You can’t please everyone. And I don’t usually do this, but I do want to give a bit of an explanation for my last post, the preview, due to the surprisingly large amunt of people putting me down on how I jumped to conclusions for a lot of series, and how I should do more research. To that, I have to say the following:
On general, writing the preview for a large season like this one takes about half a day. Not half a workday, I seriously spent more than half an actual day to write some of my previews. This one was not as large as normal, but I’d still say it took me about 8 hours in total to write. to the pepole claiming that I should do more research: could you please hand me some extra time in order to do the research for EVERY single series that’s coming out? Because it took enough time on its own to write everything there already.
And consider this: I could have left these series out completely, but that’s dismissing them even more. In this preview, I at least tried to write a sentence on why shows don’t interest me (on a personal level), because I at least repsect the series enough to want to do that. And I find it important to be able to see the big picture for a season, so you can try to see a bit of the trends that are going on. There are two types of shows that I don’t include: kiddie shows and sequels of series that I haven’t watched. The only reason for that is that I’ve really run out of things to say about them, and leaving a comment about every single one of them would really just end up with me, copying and pasting the same thing again and again and again.
Of course, doing research is fun, and I really want to be able to continue to do research for the series that really interest me. But here’s the thing: when a show has a tagline that the main character’s sister has the hots for him, I’m instantly turned off and not motivated to do that at all. I know it’s shallow and all, but at this point I cannot give every single show a chance. Because of that, I resort to my own experience and hunches to try and guess which series will be worth my time. (Because yes, this is my blog and I write purely my own opinions and impressions). A big green flag is when the premise of a series excites me. A big red flag is having incest in the premise. Want to know why? Because the last series where I’ve seen incest featured so prominently that was actually good was Koi Kaze. That was a long time ago, especially considering how many incest shows there are!
Let me explain my taste here, and what I’m looking for: I’m looking for the big picture. I’m looking for a series that has a good story, an intriguing setting, solid and fun characters, interesting visuals, great music. A series in which all of this comes together. I’m looking for the signs that predict such a series, and a lack of upright creativity doesn’t spell out much good in that department. If you can’t even think of a solid premise, then what am I to expect of the rest of the series then? Perhaps one good episode or something, but that’s nowhere near enough for that I’m looking for.
You may have a great political plot in your second half, and you may have this really detailed look at tennis, but if the rest doesn’t come together, then there’s just something missing. Of course they are only previews, but that’s why I also always try to watch as many first episodes as possible. I mean if your story is good, but when it’s told in a dry or boring way, then it’s still not really exciting. I love shows that have tons and tons of talking and complex plots, like Mouryou no Hako, the Tatami Galaxy, or Ergo Proxy, but all these series also remembered to have an outstanding presentation, with characters and plots that stood out right from the start.
You have series that take their time in the first half to build up, only to get fired off in their second half. However, you have series that are completely boring in their first half, only to suddenly get watchable in their second halves, and you have series that in their first halves take their time to set everything up and build up some stuff here and there about their stories, characters and setting, and bring everything together in their second halves. The latter is the only one I’m interested in. The build-up paying off.
The difficult part is ofcoure trying to point out these kinds of shows. That’s the thing that makes things really difficult: what shows are really building up to something, and which ones aren’t. First of all it helps if it’s not an adaptation, because especially the lazy manga adaptations have a tendency to just not pay off and end randomly. I don’t like that, so unless I can see a good ending working out, an adaptation, especially a manga or light novel-adaptation gets minus points. These stories furthermore were written for a totally different medium, and they take a skilled writer and director to skillfully make them work as an anime. This is not something that’s given!
Second of all, there is this thing as a solid execution that excuses a lot about a slow pacing. I don’t care how incredibly slow you are, if you’re interesting then I will watch you. A great example of that is Aku no Hana: the pacing was incredibly slow, but due to how well the characters were animated and brought to life, it worked. A lot of Bee-Train series are also great examples: they really use their music as part of the storytelling, and while they have a lot of first halves that are goofing off, they’re actively building their setting and characters in a way that perhaps sounds really boring on paper, but gets the viewer really familiar with them in practice. Plus, say what you want about Bee-Train: their series all start with a lot of creativity. That’s what I like.
But this also goes for things as very good acting, believable characters. Something needs to grab me, and most of the times this isn’t the story, but rathe the way in which it’s told. I know that this sounds a bit against what I said previously, that I want series with creative premises, but that’s the thing as well: there is a deal of subjectivity in here. It’s not something you can explain so easily. On one hand, the story doesn’t matter the most, but on the other hand: there’s not so much you can do when you start off like every other show with a bunch of teenagers who fight with magic and are on a high school.
So yeah, if I insulted your favorite show, I absolutely don’t hate you or anything. It’s just that I don’t like the series, and I’ve been disappointed too many times by similar series to really get excited about it. If you insult me about having a bad taste, then that’s not magically going to change my taste for the better. The great thing about this world is that everyone has different tastes, and this blog really is purely written from the perspective of my own.