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Is Anime Getting Worse?

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They sure don’t make anime like Cowboy Bebop anymore, that’s for sure.

It’s a pretty common sight on Internet forums and blogs. You might even know someone in person who thinks like this or you might be one of these people yourself: the jaded anime viewer who believes that anime in general is getting worse. The quality of the storytelling isn’t as consistent as it used to be, it’s getting too commercialised, too fanservice-y, too much moe, not enough substance, etc.

Are these people right? Is anime really getting worse?

This is actually a really hard question to answer with any degree of certainty, because it really depends on how you define ‘worse’ in this context. For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume it means something along the lines of ‘not as enjoyable as it was previously’, but again, we’re dealing with a pretty nebulous concept here. In fact, before I can even offer my own take on whether or not anime is getting worse, I feel I need to tackle some of the assumptions that goes behind making a statement like that.

When people say that something is getting worse, that directly implies that it was better before. And this idea of something being better before is deeply rooted in its original appeal. So let’s briefly look at how anime was originally perceived in the West and what drew consumers to it.

I can still vaguely remember the days when there was this wide-spread assumption that all anime had tentacle rape in it and people who actually watched anime felt compelled to defend it by pointing to titles like Ghost in the Shell and Akira. Those were the ‘good old days’, when all the anime that was ever localised were darker, maturer stories, often released in a short OVA format or a movie. The English-speaking anime audience was fairly niche and they were only ever getting to see the particular standout hits from Japan. This obviously means that they weren’t exposed to as many potential duds like we are today, because Internet piracy and bootlegging wasn’t that far advanced yet.

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Neon Genesis Evangelion revolutionised how anime was perceived in the Western market. Suddenly they had this full-length, widely popular TV series that was dark, philosophical and intelligent – and hey, look, no tentacles either! I can only imagine how exciting it must have felt to be an anime fan when Eva was just taking off in the States. The true potential of the medium was only just being discovered. The future of anime looked bright.

The argument of “anime is getting worse” seems to hinge on this moment in time. This was when anime hit its peak. Is it unfair to say that anime proceeded to get worse from there, as more and more titles flooded into the market that failed to match the sheer innovation of Eva? To what extent does this reflect viewers’ growing cynicism and to what extent does this reflect a genuine lack of creativity from anime creators?

People can’t help but think more fondly of what they were first exposed to, or what they grew up with. Don’t underestimate nostalgia appeal. This is reflected pretty well on what sort of anime score well on MAL, for instance. Shonen is the single most popular and highly-scored genre on the site. I imagine many of you reading this were probably introduced to anime during the Dragon Ball Z Pokemon era, and then got hooked on the bandwagon when series like Naruto and Bleach were just getting popular. It looks like the things that draw MAL users to anime, at the very least, are things that can be found in shonen. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the number one rated anime, with Gintama running a close second. These are extremely popular anime that cater to a diverse range of tastes.

On the other hand, harem anime, which is such a common genre in the industry, is consistently scored down by MAL users. Ignoring for a moment the question of whether or not these anime have any literary merit, they are simply not that accessible to most mainstream viewers because of the sexual themes. I doubt that many people’s gateway anime was High School DxD or Infinite Stratos, in other words.

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Let’s examine this a little closer. If those ecchi, harem anime isn’t necessarily what draws Western viewers to the fandom in the first place, then this would mean that they are more likely to be acquired tastes. Sexual titillation in television doesn’t manifest itself in quite the same way in Western media as it does in Japanese anime, after all. The same applies to anime like K-ON! and other shows about cute girls doing cute things. We don’t have a particular Western equivalent to that. The appeal of moe is something that can be intellectually grasped, but not all of us can get it like someone who has grown up with it.

What I am trying to suggest is one potential way of looking at the issue. We don’t all have nostalgia goggles for moe and ecchi. We probably didn’t come into anime expecting to find so much of it. Disparities between expectations and reality is what breeds cynicism. Without even analysing the changes in the anime industry to any significant degree, I think a change in the viewers themselves and their own outlooks is a possible factor to consider.

Nor, of course, is nostalgia the only reason prompting a backlash against modern anime. People’s tastes do evolve as they grow up. Most anime is made for a teenage audience and when you are no longer a teenager, that kind of stuff can seem juvenile. We start to recognise cliches as bad storytelling devices and the novelty of anime being “not for kids” starts to wear off.

So in the end, what this means is that it is very difficult to ascertain whether anime is ‘objectively’ getting worse because quite a few cultural and social assumptions seem to influence widespread opinions – even before getting into the grey matter of people’s personal tastes. For this reason, I see no real point in analysing the state of the anime industry today and trying to compare it to the past in that much depth. The most obvious reason for that is because I’m simply too much of an outsider to really understand what goes on behind the creative decisions of anime studios. And secondly, this isn’t something that I can think of a clear-cut answer to, no matter how much I think about it.

What I can offer now is my own opinion. I got into anime because I liked the emphasis on character-driven narratives and for me, this hasn’t changed in the anime I watch nowadays. There is no fundamental disparity between what I want from anime and what I get out of it. That’s why, for me, it’s not getting any worse.

There are a few broad observations I can make about the anime industry as a fan, though. First off, it is becoming increasingly commercialised and the content is becoming increasingly sexualised and fetishised, even if it is not always done in obvious ways. The cute girls being cute shtick is boring from a narrative perspective but interesting in how it idealises females and day-to-day life. Less plot-driven anime is created these days; instead we get more anime that are driven by style and atmosphere.

If that’s different from what you want or expect from anime, then I wouldn’t be surprised if you think anime is not as appealing as it used to be. In the end, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

So what do you think? Is anime really getting worse?

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Posted on June 3, 2013, in Editorials and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. I don’t think anime is getting worse, I think its just getting more and more safer as time goes on. You don’t really see much original IPs these days, and half the examples you listed on your tags are themselves adaptations from other media (manga, 4-koma, etc). An example of a plot-heavy anime adaptation: I believe that Shin Sekai Yori was generally very well received online, but it absolutely bombed in DVD/BD sales, which doesn’t help the case for plot-heavy anime. Of recent memory, the best original IP is probably Girls und Panzer, but that was just one example out of the many dozens of anime that aired in 2012.

    Back around 2006 I watched my first full Japanese series (Kanon ’06) and likewise it was based off a visual novel. I still consider it to be a good series to this day, despite its source material of moe and cliches (sad girls in snow). It was different, and that’s what drew me to anime in the first place, it was different from those saturday morning cartoons. It’s what makes it incredibly appealing, you can have anime that have heavy plot or funny puns or jaw-dropping fanservice that makes you embarrassed for even watching it in public.

    We will likely continue to see a trend of anime becoming more and more safer as time goes on. From manga to visual novels to light novels. There was even a weird attempt to produce western IPs (wolverine, x-men, supernatural). It sorta makes you wonder if they’ll try book series next.

    P.S. – I don’t think MAL is a good indicator of what’s actually popular or not. I tend to go by the weekly sales numbers, the overall impressions from bloggers and my own opinion if I’m watching the show.

    • You bring up a good point about the tastes of online fans being different from what actually sells in Japan. I was pretty devastated to hear that Shinsekai Yori tanked in the sales. On the other hand, Shingeki no Kyojin is selling like hotcakes. A lot of it has to do with how the anime is marketed to the audience and how reputable the source material was before the adaptation got made.

      I agree that a huge selling point for anime is the variety. It’s a medium with so much potential – I guess that’s what keeps us so drawn to it!

      Also, I find it interesting to compare MAL tastes with the weekly sale numbers and impressions from bloggers. It’s often very different.

  2. I think the quality of plot consistency is what’s lacking in more recent anime. Moe and fan/fetish-service can come off as trite to some persons because a lot of anime series has become so saturated with it that it makes it almost impossible to enjoy the actual series. And the way I see it, a lot of directors think that they need Moe and fanservice for their product to sell; which it does.

    No one complains really about seeing cleavage, over-sexualized themes and cute girls fumbling over themselves, getting absolutely nothing done. And because directors realize that the majority don’t really care about this slight they continue to produce more of it. That’s one side of my perspective.

    The next thing is that plots always seem to get lost or dragged out at some point in the anime. Like the infamous SAO for example. It started off with a bang then had the nerve to betray us by sacrificing a great plot for a generic love story. Even Durarara could have been as beautifully executed as Baccano, but for whatever reason the writers focused too much on the wrong characters and the plot ended up going in circles.

    A recent anime I picked up, Crime Edge, is by far one of the most ridiculous anime I’ve seen to date. Majority of the plot’s potential was wasted on fetish-service, crazy saliva and a generic romance. And I dropped it. I also dropped Devil Survivor 2 and Karneval because the plot which started out with an engaging premise lost its effect. Even Red Data Girl for example, I would have dropped it because of the dragged out plot but I’m there for the romance subplot (insert bias here).

    So like I said I think it’s the lack of a well done plot-construct and the overuse of Moe and fanservice as pull factors that make anime seem worse than it actually is. I mean, I love fanservice and I’m a sucker for Moe but when anime series depend on it too much and end up losing sight of the plot to insert useless content, that is where the problem lies for me.

    • Yeah, ideally, a good anime should have a fun mix of everything, but the fanservice and moe take away from the plot if they’re focused too heavily upon. Sometimes, fanservice and moe IS the plot and when that’s the case, it’s hard to know what to say to that.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment and for sharing your thoughts!

  3. No, Anime is not getting worse, but I think maybe some people lack perspective. While there are more romantic comedies and slice of life compared to the past, it doesn’t mean that there are no action or mecha shows out there. Then again, it all depends on taste in the end. While I grew up with Anime during the early 90s, it doesn’t mean I hate everything because it doesn’t have hot-blooded males… tastes evolves and I enjoy slice of life shows and plot-heavy shows.

    • Yeah. You don’t have to get more negative as you get older. It’s great to keep an open mind and I’m happy to hear that you enjoy all types of anime. You bring up a good point too – it’s not like action and mecha shows are going away. We had three mecha shows this season!

  4. You bring up a good point, and really it is tough to tell if anime is getting worse but like anything it is going to depend on ones tastes. If someone likes shows like NGE, then to them anime is getting worse since stuff like NGE isn’t being made anymore.

    Do I think it is getting worse? No, I don’t I still think it is as the same as it always was. Is it getting better? Well that determines what you define as getting better? There are my share of shows that I watch and go why is this popular like Infinite Stratos for example.

    • I think it’s hard to make a case for anime getting better, even if you don’t think it’s getting worse. While I don’t mind an anime like Infinite Stratos every once in a while for a bit of variety in my palette, I certainly wouldn’t want every single anime out there to be like that.

      On that note, I actually wouldn’t want every anime to be like Evangelion either, because that would be super depressing.

  5. I think that certain patterns and trends make story-telling through anime much harder. I can see two trends in general: the One Cour Syndrome, and the rise of LN adaptations.

    Firstly, consider the shift towards One-cour shows. As a result, shows that are better off paced at two cours end up being crammed into One cour, and story telling often suffers. I think it is quite telling that Anime originals (Madoka Magica, Girls Und Panzer) are regarded so well, in terms of story-telling, because the writers construct and pace their story on the assumption of six and a half hours of screen-time. However, Anime adaptations on the other hand often suffer for it.

    Of course, the infamous SAO is a subversion. Actually, I chalk the failure of SAO to the next syndrome- the entrance of LNs into the adaptation sphere.

    I think that most anime producers still can’t successfully adapt LN’s well. The problem is, LNs rely on various means to build up their world and character that neither Mangas nor Anime originals normally use. One example is the monologue – many LNs rely heavily on the MC’s internal perspective – shift that to a Third Person perspective however, and the adaptation begins to suffer. Some adaptations manage to adapt those monologues well (Haruhi, Hyouka, Monogatari series), but others utterly flop at that (SAO was a big offender, and Hagani was greatly weakened by shifting to a third person perspective.)

    Furthermore, consider that most LN authors tend to be very inexperienced authors. And it shows- going back to SAO, the much of the first few episodes were adapted by material written in later novels, by a much more experienced author. That might explain the huge quality drop.

    • Agreed. I think another big problem with one-cour anime shows is that it means more anime on the market on the market. More anime = more potential duds.

      My problem with anime based on LNs isn’t so much that they aren’t adapted well – anime studios do a better job with book adaptations than Hollywood at least – but more to do with how the stories are generally very premise-driven and don’t hold up well as they go along. But that’s probably a story for another post.

      • In part though, most Western Fantasy authors tend to spend years writing unpublished works at a formative stage of their writing careers. However, in the case of Japanese LN authors, works that might have gone unpublished (because the author is too raw) in a normal Western Fantasy author career track not only get published and acquire huge audience, but also an adaptation.

        Most of your Hollywood Book adaptations are from authors with at least many more years of writing experience (Twilight is a counter-example) before they catch their first big break. Whereas LN authors catch their big break very early on, compared to authors of George R.R Martin’s generation. Keep in mind that the likes of Tolkien and Martin had been writing for many, many years – I suspect had these authors hit big-time in their teens or 20’s rather than int their 40’s and 50’s, those early works wouldn’t much better than SAO in terms of raw writing quality.

        If the author of SAO was in the West, odds are, he would still be writing fanfiction and short stories today, rather than attempting a Sci-fi epic. In-fact, SAO begun as a web-novel – essentially, what would have been the early scribbling of a Fantasy author two or three decades ago. And it shows. Much of episode 2-7 (while many LN readers raged at poor pacing, I think this is where SAO is best regarded by anime only viewers) were written in later volumes, and more reflective of the author’s current writing ability, then the later half of SAO, which was clearly written by an extremely inexperienced author.

        Or, SAO would have been a more coherent magnus opus, written… 20 years from now, based on an idea that could not get published due to the author’s lower skill level earlier on. If the author had been born in the west, I suspect this would have been the outcome.

        In any case, the pattern for many LN Authors seem to be a strong premise driven first arc, a horrid second arc, and a revival as their writing capabilities improve. Of course, for LN Authors into their second series, the story is quite different. IMO, that’s why the Monogatari series was so well regarded- Nisio Isin was already a veteran with several works under his belt by the time he begun writing it.

        And then, there’s the fanservice tropes that Western audiences hate, up to and including unrealistic male-female ratios. Which you have done a good job of elucidating.

        Sometimes, the One cour syndrome collides with Anime producers can’t figure out LNs to produce huge trainwrecks, like Maou Yuusha, which was clearly… horribly paced and squashed to fit a single cour – though I’ve not read the LNs, it’s quite clear that so many things were axed out, squashed, butchered, etc….

        Which is why alot of LN readers are starting to cringe when their favorite LNs receive an Anime, and pray that the studio pulls off a Hyouka, rather than a SAO or Maou Yuusha. That doesn’t happen for mangas, because adopting mangas into anime has been a well trodden path, but I think Anime studios struggle to adapt the peculiarities of LNs into Anime. Still, I am of the opinion that many LN authors aren’t BAD authors, merely inexperienced, and that most LNs that do remain published actually further down the line, usually beyond what the Anime covers.

        And yes, Books are adapted well. They don’t sell. Else Red Data Girl ( a victim of one cour syndrome) would be the big hit of this season, and Another wouldn’t have had such abysmal sales. Speaking of which, it’s a shame that Shin Sekai Yori and Zetsuen no Tempest, both IMO excellent animes to shut those claims that anime is in decline didn’t sell well.

        At least Shingeki no Kyojin looks set to be a top-seller.

  6. Another excellent post =D (I know I’ve tackled this question on my blog at least once though I can’t recall which posts at the moment).

    My opinion is that anime may seem to be getting worse to some viewers only because there’s so much more of it being produced in recent years than there was in the 90s/early 2000s. And, like you mentioned, thanks to advancing Internet technology, we now have access to ALL of it, not just the high-profile, Western-appealing shows like the old days of Eva and when Adult Swim was airing only anime. Because more anime is being produced each season and we’re able to see that most of it is mediocre at best, which I’m sure most people will say of all the TV shows and Hollywood movies that come out every year. But what keeps us coming back to these mediums is when we can find those gems that come along once in a while. Memorable anime are still being made, Madoka Magica being a good example. And there are still plenty of moe-free, Western-appealing titles coming out each season, the currently airing Attack on Titan being one top-rater. I agree that maybe anime is a bit more commercialized and has more fan service than in the “old days,” but not enough to act like it’s totally different than it was before. If anyone does feel that anime is worse nowadays, they can always just stop watching new anime and watch all the old titles they haven’t seen or weren’t available outside Japan when they were airing. And if they do that, chances are they’ll find a lot of crap among them and realize that there was some pretty bad stuff in the “good old days” too ;P

    • You brought up such a good point at the end there. There are so many old, obscure anime that just suck or didn’t age well. I think people are either optimists or pessimists when it comes to change, and it looks like you and I are both optimists. I think that’s probably a good mindset to have when it comes to entertainment. I mean it’s not like, you know, anime is a necessity in life.

  7. Here’s a comment from another site that I 100% agree with. I edited it a bit to make it shorter:

    “You’re absolutely correct that the amount of mature anime has decreased significantly in the past decade. Although the same can’t necessarily be said for the manga industry (AFAIK, seinen and josei manga have been doing just as well as they always have), there’s been a noticeable decrease in the number of anime directed squarely at mature audiences (and by mature, I’d say in the mid-20’s and above age group), while at the same time a remarkable increase in the number of anime aimed at the children, youth, teen and otaku demographics.

    It largely has to do with the boom and subsequent down-turn of the OVA industry over the course of the 80’s and 90’s. Throughout the 1980’s Japan flourished economically, and the rise of VCR technology helped give birth to the anime OVA (Original Video Animation), wherein animation studios could create anime direct to the video market. One of the early OVA success stories was Megazone 23, a post-apocalyptic 4-episode series that would later go on to partially inspire the Matrix films by the Wachowski brothers. The OVA market opened possibilities for animators to tell more mature, serious and experimental stories that wouldn’t normally be able to air on television, and with it came more artistic freedom to craft plots targeted at more mature sensibilities. And there were sure to be a number of adult-oriented OVA series and movies as a result, such as Bubblegum Crisis, Battle Angel, Riding Bean, Madox-01, Gunsmith Cats, and more. Japanese adult consumers were fast to adopt the new audio/visual technologies, and with ample spending money could afford to fuel the emerging anime video markets.

    Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 90’s the Japanese asset price bubble collapsed, sending Japan into a slow and long-lasting recession that spread out over the course of the 90’s and into the early 2000’s. As a result, adult consumers had less spending money for entertainment and luxury items, which adversely affected the animation markets and wound up encouraging studios to turn their attention to more profitable target audiences ~ specifically, the children’s, teenager and otaku demographics (keep in mind, I’m talking about the Japanese definition of the obsessive ‘otaku’, not the Western definition of an avid anime fan). The otaku market became a particular focus because of their willingness to buy large quantities of character goods at great expense (statues, pillows, tea sets, posters, wall scrolls, etc.) comparative to other target audiences. So why are there so many anime nowadays about moe-blob high school girls, or handsome j-rock teenagers? It’s because they cater to the profitable markets now.

    It does feel like the days of Lodoss War, Detonator Orgun, Akira, Sukeban Deka, You’re Under Arrest, Shinesman, Project A-Ko, Giant Robo, Captain Tylor, Ninja Scroll and the Area 88 OVA are behind us. We’re lucky to still get an occasional Paprika and Redline these days, but it’s not at the same volume we used to get back in the 80’s and 90’s. Nowadays it’s mostly fashionable teenagers and young adults having relationships or saving the day, which really is a shame. I initially loved anime because of the sheer variety and creativity that the shows could possess, but it seems that the industry is largely catering to younger tastes now.”

    (End quote)

    I definitely think that the number of anime that I would be interested in watching has been coming out at a significantly lower rate. So far this year, only Shingeki no Kyojin has really caught my attention and I’ve been looking at almost every anime to come out this year. I don’t watch every one of them but I at least read the description. When I read old anime descriptions, I often think, “that sounds weird / crazy and not something I would like but it sounds interesting” and I’d check some of those out but recent anime doesn’t even sound interesting to me. Sure there is a lot of crap among the old gems but I found that most of the time, even the crap had something creative or interesting about it that I feel has been mostly lost in the anime coming out these days.

    There’s way too much moe to shift through before I can find something even halfway decent and it’s starting to get on my nerves. I’ve started to avoid anything with a lot of busty or cutesy girls on the poster because it almost guarantees that the anime is going to be a shallow, cliche-ridden, fanservice-fest. Ditto for anime with a whole cast of pretty-boy-clones on the poster.

    • It’s always a shame when you realise that you’re no longer the target audience of something. Either you’ve changed or the industry has and it’s like losing an old friend. Sometimes, the best answer is just to move on.

      Shingeki no Kyojin is an interesting case study for me. I’ve observed it’s quite popular with casual anime fans as well as those who’ve been exposed to a lot of anime but dislike the majority of titles that are currently released. I think it must be its strong Western and Hollywood influences that make it so accessible to those who reject otaku culture. As its own story, though, I actually don’t think it holds up as well as older anime and the influential movies it copies in substance and tone. Its main appeal might just be rooted in how different it is from everything else that is currently airing.

  8. I agree that it is getting worse. Not that aren’t are still some quality titles out there. There are a few, but there seems to be fewer and fewer good new titles coming out every year. We now have a bunch overly-silly anime, and easily amused people eat it up. And you have those that watch to look at all cute and sexy girl and boy drawings. A younger audience makes up a vast majority of anime fans, so the titles are marketed toward getting this immature audience to watch, which leads to very immature material. It seems like it’s whatever is the weirdest, cutest or silliest wins now. I’ve checked out a few of the new titles this season. You don’t even need a decent story any more, and good and great writing takes a lot of thought, imagination, and time.The majority of the good stories come from good established writers who cost a lot of money and are already rich off of previous works, so they are in no real hurry. If you are a company that produces Animated Television series you probably won’t want to put up with that when you can hire some hacks to whip out 3 garbage shows that will profit as much or more than one really good one.

    I’ve checked out a few new series this season and I am very disappointed. Of some of the more popular ones, one was about a girl that grooms dogs, another about farming, another about a super duper fabulous all male swim team. Who wants to watch this crap? The ones that seem to have interesting story they ruin it by giving major roles to little girls in fairy suits, and talking cuddly animals. Last season I started watching 3 shows that all started out with voice of some random 5 year old girl telling me about the history of the world the show took place in. And If you don’t like the anime the fans of these shows would say that you just don’t “appreciate” the “originality.” Whatever.

    I can’t do slice of life, harem, or magical girl. I am not a fan of mecha either. I am running out of patience with run-of-the-mill shounen ripe with comedy as well. Vampires and Zombies have lost their appeal. All I want is something with a good story, with depth and drama. I want something that is profound without being boring.Throw in some excellent animation and editing into it. Give me something dark. Give me something shocking but believable. Give me something that is beautiful. Give me an anime that is actually a form of art, and not just fan service or an artsy piece of trash. That is what I want to watch. Is this the fault of pirates? Are all the good story writers going into video games because they pay? If that is the case I hope they start making some really good animes that you can only watch on your Xbox or Playstation so people HAVE to pay for it. Maybe that will provide some incentive to put some creativity back into the anime industry.

    • I have to admit I’m one of these “easily amused people” you make mention of, so I often find it easy to find my own entertainment, inside or outside anime. So the question of whether anime is getting worse has never affected me personally, although I empathise deeply with your concerns. Most of the current anime is very juvenile and when you’re not part of that target audience, there’s not a lot you can do about it, except to stop watching it altogether.

      “All I want is something with a good story, with depth and drama. I want something that is profound without being boring.” I think this is hard to find in any medium, to be honest. As for video games, my take is that they’re a good form for experimental, interactive storytelling, which is why I would think they can achieve stronger emotional resonance despite being relatively simple in the narrative department. The stories are just bonuses to a good game – not the main attraction. There’s really not as much pressure on the story to hold up well compared to non-interactive formats like anime, so the storylines in games are often pleasant surprises. That can never be true for anime. I think your disappointment lies to some extent in your expectations. If you dislike movies, television and literature too, then you might just be demanding a level of engagement from your entertainment that you can’t get from non-interactive mediums.

      • I don’t think it has anything to do with my personal expectations or preferences. I just think there has simply been a shift in the industry away from artistic value and toward marketability and profitability. There has always been SOME variety in the industry. They didn’t always cater to the Otakus so much. Now they just about all cater to them even if it is just a little bit, and everyone else suffers because of it. They still put some material out there that is of decent quality, but there really hasn’t been much in the way of groundbreaking masterpieces in which the artists stretch the limits of their imagination and abilities. I don think it is me that has changed as I got older. I was already in the older generation when I started watching because I had a hard time finding anything decent to watch on American television when all the reality tv crap hit. When I started watching Japanese Animation, my adult friends would be like, “you watch cartoons? Grow up.” And thought they were idiots because they were nothing like Saturday morning and afternoon cartoons we all watched growing up. They were complex with blood and it took high intelligence to understand them. Now it seems like the entire industry really is moving toward a “Saturday morning cartoon” direction. That must be where the money is and it’s dang shame that that is what all anyone cares about anymore.

        I am not trying to complain too much about it, but I just want people know there is still a market for good high quality, hardcore Japanese Animation out there. People still want to see Black Lagoon and Haruhi and TTGL. I know it takes a lot of production costs and time but I think still think it could be worth it try to make a series or movies on this level. I just hope there are still those out there that know a piece of art can be better than just good enough to be very popular or trendy. The production value doesn’t have to stop at that level.

        • Oh, I was not disagreeing with your opinion at all, just presenting another way of looking at it. Once you see the best of a medium, it’s hard for the rest of the act to follow up, regardless of trends or commercialisation. Still, I completely value and respect your argument and I think there is a lot of merit in it, especially since, as you mention, you were already older when you started investing into anime in the first place.

          So yes, it really is a shame regarding the trends in anime. It’s impossible to deny them, no matter how optimistically you look at things.

  9. Well in my case its getting worse A LOT WORSE and why i say that is because the general appeal has drastically changed from what it was before for instance, the artstyle is now more pointy,exaggerated and downright CGI which feels nothing like the old school life-like hand drawn characters.

    The whole index of anime is now shifted to more about teenagers having relationships or some random moe comedy crap and the main shonen genre seems to be infected with modern anime problems as well,like unappealing art style,teenager pandering and overly gimmicky.

    These things were never the appeal of anime i used to watch i’m more fond of anime,heck even if modern anime does offer rich characters and great storytelling i’ll still have difficulties getting over these modern anime problems.

    Just like you said people do grow up with time,and i’ve realized that shonen and other teenager pandering stuff is not for me even though i’m still in my early 20’s i despite them.

    • That’s certainly a shame to hear. Have you tried some recent anime like Psycho Pass or Attack on Titan, which aren’t otaku pandering in the way you describe? Or how about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, which is praised for its retro style? Otherwise, not much else I can say. Sometimes, it’s sad to grow up and leave something treasured behind, but that’s the way life goes.

      • Attack of titan does seem interesting its artstyle reminds me of berserk a lot i’ve heard quite a lot about it so i might as well check it out.

        Its not that i don’t watch anime anymore i just don’t like modern anime in general even some of my most fav modern anime like death note has those problems.

        I honestly don’t know what’s the appeal of androgynous male characters,i miss the days when men used to look like men.

        Neither do i understand the constantly persistent trope of overly eccentric moe girls and perverted fanservice.

        Well at least i still have a lot of 80’s and 90’s anime to watch :D

  10. “Disparities between expectations and reality is what breeds cynicism.”

    You just encapsulated my problem with Neon Evangelion Genesis. Every one kept building up my expectations, ‘Best Anime Ever’, ‘Revolutionary!’, ‘Some of the best character work I’ve ever seen! They are all so three dimensional!’. Virtually the only thing I heard was that the ending(s) were terrible, but the really hardcore fans treated such murmurings as heresy from infidels who just didn’t get it.

    I watched it after I had just finished watching Cowboy Bebop and rewatching Akira, which really didn’t help considering by calling NGE the ‘best anime ever’ implies it is superior to those to which I strongly disagree. Even if NGE is a fairly good anime (I think it is, but my opinion is in the way you see) it couldn’t live up to that hype. Every flaw, every irritation was magnified a million times over. What I might have only been mildly annoyed with ended up galvanizing a near hate I have for the series. To the juncture where all I can think about when some one tells me how it is the best anything ever is slapping them and watching them go bawl in a corner like Shinji.

    I just need to make sure I don’t end up in the hospital later or they might masturbate on my comatose body. Lars Van Trier might make a good director if there is ever a movie.

    Also, harem anime is Nostalgic for me. One of the first anime I remember watching and enjoying was the Tenchi Muyo OVA. =P Then promptly being infuriated with its two alternate timeline series (crap, both of them). Sadly the only harem anime I can think of that was anywhere near as descent as that one was Love Hina.

    But again, you hit the nail on the head. Anime is aimed at male teenagers and young adults. So it is no shock Shonen and Ecchi are the two most popular series. Beating the crap out of people and being surrounded by fawning women feed the masculine ego.

    So is anime getting any worse? Not really, seems to be saturated with the same over hyped juvenile crap and mediocrity it always has been. On occasion you’ll find a real gem, and you may even have more gems than you used to. The problem is you also have more slog to wade through and if you are like me it just stopped being worth it.

  11. I think it become more worst now….it too many hentai here and there…it too many sex and kiss scene then more stupid things that not give positive motivation..

  12. True reason why most Anime suck balls and dicks today. There are two reasons here:
    – The oversaturation of Western elements over Eastern elements, I mean those Disney or Western companies pressured upon the anime producers to apply the westernization in order to fit the “ignorant cow-minded” Western audiences. When you look at comic book fans, the only impression when I read Western comics, it is just skippy pornstar superheroines. The same thing applied to anime here, Westernization!
    – Greed. I do not think that anime producers are out of ideas, they are just blindfolded by greed. The greed persuaded by my earlier point, sex sells!

  1. Pingback: Fanservice Does Not Always Suck: An Analysis of Ecchi as an Art Form | Fantastic Memes

  2. Pingback: THE ANIME INDUSTRY IS DYING | Fantastic Memes

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