Funeral should appreciate this…
Someone offhandedly remarked about reading the Kara no Kyoukai novel and when somone was explaining the reason someone else was doing whatever, they “half-expected Ginko to walk up and explain what Mushi was causing it.” Reading that it suddenly occured to me that I pretty much like Mushishi and KnK for the same reason. I think it’s pretty important for people to figure out what exactly it is they like about anime because, obvious as that sounds, I really don’t think some people do. I know I’ve gotten pissed about this before and perhaps mentioned it a bit while talking about shows, but it bothers me that some people are so caught up in what’s ‘good’ and what’s ‘bad’ that they miss out on a certain aspect of anime – personal preference. I mean sure, you can hate a show becasue it’s bad, but just because it’s bad doesn’t mean you can’t love it (after all, people love Nanoha). The goodness of an anime (which is, contrast to popular belief, totally subjective) should be totally seperatly considered from how much you actually like it. Of course there are a lot of people who like anime becasue it IS good (and some of them seem to think that their opinion has nothing to do with ‘goodness’) and there’s nothing wrong with that but I can’t help but think such a thing is a bit sad — anime can be amazing and I might not even like is (12k) whereas something that would commonly be considered total shit might be one of my favorites just because it goes with my preferences (I’m tempted to say The Legend of Black Heaven).
So I’m going to ask of you the most n00b of all questions, usually asked by people who don’t like anime and usually answered by people who haven’t even discovered their taste yet. Why do you like anime? And I don’t mean ‘in compared to other forms of (art?)’ I mean ‘in comparison to other anime.’
I have a lot of preferences which rally carry over from anime to manga to whatever other medium is used as well as preferences unique to anime. For ease of thought process, I shall group them.
– Badass, Quick, Easy Action: I’m a huge fan of action, just like most people, however I require it to be fast, cool, and I don’t necessarily require a plot. There are plenty of anime which are badass, action-packed, and fun, but still contain great characters (i.e. Samurai Champloo) and an interesting story (i.e. Baccano or Black Lagoon). However, I won’t fault something like Akira for just killing shit, blowing shit up, and doing it as fast and looking as cool as possible with plot and characters as more of an afterthought (some will argue against this about Akira, I really don’t want to hear it.)
I also enjoy my badass action with a fair amount of style. Most of those above have style in spades which is what put them on my favorites list as opposed to say Karas which more or less foregoes a thick, rich style in favor of eye-candy. Anime doesn’t need to have the most cutting-edge visuals around for the fights to be exciting (which is part of why Stranjya looses more impact with each rewatch) – memorable stylisitc decisions can make all the difference (see: SoulTaker or Gunsmith Cats, both with their share of unforgettable style moments.)
– Great Character Chemistry – I’ve mentioned in a post before how I don’t consider the depth or development of a character to be as important as the chemistry of the cast, and how a combination of the three is truly ideal. It’s very, very rare for me to connect to a single chracter on a level that they take precedence over a whole cast (Lain is the only one who comes to mind) unless it’s, like, Kamina or something where such is obvious. Most characters are made awesome by the way they interact with other characters. The primest of prime examples is Hidamari Sketch which is 100% character interaction (I want to say moreso than any other show I’ve seen) and even thuogh Yunocchi is one of my top 5 favorite characters of all time, what fun would she be without the rest of the girls there? Hidamari Sketch is like Matter, you really can’t remove any part of it.
This kind of chemistry is pretty much the aim of most anime out there, really, but the problem with a lot of them is that they arne’t lookin at the big picture. Too many harem shows study the chemistry between the main character and each of his bitches, but never explore the way the bitches interact with each other or other people. Some shows cure this by throwing in a bunch of useless characters who serve the sole purpose of extending the social network. Most action shows do this right by developing all the side characters enough to care about them (like Eureka Seven, in which we really get to know all of the random crew members – actually Bones are kind of just kings of this in general, or maybe Neon Genesis) though sometimes things get hectic, obvious, or pointless (Code Geass) and other times, the minor characters don’t do much to influence the main characters or evoke greater chmistry at all (Gurren-Lagann). Some romances/comedies that get this right are Kare Kano, Nana, (Kurenai), Haruhi, etc., and there are some that do okay like Kanokon and I guess Key shows but they alays feel forced to me.
Some shows even take on the task of grabbing a bunch of characters who’ve either never met or are in conflict and stringing them together and building their chemistry as the whole plot – I like to call these ‘group bonding’ shows. I’d consider Ouran Host Club to be the best of these kinds of shows, though Bamboo Blade is right up there as well what with Tama being the best instrument of group bonding ever. Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight is another very excellent example even if that show is about much more than just that.
And this is getting to be a hueg post so I will create a part 2 at a later date. You’ll probably see my Higurashi post before that becasue I intend to finally intend to finish it today – don’t ask why it’s taking over a week, long story. Also the start of seaosn 2 of Project Awesomeness has happened on youtube so watch that if you aren’t gay. (and if your gay, still watch it.)