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Anime: Overanalyzing – Current Climate of Content

This is something I have been deliberating over for a rather significant amount of time now, so here goes:

Within the anime community I feel there is a trend, this need to analyse every single frame of media; almost as if anime (or media in general) exists for this reason alone, and anything without so-called analytical merit can’t be considered ‘worthy’. Therefore neglecting a whole body of work which shines on other merits beyond this. Through my lens, this is something I’ll attempt to address.

 

Citrus anime Yuzu Harumi positions for two women

Only the finest of content…!

 

Before I say anything else, of course, this isn’t in any way an… attack on those who do create content based on these principles. Simply a personal perspective from which I want to write my own content – words which I hope might also resonate in others.  I will still be analysing shows, only it will be in a much less formulated manner, and they will contain a larger portion of my personality; my more ‘natural’ voice in writing. Something which I believe will be more enjoyable to read. Before that, I want to look at some things that have been tickling my mind over the last few weeks:

 

The Enjoyment Factor

Media has a number of purposes:

  • To Inform…
  • To Entertain…
  • To Educate…
  • To Sell…

Anime primarily falls under the ‘to entertain’ category. The financial success of any given show depends directly on the entertainment value the targeted demographic manages to draw from them (shows like Eromanga, SAO, and Black Clover are without a doubt all financially succesful – irrespective of their quality).

However, as with film, critics play an important role in this: A person sees a bad review, they trust the reviewer, they don’t watch the show. It is the same way in which you pop onto Netflix, see something you like the look of, check the score on Rotten Tomatoes, only to realise the critics have given it shit reviews. Naturally, a percentage given by a group of so-called ‘professional critics’ does not represent what you or me as an individual will think of a particular piece of media; to truly form an opinion, it has to be experienced in person, directly. That’s the same with anything in life.

 

Content for the Sake of Content

By its virtue, content is inherently creative. Every time we take a pen to paper, fingers to keys, brush to canvas, we are being creative; no matter the outcome. With this being said, in today’s world of fast-food content there is a desire to produce as much of it as possible.  After all, the more content a person publishes, the higher likelihood that some of it will attract someone’s attention, and possibly even earn some revenue – and for popular YouTubers, massive amounts of revenue. Don’t get me started on the fucking off-world terrors of sites and channels like Buzzfeed…

 

via GIPHY

 

So, what drivers these kinds of creators? The creating and accomplishment itself, the message? Or the potential for financial gain? Of course, it can be both in varying amounts, or solely one. Also, these factors do not necessarily reflect the quality of  the content. However, I believe content created for the sole purpose of monetary value rarely has the passion contained within it that content created out of love alone does. But, as you all know, the money question doesn’t exactly have any sway in the things we as creators are likely to do.

Why does this matter? 

It is almost as if the value in creation is being watered down; commodified. Or, is this just the evolution of content itself? Is it up to those (all of us) who consume the content to wade through the oceans of it, rather than simply being exposed to less of higher quality?

The market is saturated, this isn’t in doubt. It’s the same across all mediums. Conversely, maybe this is a good thing…? After all, we do have the power to choose, the power to block what we deem of little value, bloating. I can go on YouTube, click on the trending tab, and scroll through endless pages of videos I wouldn’t click on even if given money. I understand how YouTube is in a world of its own, especially given the multitude of issues and controversy rightfully surrounding it (go and check out H3H3 for more on that). With this being said, content surrounding anime, anime analysis and reviews is hardly niche. Not that it necessarily should be. Yet, how is it is possible to find the kind of content we truly want to see? Because, it is out there, with so many people able to have a voice, everything is out there…

 

the Anime Community, Analysis, and Content

I feel during recent months there has been some discourse on the notion of anime analysis, and the things that are packaged along with it. Something which stems out of the community in general, and let’s be honest, much of the conversation that burns and smoulders over on AniTwitter. Or… maybe this isn’t true? Maybe I am projecting my own thoughts onto the community as a whole; seeing and hearing the things I want to see and hear. This is fine;  conversation and difference in opinion is good. It starts debates, it illuminates different perspectives of an issue, it also gets people watching your videos – humans are naturally curious creatures after all.

 

Your Lie in April anime Kousei Arima Kaori eyes staring

Peering into yourself…

 

Does it really matter who analyses anime? Do we all have to be ‘master critics’ to create this kind of content?

Of course not. It’s a clean canvas. That’s what is so great about media, everyone has their own opinion to project forward, everyone has something different to say on the same thing – and it is this difference that is fundamentally interesting; you want to know how someone else has felt about something, if they see any of the things in the same way as you do. This connects people together, it creates a shared understanding – an environment in which we can experience enjoyment together. Of course, this can never be a truly bad thing.

When analysing anime, how do you go about it? The thematic elements? The storyline and narrative? The animation?

There is no defined narrative to compose an analysis by. If that were the case then everything would be the same, and if everything were the same what would be the purpose of its existence? I watch Under The Scope, and it brings me something different as to when I watch Digibro; in the same sense I get something different out of H3H3 Productions when compared to Good Mythical Morning. This difference is absolutely out of necessity, a product of how I am feeling in the moment, and the kind of content I as a viewer wants to experience.

Despite this, when it comes to anime analysis specifically, I believe it is often hard to find diversity in what is being said, and in the ways in which thing are being said – especially content outside of YouTube.

 

The ‘Review Factor’

Understandably, my views on this might irk a few people in the wrong ways – that’s fine. Not all of us hold the same opinions, and not all of us place the same value in the same things. Still, I do think there is something to be said about… reviews. Anyone who’s being around here a while will know I have done reviews of sorts in the past. Although, not exactly for a while now. It’s been something I’ve naturally stepped away from while writing other content, something which I think is for the better.

 

via GIPHY

 

Reviews conflict me, not on a fundamental level, more in a way that is exhausting, given the amount of them out there. Right now, if I search the old Googleoid machine for ‘Darling in the Franxx episode 1 reviews’ I get a plethora of results, so many that I could, and never would want to look at the majority of them. Except no doubt a few that stand out for their unique nature, and individualistic expression – these are what I want to read, these are the things I think the vast majority of people want to read.

Herein lies what I consider something of a conflict:

For the most part, I would never be able to distinguish between any of these reviews, in a roundabouts way, they all contain the same things… Yet, as I said before, I do not believe people should stop writing or making reviews. Of course people should never stop creating the things they want to create. Only, I think the market for these types of reviews (both written and YouTube) has become over-saturated, and people should think of what is already out there before they write something for themselves.

The idea of reviewing something is all well and good. However, it is the formulaic way in which it is done that I don’t understand: Going from one motion to the next with little depth between. The notion that the reader, or a viewer only wants information on what is being reviewed, rather than entertainment on a wider scale. Content in the days of 2018 is controversial on a basic level. Anything which does not strictly follow accepted societal norms is rebuked, ostracised, de-monetised. This level of ‘manufactured outrage’ and sensitivity in people needs to be explored.

So, don’t be afraid to create something new. Look at things from a differing perspective. Don’t think what other people are doing; do things in the ways you want to do them. Put your heart and soul into it! There is no structure for you to follow!

 

Being an Individual

I’ve sat in this chair wondering for a long period of time how to make Peach’s Almanac stand out in the ocean of similar blogs, and similar content. The resolution I came to was: Just be myself. Write as I would if I were writing for myself, without an audience. There’s more fun in it too, a better ability to express myself in those words, rather than some academic form of writing which my university work already comprises of. I think being personal in writing is one of its most redeeming features, or at least writing in a way which does not try to replicate anything or anyone else.

For new perspectives are beyond valuable.

 

 

What do you think of the current climate of content? Do you think content could be more personal, or is there an audience for everything?

Thanks for reading, as always!

-Chris

(Digibro) (Under The Scope)

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8 thoughts on “Anime: Overanalyzing – Current Climate of Content

  1. heyitszel says:

    At the end of the day, I try to write for myself as well. I express my enjoyment of certain genres, shows, and point out the stuff that really stands out when I can. (don’t get me started on the amount of architectural drafts i have lined up). Some of my posts (owls ones in particular) can tend to overanalyze, but i honestly love finding multiple themes in anime’s to explore. Blogging is fun because we’re writing about things we enjoy versus feeling the need to appeal to an audience. By being ourselves and expressing out interests, the audience comes on its own: whether they agree or disagree, there is someone our content reaches out to.

    Great post! 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Keep up the great work,

    • Chris says:

      Haha, I have so many drafts for so many different things. I don’t think half of them will be finished, and half of those probably never should have been started. ^^ I agree with you – these personal perspectives are worth their weight in gold!

      Thanks for reading!! 🙂

      • heyitszel says:

        LOL you are not alone my friend!! I have drafts that have been sitting waiting for really long periods of times…sometimes you just have to write an idea down. But debatable if it’s worth exploring more right? I figure mine will get out eventually..maybe sooner than later…hopefully..lmao!

  2. Karandi says:

    I think that most people who read reviews at all, after a time know which reviewers they actually want to hear from on particular topics. When I still lived somewhere near a cinema I regularly read movie magazines such as Empire and I had reviewers I specifically looked for and reviewers where I would automatically assume that if they liked it, that meant I would hate the movie (experience had taught me that lesson). It is the same online. While I love reading as many different perspectives as I have the time to access and read, I also know that there are some reviewers who have a similar taste to myself and I tend to trust their recommendations over others. That doesn’t mean reading the other content is a waste of time. It might address different aspects or look at things from a different perspective.
    Really, I agree that people creating content need to think about why they want to create that content and what they are hoping to get from putting it out there, but I think it is great that there is so much content available to people that they couldn’t even read it all.

  3. A Library Archivist says:

    Anime is there to sell. Entertainment value is just a way to help it sell. That’s why so many shows endlessly repeat themes. Until about 5 years ago, anime could be more creative, but the collapse of the Japanese economy and several anime studios with it forced the others to become more generic for the reliable audience who then watch the commercials and that pays for the salaries etc. Several different types of anime have largely died out, goofy anime being a good example, replaced by Cute Girls Being Cute moe anime which has a more stable audience and always gets decent ratings numbers, thus money. Moe is money. Goofy shows like Guru Guru and FLCL may be more entertaining or hold critical acclaim longer but if it doesn’t sell right away, when it matters, bankruptcy risk is too serious. This means that Anime is about money, unfortunately, and while it takes a lot more risks than Hollywood does, it is going in that direction.

    • Chris says:

      I agree to a certain extent. Of course, anime has to make money, just like any medium. Still, I think there is a lot of great anime out there currently, and a lot of great anime to come. And, just because something isn’t experimental like FLCL, doesn’t mean it’s inherently worse. Things change and evolve. 5yrs is a long time when considering the current level of progress (whether you want to call it progress, or not). Tastes change, methods of production change, new people enter the industry, audiences grow up and get old… It’s the old adage of “things were always better in the past” but I always almost think that’s never true. When you look into the past, you’re always looking at it through rose-tinted glasses.

      • A Library Archivist says:

        Yuru Camp is a great anime this season. Its also a standout because its also the most creative and interesting and satisfying show this season. The others aren’t quite as good, though the Antarctica show is trying pretty hard. They don’t have the depth and value. In prior years there would be more than one show that’s really good, so I retain my skepticism about where the industry has gone and continues toward, probably without any hope of escape. I hope that more countries will come forward with anime-like programming, sort of like Batman/Dark Knight and Avatar. Heavy Object was a really interesting one, since it was multinational production and none of it takes place in Japan, even if the voice actors were there and original broadcast was too. So anime, but with way more international value. The collapse in Hollywood over the outing of sex abusers and implicit exchange (which is coming out in court, not just social media), is an opportunity for non-Hollywood TV. For more projects like Avatar, which was a magnificent success. Korra less so though it is technically better. They need to get beyond the superhero nonsense. When the USA is ready to watch Slice of Life or really interesting animated scifi on mainstream TV I’ll believe we’ve crossed over into truly international anime. We may see that in time. Studio Ghibli and Disney are not the only international animation, and there needs to be more than their carefully massaged creepy message.

  4. crazyidiot78 says:

    TttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttYou make someexcellent points, I really don’t pay much attention to reviews these days due to over analysis of individual shows or episodes. Personally I’d like to see more in terms of talking about the history, science, philosophy or a show and not just a straight review.

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