This year has been quite a special one for me in the world of anime and blogging. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’m not playing catch-up (even when I’m mercilessly dropping shows), so I’m thinking of stepping back and moving away from watching currently airing anime in the coming year.
[Cue jazzy theme song, along with spoilers].
Anime OPs are generally made with the express purpose of setting up expectations for the viewer on what the show is about. Often you may see scenes from the show itself being spliced into the OP as previews for the ensuing awesomeness that lies in wait. Some OPs, however, can be so striking and memorable on their own that they alone invite you to return and re-watch the series again and again.
I recently finished watching 91 Days – a mafia-style revenge story that’s nothing spectacular. I found the show middling at best, and don’t really have much to offer in terms of what I thought about it.
However, the whole time leading up to its release, before I ever got around to watching it and even still to this day, it was constantly being compared to a superior work of a similar setting, Baccano!.
This is the not the first time something like this has happened in the anime community, nor will it be the last. But I’d really appreciate it if we could cut down on making parallels between shows that have cemented themselves as the magnum opus of a certain setting or type of story, and similar shows only just coming out.
I’m not entirely against comparing works with one another, I do it myself, but I feel it’s really unfair to heighten everyone’s expectations about a show before it’s release by comparing it to a classic consensually agreed to be a notably distinguished and celebrated work. There’s no way it could live up that hype.
It would be better to drop all preconceptions and biased anticipations beforehand, and give the show some time to breathe. Then when decide afterward whether it’s worth comparing, because otherwise you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you get excited every time you spot similarities between an upcoming show and an old favourite of yours.
Comparing other works is great, because it helps discern what you like to see from what you don’t want to see in a variety of different genres and settings. It’s an efficient way of going about deciding whether you feel continuing the same type of show you’ve seen a thousand times already, as well as helping you find similar shows with neat spins or refreshing takes on things you’ve gotten tired of seeing.
But when it’s used in such a way that you put something you haven’t even batted an eye at to the same pedestal as something you consider a masterpiece, you’re just going to end up being let down. Reserve low expectations, especially when you’ve already seen the best that that type of story has presented, but maintain hope that the next one will be good in its own right too.