This year I made it a priority to finally get myself caught up on some of the biggest, most popular ongoing anime franchises. This has included the latest entries into the Food Wars!, Haikyuu!!, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Legend of the Galactic Heroes (LoGH), Made in Abyss, and My Hero Academia franchises. This has been a pretty big undertaking (especially in regards to LoGH), but one that I’ve had a lot of fun doing!
In the past I’ve often passed up the “flavour of the month” in order to watch something a bit more weird and wonderful. I tend to prefer anime that push the envelope in terms of their presentation or storytelling and, in my experience, popular, more mainstream shows, which often play it safe by following trends and tropes in order to appeal to the masses, tend to fail to do this. *Swills brandy glass*
Saying that… As much as I love to seek out and find those quirky hidden gems, it can also be a lonely experience. My enjoyment of an anime is often multiplied many times over by discussing it with other people. However, this is something that I get to indulge in, not so much with obscure, less well-known shows, but with popular ones. It’s so much fun, chatting with you guys about what’s currently popular, sharing theories, memes, and the occasional tantalising spoiler! I also feel that, as a blogger trying to create a space for fans to gather and chat amongst themselves, it’s important to have my finger on the pulse of the fandom. I don’t want to seem more of a clueless idiot than I’m sure I do already, y’know? Which is why, this year, I’ve made the time to watch the above shows.
In doing so I’ve discovered a few important things. The first is that all of these anime are worth the hype surrounding them. It took me a while to warm up to a few of them – LoGH was a bit of a slow burner (though that’s excusable, given its length. You can’t run at 11 all of the time) and it took me quite some time to understand the appeal of Jojo’s unique blend of weirdness and machismo – but many of them found themselves vying for spots amongst My Top 30 Anime List immediately upon completion.
This, in turn, reminded me of the following: sometimes popular series are popular for a reason. And that reason isn’t clever marketing or, as I sometimes like to joke, that the majority of fans simply have no taste, but that they are actually pretty damn good! Whilst the above shows are all extremely different, common to each of them is this sense that the people behind their creation loved the bare bones of them. The sheer amount of passion and energy put into their animation, beautiful scores, and/or intricately woven stories is almost tangible.
Finally, it taught me that the enjoyment of popular anime isn’t reliant on a lack of experience or the absence of a critical mindset. I went into these franchises having already seen hundreds of shows and with my eyes primed to find the smallest of reasons to denounce their popularity. However, their issues were few and far between and didn’t affect my enjoyment of them whatsoever.
So there you have it! This year I finally renounced my elitist ways and shuffled shamelessly aboard the bandwagons of several popular anime franchises. Whilst I’ll still take pleasure in discovering those lesser-known masterpieces, I’ll no longer look down in haughty disdain on the fans of bigger, more well-known franchises, ‘cause, well, I guess I’m one of them now! Ha, ha!