Fandom is a strange thing, and one thing’s for sure – goodness does not dictate fandom. As ghostlightning always says, “fanboys are forgiving, not blind.” He supports this idea with his immense love for Macross Frontier in spite of the many flaws he himself professes it to have. Basically, this post is a rebel cry. FUCK GOOD SHOWS! FANBOYS ARISE!
I’m not even going to bother with a subjectivity vs. objectivity argument – we all know there are good and bad anime out there, even if the lines blur often, but this post has nothing to do with debatable anime. This is a post about anime that is outright above average. Anime that are good, and anyone who says otherwise is a troll. Just to be sure we’re on the same page, this is anything like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Honey and Clover, 12 Kingdoms – these are extreme examples, more down to earth might be Mushishi, Revolutionary Girl Utena, or for a more current and relevant example, Toradora. These shows are commonly considered ‘good’ (above average?) and no one really can put up a good argument against them.
Until now – okay, good show, who the fuck cares? Don’t get me wrong, if you love a show, and it’s a good show, and you’re excited about it being a good show, more power to you. But there are these people… people who are obsessed with a show’s goodness. Listen, and be warned that this is disturbing… there are people who won’t like or sometimes even watch a show because they think it is less than good. I sometimes wonder why these people bother watching anime.
A show being good doesn’t make it likable and a show being likable doesn’t make it good. But in the end, likability is really more important than goodness. Now, goodness can contribute to likability, as I’m sure it does often, but it does not control or define it. But to give you an example of why likability is more important, lets ask ourselves – do we hate Code Geass because it’s not as good as Legend of the Galactic Heroes? LOGH is good and likable, while Code Geass is likable regardless of goodness. We don’t pick our favorites based on goodness.
At this point you must be wondering where I’m going with this. The point is, I’m tired of hearing about how ‘good’ shows are. Right now, I am tired of people talking about the ‘goodness’ of Toradora. Omo pretty much got me onto this. He talks in this post about how Toradora is a good show but… who cares? Now, I’m not on his side – I love Toradora, but I too don’t really care about how good a show is. Omo is cryptic, so I won’t put words in his mouth, but I believe what he’s saying is that Toradora is good and all, but he doesn’t find it likable.
In the future, I want to see more posts and discussion from people about why they like shows and less about why those shows are good or bad. People seem to get stuck on defending or pronouncing the hierarchy of a show and forget to talk about why it’s flat-out enjoyable. Anime Fandom is about just that – fandom – the not blind, but forgiving. I want to read about what makes you a FAN of anime.
Talking about shows being Good or Bad is usually a way of making yourself sound smart when, in truth, most people don’t actually have any deep or profound insight about the subject (only preferences like anyone else, perhaps honed through some degree of experience). People love to wax poetic about how certain production companies keep messing shows up, or how the director did this or that wrong, or how the story has this or that pacing issue or whatever, but they don’t actually know anything about directing, or producing, or writing (except that they write a blog). But if you say a show is Bad and produce a long list of quasi-intelligent reasons why you feel that way, you’re sure to find support from others who don’t actually want to spend any time thinking about their reasons for liking or not liking something and gravitate towards those who do.
Basically, saying other shows are Bad is usually about making yourself look good. Most bloggers think that, otherwise, people will just dismiss them for the anime fanboys they actually are. And the anime fan community is just insular enough that nobody ever tells them that people can see through their “objectivity” for the fanboy-esque rants they typically are. Being objective isn’t just a writing style, it’s a frame of mind, and if you’re really an anime FAN, there’s little point in pretending otherwise. It’s not as if people can’t tell.
So all that said, it’d be great if bloggers would give up the pretentious objectivity facade and just talk about the things they love and are passionate about. Don’t see that happening any time soon, though, because there are egos to protect. The big thing that most bloggers don’t seem to want is to be seen as “one of them”; those mindless fanboys with “clearly” bad taste. And don’t be mislead; they probably really are watching those “Bad Shows”, they just wouldn’t want anyone to know! (Ever wonder why there’s even need for a term like “guilty pleasure”? Why the guilt?)
Haha, point well made my friend! Indeed, a lot of bloggers and forumites seem to thrive on their pretention. And of course, the first question posed to anyone who says ‘I watched all of Luck Star and it still sucked’ is ‘why in the fuck did you watch all of Lucky Star then?’
But I don’t want to demonize the calling of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ on a show. A show can be good or bad, no problem, I just don’t want us to obsess over it. We can say ‘this show is good/bad’ but it only matters within the context of our opinion. ‘I didn’t like this show’ is so, SO much more meaningful than ‘this was a bad show.’
Totally agree about the “Why did you watch it?” question. If one were to read the pattern of many bloggers and forumites out there, one might conclude that they seem to have no discernment or wisdom whatsoever. Despite all their watching history and supposed ability to understand and analyze, they still haven’t been able to figure out how to predict what shows they will and won’t like? Time is finite; why waste it on shows you hate? It either makes me think that most of them either don’t think the shows are as Bad as they say they are, or they enjoy writing about anime more than they actually enjoy anime itself. Maybe some of both?
And yeah, you’re right — I don’t mean that people should stop talking about anime’s objective traits, and it doesn’t automatically make you pretentious for doing so. But I agree — putting it in the context of your own perspective is what’s important here. What makes the blogosphere interesting is that people see things differently. The anime watching experience is as much about the viewer as it is about the show.
Indeed to the strongest indeedence.
I’m not going to disagree with how you want to interpret what I’m saying, even if I probably should. I do enjoy Toradora, but I’m not sure if I would call it good. As a result I wouldn’t know if:
1. I’d go and buy it on R2 DVD or whatever, or opt for a cheaper option (DTO, box sets, etc) or what.
2. I don’t know if I’d recommend it to someone if they’re looking for a show like Toradora
3. I don’t know if I’d recommend it to someone if they aren’t looking for a show like Toradora
4. I don’t know if it’s worth recalling to draw comparisons to other shows.
5. I don’t know if it’s worth thinking about after I’m done with the show.
I guess I’m just as confused as you are.
It’s not just to make your blog stand out or whatever when you piss on a show that has some popularity. People can express whatever they want, and I think the urge is there to hit that fat, popular pinata and many of us give in to it, but as long as the opinion is honest… it’s honest. Twice better if it’s substantiated, honest opinion.
Once again we tread into “Anime is Deep” territory. Indeed, why do we watch the things we watch. Is it because everyone/no one else is watching it? Is it because it is engaging? Or simply because there’s nothing else to watch?
This is why I steer clear of reviews and whatnots. Reviews are simply made for self-gratification. And the more analytically critical it is, the bigger the ego. I simply pick my anime through recommendations by like-minded individuals or by gut. But it all boils down to how I relate with the series. I don’t care how good or bad/ popular or unpopular it’s perceived by others because in the end, anime is just disposable entertainment. (Except the few that really bond with me)
I do my best to stay away from writing reviews, or recommendatory rhetoric – despite my obvious fanboying.
I’m more interested in exploring the “text” of the show and finding entertaining things to talk about. These things of course intersect with ideas of whether a show is any good, but these are secondary at most to the purpose I have of writing about it.
People are going to write what they want, and while there’s merit too in calling whoever out, it’s less interesting for me compared to actual writing about the show itself. Pissing on a show that has popularity also allows the blogger to piss on the people who write positively about it. Unnecessary noise, if you ask me, but I’m not going to ask anyone to stop. People are going to read and watch whatever they want too.
…i still don’t get what you mean by “good” and “bad”.you’re saying you don’t care about it but you still believe in it, right? what makes for a good show, then?
Ghostlightning/Omo: yes, people can and will write what they want, and it’s probably fine, but that’s why I didn’t say ‘stop writing about good/bad’ but said ‘I want to see less good/bad’. This post is me being selfish and that’s also why it’s a ‘REBEL CRY’.
AK: I’m going by a textbook Academy Award definition of good right now, just in the name of making a point. I am not at all interested in what ‘good’ really is.
“but as long as the opinion is honest… it’s honest. Twice better if it’s substantiated, honest opinion.”
That’s what I think. Though for me, substantiation isn’t completely necessary, at least in the terms of “X other people agree with and can help support my claim”. But I don’t think that was what omo was talking about.
When I why, I do write about why I like or dislike something. And when there’s a conflict between something that I don’t like too much when said show is considered “good” and vice versa for when I like a “bad” show, I try to acknowledge, “Well they think X, but I think Y”. I don’t think it’s bad for people to post about why a show is good or bad, as long as they frame it from their perspective, that I can see their feelings regarding the show by itself besides how others think about it. :P
wutcock goes where?
well I’m with N, it’s about getting your point across. if you substantiate your opinion, in the process, you also position whoever reads about it where you stand, so they can sympathize with you better. they don’t have to agree with you, but just understand.
which is why when someone says their opinion is pissing on xyz because flaws A and B, it’s also important to see why they’re doing it, along with the validity of those flaws.