This post contains no spoilers, at least not on the face.
The latest about Madoka Magica from Urobuchi’s, writer, twitter, is a spoiler for the show, 3 episodes in. I am not too concerned about his sadly feeble attempt to mislead, but it does show that the intent to surprise is fully present.
As an anime guy who watches anime and talks about it on the internet, spoiler, well, I shouldn’t have to tell you if you are reading this–they’re a double-edged sword or a necessary evil. Whatever and however you think they are and feel about them, they are unavoidable to an extent. Some might even seek them out on purpose. It’s also a great way to troll, as seen in Madoka’s case, as well as countless previous instances. Probably most recently famous for the Snake Kills Dumbledore meme [wow, 2005?]. Or maybe something else newer.
But if Shinbo doesn’t want to spoil you, maybe that is the best way to enjoy the show? Maybe it is best to enjoy Madoka without reading up and speculating too much? Well, whatever floats your boat, but that seems like a sensible thing to do.
Funny enough, given my perspective and tendencies I find myself applying The Spoiler Problem on the whole directly to the simulcast situation. It isn’t really a big surprise considering time delay and exclusivity are common methods for content owners to make profit and distinguish themselves over their competitors–there’s money in it. People want their stuff now, ASAP. I am not going to point fingers at DirecTV customers and call them impatient because they can get Hollywood films over their satellite dish faster than Netflix, but you get a bunch of them calling people who watch fansubs that exactly. That makes no sense to me, especially how some (very large and pervasive) media companies encourage this behavior. Can’t we stick to calling them people who break copyright laws? Because that’s all there is to it.
I mean, put it this way, in order to enjoy Madoka fully you pretty much have to avoid a spoiler that is 3 episodes in. The surprise element is pretty much gone if you follow any of the anime episodic blogs or chatters from Japan. Heck if you read #madoka on twitter you will basically get spoiled. As someone who prizes enjoyment of his anime above all else anime related, I really sympathizes to those Madoka fans who have to get their anime first, in this specific case, just so they can keep swimming.
I guess that’s not a real problem anyone has to be concerned about, since we live in a media-rich society with instant communication and broadcasting via the internet. In other words, we struggle with this all the time. It’s no different than picking up the newspaper on Friday and read about the reviews of new films coming out. Except in that case, if I really cared, I could just go watch it in theaters that same day then read the reviews. Where as in the anime case, copyright law says you are SOL. Sorry, can’t read twitter or blogs for the next 3 months!
But instead of griping or whatever, I think of it as a Real Life Problem and an opportunity for profit. That’s how startups are born, people! Because this applies not only to anime, but it applies to all manners of media and it applies to all forms of consumption. Like this little twitter client. Or something like Crunchyroll.