Thursday, January 11, 2007

Clearing things up...

Since "retiring" from blogging two months ago, I've seen a couple of posts pop up that referenced my blog or that dealt with some things I said. One in particular brought a flood of visitors, Stripey's post. Curious to see what had caused all the fuss, I dropped by Stripey's blog and checked it out. What I saw was, I felt, a misinterpretation of what I had meant to say in my final parting words (the "last post" I ever meant to write for this blog). Please read the post on Stripey's blog before you read my response, which is below in italics. This should clear up, once and for all, what I was trying to say in my parting shot.

Oh yes, and for those of you who stop by to read - I do still check it for comments, and will respond to you if you comment on a post, no matter how old. I am not back to stay, however - I mean this only as a means of clarifying what I said before.

It's disheartening when I read the comments I've seen here in response to Stripey's post, because it's obvious that no one has really given the issue much thought. It also saddens me to see my "last words" being so misinterpreted.

Before I tackle the misinterpretation, I would like to address a few of the "backlashes" I saw in this post against what I "said." Keiichi, the comment right above mine, suggested that typically people who have been watching people for approximately 4 to 5 years find that anime has stagnated, and suddenly begin to dislike anime based on shows only from that time frame. As I've been watching anime for the past twelve years, and have watched shows from the 70s and 80s to present, that obviously does not apply to my case. dsong, dyw1988, and plenty of others raised the valid point that there has "always been bad anime." I don't disagree with this. However, I have seen very few shows this decade that can compare to the "golden age" of the 80s and 90s in terms of quality of storytelling and thematic maturity. There continue to be good shows, but I'd say that there are good shows in spite of the state of Japanese Animation, not because of it.

From here I'd like to move onto what I believe has been a misinterpretation of my post. Many people took a look at the single statement, "anime has stagnated," and given that it was taken out of context assumed that it meant that the writer must have certain qualities (i.e., not that much "experience" watching anime) or must not notice certain generalities that anyone with half a mind can observe (i.e., there are always bad shows). However, my point in my final post was that anime has stagnated for me. Specifically, for me. Two things happen, both of them very personal - I had watched so much anime, and in particular so much mediocre anime, that it burnt me out, and I felt like I was investing too much time in the medium and not leaving enough for other areas of my life that I feel are much more important.

This is why it was so important to read the post in order to understand what I was getting at. In the end, anime is a hugely personal entertainment medium. It caters to individual fantasies, and makes you believe that you are the center of the fantasy (exemplified by harem anime). This makes it very difficult to "dialogue" on anime the way you might a good fiction novel, or the way you would a great movie. You wrap so much of yourself into the story and the characters that you feel like you have your own private world with these people, and it's something that others can't take from you. This is why anime is so addicting, and why people who enjoy it tend to watch so much of it. Who doesn't want their own special world that others can't even comprehend or touch? We can share it to the extent that we say what characters we like, or what particular moments touch us, but we can't really share the depth of feeling that draws us to anime because it's something that lies deep in us, something that we let few people touch.

I could spend a long time arguing about why anime has stagnated in the terms that everyone else seems to have assumed that I meant, but I think it's more important to address what I really was trying to get at. Seeing that I've had so many visits from this site because of that post, I wanted to at least try to clear some of these issues by making a comment, and then posting this comment on my blog. I hope that it will become clearer what I meant to say, and what I didn't.

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