The following happens every season: a popular anime studio or a popular creator does a new show that leaves many with a bad impression. But because said creators have previously done good things and obviously everyone is talking about it, it’s hard for people to just skip out on it.
That was the predicament I found myself in 2009 when Kyoto Animation released the first episode of what later became their mega hit series K-ON! I wasn’t impressed. The idea of them settling on adapting a four cell manga annoyed the hell out of me. I thought the show had too much tasteless fan service and overused jokes. I wanted KyoAni to apply their skills to adapting something more profound, unfortunately all good things must come to an end.
So it was no surprise to see a new generation of KyoAni fans, who got used to the idea of the studio doing cute slice-of-life shows, disappointed over their recent fan service show Musaigen no Phantom World. To be fair, Kyoto Animation have done fan service shows for as long as I can remember, it was just different from boob porn presented to us this time.
Here’s my advice: stop watching. Forget any sort of three-episode tests, don’t even bother with the second episode. If you think the first one was bad, do yourself a favor, trust your gut feeling and watch something else. Same goes for any other new anime you’re about to start. Instead, check out shows like Dagashi Kashi or Shouwa Genroku: Rakugo Shinjuu, that bring something fresh to the table. Or perhaps some old show that has already withstood the test of time.
From my experience, being an anime fan is ephemeral. Only a small percentage of fans manage to reach their thirties as fans, even though most of us swore undying love for the medium when we were younger. The truth is anime is totally kids stuff. Life gets in the way, our tastes change … But anime? Anime largely stays the same. If you want to be a fan for more than two years, as is the average for a fan, you have to be picky with the shows you glance over. You need to continuously demand excellence and innovation from anime, as that is the only sustainable way to be a fan.
If you’re going to drown yourself in schlock just because it comes from KyoAni, or because your friends have shit taste and you want to watch the hip show of the season, then by all means. Just don’t whine to us how you’ve lost interest and how your anime experience took a turn for the worse later down the line. There were always alternatives, yet you’ve chosen to stick with shows that didn’t stand up to scrutiny. Good luck in your future entertainment endeavors.