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 colour 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.
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 humour may be uninspired but it’s familiar and comforting. What it did do, it did well. The pretty pretty characters are super likeable 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 humour 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 favourite 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 behaviour rather than humanizing it, but it always skived 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. In fact I’ll just say it, I really like it. 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 with all the “good” shows….
☹ Spirited Away
Yes, yes, I know – Ghibli, yes genius, yes Myazaki, yes I think he’s really hot, yes this movie is brimming with wonder and charm… I can see the quality but, I mean, so what? Do I remember anything about Chihiro as a person? About any character at all? I don’t, they just didn’t leave a mark on me. 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 and maybe I should rewatch it. I just didn’t find in it the depth or meaning of earlier titles like Mononoke or the graceful ache of Totoro 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 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