Monday, November 20, 2006

Sayonara, and Kemonozume

It's been a bit over eight months since I first started writing posts for this blog, and I'd like to think that it has contributed a little something to the anime blogging community through its presence. At all times I have tried to escape the common mold that plagues the anime blogging community, ridden as it is with episode summaries. To this end I focused on the editorial side of the house, writing articles that I hoped would help anime fans engage in debate over what is a very personal hobby.

Anime caters so much to an individual's personal desires - to an individual's need for fantasy - that it leaves little room for the discussion inherent in most great works of art. In fact, to an even greater extent that traditional film and novels, anime creates a link with the viewer. The difficulty that people find in trying to relate the impact that anime has on them (other than the common: "it really touched me" or other likewise simplistic phrases) is a direct result of this link.

I love anime, to such an extent that for the past ten years I've watched an increasingly ridiculous amount, whether it be good or bad. This is a commmon trend I've found among anime fans - the inability to discern between the good and bad, or rather the inability to care. I referenced this very concept in a previous post on Otaku Consumerism. And many other bloggers have tackled the issue in their posts about how much critical acclaim has met some of the most despicable, blatantly fan-oriented shows (Kanon, for instance).

Anime has stagnated. It's not the art form I loved so long ago. As a combination of both my increasing standards (and honestly, who has time to watch upwards of two dozen shows a season?), and my increasing age, I feel like I've drifted away from the "pure" love I felt for anime in the past, and I don't feel that this is a bad thing.

The appreciation that anime has given me for many other things - the seasons, the taste of good sake (or any liquor), Japan - in part has contributed to this drifting away. I can't watch the bad shows, or even the mediocre shows, anymore. I don't want to. Unless it has the bold artistic direction of Kemonozume, or the brilliance of Now and Then: Here and There, I'm not interested.

So this is "good-bye," at least to this blog. I'll be putting in to have it removed from animenano within the next week or so. I plan to keep posting on the blogs I already frequent (Bateszi, Hige, Riuva, etc.), no longer as a fellow blogger, but as someone who hopes to find something worth watching amidst all the trash.

It's been a great ride - long stretches without any activity, some really memorable posts, some not so memorable ones, and along the way I got to experience a great community of bloggers who really care about this hobby. Unfortunately I won't be able to take part to the extent that I have in the past, and I apologize, but I hope you all continue to write and introduce more and more people to the grand passion that is anime. It's well worth the experience.


At 12:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I disagree with the idea that anime is stagnating. In fact, more than ever before, we are getting tonnes of new stuff and crazy ideas.

The key issue here is, in the past, the shit doesn't flow to us overseas. But in this digital age, we get to see everything in its uncensored glory.

If you cut out all the crap and overdone shows, what is left are excellent ones that could rival any of the ones from the "good old days". Either that, or we have grown up as viewers and are no longer as intrigued and interested.

Case in point: Look at Eureka seveN. If it was made in the 90s, people would be wetting their pants much more than now. But because there are so many, just as good, people only think it's a great show and nothing more. Same goes for shows like Ouran, Full Metal Panic and others even Suzumiya Haruhi.

At 4:52 AM, Blogger bateszi said...

I'm also struggling with animé at the moment. There are a few shows actually worth watching, like Red Garden and the rest of N.H.K, but the rest is by and large teenage trash and otaku pandering. I'm hoping to find a few gems on the horizon (eagerly anticipating Mardock Scramble) but the truth is that there is very little to show the genre in a good light right now. If Kanon is all this generation has to offer, we're in trouble.

As far as your blogging goes - your thoughtful and considered writing style will be sorely missed!

At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all eventually grow out of things. I find myself dropping more shows these days than I did before. (i.e. EVERYTHING I CAN DOWNLOAD I MUST WATCH!)

Good luck and I hope you still stop by other blogs :)

At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I second the motion.


But you won't delete this blog right?
I'm still linking to you. ^_^;

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Michael said...

tj han: I certainly agree that there are plenty of great shows out there, but I also feel that the industry as a whole is going downhill. And I also agree that we are able to access much more of the crap than we were in the past, and that's part of the problem. But what it all comes down to, in the end, is that my personal love affair with anime is over.

bateszi: Thanks a lot. Your blog is definitely one of the best I've read, and actually made me enjoy episode summaries to a certain extent.

hinano: Thank you also for the comment and for letting me buy that doujin you drew.

hayase: No, I won't be deleting the blog, it'll stay up, and though I won't post, I'll drop by every once in a while to check for comments.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger J.Valdez said...

Best wishes, and don’t be a stranger.

At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one am very disappointed that you've decided to stop blogging here.

I've only just discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and have enjoyed reading your older posts immensely.

In fact, I can say without reservation that this is the single most worthwhile anime blog I've ever found - although as you've mentioned many times, most of the rest are devoted almost exclusively to episode summaries (for series I care nothing about, no less!).

Your posts were always well written, well considered and thought-provoking, and I'll miss them dearly.

I've only been a "fan" of anime for about three or four years, although I use that term loosely. My tastes are highly selective, and I could perhaps more accurately be called a "fan" of good storytelling - something which is rare in any medium these days, whether it be film, prose fiction, comics or animation.

In other words, I have a hard time sorting through the mindless drivel to find anime worth spending my time on. In any given year, there might be one or two series that match that description (this past year it was Mushishi & Ergo Proxy) - and really, that's fine with me. There are too many truly fine stories being told in other media to waste time watching bad anime (or reading bad comics, or...).

For this reason, the average anime blog (or indeed anime magazine) holds little that is of interest to me.

Yours was different, and while I'm very sorry to see it go, I'm also glad to have found it at all.

So thank you.

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. :)

Enjoy what you can in life. :D

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Michael said...

J. Valdez: I keep dropping by your blog to check for new posts - give me something to comment on! :)

alex taylor: Your one comment has really made this whole experience worth that much more - thanks so much for your support and kind words, and I hope that what I've written up until now will continue to meet your high standards.

michael s.: Thanks, and keep up the great writing.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Hige said...

Whoo, really missed the boat on this. Apologies for that - the lack of activity on HVO is suggestive of my involvement with the anime blogging sphere in general (i.e. bugger all). And, like most have already said, my lack of passion for anime at the moment.

But definitely: it's a shame that you've called it a day. You were up there with the anime bloggers I made a concerted effort to read, because of the quality of the writing and the variety of opinion. Also, your comments on hvo were always worthwhile and helped contribute to my site, so for that thank you and I hope you'll still pop in and continue to do so.

It's repetitious, but who cares when it's true: you'll be sorely missed!

As for the general disillusionment with anime: I totally empathise, but it's nothing new for me. Anime is, for the most part, derivative trash, and I knew this from day one. It's a form of mass entertainment in Japan and something not unlike soaps or syndicated sitcoms in America/Britain. You get flashes of brilliance in a very similar ways, too. For every Six Feet Under, there are millions of crappy comedies about henpecked fathers and the assorted gaggle of zany women around them. For every FLCL there's fifty, well, Kanons. Personally, my expectations of anime are kept low so when something of quality/worth appears it's a pleasant surprise. For innovation and variety, I rely mostly on manga.

It's a shame that your cynicism developed later (a lot of my 'wow animation is awesome and important' beginnings revolved around the MTV stuff like the Maxx and Aeon Flux when I was much younger) and it up-heaved things enough for you to lose the faith, as it were. The way I approach blogging these days is to just allow the long spats of inactivity to happen and come back when the drive is strong enough.

I have a lot to thank the desire to 'write well' as a sustaining motivation, too - hvo revolves entirely around the practice of writing about something that interests me, and hopefully I eventually benefit from this.

But anyway, this has turned a bit egotistical when I meant it only to be empathetic. You'll definitely be missed and let us know if you come back in any official sense. Otherwise, see you in the comments and I hope life is good!

At 6:01 AM, Blogger Wee said...

Hey, just like to say I love your blog. There should be more anime blogs like this, out there. Just found your blog a few months ago and had been reading your old posts ever since. Your posts are really inspiring, combining your perspective and philosophy on what you'd watched. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your posts. Peace! Don't ever delete this blog.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Michael said...

hige: It's taken me a while to reply to this, but I just wanted to say "Thanks." I appreciated all of your kind words when I first left, and I still do. Writing for this blog really made a great difference for me, and knowing that you all cared enough about it made that even greater.

wee: I'm always glad to know that there was an even larger audience out there that liked and read this blog. And that it continues to provide something meaningful to people who drop by even now, a year after I last posted. So thank you for your comment. I don't ever plan on deleting this blog, not after investing so much in it.

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Ragnarok said...

If you ever decide to come back we would love to hear more from you again. But maybe it might be a good idea to take a break from anime it never hurts especially when life gets really busy.


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