I’m not really the biggest anime fan. At one point, back in high school, I was, but I also hadn’t actually seen much of it. Sure, I had caught the occasional episode of Dragon Ball Z or Sailor Moon over the years while watching cartoons in the morning, but normally a late riser and those were on ridiculously early so I didn’t see much. My biggest experience had probably come from playing video games, RPGs like Lunar, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy, that used that art style.
When I spent a summer sometime around 00 or 01 with some relatives is when I first really got to watch some, and I fell in love. I was mostly watching the Adult Swim anime block as I went to sleep, and I saw stuff like Cowboy Bebop, Trigun and Lupin the III. I went from a vague awareness that it existed to trying to stay up as late as possible to watch it. Unfortunately, my first experience left me with false impressions. I saw some of the best stuff first. Cowboy Bebop is to this day one of my favorite TV shows of any kind, and I still like Trigun and Lupin. Since all of the shows I watched were good (even Inuyasha was fairly entertaining despite its quickly tired formula) I expected everything else to be along the same lines.
So when I finally went away to college and lived somewhere with both cable and high speed internet, my misconceptions were quickly and painfully corrected. There was still good stuff on Adult Swim. The shows I’d liked were still in the rotation, and new stuff like Samurai Champloo and Case Closed were pretty entertaining. But the more I watched, especially my own illegal internet forays, the more I realized the most anime is crap. That really isn’t a strong condemnation, most TV in general is crap. My experience is what it would be like to have your only experience with American TV be Arrested Development, Firefly and Community; everything you’ve seen is so great, there is no reason to not expect similar quality from other shows. So when you turn on something like My Name is Earl (which I like a lot, especially the first 2 seasons), it suddenly becomes the worst show you’ve ever seen. For about a year, every anime I watched was the worst anime I had seen. I soon got tired of wading through the crap and watched other things. Like Arrested Development, the best TV show.
In the last few months, though, I’ve started watching some anime again. Mostly because my brothers were using my Netflix account to watch Fullmetal Alchemist and Gurren Laggan. (Quick digression: I find it really weird to share my Netflix account, because I am self-conscious about my viewing choices. Sometimes I watch weird crap because it is weird crap. Don’t you judge me!) On a friend’s recommendation, I … acquired and watched Vision of Escaflowne. I liked it quite a bit. It fuses mecha action stuff with sappy relationship junk in a way that is largely entertaining. I think maybe enough time has passed that I am willing to waste some time watching crap shows again with the hope that I’ll occasionally discover a gem. Plus, I now have more friends and acquaintances with knowledge of anime to help direct me, rather than blindly stumbling through.
So I guess the point is that I used to like anime, then I didn’t, now I kind of do again. I could easily decide it’s not worth my time again soon and go back to watching Dr. Who and Columbo when I use Netflix, but I hope not. Also, I am very open to suggestions for good shows that are available on whatever internet streaming service. So tell me some good stuff to watch. I like action shows and old stuff
One thought on “Me and Anime”
I’m not the biggest anime fan so I can’t really speak to crap vs. non-crap, but years ago i sat through a Neon Genesis Evangelion marathon with friends. Though they were much more into it than I, it was still really enjoyable if, at times, a little disturbing. Around that time, I was also way into Aeon Flux – great stuff. (Does that count as anime?) In more recent times, I’ve seen Afro Samurai and the Marvel series on G4 – mostly entertaining on all counts. I’ve heard Bleach is good, but have not seen it.
As for regular TV, how about The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.? Cheesy action, granted, but quite fun with Bruce Campbell at the helm. And if you want to take a back a few, you can’t go wrong with classics like Airwolf, the A-Team, MacGuyver, and the Streets of San Francisco.