Unrepresentative Studio Screw-ups

I am of the mindset that an opinion should be made based on research in any situation. I hate to hear people bitch that ‘all mecha sucks’ when they’ve seen exactly two shows from the genre (this seems to be the case for many.) I am sick of people calling a show ‘cliche’ when the show is intended to be homage or parody. These are all things that a little research would show to anyone. Whether or not you like the show is based all on you, but before you open your mouth to the world, you’d best know what you’re talking about. That’s why I’ve gotten rather tired of people making uneducated remarks about studios, especially those that supposedly ‘suck.’

EVERY studio has fuck-ups. EVERY studio has some ‘less-than-good’ or even outright horrible shows. Some of them may have more dramatic portions of their production than others, and some studios may have absolutely no good shows to speak of. However, every studio has a shitty show. The trouble is that they have no way of controlling which shows will become popular – the shitty shows or the good ones – and when the shitty ones get popular, they begin to represent the studio in the minds of fans, regardless of whether or not the studio merely produced a fluke.

See exhibit A: J.C.Staff. We are at a time where there are more new anime fans than ever, and two of the big popular shows among new anime fans and old ones alike are Shakugan no Shana and Zero no Tsukaima. Those who’ve seen both shows can probably tell you that, while they may have some merits, these shows are pretty fucking terrible. As a result, it seems as though people have become ‘wary’ of J.C. Staff releases. Now, I can see how this was with Toradora since it really did look like the next of kin to those shows, but J.C. Staff should hardly at all be a studio to be worried about.

In case you’ve forgotten, here are some J.C. Staff shows that can show you just how great the studio is: Azumanga Daioh, Cat Soup, Excel Saga, Ghost Hunt, Gunparade March, Honey and Clover, Loveless, Nodame Cantabile, Potemayo, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Yamamoto Yohko, Yomigaeru Sora, and, of course, Toradora.

Now, that’s not to say the studio hasn’t done a LOT of shitty anime. But dude, there is no way that you can name even ONE of your favorite shows that is done by a production company that hasn’t produced a number of shitty anime. Gainax? He is My Master, Mahoromatic, This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, Melody of Oblivion – okay none of them are that bad but none of them are that good (def not Ugly Yet). Madhouse? They may look like a powerhouse of amazing anime, but dude they did motherfucking Tenjou Tenge, one of the shittiest things I’ve ever bore 10 minutes of, as well as shit like (leaving out IMAGIN shows) Biohunter, Devil May Cry, Hitsuji no Uta (not bad but a studio fucking failure), and Princess Resurrection. Production I.G. makes the highest budget shows in the universe yet they still managed to produce one of the SHITTIEST ANIME EVER MADE, Kai Doh Maru.

Knowing this, it bothers me to hear people bitch about a studio making a few bad anime when they’ve got others that are fantastic. GONZO is, of course, the prime example. After a chain of immensely shitty shows, and not even all that long of one really, people just lost all faith in the studio and started parading it as some hell-spawn studio. Dude, they didn’t even fall that hard. Dragonaut is the shittiest anime ever made, but beyond that, it’s not some giant loss.

Gonzo has produced a number of absolutely amazing series. Kaleido Star, Last Exile, Blue Submarine no. 6, Welcome to the NHK, Red Garden, Gankutsuou, and those are just the ones I’m a personal fan of, not including many that are hugely popular like Hellsing, Seto no Hanayome, Chrono Crusade, Saikano, Kiddy Grade, and FullMetal Panic. Pre-Dragonaut, the studio only had the amount of less-than-good shows one would expect from any studio, and post-Dragonaut there was only really Rosario to Vampire which was no worse than your average fanservice shit-romp. By the next season, people were avoiding them like the plague, while those that stuck around seemed to find Tower of Druaga exceptionally good for a video game adaption, and everyone who passed a few eps of Blassreiter ended up loving it. People cried foul when Strike Witches was arriving, but the show turned out to be excellent, which flipped all that bullshit on it’s head. There is really no reason to be expecting the next great failure from Gonzo when, aside from Dragonaut, they are doing pretty much par for the average studio course.

I think it’s pretty reasonable to believe that if a studio has produced a number of good shows, they are going to produce a number of good shows in the future, and a few shitty anime here and there doesn’t mean the ruin of the studio. Instead of cowering in fear every time J.C. Staff gets a light novel adaption, people should be looking at their good shows and getting excited.

That all said, Kyoto Animation has not produced a shitty show to date. People are going to bitch like hell when they do, and I’m going to be beating my head against walls.

22 thoughts on “Unrepresentative Studio Screw-ups

  1. Hey, Starship Operators is a great J.C. Staff show too! The spaceship battles were exceptionally done.

    The problem with most people is that they’re too lazy to research. They’d rather follow their base assumption to the end without trying to rectify it. And that’s pitiful.

  2. Well I would somewhat disagree with you about JC Staff as many people think the first season of Shana was very good(second season was horrible though). The first season of Zero was fine and the rest sucked. The problem alot of people have with JC Staff is that they tend to put their own filler and crap in when they should stick with the original source material. There is also Index too which has been getting a mixed reception. People saying JC staff is horrible are wrong but by no means are they the pinnacle of adaptation(that award probably belongs to Kyoto).

    Some studios have a higher hit to miss than others. Kyoto, Bones, Sunrise (for some mecha fans) all have a much higher chance of a well done production than say Gonzo. Kyoto has pretty much never really screwed up. Bones had a few duds but never really anything atrocious. Sunrise is very much well liked among the mecha fans with Gundam, Code Geass, Cowboy Bebop, and the like.

    Also for Gonzo you forgot to mention Afro Samurai, which alot of people hated. Chrono Crusade had a horrible ending as well as Welcome to the NHK which felt incomplete. For the most part Gonzo is competent but rarely have they a slam dunk. They had Blassreiter, Linebarells of Iron, Rosario(which is much more fail than you give it credit for), and Pumpkin Scissors. Look at the ratings for Strike Witches at ANN, I highly doubt that’s considered excellent. Hellsing the TV series is now considered crap when compared to the OVAs. Full Metal Panic the original series is absolute crap compared to the Second Raid.

    It’s not just failing, it’s how many times you fail and how big it is.

  3. “EVERY studio has fuck-ups. EVERY studio has some ‘less-than-good’ or even outright horrible shows.”

    So, how about Manglobe? ;)

    “Pre-Dragonaut, the studio only had the amount of less-than-good shows one would expect from any studio”

    Actually, people hated Gonzo even before the days of Dragonaut.

  4. @digiboy

    I wish to god we could know coming into a show if it was good or not by just looking at the studio, but that just won’t happen, right? The rage at KyoAni you mentioned is just about to come. I feel it in the air, I feel it in the water etc

  5. What the fuck is wrong with Shakugan no Shana? Sure the first half of season 2 was shit, but the rest of it was great.

    Otherwise, pretty spot on. By now, you’d think Gonzo had earned a second chance.

  6. PSgels – Manglobe has Ergo PRoxy, one of the shittiest anime ever

    Omysith – Shana is PURE SHIT, season 1 as well. The first 6 eps were good and the rest was ass. Shitty animation, shitty writing, craptastic directign, the worst fights I’ve ever had to sit through, and the ungodly constant character-resetting.

    Jarmel – You’re getting too close to opinion there. I personally think there’s nothing wrong with NHK, a lot of people love the Chrono Crusade ending, and I think Afro Samurai is fucking awesome.

  7. All of this is opinion, I’m sure someone loved Dragonaut. However look at rating websites such as ANN, Anidb, Myanimelist, and you can make an educated guess as to what the majority of viewers thought. As for Chrono Crusade, I have no clue why anyone would like an ending that pretty much made the whole show worthless not to mention deviating from the manga. I like Afro Samurai, I can understand why people hate it though, and I thought for the most part NHK was pretty good. Nonetheless pretty much any franchise that Gonzo has done and another studio later did the same franchise, the second part is much more well liked.

  8. I agree with you up to a point – even the best can create something subpar (e.g. Madhouse did the yawntastic TenTen you mentioned, plus the literal trainwreck of Allison to Lillia. Even the mighty Ghibli made Earthsea, which was meh, and Pom Poko which fell flat too) but the problem is that the concept of ‘studio’ doesn’t mean as much as people seem to think.

    Sure, I’ve yet to see a Bones series that is *awful* but the ‘studio’ is too broad an umbrella – they have a lot of people on their payroll, so it’s more likely to be the efforts of a director, script/screenplay writer or even original manga/light/visual novel writer who makes or breaks it, rather than the company they work for.

    While we’re on the subject of adaptations, my personal bugbear is that of the whining coming from hardcore fans of the original material who are impossible to placate unless the adaptation is EXACTLY the same as what inspired it. The problem being, when a story is adapted from one medium to another it physically can’t be exactly the same (you could also question the point in trying in the first place, since you’d basically be regurgitating something that people are already familiar with). It’s like watching live music, then complaining that it’s not identical to the record. The solution? Stay home, listen to the bloody CD and quit bitching.

    Back o/t, I’ve never seen a *bad* Bones show yet, although I’ve yet to see a *bad* KyoAni one either. No, really. Maybe that’s because I haven’t seen many…

  9. @Martin: I am well aware that a studio doens’t mean so much, but that’s only more of the issue with people blaming studios. Also, there are some bad Bones shows. Fucking Kurau.


  10. I have to agree with Omisyth on this. Artistically, Shana or anything of its ilk could be considered a failure. Economically, they make enough money to justify additional seasons or if a series just makes a profit. Also, it would be pretty easy to argue that the Holocaust wasn’t a screw up.

  11. That reference comparison doesn’t make sense even if I were trying to compare bad shows made by anime stuidos with one of the worst genocides in human history.

    Look, Dragonaut can be considered a screw up because the majority agreed that it was a screw up. Of course, by majority the only thing I have to reference is the blogosphere. However, the majority agreed about things like the animation being shitty and the characters ill-conceived and retarded.

    Shakugan no Shana did NOT have shitty animation. Akikan has shitty animation, H20 has shitty animation, hell, compared to Shana, many shows of the current millenium have shitty animation.

    All of the other things you mentiond (shitty writing, shitty character designs, craptastic directing, the worst fights) are all YOUR singular opinion.

    Example: The majority thought that Kanokon was terrible. In my opinion, the art was shit, the writing was shit, the character designs were shit; I’d consider that a studio screw up and I’d think most people would agree with me. But you loved it and so you probably don’t consider it a studio screw up.

  12. It’s not about me knowing what’s good and you not knowing or vice versa. There’s not set “good” or “not good” parameter for anime since each show’s a subjective experience.

  13. Pingback: Opinions vs. Absolutes in Anime « Euphoric Field

  14. Pingback: Fuzakenna! » Blog Archive » The Hate List - 10 Shows You Proably Like That I Can’t Stand

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