Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I Like Toonami But

So over the past few months there has been this growing war in the anime community. That might be overselling it a bit but it's an interesting topic, that keeps roaming around my brain. The idea that the anime of the last 5 or six years is worse than the stuff that came before it.

At least superficially I have a tendency to agree with that statement. If I were to rattle off random anime I liked 4/5's would probably have been made before 2009 or even 2005. But anime has changed. How the fandom participates in the community has changed. How people get anime has changed. How anime is produced has changed.

And divorced from show quality or even nostalgia I think things are for the better.

In the old days. There were maybe 3 channels or blocks that regularly showed anime, the big one being Toonami. When people in my generation name drop their favorite anime growing up, most of it is going to have been on Toonami/Adult Swim because they had a monopoly. Tenchi Muyo, Yu Yu Hakusho, Dragon Ball Z, Neon Genesis Evangellion, Wolf's Rain, Full Metal Alchemist, Trigun, Cowboy Bebop.

Part of that was that they were well programmed blocks. I will give them that. There is no doubt they did their job well. But as I get older I don't like the fact that one institution had so much control over my childhood, so much control over the community. Or to use a non-anime comparison.

I have this fear that my cultural touch stones derive meaning not from inherent quality, but rather by their association to something I really liked, and that's troublesome.

Yet I feel I already have found a solution to that problem as that monopoly has crumbled. I no longer find out about shows because Toonami has a spot for them but because there is a lot of Devart, or my YouTube and Twitter feeds get hit up with clips, or Hulu does it's recommendation thing.

And that just seems better than having Steve Blum, who I have the utmost respect and admiration for mind you (500 titles on his IMDB film...anime..videoga...grrrr...EVERYTHINGOGRAPHY a lot of which I've really liked over the years including the big one), in that cool cool voice of his telling me this thing I don't know about is cool. I'm wondering how much of that is just cool by association. Outside of the context of nostalgia, outside of the context of Toonami, how much of that stuff really holds up. I don't really know because as hard as I try I can't really divorce myself from the feelings I had when I first watched it.

It just seems more democratic the way it is now so that the few titles that do become classics will feel all the more enduring.

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