My Stance on Anime and Manga Controversies

This may or may becoming an unofficial tag, minus the light-hearted nature of a tag. The idea comes from Aria their original post on the subject. I also took some note from Rose with their post so I am giving both of them credit for inspiring me to talk about this as well. I’ve come to realize that I’ve never really mentioned any of these topics on my blog before. However, I am always down for expressing, in a respectful and civil manner of course, my opinion on the subjects at hand. So let’s go!

Anime vs. Manga

Neither! It’s all about the live action adaptations!

Said literally no one ever.

Personally, there is no one or the other. There is always room for both. Some series I only watch the animated version, with no interest in the manga. Others, I read the manga first and when the anime finally comes around I’m no longer interested. It really depends on which I find out about first, more then being superior to the other. Although when I was a budding anime and manga fan it was essential to see both, before ruling if the series was good or not. As you can tell; things have changed since then.

Both are good, both have their audiences, and I have completely arbitrary reasons for liking one over the other in any case.

Subs vs. Dubs

Not to be that pretentious fan, but subs all the way. I understand Japanese, and use the medium to train my ear so to speak from time to time. Anime just doesn’t “sound right” with dubbing for me. The only exception I make for this is Studio Ghibi films with friends, then we watch with dubs so everyone feels included linguistically. But I’m not someone who will turn up their nose if someone has a dubbed anime playing.

Cel vs. Digital or Vintage vs. Modern

I like both. Again, not to be that fan, but having a friend who actually does animation, explain the technicalities as the differences and positives/negativities of each technique as made me appreciate both so much more. Being honest, even with that knowledge, I can’t tell the difference unless there is a specific artistic style associated with the series, or use of CGI elements (CGI being a completely topic for a different day).

As of late, I haven’t watched too many Cel animated series, nor am I aware of many studios that regularly use that style currently. So this is where I ask for recommendations if you have them, because I am always curious. So, that’s that on that.

Moe vs. Realistic

This section needs a preface that my actual exposure to moe is incredibly limited so I can’t say for sure. Most series that feature moe characters, aren’t typically what I watch nor are they typically targeted at the demographic I fit. What exposure I do have I wouldn’t say is good, since the characters were very… blobby. Both in animated and manga forms. Maybe my opinion might change in the future, but for now more realistic. Just in terms of design, not animation. Super realistic anime weirds me out too.

Light vs. Dark

*stares in sports series fan*

I would have to say, based on the fact I tend to watch sports series above anything else, light? Like there are sports anime that get ‘dark’ with certain episodes, or other plot details. Examples being Stars Align, One Outs and Megalo Box for sports anime that trend into heavier themes. Then again, my personal favorite series Ghost in the Shell and Dororo which I would not describe as light by anime means… Similarly, my tastes in manga tend to be darker in terms of artistic direction, some of my favorites being Black Jack, Ghost in the Shell, and Blue Phobia. I enjoy lighter series like Fruits Basket, A Man and His Cat, etc just as much.

What’s more important is that the art matches the idea. I don’t like when a series has moe-looking characters, but a super dark premise. Yeah, I get that it’s suppose to be shocking, subverting expectations or whatever, but it just feels like false advertising and too jarring for my tastes. Both styles have their their strengths, but I just tend to be picky as to which I like in that moment.

Continuous vs. Episodic Plot

This is tricky, because I need to call myself out a bit. I describe a lot of series as a story that’s “fairly episodic, but has a continuous plot holding it together”. I literally just described every series in existence. That’s how serialized mediums work. I’m not contributing anything new with that description, so I need to re-evaluate that description in my future reviews.

However, when I look at series I’ve enjoyed the most in the past few years I tend to like more continuous plots as a whole. I don’t mind episodic plots, provided they fit the format of the series. Slice of life anime like Koisuru Asteroid tends to work better as episodic plots verses continuous, but a series like Dororo works better as a continuous plot.

So I would say typically, more continuous plotted stories are more enjoyable and I gravitate towards them more. Continuous plots tend to have greater emotional pay-off in the end, at least in my experiences.

Series vs. Films vs. Shorts

This would be much more interesting if I was talking about Japanese cinema and dramas. But that’s not this post. Since we’re talking about anime here; series for sure. Even at the shortest of twelve episodes, at 20-ish minutes there is more time for developing the story and exploring the themes or characters within it. More Easter egg and fan favorite moments, for example Fruits Basket with Hatsuharu confirming his hair color to the student council president, can make their appearance. This doesn’t mean a series always gets it right, but there is more time to do so. Watching a series on a weekly basis, instead of just all at once like a film, can allow a better processing time for a viewer as well, especially with darker or more emotionally taxing themes.

I don’t have as much experience with shorts, so my opinion is pretty limited. For films, the best ones are those that were always developed as a original idea. There’s a reason Makoto Shinkai’s films are really good in terms of story telling and pacing after all. Trying to cram something like a decade long manga into two hours (usually less), as a film rarely works out in a way that satisfies the fanbase.

Spoilers

As a rule, I don’t like unmarked spoilers. I get that people’s mouths move faster then their minds sometimes, but don’t be rude and ruin it for someone else.

That being said if I think a review will spoil the series for me, or it’s marked as containing spoilers, I simply don’t click. If I’m curious about a series, but know I won’t make the time to watch, I don’t care. I will go to certain posts looking for spoilers if the story seems interesting, but might have trigger content or a theme I refuse to watch. I tend to expect that most reviewers will give a curtesy notice to the reader if there are or are not spoilers in a post, but that is my expectation not reality.

Personally, I do my best to review a series without spoilers. You can always talk around an idea, or hint and suggest at something without outright saying it. When I’m really passionate about a title, and write my review and know there are spoilers; I mark it and give notice to my readers. Good reviewers and commentators can write about a series without spoilers. Intelligent and passionate reviewers and commentators can talk about a series, but be polite enough to the reader to warn them of spoilers. At least, that’s what I think.

Weekly Watch vs. Marathon

I tend to prefer watching on a weekly basis. I like having the time to process a series, let it mentally marinade in my mind. I think weekly watches give a series more time to make an impression on a viewer then marathoning something. I know for me, moving into a weekly watch cycle, has allowed me to recall various series more often then when I use to marathon.

That being said, certain series can work better being a marathon. More light-hearted content sets itself up to marathon watching because it’s not emotionally taxing. Also if I really want to catch up on something that’s been going on forever, i.e. the One Piece and Detective Conan‘s of the world, you really don’t have the choice other than marathon to get up to date.

Reviews vs. Editorials

I’m a reviewer at heart. I think at times I explore the idea of what a blog editorial could be. I don’t think that I have a strong enough writing voice or enough experience to label blogs I write as those things. I also have a hard time fully comprehending an anime editorial… it might be that my definition and interpretation is off, or I’m just losing it. Anyway, I’m confident in labeling myself a reviewer so it’s not a big deal. I do really admire those who can write editorials though.

I look back on this piece and man, can I babble about unimportant things when I set my mind to it. I really wanted this to be a quick read so people could get a better idea where I stand on things but that did not happen. Things happen and I’m going to chalk this up to ‘so it goes’. Maybe you found this interesting, or maybe you found this long-winded, either way thanks for reading. With that, I’ll see you next post!

9 comments

  1. This was interesting, for sure.

    You can’t really give me credit for starting this though – what I did was resurrect an old tag I found. It’s just that a lot of the blogs which had responses before me, aside from The Reviewer’s Corner (which is where I got it from and linked to in my post), seem to be dead.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you thought so!

      I do my best to at least say ‘hey this is where I got my idea from’ instead of just claiming I thought of this all by myself. It’s a shame that a lot of these bloggers have since moved on.

      Liked by 1 person

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