I Have a Dream

September 25th, 2010

 Because if I’m eaten by a bear, this is a fitting message from beyond the grave.

Ten years ago, a great industry, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today blossomed in America with the mainstream success of Pokemon, Sailor Moon, and Dragonball. This momentous event came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of anime fans who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. In a short five years later, anime came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations, and your quest for anime has left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of brutality. But let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you, my friends. Let us not wallow in the mud and slime of anime and call ourselves blessed.

Let our minds be open to hatred and intolerance so that we may be free.

   

I have a dream that one day, even the blog-o-sphere, a state sweltering with the heat of apologists will be transformed into an oasis of indignation.

I have a dream that one day in the blog-o-sphere, with its mewling apologist and its leaders having their lips dripping with the words of "masterpiece" and "epic" — One day right there, people who have been disappointed with a show will be able to join hands with its fans and mock it together.

I have a dream that one day tolerance for poor execution because it is how the source did it will be struck down.

I have a dream that one day when a show is intolerable beyond God’s will, a voice of disdain can be heard.

I have a dream that one day one’s own opinion will be voiced with confidence and assertation instead of waffling to saying that everybody has their own opinions to desperately avoid saying anything negative.

I have a dream that one day when episodes are poor, writers will critically point that out instead of ignoring the slight and turning the other cheek.

I have a dream that one day people will rise up as one and declare to the heavens that show that used to be good is now terrible.

This is my hope, and this is the faith that I come to you with.

       

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of tolerance a stone of critical thought. With this faith, we will be able to transform the choir of praise into a jangling discord of argument. With this faith, we will be able to mock, deride, and tease together, knowing that our thoughts are free. And when this happens, when we allow argument to flourish, when we let it ring from every blog an every site, from every author and every subber, we will be able to speed up that day when all of anime’s fans, moe and mecha, slice of life and boobs, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old anime spiritual

Riley, Riley, Riley.

    

All kidding and parody aside (that is probably sending me straight to hell), I just want to express my appreciation to the other writers in the blog-o-muck who actually take a moment to write instead of rationalize. Anime is still a niche medium and the instinct to viciously defend any outside attack on it results in the most proactive and rabid fans tending to gravitate towards a mindset of EVERYTHING IS AMAZING and if you don’t think like this, then you’re not a fan. It strikes bloggers even harder because they then try to cater to this instead of sharing their own opinions. It takes at least some measure of chutzpah to actually stand out from the pack and dare to apply critical thinking to a show or revise your opinion past the first episode. And no, I don’t mean the people who wait two weeks and then write a 6,000 word treatise on the metaphorical meanings of self in Haruhi either. Instead of jerking off their readers, they’re jerking themselves off. Either way, you’ve got something unpleasant in your hand and a disgusting smell to explain to the neighbors.

There’s this particularly weird disconnect in anime writers where every single first episode of a show is either a masterpiece or garbage, and then barring total meltdown, opinion remains mostly constant from start to finish. It’s strange and confusing and doesn’t really do anybody a service except to further whip themselves into a frenzy when their precious medium receives any kind of slight. Shiki and Occult Academy this season have been particularly elucidating. I swear to Zeus, Vishnu, Loki, whoever, that I have seen people write two sentences about the episode followed by four paragraphs about buggerall. It’s even worse at the start of the season when everybody’s trying to stake their territories.

 

You don’t need to be like me, a spiny ball of mockery and hatred, and lord knows one of me is all I can handle, but do try to be a little more critical. Address flaws, don’t pretend like they don’t exist. Say how the show overcame its weakness, don’t implicitly claim that they didn’t exist. And for Ishtar’s sake, give the hyperbole a rest. A show does not have to be a masterpiece to be worth watching. This is important, so if you made it this far, pay attention. A bad show can still be worth watching. To quote Stephen Bond’s excellent writeup on blog criticism "Energy is eternal delight, and to damn something with energy is a more joyous and thrilling act than to ignore it, or say "it’s nice", or fob it off with other half-hearted compliments."

So the next time you feel the urge to call something a masterpiece, or realize that you just wrote a page worth of rationalizing how an episode might later be important or make sense, or realize that you just wrote 4,000 words on the voice acting cast and what other shows they’ve been in, step back a moment and let the hate flow through you. You are not a creampuff. It will not kill you to say that a show could have done things better. It does nobody any service to pin the masterpiece label on two or three shows a season. And if you already do that, keep up the good work and don’t ever let the blind praising from the shouting majority get you down.

                  

Posted in Hiatus | 29 Comments »

29 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Anise_Punter says:

    If you had told me at this time last year that I would enjoy K-On season 2 more than Sengoku Basara season 2, I would have thought you were insane. My opinion of Basara has definitely been revised, and not in a good way.

    I’d type more but Louise sends me into a fit of rage.

    *punts Louise*
    *punts Shana*
    *punts Index*
    *punts Suiseiseki before she can steal everyone’s strawberries*

    Is that Ginga in image 55 there? Not bad.

  • Celestial says:

    too deep head implosion @^@

  • DmonHiro says:

    To quote Piccollo form DBZ abridged: NEEEEEERD! :D

  • Asta says:

    If Aroduc is MLK Jr of anime, who is Malcolm X?

  • lvlln says:

    Wonderful. Irreverent, cynical, and absolutely elitist. You turn the ironic act of telling others to think for themselves while simultaneously criticizing them for doing that very thing into an art form. It really is a joy to read such pure conviction, and that’s what keeps me coming back to this episodic blog more than any other.

  • Shance says:

    Thank you very much, cap’n obvious.

    Love, your elitist blogosphere.

  • NightShadow2239 says:

    Ha you are right. Not all anime is great and many good ones have flaws in them. Some of the times I do not even realize it until you point it out, but what you say is true.

    Your style of writing is exactly why I consider this blog, by far, the best to exist.

  • sage says:

    Bravo, Aroduc. I’m glad that you listened to my advice and wrote a satiric post again. Keep up the great work.

  • Jack Damn says:

    Well said.

    I generally run into this blind idolatry among the rabid Japanese Voice Actor fans. It is impossible for them to comprehend that any performance done by anyone Japanese could, *gasp*, be bad, poorly done or just a plain hack.

    Tolerance to mediocrity is the new black.

  • Dave Baranyi says:

    A couple of points:

    1 – Wouldn’t “Fifteen years ago” be more appropriate at the beginning of your essay? Those three shows hit TV in NA in the mid-nineties, not 2000.

    2 – I enjoy your rage on the various series that you blog, but sometimes I wonder, don’t you ever enjoy anything that you watch, or do you only blog the series that cause you pain?

    Cheers

  • ramask2 says:

    The things I like most about your anime critics is that you almost always back them up with specific reasons and examples.

    Blindly using flashback is lazy. Here is why.
    Saving budget a certain way is lazy. Here is why.
    The writing in this episode is bad. Here is why.

    These kinds of comments really help put things in perspective. It keeps the viewers from being lazy themselves. Always demand the best of what you are watching!

    I might not agree with your opinion sometimes, but I do get a lot of valuable information out of your comments.

  • Ransom says:

    It is actually because of the irony and bitterness that you put in some of your posts that I love this blog :D

    And I’m telling the truth.

    I’m dying to see the shows you’ll cover this fall. Keep the good work.

  • Dante says:

    Yep, thats the point of blogging trying to prevent “innocents” sheeps going to kill their brains with some animes by watching them by himself.

  • Pablo-kun says:

    It is nice to hope for a sphere in which we all cast away our snobbishness and actually respect other people’s opinions and think of all the effort that was thrown in the creation of an anime while recognizing it’s imperfections, only then rate it as we would wish and not fall into blind fanaticism trying to impose our tastes.

    It’d be nice, but then as I think of all the posts out there that savagely criticize Angel Beats, I pull away from my laptop, look through the window and quietly whisper to myself: “f**k this sh*t”.

  • karasu says:

    Can’t a man judge something without having to use his brain?

  • MisaoFan says:

    Aroduc, while you have not seen the 12th episode for both Seitokai Yakuindomo and Mitsudomoe ?

  • 2DT says:

    It took me till the end of the entry to figure out the running theme of these pictures. Oh, Aroduc. Don’t ever change. :)

  • Mystlord says:

    Haha not everyone can have the same burning passion as you do for shows that you both love and hate. And seriously, blogging in and of itself is jerking off. The only difference is what you end up jerking off to.

  • Newprimus says:

    Is someone PMSing?

  • Nanaya says:

    They think* for themselves, just like everyone else.

    *thought will be monitored in pre-approved, rationed opinions that may not exceed said pre-approved measure of enthusiasm. Terms and conditions may change to reflect improper levels of enthusiasm without notice.

  • Albedo says:

    is it sad that I can’t see the word “indignation” without thinking of ToA and Jade Curtiss’ attack by the same name?

    I even hear the clip of him shouting it… aroduc is talking as the speaker in the post and then Jade just pops in to shout his attack and leave seamlessly… damn japan for doing this to me.

  • Nietzsche says:

    “For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.”

  • Yue says:

    After reading this then reading this from top to bottom upto the very last comment, I felt like drawing something for this blog. ~_~

  • Yumeka says:

    Great post. I especially enjoyed the parody in the beginning XD

    I used to be more of a “creampuff” who never wanted to say anything bad about any anime, but I’ve since gotten over that. I only write full series reviews and not episodic posts, but I always try to think of things I liked and didn’t like about the series and try to give some sort of reasoning for my opinion (and if there isn’t any, I’ll say so).

  • hikaricore says:

    Needs moar desu.

  • sora says:

    when r u running for the white house??? i feel like my voice will be heard when you do :)

  • cutemi2 says:

    what happened to Sekirei Pure Engagement Final Episode
    also Seitokai Yakuindomo and Mitsudomoe final episodes not showing

  • Hinano says:

    I think it’s more of the fact that the bloggers with an opinion (me and JP) just…stopped caring. It’s like not even worth making fun of anymore lol

  • Solaris says:

    I’m a rational, so i find it rather hard to accept whatsoever half assed reasons, expecially about anime as the majority of the people watch to and speak about without even trying to turn their brains on. Blame on them and no, i won’t even accept joining hands with them for the sake of lulz.