Almost Otaku: Is Anime Getting Stale?

Topic started by No_name_here on Oct. 5, 2010. Last post by PenguinDust 3 years, 11 months ago.
Post by No_name_here (856 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff
  I don't think this could EVER  get stale.
 I don't think this could EVER  get stale.

Sotyfan : Ok, there have obviously been a number of anime about the same topic (ex. samurai, Gundam/mech, harem, etc.) and some seem to be stale with their stories as they seem to be repeating just with different animation, voices, and characters. I think the question can be summed up as:   Anime: still refreshing or getting stale?

It’s still refreshing to me . That’s for damn sure. 
Look, I'll take the “scenic route” to answer this... 

A number of users have commented that they’ve appreciated the focus of Anime Vice as being free of any "doom and gloom" about the anime biz dying. I don’t presume to be a journalist trying to report on the realities of the industry. I’m just a fan with a platform, so I suppose I’m more-or-less immune to what’s happening to the business.

Is anime getting stale? Are sales diminishing? Are Japanese studios getting too risk-averse in a hurting market and a tight economy? Maybe. Who knows? I don’t have any control of it, and I haven't seen much, if any, effect such questions have had on on my experience. What I do see is an overwhelming mountain of anime and manga for me to explore - - a mountain I probably will never even get through in my entire lifetime, even if (a ridiculous worst scenario) production totally ceased by next year.  

  This is starting to sound like one of this guy's pep talks.
 This is starting to sound like one of this guy's pep talks.
News is news, sure... but having gone thorough a number of circles, I've noticed that every branch of entertainment always indulges in a lot of debate about how the stuff that's out now just isn't as good as the stuff used to be. Comics, music, movies... swap out the relevant nouns and you're going to hear the exact same conversation you're likely to have heard about mecha and samuarai and harem tropes getting over-recycled. While some of that probably has to do with Sturgeon's Law and its 9:1 crap percentage, I suspect it's got more to do with the old notion about how "if it bleeds, it leads." Basically, it's more interesting to talk about a threat than it is to talk about  "business as usual."
 
Anime could very well be getting stale on the whole - - but, as Mom often says, I'm not going to borrow that trouble. All I know is that I’ve been enjoying the hell out of GURREN LAGANN and COWBOY BEBOP and so many others series; I've had barrels of funs going to anime conventions (watch out for me in New York this weekend!); and I've relished this opportunity AV's afforded me to learn from all of you.  
 
And all of that has never ceased being refreshing.  

 Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &   UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here    &     here .

Post by SamJaz (12,774 posts) See mini bio Level 20
For me, I've just exhausted a lot of the options of the 1, leaving me with a lot of 9, so I'm mostly just waiting for new chapters/episodes.
Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20

You went a very simple route in answering Tom, and that's ok as I'd probably do the same thing if asked. I posed this question mostly to see what the AV community had to say as so many of us have just about seen and read it all. I think some themes have gotten a little overdone but as anime has been going for so long with so many shows it's hard to be completely-in not only a little- fresh and creative. I love harems and I still get a kick out of each one I watch as I treat each as a separate experience to be enjoyed. Also, I don't watch much that was made pre-2000 and so limit myself to about 1,000 anime series (this amount given that there are 25 series each season with 4 seasons a year and it's 2010 (not to mention anime movies)). To support this seemingly astronomical number fans can just give thought to how difficult it is to keep up every season.

Now, we all have our likes and dislikes and prefer certain genres over others but, while we may miss out on some great series, we tend to become "experts" of such anime and are able to spout off about them. I, too, Tom will probably never get to seeing more than a morsel of the yummy cookie that is anime and that is fine. As long as I enjoy what I watch and watch a variety I don't think I could go wrong. 

Now if only more anime/manga was licensed..

Post by metalsnakezero (673 posts) See mini bio Level 16
There was a period where a lot of good anime came out all at once and afterwards a complete lack of quality since it pretty much redid what other series already set foot. Now studios are taking their time with big projects so that they can release it at the right time while only producing a hand full of mediocre shows. 
Also looking forward to seeing you in New York Tom.
Post by vergilius (147 posts) See mini bio Level 13
I was going to bring up Sturgeon's law as soon as I saw the article title.  Glad to see you beat me to the punch.
 
For those who don't know, "Sturgeon's law" refers to an assertion made by a guy (named Sturgeon, obv.) who was a scifi writer.  He was once asked whether science fiction could truly be considered a legitimate form of literature given that, while it had produced a few works of genius, it was on the whole mostly crap.
 
Sturgeon's reply, which I will paraphrase because I don't remember the exact wording, went something like this:
 
Of course 90% of of SciFi is crap.  That's becuase 90% of everything is crap.
 
Combine this with our tendency to forget the crap we see--well, some crap is so bad that it does leave an impression, I grant you--and to remember our favorite shows, and at any given time most of the good stuff of whatever it is we're considering is old.
 
Consider also that sometimes, brilliance comes in spurts--2007 saw Gurren Lagann, Death Note, Code Geass, Darker than Black, and (well, to be fair, it's divisive) Lucky Star. 
 http://www.animevice.com/profile/spazmaster666/best-anime-of-2007/121-1187/
 
I guess what I'm getting at is that these thigns are somewhat random and always filtered through nostalgia goggles.  No need to panic just yet, just don't expect every year to be 2007
Post by Dream (7,653 posts) See mini bio Level 21
Moderator
I'd say before the economic recession kicked in, there wasn't much risk to creating more original and unconventional titles thus the greater number of high quality storylines and refreshing premises which was before 2008 kicked in. After that, the anime studios started feeling the effects of the recession kick in leading them to resort to more conventional storylines and premises because they feared there was too much risk in creating something more original and unconventional. While it's possible to maintain the present anime fanbase by pandering to the otaku, it comes at the cost of alienating new fans which shouldn't be going on for the long-term if studios hope to hook in a future fanbase.
Post by Lurkero (410 posts) See mini bio Level 7
Careful Tom, you shouldn't say that anime isn't getting stale and then mention a series that's over 10 years old and another series that's over 3 years old. You gotta mention something airing right now that's fresh.
 
Personally, I haven't picked up any new anime series from the past 5-6 anime seasons (except Fairy Tail). I've stuck to the core franchises for some time now. Naruto, Bleach, Detective Conan, and One Piece. It's not for lack of trying to find new stuff, but the newer anime have been so uninteresting to me.
Post by afrokola (14 posts) See mini bio Level 10
I'm personally sick of anime based on manga that are currently running. Stuff like Dragonball Kai and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood are great but One Piece has blown in the anime for a couple years now.
Post by sickVisionz (4,289 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator
It's still interesting to me and every season there are multiple shows that I enjoy.  Every anime isn't completely original, but like film, I think it's more about telling a good story than shifting through 50+ years of content to find a story that hasn't been told yet, assuming it even exists and that the difference isn't something superficial like a magic girl rising from the ocean to give the protagonists powers rather than one falling from the sky to do the same thing.
 
The only difference between the past and now imo is that now we in the US get access to every anime released, whether it's great or terrible.  In the past things were harder to come by so only the best of the best popped up on US shores.
Post by obscurefan (216 posts) See mini bio Level 20
To me Anime was starting to get stale and I was beggining to think I was actually done with it. However, then one night after getting home from work I turned on a show called Gurren Lagann and watching that I felt the same way I did when I was a kid and I first discovered anime. After that I was back in it in full swing.
Post by Gaff (213 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Depends on your consumption rate, I figure. 
 
It's like food: Don't eat your favourite food too often, or else you'll start getting sick of it.
Post by Kelleth (7,777 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Moderator
I don't think you should use an FF fan mob as an example of how anime won't get stale. Because they are gamers not anime otaku :P
 
As for it being stale or not i don't really care. Every major media genre is being a bit stale at the moment.
Post by bearshamanbro (17 posts) See mini bio Level 6
I think the current shows just don't resonate with western viewers, especially long time fans who have seen lots of fresh, original, and artistic shows over the years. Things should turn around for sure though as the trends change. As long as there are true artists (Anno, Miyazaki, Watanabe, Oshii, Kamiyama, Tsurumaki) still making shows, anime will continue to survive. I'm super excited about some upcoming projects like Eden of the East, Evangelion Rebuild 3.0, Berserk remake, and Ghost in the Shell 3rd Gig. Awesome stuff is coming we just have to be patient. The one thing that is troubling though is if there will be a new generation of writers/directors to continue making quality shows that keep up the artistic merits of this medium. Some of these guys are getting old like Miyazaki & Oshii.
Post by bearshamanbro (17 posts) See mini bio Level 6
@vergilius said:
" Consider also that sometimes, brilliance comes in spurts--2007 saw Gurren Lagann, Death Note, Code Geass, Darker than Black, and (well, to be fair, it's divisive) Lucky Star.   "
That was a crazy year indeed ... a great show like Moribito basically went totally under the radar there was so much stuff that came out.
Post by joinmeindeath89 (1 posts) See mini bio Level 3
I think we have had some awesome anime shows these past seasons. I think there should be some consensus when we think of these anime series (they might not be master pieces, but they are decent anime series that demonstrates that the industry is not dead) :
Eden of the East (Higashi no Eden)
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
FMA: Brotherhood (it was, technically, a new anime)
Durarara!!
Baccano
Heroman 
Nodame Cantabile (all seasons)
Kimi ni Todoke
Bakemonogatari 
 Angel Beats!
Arakawa Under the Bridge.
 
Again, I won't say that all of these series are master pieces (though I think that Eden of the East, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and Bakemonogatari would be master pieces in my opinion) But these are decent series that, I think, either improve on their genre, like Kimi ni Todoke, or are pretty innovative, like Eden of the East.
Post by jlanzer (117 posts) See mini bio Level 16
@Dream said:
" I'd say before the economic recession kicked in, there wasn't much risk to creating more original and unconventional titles thus the greater number of high quality storylines and refreshing premises which was before 2008 kicked in. After that, the anime studios started feeling the effects of the recession kick in leading them to resort to more conventional storylines and premises because they feared there was too much risk in creating something more original and unconventional. While it's possible to maintain the present anime fanbase by pandering to the otaku, it comes at the cost of alienating new fans which shouldn't be going on for the long-term if studios hope to hook in a future fanbase. "
It's not just the economy though, the entertainment business in general  follows that logic.  Movies and games always have their blockbusters, music always has their new pop star, and anime has their new mecha/harem/school life/etc.  That's not to say that there are not any innovative anime, but there will always be a slew of "safe" animes because that is what makes zee monies.
Post by Oishi_47 (221 posts) See mini bio Level 8
So...no one else thinks it might have something to do with the declining birthrate or the fact that the average yearly salary of someone working in anime is about 1,000,000 yen? There's also the problem with the fans of old now running the industry. They tend to recycle the ideas they liked as they are what inspired them, but the origins of anime are in theater, movies, and western cartoons.
 
@Kelleth said: @sotyfan16 said: 
" I don't think you should use an FF fan mob as an example of how anime won't get stale. Because they are gamers not anime otaku :P  As for it being stale or not i don't really care. Every major media genre is being a bit stale at the moment. "
Agreed. Fans of Post-Amano FF are bad people and should not be trusted. Don't leave them with small children cause they will asphyxiate them with leather belts and zippers.   
 
@sotyfan16 said:
"I don't watch much that was made pre-2000"
I have to admit, this makes me a little sad. I won't pretend to be an old fan, but I'm all for watching things that predate your fandom and even you. It's even easier to tell which ones are worth watching since good old shows are regarded by a smaller community of dedicated fans while new shows will almost always have some very vocal internet following that is much smaller than it appears regardless of the show's quality. I'd recommend researching older shows that you think you might like and giving them a try. Don't just pass things up because the art looks "old." 
Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20
@oishi_47:
Animation is just a big part of what I choose to watch behind the story. DBZ and Gundam Wing were my first anime and I did not start watching full-on until mid-2007. I hop back and forth between new and old shows to keep things interesting. Also, I do research shows and ask friends but in addition I count myself to be a dedicated fan of less popular titles within the last few years. 

I understand as well about how the salary is very low for the industry and that is really sad (we can kind of blame Japan's faulty economy right now). Yes, there are trends and whatnot but currently I see a few real gems a season with the rest being just like I said in the question for this article. But, I enjoy them all anyway because I am entertained and find value.
Post by Oishi_47 (221 posts) See mini bio Level 8
 @sotyfan16: I used to be a bit like that too, but I ended up burning out on anime for a while and not watching anything. I know better than to argue tastes, but I don't know what kind of research your doing where you aren't coming up with enough good older shows that you still have to claim that you mostly stick to shows made this millennium...hmm that does make me sound old. Anyway, if you can derive enjoyment from a genre no matter how many iterations you've seen, that's probably a good thing. 
Post by LP (9 posts) See mini bio Level 5
Recent anime has been stale for years. It's as if all the producers in Japan agreed that all they were going to do for the next 10 years was recycle aimless juvenile harem stories with cheesy theme songs. In fact, I'm totally out of the loop as far as the newest ones are concerned!
 
I've been watching, re-watching and reading the classics (70-90's) for years, and I rarely find new ones that interest me. Recently I've been reading Urusei Yatsura. (So I'm grateful for you guys for featuring good new series for me.)
Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel