Anime and the Slice of Life Genre

I was trying to watch another Kobato episode earlier tonight and I just could not stand it. The show is absolutely dull and you would be hard-pressed to convince me otherwise. I’m following Kobato as she goes around a giant university campus looking for some dude (I think his name is Fujimoto) and the big elephant in the room just kept jabbing me in the face with its nose: who gives a damn?

That’s the problem, however, with nearly every slice-of-life anime. Who gives a damn about some chicks going to the beach?

Who gives a damn about an astronomy club? Seriously, are our lives so boring that we’d watch some two-dimensional cut-outs live their equally boring two-dimensional lives? At this point, you might be saying, “Alright, we get the it–the slice-of-life genre isn’t for you. You’d rather be swept away in some thrilling plot. We, on the other hand, just love the character interactions in slice of life anime.”

But hold on a minute… I don’t hate all of the slice-of-life genre and I would love compelling character interactions in my anime.

I loved Genshiken, Haibane Renmei, Welcome to the NHK, Planetes (sort of slice-of-life), Whisper of the Heart, etc. In fact, I probably cared too much by writing entries after entries on No Longer Human. That’s pretty slice-of-lifey too, even if it’s depressing.

We can go beyond anime as well; I looked up slice-of-life on Google earlier and it turns out even Of Mice and Men is a slice-of-life story (seriously… before today, I had never heard anyone call it a slice-of-life novella). Most of all–and I can’t believe this slipped my mind–James Joyce’s Dubliners is not only pure slice-of-life, it’s my favorite collection of short stories ever. Slice-of-life can be very compelling, but why does it so often fail as an anime genre?

The answer is simple: slice-of-life anime are too often pointless. Take a look at each short story in Dubliners (if you haven’t read it, I really urge you to do so as James Joyce is one of the greatest writers of all time); each and every one of these stories are jammed full with themes, major and minor, and references to contemporary social issues/politics.

Not only that, Joyce layers meta-narratives in many of his stories and novels, making sarcastic critiques of literary pretension.

To demonstrate some of my points, take “Araby.” From a glance, it looks like a simple story of a boy on a trip to buy a gift for his childhood crush, but it’s so much more than that. On the surface, “Araby” is about the loss of innocence. The naive young boy had a crush on a girl and believed that there was some significance to her talking to him about Araby, a bazaar with a Middle Eastern theme. This turned into this big romantic quest in his head when the poor girl probably thought very little of it. The clincher comes when, finally at Araby, he’s saw a woman at a stall casually ‘fibbing’ with two men like it was no big deal:

At the door of the stall a young lady was talking and laughing with two young gentlemen. I remarked their English accents and listened vaguely to their conversation.

‘O, I never said such a thing!’

‘O, but you did!’

‘O, but I didn’t!’

‘Didn’t she say that?’

‘Yes. I heard her.’

‘O, there’s a… fib!’

At that point, he realized that relationships between men and women are not always like storybook romances. Furthermore, he realized that women can talk to men about things without there being any deep significance to it. He was foolish to think that the girl he had a crush on had any special intentions in talking about Araby with him: “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.” The subtlety behind the entire story, however, is how Joyce gets us to identify with the boy by crafting “Araby” in a certain way:

I believe that “Araby” is structured with rigorous precision upon a paradigm of medieval romance, that the unnamed boy reflects in detail and in general the action and behaviour of smitten courtly lovers, and that the story as a whole shows Joyce working with the well-defined structure of a traditional literary genre, here the medieval romance… — source

“Araby” reminds us of such stories and we then expect it to end in similar fashion. The boy’s epiphany thus reflects our realization that not all stories have happy endings. We can go even deeper into an analysis of “Araby:”

For such a short story, “Araby” touches on a great number of themes: coming of age; the loss of innocence; the life of the mind versus poverty, both physical and intellectual; the dangers of idealization; the decreasing significance of the church, despite the preservation of empty ceremonies; and the pain that often comes when one encounters love in reality instead of its elevated form. These themes build on one another entirely through the thoughts of the young boy who serves as narrator. — Wikipedia

I have provided, however, a cursory interpretation that will suffice for this post.

By bringing up “Araby,” I’m not trying to be pedantic. The point I’m trying to make is that there’s a misconception out there that slice-of-life stories are supposed to be simple. “Araby” is certainly not simple and it’s barely over 2300 words in length. Neither is Of Mice and Men simple. To use an anime example, Haibane Renmei is bursting at the seams with philosophical and religious themes when, at its core, it’s a day-to-day look at the lives of teenagers in a fantasy world. While slice-of-life stories are supposed to lack a structured plot with the typical build-up, climax and denouement, no story should be meaningless. Most importantly, no story should be stupid.

Shopping sure is exciting.

A lot of slice-of-life anime, however, are absolutely meaningless and stupid. I’m not asking anime to be on the same level as James Joyce, but anime so often has no insight to contribute whatsoever–nothing but character interactions at the most basic level. A little blushing here, some big lame smiles there and a whole lot of empty words in between.

*blush*

We watch Genshiken for an insight (even in its light-hearted tone, it’s still an insight) into a subculture. We watch Welcome to the NHK for an insight of some very disturbing social issues. What do we watch Kobato for? What do we watch Sora no Manimani for? It can’t just be pure entertainment alone because that says nothing. For an insight on friendship? For a reflection on young (high school) love?

Although these themes have been done ad nauseum, I’ll grant that they’re still very relevant in our lives. I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem watching a slice-of-life anime about high school friendship/love (I somewhat enjoyed Kare Kano). The problem isn’t so much the lack of meaningful themes. The problem is, as usual in popular culture, a failure of the imagination. Instead of examining friendships on an eye-opening level, we waste minutes upon minutes and hours upon hours of obligatory beach episodes, obligatory onsen episodes, obligatory “let’s eat ‘caeki'” moments.

Mina~! Let's all have some caeki~

When a show actually has a plot, I can understand taking a breather to look at the lighter side of the things. The comedic moments in Persona 3, for example, help to control the pace of an otherwise depressing story. Too many anime series, however, are stripped down to just these lighter moments and by themselves, a familiar question returns: who gives a damn? Why should we care so much about characters that don’t do anything but live a very simplified version of their daily lives.

At the very least, try to be funny. You can overlook so much crap in a show when it’s funny. Look at Seinfeld–it’s nothing but a slice-of-life (I really want to abbreviate it down to just ‘slife’) show about four people living out their lives in NYC, but it’s critically acclaimed because it’s funny. Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu is a thousand times more enjoyable than either the original series by Gonzo or The Second Raid and it had no plot. I also stomach Nyan Koi! because it too has its moments.

Hell, I can even enjoy parts of Kannagi ’cause it was initially funny (look at the Moe Sucks banner if you need proof). When the laughter stops, however, the inanity seeps back in.

Where did their chairs go?

Life is full of issues but slice-of-life anime, ironically, reflect instead some strange, saccharine ideality that the genre almost appears to be a rebellion against realism. It’s almost as if these shows conflate escapism with mind-numbing predictability, but I won’t expand on that here. The point is that I don’t necessarily need melodrama (once again, I like Genshiken and that only had melodrama when it was appropriate). I just need something to either make me think or laugh. People will probably counter with “you’re over-thinking it–just turn your brain off and enjoy the show.” I’m sorry, but that’s a cop out. How about you turn yours on?

Advertisements

44 thoughts on “Anime and the Slice of Life Genre

  1. i-k

    I watch slice of life shows because I have no friends oh god i wish i had friends to eat cake with ;__________________; especially cute non threatening girls

    Reply
    1. Tetsuo

      No offense but you Gaijins just do NOT get Animation or our culture and you never will.
      Slice of life?
      We dont use phrase not “oh god”, “what the hell” or anyother stupid english term you see in subtiltes or online places like here. That is one huge reason why subs and dubs are wrong. They always change it to suit western ways. Its why you yanks don’t get it, really make effort to understand..

      Reply
      1. Antiath

        It’s one thing to claim we, westerners, don’t make efforts to understand the “japanese way”,but you use the “oh my god” and other americans language quirks as your examples. It makes you sound ridiculous and more like an uptight moron just searching for an excuse to hate on americans. Plus what the fuck does that have to do with the subject ?
        If your behaviour is the “japanese way”, maybe it’s a good thing you people don’t reproduce anymore.
        No offense, teehee.

        Reply
  2. dai1313

    Half the stuff in slice of life Anime never happens in MY life anyway. grrr.

    I think slice of life is a little too broad to be a Genre, instead it should be treated more like a attribute of the show.

    Especially since many shows aren’t purely slice of life, they might be slice of life/comedy or slice of life/parody or slice of life/horror or slice of life/romance.

    So, for example. K-on first and foremost be a comedy, but you could also describe it as slice of life and Moe-Anime or something like that…

    See what I mean?

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      But the concept behind the slice-of-life genre is specific, and if you’re going to use a certain technique to tell a story, the technique should contribute to the enrichment of the story. Do a lot of slice-of-life anime accomplish this? The problem is that it too often feels like slice-of-life is used as an excuse not to have a plot or any meaning whatsoever. I acknowledged above that comedy makes slice-of-life go down easiest, but I’ll just agree to disagree on whether or not K-On! is funny.

      Reply
  3. Yumeka

    I understand what you’re saying about how slice-of-life anime are often meaningless. But for a lot of them, I think the reason is because of the target audience. For K-ON!, the target audience is male otaku and they’re mostly interested in seeing the cute moe girls going to the beach, eating cake, etc., as a form of escapism rather than caring about the show offering real narrative themes and meaning. Only 7 of 24 episodes of Kobato have been released, so I think most of its meanings and plot simply haven’t surfaced yet. There are themes of love, friendship, and helping others present already though.

    I think it comes down to the fact that the target audience of some slice-of-life anime like K-ON! don’t care about having meaning in it because they’re mostly concerned about enjoying the character archetypes. But for those who want comedy in their slice-of-life, there are shows like FMP Fumoffu and Azumanga Daioh, for those who want romance, there’s Kimi ni Todoke, Fruits Basket, etc., for fantasy/philosophy, there’s Haibane Renmei, etc,.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I recognize that there are themes of friendships and love in Kobato, but as I said in the post above, I feel that these themes are being explored on a level too elementary. I spent one episode to learn that deep down in that rough exterior, Fujimoto is a nice, determined and independent guy? That’s not good enough.

      I think it comes down to the fact that the target audience of some slice-of-life anime like K-ON! don’t care about having meaning in it because they’re mostly concerned about enjoying the character archetypes.

      And that should be a criticism, not an excuse (not saying that you’re making excuses for them).

      Reply
      1. Miha

        You almost had me convinced, but then I remembered escapism is what some people are actually looking for in slife. I’m wondering how can you begin to opt the above as criticism, especially when people craving for escapist entertainment recognise healing properties in some of these anime?

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          In the last paragraph, I was attempting to imply (“Life is full of issues but slice-of-life anime, ironically, reflect instead some strange, saccharine ideality that the genre almost appears to be a rebellion against realism. It’s almost as if these shows conflate escapism with mind-numbing predictability…”) that if people view these anime as forms of escapism, then there are deeper issues at hand.

  4. zzeroparticle

    Probably will have to agree with Yumeka in that K-ON isn’t meant to be a rich story (even if it had the potential to be) and that’s why I disliked it as well since the character interactions were so shallow.

    I am curious to know whether you think the ARIA franchise falls under the kind of slice of life series that you’d actually enjoy. I’ve always thought that the character interactions were rich and meaningful, so I wonder if you look upon this the same way as I have.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Probably will have to agree with Yumeka in that K-ON isn’t meant to be a rich story

      We could say this about a lot of things. You could say Transformers wasn’t meant to be a rich story either, but it is still valid, however, to call it a dumb and stupid movie.

      On a deeper level, however, Transformers appealed to people (even if they won’t admit or realize it) due to its crass consumerism and conservative value-mongering. I think an interesting related question is why does slice-of-life anime appeal to fans so much? Even if slice-of-life shows might be dumb and stupid, their mass appeal have been very carefully crafted by anime studios to maximize profitability. I currently believe shows like K-On! conflate escapism with mundane predictability, i.e. life is too uncontrollable and/or troublesome–the ideal world is the same old tropes and archetypes in perfect stasis.

      I am curious to know whether you think the ARIA franchise falls under the kind of slice of life series that you’d actually enjoy.

      I’ve heard positive things about Aria, but I haven’t had the chance to watch the anime.

      Reply
  5. Animanachronism

    I very rarely enjoy anime that people call ‘slice-of-life’ (I won’t spiel off into how I think we think about genres), but then again I have a particular dislike for Joyce. In both cases my instinct is to accuse myself, not the object, for lacking some necessary faculty, and then to make a charitable assumption that the people who enjoy slife, or Joyce, are really responding to something valuable. It’s relatively easy to argue that something’s meaningful, and very difficult to prove that one thing, let alone a lot of things, are ‘meaningless and stupid’ — to testify I call upon St Empson’s voice from the dawn of practical criticism.

    So I admire this attempt but I’m not sure you’ll convince many people who don’t already share your tastes.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Liking something and recognizing ‘meaning,’ i.e. subtext, are exclusive entities. If you dislike Joyce, that’s perfectly fine, but it’s hard to deny that there are layers of subtext in all his works to be extricated and examined. You may not find that subtext valuable, but its existence can be supported by textual evidence. I think it would be very difficult to argue that layers of subtext exist in recently popular slice-of-life anime. On the other hand…

      …very difficult to prove that one thing, let alone a lot of things, are ‘meaningless and stupid’

      But the burden of proof doesn’t lie with me. When I claim that such and such works are lacking of meaning and insight, I shouldn’t have to prove it. My inability to find any evidence of meaning and insight should alone suffice. If I say that a car doesn’t exist, the simple fact that I do not see a car should suffice. If I am wrong, it is up to others to provide evidence that the car exists, not up to me to provide evidence that it doesn’t exist. Perhaps I wasn’t being clear, but in the post above, I repeatedly asked “why.” I assert that most of these slice-of-life shows are meaningless because I don’t understand why I should care. I know I haven’t proven that they are meaningless, but I don’t think I should have to.

      Reply
      1. E Minor Post author

        To add to this, if there is something more to popular slice-of-life shows like Kobato and Sora no Manimani that I have failed to recognize, please prove me wrong and this isn’t some “I dare you” threat. I am open to understanding things in a new way. To say, however, that I have failed to recognize some vague themes of love and friendship in these shows simply makes them indistinguishable from countless of other series. If people think that’s a failure on my part, then we’ll just agree to disagree.

        Reply
        1. Sadinotna

          Read this:

          http://insomnia.ac/commentary/massage_my_ass/

          for a general explanation. It’s about video games, but it applies just as well to literature since it’s fundamental 20th (late 19th, technically, but it had to be repeated a lot because people didn’t want to get it) century Philosophy.

          tl;dr Judging something by what message(s) it deliver(s) is absurd.

        2. E Minor Post author

          That’s an amusing link if only for the fact that it quotes passages derived from Wittgenstein’s picture theory of language, a theory he would later reject. Yes, in one specific view of how language works, many sentences are truly meaningless. Luckily, and later Wittgenstein himself acknowledged this, there are other ways to describe meaningful language.

          Judging something by what message(s) it deliver(s) is absurd.

          We don’t even need to delve into philosophical text belabor the point. Just think about what you’re saying here. So even if a movie tells us that it’s okay to be racist, we shouldn’t judge the movie by its message. Even if a someone says child abuse is A-OK, we still shouldn’t judge the person by his or her message. That is absurd.

        3. Sadintona

          “So even if a movie tells us that it’s okay to be racist, we shouldn’t judge the movie by its message.”

          Obviously, else we deny that Birth of a Notion, Triumph of the Will, and many less notable things aside, are masterpieces. This is patently absurd.

          The only things to judge a movie by are the things that add value: cinematography, acting, writing, etc. The idea that racism, sexism, or -in the case of conservative moralizing- communism somehow impacts the quality of a movie is as idiotic as thinking Twilight is bad because it promotes Mormonism. These are ethical arguments, not critical ones.

          And as for ethics:

          http://insomnia.ac/essays/whatever_happened_to_evil/

          Read everything on that sidebar.

        4. E Minor Post author

          The only things to judge a movie by are the things that add value

          So you’re saying ethics have no value to add to a movie. I’m saying they do. I’m afraid we just have a fundamental disagreement regarding ethics and I say this even having read Baudrillard’s essay. I have never denied that movies like Birth of a Nation are technically well-crafted, but I’m not merely judging on technical merits alone. A smart, athletic and beautiful person can still be a bad person if he or she has bad ethical judgments. I am simply holding movies, literature and even anime to the same standard. But it’s clear you don’t hold ethics with the same regard as I do so there’s really no reason to even have this debate.

        5. detective2conan1412

          i’d have to disagree. it’s not absurd at all. though it wouldn’t be the only thing i’d judge a series on. i think that’s why i’m lucky enough to be able to find a reason to like or enjoy just about anything. also, why i seem to be able to accept a lot more criticism than others seem to of their favorite shows. watching reviews seems to make some crazy but i love watching them. i like seeing what others think of series that i loved. they show me what i enjoy but also help me realize what others enjoy and hate. they show me a show’s good points and bad points.

  6. Canne

    To me, there is no pure slice-of-life anime because drama, comedy, romance, political, philosophical, even action are all part of life. When an anime contains one of these elements, it’s no longer pure SOL but if the anime has none of these things, it becomes hollow and pointless.

    Reply
    1. detective2conan1412

      I grew watching anime off websites that had tags instead of genres. genres were still used to describe each show but they were called tags and anything could be a tag, ‘dark’ or ‘mysterious’ could be a tag. any descriptive word could be a tag and each show had several tags. like romance, action, fluffy, slice of life, fantasy, shounen, adult, cute, light-hearted, comedy etc. that’s contradictory but you get the point. each show had several tags to go along with it in order to describe the show to newcomers to the series.

      Reply
  7. 2DT

    Your comments page seems broken.

    Dubliners is depressing, and I hated it. But I admit that it is very, very good. Brilliant, even. I used to have two copies.

    That said, even with the similarity in genre, I think when you compare one of the great literary works of the 20th century to a disposable late-night anime, you’re bound to come up wanting.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Well, like I said, I don’t expect anime to match Joyce. I only wanted to illustrate the difference between why one slice-of-life deserves to be lauded and another does not. The very least that a slice-of-life anime could do is to make some gestures to emulate what makes other slice-of-life works so great.

      Reply
  8. samantha

    I don’t understand some of you so-called anime fans. if any of you were real die hard fans you wouldn’t care what genre of anime is playing you would just watch it because anime if any of you have forgotten over the years is entertainment just like movies, books, and tv shows. who cares if it’s been recycled so many times it’s entertainment remember that.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Roger Ebert is not a real diehard movie fan because he complains about bad movie. He should just, like, enjoy them because movie is entertainment. Who cares if movie plots have been recycled so many times it’s entertainment remember that.

      Reply
      1. detective2conan1412

        I think she means there’s no need to trash a genre because you don’t like it. understand that others do and to them it is entertainment just as the shows and genres you love are entertainment to you.

        Reply
  9. Samantha

    Did all of you forget that anime is entertainment just like movies, books, and t.v. shows and that it has its far share of cliches just like the three i stated above? If you guys were hardcore anime fans you stop complaning about “this genre sucks” nonsence and just watch it instead of expecting a change.Who cares if they use the emo kid, the big-breasted ninja girl, or the permentally happy girl. Does it really matter? Nothing is orginal anymore everything been done a least once; so for all of you hoping for a change it’s not going to happen because theere is only so much you can do with character or characters before they become stupid.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I totally agree!

      Did all of the movie critics forget that movie is entertainment just like books, t.v. shows and anime and that it has its far share of cliches. If Roger Ebert was really a hardcore movie fan, he would stop complaining! Who cares if they use the same movie cliches. Does it really matter? Nothing is original anymore everything been done a least once; so for all the movie critics hoping for a change it’s not going to happen because theere is only so much Michael Bay can do with Shia Lebeouf and jive-talking robots before they become stu-

      Whoops.

      Reply
    2. detective2conan1412

      originality does matter and there’s nothing wrong with criticizing shows or anything for that matter, it has its place, but I also agree that entertainment has its place as well. i also would agree this hating on a genre stuff is pretty stupid. there’s nothing wrong with liking moe or even slice of life no matter how pointless it may seem to others. these shows are about the characters mostly unless they’re paired with another genre then there may be a bit more but overall the focus of the genre is the characters and their lives. also shows like usagi drop or barakamon or even bakuman would be considered slice of life as well. i would say just about anything that doesn’t involve the supernatural or mysteries or anything that’s typically interesting and separated from normal boring lives would be considered slice of life. anytime the story is about the daily lives of people whether it’s about becoming a parent or going to college without your twin to lean on and having to deal with a crumbling family while also going to school away from home. (fangirl, a contemporary novel) it’s all still slice of life.

      Reply
  10. Samantha

    Hello again E minor? i’m not trying to be rude or pick a fight with anyone. I’m just getting tired of people complaining about how anime is getting cliche now. On almost every forum i go on someone else is complaining about the fan-service or the archtype characters that anime releases. If this negative thinging keeps up, all anime fans can kiss it goodbye.

    Reply
  11. NinjaYali

    Speaking of Seinfeld I guess that’s why I’ve gotten into shows like K-On and Hidamari Sketch.

    I found Seinfeld and many other American sitcoms to be completely unfunny. However I found K-On and Hidamari to be top grade comedies.

    Reply
    1. detective2conan1412

      never seen it, but i do love my sitcoms and my slice of life anime. though i agree many shows/movies pale in comparison to anime or book or really anything with a complete story or an attempted complete story. i love show/movies of course, how could i not, i grew up with them after all but they do feel kind of shallow when compared to stories with 3D characters and development beyond just a entertaining way to kill time. i don’t believe i remembered shows quite the way i did developed stories (beyond just nostalgia feelings of ‘i remembering watching that and enjoying it’ but i don’t really need to see more episodes this very moment or care whether the show even really gets canceled or not. i mean yeah i would have been sad but i wouldn’t have minded much, i’d say, i’d still have the already released episodes to watch but with developed stories i’d be heart-broken if there was no ending)

      Reply
  12. Zel Holt

    My question is, why should we care what you think about a genre that some of us may actualy like. If you like it, watch it, if you don’t, don’t watch it, simple as that. I don’t see why you have to write a complete page on how you dislike something, I don’t see how it’s helpfull or a learning experience in the least. Every slice of life Anime has another genre added into it somewhere, for example:

    K-On! = Music, School Girl, Ecchi, Comedy, etc.
    Honey And Clover = Adventure, Romance, etc.
    Azumanga Daioh! = Comedy, School Girl, etc.
    ToraDora! = Romance, Comedy, School Girl, Action, etc.

    All of the above are Slice Of Life genres and they all have those other genres in them asell, so it’s never meaningless and it’s always entertaining and if you can’t find them then attempt to watch it again and LOOK for them. Again, this being followed by the suggestion “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it, if you like it, then watch it.”

    And lastly, Anime rules, enough said!

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Dude, follow your own advice then.

      Why should I care what you think of what I have to say? If you like it, read it, if you don’t, don’t read it. I don’t see why you have to write a comment on how you dislike my post, I don’t see how it’s helpful or a learning experience in the least!!! Then we’ll prance to this magical world where no one ever bothers to hear opposing viewpoints. People should just parrot opinions I already agree with.

      A-a-anime ruuuuuules!

      If you disagree with me, fine, but don’t give me this bullshit “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it, if you like it, then watch it” nonsense.

      Reply
      1. detective2conan1412

        why can’t you not watch it after you form your opinion and voice your opinion later on if you’d like. i don’t have to watch all of guilty crown to know i hate shu, he’s stupid, what’s her name has no emotions and needs to put some clothes on, and guy’s an ass. i watched 6 eps and hated each and every one of them. the show gets even worse in my book knowing it’s exactly like code geass even using nearly the exact same scenes and that even Code Geass was very similar to Death Note. I stopped watching it because i gave it a fair shot to impress and all it did was anger me, i disliked it to say the least, but i can still give my opinions just as i have just done now. i don’t have to agree with all the fans and say it was amazing and the best I’ve ever seen but i can also agree the animation was beautiful and the music was stunning. again, there i go expressing my opinions even though i hated the show and stopped watching. i agree with the advice he gave you and i do not believe you have to be a mindless drone to take it or have to sing praises to it or keep quiet. i also don’t think it’s wrong of him to give your viewpoint some thought or for him to be annoyed with all this hate towards a genre that people seem to have.

        Reply
  13. idiffer

    the absence of a message is not an indicator of bad quality in an anime. there are factors like atmosphere, animation, sound. ALL ppl watch anime to escape from real life in some degree. so yes, some ppl’s lives ARE so boring that they will watch astronomy club chicks being moe. there does not have to be a point. its enough that a person gets emersed in the world of the series. its enough that the anime does not have the problems the person has in real life, OR those problems get resolved quickly and without consequences.
    also intelligence matters. i.e i want all anime to be like EVA, cause a simple harem just doesn’t do justice to my uber intelligence(this is a joke, i’m really a retard). BUT other ppl are less smart and thus enjoy the simple pleasures of seeing girls do fun things.

    Reply
  14. Drew

    Kind of a while since you’ve posted this and I may not get a response but…

    Why is it that you revile the “Turn off your brain and watch” crowd so much? At least here in America, I’m assaulted on a daily basis by the ills of not only my own country but other countries and how we’re clearly screwing everything up or trying not keep others from screwing it up but not when… Gah!

    If a group of folks want to use silly, animated antics of people from a foreign, idealized culture to allow them to disassociate temporarily from the slings and arrows of modern society then why is this such an affront to you? It’s not terribly productive, which is part of the reason I don’t indulge that particular fancy too often but I don’t see where this antipathy is coming from.

    You mentioned this… “It’s almost as if these shows conflate escapism with mind-numbing predictability, but I won’t expand on that here. ” I kinda wished you would. I haven’t read your entire backlog. Do you expand this somewhere?

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I haven’t slept in around 24 hours, but I’ll give you a reply. You used the word ‘antipathy’ and I’ll say this: I don’t take back any of the opinions I expressed in the post you’re responding to, but I do wonder whether or not the general tone of my writing back then did me a disservice in getting my point across. No, I don’t like certain shows and this won’t likely change in the near future, but ‘revile’ and ‘antipathy’ are strong impressions I’m not sure I wanted to get across. Nevertheless…

      If a group of folks want to use silly, animated antics of people from a foreign, idealized culture to allow them to disassociate temporarily from the slings and arrows of modern society

      Okay, well, you won’t get any disagreements from me that the world can be really depressing. Hey, I’m in America too — I know all about our crazy problems, especially with politics and policymaking. I don’t agree, however, that relief from the negativity of the world means I need to indulge in something that requires so little mental effort as some of the anime I take issue with. I’m not saying relief is bad; my favorite TV show is The Colbert Report. Colbert is simply a comedian, i.e. he provides relief. I dunno of a good comedian that makes me sad. For an example of Colbert’s latest, I could be really mad that Senator Kyl is an absolute dimwit with any say whatsoever in my nation’s lawmaking — and deep down, I am — but at least Colbert’s Twitter campaign against Kyl helps me laugh about the whole mess. One thing Stephen Colbert is not, however, is dumb. Escapism doesn’t have to be dumb.

      Art is cool; people really take it for granted, but it really is cool. It can be anything — it can be what appears to be random brush marks on a canvas, but it’s often so much more. Art has the power to move people emotionally. Art can make people reflect, contemplate, ponder. Art can challenge, can interpret, can be interpreted, so on and so forth. Art is a statement. People cop out and just say, “Well, it’s all subjective.” Duh. Art is subjective, the sky is blue, the earth is round. We’ve established the starting point. Now what? We, humans, are the subject. What do we say when we look, watch, hear, feel, taste — whatever you can imagine — art? If all someone wants to say is “Turn off your brain and enjoy,” what a waste. Honestly. If everything I’ve said up til now sounds like elitist pontification, so be it.

      Reply
  15. banagherlinks

    Someone said to me that Hanasaku Iroha is good.

    My colleagues accused of being a hater of this genre. To be frank, I do hate most anime from this genre. I don’t know, maybe to me, I just can’t see a high level of realism in shows like this. What? My friends don’t act like the cats of Clannad, my girlpal don’t blush or act like a moe girl everytime I gave her gifts in our anniversary.

    So its simple, cause real life is just not that gentle as what you can see on animes. Maybe others find it relaxing or they find a way to forget that fact.

    Maybe I’m wrong, I still having trouble finding a protagonist or character in this that I can root for or say, that I can relate to.

    Maybe I’m just too scourched from watching documentaries and indy films these past days. But living in a poor country, yeah, majority of slice of life animes really don’t appeal to me.

    Reply
  16. Tetsuo

    No offense but you Gaijins just do NOT get Animation or our culture and you never will.
    Slice of life?
    We dont use phrase not “oh god”, “what the hell” or anyother stupid english term you see in subtiltes or online places like here. That is one huge reason why subs and dubs are wrong. They always change it to suit western ways. Its why you yanks don’t get it, really make effort to understand..

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s