Unpopular Opinion: Arslan Senki Season 2

Arslan Senki Season 2 is by far my favorite show of summer 2016.  I know a lot of people are way more hype about Mob Psycho 100, and for good reason it’s been fantastic so far, but Arslan Senki has stood out for me in particular because it’s the only prominent sequel of the season which hasn’t fucked up big time, something I went over in detail in my last post.  In fact, Arslan Senki season 2 adds a surprising amount of detail to the characters, world and overarching plot of the series despite being only eight episodes long.  Moreover the second season concludes it’s arc nicely and lays out everything needed to get a third season started.  Before we move on though I would encourage anyone, it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen the show or not, to read my prior review of Arslan Senki as it will introduce the story for newcomers and give you all some idea of where I’m coming from.  There will be spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned.

Arslan Senki season 2 is everything a proper sequel should be.  It adds substantially to the pre-existing narrative, maintains a level of quality on par with the first season, and, most importantly, it doesn’t fuck anything from season 1 up.  Now all of those things seem pretty basic and obvious but if you’ve been watching many sequels lately you ought to know how often sequels fail to do all, or possibly any, of these things.  Its accomplishments as a sequel are already great enough to excite me, however I think’s also important to note the precise subject material that has been added.  Because what makes Arslan Senki season 2 work is how much less time is focused on Arslan, much like how the early episodes of season one were mostly dedicated to showing how quickly Pars fell once the rug was pulled out from under it.

Arslan and his group do some important things but Hermes and the royal court of Lusitania got a lot more time in the spotlight.  This is vital as it gives both Hermes and the Lusitanians time to develop and grow more nuanced.  Because that was what a lot of Arslan Senki season 2 was, making the pre-existing factions, world and story more nuanced and complex.  One of the things only shown in broad strokes in the later part of season 1, was that there was a lot of division among the main three powers behind the Lusitanians even without the question of Hermes.  In season 2 those divisions are made much clearer and the consequences of that division manifests in interesting ways, like Bodin destroying the aqueduct and leaving Ecbatana with a serious water shortage problem.  In addition we finally got a brief glance at to other nations mentioned but not shown in season 1, Maryam, the fallen ally of Pars and Turan, a hostile nation to the east.  But what I consider the most important additions to the show was the extra development of Hermes.  In season 1 Hermes was this one note, revenge seeker who was clearly going too far in his revenge, which was going to be his downfall.  He’s still this way, but season 2 adds some important details to his backstory, like how he was betrayed multiple times and egged on by the weird sorcerer cult seen in season 1 before he finally snapped and became the kind of guy he is, and even more interestingly that he has romantic feelings for someone, namely the exiled, blind princess of Maryam.  This is important because while it doesn’t change or break his overall character and methods, it adds depth to him and makes much more human, especially when the Maryam princess is introduced.  His quest for revenge is even more justified than it was in season 1 (not that that redeems him from going too far) and a potential marriage with the Maryam princess puts him an ideal position to claim not only Pars, but also Maryam as his rightful kingdom.

Meanwhile Arslan and his gang saved their nation’s major trade hub from corruption and a pirate problem but that honestly wasn’t that important.  Sure, in a big picture sense it was important for the war effort and it was something that needed to happen, but as it’s own story the saving of Gilan was something of a footnote, honestly Arslan’s achievements against the Lusitanians, Sindhura and Turan were far more impressive from a military standpoint and they added a lot more to Arslan and company’s character.  Season 2 was less about Arslan and more about allowing the rest of the world involved get on his level in terms complexity and depth of characterization, and laying the foundation for what looks to be a more substantial third season.  And I will admit that phrasing it that way does make it sound a bit boring, I mean it’s essentially a transition season in-between the first and third season, but it’s a powerhouse at getting things done and to be honest I think it’s very exciting to see a work spend some extra time adding in details and upping its game at the ground level because that tells me the people working on this thing care, it tells me this is not some cash-grab, but rather a serious attempt to bring the Arslan Senki manga to life in animation in it’s full glory.  Moreover I’m both a big fan of history (real and fictional) and I have a massive boner for world building, and this season adds a lot to the world building as well as making the historical aspects of the show more realistic and interesting.

However while the focus is less on Arslan and more about getting the rest of the story ready for the next, bigger season, there is one hugely important development for Arslan, namely that by the end of the second season he’s finally willing to go against his nominal father.  Season 2 made it abundantly clear that Andragoras is a better warrior than season 1 let on, and it also further showcased how pathetic he was as a king.  His escape and subsequent return to the throne should be bringing Pars’s army more morale than it has ever had and effectively nullify any lingering concerns about the proper successor of Pars for the time being.  However because he’s a dick, and to me at least appears unbelievably insecure and petty, he has left Pars’s army more divided than it’s ever been, lowered the morale of his most important generals and effectively thrown away all the talent that Arslan had amassed, talent which had seen Pars not only survive the Lusitanian invasion but even thrive despite the many threats it faced in it’s weakened state.  Now with the second season ending and what looks to be the final conflict coming soon in the third season (which is also hopefully coming soon), Arslan appears ready to stop taking his father’s shit and take the future of Pars into his unquestionably more capable hands.  This a pretty big moment for him personally, it will make things more complicated for Pars in the future and I think it sends a message about kingship that I find very on-point, namely that a king’s greatest skill should not be his physical power or the ability to craft a fearsome reputation but rather the ability to gather and earn the trust and faith of competent people.  What makes Arslan an ideal king is that because he has the loyalty of good strategists and warriors he can devote himself to ruling, to fixing the social problems and cultural divides that caused Pars to fall in the first place.  Meanwhile Andragoras is only good at fighting, a valuable skill, but not something particularly important to kingship.

All three royal members of Pars have been left in interesting positions by season 2’s end.  Andragoras has ostensibly the biggest army of the three and a secure base in Peshawar.  Hermes has a battle-hardened army, a potential royal spouse and the legendary sword of Pars’ founder to give him influence.  Arslan meanwhile has won the hearts and minds of people all over Pars and even some from other nations, making him the ideal king even if he doesn’t necessarily have the tangible assets and credentials of his competitors.  It makes me pretty damn excited for the war to come, especially with the Lustianians divided and the new king of Turan seeking vengeance against Pars.

All told Arslan Senki season 2 got a hell of a lot done in eight episodes.  Characters and royal courts have been fleshed out in more detail.  Important new characters have been introduced and new nations have made their debut.  There were action scenes big and small, intrigue, betrayal and it was all neatly tied up to set the stage for a bigger season to come.  And best of all it proved me wrong, twice.  I was initially a little bummed out with the end of season 1, with my main complaint being, “why didn’t they just finish the fight for Ecbatana?”  That question was answered right away as season 2 opens up with an invasion from Turan which Arslan had to turn back and fight because Peshawar was currently more valuable than Ecbatana.  I was also concerned that with just eight episodes this season was basically going to be a pointless spin-off which wouldn’t be on par with season one, and as I’ve explained above I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I’m very much impressed with Arslan Senki seasons 1 and 2, and if you haven’t checked them out already, I would highly recommend you do so.

This next bit isn’t really all that important to the review but it’s something I wanted to touch on anyway.  I wanted to talk about the historical inspirations behind the world of Arslan Senki and what that could theoretically mean for the show.  Pars is based off of ancient Persia, the heart of which is modern day Iran, and though the map has been warped a bit, the map of Pars is mostly accurate to it’s real world counterpart, ancient Persia.  Pars appears to border what would be the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea and the Arabian Sea in our world and this is fairly accurate, though it would mean Pars has control of Armenia in our world.  This would make Maryam a nation of steppe nomads but they look more like that world’s version of Armenians to me, which is in keeping with warped map, if Pars occupies land that would be Armenia, then Armenia could be shifted north and made into Maryam.  Sindhura is a bit weird because it’s inspired by India but the kingdom’s terrain is desert not jungle. On that note Pars doesn’t seem too heavily influenced by Persian culture, it’s armies wear vaguely eastern armor and they have slaves but other than that they don’t seem rock an eastern vibe as much as Sindhura.  Turan meanwhile is a bit of mystery because it could one of several options.  Based on their name the most obvious answer would be that Turan is based on the ancient Turks, who were nomads before they settled in Turkey.  However they could also be Dahae, an eastern steppe nomad people or Parthia, which was a steppe nomad nation which eventually became more traditionally eastern culturally, and which would eventually become a major power in the Middle East.

The most interesting faction by far though is the Lusitanians.  Based on their wargear and zealotry it’s fairly obvious that they are based on the crusader armies of Europe.  However their name implies something different and it’s going to be important.  Thus far most of the nations of Arslan Senki are based on nations from the ancient world with Turan being the only exception if we assume they based on the Turks, who weren’t a prominent force until later.  Turan could also theoretically be inspired by the Huns which would be more period appropriate but that seems less likely to me.  Instead of crusaders, the Lusitanian’s could be based on the inhabitants of Lusitania, the Lusitani.  Lusitania was the Roman name for what is today Portugal, and the Lusitani were an ancient world tribe of Iberians.  Assuming that the world map of Arslan Senki’s world is mostly accurate to our own, as is the case for the region shown in the show, that would mean the Lusitanians could theoretically control as much territory as the Roman empire did in our world, they would after all be coming from west of Spain and gotten as far east as Iran.  Even if they went mostly in straight line and didn’t conquer as much territory to the north and south as Rome did, that’s still a staggering amount of territory to control, which means lots of resources and soldiers.  If this was in fact the case it would mean the Lusitanian’s are exponentially more powerful than Pars and could be bringing in even larger armies in the future.  This doesn’t guarantee victory of course, numbers alone don’t win wars and even if they did it’s fucking hard to win wars when you are far from your home base.  This is all drawn from a mix of historical knowledge and speculation of course, but how interesting would it be if it was revealed that the Lusitanian army that sacked Ecbatana was just a vanguard for a much larger force?  What would that force Arslan, Hermes and Andragoras to do?  Would they join forces, would they continue to fight?  Would they drive the Lusitainians out for good (the ancient Germans did something similar to Rome, they killed so many soldiers, a full 10% of Rome’s total military might, in the Battle of Teutoberg Forest that Rome just said fuck it and never invaded again), or would they fall, or maybe be weakened enough to fall to Turan or Sindhura?  The possibilities are endless and while it looks like none of them will actually happen, it is a fun thought exercise and something I very much wanted to get off my chest.  Thank you for reading and I’ll see you in the next one.


Raging Rant: Fuck Corporate Cash-Grab Sequels

You know about a year ago I said I thought it would be healthy for anime to make some sequels to older shows instead of making a ton of split cour shows and sequels to recent shows.  And I’m starting to regret that statement now.  There will be spoilers you’ve been warned.

Man just fuck cash grab sequels, fuck’em all.  Between the fucking awful Berserk 2016 and the trainwreck reboot-continuation D Gray Man Hallow, I’m beginning to think sequels to older shows might be a mistake, at least in the current cultural paradigm.  See here’s the thing the people mandating all of these sequels either don’t give a fuck about art or care more about money than art.  I also think part of the problem stems from FMAB.  Now you might be wondering why I’m mentioning FMAB when talking about sequels because it isn’t one, and that’s because I believe FMAB is the main cause of the reboot and sequel boom.

As far as I’m aware FMAB was the first reboot (sort of, I’ll get into more detail in a minute) to really make it big and convince investors and studio heads that maybe reboots of older shows and sequels to older shows were financially viable and potentially lucrative.  So people jumped on the idea and ran with it.  And sometimes it worked, HunterxHunter quite famously had an excellent reboot, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has been doing well and even the Ushio to Tora reboot looked pretty good.  However it’s important to note that all of these other success stories aren’t exactly like FMAB.  FMAB was not a one for one reboot the way HunterxHunter 2011 was (sort of), nor simply a new adaptation of an old manga like JoJo.  FMAB was a re-adaptation of FMA, one which followed the now-complete manga much more closely, and as a result the two shows are pretty different.  Most notably however, FMAB does not cover some of the early episodes of FMA like Yoki’s introduction episode and instead breezes through that shit to get to the rest of the story.  And’s it’s this approach or attitude I feel that’s informing the trainwreck sequels mentioned above.

Both Berserk 2016 and D Gray Man Hallow open on episodes that are one part reboot, one part sequel and one part reintroductions to the work (which was pointless anyway because the fans already know what the fuck the shows were about and newcomers shouldn’t be watching the fucking sequel first to begin with).  Part of the reasons the first episodes of these sequels were so terrible was because they are such a chaotic mishmash of ideas, trying to go too many directions at once.  D Gray Man Hallow’s first episode in particular reminds of FMAB’s, if FMAB’s was total shit anyway.  D Gray Man Hallow begins with a flashy fight, where all the main characters are busting out their big moves, while later in episode Cross talks to Allen about important stuff that let’s us know this story is going to be more involved and complicated.  FMAB did the same things with Isaac trying to freeze the capital of Amestris, they just executed the ideas much better by showing us a bunch of fights and some of the important characters or items, like Bradley and the philosopher’s stone, and what they could do without explaining them to us as a means to pique our interest.  Berserk 2016 likewise saw Guts kill a bunch of guys in a bar like episode one of the original show and fight some big tree monster later to show us what a badass he is.  And do you want to know why the first of FMAB, which fulfills a similar function to D Gray Man Hallow’s and Berserk 2016’s, works while the other two don’t?  Because they’re fucking sequels and FMAB wasn’t.

What really baffled me back when I bitched about the first episode of D Gray Man Hallow was why the hell they bothered to make it a sequel at all.  They changed all the voice actors and presumably the staff (I haven’t checked on that but considering how different it is I’m pretty confident about it), changed the look and tone of the show, and opened on this atrocious fight scene that introduced all the characters and their powers (sort of, they botched it with Alystar and Miranda).  What was the fucking point of making a goddamn sequel if everything was going to be different?  The answer was that they decided to advance the story and pick up where D Gray Man left off.  But that seems pretty meaningless given that they changed everything else.  Now I get it, they threw the fans of D Gray Man a bone and hoped to make a bunch of money off of us in the process, I’m just mad because I hate this particular metaphorical bone.  And it’s a shame really, because as badly as I thrashed that first episode the show has actually gotten borderline ok as of the latest episode at the time of this writing (Kanda and Alma’s backstory), and even before that they introduced some decent ideas like the Third Exorcists.  And all I can think of is how much better this would be if we had the old voice actors, the old look, the old team and most importantly the old tone of the show.  I honestly wish that D Gray Man Hallow was a full HunterxHunter 2011 style reboot than a fucking sequel-that-is-also-a-reboot.  I’d probably care about less if it was a reboot but I wouldn’t be as pissed at it either.  And I think everyone can agree that we wished Berserk 2016 never happened.

This trend of sort-of sequel, sort-of reboot shows (let’s call them rebquels) worries me because, until I see someone make it work, I’m pretty sure it’s a formula for failure.  Moreover I know more shows like this are going to come out, people are already worried about how much damage the upcoming FLCL sequel will do to that IP.  And I weep at the thought of other great shows that fans have been dying for more of getting these absolute garbage sequels and rebquels as a “reward” for their faith and patience.  Fucking no, this has to stop.  As I discussed before a bad sequel is worse than a bad show, put some fucking care and attention into your fucking high profile sequels Japan.  If you don’t you are going to burn a lot of fans.  And look maybe enough people will just be so happy that more of [insert beloved older show here] is coming out that the practice is financially successful for now, but if it keeps happening over and over you can bet it won’t continue to be successful.  Devoted fans will eat a lot of shit but even they have limits and if we keep getting more Berserk 2016’s you will push fans beyond their limits and it will fucking destroy you.  It will destroy you because you will have dragged your name and legacy through the fucking mud and destroyed your own damn credibility so you could make some easy fucking money.

If you want to make a sequel to an old show, then make it a proper fucking sequel.  You don’t need to reintroduce it anyone, because the fans already know what’s up and they will build hype for the series for you.  If you want to hook a new audience to an old IP, make a reboot.  Don’t combine the two in any way shape or form.  Also recognize that FMAB was a readaptation and if you want to do what it did, your show must also be a readaptation, or at least a HunterxHunter 2011 style reboot because that rebooted the old stuff completely and then added new stuff.  One of the best sequels in recent years was Utawarerumono Itsuwari no Kamen.  You know why?  Because it was a proper fucking sequel and it had some some fucking care put into it.  Itsuwari no Kamen isn’t even as good as it’s predecessor, but you know what, it also isn’t bad.  Itsuwari no Kamen has gorgeous visuals, good characters and a decent story even if it dragged it’s feet and ended well before the full story was over.  But it didn’t ruin Utawarerumono for me, it didn’t even really disappoint me, if anything I was worried it was going to be even worse and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was good.  It’s not ideal, an ideal sequel is as good as, if not better than, the original show but it’s acceptable, I don’t feel burned by it and I have faith that any following sequels will likely be good.  If you made a Berserk sequel like that, or a D Gray Man Hallow like that you’d be so much better off, fans would be happier and I’d be a lot fucking happier (which frankly is what really matters to me).

That about wraps this one up.  The issue here is really simple, I don’t want to the legacy of great studios and great anime ruined by terrible, short-sighted sequels and rebquels created with the goal to make some easy fucking money rather than making some great fucking art.  Because that’s what makes those old shows good, they’re fucking great works of art, and throwing that art to the wind in the attempt to make a quick, easy profit will hurt you in the long term.  And sure, maybe you only care about the short term, and some of your audience no doubt does as well, but a lot of anime fans are long time fans, and they care about the long term damage to a show’s legacy.  So respect you fans, because they pay your bills and if you fail them too hard, too often they’ll stop footing the fucking bill.  Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll see you in the next one.

Understanding Popularity: Quality and Popular Shows

Recently I saw a short review of One Punch Man by anime Youtuber BaronJ, and it’s one of the best ones I think he’s done because as he reviewed the show he talked about the asinine tendency some people have to instantly  assume or otherwise believe that shows which are popular are bad shows, which is the anime equivalent of arguing that games as popular as say Call of Duty must also be of the same relatively low quality as Call of Duty.  Since I liked the video I just thought I’d give my two cents on the same subject, there will be scattered spoilers, you have been warned.

Just in case anyone who feels this way, as in you believe popular shows are bad shows, made through the first paragraph without closing out the page, I’m going to let you in a little secret, I totally get where you’re coming from.  I don’t agree with you, mind, but as someone who is similar to you, I get you.  I have a tendency to avoid popular shows, well sort of.  Technically I was introduced  to anime on popular shows and when I returned from my anime viewing hiatus I did it with a popular show and from there I watched several more popular shows.  But as I got more comfortable and more familiar with anime I started to avoid popular shows more often, I wanted to be that guy who knew the most awesome cult classic, who found the interesting stuff off the beaten path instead of walking the same mainstream road most anime fans followed.  I mean for fucks sake I have an entire subsection of this blog dedicated to “Hidden Gems,” though I haven’t given it as much attention as I would like to.  Believe me I get the appeal of writing off popular shows and trying to find something awesome and more unique.  One of the many reasons I am such a huge fan Katanagatari is because I know the ending is divisive and I enjoy pettily lording my ability to enjoy interesting anime over the casual anime fan.  But really that’s as far as it goes for me now, and that’s as far as it should go.

See here’s the thing, narcissism, a mild form of narcissism anyway, is a part of this writing off of popular shows.  We are all the heroes of our own story and most of us want to be special, someone distinct from the others around us.  I feel this is especially pronounced in anime community, anime has after all been something of a fringe medium in mainstream culture for decades now and it still is.  However it is less so now than it used to be, between social media, speed subbing, and just general cultural evolution more people are getting into anime than they used to and it’s slowly but surely becoming less of a weird and unknown thing in the mainstream. To those of us who are used to being on the fringe the next logical step therefore is as follows: if anime is getting more popular than by rejecting mainstream anime and finding the good stuff no one knows about, I can remain fringe, here meaning special.  I’m oversimplifying of course but as someone who had this mindset for years and still does to a lesser extent I feel pretty comfortable in my conjecture thus far.  There is however another side to this, the SAO effect.

Now the SAO effect is not specific to SAO or even anime, it’s present in every form of entertainment, I just call it that because it makes sense within the confines of anime.  The SAO effect is really quite simply, it’s when a show which is altogether terrible becomes hugely popular to the point where it’s basically worshiped by more causal viewers and causes major industry changes.  Much of the backlash towards popular shows can be attributed to the SAO effect, wherein the hardcore fans, like myself, get incredibly pissed that a garbage show like SAO is made popular by the masses of casual fans and how that popularity boom effects the landscape of what we perceive as “our” medium.  And as someone who has written several posts bashing  shitty SAO clones, SAO itself and why we need make more creative and original shows, trust me I get the hatred towards the SAO effect.  And the rift between hardcore fans and casual fans is real, even discounting all the venom I’ve seen on Youtube and other sites, I remember getting into a big argument with a casual fan over an episode of Fairy Tail 2014.  I ripped the thing to shreds because the episode was shit, and the casual fan basically told me to fuck off, I responded rather rudely and he did the same and then I tried to dial things back a bit and wrote a couple big paragraphs breaking down all the reasons I thought the episode was shit, no personal attacks, just my reasoning.  And it didn’t matter because that guy didn’t want to argue reason, by that point he had already classified me as a vile hardcore fan who ruined anime for newcomers and just perpetuated the argument by making attacks on me and hardcore anime fans without ever making a point of his own while my analytical breakdown responses got progressively nastier as I continued to explain my position but decided he was fair game to insult by that point.

Anyway the point is I get the reaction, I’ve been there and in some instances I’m still there.  I’ve heard great things about the mindfuck that is Serial Experiments Lain or how good Monster is, or for an even more popular example, I still haven’t watched Berserk yet because the first time I tried I couldn’t even make it through the first episode.  And to this day I’ve avoided these shows to some extent because they’re popular.  But at the same time, I have allowed myself to try those “vile” popular shows I kept putting off and here’s what I have to say: popularity is a sign of quality.  You’re probably thinking I’m talking about Evangelion or Cowboy Bebop, both of which are great by the way, but this applies to SAO as well just not in the same way.  See quality is by it’s very nature is subjective, there is no objective quality though I’ve surely said there is in prior posts, in which case I meant they are good by metrics most people agree on.  SAO is garbage but it has certain elements that are made with enough skill to be considered quality, mainly the premise and visuals.  And for a lot of anime fans it would appear that’s all you need.  And sure that frustrating when you’re like me and you want people to celebrate true masterpieces like Katangatari and Utawarerumono, but that doesn’t contradict the point I’m making here.  Popularity is a sign of quality, not necessarily a lot of quality or quality that counts where you want it to, but in order for something to get big, it must have something about it which is good and/or appealing and therefore quality craftsmanship.  Just as I can appreciate why SAO is a pile of shit, I can also understand what parts of it are good and why people might be into that.

The quality of a show’s premise I feel plays a particularly big role when it comes to attracting newcomers.  SAO, Erased, and Shingeki no Kyojin are some of the three biggest anime hits in recent years and all three of them, in my opinion, failed to deliver.  Even Shingeki no Kyojin, my favorite of those three is more noteworthy for the big action scenes more so than the story or characters, and I can get the same thing from Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, a show which I enjoyed a hell of a lot more than Shingeki no Kyojin.  But the fact that all three shows failed to deliver doesn’t matter to a ton of people, because to that mass of people the premise was crafted with enough quality to pull them all in and keep them interested enough to ignore all the flaws of the shows, assuming they don’t just miss the flaws entirely.  This is probably the biggest gap between hardcore otaku and “casual noobfags” when it comes to the differences in those two groups traditionally value.  To a lot of anime newbies, and I don’t mean to criticize anyone by calling them that because we’ve all been newbies at some point, a good premise is all you need or at least is more interesting than a slice of life moe show.  Trust me I know how that feels, it’s so fucking easy to write off all harem and moe shows or maybe all SAO of AoT clones to give a different example, and get drawn into something with a that has a more interesting premise.

Of course easy is not the same thing as smart or right, as I explained in my breakdown of why Erased’s characters sucked because they solely existed for their narrative purpose rather than existing as independent entities in the world of the show, I’d rather watch a decent moe or harem show than watch another show with a great premise that falls flat on it’s boring ass.  Because to someone like me a good premise alone is not enough to impress, you need to have more substance.  This substance can take many forms, maybe’s it’s characters I really like, or good fight scenes or good comedy.  One on the funniest shows in recent seasons was a moe comedy show called Bakuon.  Now I initially passed over Bakuon because it looked like a dumb moe show, and to be fair that’s exactly what it is, however what I failed to appreciate before I saw it was how much fun it was and how much heart had been into the stupid moe comedy, and that heart is what made it fucking hilarious.  Now Bakuon was not a big hit so far as I’m aware, despite the quality of it’s comedy.  This too is part of the reason people  they popular shows are bad, because a lot of people miss the shows that are great all the way through, shows that are overlooked because they don’t look as interesting as shows with a good premise like Erased.  So it is understandable how the idea that popular shows are bad shows came about, because many popular have quality where designed to attract lots of newbies while they lack quality where hardcore fans want quality, like story, characters, pacing and everything that isn’t premise and visuals.

However to assume that something that’s popular is automatically bad is even more close-minded than ignoring all of a show’s problems just because the premise is good.  One Punch Man is a great example because it’s fucking awesome, the comedy is hilarious, the action scenes are insanely well animated, the voice acting is spot on and the dialogue is solid.  Why would you assume it’s bad?  Maybe if action doesn’t interest you or you didn’t think the comedy was good or thought the idea of a hero who kills everything in one hit was boring I can understand why you might not like the show.  But One Punch Man oozes quality from every aspect of it’s design and it seems mindboogling to me that anyone fails to recognize that.  Moreover a lot of the shows that remain popular for any length of time tend to be high quality shows.  I remember I put off watching Cowboy Bebop and Evangelion for a long time because I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to the old 90’s animation, but after having seen I can say without a doubt that both shows are great and their 90’s animation fits them exceptionally well, the Evangelion Rebuild movies look far less impressive than the original Neon Genesis Evagelion despite their shiny new graphics.

Now none of this is to say you can’t dislike popular shows, I think plenty of popular shows are crap and I’m usually less impressed by even some of the truly beloved shows like Death Note compared to the community at large.  I just think it’s stupid to assume that something popular is automatically bad, don’t make assume that until you’ve tried it, or if you’re really averse to that maybe wait to hear about it from a friend you trust.  Lots of popular shows are bad, usually because their only quality constructs are their premises and visuals.  But assuming they’re all bad just because they’re popular is shooting yourself in the foot and making you look like an ass.  Have reasons why you hate something, good reasons, substantive reasons that can justify so someone who isn’t you can understand why you think the way you do.  If you just categorize popular shows as bad you could be missing out on great shows, because while some of the biggest popular shows in recent years are infamously terrible, there are plenty that are great or look promising and you honestly owe it yourself to find out for yourself what shows are and aren’t for you.  That’s really the main point here, more so than all the crap about different kinds of quality, what I really want people to do is stop missing out on good shows for stupid reasons, like assuming all popular shows are bad.  Hope you enjoyed the post and I’ll see you in the next one.