Today’s post idea came from Artemis over on the Otaku Lounge (who got it from Guy Shalve…I love how post ideas get around the blogsphere!) It sounded like a fun topic to think about so I decided to give it a try…
My “unpopular” opinions below aren’t in any particular order. I could think of more if I took the time but these are the first ten that came to mind. Also, I could probably go into more detail and write whole posts dedicated to each one, but I’m gonna keep them concise here.
1. I love shonen anime but don’t like Bleach
Shonen has always been a genre of anime I like. I’ve been watching Naruto since 2003 (skipping filler episodes) and am caught up with it. Even though parts of it do drag on and there are plenty of problems here and there (not unusual for an anime with hundreds of episodes) I think it’s a wonderful series with some of the most well developed characters and dramatic storylines I’ve ever seen. I’ve been watching One Piece since 2005 though still haven’t caught up and am over 100 episodes behind (and I haven’t watched it in over a year now for some reason…I think I just don’t like the current arc I’m in). But still, I think it has fantastic, lovable characters and its world is overflowing with creativity. And as some of you know, Inuyasha was my absolute favorite series from late 2002 to mid-2007, so obviously I’ve seen all its anime episodes and read all its manga chapters.
But then we come to Bleach, which I started watching in 2005 up until the anime ended in 2012 (skipping most filler episodes). And even after all that time I just couldn’t bring myself to like it as much as the other long-running shonen anime I watch. I found the majority of the characters unlikable and poorly written compared to the Naruto and One Piece characters, and most of the battles and plot outcomes were repetitive and just didn’t grasp me. I’m not sure what kept me watching it all those years – I guess it was a mix of hope that eventually I would love it like the others, and there were those few characters I liked a lot and wanted to keep seeing. But yeah, I don’t come across many people who love Naruto, One Piece, and Inuyasha but don’t like Bleach.
2. I’m a sucker for cute/cool animals
I’ve always loved it when cute or cool animals are included in shows and movies I watch, anime being no exception. Even if the show could run its course more or less the same whether the animal was there or not, like if Babu wasn’t in Sankarea or Pen Pen wasn’t in Evangelion, having a cute critter in it doubles my enjoyment of any anime, especially if they give the animal enough screentime to show its personality (like Ein from Cowboy Bebop and Yakul from Princess Mononoke). Most people either find mascot/side-character animals annoying, especially if they act too cutesy, or they just don’t give them any thought. But I love ’em :3 I usually prefer that they don’t talk but I could like them even if they do as long as their personality isn’t to my distaste. Chopper from One Piece is one of my most favorite characters of all, as is Chi from Chi’s Sweet Home, Luna has always been my favorite Sailor Moon character, and Meow is one of the few reasons I’m still watching Space Dandy. Also, if I come across a new anime that specifically revolves around animals or features animal characters, I’m very likely to watch it. That’s why I decided to watch Silver Spoon, Kemonono no Souja Erin, Arashi no Yoru ni, Gingitsune, and a few other series. Wolf’s Rain has also been among my top 5 favorite anime for years.
3. I still watch, and enjoy, the Pokemon anime
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Pokemon franchise, as are many other people my age. But while a lot of them continually play the video games or even the card game, very few have consistently watched the anime since “the old days.” I’m one of those people who has never missed an episode of the Pokemon anime since day 1…and the anime now has over 800 episodes and 16 movies! Yes, the series is terribly formulaic and most episodes are filled with “Why didn’t they just do that?” or “How did that happen?” moments akin to your typical Saturday morning kiddie cartoon. But I still watch it because, well, I’m that much of a Pokemon fan ;) I enjoy seeing animated versions of the pokemon (going back to my being a sucker for cute/cool animals) and every now and then there’s an episode that’s unique or genuinely good.
4. I still watch, and enjoy, kids anime
This ties into the first three on the list since Pokemon and the long-running shonen series are considered kids shows, and a few of the anime I mentioned that involve animals, like Chi’s Sweet Home and Arashi no Yoru ni, are kids shows too. I have no qualms about watching kids anime if there’s something in them that I like. Shonen and magical girl series aside, I could enjoy anime aimed at very young kids too. Arashi no Yoru ni was one such series, but I still liked it because the characters were cute and it didn’t insult my intelligence at all. That’s also why I (and many others) can enjoy My Little Pony: FIM. I watched a few of the recent seasons of Digimon too, which seemed to be more kiddy friendly than the old seasons, but I still liked them. So yeah, I’m forever a kid at heart with what I watch XD
5. I don’t like Gurren Lagann that much
I watched all of Gurren Lagann on the big screen in my college anime club, with the club members loving it and hooting, hollering, and laughing at all the intensely masculine moments. It was a fun experience and I can see the appeal of the series…but it’s just not my cup of tea. Some years later I even watched the two recap movies and still felt the same way. I think it’s a good anime but I personally can’t say it’s that great. It’s weird because 90% of the time I like the anime that become super popular. But very testosterone-driven and over-the-top scenes and characters just aren’t my thing. My distaste for Gurren Lagann is also why I’m not watching Kill la Kill right now.
6. I like Sword Art Online and Guilty Crown
While I don’t care for the popular Gurren Lagann, I did like two recent anime that people hate on – Sword Art Online and Guilty Crown. I can admit that both are far from masterpieces, but they happened to have things about them I liked. I found SAO’s premise of seeing how intense a real-life MMORPG could become very interesting to watch, and I also found the romance between Kirito and Asuna genuinely sweet and touching. For Guilty Crown, I thought the story and characters were better put together than most people think, and there’s no doubting the show’s good production values. I gave SAO a fairly decent review and I even wrote an entire post about why I don’t think Guilty Crown is that bad.
7. I’m a girl and I like moe
I’ve already written posts about moe so I’m not gonna get into that debate here (Timeenforceranubis does it better than me anyway). But what I will say is that despite being a female in my late 20s, I like the kinds of anime people consider “moe.” I like K-ON, I like OreImo, I like the Key series, etc,. I’ve liked some of the recent “moe” series like Acchi Kocchi, Ikoku Croisee, and Kiniro Mosaic. Lucky Star, Azumanga Daioh, and Cardcaptor Sakura are still among my most favorite anime and “cute girls” like Kagami (Lucky Star), Shana (Shakugan no Shana), and Yuri (Angel Beats!) are among my most favorite characters. I have no qualms about watching anime that revolve around the “cute girls doing cute things” theme or anime that fall into the slice-of-life school genre. Actually, in any given season, I tend to enjoy the anime with cute girls more than the really dramatic action/fantasy series. These kinds of shows are fun and soothing to me, especially after a hard day at work or amongst really brain-straining and emotional anime. And I just like watching cute things as long as there’s humor or some kind of substance to them…so what can I say? ;)
8. I don’t particularly like Totoro…and I think Miyazaki is a tad overrated
Totoro is insanely popular in Japan even though the film is now over 25 years old. The two times I was in Japan I didn’t have to go far to find Totoro stuff. But honestly, I think the movie is cute…but I don’t think it’s that great. It’s a very nice and well-animated movie, and as I said, it’s very cute and has some adorable and touching scenes. But nothing about it really impressed me or made me think “Wow, this is really good!” And as for Totoro himself, I always felt he was a bit…weird. I find myself liking all the other Ghibli mascot characters like Jiji and Teito more than him.
And speaking of Ghibli, yes, Miyazaki has made some great movies and he’s really talented as a director and story writer. I think he deserves all the respect and critical acclaim he gets…but a part of me also thinks he is a tad overrated. I don’t think all of his films are masterpieces; as I said, I think Totoro is good but nothing extremely special, and I feel the same about Ponyo too. Kiki’s Delivery Service is very cute and I like it better than the aforementioned two, but again, I wouldn’t give it a top tier rating. Howl’s Moving Castle and Arietty too I think are good movies but not masterpieces. The only films of his I’ve seen that I think are absolute gems are Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Nausicaa (and perhaps Castle in the Sky and Porco Rosso though it’s been too long since I’ve seen them for me to judge them properly now). Again, I think the majority of his movies are good, but as a whole I don’t consider them better than any of the good anime series I watch (except in terms of animation budget of course). Also, except for my few favorites, I rarely feel a desire to rewatch Ghibli films as often as I do for my other favorite animated movies like Disney and Pixar films. This is just my opinion of course so feel free to cry sacrilege at me for thinking that most of Miyazaki’s works are anything but perfect.
9. I’m biased against mecha (and sports) anime
I enjoy all kinds of anime, but in recent years I kinda lost my taste for mecha series. Not that I ever had a big taste for them before, which I didn’t, but now if I see that a new seasonal anime revolves around giant robots, I’ll usually not watch it. I think this started when I watched the two seasons of Gundam 00 from 2007-2009 and while I could see that the series was good, I had trouble relating to it and getting that into it because I don’t enjoy watching robots fighting (as opposed to something, well, human) and usually mecha series involve a lot of complicated politics that I have trouble following. There’s exceptions of course and a lot of anime I love, such as Evangelion and Eureka 7, are put in the “mecha” genre. I also really liked the recent Suisei no Gargantia. I guess if the mecha aspect isn’t the main focus of the show and something else is, like character drama and relationships, I’m more likely to enjoy it. But typically I avoid mecha anime unless I hear really good things about them.
Likewise, I’m biased against sports anime too though I’m not sure if that’s an unpopular opinion since sports anime are rarely hits outside of Japan anyway. I’ve never liked sports in real life for one thing; I just can’t stand the aggression that they bring out in people and how they divide people into winners and losers. I can’t stand competition either and watching a show that gets all heated up over a game just doesn’t send me. But I know a lot of sports anime are good and focus on other things rather than the games and competition. Maybe one day I’ll get up the motivation to check one out XD
10. I don’t subscribe to the view that anime is getting worse
If you’ve hung around the anime fandom long enough, I’m sure you’ve heard the gripe that “anime was better in the old days” and “anime is getting worse and worse.” Usually (Western) fans blame moe and fan service anime for this. But honestly, I think there’s just as much good anime that comes out every year than there was in the past. The reason it feels like there’s more crap now is because more anime is being made each year than decades ago, so the gems are harder to find amongst all the mediocre stuff. But they’re there – recent anime like Attack on Titan, Space Brothers, Sakamichi no Apollon, and Madoka Magica can attest to that. The abundance of moe in anime in recent years is there because that’s what the main target audience in Japan wants right now. But there’s still plenty of anime made for other audiences, which is why we have new shows like Space Dandy and Free!. Anime of the 90s, 80s, etc., had their own trends too. So maybe one day moe will become the lesser theme and another trope will become the defining trait for anime in the future. I don’t know when or if that will happen, but if it does, I look forward to seeing what it is =)
Hopefully nobody will think less of me after hearing my unpopular opinions XD Feel free to share yours~!