One question I keep asking myself is why I actually decided to stop reviewing anime in Dutch. I told myself that I’d make the new version of my blog a more fun place where people could do things — to create a more interactive environment. In reality it pretty much changed into an English blog with reviews hidden beneath several layers of ramblings and personal stuff. I do have several drafts that could turn into articles that are more like I envisioned earlier, but I have to admit I’m struggling to find my stride so far.
Even this article — which was actually meant to veer off the path I’ve been walking since July 1st but will just end up like the stuff I’m lamenting over here — starts off with me writing about stuff that really have nothing to do with anime. In a sense I’m just like a politician: I rant a lot to somehow try to hide the fact that I don’t really have a point. Take the Moon musings article for instance. I took the passing of Neil Armstrong as a starting point, with the intent to write something about anime that take place on the moon. I took a couple of detours and wrote about a theme park and childhood aspirations, to end with some stuff about a couple of anime. Those two anime aren’t even current — 2006 & 2007 — so I basically just wrote two half-hearted reviews of shows everybody already probably forgot about with added toppings in the form of information nobody should care about. And my article about biking anime was an elaborate way to tell people I’ve lost some weight—and reading it back, an article to see how many times I could use the word though.
It has to end.
Not even three months in and I’m already mulling over the contents of my blog, holy shit. I haven’t even written that much articles yet, but I’m simply noticing I’m writing some of them to post at least something. I wanted to have a mix between fun and somewhat more serious articles. Articles with actually some depth, with backgrounds, articles which need some good old researching beyond linking to Wikipedia. But coming up with them is…
Do I lack inspiration? No. Do I lack time? Not really. I think it’s more a matter of how I watch anime and how I experience them. I watch anime purely for my enjoyment. Nothing weird there, of course, but bar a few exceptions, I don’t give it any thought what might happen in the next episode. I don’t go online discussing anime, I rarely ponder about the plot, and in most cases I don’t speculate how it will end. I can think of two reasons why. The first is that I simply watch too much anime. The list with stuff I watch doesn’t end with thirty titles, and sometimes even touches fifty. I really, really should learn to drop stuff instead of thinking that it’ll only last twelve or thirteen episodes, so it can’t hurt to finish. This behavior could stem from the fact I used to drop a lot of series and in hindsight dropped a few ones that were actually quite enjoyable. It’s some sort of fear of missing out on something, which sadly is almost never the case. The result, however, is mostly that I’m watching anime while I’m doing other stuff in the meantime. It’s just a silly excuse, of course, because if I can’t keep paying attention to all the anime I’m watching, I shouldn’t be watching that many in the first place. But I certainly can’t come up with meticulous insights when half of the stuff I watch isn’t much more than just some moving images I see from the corners of my eyes.
The second reason is perhaps the main culprit: in my opinion most anime have storylines with almost no depth. I’ll probably tread on someone’s toes with some things I’m going to write, but then at least there’s stuff to discuss (yay! Interactivity). Some examples:
Sword Art Online.
What the hell am I supposed to discuss about with this show? How Kirito might find a way out? How cute Asuna looks? So far the show is nothing more than just some visits to a few floors with hardly any glue to hold it together. There’s no real narrative here; it’s just a bunch of adventures in some random MMO. There’s just one question I have that isn’t addressed in the show: how do their bodies even survive in real life? Other than that I have zero questions about it. I expect the next episode to be just another floor, just another fight, just another random person showing up and not having any effect on the overall storyline—mainly because there isn’t one. I’m not saying I dislike the show, it just doesn’t offer that much food for thought.
The first season was enjoyable to a certain extent, but this sequel really doesn’t do anything for me. They took the mildly goofy, harmless way they fight in this show — not dying and stuff — and turned it into a clothes-ripping furry fest. The only thing keeping a viewer busy is probably who’s going to end up without clothes that episode. On that note: Yuki when? But seriously, besides some eye candy — which is rather badly animated at times — there’s virtually nothing to see here.
Why I am watching this in the first place? It’s a series filled with puns and allusions to Japanese stuff. I could pretend my anime fandom somehow translates into a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and pop culture, but I’d be lying to myself. To get even a basic grasp of its contents, I need to resort to the notes “someone” blogs. Heck, the only reference I remember from this show is one about the name of the book the live-action science fiction movie Blade Runner is based on: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It’s really pointless for me to watch this one, yet I can’t seem to get myself to drop it. Maybe it’s the ending song that keeps me watching.
Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon
This show actually somewhat sets my lazy mind in motion without the juice of sapho, but that’s only because it tries to grasp what the hell this anime is even about. Some nude guy humping Saber’s sword, historical events being reenacted, gravity-defying breasts, a hat with eyes. I can merely sum up parts of its content, to summarize its story I’d have a hard time even figuring out where to start.
Kuroko no Basket
Sure, it’s enjoyable. But it’s not like I’m awake at night, pondering how high Kagami is going to jump next time, how Kuroko will develop a playing style that involves more than just not catching someone’s attention, or who’ll win the next match. I actually do look forward to how this anime will turn out, but I’m not actively speculating on how it will do it.
This pirate show is one of my absolute favorites, but not unlike most shounen series, I don’t sit down for a single minute to think about how a fight will end, or how many episodes it’ll take to finish said fight, or how Luffy’s crew will overcome the current arc’s nemesis. In the back of my head I know it’ll be just fine in the end anyway, no matter how strong the opponent. Up until this point One Piece hasn’t shown the guts (or need) to kill off any of Thousand Sunny’s inhabitants, so color me stunned if it does happen at some point.
It has to end. This list, that is. I could write something about almost all anime I’m currently watching if I wanted to, but that’d probably make me sound like I’m either bitter or sour. And I like to think I’m neither. It’s just that I’d like to see more anime that’s stimulating, that makes me think ahead, that makes me wonder what’s going to happen next week, that has a single episode that can turn its entire story around. The last anime I can think of that did just that was Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. It made me question Kyuubey’s motives. It made me wonder what Homura’s agenda was. It could very well be a that a few of the shows I’m watching offer that opportunity, but I’m either not paying enough attention or it’s simply not working for me.
Or maybe it’s just really me. Maybe I should cut down on the anime I’m watching and only continue with the series that make me pay attention from the get-go. Being selective will probably make me enjoy anime more and it will certainly give me more time to spend on other activities and to watch some of the anime I own on DVD. It’d give me time to finish my IC project, or time to finally finish the Fate/stay night visual novel, or time to play the upcoming One Piece Pirate Warriors game. Well, maybe next season.
And to address the first “It has to end”: yeah, I should change the way I blog. Maybe next time.
- I almost wrote ‘any main character’ here, but that isn’t true. [↩]