If you know me, you’ll know that, especially 4 years ago, I was a weeaboo through-and-through. Soul Eater was my main jam, with my partner, Joe, introducing me to Bleach, and myself having delved into Black Butler (Kurohitsugi), Ouran High School Host Club, School Days, Higurashi, Hetalia… I was full blown.
But nowadays, I see so many people ranting and raving about shows like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia), Darling in Franxx, Aggretsuko, and even older shows like One Piece, Naruto and Fairy Tail… Yet, since I took a small break from anime in general, absolutely nothing has caught my interest for a single microsecond other than JoJo (Only reason I haven’t watched it is due to my dog having recently passed away… And I know what Araki does to dogs…) – I used to flick through seasonal lists, pick out shows on a whim, and just watch them to see if they were good… Blue Exorcist (Ao no Exorcist) is a good example of this.
However now I just see nothing but mediocrity; blandness, stagnation and a total lack of anything interesting – Perhaps it’s due to my maturing tastes in media, or that I’ve simply grown out of anime, but there’s an obvious issue here when the most interesting show that I’ve wanted to watch (But haven’t yet) is 1995’s Neon Genesis Evangelion…
Just take a look at any list of seasonal anime over the last 10 years, and I guarantee you’ll see nothing but bog standard shows covering the most shallow slice of life stories, mediocre and forgettable action (Look at how many people are still talking about Akame Ga Kill or End of Seraph), animation experiments that get noticed once and maybe brought up again one last time (Ping Pong the Animation), or, maybe just rarely, a decent show actually appears (Such as JoJo, Attack on Titan or Kill la Kill) – Things have gotten to the point where you can write down 30 predictions for a seasons’ anime, and I guarantee you at least 20 of those predictions would be accurate somewhat (Try it yourself – Anime bingo!)…
Not just this, but the quality of anime in general, especially for seasonal releases, has been reduced to a joke – Not just in popular Shounen franchises, but with brand new animation IP’s such as Persona 5 the Animation showing seriously silly animation errors, lazy CG and just a general air of poor quality that honestly is kinda embarrassing; plots as well have fallen by the wayside, with anime forcing itself to resort to silly niches and unique points to try and set themselves apart – Returning to Darling in Franxx, the main gimmick is that there’s… Mecha that you pilot… By riding another person…? Sword Art Online, whilst being relatively good for the first half, spawned a never-ending series of clones and similar knockoffs, such as Irregular at Magic High School and Deathmarch to the Parallel World Rhapsody making sure that titles always fill the void left by SAO.
It all gets a bit much, especially with so much clutter to every season – No longer do we have great shows and adaptations like Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hellsing, Attack on Titan or Death Note appearing… And when we do, it’s very rarely. So, enough pessimism! What can the anime industry do to help revitalise the current ‘meta’ of anime? Well… Honestly there’s not a whole lot, but that’s not a bad thing.
For one, we’ve never really seen proper anime remasters apart from Hellsing Ultimate or Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood – It’s something that, especially for older golden classics, could definitely help shake up the current format of anime seasons – Cowboy Bebop and Trigun (Even though I’ve not seen either) could certainly do with being brought to the modern age, not to mention a true remaster of Evangelion and The End of Evangelion – On top of this, anime studios also just need to give themselves more room to breathe; take Dragonball Super, for instance, which, initially, was a messy, messy anime that ended with what some may call one of the greatest anime battles of the year, with Goku VS Jiren – Whilst this doesn’t fix bad plots, it does fix poor animation and boosts the overall quality and working conditions in the anime industry; on the topic of plots, there’s a lot of room for experimentation and, obviously, my tastes will vary as opposed to yours or someone else’s, but as long as, where appropriate, gimmicks aren’t used to try catch and grab people in short commercials, characters and worlds are humanly fleshed out and detailed, and plot threads have meaning, cause and effect, it would at least stop the surge of “oh this just happened cause it’s an anime”.
Saying all this, however, there are some that prefer the new climate of anime – Who am I to tell them off for that? That’s their opinion in the end of the day, just like this is mine! If you have any recommendations, however, for new anime for me to try and get into, let me know down below in the comments!!