It feels like every single one of my weekend posts are responses onto twitter recently, so here is another one. I remember recently that there was a spittle over a piece of media could be one genre at a time or something. You know what, I was only there for the aftermath and jokes about it and that was pretty fun. So, this leads to some kind of discussion over genres in this post and it’s going to be short one. An interesting thing to discuss considering that I don’t think genres really matter in the long run. Especially when it comes to the quality of a series. A work can be in a genre that you like and still suck. It’s happened to me plenty of times and I’m sure it has happened to you as well. The same could be said for a genre that a person generally dislikes, but is pretty good over all. Genres are funny like that.
So, what is a genre? Well, that depends on the subject at matter at hand. There are different genres or writing, genre of the audience the work is for, and a lot of other things. In storytelling, the genres tell you what could be in a story. For instance, science fiction works involve science, technology, and take place in the future. There is some much variance in those things like how far in the future a story takes, is it more realistic or fantastical, and many other changes. That is one example out of who knows how many genres and those genres can be mixed and matched however the author wants them to work. Basically, genres are just a way of categorizing something and sometimes that can be meaningless in a way.
Take Macross 7 as an example. What genre is Macross 7? Well, it takes place on a city on a space ship with lots of different transforming mecha including the Battle 7 space ship. There is always a romance triangle in a Macross series and there is an alien species out there that wants to use them for a food source. It also features a rock band as it becomes more famous to save the world. I remember watching a video calling it a super robot show and I don’t think that fits it either. For instance, the robots are more hard science fiction then you would expect them to be. They transform, yes, but they also have to suffer realistic physics as well considering that they were in space. The music is the only thing that is special in Macross because it is super natural. Having people who can sing piloting giant robots does not mean it’s a super robot show. Let’s just say it, Macross 7 is too unique to be defined by anything. No genre can contain it which shows how weak they can be sometimes.
With that comes again, the purpose of these genres. Once again, they are for categorizing shows and what in them. Very similar to the idea behind Japan’s use of demographics in their works but genres at least make some sense. I have been an anime fan for a long time and I still struggle to know when a series is a seinen, shonen, josei, or shoujo and I don’t think I will ever completely understand that. Genres come in their own wide varieties that have their own sense of varieties. When it comes down to it, a story is just a story and that’s ok. Connecting with a post from a while ago, a genre can surprise you in deciding whether you like it because they are storied.
My experience is the demographic genres tend to play a bigger role when you’re talking about magazine publications. For instance, a title will be considered shonen because it was printed in Shonen Jump.
Though I suppose you could argue that they mostly focus on male leads who all tend to be of the same age.
But really, I like thinking about genres mostly because I like categorizing things, and figuring out what the importance of a particular guideline should be. For instance, sci-fi might take place in the future, but how far in the future. For example, the Michael Crichton story The Andromeda Strain takes place in “a future,” but that future is that is really only minutes ahead of the present time. But we would still call that science fiction.
Just a thought.
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