Anime has taught me many things over the years, one of those being, I’m a bit of an oldfag! This thought occured to me at the end of last year and has recently been confirmed by my having watched, and thoroughly enjoyed, the elderly, Infinite Ryvius. Whilst I haven’t been watching anime since the dawn of time, (it physically pains me I wasn’t able to watch the Evangelion finale as it aired, being only 3 at the time!) I do possess certain ‘oldfaggy’ characteristics, these characteristics are as follows:
As a person who values the story of a show above all else, I’ve found myself increasingly watching, and favouring older shows. This past year alone I’ve watched Read or Die and Kino’s Journey which first aired during 2003. I appreciate that, to some, a show that first aired 9 years ago isn’t that old, so let’s go back further! I’ve also watched 2002’s Haibane Renmei and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 1997’s Berserk and 1995’s Neon Genesis Evangelion, to name but a few. Sure, simply watching older shows itself doesn’t make me an oldfag but, when you take into consideration the lowest score any of the above has warranted on my MAL is an 8/10, simply because each and every one had wonderfully thought-provoking storylines which questioned things such as society and human nature itself, and that my increasingly turning to older shows, to the detriment of newer shows, is a result of this, I’m sure you can agree I’ve morphed into somewhat of an oldfag, as of late. Sure, older shows all look a little ragged around the edges but, that isn’t enough to vastly influence my opinion of them, and it certainly shouldn’t be enough to outright deter anyone from watching them.
Which brings me to my second point. Another reason I’m a bit of an oldfag, at least in nature, is that I become uncharacteristically nasty whenever somebody criticises and purposefully avoids older shows simply for the above reason. To illustrate my point: my sister, who’s also a fan of the substance known as anime, avoids a large proportion of older shows merely because they don’t look as shiny and as new as, well, newer shows. Whenever the topic of conversation turns to why she still refuses to watch Berserk, things suddenly become a little heated as my inner-oldfag is unleashed. I suppose my turning oldfaggy on her is a bit unfair, I’ve only been a fan of anime for a year more than her and, in her defence, I’m part of the reason she still hasn’t watched Berserk. I’m all like: “I can’t believe you still haven’t watched it, its dodgy art doesn’t matter! Its amazing story and well-developed characters more than make up for that!”, and she’s all like: “I’d watch it if you buy it on DVD.”, and then I’m all like: “But, you shouldn’t watch it, it’s too inappropriate!” But, anyway, I digress. The point I’m trying to make is that it really toasts my bread when somebody looks down upon a show solely due to its looking a little outdated, something I’ll briefly go on to explain in the next paragraph.
So why are newer shows lacking in the story department? I believe it has something to do with the fact that, unlike older shows, today’s shows frequently prioritise aesthetic aspects over good storylines, something which makes me want to scream. Art is supposed to support the story, not the other way ‘round! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying the existence of newer shows with detailed, in-depth storylines, (I massively enjoyed 2010’s Steins;Gate and Madoka because of their stories) but, in my opinion they’re becoming harder and harder to find. I can’t pretend to possess enough knowledge of the way in which the anime industry works to pinpoint why this is, (I know I promised to try to write more about the industry but, it’s probably best I learn more about if first or I’ll end up making a grand fool of myself!) although I suspect it’s because the demand of the audience has vastly changed over the years, (it doesn’t take a genius to see that ‘moe’ is now a more valuable commodity than, say, gore or thinly veiled philosophy) but, this is merely conjecture on my part.
So for these reasons, it seems only appropriate I be tarred with the brush of oldfaggery. I’m looking forward to hearing which category you, my readers, consider yourselves to fit into, and if anyone is able to shed some light as to why newer shows favour art and hiring the biggest, bestest VAs over the story.