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2010: The Year We Make Less Anime (..Please?)

I need you to clear out your desk by 12:00am. Don't make me break out the fire extinguisher.

Okay 2000 – 2009, It’s time to pack it in, you’ve had your fun. Get out. Seriously. We need your locker for the new guy. No hard feelings. We all knew this day was going to come. And sure, I know we had ourselves more than a fair share of great times. That Suzumiya-san sure was awesome wasn’t she? Several years of Naruto & Bleach were more than I could ever have wanted out of a decade of anime on big money. What’s better than a couple hundred filler episodes? Hundreds more, right? And how about all of those uber pretty shows that delivered the service, and none of the charm? I could have gone another year with more moe heavy works, and hijinks bordering on pedophilia on novacaine doused with hallucinogens in aerosol form. Hell, I’ll miss those too.

To be honest, I’m still not sure how to feel about the last ten years in anime viewing.

As I relax away the final hours of 2009, I’m filled with memories of some incredible adult material, and yet strangely few compellingly good shows for anime’s primary audience, children. Don’t they count too? As cool as it’s all been for the Akiba-kei lot, it would have been nice to see an adventure series or two that retained a sense of wonder about the world without catering to the video/card gamer demographic. As hard as I tried, it was quite difficult. Sure, we had Dennou Coil, and even this year’s Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 was great, but nary else came out that embraced the possibilities inherent in Japan’s future. It was as if somehow, a mysterious cloud appeared over the islands and created some kind of alternate Japan where children sprouted out at age 14, and started the journey there without the early stumbling that comes with being too young to understand the oncoming complexities of a modern world. It is possible to create compelling storylines involving children that cross age boundaries. We may never have had Nadia or Future Boy Conan. Oh sure, a few leftovers from series that began in the 90s were still in force.

But the maturity levels of the anime world bounced all over, much like our stumbling about into the frontier that was the internet over the last ten years. So as much as it seemed like we had a great deal more to choose from on the surface, it seems that much of the Japanese experience has been whittled down to a kind of simulacrum of what mass consumers expect it to be. For every Paranoia Agent, there were several Afro Samurai. For every Mushi-Shi, there were several Ikki Tousens. Point being that the Zeroes was aloof in simltaneously fascinating, and yet regressive manners that I won’t soon miss. Anime was in danger of drowning in sameness, with few iconic creations to help define it. Something must be said for a decade where meta led to some of the decade’s most significant creations. It is as if the creatives are openly admitting that there’s little left for anyone to feed off of, so the fans themselves make for the very best last prime beef anyone has left in storage. Self-cannibalism. Something I wholeheartedly disagree with.

I’m truly looking forward to what the 2010s will provide us. As the market is in the midst of a potentially complete restructuring, along with the advent of independent talent & homemade works, there will likely be chances for new voices to enter the fray. In fact this possibility alone leaves me giddy as the genie’s bottle must be redefined. The idea that the best, most effective ideas may come from passionate indivuduals as opposed to merely commercial contingency plans sounds thrilling to me. I could do with a lot less anime that looks to capitalize merely on the visual appeal of the female designs. Hell, I don’t mind if they are butt-ugly, as long as they are well written and are teeming with life.

Bring it. I want an anime landscape broken and bruised. tattered and worn, with the stains still fresh on the shirt mixed with motor oil. I want to see more of the unexplored, and more of a sense of wonder than we’ve seen in quite a while. As exciting and as infuriating this has all been, I know it wasn’t all your fault. There were so many things to consider. Such as the bubble of the early part of the decade. We know you had to live up to what the west imagined you were all about. It was just too bad that so many would rather take as opposed to give. Perhaps if we devised a way for the masses to maintain the relationship, things would have worked out differently. Also sorry to see that JapanLand never took off. That runway landing on top of the life-size Yamato would’ve been sweet. And Gojira would’ve been able to shake the hands of those getting off the plane. Aw, shoot that would’ve been awesome. So, we all know that you had a little bit of a raw deal. So now I’m encouraging you to allow your little brother let loose okay? I know you’re capable of inspiring him to new heights of potential. We know what masturbation can do, Zeroes, now let’s see what happens when one is liberated by the limits, gets focused, and in the game.

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