To start this one off, from the dictionary itself, hype is “an ingenious or questionable claim, method, etc., used in advertising, promotion, or publicity to intensify the effect.” With that definition only, it may not seem like this has anything to do with anime at all, but hype has some heavy effects on it. In fact, because of seasonal anime, hype is something that is slowly becoming more and more ingrained into the shows that we watch. I feel like a lot of us don’t even know a lot about the shows that are coming out this season and only have hype and excitement from production companies and the staff behind it to get us to watch those shows. Even anime that are regarded as classics suffer the positive and negative effects of hype. For good or bad, Anime culture is turning into the essence of hype culture.
The easiest example I can use to explore the effects of hype is, even though it’s non anime, is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Last year, the amount of advertisements for this movie were completely ridiculous. To turn a profit, it seemed like every company imaginable had a Star Wars icon or character appear on their product. That goes without even mentioning the amount of short television spots and commercials for it. There were even huge sales of Star Wars products and toys that both children and adults went along with and bought into. When the movie finally came out, it didn’t meet every bodies expectations as being the best thing ever. Sure, the movie did receive a huge profit and was pretty solid, but there were so many people trying to find any reason possible to turn a negative spin on it. I feel like this is something that our anime community goes through every new season, but on a smaller scale.
Getting excited for things is not an inherently bad thing. In fact, being excited and enthusiastic for anything in general is a great way to live through life. At the same time, there is such a thing called “too much of a good thing”. Every season, there is at least one show that suffer the effects of being over hyped. The most recent ones that I can think of are Berserk (2016), My Hero Academia, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Erased, and One Punch Man. Criticism is fair and clean, but it’s getting hard to tell where the criticism ends and the anti-hype train begins. This season’s Berserk is looking like one of those shows. Since it has only had one episode, it seems like it’s the cool thing to downgrade the show just based on the animation itself. I have not heard a single complaint about anything besides how bad the cg is. Maybe there is a manga reader out there complaining about how some chapters were skipped, but I can’t comment on that because I haven’t read that source material. Come on people, there are other things involved in an anime besides how horrible the animation is and it was the first episode. How shallow can people get?
Trying not to turn this into a Berserk rant, hype has huge effects on classic series too. This is good because it gets people to watch these shows and possibly see what made them classics. At the same time, I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen people get disappointed about how something like Cowboy Bebop was not as good as they heard it was. Whether something like this is a legitimate criticism or not is hard to tell. It could be nostalgia blinding older fans, like myself, but it could also be the over hyping of the series after years and years of everybody, myself included, loving it to death. There is no scientific way to measure this and find out the truth, but ceiling high expectations can ruin any viewing experience.
I have personally been burned by hype so many times that it’s hard for me to get excited anymore. My best personal story has to deal with Sword Art Online. When this series originally came out, I remember so many of my section members in marching band talking to be about how good they thought it was. I know I didn’t watch this series for a couple of years, but this in real life bit added with the internet’s hots for it had a really negative effect on me when I finally watched it. I hated the show so much that I felt like writing entire rants on how every single detail of the show pissed me off. I still don’t like it now, but I don’t feel like attacking everybody who likes the show anymore. After multiple incidents like this, I haven’t really been exceptionally excited about anything for a while. Eventually, one has to stop putting their hand on the hot stove top.
As a little bit of advice, which you can decide to pay attention to or not, let the hype lead you to these different series, but don’t let that be the reason why you stay around. Let the strength of the material itself decide whether you want to continue or not. If something doesn’t turn out to be the best thing ever, that’s okay because few things should be labeled as that. “Best thing ever” is a very subjective thing and can mean a lot of things to different people. The new thing that you just watched CAN be the best thing ever, but see the series all the way through before making the judgement call. The major thing I’m saying is “be patient”.
So what I was trying to get across is that hype can be good but it can also be bad. Go ahead and get excited for things that you want to watch, but wait for a little bit before deciding something is the best or worst thing ever. Going in with lowered expectations can help you find some of your favorite series and make sure that the hype of everything doesn’t affect your mind. I doubt this little blog post will affect the community at large in anyway, but if I can find a way for a small amount of people to be open minded and less quick to judgement, then I have achieved everything I wanted.