(Animanga Festival) (G)rant: Media Literacy and Nitpicking

I kind of did a little rant on Friday, but that was for my own sort of means. I was almost going to post that one for this event (The Animanga Festival), but I’ve got another thing that has been bothering for a while that needs to appear on here for a little bit and its about how we perceive media. Hmmm, I suppose that this one is going to be quite a bit shorter then what I posted on Friday, but I think it’s just important to get it out there for the small internet public that I have. The ironic part here is that I saw “Time to unleash your Inner Nitpick” on Auri’s prompt sheet and nitpicks are what I’m talking about. Yup. Let’s dive into this, shall we?

Starting this off, I am far from being a fan of people whose only critique of anything is just tearing apart plot elements or looking for plot holes just to point them out. Especially when that point of view is why they hate the film without looking at it any further. I’m thinking of people like Cinemasins or Channel Awesome on YouTube. All aimed at people that blatantly don’t understand what a film or piece of media is going for at a thematic level before either not paying attention to a film’s explanations or just looking for plot holes just to point them out. That’s how you miss the forest for the trees so to say.

The worst part is this way of thinking has led to how other people have looked into media from all over the place. You can look online and see so many videos that have a title like “end of __ explained”. While some of those may have a more thematic look at how all things have connected, most of them just tell you what literally happened. So basically, nothing with any value because any person with a working brain can figure those things for themselves. All the interesting conversation happens when you discuss themes at the end of something in context of the story because that’s where all sorts of interpretations come from. Instead, people go for the quick buck instead and get all the views for it.

That isn’t to say that nitpicking plot elements isn’t always warranted, but every piece of media has flaws and plot holes. That’s just an honest truth. Videos finding nitpicks or making nitpicks without looking at thematic elements or context is pretty easy and cheap criticism to write or put together. Nitpicks with context concerning how elements, characters, or the plot in piece of media doesn’t work with developing those elements or how the themes of the story don’t work with how the story is told are much more interesting to discuss or think about. Could arguably be deeper too. I suppose that depends on each deep a person wants to go with their thoughts I guess.

That all made me sound like an elitist, didn’t it? Probably? I hope not. What I’m mainly saying is when you look at media, have a reason why you don’t like something besides “these plot holes ruined it” or have more concrete thoughts on something other then “this is bad because it’s bad”. It doesn’t take a person that has studied media for their degree to think about how a piece of media works or doesn’t work for themselves. I don’t have one of those degrees, but I’m trying my best. All it takes is knowing what your tastes are and putting some thought into what you do and do not enjoy. Let’s have some interesting conversations.

O Maidens In Your Savage Season is a show that I would like to discuss more about. I loved it all the way through, but I know there are people out there who don’t like the ending of it or think it fell apart somewhere and I want to know why people think that way. That’s a discussion I want to hae because I want to understand how other people see it. There just hasn’t been a lot of explanation going around other then sort of comparing it to School Days for some reason. I suppose I just don’t get the comparison myself. Do I need to watch School Days to understand this?

Thank you for reading everyone. I hope that I didn’t go too far with this post.


28 thoughts on “(Animanga Festival) (G)rant: Media Literacy and Nitpicking

  1. I don’t think you went too far, but I do have some questions.

    So when is it nitpicking and when is it pointing out a flaw that damaged the viewing experience?

    I understand what you mean about Cinemasins, but they’re not really being serious, or at least I don’t think they are. So what allowances do you give for critiques that aren’t really critiques?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I guess everyone has their own line for that concept so it’s hard to say for certain on that one.

      The most damning part of CinemaSins is that it’s cheap videos that have a lot of faults which have legitimate criticisms sometimes in their videos with a lot of things that must either miss on purpose to make videos longer from an on screen context point of view. Honestly, who cares if they are a “comedy” thing if some many people would rather get their movie opinions from those awful videos instead of coming up with their own conclusions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get where you’re coming from, though that last part strikes me more as a fault with the people reading CinemaSins as gospel than with CinemaSins itself. And I don’t even like CinemaSins. The nitpicky style just grates on my nerves (at least most of the reviewers from that corner of the internet wrap it up in creative gags or whatever. CinemaSins seems to just point things out). Perhaps, if anything, I guess they could add a disclaimer so people *know* not to read too much into them. But that’s definitely more a fault of people being too lazy to do the legwork, themselves, to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, as someone who liked the last Matrix movie, I am inclined to agree that people are too quick to criticize.

        But I think you’re blaming the content for the audience misreading it. It matters that it’s comedy because that means we shouldn’t take it seriously. If someone does take it seriously, then that’s on them.

        That said, there are a lot of times I get angry because I think Cinemasins is taking a cheap shot, or criticizing something that’s not a problem.

        But I have to remember that they aren’t being serious.

        In the end, you’re arguing for criticizing shows and movies in context, so shouldn’t we do that here?

        Now if you wanted to citic

        Liked by 2 people

      3. That’s a fair argument and it’s hard or impossible to have a content creator be held accountable for their fans, but the fact that they put out videos in the first place that become lazier and cheaper with their points and comedy really does inspire a culture of people that don’t put in a lot of thought into media besides ding bad.

        Their constant video output doesn’t help things at all. A lot of people don’t get the concept of them doing what they are doing not seriously.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s the thing, people don’t want to discuss their opinions. There’s also a lot of if you don’t agree with my you’re just hating on something. It works both ways. There are shows I didn’t like and other did and I’d love to know why they loved it, but the main response seems to comprise of you just don’t get it or you’re just hating.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. That’s true and it gets more frustrating when they just keep repeating the same thing over and over again as if they were personally being victimized and it must be impossible for anyone to really have a contrary view to them.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. I find it genuinely amusing when I get into these conversations, tell them point-blank exactly what the series themes and whatnot were, then proceed to coherently lay out my own reasons for taking issue with whatever the subject is. The assumption of “You just don’t get it” falls apart reeeal fast if attacked immediately.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. I tend to be in a cozy middle area. I’m personally just more invested in raw storytelling mechanics and believe that those should be used to maximize the effect of the overall theme. Nitpicking for its own sake is annoying in the extreme, for certain. But, at the same time, I find it just as frustrating when a thing throws out any and all semblance of logic or even just narrative cohesion for the sake of “making its point.” I find it deeply irritating.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s another thing, plot is just as important as theme and characters. Any one thing not working can pull you out of the story and it’s fair for someone to annoyed at that. Agreed that some people just start pulling at every little thing until they can’t see any good in it anymore and that gets annoying, too.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Ok, that’s a very understandable point of view. Having everything connect together well does make the experience better. Still, I have to admit that I don’t mind if the show does that in myself sometimes depending on how good the point is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. While School Days gets a lot of criticism, and it’s definitely been a while for me so much of it could be merited… I enjoyed the show much more once I learned that it’s a deconstruction of the harem archetype / genre. I actually plan on rewatching it sometime. Just mentioning that so that if you do end up watching it, maybe you’ll go in with that understanding too, cause a lot of people get frustrated at it because they don’t understand that, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You didn’t come off as elitist or arrogant in this post, so don’t worry about it, Scott. You bring up a lot of great points. Like you, I’m not a fan of content creators who only make a point to point out the flaws like CinemaSins, HISHE, Honest Trailers (okay, I still laugh at The Hunger Games on), and Channel Awesome (Don’t get me started on how I lost respect after Nostalgia Critic’s defending of the crows in Dumbo or how that company literally covered up a sexual assault case). I feel like so many of those channels and their imitators have fed into this notion to destroy so many forms of media to be taken seriously. It’s gotten to the point where people are nervous of admitting to liking something lest they get backlash (I, too have been victim to this online and real life in the past).

    Then again, I can’t lie to anyone. I feel like I’d do similar things if I focused on reviewing mainstream movies since the flaws are more obvious to me when it comes to storytelling, characters, potential unfortunate implications, etc. It’s no wonder why I’ve built a comfort zone of sorts by intentionally seeking out the unknown and unappreciated other than the fact there are some real diamonds in the rough from all over the world. I do wonder if I do come off as elitist or as some angry critic whenever I have made comments or have ranted against certain media (those who know me can name at least one movie I bashed to oblivion). While I do like to exercise my media acumen and autodidact prowess on multiple fields, I would certainly hate to be one who only nitpicks for the sake of nitpicking even if some of my opinions are uncomfortable.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree honestly. I know that I talk about some anime that are popular and sometimes the more mainstream titles feel like they are being held back due to usual story conventions. Definitely more of the same but much money for mainstream media that have to follow a formula or else.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Scott. At least you mix it up with both popular and obscure anime which I do appreciate about your blog. I’ve noticed that with the more mainstream anime with so many things tied to it. Although I’m the defense of anime, at least I see creators putting more effort and some originality compared to Hollywood.

        Another thing that bothers me is when people nitpick something just because they don’t like a certain actor, company, or it’s just not what they like. There’s an obvious fandom bias there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sense of creativity in anime is true I suppose. Tons of genres to explore and things and I guess while cliched series exist, you don’t have to watch those because they aren’t everything.

        Yeah, that gets to me too. I don’t think a movie or series should be sold by actors as good either because those biases go that way too and doesn’t work out like people think either.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks. I certainly see more people trying in anime even if I don’t necessarily like everything. It’s certainly inspired me to be unique and creative with my own stories.

        Sure thing. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had those sentiments. There are things from actors or directors I like that I can care less about. Sanjuro was one of them as I thought it was a very overrated sequel to Yojimbo and this is coming from someone who likes Akira Kurosawa’s works. It annoyed me how the title character became a God Mode Stu with him not losing a fight and making the other heroes look incompetent to the point of absurdity. When I reviewed the environmental documentary Trashed which features the actor Jeremy Irons, I wanted to bash it given him voicing THAT clone (it doesn’t help he has that voice in real life), but it was really good and was legit about making the world more sustainable in reasonable ways.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Showing my inner cynic here, but you’re right a lot of online culture nowadays seems disposed to reacting instantlenously to something, rather than stopping and thinking it about it for two seconds. Plot holes are a quick and easy thing to identify, but working out why they’re a problem takes a bit more time to work out.

    To me, storytelling is like a magic trick, if the illusion created is a good one, then I won’t notice all the hidden wires and smoke and mirrors until long after I’ve finished watching it. However if the trick doesn’t carry me away like that, then I’m going to notice all the problems a lot faster.

    I always think of Frozen, where the beginning raised so many questions, from where did Elsa get her powers to what was going through the parent’s heads that I never bought into the logic of the story and as a result I couldn’t get into the film until towards the end. Tangled on the other hand has an equally nonsensical set up, but I never once questioned its logic while I was watching the movie, and Tangled went on to being one of my favourite Disney films. Difference is really just in how the two films decided to present their setups, Tangled going for a fairy tale narration, and Frozen just showing us events.

    Sorry, went off on one a bit here, but nitpicks are the symptoms, not the illness and more people need to recognise that.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. “That’s a discussion I want to hae because I want to understand how other people see it. ”

    Wait. That’s allowed? We’re allowed to be interested in what other people think? And do something to find out?

    Why was I not informed? That changes everything!

    Seriously, that’s one of the things I like about your style. You’re open to understanding other perspectives, while at the same time being able to articulate yours.

    And I know you know this, but just for the record, both of those are good things!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Gestalt: (n) an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.

    Sometimes I find an anime that has bugs and annoyances but if I step back and defocus, blur my critical vision a bit, all the little jaggies go away and I see a beautiful whole where the details are suppressed. Not everything is best looked at under a magnifying glass.

    I’m also happy to forgive flaws in execution if the underlying concept is good. the flaws themselves can be part of the fun! I can really enjoy a good video by inexperienced teenagers while no amount of perfect execution can save a major studio production that is boring, yet perfectly executed.

    The more things I find enjoyable to watch, the happier I am. Sometimes i wonder if people who are hypercritical aren’t really expressing a greater dissatisfaction with life. Or perhaps it is just a kind of virtue signaling.

    Liked by 1 person

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