Skip to main content

What's In It For You?

When we first started out watching anime and reading manga, we each did so from a purely entertainment aspect. Meaning that we each wanted to be entertained, and we wanted to be a part of a style of entertainment that surpassed many boundaries of what we were accustomed to watching and reading.

For the first time, we could see action on a more realistic and non-exaggerated level; we could get more mature oriented dialogue, and the sultry drawn vixens of the medium were all too eager to expose themselves a little for our viewing pleasure.

Lately, we've grown beyond the base need for pure entertainment, the thrill of a hardy laugh, or an edge-of-our-seat adventure. It seems we've become hyper-critical of the very thing that once very simply gave us enjoyment, and now we have our expectations set so high, that only the best masterpieces of our times will satisfy us any longer.

How did we get to this point?

Simply put, we've developed into greedy fans that don't know that our stomachs are already to the point of bursting. We have expectations of the industry, of the creators, and of the distributors, and we will not be denied our satisfaction.

Partially to blame is the instant gratification that on-line downloading and viewing and streaming has enabled for us. The free crap that major distributors put on their sites, in the hopes that we will watch from them, and not from someone else. And the momentum of the miniature rushes we get, when we thrill over with the afterglow of being part of a massive sub-cultural footnote to a society that can thrive better without our entertainment, than with it.

What do we really watch anime for? Why do we really read manga? Is it because we want to have a good time, or because we want to be better than someone else that doesn't?

Think about it like this.

If you were an appreciator of fine art, and you enjoyed looking at paintings in a gallery; do you enjoy the art because it's pretty, entertaining, or thought provoking? Or because you know everything there is to know about the artist that painted it?

If I were to ask a fan of anime about Gonzo studios, there is a good chance they would know of whom I speak. They might could even tell me a few names of the people that work there, and they could give me a grocery-list of titles that the studio has produced or co-produced in Japan.

But how does actually knowing that information make the anime series better or worse? How do these facts turn a show from passing the grade to full-bodied glory?

In all honesty, it doesn't really. All this does is give us a self-perceived edge over the rest of the fandom, and helps us not look foolish in front of the other nerds.

The bottom line is this.

If we are watching an anime, or reading a manga just because it's made by a certain person, directed by a certain person, starring a certain person, written by a specific person, then we are limiting our own vast view of the entertainment spectrum, and have bound our own hands, and set some sort of imaginary line that eventually no one will be able to reach.

I'll be so happy when the nit-pickers have run out of reasons to watch anime and read manga anymore; because maybe then, I'll have a shot at watching and reading in peace and quiet and with my own form of satisfaction.