Liking “bad” anime

Credit to linked pixiv user

Even though my tastes in anime tend to gravitate to the popular and mostly well received titles, there are still quite a few I like that the majority of the fandom thinks are bad, in other words, their flaws far outweigh anything good about them. Froggykun on Fantastic Memes wrote a great post on this issue that inspired me to offer my opinion – why flawed anime are worthwhile and why we shouldn’t feel ashamed to like them…

I think everyone can agree that nothing is perfect, especially when it comes to fictional stories. So naturally anime, being the vast medium that it is, is full of flaws, even among its most acclaimed titles. Therefore, if every anime is flawed, we all like flawed anime to some extent…but it’s when the flaws outweigh the good points in our eyes that we consider an anime “bad.”

Since anime is such a subjective thing, and we can only rationalize why we like or don’t like something to an extent, it’s no wonder that there can be such a variety of views on any one particular anime, and even though you think a certain anime is a masterpiece, another fan not too unlike you might think it’s utter crap. Fans also have many different ways they react to flawed anime; they may hate it for its flaws and put it on their “bad” list, they may recognize its flaws but still like enough about it to put it on their “good” list, they may always insist it’s good and can’t understand other fans’ criticism, or, if they keep to themselves and don’t interact with the general fandom, they might not even know that so many other fans think it’s bad. Some people are of the opinion that you should just like what you like and have no obligation to rationalize why you like it to others. This may be true, but I feel that being critical enhances not only your general reasoning skills, but allows you to understand yourself and your relationship with your hobby much better than if you always just kicked back and never thought about why you did or didn’t like something. Like Froggykun said in his post, “I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be critical of flaws…It’s good to know, at the very least for curiosity’s sake, just why you have a particular emotional response to something. But being critical does not always necessarily mean being negative.”

A personal example I can use to further expand on the topic is my love for Angel Beats!. I’ve watched it three times and still consider it one of my favorite anime, yet at the same time, I know that it’s full of flaws. The pacing is messy, the story, setting, and big cast of characters are on too large a scale to be crammed into just 13 episodes, the comedic moments rarely work well…the show has a lot of problems. So why do I like it so much? Because the things it did do well in my eyes made up for it. The emotion and drama in many particular scenes really hit their mark with me. Which brings me to one point Froggykun made in his post that was very interesting – the fact that if an anime, despite having many flaws, also has many truly great scenes, it’s potentially more appealing to us than one that is just consistently good. As he put it, “Maybe my standards get lowered during the course of my viewing experience, but I’m more likely to feel wowed by particularly well-written scenes than by something that is simply good the whole way through.” But even so, it’s hard for us to explain to a more critical fan why certain things in a flawed anime are good enough to us to make us like the series, because often the things we like about it outside the flaws are things we can’t rationalize, and they boil down to nothing but personal taste. Which isn’t a bad thing because anime is, ultimately, meant to appeal to many different kinds of subjective tastes.

Like Angel Beats!, I like a number of other anime that the general fandom considers “flawed enough to be bad.” Two others would be Sword Art Online and Guilty Crown, which I don’t like as much as Angel Beats!, but I did like them more than not. Again, I recognize the fact that they have flaws, but I got more enjoyment from them than frustration, and that’s enough for me to at least consider an anime decent. I really liked the romance between Asuna and Kirito in SAO, and I didn’t find the characters and plot of Guilty Crown nearly as terrible as other people did. Froggykun pointed out that the reason anime like these tend to be a lot more hated is because they’re both flawed and hyped, and thus get the natural backlash that popular things get. Then you have series like K-ON, which some fans love because it carries through with its story of “cute high school girls doing cute things” exceptionally well amongst so many others like it, while others hate it because they don’t find that type of anime and its character archetypes the least bit entertaining. Honestly, who can say who’s right and who’s wrong?

At the end of the day, do we really need to rationalize why we like certain Japanese cartoons? Like I said, I think it’s healthily self-enhancing to be critical and try to understand why we do and don’t like a certain anime, but there’s no need to carry it too far. Despite us all being anime fans, because it’s such a diverse medium, we’ll find tons of other fans who hate series we love and love series we hate. But, unless there’s evidence that a person is somehow immoral for liking a certain anime, we should never use a person’s liking of an anime we see as flawed to make grand assumptions about them personally. After all, we would think it’s wrong for them to do the same about us. So to wrap up, Froggykun tied up the topic well at the end of his post:

“Despite the social aspect of blogging and discussing anime with others, actually sitting down and watching the show in question is an intensely private experience. No one else can see it quite like you can. If there’s one message you can take away from this post it’s this: have faith in your tastes. No matter how obscure or despised your favorite anime is by consensus, it has to be something special if it has the power to touch someone out there incredibly deeply. That’s the magic of stories, flaws or not.”

35 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. I’ve been known to like many “bad” anime, and I think you touch on the major reason why: the things that I find appealing in them are more valuable to me than the elements that others dislike. Sometimes the things I find appealing are even things that others don’t even see at all, and are unique to my own background and perspective. At the end of the day, it’s a difference in valuation, priorities, and perspectives.

    But what I dislike about shows that are “hyped and hated” (and this is touched upon in the original article you referenced) is that the conversation becomes so hopelessly polarized that the rhetoric gets dialed up to 11. It becomes impossible to have a reasonable conversation about varied perspectives because people become incensed that you don’t share their opinion (emboldened by the fact that others are backing them up). This is the problem I had with a show like SAO, for example, where the conversation became so toxic that I try not to bring it up outside of certain circles. It seems like otherwise-reasonable people jump on the hate bandwagon because it’s the “in thing” to do, even if their own personal opinion isn’t nearly so polarized. It is, as froggykun mentioned, it’s gone beyond criticism and become a “social response” at that point. The reasonable middle-ground seems lost, and in that sort of climate “fair criticism” doesn’t seem so well-received.

    It’s much easier to like “bad anime” that’s more “undervalued” or “ignored” than those that the general consensus (or a loud minority) has deemed “bad” for whatever enumerable reasons. Because, even when you do run into critics, it always seems like they’re more willing to engage in a conversation about it and really explore the issues.

    Then again, I have to admit that I don’t very often fall on the side of hating something others really like, because I tend to just avoid things I dislike out of lack of time/interest (and will liberally drop or stall a show part-way in that case). Sometimes I think that being compelled to watch something in order to become part of the conversation is one of the biggest potential contributors to embitterment and resentment, even though it’s self-inflicted. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a wrong or bad reason to watch a show… it just tends to bias the reaction.

    • Yumeka says:

      I didn’t expand much on it in my post, but you’re right that what Froggykun brought up about the “social response” of hyped and hated series makes it very difficult to discuss them without a huge bias. Of course, you can never completely get rid of bias when talking about something subjective like anime, but for most other series people are at least willing start the conversation in the “middle ground” so to speak. But when something’s hyped and hated, it’s rare that they’ll come down to that level at all. Some people really do have valid reasons for hating a show and will blog about it or post about it in a forum, and I have no problem if they can sensibly back up their claims. But I think what happens is that people find a few things they dislike about a hyped show, and when they see so many others bashing the show, they want to jump on the hate bandwagon and those few little things they disliked get totally blown out of proportion and blind them to anything they could possibly like about the show.

      Heh, it’s funny that you mention that in your last paragraph because one thing that often determines which anime I’ll watch each season is hype and so I can converse with other fans about them. But I guess this doesn’t lead to any embitterment or resentment for me since I usually end up liking them, and even if I don’t, I’ll at least think about exactly why ;)

  2. Artemis says:

    My issue with people liking bad anime isn’t that they like it, it’s that they believe it’s good. Liking something doesn’t mean it’s of sound quality, just the same as disliking something doesn’t mean the quality is terrible. There’s a definite difference between enjoying something and something being good, and I think people confuse these two things with anime quite a lot. For example, I have no problem with people enjoying Naruto or Bleach. That’s personal taste, and I’ll not judge someone else for theirs. I will however very quickly judge the next person who tells me that Naruto or Bleach is a really good anime series.

    • Yumeka says:

      Hmm…so what if I told you that I think Naruto is a good series? Would you automatically think I’m stupid and not want to read my blog anymore? XD Because isn’t whether we believe an anime or movie or whatever is good or not, also personal taste? For example, I could give reasons why I think Naruto is good: many characters are given compelling, well-written backstories and character growth, such as Gaara’s tragic beginning and eventual redemption, the amazing twist to Itachi’s character, Pain’s motives and history with Jiraiya, the very dramatic tale of Naruto’s parents, the fact that Naruto went from a bratty delinquent in the beginning of the series to a mature and noble shinobi after a few years…the list could go on. But even if things like this in a story equate goodness for me, you might see the same things and they would be bad to you…which is personal taste, right? So liking something versus thinking something is good can’t really be separated (because don’t we usually like things we also think are good?)

      • Artemis says:

        It’s definitely true that some things which are considered in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are personal taste, but many things also aren’t. I’m mostly talking here about technical values – the quality of the artwork and animation for example, or whether the plot is consistent rather than being patchy and full of holes, and if the soundtrack is original or just made up of generic synthesizer music. There’s also things like the amount of filler episodes to consider (filler in this case being re-used clips from previous episodes) and other things of that nature. My biggest pet peeve is when people disregard all this and then go ahead and say that an anime is ‘good’, when really all they mean is that they enjoyed watching it. If someone can provide some well thought out reasons why an anime actually is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, then that’s fine – be it Naruto or Cowboy Bebop. The reason I specifically chose anime like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece for my examples in my first comment is because they’re most often the anime that people tend to fawn over without objective consideration. (I definitely don’t think you’re stupid, and I don’t think any less of people for liking whatever it is they like. I just wish anime fans in general would learn how to differentiate between objective and subjective opinion.)

        • Yumeka says:

          Yeah, we should definitely acknowledge the flaws in everything, whether we think it’s good overall or not. Even though I said I think Naruto is a good series overall, I certainly think it has plenty of flaws. But the things you mentioned like the animation and music quality – what most people call “production values” – aren’t that important to me compared to the quality of the story and characters. I always skip filler episodes anyway, and if you’re talking about the Naruto manga as opposed to anime, then things like music and filler aren’t applicable. But yeah, we should always have reasons for why we think something is good or bad, like I have my reasons for why I think Naruto is good and you have yours for why you think it’s bad. Probably most of the fans you seem to encounter who claim the big shonen trio are so great are younger fans who aren’t yet mature enough to really analyze the shows they watch.

  3. chikorita157 says:

    I think berating people who like shows that most of the western fandom don’t like is kind of toxic for the fandom. Anime is mostly a medium that caters to a Japanese audience. As you mentioned with Sword Art Online, it seems that the fandom went on the hate bandwagon and of course, misleading people who didn’t see it. Of course reviews are highly subjective as people have different opinions and tastes. I’m pretty lenient and won’t hand out F’s or really bad ratings like 1-4/10 for shows that I enjoy, but have a good number of flaws. Of course, I would think differently if there is something in the show which make me not want to watch it. Of course, giving out bad ratings on a constant basis may indicate that maybe one shouldn’t watch everything for the sake of making a bad review and just drop it. Not only it’s difficult in my opinion to write about shows that I don’t like, but it gives an overall negative impression to readers. I think there needs to be a balance from writing bad reviews, but I’m getting a bit off topic…

    Overall, it’s okay to like bad Anime as opinions are objective. However, berating them because you don’t like it is not okay.

    • Yumeka says:

      There is the fact that anime is made for a Japanese audience first and foremost, which most anti-moe, pro-Western-style anime fan seem to forget, which contributes to the hate for certain hyped series like K-ON! (though not all the time, as Guilty Crown was pretty Western-style). I’ve always believed that anime should be enjoyed above all else, which is why I don’t like to go around proclaiming my hate for a series unless I can offer good reasons for it. Usually I’ll just write my seasonal post about why I didn’t like it and be done with. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an anime where I hated everything about it and thought it was the pinnacle of badness…guess I like anime too much to not find something good in every show I watch =P

  4. jimmy says:

    Good post. I’m a firm believer that critically assessing media is a good thing in refining one’s spirit and in understanding and appreciating the better titles more deeply. I’ve never seen the view that someone liking bad anime makes them stupid or wrong, only that an inability to understand why something is criticised doesn’t speak well of them. This obviously doesn’t include you, but I’ve heard people talking about Sword Art Online say that “yeah, the second half is terrible, but the first half is AMAZING!” in response to accurate criticisms of every section of the show, with harsher ones directed towards the second half. I get the sense that acknowledgement of flaws is sometimes tokenistic, and that people offering them don’t actually understand the problems being pointed out to them. I’ve also heard people say the anime sucks but the light novels are awesome (or “epic”, make of my singling that word out what you will). I’ve read the first and most of the second volumes, and they’re pretty crap. Most of the criticisms I’ve heard directed at the anime totally still apply.

    I’d like to briefly (read: use half of my post to) argue about K-On! though:
    “while others hate it because they don’t find that type of anime and its character archetypes the least bit entertaining”
    That seems to operate under the assumption that K-On! is an established masterpiece and that the only way you could not like it is if you don’t like slice of life moe comedies. I like many slice of life comedy series – Azumanga Daioh, YuruYuri, Acchi Kocchi, for example – but don’t like K-On! because at the end of the day I don’t think it’s funny or well-written or its characters are good or effective. I think the manga is flat decent in every respect (with comedy less than average), the manga sequels kind of suck and that the anime has excellent audiovisual elements but is only ever ‘pretty good’. The movie was great, though, and the series have some excellent scenes, all to do with music.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but just that it’s possible to not hold K-On! as a champion of its genre.

    • Yumeka says:

      Heh, I’m guilty sometimes of saying anime I really like are AMAZING! But I’ll always be ready and willing to give logical reasons as to why. Some people’s reasons could be simple ones to others, like for SAO, they think the virtual world is just so entertaining and Kirito and Asuna’s romance is so touching – and honestly, even if you were to analyze every single flaw in SAO, no analysis could take those feelings away from that person. Like Froggykun said, that’s the magic of stories and it wouldn’t do to put down that person because they found good in SAO.

      What I said there about K-ON was the typical view of the type of fan that thinks moe anime is a cancer and is taking away from all the good action/Western-style anime that could be made instead (the Anti-Moe Brigade). But of course people who like slice-of-life shows could also not like K-ON (it’s rare though from what I’ve seen). It’s funny that you said what you did about K-ON because I actually feel basically the same way as you do about it for the first season. But I found the second season much funnier, the characters much more entertaining, and the poignant, atmospheric moments more touching. It’s not a big favorite of mine or anything, but like you said, it has a lot of “pretty good” parts =P

      • jimmy says:

        Hm, I watched Season 2 after everything else in the franchise, actually, so maybe by that point I just wasn’t inclined to be charitable. I never bought the nostalgic bits, though, with the total exception of the final song they perform to Azusa, which was totally believable and excellent. Looking at your MAL, it’s interesting that you rated the movie lower than the first and second seasons – I found it the best part of the franchise.

        • Yumeka says:

          I think if I watched everything K-ON again, my MAL ratings would be different for the first season and movie at least. Back when I watched the first season I was more inclined to give high ratings to everything for some reason, which has changed as the years have gone by (and my tastes have become more refined =P)

  5. Mikoto says:

    My problem is more along the lines of them not accepting that it has flaws at all. Liking whatever you want is one thing, but I really don’t like it when people start claiming “the best of the best” as if it was a fact and ignoring criticism at all.

    With Angel Beats! you can argue that Jun Maeda did well with it despite the budget cut dumping a big one all over his face. When people try to justify the flaws of something like SAO like “it’s explained in the light novel” and STILL claim it’s the best anime ever, that’s when I start rising an eyebrow.

    • Yumeka says:

      Yeah, that age-old saying of “nothing’s perfect” certainly carries over to anime, and as much as we don’t like the idea, even our favorite series have flaws if we take the time to look for them. Not that we have to analyze shows we love, but to act like an anime you like is perfect is disillusion. It could certainly be “the best of the best” in your eyes, but you should always be open to criticism too.

    • Incidentally, this is a bit of a side-point, but I’m pretty sure the thought that Angel Beats’ budget was “cut” or that it had less episodes than planned is just a sort of fan myth that somehow caught on. What was actually conveyed in the interviews I read was more the reverse: that they had the one-cour allotment all along, but as writing got going the author’s ideas grew beyond the scope of the project (hence the thought of eventually making a game, and putting extra content in the manga and other places).

      I know this is neither here nor there to the main point, and I’m not trying to say that has any impact on the enjoyability, but just a little point of order.

      • Yumeka says:

        Thanks for the extra tidbit about AB!. I didn’t know that and had been believing the “fan myths” all this time I guess XD I heard rumors long ago about a second AB! anime…wonder if that will ever happen.

  6. Frootytooty says:

    I guess there are 2 parts to what makes you like a series: its objective and subjective quality. For instance, although Angel Beats! was certainly flawed objectively, a lot of people still love it because it was able to convey something that made the viewer subjectively enjoy it. Similarly, it sounds like SAO had the same effect despite many objective flaws.

    In that sense, it shouldn’t really matter whether a series you like is considered “bad” anime or not. If you like it, you like it – there’s obviously a reason why you do. Personally there’s a threshold of how bad an anime can be before I don’t understand why anyone would like it, but hey, everyone’s different.

    • Yumeka says:

      Good points. It kinda goes back to a post I wrote a long time ago about how we have a “heart score” for things (subjective) and a “head score” (objective). But yeah, it boils down to what you said in your last paragraph: it doesn’t matter whether an anime we like is bad because obviously we must have found some good in it if we liked it. An anime, movie, book, etc., has to be REALLY BAD to me in order for me to judge someone based solely on the fact that they like it (I haven’t encountered any anime that bad by the way).

  7. froggykun says:

    Thanks for the pingback! I think you came up with a really good post that expanded a lot on this idea of liking “bad” anime. It’s made me do a lot of thinking.

    Personally, when I think about the stuff I really, personally enjoy and the stuff that I would recommend to others, the two lists end up being quite different. I think this idea of liking “bad” anime is linked to that. We generally have personal reasons for liking something a lot, maybe linked to private experiences, but when you take that context away, the appeal of the anime isn’t as broad. So I don’t think “bad” anime, at least in the sense that you defined them, lack literary merits – they just have a certain level of inaccessibility that makes it harder for others to get into.

    Anyway, I feel kind of proud of you for saying you like SAO, Guilty Crown, etc. It’s hard to have decent conversations about either anime because people either excessively fanboy over them or excessively hate on them. Ideally, we should acknowledge the flaws in all the anime we like but at the same time embrace them as part of the whole package. I think we get the most out of our entertainment when we do that :)

    • Yumeka says:

      You wrote a really good post and I’m glad mine inspired you to think more XD

      Now that you mention it, it’s totally true that the anime that are my favorites aren’t always the ones I recommend. This is especially true for people who aren’t anime fans or only casually watch the more universal titles, like Studio Ghibli movies or shows like Cowboy Bebop. And even if someone is an anime fan, if I know they don’t like violence and gore in what they watch, I wouldn’t recommend something like Wolf’s Rain even though it’s a personal favorite of mine. Guess it goes back to the fact that everyone has different tastes and a lot of anime is meant to cater to specific tastes rather than be accessible to the broadest audience possible.

      I actually wrote a post defending Guilty Crown as much as I could XD Not sure how successful I was but I think I did well considering what I was up against, LOL.

  8. One thing in particular is crucial for me to enjoy shows, even if a show is objectively not so good: characters that are likeable enough for me to be sympathetic towards them; an interesting setting or premise can be a step in the right direction, too, but not as much as liking the characters. I can look over quite a bit if I like the characters enough.

    Strike Witches is a great example of this in action; the show is loaded with fanservice (notably panty shots, since the girls fly without pants), the transitions between plot points can be awkward at times, the cast isn’t as well-used as they could be, the ending to both seasons are letdowns, the protagonist seems to have plot armor later on via the presence of deus ex machinas…yet, despite the number of accusation I can critically level against the show, I cannot bring myself to dislike it. A majority of the characters are thoroughly charming, the way the characters interact with one another is pretty enjoyable, and there are some pretty cool World War II references. In short, Strike Witches does the Slice-of-life elements and characterization just well enough for me to trudge through its mistakes.

    The buildup of enough critical problems in one go can render a show beyond redemption for me. While I never expected Sword Art Online to be brilliant, it at least managed to be consistently entertaining and the characters as well as the setting were interesting enough in the beginning for me to care; even if Kirito practically had “hero” and Asuna “love interest” written on their respective foreheads, their characterization was interesting enough individually and together for me to care about what happened to them. However, after Episode 14, everything slid backwards in quick succession; the narrative seemed to merely be there to grease the rails for Kirito to accomplish his goal of rescuing Asuna, the new characters seemed completely pointless and merely served as either a means for Kirito to succeed or a mandatory obstacle for Kirito to utterly destroy, and Asuna went from a fairly interesting and capable character to a cardboard love interest that hardly served any purpose other than motivation for Kirito. For me, I didn’t enjoy Sword Art Online in the end not just because of how the show deteriorated, it was how concentrated and quick said deterioration was.

    • Yumeka says:

      Liking and sympathizing with the characters has also made many nearly bad shows at least be “okay” for me. I’ve heard such things about Strike Witches and maybe one day I’ll get the motivation to check it out XD

      A lot of people liked SAO’s first half but not its second, and I’m one of them. I didn’t hate the second half, but I had a lot of problems with it that hindered my enjoyment of it. It wasn’t bad enough for me to think the show was terrible overall, but yeah, maybe I would have liked it better if it ended at episode 13.

  9. Nopy says:

    There are three things that anime can do really well that will allow me to completely ignore all of its other flaws:

    1. have a thought-provoking plot (Shin Sekai Yori)
    2. strong comedy with a hint of romance (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun)
    3. pretty characters and animation (Zettai Bouei Leviathan)

    I can understand why people dislike a lot of the series that I do like, but it all boils down to personal tastes and what you’re looking to get out of a series. There are few anime that I “hate” simply because most of them have at least a bit of the 3 things I mentioned.

    • Yumeka says:

      Heh, interesting three choices =) I don’t think I could make a list like that since the reasons I like anime, or at least think they’re good, often come down to whether they did what they were trying to do well. Things that could make me like a series could be anything – the characters or story usually, but also humor, drama, cute moments, nice animation, setting, romance, etc,. Whether these are enough to make me ignore flaws comes down to how good these things are versus how major or prevalent the flaws are.

  10. Tara says:

    Froggykun’s ending is very well written there, that really is the magic of stories. I love how everyone sees them slightly differently even if it’s always the same story and it’s beautiful how differently we can feel about the same thing.
    Personally I don’t really care about what other fans think and just like that I like, although like you it often ends up being the popular, generally well liked anime that have my favor. I love SAO and Angel Beats! too (haven’t seen Guilty Crown so can’t judge it), I think people overreact on their flaws, really. Or maybe it’s just that the good things make up for them that much for me.
    With SAO I even went and read the light novel, something I don’t do very often, and highly enjoyed watching the episodes while being able to see the changes made from the novel and deciding whether I liked them or not. That’s a thing I really enjoy that many people find strange, criticizing adaptations based on the source material. I can still love the adaptations even if I don’t like many of the changes because I do take them as a separate entity but there’s a strange enjoyment in it for me to find the differences, weigh them, figure out why they were done differently and if I would have done it the same way or not.

    *cough* anyways, went a bit off topic there. Interesting post, as always. Thanks for giving me stuff to think about ^^

    • Yumeka says:

      I also like to judge anime as separate entities from their source material because I like to think of them as different interpretations of the same story. The anime might expand on something the manga or novel didn’t (like the Cardcaptor Sakura anime), or lead up to a different ending (like the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime). Usually I like one more than the other, but it’s interesting to see the different interpretations regardless (unless one interpretation is so bad it’s insulting, but thankfully that doesn’t happen too often with anime).

      Glad you liked the post and good to know you have such a positive outlook on the varying tastes among anime fandom ^_^

  11. Kal says:

    I’m the kind of person that is not influenced much but what people say, or the hype, and not bothered if one of my favorite animes is considered bad. I can see the flaws in them though, not every anime is setup the way I like, and that’s fine.

    I do view things differently regarding “bad” anime though, and I can’t really say that any anime is bad. Well, because it is not done with that intention. I’m sure that the creator of the anime actually thinks it is good, and he did the best he could. So even anime like Guilty Crown, that I did not like, I’m sure the creator did what he thought was best, and there are people out there that think like him and liked it. So is it bad? nope, not at all. It is just not done in a way that has wide acceptance,

    I don’t know, I just try to put things in context. You mentioned you have written fan fiction, I have not read it, but if I did, I would not say that it is “bad” simply because it did not come from the original writers, or has the same style. I’m sure you write it thinking that it is something good, and it is good for you. So in that frame of reference, the work would be “good” and not “bad”. I just try to look at everything from different points of view.

    Anyway, as others have said, very interesting topic :)

    • Yumeka says:

      Interesting viewpoint about the intentions of the original creators thinking what they make is always good. Though I wonder, since anime is ultimately a commercial product made to make money, how much is that goal put before actual effort to make it good? Usually anime typically recognized as good, like Madoka Magica, also make good money because of that, but sometimes not so good anime is made just to make money from a certain fanbase, with little effort put into making it good beyond appealing to a particular fetish or something. But yeah, I’m sure very few creators intentionally try to make their works bad.

  12. Myna says:

    I occasionally like a bad anime, i.e. Symphogear. Oh dear, there were many many things wrong with that show. Laughable animation, generic characters, plot holes everywhere, etc. But what made me like Symphogear was, well the music since that was its main appeal. Though I think because there was a bit of self-awareness to it and the creators knew how dumb it was and just ran with it. So it was entertaining. (This currently applies to Valvrave the Liberator.)

    Whereas SAO and Guilty Crown took themselves much too seriously. Well, SAO is my least favorite anime ever, dethroning K-ON!. Kirito and Asuna have the romantic chemistry of two rocks imo. Neither of them really have any distinct personality traits either. Same can be said for Shoe and Inori. Since they both had serious and a bit pretentious attitude about them, it made neither one entertaining and therefore I hate them with a passion. (Well, GC was boring, SAO was just painful. Blatant wish-fufillment series like Accel World and SAO are never entertaining to me.)

    Another way for me to label a ‘bad’ anime is its enjoyment value. If I’m invested in the story and/or characters, mainly the latter, that means the creators are doing something right. I care about what is happening and therefore enjoying the show. If I’m bored and don’t care, then the anime and its creators are failing at their storytelling.

    So when it comes to liking bad/flawed anime, if it takes its premise and runs with it and ends up being entertaining, I will be able to like it. If it’s boring or takes itself too seriously and aims to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, then it will come off as conceited and dumb and I will hate it.

    • I think the problem is that people’s enjoyment isn’t necessarily rooted in the same thing, and not all shows are necessarily expected to appeal to everyone equally. For example, I personally was incredibly invested in the story and characters of SAO (even, yes, in the much derided second half). So if you say “the anime and its creators are failing at their storytelling” (i.e. they’re doing something wrong), my own enjoyment and investment prove that isn’t a universal fact (because to me, they’re doing something right!). That isn’t to say I don’t understand (at least to a certain degree) the elements that caused others to not be able to enjoy it, but I think that sometimes speaking in such objective-sounded terms about truly-subjective things (like “enjoyment value”) makes the conversation more difficult than it needs to be. Just because a story doesn’t appeal to you doesn’t *necessarily* mean that anyone screwed up or is to blame for your lack of enjoyment. That’s the inherent subjectivity of perspective.

  13. Midonin says:

    I’m a big fan of Manyuu Hikenchou, so I know what this is like. But the thing is, because I like it, I don’t really consider it that flawed. It had to have done something right.

    Many of the shows I like in general tend to fall into the common circle of being hated (or at least ignored or turned into a punchline), and this is why I tend to be more interested in the shows that are smaller not because they’re more quirky, but smaller because they seem more “generic”. Even the most generic of stories will still try to do something to define its own identity, and the lack of pressure from people criticizing it can be a relief – though if it ever gets brought up in conversation outside that, again, the punchline. That gets really tiring really quickly.

    • Yumeka says:

      I’ve watched many anime over the years that I thought were good, but never became popular for some reason and thus never came under much criticism, good or bad. You’re right that this is sometimes relieving as you can then have less biased thoughts and conversations about the shows because there isn’t any big hype. And on the other side, I’ve seen many anime I thought were much worse than SAO and Guilty Crown, yet the reason those shows don’t receive nearly as much bashing is because they never had any hype to get people excited.

  14. Erif says:

    Wow, great food for thought. I’m naturally inclined to write some sort of counter-argument because there are a couple of points I feel I disagree with, but I can’t develop any sort of sound argument at the moment. So kudos to you!

  15. Afonso Ribeiro says:

    This is the first time I comment here, but I’ve been reading this blog for some months now.

    What I’d like to say is that there’s this anime that I adore and I keep trying to show it to people, but many of them simply consider it bad. The anime is called Bubblegum Crisis (1987-1991 OVA with 8 episodes). It simply is the anime that brought me back into anime watching, and the anime that turned me into an otaku. Elfen Lied came right after, and I love it. And nowadays I am watching RahXephon, Oniisama e…, K-ON!, Cowboy Bebop, KURAU Phantom Memory, Mnemosyne and NANA (Loving them all), after watching Azumanga Daioh, all of the Ghost in the Shell franchise, Time of Eve, Code Geass, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Silent Mobius, Serial Experiments Lain, Seraphim Call, Psycho-Pass, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Death Note, Akira, Armitage III, among others, in less than an year. I also need to watch Cardcaptor Sakura, because I still haven’t watched it without the censorship in the Portuguese dub.

    And all because of this faulty anime that I love and recommend. It’s faulty because it was left incomplete (it was supposed to have 13 episodes), there was some defectuous drawing, and the sequel entered in contradiction with the OVA. But it is still regarded as one of the most important works of the 80’s, one of the first cyberpunk anime (I love cyberpunk), and one of my forever favorites. No matter how faulty it is, I love it. And I think the overall experience matters more than a bunch of flaws.

    • Afonso Ribeiro says:

      I even decided to make an anime list. And since some of those I love the most are so unknown, and also thanks to this blog and a few others, I decided I wanted to make a blog to share my anime experiences.

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