to dig through.

  4. Dammit. I’ve been WAITING for a post in the blogosphere like this. Major props to you, dude. 😀

    That being said, I also watch anime to be entertained. It’s not that I don’t have any more brain cells, but I just don’t want to burn any more brain cells to understand the plot twists that shows today have…

  5. I wouldn’t really consider Code Geass to be high-maintenance. It was kinda easy to follow for me.
    I like a show with good balance. Too much of anything can make a good thing go bad. If an anime is too lighthearted, it becomes boring and pointless. If it’s too serious, then it becomes hard to watch. My mood varies but my taste tend to stay the same.
    It all really depends on your personality whether you think a show is good or not.

  6. I couldn’t stay interested in this editorial. I skimmed most of it. I don’t see what the big deal is, I’ve never been watching an anime and felt like it was getting beyond my understanding. I think you are just over thinking it, or you expect too much. You are saying that you don’t want to have to think? Or that thinking doesn’t entertain you? Don’t think then. I enjoy stuff that makes me think, but it’s not something that I expect from everything.

    I dunno, I just download everything and that way every few days I have 2-3 new episodes to watch. I stop watching a show if it fails to excite me, it doesn’t really bother me though. I had 2 episodes of Soul Eater unwatched until yesterday. I just saved them for when I had some free time, then I watched them. I also neglected Allison and Lillia for a bit because I was rewatching Gurren Lagann, and that is one anime I literally could just watch all 27 episodes non stop, and I would if I didn’t have to get up in the morning for work.

    Lo hung
  7. Heh, great read as always.

    Don’t worry too much about any tl;dr posts. I usually skip past walls of text but I take the time to read whatever you happen to post.

    I know what you mean about shows you have to pay attention to. I missed the first episode of the newest season of Lost so I was unable to watch any other of the newest episodes. There is just too much going on for you to miss any episode.

  8. On the matter of Code Geass, I believe some people said Code Geass second season was worse because it became too predictable and lost some fanbase because of it (although am not sure). However, apart from that, I agree with most of your article. Every person has his/her own preferences and that should be respected.

  9. interesting… i’m usually into only the heavy stuff from japan because of the culture and language confuses me too much. good article; consider cleaning it up and getting yourself published, your style is enjoyable and engaging.

  10. hahaha…awesome..ghost in the shell is definitely really higher up in the list in terms of how much time and brain commitment you have to make for it..i remember just watching one episode 3 times to fully get what is going on. nice post as always!

  11. XD I love your examples and style of writing. xD It’s so very entertaining to read.
    I have to agree with your classification of types of shows though. Although mine differs a bit from yours, I can see where you’re coming from.

  12. Interesting read as always. I’d say the same thing if I was in any of those situations you mentioned. Generally, stuff like Kaiba and Geass are very hard to watch when I need to do something the next day, or get some sleep (even though they’re a few of my favourites), but they’re awesome when I have the time.

    So, keep up the good work! =D

  13. I agree with you on this. Most people, rather than simply admit that a show is not for them, would rather label it as trash and claim it’s beneath them to watch. Then they even go for the extra mile by saying anyone who watches the show is a retard. It’s called personal preferrence people. You won’t become a lesser person knowing the boundaries of your likes and dislikes, and will actually become a better one by respecting other people’s as well.

  14. I agree to the general point made in this article. It explains why many people have stopped reading books (high-maintenance) and switched to TV/Manga for example. Still, as many of the commenters above have noted, I can’t seriously consider Code Geass being high-maintenance material (even in terms of anime). It isn’t so deep in any way and considering the effort put in producing it, the show could have been much more sophisticated (at the expense of completelly losing most of their viewers).

  15. Man great read, I love reading what you write 🙂

    I had to watch GITS like 4 times before I got what was going on, but that only happened with GITS.

    I like almost any kind of show, be it one of those mind destroyers or an story-less ecchi. I love to watch any anime, specially the ones that get me thinking of whats gonna happen next (geass ownz!) and then go the opposite of what I was thinking would happen. The only thing I can’t stand is stuff like monochrome factor or fruit basket (reverse harem ftl).

    You should get your girl to watch the remake of Evangelion (the one movie that’s out), it’s like a light version of the series with much cooler animation I might add 😛

  16. The conversation with your wife about NGE reminds me of my dad, who lost interest because NGE wasn’t “entertaining” enough. It’s true that NGE just might required a little more brain work then most others, especially when the dialogs go quite fast with many specific terms. Many around me have said how those who appreciate NGE are at a “higher intelligent level” but it’s just plain BS. I guess it’s all about patience, and of course what you said about tiredness. Whether or not a show is worthwhile to watch, it still requires the audience to patiently “discover” its potential. And, as if it’s not obvious enough, it’s always up to the person whether he wants to be patient or not.

  17. if i may be controversial, Code Geass R2 is pretty awful so far. it has nothing to do with thinking, it’s just boring. it’s like the writers had no idea where to go with series after the first season. instead of fleshing out the plot, they insist on giving us an endless barrage nobody cares about. NEWS FLASH! Ashford Academy isn’t that interesting. nobody cares about Lelouch’s love triangle, we wanna know more about Geass!

  18. Wow, it’s like a breath of fresh air everytime I read one of your editorials. Excellent points and witty writing makes for an enjoyable read. Thanks for not only the writing you do, but for setting aside time to humor us FANS. ;]

    ps. It’s also a real shame that some people tend to view anime as solely “entertainment” (whatever that means, we’re all entertained differently ;]), rather than thought provoking VISUAL storytelling. I think anime like NGE, Gurren Lagann, and Death Note are some of the best stories ever, regardless of the medium in which they are told. Push your students a bit to finish Gurren, what a great story and ending!

    pps.: That doesn’t mean I’m bitter toward the people who solely want to be “entertained,” just kind of dissapointed that anime is perceived as it is in Western societies. That is, it being compared (not only intellectually, but demographically) to morning cartoons.

  19. I feel like I need to add that by “a breath of fresh air” I mean the writing of this website as a whole, Omni’s summaries are by far what set this website far above any of the other anime sites I browse.

    A big thanks to both of you. ;]

  20. I was always wondering why Code Geass didn’t get higher ratings. (Not that I watch that show) But you prove your points very well and I can see why some shows like To-Love Ru can be entertaining at times.

    I saw that desu video you put as a link and now my head is spinning.

  21. Code Geass is perfect for me. It’s the only anime series I follow currently with enough action and progress to last me for a week. Not saying I couldn’t watch it if the episodes came out daily, but it has so much content per episode that keeps me satisfied per week.

    Anyways, all I wanted to say is that any anime that can’t finish it’s storyline in 50-ish episodes is a drag. Animes that have fights that last 2-3 episodes and 20-ish episodes to finish a story arc are just a drag. Like really, I don’t want to know someone’s life story during a fight or a blown out explanation about someone’s technique. I’m just being anti-Naruto right now. =P

  22. I read the part “I did start to wonder why I STILL have episodes 9 and 10 ”
    i could help but laugh because the same applies to me only varying by episodes
    10 and 11… then why the hell did i download em. hm mm??

    you might be right

  23. @SaimaiSama: A lot of things just happen too fast and too they like to shove too many things into one episode, especially the more recent ones. Even if the plot isn’t very deep or well-written, it’s still hard to keep track of everything, especially since those small, easily forgettable details in the background, later, become significant to the show.

  24. Hahahaha I liked this post a lot, especially because sometimes I get bashed for watching ‘plot-less’, taste-less series. I agree that sometimes it’s just taxing to watch deep anime and I rather watch something like Animation Runner Kuromi-chan.

    Even so, I wish there were more ‘relaxing’ anime without so much male fan-service. There are a lot of anime I don’t watch simply because there’s too many body, panty and bust shots.

  25. I don’t know perhaps my mind just process’s information quicker but there is no such thing as a high maintenance anime for me. I can eat an entire meal and understand the anime, heck I didn’t even find MGS4’s plot to be that confusing. I just take the there and the now, everything in between matters little.

    Anime Genre fanboys(and girls) are terribly annoying though when they try and stuff their likes into you, and refuse to accept any other opinion but the ones that click with their own. Much like gaming forums which I see it much more then I do in anime forums which I rarely frequent.

  26. On what basis are you placing Code Geass in the same tier as GiTS?

    I mean GiTS was genuinely intelligent and complex in what it was supposed to be(though it did get convoluted at times due to redundant use of confusing terminology). Geass on the other hand is a show that merely puts up a facade of being “intelligent”. It’s extremely poor storytelling(the writing in Geass is borderline crap at times) combined with exuberant fanservice to appeal to the masses and the occasional plot twists to keep the viewers watching. As much as I enjoy some of those plot twists and the show as a whole, it’s pretty biased to say that Geass belongs in the same tier as GiTS as far as complexity is concerned.

  27. Hmmm… I wished there was a concluding paragraph that covered everything in that long article.. reading this was kind of more mental energy consuming that it should have been.

    I think if you watch too many shows, you surely won’t have enough time and mental energy to process and enjoy them all. You’ll also need some memory space to remember what happened in the previous episodes. It’ll be less likely to affect your grades or work if you watch only a few. Which is why I rely on blogs like here, to review what I don’t watch and find out what I should watch.

    And.. I stopped watching Gurren Lagaan after a few episodes BECAUSE Yoko’s breasts were such a visual gag.

  28. Amazing~ I love the way you write.
    You make great points. Especially the part that if you try out something that you usually never watch, it can surprise you and it can be something really good.
    For me, I don’t like Mecha shows. I tried out Code Geass one day and WoW, was it amazing or what? I love Code Geass now. ^^

  29. I normally have no trouble following high maintence shows. Mostly due to my ability to just throw myself into the flow. While the plot twists aren’t easy to ajust to quickly, just remember little amounts of the large details from previous epis. They usually explain the small stuff if needed. With that in mind, I can enjoy Middle and high maintence shows like they’re the same level

  30. imo, code geass has its downsides, everything happens way too fast, while there are some brilliant moves from lelouch, they happen too fast, theres not enough hype to them, and they lack impact somehow, i like code geass a lot, but they dont make me go “fuck yeah you owned him good” like death note’s first arc did, even though both shows are similar in style.

  31. ….laughs at the comments saying, “Oooh I totaly agree with you!”,”I’d say the same!”, “Nice post”, ” Agrees with the article” …..then not saying anything else.
    Im not making fun of peopple, I just thought it was funny. O.o

  32. Since people love giving their thoughts on Code Geass these days (including me) I’ll give mine in relation to this article. Code Geass for me rests somewhere between High and Medium maintenance (moreso on the medium maintenance side) because while it has a lot of moments that require you to really pay attention to the dialogue and moments that make you stop and think about the characters and the story, it also has it’s less serious side that would engage in antics and harem comedy like material. Hit and miss for my interests.

    I however do not for a second think that the writing is utter crap, but that’s my subjective opinion. See what I just did, I took responsibility for what is my reception of the series and didn’t try to project my personal feelings on the series back onto the writers or anyone else. I think what a lot of people are doing is what Natrone talked about here and realizing that they don’t care for the course of the story and are just labelling it crap instead of accepting that they are the ones that don’t like it.

    It’s really no different then people labelling me or other fans as a lowbrow for enjoying it’s writing by doing so in an indirect way and I kind of take offense to it. A more ideal way to put it would be “I don’t like the writing in the series”, which would be in line with Natrone’s presenting ones opinion fairly point (because really that is just a subjective opinion no matter how hard you want other people to think it’s the god given absolute truth), but people go way way overboard by putting the blame squarely on the writers of a series for not hitting their points of interest.

  33. @ Tracer
    To say Code Geass is not on the same level as GITS is also biased. Although I have not watched GITS, to say Code Geass (especailly the first season) is not intellectual is in my opinion wrong.

  34. @Kaioshin Sama

    I never even implied anything like “oh lol you have shit taste because you like Code Geass”. I even said I enjoyed those plot twists in Code Geass. My point being that the writing of a series can be analyzed objectively by some common standards. For example, the presence/absence of plot holes etc. It’s just that when you make a tier separating the “intelligent” anime from the rest, I would assume that you compare the writing of one anime to another.

    I’ll say it again, I enjoy watching Code Geass most of the times. Hell, TTGL is one of my favorite animes but you’ll never hear me say that TTGL is an extremely smart anime.

  35. @Som1

    It’s not really being biased. Geass has MANY plotholes/deus ex machina characters. Sure GiTS also has its fair share of plotholes but nowhere near as much as Geass. Geass relied too much on flashy plot twists and “JUST AS PLANNED” moments to exemplify itself as an “intelligent” anime. Though of course the word “intelligent” could be a subjective term depending on how you view it. So I guess it depends on what you consider as intelligent.

  36. Yeah I actually watch the Code Geass Subs right when they come out Sunday Evening. By then I had the whole weekend to recover from the work week so it gets my full attention.

  37. @Tracer: I’m really having a hard time seeing all these plot holes people are talking about. If you want to quickly list some and I’ll give a quicky reply (just so this doesn’t go to far off topic) then I’d like to have a look at the evidence so to speak.

  38. thought provoking~

    but i disagree with you on many levels:
    1.thinking can be entertaining. my definition of a good show is both entertaining & has a complex, intriguing plot. more precise, it’s the depth of the plot & chara that really entertains me.

    2.shows are about atmosphere & presentation. if the story is not entertaining, and only offers a dry, complex plot, it fails as a show. i mean why bother watching, just go read the manuscript/spoilers. it’s easy to make up complex plots that give you a brain twist & headache (just logical BS), but hard to grow it into something “impressionable & worthwhile”.

    3.it’s a matter of opinion. an intriguing plot to me might not be intriguing to you. so the classification you gave (which animes are “intelligent” & which ones are not) only applies to you. ex: i don’t find code geass anything special. it’s very stereotypical of its gendre & doesn’t offer anything i haven’t seen before. but i love Death Note & Neon Genesis Evangelion to death.

    indepth, complex plots are of diff fields. it can be epic, psychological, or of emotions & relations. very “simple” shows (with very few chara & episodes) can be as mind provoking as epic ones. ex. FLCL, Bokura ga Ita, NANA

    it’s how much you are willing to explore into a show (sometimes the more you think abt it, the more meaning it has)

    4.many ppl only watch animes to relax. it’s not a “fault” to watch “light” shows with melodrama & comedy. it may seem boring to you, but may convey more meaning to others

    again, plot is part of the entertainment. if a show fails to entertain, the plot is partially to be blamed, doesn’t matter how complex & intelligent it seems.

  39. I watch Code Geass like anyone else, but let’s not draw asinine conclusions here.

    Code Geass is a fanservice driven show; sure on a certain level it has variation in the types of fanservice than say Kanokon which is entirely driven by ecchi fanservice.

    However, going that far, Code Geass gives in to the worst possible tendencies. It panders to almost every fanbase in a way that would make Gundam Seed Destiny blush.

    Also, on the topic of some series requiring more “work” than others; many viewers prefer animes which are intellectually stimulating and eagerly view the episodes of those just as some eagerly view Code Geass. That’s just a taste issue dependent on the depth that the viewer seeks from his anime entertainment experience.

  40. you don’t seriously think that Code Geass “requires a certain amount of intelligence and brain power to fully understand and enjoy”? It tries to look like that, but it doesn’t really. In fact to enjoy Code Geass you have to turn your brain off.

    If you actually try to watch Code Geass seriously you find so many thinks that just don’t work, logically. I used to complain f.ex. about people who were shot coming back to life just like that. And most people told me “just don’t think about it and enjoy the action”. And they’re right.

    Seeing Suzaku look at a picture of Lulu and CC without recognizing her, just because she has a bag over her head, shows exactly how much intelligence is needed to follow this show.

  41. I agree with you on most of the article, but for a few I just can’t get myself to think that Code Geass is high-maitenence. For me, it’s best at a Medium, but then again, that’s my personal opinion.
    To me, in Code Geass I see enough facts and comedy (Or anything like the Ashford Episode) in it to be a good balance. I don’t really see why people would think it’s boring and some think it’s high-m, but then again, we all have our own opinion on what’s too much for us to handle and what isn’t.
    So, for the most part, I agree with you, but when you say think is not entertaining, actually….it is for some people.

  42. I’ll back up Tracer here on his argument of Geass. A slew of absurdly incompetent world leaders and oversimplification of dynamic political situations, Dues ex Nightmare-frame solutions, “Random Plot Twist of the Week”, and one note, single purpose side characters; all these things point to writers with either a lack of skills or lack of effort (or both). Just because something is surprising doesn’t mean it’s going to make sense; unpredictability does not testify to quality. Good writing has a sense of purpose, consistent themes, and other characteristics of craftsmanship. There may have been a time during the first season of Geass where I would’ve considered it good writing, but that ship has long since sailed.

    That isn’t to say one can’t derive entertainment from Geass (I sure do), the point is that intelligent work is not a simple matter of opinion. There still are certain criteria and standards everyone agrees upon before we start resorting to personal taste.

    Okay, moving away from the Geass-specific, Natrone’s big-picture ideas presented in the article really resonated with me. I often find myself categorizing certain shows as requiring a high or low attentiveness, and I won’t watch certain shows depending on how I feel, regardless of quality of the anime (Example: I often didn’t watch Gurren Lagann for weeks after downloading the newest episode because I simply wasn’t feeling up to experiencing the thrills and ascent of emotions that accompany TTGL).

    However, there are certain types of shows I will always watch no matter my mood: slice-of-life comedy. Sketchbook, Potemayo, Lucky Star, even wilder shows like Hayate no Gotoku! and Pani Poni Dash!. I think there’s that type of show for everyone, the ‘comfort anime’ if you will, whose genre may be different for each individual, but has the same soothing, relaxing effect.

  43. Well having read only your title, since I haven’t the time or patience for that wall of text, I can tell you that “thinking is not entertaining” is not the way everyone thinks, look at Kaiba, I’ve chatted many times with people on the possibilities of that world and so on. I don’t want to label people but some like action, and some like thought. And no, Code Geass is not thought provoking, It’s just disturbingly popular for its mediocrity, but hey I said the same thing about Death Note back when and now after L died and so on I felt pretty justified, so it probably won’t be long before I feel the same way about Geass.

  44. I don’t know, I always felt that Haruhi and Lucky Star were among the most Otaku pandering shows that had a high profile in recent memory and not so much Code Geass. Code Geass isn’t all fanservice to me, although I agree it does feature it’s share. I don’t think it’s the drive of the show either, but rather it’s intriguing storyline and cast of characters that I think makes it rises above that level most of the time. What gets me is the product placement that is so obvious. That is the shows greatest weakness that makes it looks far more like a shallow marketing scheme then it should.

    That’s what puts it somewhere between the high and low maintenance levels for me.

    Oh and if I had to describe a mid maintenance level series it would probably be Haruhi and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and a low level series would be something like Moetan or Ikkitousen. High maintenance level series for me include Legend of The Galactic Heroes, Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files, PlanetES and Tetsujin 28th of those I’ve seen or started watching recently.

  45. Thank you Natrone for your thoughts! I find it amusing to read, it’s a bit too serious for my taste since this is, after all, anime we’re talking about. But enjoyable to read nontheless. I was surprised to hear that there was a low viewing on Code Geass, it’s a fascinating show. But your explanation makes things understandable.

    Looking forward to your future articles!

  46. “I agree to the general point made in this article. It explains why many people have stopped reading books (high-maintenance) and switched to TV/Manga for example. Still, as many of the commenters above have noted, I can’t seriously consider Code Geass being high-maintenance material (even in terms of anime). It isn’t so deep in any way and considering the effort put in producing it, the show could have been much more sophisticated (at the expense of completelly losing most of their viewers).”

    Completely agree, especially with the very last sentence. I think that this is why Code Geass is so successful (it really is). It has a lot of action and fanservice almost all the time and a fair amount of suspense (and of course cliffhanger at every episode, but that’s sunrise), without being too hard to understand and to follow, but without being completely obvious either.

    Btw, the ratings for Code Geass aren’t really bad either.

  47. Your articles are very enlightening and I am glad that you have joined the randomc group because Divine and Omni are great with the episodes but you have some interesting thoughts. I can’t wait until your next blog!

  48. I personally believe that the facade of intelligence that Code Geass exudes (which may or may not exist depending on the individual) is based largely due to the demographic it targets. One look at its inherent “flashiness” – which I am personally judging based on the incredible colorfulness of everything in the series itself – and one can tell that it clearly doesn’t aim towards the same age group as GiTS. In fact, I would say that it aims towards the same viewers of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan.

    In according to this, I think that Tracer is correct to some degree: Code Geass to a degree depends on deus ex machina and since my long term memory fails me: most recently, the existence of Sayoko to explain the disappearance of Lelouch at school, which was privately one of my greatest annoyances, simply because it solved an incredibly delicate issue with the simple masquerade of one character as another.

    However, I also think Tracer is incorrect on something else: I don’t think it is viable to compare Code Geass and GiTS on the basis that because they target different demographics. I believe that it is actually acceptable for Geass to have flashy, unrealistic plot twists because that could quite possibly what that target demographic wants – a sudden, astounding event that changes the course of a battle or such. I cannot imagine that the writers of Code Geass continue to do this unintentionally, and as such, I believe that they are in fact catering to this demographic that wants something out of the blue to save their hero.

    GiTS, however, is clearly different from Geass. One look at the style of art is enough. Although I admit my knowledge of GiTS is quite limited, I think it is possible for me to say that the majority of the viewers of GiTS are significantly different from Geass. As such, I do not think that it is possible to compare the two. While the two may be considered intelligent anime, this is only in reference to their own demographic (for example, Geass may seem sufficiently intelligent to 10-14, while GiTS’s range is 16+).

    Another parallel: the top student in elementary school is considered incredibly intelligent by his peers, while to teenagers is just another kid. It is for this same reason that when we talk of a child’s talent that we always talk in reference to their own age group, and not relative to an older or younger one.

    Now that I have further derailed the topic…

    Anime has always been a hobby on the backburner for me, and as a result of that, I watch anything that is entertaining whether or not it requires thought. And as a result of that, I disagree that thinking is not entertaining: to me, it certainly is. It is very much parallel to how children “play detective”: using the own mind to figure something out is by far more satisfying than having someone tell the answer straight out. What it does is require effort, and obviously, there are times when effort cannot be mustered up to sufficiently think – and as Natrone said, then clearly that is not the time to watch that episode or anime or whatnot.

  49. I still don’t see how Code Geass is such a fanservicey series. Then again people said that about Gundam 00, which had like one by the pool scene where the focus wasn’t even on the bathing suits and maybe a couple close up shots of Sumeragi’s T&A in all of 25 episodes so I guess it doesn’t take much these days. The only instances in Code Geass that I can think of that have had an abundance of fanservice are the school festival episodes and the most recent episode 11 which overkilled a bit in the final minutes with Shirley, C.C and Karen. Other rare instances have been a few shots of Karen, C.C, Shirley and Villeta either in risque clothing or mostly naked (again still mostly in the school festival episodes). That’s like 2.5 episodes (out of 35) and maybe a handful of shots here and there that I can think of off the top of my head that are fanservicey.

    Kanokon, Ikkitousen, Koharu Biyori and other ecchi series far better fit the description of fanservice almost all the time series. Code Geass is barely even on the light side of things and I can’t imagine how people can think it’s an overly fanservicey series. People not liking the writing style is one thing, but fanservicey?

  50. Err…Cut off.

    However, since I think for the large majority of us anime is much more of a hobby than as something that we forcefully spend our time on, I think that if the cost-benefit of watching an anime is unreasonable, then clearly, we shouldn’t watch it at all. If we are forced to concentrate as much as “preparing to take a test” in order to enjoy it, then there seems to be something wrong, no?

  51. I admit you rose a good point, and I may have been overly criticizing shows such as Naru-tard, Blea-tard, etc. Different people would prefer entertainment of different kinds, but do realize it is this kind of shows that turn the audience into this picture:


    Shows such as Naru-tard are too long; moreover they are too low-class. These kinds of shows rely on audiences’ ignorance toward the fact that they are cheated upon with a show without much of anything (except repetition). My experience with most Naru-tard-fans I have talked to is that, despite their love for the show, they do realize it’s trash. However, they do not drop the show, persumably to the highly-expanded setting/universe of the show that can easily include minor events (also known as fillers) to keep them interested.

    I guess my point is that my criticism is more toward animation companies than the viewers, since this has been nothing but a clever scam. The problem becomes severe as these companies make a lot of money scamming from weaker viewers. Therefore, the phrase “Naru-tard” has double meanings: first of all it is irony for the producers; also to shred light to those being fooled.

  52. @R:

    Some good points. To me anime is always kind of my opportunity to indulge in my more childish side so I don’t really get super uptight about quick fix plot elements and such because I know to expect them. I just cut loose, look at the series within it’s own context and revel in elements like characters making long-winded speeches about justice and courage. I can’t really go and expect every sci-fi series I watch to be of the caliber of say Legend of The Galactic Heroes, Star Trek Deep Space Nine or Frank Herbert’s Dune, but I can still enjoy them for what they are. That’s why to me Code Guess is an intelligent series within it’s own context.

    I can reverse what many people have said and argue that it could easily give into fanservice, robot action and model kit selling etc, but it instead brings things up a level by having complex characters with rather intriguing backstories, relationships with the rest of the cast, personalities and motivations. To me that’s enough to call it intelligent as a Science Fiction/Fantasy series, which also the interest of the target demographic of fans it’s aimed at.

    There have been so many worse and outright throwaway brainless mecha franchises (I can say this from experience) that have been way lower on the intelligence factor that as one, Code Geass is a standout in it’s writing and level of entertainment and discussion making content. I’m not even going to try and compare it to Space Operas like Legend of The Galactics Heroes though because it’s a different subgenre with a different core audience. Likewise if I were to compare Code Geass with something like Mazinger Z, God Mars, Shinkon Gattai Goddaner, Sokou No Strain, Metal Armor Dragonar, Macross 7, Vandread, Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu, Gundam Seed Destiny and the list just goes on, then it’s looking pretty darn smart and edgy.

    As anime gets more complicated I think people are going to want to start identifying sub-genres a little more as well as core genres as they open up a whole new perspective and level of comparison with which to judge the quality of a series.

  53. Pues me vale verga, seguiré viendo la serie a pezar de que a los simios de ojos rasgados no les guste.
    Definitívamente, solo los arios tenemos buén razocinio, deberíamos dejar de consecuentar a esos changos de raza amarilla.

  54. Kaioshin: I think you’re right. Code Geass is definitely far from the worse mecha series out there (eventhough comparing to Fumoffu isn’t valid, this one is comedy 😉 ), but it’s not really among the best either. Of course that’s completely my personal opinion, it doesn’t compare to series as EVA, Eureka 7, Full Metal Panic, Macross Zero or Bokurano. But I actually ranked the first season as “good”. While the second season is getting worse and worse so far, by really turning it into Gundam. Which is a pity.

    Concerning Fanservice, almost every episode you have Kallen’s butt or breasts right in front of the camera, the whole position in the mecha is only for fanservice xD Of course, CG isn’t an ecchi series, no need to even compare to Kanokon and the likes, but this just takes away from how serious I can take a series …

    and of course there is the other part of the audience, yaoi fangirls … they also get quite a bit of *hints* for their doujinshis 😉

  55. I agree, as much as i love Code Geass, i just feel that i’d like it even more if i watched it all in one sitting. It’s somewhat tiring to remember what happened last week and tying it into this week especially in plot-intensive shows.

  56. Actually, I think the reason why Geass R2’s ratings are so low is much simpler.

    The show is just too attached to its big plot reset button of doom. They’ve got the awful problem that any significant measure of success for Zero would force them to move away from the Ashford Academy sitcom stuff. Therefore, no matter how smart Zero is and no matter how well his plan is going, we always know that Suzaku will run in at the last moment in Lancelot and spoil things. This isn’t like Death Note’s clash between L and Light… it’s not a battle of wits or anything. Suzaku just has incredible luck and some kind of cheesy field of plot-driven invincibility. If the show can’t break out of this rut, it’s doomed.

    What they need to do to save it is simple. First of all, kill off Suzaku. Don’t particularly care how they do it, but have him good and dead, with no chance he might come back. His luck must surely run out some time. Next, have the courage to say goodbye to the sub-Love Hina Ashford Academy sections of the show. By all means, if you need a filler episode, show us how the characters from there are getting on, but divorce them from the main plot; they just don’t fit any more.

    What the show needs, in the words of Gurren Lagann, is some “spiral power”. Let the conflict escalate a bit. Let Zero have some real victories and let us see the next phase of his plan to defeat Britannia.

  57. @Minikui: I just want to hitch onto one thing you mentioned just to share some more thoughts:

    I’d say Full Metal Panic and Code Geass share a lot of similarities that make them about the same tier for me. Both have a main character who is an absolute genius at what he does and who has sworn to protect somebody dear to him that would be taken away otherwise. Both feature a love triangle of sorts as well as a high school atmosphere as a key part of the series. Both lay on the comedy at times as well. Both feature a rather deus ex machina plot device, in Code Geass case it’s the Geass itself and in Full Metal Panic’s case it’s the Lambda Driver. Both feature characters with mysterious hard to explain supernatural powers that allow them to give forbidden gifts so to speak. Both feature a character leading a dual life so to speak. Both feature crazy ass mofo villains that keep coming back because the hero screwed up their lives in the past. In Code Geass it’s Jeremiah Gottwald and in Full Metal Panic it’s Gauron. Both are split across several seasons and said seasons share a few similarites between each other at first but eventually start to come into their own. Both lay on the fanservice at times.

    So yeah they are roughly on the same level for me.

    @tekky99: I forget where I mentioned it (might have been my own blog), but CG is the kind of show that begs to be watched in one sitting do to the way it leaves off each episode as a continuing narrative. If there’s one thing that irritates me about it always leaves you needing to watch the next episode to figure out something that went on in the previous one. It is one of Sunrise’s most evil tricks that they pull to keep things at a permanent level of on the edge of your seatness. No plot point is ever revealed in full the moment it’s introduced when Sunrise is on the job. It makes me more nervous and edgy then anything most of the time.

  58. *shakes head* at your students in the end comment, how can you stop watching gurren!? such blashphemy. although i do admit its hard for me to rewatch gurren now cuz of how pwnage it was in the end and i dont want to rewatch it from simon’s wimpy character start.

    btw, are you ever going to blog an actual series or just keep on posting insightful otaku culture articles?

  59. I agree with Keldorne completely about the reset button. The first season was breaking into new ground. It had such momentum going that I liked every single episode of it. I was thinking how the second season would be radically different from the first. How will different characters fit in the new world that Zero would create in the episodes 24&25, what will his new strategies be, now that the playground is entire world?

    Except it didn’t happen. Everything is the same as it was in the first season. I’ve already seen this, so I don’t feel as excited as before. I hoped, when Zero leaved Japan he would break off with the Ashford Academy, but instead he remained improbably stretched between them.

  60. Yeah there are a lot of bad mecha series however a vast majority of them didn’t have the potential Geass had. I mean I still love some of the absolutely brainless ones (Macross 7, Go Nagai’s Super Robot shows), but you don’t expect too much from them if you know what I mean.

    When I first saw the synopsis for Geass, I expected something as awesome as Legend of the Galactic Heroes, thinking it would be similar to Reinhardt’s steep climb to the top. I was kind of disappointed. Actually, I end up requiring to pay more attention and time to Geass than LoGH when it comes to understanding character interactions and the plot itself.

    Not a bad series, but boy do I find it a disappointment. I probably wouldn’t do a better job than the guys working on this show, but I was expecting so much more. Random plot twists are fine, but I’m starting to find them more hilarious/boring considering we’ve been getting so much of it.

    The fanservice is pretty obvious in Geass. I mean the camera is so conveniently placed so you get full view of their derriere…if that aren’t fanservice, I don’t know what is.

  61. People speak like Code Geass is completely over. I’m amazed at just how many people dislike the show now with the season not even being half over.

    @Swan: Either way, I find most plot twists look random at first because of the cliffhanger style nature of the show and then soon enough their reasoning comes into focus. Everybody thought the Tian Zi abduction by Zero was completely random and out of the blue, but then we find out he was actually trying to protect her from the Eunuch’s until he could hopefully lure them into a trap. People just love to use the line “Just As Planned” to describe this, but yeah it was just as planned all along most of the time. I also never expected anything like Legend of The Galactic Heroes.

    I mean Lelouch and Reinhard have a lot in common, but one is a mecha series while the other is a space opera epic. There’s just not enough episodes for something like LOGH. As much as it sucks I don’t think there will ever be a series quite like that for a long long time if ever. Also consider that LOGH was an OVA which means they had a long long time to plan and fine tune each episode to bring the most out of them. There were also 110 episodes to Code Geass’ 50 (tentative), each episode was as long as a Code Geass block, but with no commerical breaks and the whole series had just under a decade to tell it’s story, while Code Geass has had only 2 years. There’s no way Code Geass was going to be something of LOGH’s calibre.

    @Keldorne: I agree. I really want to see them move away from the Ashford stuff and on to the Brittania Empire or Geass Cult. I think next episode is likely to be the last we see of it. The whole Millay graduating and throwing a party has thing has all the auspicion of an episode meant to close off the school stuff for good. The characters like Shirley might still be around, but I think that with Millay leaving that kind of ends the whole student council thing and her being there the longest and now moving on is like the curtain falling on an era, the much loathed Ashford Academy era. It’s kind of true, every moment spent there sort of cheapens the series, but it does need closure.

    Well this has gone kind of off topic so I think I’ll put the topic to rest. It’s been fun for a change debating that series instead of feeling tense and like I’m not doing anything productive. The fact that RC’s readership is one that actually considers what others have to say is what I think makes it such a solid blogging site.

  62. IMHO, one of reasons why Code Geass R2 might be little failed is that

    1. Same plot as R1. Some would say they are not similar but, IMO, only slight things are changed. People who expect more and more from the old one may feel little negative about the new one and they might also feel that this show is predictable.
    In short word, no new thing to surprise the old fans.
    2. No progresses much in story line. Zero is still Zero who not completely lose but not win somethings or showing sigh of advantages over his opponent in long term either.
    Maybe because of no many decisive battles, just minor effect.

  63. “With all the different genres of anime, I tend to lean towards large and epic plots with characters developing over several episodes (or dying thereafter), smartly written edge-of-your-seat cliffhangers, and a decently conclusive ending. The problem is that such shows often require a certain amount of intelligence and brain power to fully understand and enjoy them.”

    Gurren Lagann, Gundam 00 and Blood+… Brain power… really now.

    “intellectually-stimulating-yet-mentally-exhaustive Real Drive”

    Typical P.I.G. pretentiously “intelligent” mush.

    “These are shows that I can watch while eating”

    I watch Code Geass while eating. I GUESS I JUST PROVED YOU WRONG, HUR HURR.

    But really, you’re just pulling tiers of thinking from your ass, making it seem like a (unnecessarily?) convoluted plotlines make a series somehow intelligent.

  64. An interesting article, Natrone. I like reading your stuff, puts an intellectual spin on Random Curiosity that places it above being just a terribly useful blog.

    I will point out one thing that contradicts your article, however. I guess its something you won’t get so often when working a reasonable job like teaching, but I used to find, in my old job, that I wanted something mentally taxing after a day at work!

    This is obviously because a day at work for me used to require an IQ of about 20 (sitting at a desk, serving customers). When you’ve had a monotonous day that turns your brain to mush, the last thing you need is something like To-love-Ru or Rosario+Pantsu encouraging that further. The intellectual involvement of good plot like Geass suddenly wakes you up again and invigorates you.

    Well, at least, thats my experience. Complex anime makes dross career worthwhile…lol…

  65. Well, I’d say my show classification differs from your.
    For me, the high maintenance shows are either one’s that make you think or one’s that are over 100 episodes, meaning you have to follow them religiously otherwise you’ll fall too far behind and give up.
    Medium maintenance shows would be your average shows like Black Cat, Solty Rei, FMA, Soul Eater etc. Ie shows that are of a reasonable length and don’t really require too much after thought.
    Low maintenance shows would be your fanservice shows like Kanokon and the other million other one’s floating out there.

  66. Well, damn. I go play Rock Band for the Wii with my family, then hit the sack for the night, and when I get up, there’s TOO many comments for me to directly reply to. I gotta start publishing these articles at a time when I can just sit at the computer continuously hitting “Refresh” in order to quickly counter a dissenting reply or discuss a new point brought out by a comment, just like so many people with too much free time on the internet do…..(not that I’m making fun of you people who do that……*snicker*)…..

    @All the people who just read the title and didn’t read the article
    “Thinking is not Entertaining” is basically a quote from my wife (extrapolated/embellished from the story given within the article). It is a valid point-of-view (among MANY) on what makes good entertainment. It is not my own personal belief, to be honest. A big part of what I PERSONALLY find entertaining are shows that make you think. I just can’t think all the time, or ALWAYS expend my mental energy on something “trivial” like entertainment when I have a real life issues to worry about (job, family, etc.). Another title I pondered was “Entertaining Thoughts,” but that didn’t have the “oomph” I felt needed in a strong title. I justified the current title, because I felt it would draw in a lot of you, as something that strikes the controversial chord in all of you – a notion that doesn’t sit well with you enough to force you to read my “walls of text.” However, the title is NOT the main theme or point to my article whatsoever….

    What kind of series would you prefer to make (in regards to your own watching preference)?
    I actually said it in my article. I tend to prefer (and would make) a show that was more intellectually stimulating – not really slice of life or comedy, but something epic that required you to know and remember what happened in a previous episode. If I can make it deep and profound, as well, great, but that’s not as necessary as simply good story telling that requires you to think and process the story.

    @All the people who find Code Geass R2’s plot/writing poor and do not think it’s high maintenance
    A show can be “high maintenance” and still not good (and there exists all the other combinations across the two axes of good/bad show and high/low maintenance). According to my (again) PERSONAL assessment, high maintenance merely means you need to think when watching it. And, so, if you feel the plot is SO predictable or that you can watch Code Geass by simply listening to it, then you (fine sir or madam) have a much bigger brain than me, I guess. For me, with all the factions and political intrigue, I gotta sit down and re-think (okay, who was on who’s side again? What are the motivations for the betrayal or loyalty?). The introduction of the Chinese Federation and the character Xing-ke have made it harder for me to follow Code Geass’ plot, because instead of a little David (Japan) and Goliath (Britannia) story, we’re now bringing in Gideon. For a while, I had a really hard time determining whether Xing-ke was going to be a bad guy or not, and all the implied (i.e. NOT explicit) actions and intentions early in R2 just made it harder for me to follow.

    Maybe you’re all just smarter and found it all predictable, you people who do not find Code Geass R2 requiring some mental work to follow. Fine (even though in the article I said it’s not nice to call someone stupid who cannot appreciate an intellectually-driven show, I never said anything about the opposite). Still, also in my personal opinion, I kind of wish Code Geass Season 1 did NOT end on a cliffhanger — I just wish it ended. From a cynical standpoint, I felt the makers deemed the show enough of a success that they wanted to continue it and tacked on more story (kind of like how Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl got a sequel – the writers themselves admitted in the DVD commentary and extras that they thought the first movie was just a stand-a-lone story, and they had to work really hard to figure out a plot for the second and third movie such that they were STILL writing the script after production had began on the second movie). In summary, I kind of wish they finished Code Geass in that first season with enough explanation for what Geass was (I mean they could have easily written an extra episode -Season 1 ended with only 25- making that “couple-swap” island into that special place Britannia kept going to and have a big final climatic showdown there).

    Regardless, the focus of this article was NOT on what makes a good or bad show in general terms of writing, plot, production values, etc. Additionally, the article was not necessarily about shows that made you think about something deep or profound but rather shows that required you TO think. If you were dumped into a random episode of Code Geass without any background knowledge (with exception to the school episodes), I think you would be lost way more than something like To LOVE Ru or Naruto (even though Naruto has such a HUGE background, and random episode might just have enough of a drawn out fight that you don’t need to know any of it). This is how I group all those shows together (Code Geass, GITS, Real Drive). I’m not saying they’re of equal caliber (to be honest, I find Real Drive to be an incredible pain to watch – it is pretentious and poorly done, but there’s no way I can follow it and FAIRLY criticize it unless I’m working my brain hard while watching it).

    Reading your post also requires my total attention.. damn I am taking a break from studying for exams here! Gimme my entertainment!
    The irony of this did not escape me for one moment (it’s part of the reason why I wrote my introduction about being verbose). I spent a week revising and refining this article, because after spewing my ideas over 7 pages, I knew that only the people with incredible patience and a starvation for intelligent (but perhaps obtuse) articles would read it all the way through. I mean, even as it is, I’ve seen comments indicating people did not want to read this “wall of text.” So, I did my best as a writer to make the piece as entertaining as possible as you read it. In other words, despite its length and requirement to think, I tried to sprinkle in dashes of funny here and there as well as offer you “a spoonful of sugar (so that) the medicine goes dooooooown (smoothly).” As I’ve already said in this comment reply, a show can be good or bad regardless of whether it’s high or low maintenance. My articles are definitely high maintenance – I just try to make them good….(I know I fail for some of you)….

    I don’t know perhaps my mind just process’s information quicker but there is no such thing as a high maintenance anime for me.
    Good for you, sir! Although, try this experiment: go without sleep for 35 hours, and then watch some shows. You should be able to follow the plot of a low maintenance show, whereas you cannot follow the plot of a high maintenance show. I guess (based on other comments) I should be explicit and reiterate the difference between high/low maintenance and good/bad shows: a bad show will put you to sleep, but something will keep you awake for a good show. So, for this experiment to work, you’ll need to find a good high and low maintenance show. Problem is that for a lot of people (and perhaps you, Mr. My-Mind-Processes-Information-Quicker), low maintenance shows ARE bad shows and put you to sleep….(although I’m sure there is an exception SOMEWHERE)….

    @Kaioshin Sama
    I think what a lot of people are doing is what Natrone talked about here and realizing that they don’t care for the course of the story and are just labelling it crap instead of accepting that they are the ones that don’t like it.
    I love you 🙂

    To be honest, the labeling and categorizing of shows is rather pointless, because it’s mostly subjective. Yes, there are objective standards we can create, but these finer points of what is mentally exhaustive versus intellectually stimulating thread the gray fuzzy border of “well, it’s that way for me,” due to difference in aesthetics AND ability.

    That’s why I went above and beyond the main focus of the article (how for some people thinking is not entertaining) in order to “preach” two things:
    1) Respect other’s views of shows
    2) TRY other shows (even types of shows you KNOW you don’t like), because you just might be surprised….

    I’ll say it again, I enjoy watching Code Geass most of the times. Hell, TTGL is one of my favorite animes but you’ll never hear me say that TTGL is an extremely smart anime.
    Gurren Lagann isn’t “smart” anime, but you have to think enough in order to process what has happened before and after it, due to its grandiose epic-ness. In other words, it’s not necessarily a show you can veg out and relax to after a hard day’s work. Like I said at the end of my article, some of my students lost interest even though the story was starting to pick up speed and get to that grandiose level, because they just wanted “simple” entertainment.

    I don’t know why you prefaced your response with the idea that you’re disagreeing with me. As far as what I can tell, several of your points are in alignment with what I said:
    1. The title of the article was based off a quote my wife said. I actually disagree with the notion that thinking is not entertaining.
    2. Correct. High and low maintenance do not necessary have anything to do with how good or bad a show is
    3. This is why I said before I wrote my 3 classifications: “So, as an editorial, let me just leave you with how I personally classify and prioritize shows, based on my tastes and lifestyle:”
    4. I watch “light” shows like any other person and regularly enjoy them.

    btw, are you ever going to blog an actual series or just keep on posting insightful otaku culture articles?
    I was “hired” for the sole purpose of writing these kinds of articles. Said so in my introduction post.

    And finally….
    @All the people that started to compare shows
    Note: I only CLASSIFIED shows under 3 categories. This is different from the comparison a lot of you have been making. While there is nothing wrong with comparing shows, please don’t forget about PRECEDING FAVORITISM. Judge for yourself whether or not you’re holding a show you watched first (like GITS, as many you have you touching) more highly JUST BECAUSE it came first. If not, then no biggie, but make sure you’re self-evaluating BEFORE you evaluate others….

  67. I don’t really consider Code Geass “High Maintenance”…. it’s more “Medium Maintenance”, I think.
    Sure, it’s complex, but nothing like Ghost in the Shell or Texhnolyze or Paprika.

    Besides, I prefer watchin these types of series in fewer seatings, maybe 6 eps per session. I have a high level of innate concentration, but I tend to have a short term memory.

    Just my 2 cents.

  68. I don’t think the first season of Code Geass is complicated at all. However, I find myself a bit lost in the second season because the plot involves many more political elements.

  69. While I wouldn’t place Code Geass on the same scale of “intellectuality” as I would place Ghost in the Shell, that would be totally unwarranted, I definitely agree that it’s a show that may require a relatively high or at least medium-high amount of concentration, even if for different reasons.

    Not because it’s amazingly deep, not at all…but because there are several ongoing plot lines involving a rather huge cast, and that the show tries to convey a lot of information in a single episode or even a single scene. Yes, there are several plot holes, although less than some people want to pretend, and I’d agree that the writing isn’t award-winning by any means, but that doesn’t mean the show doesn’t have some complexity, whether it’s well executed or not (depends on the episode / arc / season…I’ve been disappointed with some R2 stuff, to say the least).

    Those people who want to more or less keep track of everything that’s going on, like summary writers for instance, have to pay attention.That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who can watch Code Geass while doing a thousand different things, eating or doing the laundry or what have you, but then again there are probably also people who do the same with the more intellectual shows. Purely mocking and following internet memes is easy enough and doesn’t require much attention, I could even do that with Ghost in the Shell (again, a show I respect and like, for different reasons) too if I wanted.

    In both cases, distractions lead to a more superficial understanding, which may not be all that bad because, again, Code Geass isn’t that deep, but to deny that at least a little something is lost when less attention is given can be pretty dumb.

    Finally, the low ratings for R2 mostly have to do with the fact that the new time slot was untested (for anime), and definitely not a good replacement for Sat6, which was Gundam 00’s slot and the expected one for Geass.

    There is currently no anime at all on Sat6, and that change was probably a poor idea in retrospect. And like other people have mentioned elsewhere, including myself, Geass has never been about the ratings, but about DVD sales, even in the case of the first season. The rest is just interpretation, but that alone is fact.

  70. interesting topic 😀

    What you wrote sounded quite familiar to me 🙂 (except that I m saving Code Geass for some time later because I hate open ends 😀 [so that you think the whole week about what is going to happen next <.<]) So I also do not know about Season 2 of Code Geass..

    But the point you are making is actually quite obvious… And in my opinion it isn’t only restricted to anime. During breakfast you will not read a complex book, instead you will pick the newspaper… That is just situation-oriented media usage…
    In my opinion it is not really the thinking which differentiates between the series it is how much you really want to concentrate and focus on a film/an anime.

  71. Wow, that was an awesome post and I totally agree with you! But I think (I think! Just stating an opinion) that you are all kind of getting carried away. Categorizing a show is all fine and good and it can help people select the ones they do want to watch and the ones they don’t. Yet, I have the feeling the essence of this article was also about “the enjoyment” of a show. I enjoy Code Geass a lot and I think that the writing is quite different and ambitious, not something everyone might enjoy. Calling it “fanservicey” and “Sunrise being Sunrise” (if I got a penny each time someone wrote that) is an example of utter closed-mindedness. Are you people forgetting that this is an ANIME?! That this is about ENJOYING the show? Both thinking and pure entertainment can be enjoyed (and I must confess, sometimes I veer more toward the latter) and as Natrone said, a good show is both enjoyable and complex, in as it makes you think. The problem lies not with the shows, but today’s anime viewers, who seem to have been blown into some sort of pompous hot air balloon, judging animes from a ten thousand feet vantage and claiming that their opinions are fact. As some said before, it’s spoiling other people’s fun. All you have to do is take on board the fact that it is your opinion, not a universal fact.

    “The writing is bad.” Seriously , what do you even mean with “the writing”? And do you know the process involved? Do you know that most of the time there are more than one writer? Do you know the time that is invested into this? Any anime that gets as much attention as Code Geass, Macross Frontier and even Suzumiyah Haruhi-sama bears A LOT of financial and mental investment. So, very well, you didn’t like the end product, but what gives you the right to judge the writers just because you don’t enjoy it! That’s what is about! Enjoying this thing that you call the “writing” (which I think is just an excuse for people who don’t exactly know how to generalise or even name what they dislike about the show, so they dig for the most plausible reason)! Enjoying what you consider to be “fanservice”! It’s anime! It’s a pastime, it’s a passion, it’s a pleasure, but hell, people, please, get a life! It is not going to be high-brow thesis on the philosophy of religion no matter how hard the director tries (sorry Hideaki Anno, but that’s what I believe). Just remember that it is an ANIME! And anime can be fun and brain-taxing, as long as it is enjoyable.
    Excuse my rant, but I had to blow some steam.

    PS: For some reason, I find it so cool that you are a teacher, Natrone ^^.

  72. What was the “Aunt Arlene’s Chicken and Tough Noodles” reference for?? O_o;;… or was it just something random?? lol…

    I like your editorials, Natron-e!! 😀

    And you did a typo… I think… –> “…call my a hypocrite”: It’s in the third set of parentheses in the paragraph below the three Geass pictures.

  73. i think i can at least have a busy day and watch a Code Geass episode without dying… but i Always rewatch it as soon as i have some freetime… not because i didn’t understand the plot or the reasoning behind the scenes, but i alctually love to see over and over these type of anime: mystery, strategy and complex thinking. They’re absolutely better than those aaaaaaaaaaaahhh-i’ll-take-you-down-ah-let’s-see-if-you-can-and so on.

    e.g, death note, i’ve already watched it three times… this doesn’t mean i won’t watch it again 😉

  74. Every time somebody insists something doesn’t belong in one of Natrone’s maintenance sections they completely miss the point of his article and justify everything he said before that point. Just thought I’d let those people know.

  75. Sorry for the double post, but it would be nice to see people giving some of their own maintenance lists instead of complaining about Natrone’s. Don’t like his? That’s cool, give us your own then instead of just saying “Well no Natrone, lol, your a fool because this show is really shallow and empty cause I say so”. That type of negativity proves very little if anything at all (as Natrone is trying very hard to point out in his article)other then that one is sore over somebody enjoying something on a higher level for themselves then they think they should be. It really just makes people look grumpy and elitist.

  76. >From a cynical standpoint, I felt the makers deemed the show enough of a success that >they wanted to continue it and tacked on more story

    Well that’s how I feel about the second season for now. It doesn’t seem like they planned to continue another 25 episodes from the start. The mecha upgrading is really getting ridiculous. Also, the fight against Xingke looked like filler to me, maybe in order to get Kallen captured, but I kept wondering why Xingke and Zero don’t simply team up as they can easily combine their goals.

    >If you were dumped into a random episode of Code Geass without any background >knowledge (with exception to the school episodes), I think you would be lost way more >than something like To LOVE Ru or Naruto (even though Naruto has such a HUGE >background, and random episode might just have enough of a drawn out fight that you >don’t need to know any of it).

    Well yes, but I think that’s the case with about any series that is not episodic (I think you can count To love ru as episodic).
    In Naruto, even if you watch some random fighting episode, you don’t really know what is going on without knowing at least a bit of the background. Actually I just happened to watch the newest Shippuuden episode without ever watching more than 20 episodes of the original series. And yes, I knew the basic story, I knew who Naruto was … but there were quite a few characters I didn’t know and I didn’t really understand what was going on, why they were fighting each other etc.
    In fact a random episode of Real Drive should be easier to follow, if you just know the idea behind the Metal stuff, because those are pretty episodic so far.

    Kaioshin: For example from this season the show I would consider “high maintenance” is Kaiba. It’s in fact, at least to me, pretty much the only series right now that makes you think and during which you really have to pay attention, because they don’t explain everything in detail. But since, at the beginning of each episode they do explain the basics you can watch some of the eps without knowing the others (those which are episodic).

  77. To me, a series is only “high maintenance” if I have ever had to:
    a) Pause the episode in order to read the subtitles more than once (*not* due to poor grammar in the subs).
    b) Rewind at any point (*not* due to taking a break. Be it household chores, bathroom breaks, or going to work, etc). I mean *while* watching the episode.

    Pretty much, if I ever have to break the flow of the episode to reacquaint myself with the plot. This can include anything from Ghost in the Shell, to Pani Poni Dash, on down through Lucky Star.

    Everything else falls under “medium maintenance.”

    I can’t say I’ve met all that many fans that only extol the virtues of the “Thinker’s Type Series.” Most fans I’ve had contact with either only enjoy the “low-mid maintenance” series, or go for a good balance, like I do. The kind of fans who love Darker than Black to death, but also can’t wait for the next episode of ARIA to come out.

    Another great editorial though, a bit hard to read at times, definitely a “high maintenance” post, but stimulates the brain in all the right places.

  78. Interesting article. I’m curious as to how you would label shows that in a glance would be considered Low Maintenance, but have many hidden layers that take some attention to notice (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya).

  79. @Melchior
    Actually, that’s a whole ‘nother facet I had to edit/cut out of this editorial. Shows that require a lot of brain power just because of too many cultural references/jokes and too much on-screen text (Excel Saga, any SHAFT work, etc.) Those ARE high maintenance, to me, too….

    The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (at least to me) required high maintenance, because (if watching the non-chronological aired version), you had to pay really close to attention to the details that would be explained in a later episode (in an event that came before).

    Example: the early baseball episode showed Haruhi thinking that Mikuru would look good in a ponytail and that Kyon took interest, much to the dismay of Haruhi. The point of that doesn’t hit home until later, but it makes so much more sense ONLY if you’re thinking hard enough….

  80. I enjoyed reading this but I agreed with few that you are kind of over thinking about this.
    Sunrise tropes with Gundam baked with Death Note serves with fanservice is not “high-maintenance,” in my opinion. Code Geass is a pretty simple show, actually.

  81. @Smurf: That’s exactly what I find about Code Geass. And touching upon what Natrone just mentioned it has those moments like Haruhi that require you to pay attention to something whose significance will come up later, but only if you noticed the initial point.

    The chess game with Schneizel for example where most people I imagine were focusing on the chess game itself (understandable)instead of what the characters were saying and what the pieces symbolized ties into Schneizel’s earlier dialogue in a previous episode about “winning by not winning” (dipomacy or exploiting a weakness that will make the enemy surrender itself) and at the end of the game he mentions Lelouch’s retreat and uses the phrase, “That’s not what the emperor would have done”. That point in turn later ties into Schneizel talking about retreating from the battlefield later in episode 11 and asking the question “What would the emperor have done”. In each situation Schneizel and Lelouch backed down from a situation where the other could have easily been inviting them to take the victory and both times they didn’t when it’s likely that the Emperor in his lust for power would have taken any chance to be the victor without concern for how it made them look.

    Essentially it’s a multilayered situation where at first the chess match looks like a completely buggered bit of nonsense chess, but later it’s significance as a measure of the characters personality as leaders becomes apparent. Essentially plot points you don’t think tie into other ones (or are even significant plot points at to begin with) at all in fact do and it enhances the enjoyment of the series. At least for me. That’s why I will continue to think of it as a somewhat intelligent series with mid-high maintenance reqs.

    Another point is that in order to realize why Lelouch has the new Shinkirou Knightmare Frame you would have needed to pay attention to a quick shot of the hangar where it is visible and Laksharta is talking about them receiving new Knightmare Frames from India. That requires a significant level of attention from the viewers I think in just the sheer number of people I’ve seen that thought Shinkirou came completely out of nowhere. Kind of reminds me of the common belief that Ultimecia came out of nowhere as a final boss in FFVIII when she is referenced near the end of the second disc just before the halfway point of the game.

    @Melchior: Of the two series that I have spent the most time blogging, those being Gundam 00 and Code Geass, I find myself having to frequently rewind them because I think I missed a piece of dialogue with a hidden or dual meaning that I can bring up in my thoughts section at the end and that I think could become important later or gives some insight into the characters or situation. That’s also sort of how I measure maintenance for a series. By comparison my Moetan thoughts (Low Main) are like 4 sentences long, my Sky Girls thoughts were about a paragraph (Mid Main) while my thoughts on Code Geass can go as long as 8 paragraphs or more. The show can honestly be downright cryptic at times or have visual cues that have a symbolic meaning such as Nina dress resembling that of the one formerly worn by Euphemia that hints that she is trying to become her idol. There’s just way to much stuff going on at once for me to consider it medium or low maintenance.

  82. Actually to me, high-maintenance shows would be:
    1. Something I have to rewatch at least one time to understand FULLY what is going on. (This is watching the show without distractions.)
    2. Shows that make me go back to previous episodes to see something I missed that was only partially mentioned. (That is critical to the plot in the future.)

    And I can’t really say I’ve watch many, or if, even one high maintenance show, and that doesn’t mean that I’m SUPER smart or anything, it’s just that I rather watch medium-maintenance shows that are enjoyable to watch while eating some snacks/food and while thinking at the same time. (Not critically thinking, just a “Wait, he said what?” and such comments, or a “So, blank just …..and so and so just…..so that means that…..is going to happen,” and such.)

    P.S. Keep up the great articles Natrone! I really enjoy the articles you write!

  83. Great article, I enjoy your writing style and the fact that despite being so verbose you produce a lot of interesting discussions and debate among the readers of this blog.

    That said, I just felt like addressing a quite silly matter. Do you really think that “slice-of-life” shows could really be classified as Low-Maintenance? I suppose some could, but I am sure that if you have watched Kino no Tabi or Mushishi (if you haven’t watched them I really, really recommend you to do so, I believe you might enjoy them) you would feel a bit hesitant about including a whole genre in one of your categories. These two shows are valid proof that even slice-of-life genre can provide food for thought and require the viewer to pay attention and mentally elaborate all the inputs (on all kind of “levels”, wether it’s empirical, visual, metaphors and so on) that are being conveyed during any of their episodes. 😉

    I hope my post made sense, it’s 4 AM here, I spent the night studying electronics and I think my brain is not exactly processing my thoughts that well anymore. :X

  84. Once again, a series doesn’t have to be “better”, “smarter” or even just “liked” in order to demand or simply allow a certain level of maintenance, you know…paying more attention, if one chooses to do so, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s superior to anything else.

    Minikui: I don’t like some of the developments -or at least their execution which is a subtle difference (I’m fine with all the mecha upgrades, though not with how they are being used most of the time)- in R2 either.

    I would have also liked it to be either just a 25 episode show or, at most, 50 episodes straight through.

    However, the way the first season actually turned out, I really don’t think the staff wasn’t thinking of getting a sequel or at the very least hoping for an extension. The cast was too big and the plot had too many threads, for better and for worse, so I can’t really imagine a good, premature ending that wasn’t, say, making Lelouch fail but still giving him a “symbolic victory” of some sort.

    It’s true that R2 has been running around a little too much, and as mentioned before I don’t like how the China arc turned out, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some steps towards advancing the overall plot, and I would hope the upcoming episodes, with a detour or two, accelerate that trend. But I don’t know, we’ll just have to see.

  85. @ShiNN: I’d like to take a stab at that myself *is a huge blabbermouth* . For me I like to recognize shows within the genre in their own right. In that case I would consider something like Lucky Star, Aria and Minami-Ke (if one really wants to classify them as slice of life) lower-mid maintenance the former 2 of which deal more with moe comedy then with making one ponder what a life is and the latter of which is mostly just about laying back and looking at stuff that is happening on screen in my opinion. Something like Welcome To The NHK I would consider middle-high maintenance because while I believe that NHK has it’s moments of sheer WTFery that make you question the accuracy of it to real life, I also find that it raises some important questions and concerns about a Japanese subculture that is in desperate need of some guidance as well as bringing up themes such as coming of age, trust and the value of life in general. Something like Mushishi or the movie My Neighbours The Yamadas (which remains to this day my all time favourite example of what I envision Slice of Anime truly being like) I would classify as high maintenance because it’s just really cryptic about what point it is trying to make. Not so much My Neighbours The Yamadas, but Mushishi which takes on a spirtual flair that made the first episode a confusing endeavour for me.

    And then there’s some of the Tezuka Osamu stuff like Black Jack, which while most of it was never actually animated has had an overwhelming and lasting impact worldwide in it’s sheer humanity and overriding themes. Like this one manga by him I recently finished called Ode To Kirohito. Wow…….now I really want to read Buddha. Anyway I digress.

  86. >The chess game with Schneizel for example where most people I imagine were focusing on >the chess game itself (understandable)instead of what the characters were saying

    you didn’t really see much of the chess game actually and the part that was really shown at the end – the important one – was against the rules, that’s why it captured the attention of so many viewers 😉 I don’t think you can miss what the characters say while having Lulu’s shocked face all over the screen, explaining in detail why he wouldn’t take Schneizel’s king o.o

    But you are right, they managed to include a nice “cross over” between the different scenes. But then they resolve an important part of the story = Lulu being absent, by having a maid dress up as him, which is simply impossible, especially considering her bust size 😉 This and the part about the chess move against the rules make a lot of the good parts go to waste, because it still looks as if Sunrise didn’t think this through carefully. Not to mention that the whole part about playing chess with a supposed terrorist was quite hard to accept as well. Those are the parts in CG that I have to ignore, else they bother me all the time and take away all the enjoyment of the show ^^;

    Also, having the new mecha come “from India” is about the same as “out of nowhere” to me, since it’s as always a new upgraded super strong mecha that arrives just in time in order not to resolve a battle using any real tactics (Gundam 00 was a lot worse there, but CG is slowly turning into another Gundam v.v). For example, in Bokurano they actually fight all the time using the same mecha, they might discover new functions of it, but they never get a new one which is infinitely stronger. And all that while fighting against many different types of enemies.

  87. @ShiNN
    While I didn’t directly say it, I will admit that there is an allusion to the idea that slice-of-life shows are low maintenance. Really, though, the various “classic” genres (sci-fi, comedy, slice-of-life, drama, etc.) are on a different axis from attention-needing (low or high maintenance), which is on a different axis from whether a show is “good” or “bad.” (Obviously, there are more than 3 axes).

    However, for the most part, when you look at ALL the slice-of-life shows OR if you take the general meaning and/or conception of a slice-of-life show, then you will get a show that is on average low maintenance. There are BOUND to be exceptions, which is why one of the main points I “preached” in the editorial was to try different shows and genres, even if you KNOW you don’t like them – you just might be surprised.

    Yes, I’ve seen Kino no Tabi and Mushishi and both are high-maintenance slice-of-life shows. Here’s another one you might not think of being high-maintenance (but it was for me): Lucky Star. Lucky Star, with all its obtuse cultural references and whatnot became high maintenance, even though there wasn’t really much plot to follow. Rather, I had to think and process the (sometimes) interminably winding dialogue in order to “get the joke” or sometimes just understand what the hell the girls were talking about. It didn’t always flow smoothly for me (NOTE: I’m not saying anything about whether Lucky Star was a good or bad show).

    Comedy shows can also be low maintenance of high maintenance, even though the general perception for most people is that a pure comedy show is low maintenance. Excel Saga, Pani Poni Dash, and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei immediately come to mind as high maintenance for obvious reasons…

    But things like Aria, Sketchbook Full Colors, Hidaramari Sketch, Minami-ke (Okawari) are low maintenance (at least to me) slice-of-life and/or comedy shows….

  88. There is only one reason if people take Code Geass as a disappointment. They expect too much from it. I myself consider CG as one of the best animes I’ve ever watched (with the plot twists, love triangle, etc). I must admit, R2 might be a little disappointment for those plot-twist-intelligence-viewers. But, basically, you watch anime to enjoy it, right!? If it was too heavy, not everybod would consider watching it! Not all people love watching heavy anime. Right now, I see CG as my fav anime. Yet I don’t really believe not many people watch CG in Japan, even though it got low rating. In anime grand prix 2008, CG wins almost all of the nominees. And the most important thing: CG HASN’T ENDED! All of you who complain about how lame CG is, must be still continuing watching it, right!? At least, most of you. Let’s see how good it is till the end. At least, be grateful since CG is not as awful as Gundam Seed Destiny.
    bACK TO heavy, middle, low maintenance, it depends on everybody. Hey, not all people are as smart as you, right!?

  89. >I must admit, R2 might be a little disappointment for those >plot-twist-intelligence-viewers. But, basically, you watch anime to enjoy it, right!? If >it was too heavy, not everybod would consider watching it! Not all people love watching >heavy anime.

    Well, that is exactly what this whole post by Natrone was about … expect it put CG among the “heavy” anime 😉 Which is what the whole discussion that followed was about.

    >At least, be grateful since CG is not as awful as Gundam Seed Destiny.

    which isn’t really that difficult though. Luckily there are tons of shows better than GSD, else I could stop watching anime altogether XD

    >Yet I don’t really believe not many people watch CG in Japan, even though it got low >rating.

    Yep, it doesn’t really have low ratings anyway. I think Code Geass just gets exactly the right combination of suspense, fanservice (girls, yaoi, as well as mecha), action and not too obvious neither too difficult plot + typical anime character designs by Clamp (so many viewers judge a series only based on its art style) to appeal to a mainstream audience.

    Kaioshin: Yea, you must be right … but I bet that hurts O.O

  90. @Minikui I’m just grateful that CLAMP isn’t actually writing the script for Code Geass. I’ll personally take Sunrise’s extreme writing over CLAMP any day of the week. I’ll also take the siscon Lelouch over him being “friends” with Suzaku. *Imagines Code Geass as a part of the Tsubasa Chronicles Metaverse*…..*Breaks Down In Tears* 🙁

  91. I tried to read it. I found it wittely written but when i clicked the desu link (still playing btw) i can’t concentrate on what your point was going to be.
    From what i read it’s a make peace not love kinda piece where everyboday should appreciate eachothers show. You sure are a nice teacher making everybody getting along.

    Btw What kind of fake vegetarian makes chicken tough noodles 😛

  92. Oh wait it was about watching anime in the appropriate mood.
    U need a lot of selfdiscipline to be able to watch the shows in the correct mood instead of marathoning all you have just so you know what will happen next.
    But your way does gets you more out of anime shows

  93. I got bored after the first paragraph. I struggled to read till the end but i missed your point somewhere in that sea of words. Could you tell me the point of this editortial in a simple sentence pls?

  94. I do feel at times that shows such as Code Geass tend to unnecessarily over complicate themselves as well as rely heavily on insignificant cliffhangers at times. This kind of formula worked well in Death Note seeing as its genre catered to intellectual thinking. Code Geass on the other hand tries to be too much all at once(mecha/mystery/drama/harem etc.)sometimes so its nice once in a while to see mindless mecha blowing stuff up.

    Random muser
  95. I’ve got to say, that wasn’t an entertaining article at all. In fact, it was pretty … pathetic. Really, I hate to say this, but Code Geass? Intellectually stimulating? I stopped caring right there and began skimming your article. Long-winded arguments that go in circles and things that just felt outright wacky to say (Real Drive being called mentally exhausting for one). You basically go nowhere and spend a lot of time getting to your point:

    “I’m really lazy and possibly stupid.” Code Geass is borderline mindless and comparing it to Ghost in the Shell on that respect is just … unbelievably off. Really, I’m not even sure what to say about this article. The entire thing is just unbelievable period. The thought of somebody having to mentally digest Code Geass is crushingly depressing.

    P.S. get an editor. It sounds like you get lost in your thoughts and neander around in your writings too much. Remember that quantity is not quality. Also try to cut back on the pretentious overtones.

    Le Sigh
  96. Random muser: “This kind of formula worked well in Death Note seeing as its genre catered to intellectual thinking.”

    Except it … totally wasn’t! Death Note was directed at the shonen demographic and the author himself expressed delight at aiming it at this younger audience for one reason: they could just sit back and enjoy without HAVING to think. She/he acknowledged that debate could spring forth from it, but he doesn’t intend for it.

    Le Sigh
  97. I agree with the show categories, but I tend to think of Code Geass (R2, anyway) as a low-maintenance show. It’s fast-paced and enjoyable when watching the episodes, but if I stop and think about the actual story for a moment the plotholes and logical faults begin to overwhelm my suspension of disbelief. To fully enjoy the experience I have to check my inner critic at the door and try not to think too hard until the episode is over.

  98. >“You cannot criticize something you haven’t even tried out”
    Thankyou Omnisyth 😀
    Well wasn’t that random rant of Natrone a little too much just to point what’s obvious in the first place?

    What was all of that paper for? To tell that Code Geass needs brain power to be understood? Oh man! What if you were to watch to Angel’s Egg? That anime is full of symbolism and quite cryptic itself. I bet your brain will crash, if it requires so much attention to process such a light anime like Geass…
    What if somebody likes light and entertaining shows like kanokon or toloveru? Are they losers only for that reason? I personally hate Kanokon for some reason i’m not to explain here, but i’d never call stupid he who likes such stuff!
    On the other hand i’d never call “smart or intelligent” who likes Geass. That’s the best example of average anime aimed for the mass audience. That’s all of it…

    Lol Anime in general IS something for the mass audience. It’s made for entertaining. That means there’s not much to think of in the first place.
    There are some rare exceptions of anime made of art. There are indeed, and Heibane Renmei, Paranoia Agent, Miyazaki or Studio 4C anime are a good example of anime art. But OMG, don’t enen dare to put Geass in the group!

    I find natrone’s editorials verbose and weak. he makes a big fuss on nothing and spends lots of ords to point out meannesses. It’s like eating cotton sugar candy. When you start tasting it there’s no substance at all

  99. i think appreciation of anime comes from the watcher. If you don’t like the genre then its impossible for you to like it. Unless there is something that triggered you to like it.

    anyway, just to share…code geass was my first mecha anime… and i learned to appreciate mecha animes because of it . Now i’m watching gundam stuffs as well.

  100. Le Sigh: “Except it … totally wasn’t! Death Note was directed at the shonen demographic and the author himself expressed delight at aiming it at this younger audience for one reason: they could just sit back and enjoy without HAVING to think. She/he acknowledged that debate could spring forth from it, but he doesn’t intend for it”.

    -If drama, mystery and psychological are genres that don’t lend themselves to thinking then Death note would be a typical shounen title where light would have ended up fighting shinigami in hell slowly progressing his powers as he went along. Yes, the creators did succeed in producing a series that made thinking entertaining as it was relevant to the themes and direction of the show.
    There always is a degree of thinking needed when watching anything. If you aren’t responding(thinking)to a show in any way, you simply aren’t watching it.

    Random muser
  101. I personally do a lot of in depth analysis for Code Geass in my blog where I try to pick up on things I think others might have missed and I tend to find hidden meanings to scenes or hints about the nature of the characters that pop up in what looks like normal banter. I still think the show has an intelligent side to it, but if one insists on watching it believing that there is nothing one could possibly be missing because the show is just a fanservice toy vehicle then one will never see it. It’s an interesting situation where people create their own self-fulfilling prophecy and I’d call it slightly prejudiced, but again it’s peoples choice if they don’t really want to worry about the more intelligent narrative I’ve seen is there.

  102. Kaioshin, I certainly would like to her your thoughts on series as Seirei no Moribito, Bokurano, Ergo Proxy, Haibane Renmei or Paranoia Agent ^^ I looked through your blog, but apparently none has been covered there yet (or I didn’t see it).

  103. And still, some people continue to misunderstand what was meant as far as “maintenance” goes. Or just simply have a different opinion, I guess, but at least they should try to understand the original point instead of misrepresenting it, as if being “high maintenance” automatically meant that a show has to be intellectual, profound or even “art”.

    No, that’s not the case at all. But I guess this debate is never going to end, so might as well stop here.

  104. Camario, I think the problem is in fact that the original post mentions things like “The problem is that such shows often require a certain amount of intelligence and brain power to fully understand and enjoy them.” and “thinking”. From there you can easily get to debating if Code Geass really needs intelligence to enjoy it etc.
    While on the other hand “maintenance” means just how much attention you have to pay to a series while watching, if you can watch while being half asleep, do other things at the same time etc. That mostly depends on the pace of the series, episodic or not, the amount of dialog = subtitles to read … so a comedy series can be high maintenance as well.

    imho it’s kind of hard to draw a line between those two ideas.

  105. I think your mistaken that code geass takes thought lol. I find anime entertaining at times only because it does not challenge my mind and tends to be very simplistic and single planar. A good book will warp the window through which you view reality. A good anime, video-game or manga will lull your mind with age old thoughts and paradigms. There is no contest between the writings of tite kubo or hideo kojima and the likes of kurt vonnegut and tagore. essentially, you watch too many cartoons, and need to broaden your scope of media if you really think anime can be genuinely ‘thought provoking.’

  106. @Neilyo: I think that Natrone was arguing in comparison to most anime and not in fact the works of masters like Tolstoy or my personal favourite, George Orwell. Comparing anime to literary masterpieces warrants the old apples and oranges comparison.


    I would if I could, but all are on my too watch list still as I’ve been so busy that I only have time to follow a few anime at any give moment.

    Based off of the 2 episodes I’ve seen of Paranoia Agent though I would guess that it seems to be part of the superflat movement (along with Satoshi Kon himself) and is arguing that after WWII Japan lost track of it’s inherent culture (or rather the one based on Bushido ethics) and has ceased to really be a nation unto itself. That and Japan is in denial of it all in trying to wash over the old with a new more shallow culture based on materialistic values that are superficial at best.

    That’s just pure guess work though as I have not seen nearly enough to do otherwise.

    As for Bokurano, guess work again based on reading a couple chapters, but I would imagine it is a character study that is trying to showcase the authors vision of the true nature of humanity when the characters survival instincts kick in. Something like the idea that you can only see the true measure of a human being when they have everything to risk and little to gain once you take hope away. I would like to read more of it once I have the time.

    As for the other 3 I have no idea.

  107. Hmm, late opinion. I actually read most of your articles (read: MGS4 sucks up my life so far), and I find yours not at all TLDR…but then…I find excitement reading FM 7-8 while other ROTC kids would rather be off doing something else.

    As for things like intellectual shows and fans who are snobby and rude. I admit I am one of them. Especially when things start getting into Gundam and two other Space Operas (Legend of the Galactic Heroes and the Sekai series). There are times where my best friend and I have a ‘don’t talk to me for a few days’ moment when I implied that Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was never as great as Gundam 08th MS Team.

    But i digress.

    I enjoy most kinds of anime it seems. And you’re right. I don’t want to watch an intellectually driven anime (if I watch anime) after failing a test because I just couldn’t grasp the concepts (Japanese). I need something light hearted (or something not in Japanese) to make me feel nice. Then, when I’m on a roll, having amazed my Government professors and whatnot, I feel like watching stuff like LOGH, FLAG, or some series where I kinda have to think.

    And…I rambled on…now I’m lost. Damn my mind. Mental image of a HK G3KA4 shows up and it leads to other things (has possibly memorized almost every aspect of the G3…).

    I…I better stop typing now. XD

  108. Very good article. I think a lot of anime snobs would be better off if they understood the points you make. But I could have done without the pubic hair reference ^_^

    But I would refine your title a bit and say that it’s Analysis, not thinking, that is not entertaining. I look at shows like Mushi Shi that are quite entertaining while still being thought provoking, but require none of the “take notes for later” level of attention of series like Evangelion. My favorite anime series appeal to my intellect without making demands on it.

  109. The sort of shows I like are the ones with fast plot progression. Typically the sort of shows that don’t take a dozen eps to move the plot one inch. If there’s any fight scene (that doesn’t push the plot much), I’d like it to just last 1 ep. max.

    I also like the ones that give “AHA! CHECKMATE!” and “didn’t see that coming!” moments. ’cause it keeps me interested and on the edge of my seat. But I also want it to make me curious enough to wonder what’ll happen next.

    As for plot depth, I don’t want it to be too deep to the point that it’s all talk and no action,and it’ll need a 100 replays to understand.

    crash & burn
  110. “Let’s just acknowledge the fact that NOBODY is always capable of processing mentally intensive information ALL the time.”
    “Oh, but if you’re the type of student who pours all their mental energy into watching and enjoying such intellectually stimulating shows such that you have so little brain power left to finish an assignment or do a test well (if at all), then you have no right to complain if you get a grader lower than what you wanted.”
    At the risk of sounding arrogant, I’d like to point out that I watch good shows (which, for me, tend to be intellectually stimulating in some way, be it like Code Geass or perhaps just due to jumbled chronology like Baccano!) regardless of what else is going on (yes, even during study break, yea, even the night before an exam).
    What grades do I get? Mostly A+, a small number of As. Nothing below that.
    I agree with ALL possible situations, I disagree with ALL the time, because depending on (a) how intelligent you are, and (b) how you manage your time, you can live in such a way that at ALL times you are in a situation where you are “capable of processing mentally intensive information”.
    I am certainly not the norm, but I also doubt I’m the only person capable of such things.

  111. This was very interesting to read! I’ve read some of your other entries and it’s very nice and entertaining.

    I also agree about the “Maintenance” labels you give. Sometimes I just read a book while watching those “Low Maintenance” animes and walk around without pausing it.
    The “High Maintenance” ones you listed are also ones I used to have to actually take a minute to realize what was going on and had to listen/read the subtitles carefully in case I might not understand.

    Thanks for the entertaining read!


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