Are you a loyal anime fan? Do you stand by those shows which have brought you joy?
Lately, I’ve read a few think pieces on how people’s preconceptions can color our enjoyment of a show. How going into an anime with preconceived notions or expectations based on other people’s experiences, inevitably affects what we end up getting out of our watching experience. But what about the reverse case scenario.
Have you ever stumbled across a title you’d never heard of before and thoroughly enjoyed, only to discover that your hidden gem is widely reviled by the anime community? Do you remain faithful to your new love or do you disavow it? Are you suddenly ashamed to admit you enjoyed the show? Do you go as far as downgrading it in your own mind, admitting to yourself that is was indeed riddled with flaws, or do you feel compelled to defend it against accusations you don’t really believe are true?
What if you thought a title was really so-so but endlessly see it described as a classic, a masterpiece, an undeniable work of art? Do you pretend to like it? Do you add it to your top 10 lists just to fit in? Do you avoid giving any opinion or at least try to soften the blow with excuses like: “I was really young when I saw that”?
I know I do.
It’s stupid of course. I end up getting nonsense recommendations for new shows because it’s based on skewed data. Or I find myself sitting through movies or shows I know I won’t enjoy because I somehow didn’t manage to scrape together the microscopic amount of courage required to admit that I don’t like a particular director or studio. On the flip side, I also can’t gush over whatever silly, stupid little show is making me super happy at the moment because I’m afraid people will judge me. Despite the fact that I know no one cares about my anime tastes, at least not enough to actually have them affect their opinion of me.
But I want to watch shows I like – and I want those types of shows to get made, but people won’t know that unless I tell them. So? Well…As my own feeble attempt at some kind of earnestness, I give you my top 9 animes I’m either ashamed of liking or embarrassed of not getting. Let’s all celebrate our lack of good taste together!
In random order:
😊 The Royal Tutor
I’m not as stupid as I look. I realize this show is just a lighthearted excuse to bring together a flock of beautifully drawn bishies and cash in on the hormonal audience ready to devour it. The animation is minimal, the historic setting is laughable and characters and storyline are all more or less surface level but that’s not what this show was for… It’s paced well, the easy humor may be uninspired but it’s familiar and comforting. What it did do, it did well. The pretty pretty characters are super likable for all their lack of developments and by golly I would watch another season the second it came out. I would leave work early and everything.
☹ Sakamoto desu ka
When this show came out there was so much hype, even I heard of it. This was recommended to me by just about everybody – the one friend that watches anime, blogs, youtubers even MAL. Everyone told me that this is comedy gold – one of the most hilarious shows to come out in recent years and well, I didn’t get it… My sense of humor is important to me, it’s the one quality I’m actually proud of. I am quick with a laugh and need very little to find the funny in a situation and although Sakamoto wasn’t bad I just didn’t find it that funny and ended up dropping it after 6 episodes or so. I’m very worried that I’m growing dull.
😊 Black Butler II
Black butler, in all its iterations, has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. I am honestly ashamed of liking this show so much. It’s just sooooo emo and gothicky and teenage angsty and I love all of it. At least it’s fairly popular except I’m a black sheep even among Black Butler fans because my clear favorite is season 2. Most fans will stop talking to me at this point, I understand. But, I adore Alois, I think he’s the perfect embodiment of the cheesy gaudy charm that BB brings to the table and the sarcastic ending was the best. Soo yeah – I’m a lost cause.
☹ My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
People love this show, I see artwork from it all over the place and I will admit it’s quite pretty. It also has the word SNAFU in the title which is automatic extra points in my book. But everything else never resonated with me. The comedy fell flat, the drama felt fabricated the pace was off and the characters were irrational. I fluctuated between bored and depressed throughout most of it yet still felt the need to watch both seasons, waiting for it to finally pick up. It did not. I did like the orange haired girl’s front cross strap bra thingy….
😊 Alien 9
OK – I can’t explain this one. It’s a mess of a show but I lurve it so much. One of the few series I’ve both watched and read and reread. I could defend it to you guys. The intriguing parasitic/symbiotic alien aspect with a sort of magical girl deconstruction feel. The jarring violence and real suspense but in all honestly even those high points aren’t fully realized. I can’t tell you why it’s better than people think it is but it is. I’m going to go watch it right now.
☹ Azumanga Daioh
I like the Slice of Life and Comedy genres quite a lot (although looking at this list, maybe I don’t?) and Azumanga Daioh is considered by many, a classic. The intro should be! It has its moments to be sure but I just didn’t find it that funny. That aside, what really put me off was the use of a teacher’s predatory and continual sexual harassment of students as a running gag. The show treats it as cute and funny that an adult teacher is clearly trying to grope or see his students naked all the time. I’m afraid that I’m being a stick in the mud or that I somehow missed the distinction between ridiculing bad behavior rather than humanizing it, but it always skeeved me out and I just couldn’t shake the feeling. Apparently, I’m the only one who has a problem with this. This scene always made me laugh though:
😊 Cheer Boys!!
I’ve written a post about this unsubtle cash grab of a show and how I can’t seem to hate it. I’ll publish it soonish. It’s indefensible so I won’t even try to but sometimes we just want empty calories. This show won’t bring anything new. There are so many better sports animes out there and you should watch them all before this one. But once you’re done….
☹ Spirited Away
Yes, yes, I know – Ghibli, yes genius, yes Myazaki, yes I think he’s really hot, yes brimming with wonder and charm… I can see the quality but, I mean, so what? Do you remember anything about Chihiro as a person? About any character at all? I don’t. I can clearly see the images of what people and things looked like but they have no personalities beyond that for me. I would show this to a small child or an animation student who wants to admire the technical know-how but I personally would not rewatch it. It didn’t have the depth or meaning of earlier titles like Mononoke as far as I’m concerned and I would write more except I don’t remember anything about it…
😊 Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!
Let’s end it on a happy note. Eminareviews recently named this as the anime she was embarrassed of liking and it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I should be embarrassed too. Sure, the jokes are super easy and the premise is paper thin but what can I tell you guys, this show had me smiling from start to finish. I realize that given the fact that Shinji Takamatsu (of Daily Lives of High School Boys and Gintama fame) was behind this, expectations may have been sky high for some and disappointment was inevitable. I also see that the writers went for some low hanging fruit here, and that they would have been capable of much subtler and more cutting humor but just because it’s a little lazy doesn’t mean it’s not funny. Season 2, now that was not funny….
This is one of the disadvantages of wine: it makes a man mistake words for thought
Suggested drink: Confidence Builder, alternatively you can throw it in the other person’s face but that would be such a waste…
- Every time someone tells you your favorite anime is derivative – drink
- Every time some says “I use to like that show before I knew more about anime” – drink
- Every time someone gets real nitpicky about an unimportant aspect of your favourite show, like the color palette for example – drink
- Every time someone says you should what X instead – it’s so much better – drink
- Every time someone tells you, you’ll get it when you learn a bit about… – drink
- Every time someone tells you the manga was better – drink
- Every time someone says, well I’m more into story driven narratives – drink
- Every time someone tells you it’s a poor man’s version of… – drink
- Every time someone accuses your show of being cliché – drink
- Every time someone accuses your show of being pretentious – drink
- Every time someone says aren’t cartoons for children? – go home
29 thoughts on “Anime confessions”
I’ve definitely had that feeling of liking some things that aren’t fan favorites and not caring about those that have rapid fanbases. The Garden of Words is the worst thing Shinkai made in my opinion and I found it problematic. Then again, I also like Shamanic Princess even though barely any anime fan knows or cares about that OVA.
really? I thought a lot of people liked Shamanic Princess – I’m pretty out of touch though
I guess I didn’t see some of the more recent scores. It did get good reviews back then, but I guess the episode order might have thrown people off. You’ve seen Shamanic Princess before?
I remember it being on of the few things I could find back when I had t download fasubs on Nabser…You didn’t read that. I only use legally licensed material… This said, as with all fansubs, I may not have actually seen it… The accuracy is always debatable
Gotcha. Hahaha! At least Anime Works should still have the license after Central Park Media shut down.
Nice post! I never really had thought about this, probably because I am new at commenting anime (at least publicly xD), but is a really nice theme to think about. I mean, everyone has their tastes and tastes are not discussed… However if you already have a community following you I see why you could be trying to please them.
I relate to your post in the part of “not liking a masterpiece”, oh boy! And there are a few of them! After reading your post I made a careful thinking of what would I do and came with the answer that probably would try not to make reviews about those anime series. However, after reading your post I’m going to try to be truthful with myself and if it makes sense to do a review about a proclaimed masterpiece that I don’t like it, I will write it and explain why 😀
It was the first post I read from you, really loved the idea about the drinking game! 🙂
No exaggeration, this comment made me happy! I know what you mean, writting negative reviews about beloved titles can be super intimidating. I have avoided doing so a few times myself but I love reading reviews that are actually different from what everyone else says even if I don’t agree so I hope you do decide to post some! As for the drinking game, I’m really glad you like it cause it’s pretty much the best thing I have to offer!
Well, I will try to be honest and truthfull with myself, so probably I’ll post about it! I also like to read reviews with different points of views than mine, it instigates discussion which I love 😀 I don’t think the drinking game is the only best thing you have to offer 😛 At least from this post I liked a lot of your writing as well!
As someone who is a massive fan of professional wrestling, I know all about guilty pleasures. This was an awesome post!
I don’t follow…Wrestling is a fine art enjoyed by all 🙂
Finally! Someone with taste!
Yeah, it’s true. I don’t even know how many times I’ve enjoyed the heck out of an anime, and then I go look it up on MAL and see that the community score is like 6.5. And then I see a show like Air that I thought was structured and paced very poorly averaging a 7.5 and it’s like, what are people even watching? I try to be pretty zen about it, though. I know my taste is my taste and no one else’s, and the only time I generally respond sharply to criticism of a show that I like is if I think the critic’s arguments are misplaced or unwarranted.
I have a very deep love of kitsch so that’s definetly a very familiar situation. In the end MAL ratings are inconsequential but I still enjoy seeing what other people thought of a show.
To each, their own, I say! 🙂
I like what I like, and I do not like what I do not like. I do not have “guilty pleasures,” and I do not hesitate to disagree with a fanatical crowd. (though the latter, I admit, might be done from a safe distance!) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it doesn’t do much good to try and tell another beholder what they *should* think is beautiful. 😉
…of course, all that said, Spirited Away was great. 😛 What I remember about Chihiro: she begins the story as your typical young girl, helpless, moping about moving, and prone to emotional outbursts, but over the course of the movie she learns some self-control, that she doesn’t need to be afraid of the change in her life. She’s clever, using her lucky breaks and adapting to situations on the fly. She learns courage and selflessness, and determination. She goes above and beyond more often than not, and by the time the movie is over, she’s matured greatly.
Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry but which Myazaki movie were you describing??? ;P
Well, not Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso, Castle in the Sky, Castle of Cagliostro, Grave of the Fireflies, Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Wind Rises, Tales of Earthsea, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Pom Poko, Arietty, Whisper of the Heart, or The Cat Returns. 😉
I’m beginning to see your point about not convincing beholders… But I will argue that Nausicaa, Sheta, Kiki, Sophie, Satsuki and Mei, Shizuku and even Haru (I know not Miyazaki..) all go through experiences where they have to learn to adapt and use their wits and experience growth throughout their respective stories, ending up more complete and mature characters for it. My cosplay of choice Fujiko doesn’t need to get any better- she’s already perfect!
I seem to recall we were talking about specific people, rather than the typical process involved in pretty much any narrative journey. 😉
Nausicaa doesn’t really develop so much as she gains knowledge, she was already brave and selfless. Sheeta was feisty and brave from the beginning as well. Kiki was pretty confident to start out with, though a bit ignorant about cities. Sophie was more reserved, even self-deprecating, and her journey was discovering her own beauty and worth. Satsuki and Mei were hardly upset about moving to a new place and were little bundles of energy. Shizuku was a bookworm without any clear notion of what direction she wanted to take her life. As for Haru, she was so easy-going she couldn’t ever say no, and for her it was just about learning to assert herself.
So… not really identical to Chihiro at all! 😉
Though, you are correct, Fujiko is pretty fantastic. It was kind of too bad that her role in the movie was so small.
Being honest with your feelings regarding anime is difficult. But I’m glad you made an earnest attempt to talk about some shows that you liked as well as some shows you weren’t a fan of despite mainstream opinion.
Be proud of your tastes! I’ll drink to that.
Been there both with widely acclaimed shows feeling meh to me and those seen as lame being liked by me. Mostly the latter tbh. Akame ga Kill is a good example. I had fun with it but wow, it seems reviled, And peer pressure is not inconsiderable,
The only show I’ve seen on this list is BB2 and I liked it. Not as much as the first season but I did like it.
There’s certain pervasive pretension in the anime community and unless your tastes fall within certain parameters you’re not a REAL fan….Most communities that are passionate about something have that problem but hey us anime fans are better 😉
This was relatable definitely some odd-ball shows I’m into and popular shows I’m not. Enjoyed the read 🙂
No problem 🙂
Looking forward to your list 😉
I’ll definitely have to make one now 🙂
I think you just listed all of the anime that I shamefully enjoyed and do not want to admit that I have seen. I agree with you on Cheer Boys. It may be cheesy, but it was one that do recommend seeing. Also, thanks for the mention and nice post.