Thanks so much to John Samuel of Pirates of the Burley Griffin for nominating me for the Liebster award – which always sounds more impressive than it actually is the very first time you hear about it, but it’s nice anyway :)
The Liebster award is intended to give some exposure to small blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are as follows:
1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers
4. Go to the blogs you nominated and notify them of your nomination
5. Give your nominees 11 questions to answer.
To be honest, I was hesitant to respond to this at first, simply because I don’t know any anime blogs that are candidates. All the ones I follow either have been nominated before, or flat out don’t need the exposure. So… even if I were to accept the award, it would have to end with me. And that sucks, since the Liebster award is like a chain of good deeds, and the spirit of that is spoilt if you don’t pass it on.
Still, I decided that it would suck even more if I didn’t respond to John Samuel for that reason. So, choosing the lesser of two evils, here are my replies to his questions. Which are far more opinionated and less tactful than any of my other posts, since I’m not trying to do any anime analysis here =P
1. What is the best instalment of an anime/manga franchise you don’t like?
This is an odd question… simply because I can’t imagine hanging around a franchise I don’t like long enough to find an instalment that I do like. Still, there is a franchise I initially liked, but then it got worse and worse, until I can no longer look at with anything but a sorry sigh, and I honestly cannot say that I like the franchise any more.
I’m talking about Pokemon. I’m no genwunner, with X and Y being my favourite generation in terms of the games, but only the first season (and maybe the second) of the anime had some good stuff. The first season was bold, thematically, with a couple of unforgettable moments that really explored the issues around human interaction with Pokemon. Everything since then has been very kiddish and boring (though Ash x Serena is cute, I must say), with the exception of Origins. But Origins chose to fill the void with generic shounen action and violence, not thematic depth.
2. What is the worst instalment of an anime/manga franchise you do like?
The first thing that comes to find when I hear ‘anime/manga franchise I do like’ is Yugioh. Yugioh is my guilty pleasure anime, and it certainly helps that I enjoy playing the card game. So long as you’re able to accept the premise that you can get away with ANYTHING by winning a duel (yes, you can commit a crime and walk away from a cop by beating him in a children’s card game), the show becomes immensely enjoyable to watch. The dark moments of the show don’t feel forced either. BUT there is no worst instalment of Yugioh in my opinion, because that implies that there is an instalment that I don’t like, and I like all of them, from the original to GX to 5Ds to Zexal. Unlike Pokemon, Yugioh has got its shit together.
So I’ll bring up the second thing that comes to mind, which is Evangelion. I know John Samuel doesn’t like Evangelion, but I do. Well, some parts of it, at least. Neon Genesis Evangelion was great, Death & Rebirth was immensely pointless, The End of Evangelion was groundbreaking, Evangelion 1.0 and 2.0 were aesthetically pleasing but questionable and unnecessary, but Evangelion 3.0 is just… whaaaaat? Anno, WAT R U DOIN.
3. Give your favourite genre a reality check.
I’m gonna write about romance. Although I generally prefer it to be a sub-plot and not the overarching theme, like in Planetes and Steins;Gate, I’m a sucker for romance, and I can’t help but ship two characters together the moment I see a romantic possibility, and get upset when nothing is eventually realised.
Still, anime girls are unrealistically attractive, maybe even unhealthily so. Case in point: Welcome to the NHK. I like the show, I like Misaki’s character a lot, but I can’t help but feel that the fact that she’s physically attractive distracts from its intended themes. What’s supposed to be a heartfelt story about two people struggling to overcome their social disorders together turns into one about a hikikomori scoring a cute chick for no good reason at all. It becomes wish fulfilment, and hikikomoris who watch the show walk away thinking ‘oh, I’d totally get better if only I had a girl like that’. Which really sucks, because the part of me that likes her character doesn’t wish for her to be less attractive (humans are superficial, deal with it), but the part of me that likes the show as a social commentary finds it a shortcoming.
4. Name one (and only one) change you’d like to make to one anime.
Have Planetes follow the manga ending, where Tanabe stays on with her job instead of having kids with Hachi. I raged so hard there. It was such a terrible way to end the series. That change alone would’ve pulled my rating up to a 9. (Though if I REALLY had my way, I’d make her reject Hachi’s proposal, and tell him that he’d better work damn hard to woo her when he comes back after 7 years, and pray to god she’s not taken).
5. Name the most annoying anime character ever.
Yuno Gasai from Mirai Nikki.
6. Name the anime character you’d most like to slap.
At first glance, it seems like the most annoying anime character ever would be the anime character you’d most like to slap. Still, I don’t want to hit a girl if I don’t have to, so I’ll go with Kirito from Sword Art Online.
7. Name the animation studio you’d most like to slap.
That’s hard, because the animation studios I remember for all the wrong reasons tend to be the ones that I also like for many right reasons. Still, I want to slap any animation studio that thinks it’s a good idea to include a cliffhanger at the end of EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN EPISODE. Cliffhangers make shows addictive, but introducing an excessive amount of cliffhangers will usually come at the expense of a coherent and meaningful plot, and they simply aren’t fulfilling. Cliffhangers do not make good storytelling people.
Since gratuitous cliffhangers make me think of Code Geass most, I’m looking at you Sunrise.
Also, stop being so trigger happy in killing people off. It cheapens death.
8. Name your favourite anime hero or heroine.
Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop.
9. Name the best anime villain.
The train in 5 Centimeters Per Second.
10. What is the most epic scene in anime?
The entire Cathedral scene in Cowboy Bebop’s Ballad of Fallen Angels.
11. What is the anime with the best background music?
5 Centimeters Per Second (yeah, it should be really clear which shows I fanboy the hardest over by now).