We have all been there. The excitement during the wait for the next episode. The thrill of reading well thought-out theories and discussing them with friends or over the internet. Humming our favorite song from the soundtrack. That silly smile on our faces after getting merchandise delivered to our homes, and the explosion of relief in our chests whenever a friend (who you’ve been recommending this series to for so long) says he’s hooked as well.
We all have a favorite anime, the one we feel proud to be a part of. Unfortunately, some people are bitter and vocal about it. One moment you’re tapping your fingers to Kill La Kill‘s “Before My Body is Dry”, and the next you’re arguing with someone about if you’re sexist garbage for watching it.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw it happen. Cue a very hot classroom where 9 year old Greg (who was much shorter, chubby, and didn’t wear sunglasses all the time) was taking notes for his science class. A tap on my shoulder caught my attention, and a classmate handed me something whispering, “Hey, have you read Rurouni Kenshin?” I moved my head side to side, and he continued: “Take a look, it’s awesome! If you like it I can lend you the next volume as well“. He seemed pretty passionate about it, but I was more worried about not being caught by the teacher. The manga he handed me was clearly a bit worn out, but in good enough condition to be read. As I was putting it in my backpack, another classmate saw me, and with all the arrogance on this Earth, smiled and said “Dude, Kenshin sucks. Vagabond is much better. Do yourself a favor and throw that thing in the trash.“
I didn’t end up liking Rurounin Kenshin that much, but the look on my friend’s face was one of saddest things I have ever seen. Upon hearing those words, his smile slowly dissipated and his eyes stopped glowing. He had a look on his face, almost as if he didn’t understand what the other guy meant. It was almost as if he literally couldn’t believe it. We stood there a few seconds in complete silence. I felt bad for my friend and he felt bad for himself. The other guy just went on to carve something on his desk, and I got a B- on the science exam.
A few years have passed, but humanity remains at its finest. Sometimes we dislike things, and we have a right to talk about it, but some take it a step further. We transform our tastes in banners of our personality, and any attack on our taste is instantly taken as a direct offense. With the internet this has become more and more common, and we still haven’t learned the difference between “I prefer Vagabond” and “Kenshin sucks”.
Look, I know I won’t change the world with an article about anime, but I can make your life a little better and that’s all I want. Learn what each case of “your anime sucks” actually means, and you’ll feel much better in the end.
1- Your anime sucks = I don’t like that particular genre
One of the most common examples. Someone who is not part of the target audience may feel bitter about a certain series, ignoring the fact that they may not have the qualifications to judge it. I could ramble on about why I don’t like ‘Hannah Montana’, but what do I know? I’m way out of the target audience. I should let a teenage girl decide if it’s fun or not.
What to do: Honestly? Nothing. It takes a lot of intelligence to appreciate the value of something without liking it or being part of the intended public. Don’t fight it and just let it go. It won’t get better or worse after someone’s opinion.
2- Your anime sucks = I haven’t watched it because it’s bad, and it’s bad because I haven’t watched it.
A dangerous spiral where somehow, people think they’re smart enough to pick up lots of clues and decide if something is good or bad without even watching it. These people only watch what they already know, a limited source of material that is bound to run out someday.
What to do: Like above, nothing. Wait and watch as they crash and burn. I’ve seen people say this until they saw something that made them change their minds, but it’s completely up to them.
3- Your anime sucks = I know one that is better
I like to call this one “The King Of The Hill Approach”. Some people think anime is kind of Battle Royale where only one is worthy of being good. It’s okay if you like Evangelion, sure, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch Gundam because “Evangelion has mechas as well and is much better”.
What to do: You could let them be with their biased opinion, but if you want to discuss it, try explaining that different shows (even ones within the same genre) talk about completely different topics. The only common point between Gundam is Evangelion is mechas, if you think about. There’s a reason to watch and like every show.
4- Your anime sucks = It has some flaws that make me unable to enjoy it
The most valid argument here, but flawed nonetheless. Sometimes you have watched an anime and noticed little plot holes, fan service, animation mistakes, bad characterization, a bland soundtrack, and a myriad of points where there could be improvement. Which is cool! But you know what it isn’t? Offending people because of it. I have friends who love some popular series that I can’t stand, like Bleach and One Piece, but I have never said “X/Y sucks”. First of all, if so many people like it, it probably isn’t that bad. And second, because a simple “Nah, I didn’t like it that much” is a clear signal that you don’t want to talk more about that subject. Move on. Switch topics. Talk about otters, or galaxies, or ice cream.
What to do: You can try to defend your show and explain some things. Maybe the animation wasn’t that fluid because their budget was tight, or maybe most people didn’t understand the ending at all (Yeah, I’m looking at you, Yuuki Yuna Was A Hero). Explain your arguments, listen to the other side, and have a mature discussion. Pet an otter and have ice cream if you managed to get this far.
5- Your anime sucks = Your anime actually sucks, you know about it, and couldn’t care less.
Ok, story time. There was a time in my life where I was really hooked to a particular Australian mermaid TV show. All my friends made fun of me once they found out, and every day I would come home and watch a new episode. And when I did, I never once remembered the teasing, I only thought about how I liked the show. It was cheesy and silly, but I liked it anyway. Be that ‘me’. Roll with it. After all, you’re the one watching it, so you’re the one who should like it.
Sometimes the plot is bad, there are chronological mistakes everywhere, characters are inconsistent, and the series is anticlimactic. But if you like it, who am I to tell you differently.
What to do: Ignore, watch, and repeat. If your friends really bother you about the show, maybe they’re not such good friends and you could search for better ones. Just saying.
There have been bad shows since the beginning, and there always will be. What is a stunning masterpiece to some, is unbearable to others, and it is amazing how a concept so simple is so easy to miss. If you don’t like a certain thing (no matter the reason) it’s okay, but you’re not better for belittling other people about it. On the other hand, if you’re ever told that you have bad taste and your favorite anime sucks, carefully evaluate the situation. It’s probably not worth getting into a fight about it. You’re not the creator of the series, your life won’t get better, and most important of all, when people offend your favorite anime, they’re not offending you.
And even if they were, who cares. Go home, you probably have a new episode to watch by now.
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