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Anime: The Bad

Now I mostly wanted to talk about the things I really enjoy when it comes to anime, but as started to get my head around it, I realized that there were way too many things that anime does that makes me turn away from some of them. So here is the continuation of a form of art so unique from anything else we have in the west, that still at times seems to feel formulaic.

Yeah, let's talk about tropes. Anime is filled with them, and for the most part I actually don't mind them that much. As I said last time, I even like some of the themes these tropes create. But there are of course some that infuriate me. The most obvious one is the complete lack of character in supporting characters and, at its worst, the main character. Instead we get the same gang of stereotypes in every series. This is especially true in the genre of "man with a lot of women around him". The badass, the kind, the weird and happy (and often smaller) one, and of course main girl, just to name a few. They all look and act the same, and are incredibly boring. The same can be said of the unlucky token pervy male sidekick. Some of this sort of edges into the problematic (and we'll get to that next time), but mostly it is just lazy. Some of it has to do with a thought that the fans want these stereotypes in their anime, I mean, they even often have specific names for them. I do want to believe that most of them want more, but then again, I've often heard that anime can be categorized into deep and popcorn. Maybe the stereotypes mostly hang around in the comfy and safe popcorn-genre.

Worse in my opinion is the complete lack of subtlety in most anime. There is nothing more infuriating than a scene playing out, me picking up on the subtle foreshadowing, imagery of metaphors, only for the characters to flat out tell me about it. It happens in even the good anime, or things taking influence over it. I love the Persona-games, but this is the thing they struggle with, in mainly 4 and 5, in my opinion. There is this notion in many things that the audience, or the player, is dumber than they actually are. Quest markers has to be everywhere, everything needs to be told and I can never feel smart. The best type of media is something like Pixar's Inside out. It is mostly symbolism 101, but they never tell you anything straight out. Yet you get the ending with the mixed memories, and a lot of other nuances just because it is a well crafted metaphor. Anime mostly does not have that.

Instead they have my last gripe, convoluted storylines. How hard can it be to just write a great story? Okay, definitely not easy, but I don't think the answer is pulling out hitherto unmentioned parallel worlds just because you've written yourself into a corner, or throwing it hostile takeovers in my happy fun time anime about rising to the top of a culinary school. A story has to evolve into something that seems logical for what you have set up. There can be depth to a story without twenty side plots that all spiral in on each other. A story like that often looses me by the end (with maybe a few exceptions, and I'll tell you when I can think of one). I think this is why the very best anime does one of two things. Either they center the plot around a group of well rounded characters, or they have a story with a great concept that can be done in only 12 to 24 episodes.

I could sum up my thoughts with "everything the Final Fantasy VII: Remake did" but I might just give that gripe it's entire own entry. Besides, with this and the upcoming last part of this, I think I need to step away from talking about anime for a while, and talk about something else. But there is one more thing I hate about anime, and it is the problematic. The ugly.

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