I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve seen an incalculable amount of anime elitism a couple weeks ago in an insanely short amount of time. It first started over talk about the Legend of the Galactic Heroes remake over the internet, I then faced a lot of it when I went to a fan Macross panel at Sakuracon (some members of the audience were pretty horrible), and then went back to the internet with the surprise release of FLCL Alternative’s first episode on April Fool’s day. Another thing that a lot of people attacked, because it wasn’t like the original (it’s only one anime guys, jeez). Do I even need to mention that one video that a certain youtuber made talking about why older anime is better. I think that goes without saying. All of this happening at one time pissed me off. Something to take notice with me, it isn’t one thing or two things that really set me off, it’s a lot of things happening at one time that put the pressure on me. This is an example of that.
Disclaimer: To be clear, I know that I am not a perfect human being either. I realize that I have some biases toward older anime or older anime made new somehow. Because I’ve realized this, I try to incorporate series that I usually wouldn’t into my seasonal watching and at least give things I wouldn’t usually watch a chance, even if they don’t do anything for me and I drop them. I also try my best to not force my opinions on others, but I am human. Sometimes I do that and realize in horror that I shouldn’t have said anything. If you like something and have some good reasons or maybe just like something to like something, then good. You do you. The world is better for us all having different opinions.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about why I am not a fan of elitism at all.
Gate Keeping is Wrong
Yeah, that statement is all I need to say here. There is no amount of anime series, types of series, or certain anime series that a person needs to watch in order to be considered an anime fan. Once you watch an anime series and enjoy it, that’s all it takes. Bam, you are an anime fan. There is no turning back now. Even if you are watching something as “main stream”, I hate this term by the way, as the dubbed version of Dragon Ball Z, you are still a fan. Once again, for those in the back, what you watch and how you watch doesn’t matter. Welcome to the club. All gate keeping does is lock yourself away from other people and the anime community at large.
Not everyone started watching anime at the same time/place
I feel like this really does go without saying, but let’s go into detail about this anyway. You know how people are born during different days, months, and years, experience their first anime in a different way, may have started their experience at a different age, and have different tastes in anime because of that? I can keep going with this concept, that’s basically my whole point here. Not one person who ever lived is going to have the exact same tastes and forcing people to watch certain series in hopes that they will reciprocate the same tastes and just be a clone of all your tastes is wrong. There are way too many human variables in a complex equation for that to happen.
That being said, suggesting series for other people to try out and watch is still an excellent idea. It can expand every bodies anime knowledge and give other people insights and tastes that they wouldn’t have regardless. Discussing the series that you suggested in question. especially if the other person didn’t like it because that opens up so many alternative viewpoints that you might not know about otherwise. Discussion is good. Saying your opinion is objective wrong, after all, is wrong.
Are Older Anime series better?
You know that about that one problem that is common place today? How tv series and movies borrow a lot of ideas off each other and we have a lot of different varieties of one thing around media markets right now? Do you really think that is just a modern practice? No. Back in the day, there was an impossible amount of super robot shows wandering around 70’s and 80’s. I’m not saying that none of these series had their own original ideas, but it was still an anime market full of robot series. I haven’t seen them all, but you can google that time period and see the truth for yourself.
Time is a filter. Since we are separated from a lot of older series by a larger time difference, we can only see the most popular and famous series of different time periods on our perspective scopes. I’m sure there are hidden gems in each decade of anime that we haven’t watched yet, but that doesn’t mean the rule of 90% of everything is crap rule didn’t apply back then either. Yes, more anime is produced these days and that means that more of the 90% of crap is being thrown in our faces. That also means that there is more 10% of that good wandering around we need to find. That’s right, time is no longer a filter. We are our own filters. I like the experience of finding good seasonal shows then just waiting to see what stands out as good. I know that isn’t everyone’s thing but putting in the effort makes the experience worth it for me.
Watching the original first?
Once again, here is another thing that pisses me off. Newer versions of older series are making appearances all the time these days. Not just sequels, but reboots and reimaginings too. Do you know why those are series are created in the first place? To open the door for newer people to get into a franchise. What pisses me off about the whole “you should watch the original Legend of the Galactic Heroes instead” argument. There are elitist fans out there tring to tell people to watch a one hundred and ten anime series plus movies and prequel stuff instead of trying a twelve-episode seasonal anime right off the bat? Does this seem like a good idea to you? It’s a lot like “do you want to try out this small slice of a different pizza you’ve never had before” or “HORK DOWN THIS 32 INCH PIZZA RIGHT NOW” kind of deals. Let people watch the reboot first to see if they like it. Whether or not they decide to watch the original series is up to the other person, NOT YOU. I know it sounds crazy, but I would rather people try out Gundam OO and/or Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans before jumping into other parts of the franchise. That way, there isn’t tons of lore being shoved down people’s faces.
As for reboots of series that are going to about equal in length to the original series, that’s up to the viewer. The modern anime is still a gate way to those franchises, but then the original is there in a very digestible manner. Do whatever you want in those cases? Just remember that what series you watch first can affect your opinion of the other. That’s how I felt when I watched the new Kino’s Journey, because I loved the original. I won’t say that is the reason why I hated the new version, because I saw a lot of issues and flaws in the newer adaption by itself, but it certainly didn’t help in anyway. (I think my inner elitist appears from time to time as well.) I wonder what my opinion would be like if I saw the original Fullmetal Alchemist now? I’ll have to watch it eventually to find out.
Guys, what I’m trying to say here is don’t shut yourself away from other people by having a closed mind. Keep it open a little and you never know how your world might change. Like I said before, this is still something that I am working on myself, but I have a goal. A goal to listen to everyone’s opinions and live a much more fulfilling life just by accepting other people’s ideas too. Keeping yourself locked up in a box restrained by your ideals and opinions is no way to live. That’s it, see you guys.