Posted by psgels on 11 July 2009 with categories: Shoutbox Topics

Okay, so the discussion has been going on in a number of posts and shoutboxes, but the subject is interesting so I decided to make one post about it. Blogsome unfortunately doesn’t support the option to move comments, so I’ll instead quote what the different people have said about it. It first appeared in the shoutbox. Unfortunately the shoutbox stores everything in reverse order and the beginning of the discussion has already been eaten, but I’m too lazy to fix it.

Tracer: overlooked.
8 Jul 09, 22:33
Tracer: Also, PaTRiX’s point on not knowing a lot of the animes from the 80s and 90s is very true. Back then, fansubbing wasn’t as easy as prominent as it is now so the bad shows weren’t subbed and they were
8 Jul 09, 22:28
Tracer: Though regardless, like tealovertoma said, regardless of the low sales, someone will always make some creative and original series.
8 Jul 09, 22:27
Tracer: I’m not trying to say that all good anime sell well (for example, every anime by Yuasa is a failure in terms of DVD sales) but a lot more are successful than what people might think.
8 Jul 09, 22:25
Tracer: Baccano! sold on average about 2000 units per volume (decent numbers). Terra e was selling around 10k per volume. GiTS: SAC was selling near the 20k range. Mononoke was also about 8k-10k per volume.
8 Jul 09, 22:23
Tracer: I don’t think we have to worry about there being less innovative anime because they don’t sell. Believe it or not, some good anime actually sell quite a bit.
8 Jul 09, 21:13
PaTRiX: The thing about the ratio is probably true, but in the late 80’s and the 90’s we didn’t know about the crappy anime. So that makes it feel like there was more good anime.
8 Jul 09, 21:11
PaTRiX: and the animation style. That’s the main “problem” people complaining about “new anime” have even if they don’t even know it themselves. But the same is true form almost anything.
8 Jul 09, 21:11
tealovertoma: There will always be a market for creative and original ideas. Be it in anime, tv shows, movies or music. It’s not like it’ll die out, and I agree with Tracer, the ratio is higher. Great list btw.
8 Jul 09, 21:10
PaTRiX: But I’m going to repeat this, if you have watched anime for 10 – 20 years you have seen allmost all the stories that could possibly happen. The only thing that changes is how they are told …
8 Jul 09, 21:07
PaTRiX: And what people like reverse probably want to say is that some over the top 80’s or 90’s anime is still better than some generic harem anime. It’s a matter of taste probably, but I’m with them.
8 Jul 09, 21:04
PaTRiX: The last thing reverse said is true, the different and more interesting things sell less. So they are produced in lower quantity because they are harder to produce than say a generic harem anime.
8 Jul 09, 20:47
reverse: those innovative idea don’t sell well . so it not surprise, we will see less of them
8 Jul 09, 20:29
reverse: who you referring to tracer. yes we got innovative anime every year, i only disappointed that the anime consumer
8 Jul 09, 20:22
Tracer: It’s not like the ratio of good-to-bad shows is any less lower than befre.
8 Jul 09, 20:21
Tracer: We still get some very interesting and innovative anime every year like Kaiba, Kino’s Journey, Terra e, Nodame Cantabile, Samurai Champloo, GiTS: SAC, Dennou Coil, Baccano!, Mononoke, Gankutsuou etc.
8 Jul 09, 20:16
Tracer: I really don’t see some drop in quality in recent anime. It’s just that instead of the over the top anime of the 80’s and 90s, now it’s a lot of “moe” shows.
8 Jul 09, 20:14
Tracer: For every anime like LoGH, Rose of Versailles, Akira, Touch, you had some equally ****ty fanservice show or some horribly cliche super robot crap.
8 Jul 09, 20:08
Tracer: You’re simply being ignorant if you think the “good, old times” were full with masterpieces or some other ridiculous nonsense.
8 Jul 09, 19:15
tealovertoma: …companies. We still get the character development that old shows focus on, but more experimentation. But yes, there’s also a lot of bad shows.
8 Jul 09, 19:14
tealovertoma: … about old anime better than new anime; we’ve had loads of masterpieces in the past decade. Moreso than any decade before as far as I’m concerned. Plenty of creativity and freedom for production…
8 Jul 09, 19:13
tealovertoma: It sounds like you’ve just been disappointed by 2 (maybe a few more?) anime that seemed promising. Is that all? Cause we get several masterpieces every year. In that case you’re not really talking…
8 Jul 09, 19:11
Howling-kun: Hm, I gotta disagree with you reverse. Specially shows directed by Shinbo Akiyuki tend to have very weak first episodes.
8 Jul 09, 18:58
reverse: Howling-kun every anime nowadays have awesome first episode ( xamdd, eden ) just name it, the problem is their don’t deliver. anyway i will check Bakemonogatari
8 Jul 09, 18:44
PaTRiX: This happens with every kind of hobby you could have, the fact is that people complaining are probably people who have seen too much anime.
8 Jul 09, 18:42
PaTRiX: It’s not that anime nowadays is bad. In fact it’s probably better than before, but if you have seen, for example, 5 animes about football (soccer) how many new different ways can the story go after?
8 Jul 09, 18:39
PaTRiX: … That’s what I feel now. I need something that I really like (or that I am a fanboy of) or something that is really different to be excited about an anime.
8 Jul 09, 18:38
PaTRiX: … because the stories have not evolved that much. I say this because it happens to me. And even if I’m not searching anything fancy, just want some cool mindless violence I’ve kind of “seen it alll”
8 Jul 09, 18:35
Howling-kun: Bakemonogatari is out subbed. Excellent first episode.
8 Jul 09, 18:34
PaTRiX: I think that the fact is not that anime was better before but that the kind of people who watched akira on the big screen and dragon ball and dr slump on tv when they first aired are becoming bored ..
8 Jul 09, 17:59
PL: whereas, if the industry wasnt profitable, there wouldnt be any anime
8 Jul 09, 17:58
PL: but that leaves plenty of room for more artistic and intelligent shows
8 Jul 09, 17:58
PL: the best way to ensure an artform endures is to make it profitable, which unfortunately means you will have anime which appeals to the masses
8 Jul 09, 17:43
reverse: not to mention most anime fan don’t know what is a good animation even it hit them on the face. example anime fan are happy staring at unmoving pic for 5 second. none complain at that stuff in anime.
8 Jul 09, 17:28
tealovertoma: …anime try out some from the more experimental side. Yes, it’s true that a lot of masterpieces are overlooked and ****ty shows are popular, but it’s like that every where.
8 Jul 09, 17:27
tealovertoma: Easier to be pessimistic than optimistic, right? Stop being nostalgic about a time you weren’t even alive. We get more intelligent anime than ever before — if you’re tired of conventional harem….
8 Jul 09, 17:17
reverse: show like Sengoku BASARA sale like 10000+ dvd in a week. untalented people get pay more. anime industry is doomed i would say.
8 Jul 09, 14:13
Solaris: I also think nowadays anime are nice and flashing but are lacking of contents.
8 Jul 09, 08:54
psgels: I think the “empty of contents and spirit” is a bit vague. What does it mean for a series to have spirit? And isn’t this different for everyone?

The discussion basically began when Solaris claimed that anime nowadays is “empty of contents and spirit”, and reverse claimed that “now almost everything get animated. the standard sure is low.”, from which the above discussion erupted. It then continued in the Aoi Hana post:

“Bakemonogatari: Once you remove all of the fancy filters and confusion that the first episode threw at us, you remain with a story that lacks depth and characters that are just the average stereotypes”
Maybe it was this i sensed when i watched Bakemonogatari’s first episode. It’s a fancy colored box with nohing inside.
Pity it happens more and more often nowadays. Anime’s graphics continues improving but contenents keep decreasig

Comment by Solaris — July 11, 2009 @ 12:02
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“Pity it happens more and more often nowadays. Anime’s graphics continues improving but contenents keep decreasig”

Lol @ this being applied to Bakemonogatari, NisiOisin isn’t considered the god of light novels for nothing.

Comment by Westlo — July 11, 2009 @ 12:25
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@westlo.
I judge for what i watch to. Anime and novel are related only by topic. One could be utter crap while the other could be plain art.
My first impression on Bakemonogatari anime was negative, as they wanted to keep our interest with that flashing graphics, but that there wasn’t that much of a story to begin with.

Comment by Solaris — July 11, 2009 @ 12:38
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Solaris: nah. Bakemonogatari may be one example of a soulless series (which if we were to believe Westlo, doesn’t even seem to be true), but there are plenty of series with a soul this season (Aoi Hana, GA, Umineko, Tokyo Magnitude, Spice and Wolf and Umi Monogatari, not to mention the series from previous seasons).

I agree that the seventies and eighties had some wonderful series, but even those days had their share of disasters, which in most cases were even worse than the crap we see today. Glass Mask, for example, was a really bad series, and there are probably plenty more of those series back then.

Comment by psgels — July 11, 2009 @ 12:47
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Well, anime has always been a media for the crowd. Anime production surely grew up since 60’s both in graphic quality and in number of products. It eventually became well known worldwide too. Now after 50 years of anime we are reaching saturation. Crap haw always existed, but why now it looks like we have too much of it lately? Maybe is just a matter of quantity. We have little formats for anime and a huge amount of products now. We have too many products that resemble each other. We’re loosing originality. Soeone just told this before: now it’s no more a matter of creating new stories, but how well you can manage to tell them and how good you let them appear. So, focus is being biased from contenent to appearance. So it’s no more the matter of telling a story that it looks so generic, like in bakemonogatari. The matter is to capture the audience with good graphics, or moe char or whatever mean, but good storytelling. That’s the real issue.

Comment by Solaris — July 11, 2009 @ 13:43
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With “the amount of bad series has increased”, do you mean the total amount of bad series produced each year, or the amount of bad series in relation to the amount of good series? There are of course more bad series out there than twenty years ago, simply because much more anime are produced these days. Today however, there are still plenty of series with good storytelling IMO, also with a bigger quantity.

Comment by psgels — July 11, 2009 @ 14:00
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The main appeal of Bakemonogatari is the dialogue and conversations between characters which is never wasted… which is what you expect from light novels.. Hardly something I would classify as a pretty anime with no substance.

“Crap haw always existed, but why now it looks like we have too much of it lately?”

I’ll tell you why, can you name another show that aired in the same season as Evangelion did? You’ve had the best titles cherry picked from the 80-90’s without seeing the amount of crap that aired during the same time.

It’s pointless to say “Anime was consistently better back in the day” when you don’t even know the majority of shit that aired back than.

Here’s a list of what aired in 95

http://www.animenfo.com/animebyyear.php?pagenumber=1&action=Go&perpage=30&year=1995

Don’t tell me that’s better than 2006 or 2007 or you’re overdosing on nostaglia. Eva and GITS Movie are the only real notable shows from that year. Majority of 95 ranges from mediocre to crap if you look at it without rose tinted glasses.

Comment by Westlo — July 11, 2009 @ 14:04
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I’m not saying that I like the old show better. but i do agree with solaris to some extent, almost everything get animeted now, the standard sure is low.

Comment by reverse — July 11, 2009 @ 14:29
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Psgels i didn’t say that. I just say the amount of series overall increased, thus implied the bad series also increased. The question is, did the proportion between good and bad remained stable or not? I think it decreased a lot. That is to say you will find more bad series nowadays with respect to the good ones.

Westlo, if we take that is the real amount of anime produced in that whole year 1995, then notice that that’s average the number of series nowadays produced in a single season.
The question is, are there many more good series now with respect to back then? I think we have less, but luckily that’s my IMHO ;).

Of course whan we speak of good and bad we should make clear what we intend for. “good” is such a subjective matter. But this would generate another full thread, so let us it be by now.

I watched anime since 70’s. I could tell you a lot of what happened back then. The situation of 80’s was very interesting, as it resembled what it’s happening today. Back then the most popular format were Big Robots anime stile (not mecha) and magical girls show. After 10 years they exploited such genres there were a big lack of new ideas. So with the start of the new decade they searched new ideas and format to make anime. The market succeeded in renewing itself back them. New genres were made and the anime “maturity” also evolved. As anime public grew, there was the need of much mature series. It wasn’t anymore just a matter of kids show. Series like Sailor Moon or Evangelion also renewed the old magical girl and robot formats. Lodoss introduced western fantasy style and Tenchi Muyo invented the new harem genre. Now also these formats are coming to exaustion. Will the anime market be able to create new contents genres and stories in the future? From what i see now, the market is closing itself to those genres that are still popular and they know it will sell. There isn’t search for newa, just to wrap up something with a good container and sell that.

Comment by Solaris — July 11, 2009 @ 14:57
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That last paragraph is interesting, but at the time of the invention of these new genres, there also was a lot of bad stuff going on. Based on my impressions, if you look at 1995 the ratio of good to bad shows is about 11:27. Based on the same standard, the ratio of good to bad shows of the past spring season is for me 19:17, which is much higher. So I don’t agree that today’s anime lacks sould.

However, if you meant to say that today’s anime lacks originality, then okay, I can see more in that. The only series that really attempted to go beyond genres of the past spring season was Marie&Gali (Eden of the East, though impressive, was just another mystery-series in the end, although it did try). 1995 had Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, the beginning of CG, Memories and in a way also the Ping Pong Club (raunchiest fanservice ever in a TV-series at least) and Romeo’s Blue Skies (combining WMT with action). I agree that today’s anime should be more experimental, and daring to try out new stuff, but that’s not the same as today’s anime having lost its soul.

Comment by psgels — July 11, 2009 @ 15:35

I personally believe that anime could be more experimental and ambitious nowadays, but it has nothing to do with the quality: there are plenty of anime series with soul, and the ratio of good compared to bad series is much higher than it was twenty years ago. Still, I’d love to see what anime can evolve into.

So, what are your opinions on the matter? Are there too many harems and lazy adaptations of bishoujo games; is there an overload of moe in today’s anime market, or is it all just overly exaggerated and is moe underrated?

40 Responses

  1. Kim says:

    It just rose colored nostalgia. It’s easy to look back and remember all the good series of the past. However there were plenty of bad series as well back then those just tend to be forgotten. And while I do think there is a lot of crap today there are still a lot of great series. Ten years from now we will probably be having the same discussion about this decade.

    But hey I can’t blame people for having rose colored nostalgia. I might not have it when it comes to anime but as a classic film buff I certainly have it when it comes to live action movies.

  2. LK says:

    Kim is spot on. Rose coloured nostalgia. Just like your parents/grandparents reminisce about the 1950s as a great time to live.

    I’m of the opinion that I’m watching more anime today because of the quality, alot of which is experimental while still remaining commercially viable (Noein springs to mind for its visuals during fights, likewise East of the Eden breaks a few traditional anime styles).

    But this is also biased by the fact that fan-subbed ‘digital copies’ of anime are easier to come by than DVD and dare I say video copies in the past.

    But at the end of the day, if anime loses its ‘soul’, than people will stop consuming it.

  3. Rednights says:

    I’m enjoying the living shit out of One Piece right now. The last “great” recent anime I ever seen was Seirei no Moribito. Another recent example is Bokurano. So yeah anime is still good =)Though yes it’s sad I can list only 2 in terms of “good story telling”. Haruhi and Code Geass are what we call guilty pleasures … so those don’t count.

    BTW. Gainax ruled the the world way back then … I woudln’t mind if they came out with something new and destroyed all these cutesy anime companies …. and no I did not see Eva 2.0 yet =( See? new anime is still godly ….

  4. tealovertoma says:

    tl;dr

    seriously though, any chance you can make the post slightly shorter? >>;

  5. reverse says:

    this pretty hard topic, it not about what the best,worse or average anime being make today or before. it about the way that the industry is going. the “soulless” anime that solaris referring still sale better. in the end it all come down to the consumer. personally I think most Japanese are bad consumer. that why we see crappy sequel sale better
    FYI I have no colored nostalgia, and my fav anime is birdy02 ( that just finish being aired )

  6. ancalyme says:

    (sorry for all the ‘you’ in this post. It’s the general ‘you’, not aimed at anyone specifically XD)

    The ‘lost its soul’ comment is ridiculous, especially when you have Konnichiwa Anne, Kemono no Souja Erin and Aoi Hana running right now; those work basically on soul /alone/. Originality? Someone name me ONE season that didn’t have at least one good experimental series in the last couple of years. That’s four per year, at minimun, and usually a lot more. Oh, but I’ve ‘only’ been following anime seasonally since 2006.

    As for the rest – yes, what we enjoy in zillion copies per season now used to be original in 1995, but we’re not living in 1995. Should we sit back and reminiscence about how amazing it was back then, when the genres have been improved and brought to perfection today? Why pine for the clumsy pre-digital animation? Nobody uses it anymore not because it’s too expensive, but because it’s expensive and looks like crap. Even the digital Pandora’s animation is almost universally hated because it looks ‘old’.

    Anime is much more enjoyable if you see each series as a unique experience, instead of a link in a progression of links that each look like each other. Because it’s not. That’s why I like this blog, it treats each show as its own entity regardless of what came before or after it, and judges it by its own value instead of by proxy.

  7. shingoku says:

    Hum, first post here :p

    I don’t think anime nowadays is good or bad, it’s just different from your 80’s or 90’s anime.

    It’s exactly like video games with the dumb debate of casual VS Elitist gamers.

    My first anime was Dragon Ball Z on french television .. fifteen years ago and since that time, I have been enjoying anime and its evolution.

    Like others have said it’s now harem-crap compared to super-robot-crap in the 80’s.

    My favorite anime is Logh but new animes continue to deliver so nothing to complain :D

    And thank you for all your reviews Psgels. It helped me to find very nice anime ^^

  8. Camario says:

    There might be a few objective differences, but I think it’s pointless to pretend that every past period of time was better for anime than today.

    I don’t really think we can make absolute statements about increased or decreased quality without being aware of the real truth behind the entire industry.

    Anime is a medium for entertainment and sales, period, everything else that you can add on top of that is only a bonus. Western viewers are biased because they only ever see a small fragment of all anime at any given time.

    To quote something Hideaki Anno himself was already saying back in 1996:

    “The people who make anime and the people who watch it always want the same things. The creators have been making the same story for about 10 years; the viewers seem to be satisfied and there’s no sense of urgency. There’s no future in that.”

    You could argue that Evangelion was an attempt to change this, but it would be hard to deny that this is a cycle that will continue for a long time.

    Even then, just because something is or isn’t original doesn’t really say anything about its inherent quality. You can make a profoundly original work that fails and an entirely derivative one that succeeds, both critically and financially instead of just one or the other.

  9. AlexS says:

    To answer the initial question, I don’t think anime nowadays is at a standstill.

    When I see the list of my favorite anime, they were nearly all produced within this decade (ex: Mushishi, Welcome to the NHK, Haibane Renmei, Koi Kaze, Kaiba, Spirited Away). Others were not (Akira, most of the best ghibli productions, etc), but they concern mostly films (for which I concede the 80’s and 90’s were more interesting).

    One thing seems to me very clear: there are more and more “mature” anime, which in itself is an objective and welcome evolution. By mature I mean anime that analyse with somewhat more subtility relationships among young (5cm/s, Koi Kaze, Paradise Kiss) and old people (Ristorante paradiso, Mushishi), or anime that portrait other aspects of life and society than just school life (welcome to the NHK, Genshiken) or focus on other things than fights, even when in fantasy settings (i.e. Wolf and spice)

    Apart from the reluctant integration of cgi, I agree that there has not been a lot of interesting developments on the graphics side (I don’t say there were none, I just mean that it was nothing special, and the best of the 80’s and 90’s could easily beat the present decade average). It’s mostly the themes who have evolved, and at least for myself, become more interesting.

    In the future, I hope we get more anime about adult relationships (post-marriage, divorce, having kids, etc), or alternative sexualities. In manga, the material is already there, it’s just a question of adapting it (ex: usagi drop, hourou musuko, Youtsuba&! and many others). Since Aoi Hana is from the same mangaka as Hourou Musuko, this will probably happen.

    I also hope we can get more diversified slice-of-life stuff, which is my favorite genre. Hataraki Man was a nice debut, but there are many other manga to adapt.

    Essentially, it all boils down to manga. I think there are interesting things being produced (solanin, undercurrent, niccoichi, etc) that defenitely could be used to start new genres in anime, or more modestly just provide for interesting anime.

  10. Patrick says:

    I think the problem comes mainly from the fact that that in 80’s and 90’s bad anime was filtered for us by companies. So when I discovered anime here in Spain we only had the best animes of their genres or at least the more famous.

    Now we get anime directly from the source and the problem here is that we have to do the filtering ourselves. Add to that the fact that most of us are probably watching A LOT more anime that 5 or 10 years ago because of fansubs.

    I think the result is obvious. And, well, people get bored when they have seen the same story too many times (even if it’s not really the same story).

  11. TJR says:

    At this point, I don’t think quality is too much of an issue. There’s always good and bad, and older anime was no exception.

    On the other hand, the market is indeed narrower now, which has been acknowledged by both creators and industry commentators. Producers are so fixated on hardcore otaku tastes, making it tough to attract new audiences.

    We have broadcasters like Fuji TV (noitaminA, NOISE) trying to buck the trend, but by and large, the emphasis is on very niche content.

  12. Denizen says:

    I find it hard to believe there is any sort of decline, only a shift in market, which naturally tweaks the opinions of different people.

    Ask me for “great old shows” and I can hardly think of any. Most of the shows I consider the best I have ever watched are post-2000.
    In fact, ask me for great shows before 2007, the time when I truly started getting into weekly anime, and that question is not so easy either. It definitely shows cherrypicking at the past.

    The 00s have some examples of fantastic animation, with the work of Imiashi, Yutaka Nakamura, Shingo Yamashita and the continued efforts of people such as Norio Matsumoto, not to mention the built-upon influences of people animators such as Itano. The best animation of before is nowhere near as good as the best animation of today, I think.

    Equally, detailed shading or not, I much prefer the art and illustration styles of today. I much, much prefer the cleaner designs of Range Murata and Kenichi Yoshida than the blobby, huge foreheads, massive chins and ugly eyes that frequented the past – old anime is uglier to me, i’ll take today’s style over it. True, you have the disgusting KEY style and other ridiculously uncanny alley creations, but it’s nowhere as unappealing. The 1990s were only just leaving the old style behind.
    And of course, the 00s see a greater emergence of experimental styles of Shinbo and Masaaki Yuasa.

    Generally I feel there is no such decline of anime, only a feeling of nostalgia and pervading disinterest either from people who have watched the cream of previous decades or those who lived through them. Environments change and even the themes and focuses of the most impressive anime change.

    Frankly, in a decade with Ergo Proxy, Eureka Seven, Now and Then Here and There, Noein, Gurren-Lagann, Samurai Champloo, Baccano, Gankutsuou, Last Exile, Akagi, Mushishi, Mononoke, Kemonozume, and other shows just finished, starting or about to air, it’s only getting better for me.

  13. Wyrdwad says:

    I might not be the one to talk, since I enjoy both harem shows AND moe, but I have absolutely no problem with modern anime. Whenever one of my friends starts to talk about there being so many better shows back in the day, I proceed to list several dozen excellent shows from the last 10 years, and that usually shuts ‘em up good. ;)

    Anime is neither better nor worse than it used to be. It’s not even all that different, aside from using CG instead of hand-drawn cels. Cartoons have always been a reflection of the culture from which they originate, and Japanese culture has changed over the years. And that’s really the only difference. The quality of shows is just as good as it once was, it’s just now based around a different culture than before. Japan has changed… anime has not.

    -Tom

  14. Patrick says:

    Even if the essential story is still the same in “old anime” and “new anime” the settings they have are vastly different. For example, I love post apocaliptic sci fi animes with lots of blood and violence (in fact i like them more now than 15 years ago), nowadays you it’s very hard to find good shows like that. On the other hand the settings about a bunch of teenagers in high school is everywhere more than ever.

    There is the also the fact that, like in hollywood, even if animes are very good they are hardly original. Maybe it’s not that old anime was better but at least it felt more original. Then it felt like anime was something new that you had never seen before. I remember when I was not even 10 watching dragon ball and captain tsubasa in spanish local tv’s, those felt like something totally different from what I had seen before (not so difficult on the other hand having 8 or 9 years). But even when I was a teenager and was watching Akira or Dominion Tank Police I still felt the same thing. Now even if I find Ghost in the Shell S.A.C or Seirei no Moribito two of the best shows of the last decade I didn’t find them something new, very original or totally different. The last anime that I personally liked and that I felt was new and original was mushishi, because I had never seen something like that. What about you?

    PD: Even I like sometimes some harmless moe-filled anime, but they are hardly “great shows” or original shows either.

  15. Fan seen it all says:

    Anime is no different than feature films produced in U.S. Both are produced by mostly big Studios and some by small ones. Quantity and originality is a product of what the consumer market demands and frequently buys. Unoriginal and bad shows are nothing but some people’s way of cataloguing a flat silly show with flaws. You people may not be the target audience anyway so stop hating them.
    On the other hand anime shows in some cases as the piece of art they are reflect a director’s vision you may partially agree with yet that does not make it flawed or bad.
    When you dont feel like they are releasing shows that reflect your sensibilities then you feel cheated, well guess what you deal with it or stop watching.
    Voicing opinions is great but all you can do is either watch what is out there or go put together your own show and release it. More than likely some people will feel about your show the way you feel about theirs.
    About subject matter in Anime there are but a finite number of stories and genres to cover and then the only thing to set them apart is vision, taste and production values. Again no different from the feature films market or TV/Cable market.
    First times make such a lasting impression on us raising the bar so high that most times new things pale in comparison.
    Dont ask for originality or style ask for unique or personal visions.

  16. Solaris says:

    I really apreciated all of your opinions. Thank you for discussing it.

    So psgels calculations show no substantial decrease in anime quality bur an increase. Ok, maybe i am mistaking, or that phenomenon isn’t that linear. Or maybe Psgels has a measure looser than mine in judging anime’s quality.
    I must have developed some kind of disaffection towards anime. Or my judgemnent has become a bit too elitarist.
    I watched quite some shows, but not as many as you may think. There are many series that i dropped halfway, more cause of interest loss than cause they were really bad.
    But, regarding a lot of series i watched to, i often ended thinking there was something missing to say that was a very good show.
    Sometimes it was the graphics, some other time it was storytelling, some other the chars, again i found inconclusive series (the one i hate the most). It also happened often that anime coming from some other kind of media, such as manga or novels, suffered a great loss in quality in the transition from one media to another. Lately i hardly felt really satified by some series. I can’t deny there are excellent anime nowadays. I never intended to deny it. But i never said i liked absolutely more older generation of anime. I’m not a nostalgic. I hope that is clear.
    The only time i blabbered nostalgic was within Casshern Sins review, when i claimed the older anime was much more better than its remake.

  17. AlexS says:

    Fan: “About subject matter in Anime there are but a finite number of stories and genres to cover and then the only thing to set them apart is vision, taste and production values.”

    I strongly disagree. There are nearly an infinity of subjects, themes and genres that have not been tried in Anime, unless you are defending that there is but one story (setup, challenge, resolution), and all others are variations of it.

    But I think it takes guts to carve a new genre, because the potential return of investment is unclear. Plus, the public is strongly conditioned to acquired tastes. It will be mistrustful of new stuff. In general, you need an above average anime to blaze a new trail for others to follow.

    Nevertheless, as mentioned before the public also changes, and so naturally the offer will also evolve, otherwise the market will shrink and many studios will go out of business. I think most studios understand this and try to explore new avenues, but this is not so easy.

  18. Sacchi says:

    Gainax’s Gurren Lagann was epic, you can’t say it wasn’t an epic anime.

    And it sold. So, good shows also sell.

  19. Wyrdwad says:

    Patrick: I don’t think anime has gotten any less original, I think you’ve just gotten USED to it. Those shows you listed – Dragon Ball, Akira, etc. – aren’t really all that original or unique when compared to older anime from the 1960s and 1970s, and especially when compared to a lot of older manga. They’re only original when compared to shows and comics you and I grew up with. In other words, the only reason you thought of them as good AND original, instead of just good, is really because YOU had never seen anything like them before… but there certainly WERE precedents for all the concepts found in those shows, within the long history of anime and manga that predates them.

    Which isn’t to say there wasn’t anything new and unique… but there’s really just as much new and unique today as there was back in the 80s and 90s. Look at shows like Moyashimon: Tales of Agriculture, or Legend of the Black Heaven, or Sexy Commando Gaiden Sugoiyo! Masaru-San, or Paranoia Agent. Or movies like Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat In Space. Those are all from the 2000s, and they’re FAR more original than Akira, or Dragon Ball, or anything else I can immediately think of from the late 80s and early 90s.

    Heck, even within the harem and romantic comedy genres, there are plenty of original concepts. Midori Days, for example, is unlike any other romantic comedy I’ve ever seen. Ouran High School Host Club, Welcome to the NHK… I could keep on listing recent shows that really don’t feel like any other anime out there.

    I think you’re confusing new and original IN ALL OF ANIME with new and original TO YOU. Because remember, just because you’ve never seen anything like it before doesn’t mean nothing else like it was ever MADE before. To those who have never played an RPG before, a Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game could seem completely new and unique… but that doesn’t mean it IS.

    -Tom

  20. Camario says:

    @Sacchi: I really don’t want to continue the common use of the word “epic” but let’s say it applies. Sure, no problem.

    But how much of Gurren Lagann’s success has to do with its inherent quality and how much has to do with other contributing factors? Gurren Lagann was good although, maybe more importantly for the average viewer, it was also extremely fun.

    And yet I don’t think it would have been as profitable if so much of the show wasn’t trying to be so intentionally fashionable and commercially appealing in the first place.

    If you made the music, character designs and the mecha combat less flashy and less attractive, would it be as successful? Probably not.

    psgels has reviewed lots of shows that, like them or not, probably had better stories and better character development than Gurren Lagann, but they probably won’t sell very well because they aren’t as market-friendly.

    Gainax knows how to make good anime, usually, but they also know how to exploit them as much as humanly possible.

  21. Lifecarrier says:

    I think, as the title implies, that the issue at hand is not whether anime was better in the old days than now, but whether it is evolving or degenerating as an artistic industry.

    The answer to that question is of course subjective, and depends on what you think constitutes good art.

    It’s fair to say that nowadays there are more creative, experimental ideas than there ever was –even if examples of the opposite abound–, but I see a valid reason for posing the question when you notice the recent trends that tend to reward moe-fanservice and other mix of rather unoriginal shows in sales.

    As someone above said, the challenge any self respecting anime studio that wants to produce quality anime (in all aspects conceivable), is doing so while remaining profitable, so they need to find the talent capable of successfully balancing the elements for both purposes.

    Creativity and innovation will undoubtedly get their rewards, as they will always draw attention whenever other types of shows become standard and thus boring.

    Personally, I’m a little pessimistic about there being another GITS:SAC or LOGH in the future, maybe all that’s need is one great series like those to enlighten the masses that currently drift to generic shows.

    Perhaps there could be a combination of market appeal and quality content, which some have said Gainax is good at finding, certainly a good moe show is preferable to a bad one, right? :p

  22. LifeCarrier says:

    @AlexS:

    I agree with pretty much everything you said. I wish more studios would have the guts to try to explore new grounds, cause, as it is often the case, the higher the risk, the higher the reward can be, and so, it is also an opportunity for success and leaping ahead in the industry.

  23. Camario says:

    @Lifecarrier:

    “As someone above said, the challenge any self respecting anime studio that wants to produce quality anime (in all aspects conceivable), is doing so while remaining profitable, so they need to find the talent capable of successfully balancing the elements for both purposes.”

    And, perhaps more importantly, those studios need to allow said talent to work by giving them enough breathing room, which is a risk in and of itself. The balance is going to be affected by many factors and circumstances.

    There’s really a lot that can go wrong, regardless of who is directing or writing a show at any given time.

    You can bring together a team full of people with a certain amount of proven artistic skill and yet they won’t get that balance just right if commercial demands and requirements aren’t met.

    What good is a product that gets some critical recognition but ends up costing more than the profits are able to give back? For the fans it will be a blessing, but for the company it’s going to be a headache if sales targets are not met.

    Or you can let those commercial demands and requirements become the priority, to the point of affecting the work of the team and thus their efforts will not be as creative as they could have been.

    Then again, you could argue that the profits from the more commercial shows allow the more creative ones to exist in the first place, since a failure can be funded by a success. At least in theory, since that much seems to be a problem when there’s not enough money to go around.

  24. windy says:

    Well, I don’t see anime of the 70 s, 80s or 90s as the “Parthenon” in anime culture,there have been indeed many original shows and creative approach in them ,but I don’t think that people should believe that ” anime in the old days were so good and now there’s only crap”, because it isn’t true at all. Some of “the greatest shows ever” came out after 2005 like Code Geass, Simoun , Higurashi, Jigoku shoujo ( that became a myth), Blood +, Saiunkoku monogatari, le chevalier d’Eon and so many others, and don’t forget all the good shows that air in the moment: like ” Guin Saga”, it has been ages since we last had so much extraordinary material in one show or ” Umineko no naku koro ni”, it’s just barely started and it’s already outstanding. I believe that in all times there were bad shows and good ones, but also that there were a bigger amount of bad shows before, we simply didn’t hear about them so much. And besides even the shows from the World Masterpiece Theatre haven’t declined at all : with “Porfy no nagai tabi ” and ” Les miserables”. But what really did get better is the graphism and the character – design that we see in many shows.

  25. Steve says:

    Wow. I have read most of the arguments and yes, while I think that speaking how you feel is the key point here I’d like to point out some issues.

    The conversation that psgels has posted sounded to me like animes with good story, depth, originality, creativity, less moe, less fan services are the ones being rated as great shows, while the opposite are seen as bad ones.

    But where else do you find “moe” or “fanservice” if not other than in animes itself. I dont think you will be allowed to direct movies that has teengers panty shots or other sorts. I dont think they should be seen has bad shows, or shows that are hardly worth the time.

    It may be true that the adults would prefer deeper, better story-telling animes but i think that there are still a lot of people who actually really love the fanservice and “moe” shows.

    Lets not forget that anime has a huge market out there and manga artists need to earn the money after all, some more so than the others so i think its bad to assume that bad artists = produce shallow , loads of fanservice animes.

    I enjoy all the genres of anime. Sometimes i prefer the shallow ones because you dont need to pay so much attention to every dialogue that each character is saying.

    And to answer psgels question, i dont think we can expect anime to stay the same as it was. like lets say 70s or 80s or 90s. It may be true that there are more harems, adaptations but i think there are still at least 5 good ( in this case the deeper, better story telling more character studies ) every year so i am completely happy with the way anime is right now :)

  26. Patrick says:

    @Wyrdwad
    You may be right, but to it does not make my arguments invalid, it even reinforces them. What I mean is that the american and european public in the 80’s and 90’s (that’s us people) found anime something very original that they never had seen before. Now anime is rarely something original that we have never seen before it’s everywhere and lately japanese studios take into account western market sales when making anime. And that is one of the reasons why people think anime “old anime” was better, because when western public started getting into anime it was truly something that we had never seen before. Now I laugh every time I remember captain tsubasa (those jumps and those imposibly long stadiums were ridiculous), but then, to everyone, even western adult public that was something new and different, because they never had seen any anime before (except maybe heidi and harlock). With my post earlier I was just trying to explain that.

    But I think that is only normal, the more you watch movies, watch tv series, read books, read manga and comic, watch anime. You start getting how the stories are made and what happens after such scenes, with time it gets more difficult to be surprised. I think the conclusion is self explanatory, you start thinking “back then things were better” when in truth you should be thinking “back then things felt more surprising to me”. But that applies to EVERYTHING, not only to anime, it’s life.

  27. reverse says:

    their are hardly any original anime today and back then. every show basically is another show rip off, this happen in every entertainment industry. it just the way the story being told is what make it “original” ( to me atleast ) .it not about originally of the anime. no need to compare that anymore

    one thing I dislike in today anime is their shell out their best story/animation etc… in the first couple episode.( you basically “doom” if make otherwise ) back then this wasn’t the case. least amount competition back is one factor.

  28. elianthos says:

    I mostly agree with comment #10 and # 19.
    Today we have access to a lot more anime series than in the past, thanks to the web. But you can get lost in it, with dozen of titles per season. Soo, either you trust some blogger with sitably similar tastes to bring the number of potentially interesting series down, and/or you trust your own first impressions (and prejudices), hoping you won’t miss the mark and waste hour of your time while some anime gems fly under your radar XD.
    In terms of quantity vs quality I can’t say today it’s better than it used to be in the past, even if I’ve been watching anime since 1980.
    There are so many old series we could watch on TV in my country, but since the advent of WWW I discovered I missed so many series from that era.
    The ones I remembers fondly and to me stood the test of time are very few, but those few are ‘objectively’ really good, ranging from a groundbreaking history/romance series like Rose of Versailles to SD Greek mythology on crack (Pollon *__*. Adorable chara design and sexy jokes/attires – plus a mysterious light-coloured powder bestowing happiness (aka it made people high :p ), and Cupid with his oh-so-phallic bellybutton XD – that managed to amuse the adults while flying over the head of the kiddies :D Nadia:Secret of Blue Water, it got adventure, action, a dash of romance, sci-fi, betrayal and redemption , without the depression trip and self-indulgence of Eva). These are the three series on top of my head that I liked back, I’d rewatch any day and I’d suggest to others. For the other oldies ones but Ghibli and the WM series (Anne, Heidi, Remi & Co.) I’d say nostalgia factor is their main advantage. But who knows how many good old series are there among the ones I haven’t watched? ;)
    In the end what really matters is that there is something from everyone in every decade, and that there’s always something good and well made (be it concept or exsecution, or both) . To sum it up: nowadays there might be more ‘good’ anime than in the past, but what I wish and believe is that good ideas can always be found. Surely recent animes are easier to find , and that technology and digital means help making them sleeker and prettier

  29. elianthos says:

    (continuing from previous comment. Sorry I realized some words in between have disappeared somehow from said above comment too)…help making them sleeker and prettier in a way, you could argue that limited resorces compelled anime studios to make up for tight budget with plot and characters and creativity. But aren’t anime studios on a tight budget nowaday too?
    Really, IMO you can’t say that today anime is dying: it has evolved in look and style, but I consider it different, not better all around than anime of the past, and viceversa. Of course some old series could have benefitted from better technology, but hey, the old school look has it charms and aesthetics are only a tiny portion of enjoyment , as much as I understand it culd prevent some poeple to approach old anime at ll. It’s just harder not to miss the good series as soon as they’re out ;).

  30. Wyrdwad says:

    Patrick: I think if someone who had NEVER SEEN ANIME BEFORE were to start with some random action show from the modern era, though (let’s say Paranoia Agent, or Hell Girl), they’d be just as impressed, and consider the show just as unique and interesting (if not more so!), as someone who started with Dragon Ball or Akira. Again, that’s MY point here… the quality and even the uniqueness and freshness of shows has not gone down at all, anime’s just become more “mainstream” outside of Japan, so there are fewer people you know who are seeing it for the very first time.

    It’s purely 100% cultural. The actual contents of the show are no worse or more unoriginal than they ever have been, and are arguably MORE diverse and unique – you, and the rest of the English-speaking world, just have a lot more to compare it to now.

    -Tom

  31. windy says:

    to 28: Yes, ” Versailles no bara ” stands as a “legend ” among all manga ever created, it’s also the best work, or masterpiece of Ryoko Ikeda, this one, no one can surpass in terms of historical background, characters’ feelings towards each other and the characters themselves, facing their tragical fate while remaining true to themselves and to their principles.
    “Oniisama ee” is also one of those exceptionnally emotional and beautiful shows that will pass through all generations and without getting tarnished. To Wyrdwad: I completely agree with your assertation: that anime didn’t go down but got even better.

  32. Chris says:

    Wow, there are a lot of good points going on in this discussion. As a former member of a fansub group many, many years ago I agree with the premise that for the most part only high quality shows were fan-subbed, the equipment and source material was so expensive that we only bothered with top quality shows, I still have one of my professional level mastering VCRs (over $1600) and high end Laserdisc player (over $1000). Also the group basically had to work together in-person because swapping copies of the project via the Internet was impossible at the time, so only the best and most popular stuff was subbed.

    I also agree with the comment that there are way too many shitty niche genre shows (moe, harem, fan-service, and many others)because the powers-that-be have decided that it’s easier to make a niche anime and sell xxxx number of DVDs to the otaku who love that genre than to try and make a anime that would reach a large TV general audience and get paid making a popular TV show.

    I think that sometimes some of us older more experienced anime fans can come off arrogant and condescending to the younger generation of fans when we really don’t mean to, it’s a matter of experience vs the exuberance of a fairly new fan of anime. I had a friend from back in my fansub/anime club days that at one time owned over 13,000 anime VHS-LDs-DVDs so his grasp of anime genre history and overall anime knowledge could come off as arrogance.

  33. Kalandra says:

    If I may interrupt, let look at this from a different point of view.

    The crisis of economic stagnation and population issue hit Japan hard even before the 2008 meltdown in USA. Literally, Japan is running out of kids if the population did not reverse the demographic pattern soon ( 1.07: 1 ratio birth versus death, ideally should be 2:1 ratio).

    Moe shows trend started when more and more 30-40s age otaku category who can’t seem to grow up began to buy into the moe trend which it is hard to miss by the studios. Simply, there is not enough kids for studios to make more children orientated anime profitably. The industry now hinges on aging otaku population to survive and these guys were mostly unmarried or unable to connect to people in normal manner due to social dysfunction in Japan. Not helping when more and more Japanese females were not interested to marry.

  34. AlexS says:

    @33: Well, I have the impression that an aging population would rather favor the development of more mature genres, which I guess is happening.

    Your point on moe is interesting. So far I thought it appealed to young children and teenagers (hello kitty type of attraction), but perhaps this also extends to an older audience (specially when you mix moe with fan service and lolicon tendencies). Anyways, my dislike of moe probably prevents me from understanding the psychology of those that like it.

    However, from an egoistical point of view, this evolution is fine for me. I’m not getting any younger, so I’m all for more shows targeted to older people (the mature variant, not the moe one).

    As for the otaku share of the market, I would be curious to know to how much it amounts. Any idea? I mean, if more than 20% of sales do not concern casual viewers but is the product of otaku’s purchases, it’s obvious this is going to firmly orient the market.

  35. Patrick says:

    @Wyrdwad
    Ok, I had not fully understood your point before. At this point I just think it’s a matter of opinion, maybe you are right and I’m wrong. But my personal subjective impression is that nowadays western media have taken what they liked from manga, anime and japanese videogames. So people are “less surprised” with anime because part of it is already “somewhere else”.

    Still I want to point out that I’m not in the category of the people that thinks anime of old was better. I just trying to explain, from my personal experience, what I think is the reason people think like that.

  36. Solaris says:

    Id like to add some notes as i noticed some interesting opinions. I’m too lazy to quote people so i’ll just tell the topic.

    #1) Originality
    #2) Plot vs Graphics
    #3) Fanservice and moe

    #1) Some people pointed out originality is quite a subjective matter, as you find original that show you watched for the first time and you grew up with that as a reference. People watching Dragon Ball for the first time may think it’s an original show, not accounting the fact there were other shows before of the same king, better o worse done than it. But they have DB in mind and will judge any other show based on DB without thinking in advance if their reference was good enough. That is quite a common mistake, and even very skilled people may fall for it.
    Psgels also did the same mistake a couple of times. He watched Slayers new serie or Casshern Sins without knowing nothing about their predecessors, and having watched old slayers judget it with the respect of the new one. Big mistake: it’s pointless to analyze an original wit his own remake!
    The solution to the problem is to analyze our own reference sample first and place them in the right context.
    With the espect to the DB example. If i just watched the it for the first time, maybe it could be a nice exercise to go to the internet and google for some info about it. One may discover many other shows like that and may also find it being not so original in the first place.

    continues

  37. Solaris says:

    #2 The importance of the container
    Second remark. I agree that back in the old decades there were both good and bad shows, but what do you mean for bad? I urge to let you notice that you’d better not base that judgement on the graphic quality of older shows. Graphics has evolved a lot and it’s really gorgeous nowadays. I bet we will find it really out dated in 10 years from now, as much as we find 10 years old show’s graphics outdated by now.
    So if you were to judge old masterpieces such as Tiger Mask or Atom (just to name two of those examples) bad cause their graphics looks so bad nowadays, you’d making a terrible mistake.
    I think nowadays audience is spoiled about graphics. I read comments in other forums and blogs claiming some shows were so bad just because their animation or chara wasn’t good enough.
    Graphics is just a contaier. But the contenent is more important than the container. If you’re just fooled by not so good graphics you’d miss some very good stories.
    Well i also made the mistake of dropping a serie whose graphics i didn’t like at all, knowing its story was much batter than what appeared on screen. It was Gunslinger 2, but there were some reasons! ;)

  38. Patrick says:

    Yes, the originality of something is very subjective and that is my main point. If someone has read/knows about the platonic fable of the cave and has seen the Ghost in the Shell movie, the film “The Matrix” is totally unoriginal (in almost all of its aspects), but most people watching the movie didn’t know either so to them it felt original. But the thing is manga, anime, japanese videogames are now part of mainstream media and people who come in contact with them for the first time have already seen at least some of its aspects somewhere else.

  39. Solaris says:

    # fanservice
    Someone said it looks like fanservice, moe and harem are negative. It’s not really that. They could be positive, but it’s a triky device. It may ruin a show if not used properly.
    Fanservice are thos plot device that are unrelated to the plot but are used to captivate the audience. Most common fanservice is sexual related, but there are other kind as well. Moe is another kind of fanservice as well. Harem used sexual fanservice a lot as the basics of that format is a show featuring a bunch of gorgeous ladies fighting for the main char’s male. Fanservice should be used to enrich the basic plot or chars, but smust’n become a substitute for those elements. Fanservice is often used as a cover up for a weak plot too often nowadays. This is the wrong use that gave fansarvice a bad name.

  40. * w * says:

    imho, the rose-tinted nostalgia came from watching those shows while being a kid. i was 6 when i first saw akazukin cha cha, el hazard and bakuretsu hunters, and i believed they were beyond awesome. now, i couldn’t even stomach 5 minutes of any of those shows.

    this is prolly the main reason why i love g gundam and gundam wing above all other gundam series. although, i’ve never seen them again after their reruns in 1999.

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  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 07:22 AM)
    @ninjarealist Cops are always there when you don’t want them and never there when you need um
  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 07:21 AM)
    Ah Aidan, never wrong, always euphoric. Tipping intensifies.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 07:09 AM)
    Moral of the story: the cops won’t protect you.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 06:47 AM)
    Well, I died. My record so far is 75 minutes. Pretty damn good for an unarmed badass in a zombie apocalypse, I must say. That firetruck was definitely not worth dying for.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 06:27 AM)
    Also, a complaint I have for the modmakers: Why the fuck do cars and helicopters randomly fall down from the sky?? I swear I’m more at risk for that than the god damn zombies.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 06:24 AM)
    @ninja Well, I’m almost dead. I went to a police station to hide behind the cops, because they actually kill zombies. But then the station got overrun, and I ended up crashing horribly after a failed car ramp stunt. I’m hiding on top of a water tank on 10% health.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 06:17 AM)
    lol, I’m waiting till you arrive at a cable car station filled with zombies.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 06:01 AM)
    @ninja I’ve escaped a horde through a cable car, so I’m fine on 30% health. But yeah, I’m reminded why the military would never lose to slow zombies: guns are seriously overpowered against zombies.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 05:58 AM)
    Like, since I’ve spent a lot of time actually using chainsaws, I just can’t take most fictional depictions of chainsaws seriously.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Sep 20. 2014 05:57 AM)
    And obviously shooting guns in real life is not a game at all, and you shouldn’t own a gun if you think of it that way, but I guess my point is that the more familiar you become with something in real life, the harder it can be to enjoy fantasy depictions of that same thing.

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I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

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Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

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Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]