I blame my recent addiction to Rock Band in bringing back to my mindscape all these 90s recycled radio hits. And promptly stuck there until I master them at the appropriate difficulty (which is currently somewhere between medium and hard on the drums). Been tempted by the downloadables too. I hope they rotate in some Hootie & the Blowfish (although a Stone Temple Pilots is fine too I guess…or, lol, Cake)…
But these temporary distractions are just that. I’m not at all like Jeff Lawson on his fairly busy life. I got a ton of crap to do too but somehow I’m dedicated enough to squeeze anime in there. It’s as if my life has, somewhere down the road, been retooled to be a mean anime viewing and chewing machine. I’m not going to say I’m trying to make my life interesting; rather, I’m just doing what my fleshly desire is pulling me, in its eternal tension against the forces of good and what is proper.
In a season of lull it may very well be sensuality and its usual tricks pulling me to one crappy anime to another. But in the midst of nonsense fanservice I always trip over some nugget of worth. It’s like spotting a coin in the gutter. Or a gem in the rough. And that’s what keeps me watching anime all year long, year after year. It makes a lot of sense to me why the Japanese otaku subculture is so keen on the lolicon–that tension between what is good and what is better but worse. I’m just thankful that sometimes anime is not so pandering, and is rather mature without being mechanically dry. At times it can be refreshingly naive, or surprisingly cunning. There’s still 10% of the good stuff even if the other 90% sucks with a vengeance. And even so the vengeance (sometimes) comes with good action sequences and nice butts.
Contrary to popular belief, I believe people who do watch a lot of stuff don’t often get jaded. Critics do because it makes them more credible, I believe, and also as you accumulate experience it becomes easier to be critical. Being critical, however, doesn’t mean you have to look down at something or have an excuse to be harsh. Some people do get jaded after watching anime after a while, but I don’t really think these folks have really seen all that much. It is better attributed as another form of burnout.
One thing we all have to realize is that anime, historically, is young. Many people credit Astro Boy for being the first “anime” as we know it, but that’s barely 50 years old. Seeing just how many anime titles are being pumped out of Japan today we need to also realize there’s more anime on the air, on DVD, and on the internet now than ever before (and how few there were back in the days). If you are new to this fandom (in the past 5 years) then you need to know that the past 35-40 years worth of anime history has been compressed, filtered and condensed to a tee in the form of cultural history and knowledge. Yesterday’s best is still today’s classics, but last year’s crap is forgotten. As a result when we see today’s crap, we need to take the right perspective. Sometimes this means to revisit old shows.
But sometimes it means to leave them. Old shows are just that, old. New shows are not. It’s sitting there to be discovered. To appreciate the ongoing evolution and the dialog between the audience and the creator, we have to move on. I’m still haunted by the awesome dialog at the start of ef episode 6. Isn’t that the heart of the matter?
And too often we’re just haunted by mere burning memory, running in an empty arena, driven by the burning longing of something past but hoped for. Don’t fall into that trap. Take your anime as they come to you. Real burning passion is not a passing fad. Kamina died for not just you, but also those who have yet to come. Even for the passionless they can just enjoy anime as it is, and not as some kind of thing bigger than just the show and culture that surrounds it. Love your Evangelion-sized gravitas but don’t forget it’s not a serious business. Feelings are uncontrollable but actions are controllable.
He’s going the distance
He’s careless about speed
We’re not alone
Cuz we got all we need!