I’ve got a number of essays on anime titles in the half- to three-quarters-written state. One reason they remain unfinished is that I haven’t yet mastered the trick of having them write themselves, for one thing (boy, what a time-saver that would be). Another reason may be more serious.
For the last couple of months I’ve been watching a rather depressing thought take shape in my brain. That thought being, as far as the realm of anime is concerned, I may have seen all the good stuff. Or most of the good stuff. And the rest of the ride is all going to be downhill. (NB: By “good stuff” of course, I mean stuff that’s likely to appeal to me. Your definition may vary.)
I’m starting to have serious thoughts that my flirtation with anime (“flirtation”? Good Lord, look at all this stuff. More like “common-law marriage.”) is coming to an end.
The last few series I’d watched, or half-watched, all seemed to fall victim to one or more flaws which kept my enjoyment out of reach. Poor pacing, lack of ideas, rampant idiocy, uninteresting characters…for whatever reason, they just weren’t engaging my interest. I’d look at the next disk in a series and think, I really don’t want to watch any more of this.
(Of course, I will watch them to completion. I’m far too anal to leave a show abandoned in mid-stream, however disappointing it might be. But I probably won’t watch those shows sober.)
I hadn’t seen anything lately which had the sheer depth and profundity of Noir, or the sheer engaging fun of Pretear. Of course, I understand that not every series can be a Noir or a Pretear, but had I really hit the highs (as I see them) so quickly?
Maybe. I’d rather think not, and there’s still hope. I have, by my count, about twenty series that I haven’t even touched. I’m talking about, not even removed from the shrink-wrap. Maybe one or two of those will re-light the fire. Maybe not, though.
The shows that I have enjoyed recently have been pleasant fluff. Fumoffu and SuperGals come to mind. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with fluff, but you can’t make a meal out of it every day. I’d like to think that there are still shows out there that can show me new ideas, make me think in new avenues.
But it’s entirely possible that there aren’t any shows like that. Remember, each person is going to react differently to different art-forms, and it’s possible that my reaction has already been spent. (Kind of a shame, because Noir was the very first series I watched. I’d hate to think there was nothing of similar stature down the road, because that means that my time’s pretty much going to be wasted.)
Since the above was written, I’ve started watching Yumeria and while I’m not going to say it’s a masterpiece, it did do something I hadn’t experienced in weeks: kept me interested and kept me watching. It seems like it’s going to fall on the fluffy side of the pillow, but who knows? There may be something of depth in there that will make me glad I put it in the player.
It’s fun and I like the characters, and there are hints of some darker plan below the surface. I’m starting to try and “guess ahead” which means I’m interested in what’s going on. (Yumeria is unlike both Fumoffu and SuperGals in that those were show-by-show series with no long story arcs, while Yumeria definitely has a long-term goal in mind.) And the girls are all cute. Always a plus in this bend of the neighborhood!
Some have had problems with the show because a couple of the girls are clearly below the age of consent. This doesn’t really bother me because A) it’s a cartoon and not a documentary, and B) the girls aren’t really treated in a sexual way. Nor, to counter, are they treated in a romantic way. If I had to use a word to describe how the series presents them, I would say they’re hormonal objects. There’s an attraction, but it’s more on a surface, species-level than anything more profound or conscious enough to act on. Kind of like when a person walks through the local mall and, looking around, semi-thinks Wow there are a lot of members of the gender I like who are attractive here. A notion but no plan to advance on those thoughts.
Anyway, I’m liking the show more than anything else I’ve seen in a while. Maybe I’ll finish the rest of those essays after all.
NOTE: Suggestions for series are welcome, but keep in mind that I’ve got a huge backlog of already-bought things, and I’d like to get through those before punishing my credit cards further.