In a lot of ways, this post is very similar in concept to the first post that I’ve written for my blog and my thoughts on fandoms. Maybe this could be considered the slightly grumpier version of those? Doesn’t matter, I felt inspired to write this post for obvious reasons. July 13th was my birthday and I can’t help reflecting about a lot of things in my life. I won’t tell you how old I am, but the fact that I was early in grade school when I started watching anime and it’s almost been two decades should give you a massive hint at this. At this point, I realize that it’s been apart of my life for almost as long as I’ve been alive. Watching anime is one of my defining traits and I don’t feel like myself unless I watch at least one episode in a given day. Does that make sense to anyone? Maybe I’ve never been addicted to harmful drugs because I’ve always been addicted to anime. It can be just as much of a money sink as drugs. Anyway, I can only be optimistic about watching more of it in the future even if I can be a little crusty about it from time to time. What does age have to do with being an anime fan? A lot and nothing at the same time.
I know that Toonami is a thing that is back and new/hot again, but I can’t help but remember when Toonami was a bigger thing then it was. I know that I am completely biased towards the way things were in my youth, but there is a big difference between hen something was on during prime time right after I was done with school and a late-night block on Saturday night. Having anime in the prime-time vs having anime only on during night time during the weekend change everything from the demographics of who watches it to limiting the variety of anime that shows up during that block to having the people who’ve already seen the anime watch it in a different form. Still, I am glad that it is back. Having English dubbed anime somewhere on television in the first place is a big deal. I watch and record a couple shows from that segment myself, so it’s still a massive delight. We are lucky that Toonami is around and is just as successful as it is. I mean, it’s there. Why not enjoy it when I can?
I’ve been at this enjoy watching thing for a long time, but I can’t help but be overjoyed at it. Even if there aren’t as many of my preferred science fiction and mech stories in recent times (though this year has been proving me wrong), they still exist. Plus there are other types of anime out there that I like trying out and finding out I enjoy them. March Comes in like a Lion, Girl’s Last Tour, and Made in Abyss are series I never would have given the time of day when I was younger, but I think about them every single day. Plus, space shows do still appear from time to time. I’ve been loving the Yamato reboot series to death and the Legend of the Galactic Heroes release was decent too. I also mentioned that mech shows are still coming out this year, right? What about the occasional action spectacle show? Quite a few of those appear every season as well. It’s not like I am running out of things that I am interested in watching anytime soon.
If we want to talk about how anime has changed since I started watching it, I can just say that the more things change, the more they stay the same? Every genre that has ever existed in anime has had a phase when they were extremely popular. There was a giant robot phase, a cyberpunk phase, a dnd fantasy phase, and today’s light novel isekai phase. Even that isekai phase is slowly out right now because now we are getting people transforming into monsters in alternate worlds. Though, I would make an argument that today’s anime is so filled with different genres that isekai barely eeks itself out of the whole mass blob. If want to discuss idol stuff, that’s always been in anime ever sense S.D.F. Macross. Possibly before hand? First we had minmay then Bubblegum Crisis has Priss in the 80’s, then Key the Metal idol in the mid 90’s, Macross Plus had robotic idols, and you get what I am saying right? Just choose your preferred idol situation and leave that all behind. Besides some more advanced animation techniques and more anime being produced, not much has changed . The only difference between now and then is that we don’t have time to filter out the great shows any more and more original series need to make their way onto the market. Anime has a long history of being a commercial for source material, but there have been some great original stories that dance alongside them. We have to do that ourselves which is harder. I personally enjoy the hunt, but I know that not everyone does. That’s ok. We all have our preferences.
Speaking of preferences, I would be lying if I said that my current tastes weren’t influenced by the amount of anime that I’ve watched in certain genres. I do spend a lot of time going “well, this anime is like this anime except insert concept or change here” and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I constantly dig myself into that hole with every show that I watch. I mean, I currently have three older series that I am slowly watching along side a big list of seasonal shows. It sounds crazy, but that’s how I’ve always consumed media that I’ve liked. This line of thinking does hurt my opinion towards some newer series. I feel like Darling in the FranXX is a massive example of this. As a Mech fan, I’ve watched a ton of the genre and have a long list of favorite shows which do the same things at DinF. Darling in the FranXX was completely mediocre to me because of that. I can see what kind of appeal it has for people who haven’t watched one mech show after another after another after another and I will be happy if it reinvigorates the mech genre more, but it didn’t work for me. I’ve seen all the shows that it borrows from, so this feels like a Studio Gainax selected hits without having any identity on its own. I keep noticing that I am not a flawless, unbiased person that has my preferences. I’m not going to apologize for that, because that’s who I am.
Well, how I can I end this other saying that I don’t see my love for anime disappearing anytime soon. I look forward to being one of those all-knowing anime grandparents in the future that can help spread my knowledge to those who are younger then me and/or haven’t watched as much anime as me. I feel like I am digging into what I said in another one of my blog posts here, but anime series always seem to be focused on a younger crowd so the majority of anime fans are going to be younger then me. Oh well, so what? As long as I watch anime I want to be stomping around conventions, meeting anime voice actors, finding new characters or anime to fanboy over, and so many other things. No reason to change who I am. That’s the realization that I’ve gotten to by watching other anime fans my age or even older. I’ve been watching anime for two decades and I plan on watching it for at least two more decades. Hopefully more. I love this drug and I want more of it.