Anime and I have a long-standing, albeit complicated relationship. One that typically works in a cyclical pattern:
- Craving: Not to any sort of degree that affects my daily decision making process, but a general itch that needs to be scratched
- Need: I’ll maybe spend some time and sit down to a series I enjoyed in the past and revel in the nostalgia
- Obsession: Then comes the binge. I’ll pour through the shows I want to watch, then go off searching for new material to distract myself with
- Apathy: If there’s anything I started, I’ll endeavor to finish it. Otherwise I’m starting to lose interest in the genre
- Reset: Technically that resting period between the fall and the rise, but I digress. In general, not much of anything.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve found myself steadily locked in stage 3, and I’ve well expended my ready supply of favoured titles. This is when I go looking for new material, and if there’s one thing any anime aficionado can agree on, it’s that there are a lot of titles out there. An almost unreasonable number of titles, honestly. Well beyond unreasonable.
I think you get what I’m getting at here. Moving along.
But, unlike most shows, where you can watch an episode or two and know pretty quickly if its worth watching the full season (or worse, all 12 or so seasons), anime is a funny beast for me. There are times where I watch episode after episode, and even after I walk away from the show, I’m still not entirely sure if I’ve enjoyed it or not.
Hell, there’s even times where I can finish watching a whole season and still not be entirely sure if I enjoyed it or not. And I wish it was easier for me to quantify what kind of content it is I enjoy or don’t, but the answers still elude me. I can enjoy anime that is utter garbage (such as the case for Strike Witches and Trinity Blood, two very VERY different anime), yet still disdain anime that is largely agreed by anime savants to be great shows (for all the praise I hear about Dragon Ball and its 1-sextzillion series, can’t say I’m a fan).
So, included below are some anime I’ve been watching recently and seriously cannot decide if I liked it or not.
What happens when you take an extrodinarily shy country girl and fill her with aspirations to be an actor at a prestigeous city high school, then put her in an apartment with three other cute girls (one of which is the landlord, despite being a high school student herself) and rival her with a tsuendere fan of said landlord?
You get Hinako Note. I think.
It’s a fairly cute anime with a charming cast and an easy to understand plot, but for some reason, it just seems to lack anything, well… anything. The episodes feel largely empty, but because it’s still a pretty-looking show with interesting (if somewhat trope-y) characters, I cannot decide if I like it or not. Every so often I come back for another episode and, afterwards, can’t figure out if I’m enjoying myself or not.
This one has a pretty standard harem-style formula, so nothing else really needs to be said about the plot of the show. Except that the main love-interests are the air-headed angel of romance (in training, kinda sorta) and the yandere. That equation alone is entertaining, especially when Guri (the aformentioned cupid) writes the MC’s name along with hers and the yandere’s name (as well the tsuendere girls name, who happens to be cousins with the yandere but still infatuated with her; bear with me, it only gets weirder as the episodes go on) in a book called Love Note, which of course makes this little harem immortal (so the yandere frequently trying to kill the MC for “cheating” on her is totally okay)
That gag alone is very funny, and the anime isn’t content with just settling with your standard mainstream animation quality, frequently bouncing back and forth with more simplified art styles as the shots demand it.
Where the anime loses me is that everyone is infatuated with the MC (even his younger sister, but I digress), who doesn’t seem to have any real defining traits other than “stock romance MC protagonist”. And with the inclusion of the sadistic deviant, the anime is largely not good. And yet, the jokes and core-cast interactions are great, even if the plot is paint-by-numbers and you can already figure out the ending by episode 2.
I’m about 5 episodes in and still haven’t the foggiest if I actually like it or not. It just leaves me perplexed about myself. What am I doing with my life, and why do I keep letting the next episode roll over?
Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
This one probably surprises you just as much as it surprises me. The anime possesses everything I love in a narrative and terrific visuals. And yet, after watching 13 (read ’em, THIRTEEN) episodes from season 1, I still haven’t a clue if I like the series or not.
Of course, I’ve even broken it down in my head as to why I like/dislike it. As for the points in its favour: the characters are (except for Eren) rich and interesting, the world lore fascinates me with great technology and idiosyncrasies, a high degree of lethality to really drive the stakes even higher, and intriguing political intrigue.
And frankly, there aren’t many things about the anime that I dislike. Except for Eren; everything about that character bothers me. Like, seriously, everything. Note to Self: that’s probably a good article for the future. But even my strong dislike for a character isn’t enough to seriously dampen my enjoyment of a series.
Again, thirteen episodes in and I don’t know if I like it or not.
Anime is a funny creature, and I have no doubt that as I continue to poke around, I’ll find more great, bizarre and unusual material to sate these passing fancies. If you have any anime you’ve watched that you can’t decide if you enjoy or not, share them in comments below. Because weird anime is part of what makes the interest so… well… interesting.