This is a continuation of this post wherein I described how one can separately ‘like’ and ‘enjoy’ any given show. Some people pointed out that ‘like’ is a very horrible term to use here, however, the suggested term ‘respect’ does not fully convey what I’m getting at here, so bear with me. In the future, I will never use the word ‘like’ this way again, but for the purpose of this post, please assume that when I say ‘like’, I mean to say ‘something that meets one’s personal standards’, and that when I say ‘enjoy’ I mean ‘something that I was pleasured greatly by partaking in’ (think ‘sex’). That out of the way, I want to talk about what separately ‘liking’ and ‘enjoying’ something means for one’s (namely my) favorites list.
As mentioned in the other post, as well as in this study of favorites lists I did way back, I pointed out how many people have two separate favorites lists. Those people usually call them a ‘favorites’ list and a ‘best’ list, but since ‘best’ doesn’t really exist, I’m going to call those ‘like’ vs. ‘enjoy’ lists. I’ve always been against making those kinds of lists myself, but now that I’ve clarified the nature of the lists in a way that satisfies me, I feel more open to the idea. After all, I’ve had a REALLY hard time in the upper echelons of my favorites list deciding which shows fall in where on my grand scheme of things. After all, as I said before, ‘liking’ and ‘enjoying’ things are hardly mutually exclusive, and in fact I could give a definitive ranking of how much I individually ‘liked’ or ‘enjoyed’ any show I’ve ever seen.
I will tell you about what troubles me in these lists, though, using the examples of the two shows that have been fighting for the place of my third favorite anime (behind Eureka Seven and Gintama), which are Toradora and Infinite Ryvius. Between the two of them, the hardship is very evident.
Infinite Ryvius is what I would consider a ‘perfect’ show. Going by my standards, it does everything right. I honestly could not fault the show with a single thing even if I wanted to – so, by my rating scale, it would honestly deserve a perfect 10. However, in my heart, I know that I do not think of the series as quite on-par with Eureka Seven or Gintama, both of which I also give perfect 10s. The thing is, while all three shows do everything I consider ‘right’, Infinite Ryvius just doesn’t grip me emotionally the same way the other two shows do. Even though it certainly pulled me in immensely, it doesn’t quite compare to those two ferocious god-mode shows. Not really knowing what to do about this, I just shaved a point off of Ryvius, bringing it down to 9.9 and the third place on my list.
Meanwhile, Toradora is the other way around. By my standards, the show is just a tad short of perfect. It’s not a huge gap – I could probably feel comfortable giving it a 9.7 or 9.8 at the highest, but with the things standing above it, it can go no higher. However, Toradora has a HUGE emotional gravity for me. It has two of my alltime favorite characters in it (as amazing as Infinite Ryvius’ cast is, I don’t care about any of them nearly the way I do for Taiga and Ryuuji) and the plot really speaks to me. So then I have to look at it next to Infinite Ryvius. Even if Ryvius has been dragged down to 9.9, I still want to believe that I care for Toradora just as much, if not more than it. My care still isn’t as great as that for Eureka Seven or Gintama, so it’s not like I can give it a 10, but I at least would not want it to be ‘under’ Ryvius. Therefor, to establish balance, I also gave Toradora a 9.9 score.
It’s been incredibly hard to decide if this was the right choice. Do I let that push of emotion override my feelings that Ryvius really accomplished everything I think that an anime can accomplish? I’ve always been a man who judges things by feel. I’ve always said that a favorites list should be made up of the shows you feel the most strongly about. But which one is more true to my feelings – the show that does everything I want, or the show that does a bit less, but manages to touch some deeper part of my soul?
It’s hard. Ultimately, the thing that makes Toradora more important to me is personal bias. It’s simply a fact that some things are going to reach me in a different way than others. Just like even if I think Baccano is as close to as good as anime gets, the real reason that I rank it so highly has as much, if not more to do with my love of turbo-violence, eccentric characters, and non-linear storytelling as it does with what I think makes a series ‘great.’ I normally would say that ‘this is MY favorites list, so shouldn’t the show I’m biased towards be the winner?’ but then again, my so-called ‘standards’ are also purely my creation. Like I said in the last post, I think that Kure-nai is one of the most well-made anime ever, and a lot of people think it’s total shit, so it’s not like I’m trying for some silly objective idea when I say that something is ‘perfect by my standards’ – those standards still come from the heart.
So, I finally decided that I will embrace the two-list setup, but using my own ideas. I will give every show a ‘Head Score’ and a ‘Heart Score’. The head score is what a show ranks by my standards, and the heart score is what a show ranks in my personal feelings towards it. Ultimately, I will organize my favorites list in the ‘heart score’ order, just because I think a big part of what makes a ‘favorite show’ is that it is something you are lead to think about often. That’s not to say that thinking about it all the time automatically raises the heart score. I probably think about Strike Witches more often than Infinite Ryvius, but that’s not going to make me like it more. It’s a complex system, but ultimately the idea is just to get as close to my pure feelings as possible.
Therefor in the future, I will likely say that Toradora has a ‘Heart Score’ of 9.9 and a ‘Head Score’ of 9.8, while Infinite Ryvius has a ‘Heart Score’ of 9.8 and a ‘Head Score’ of 10. Therefor, Toradora will appear higher on my favorites list. Does that mean it earns the third place spot? Well, that depends on what happens when I apply these ratings to the rest of my favorites list :p