My flight home was delayed for two hours and there I was at the waiting bay, sitting alone with only my Nendoroid in hand and a good book. But, I was too tired and pissed to read, so I did what I did best: I went inside my head. At first, there were only random thoughts, some perverted, some unrealistic. But I came to this particular thought.
So you know how every season the anime industry dishes out over a dozen of anime for us to watch? And at the first week of the season, we rush to download all the season offers? And by the second or third week, we already have our pick of anime for the entire season. I can’t be the only one who thinks this, but there are bound to be complaints from people about the season: “This season’s anime sucks, the industry’s going to shit” stuff like that. And then I wonder, is it us or the industry?
Let’s see how the industry works. They’re pros, so they must have done market research first. Of course their main demographic has to be the Japanese anime lovers community (I’m avoiding the use of otaku, because it essentially has a negative connotation). From there, the industry knows what to air. The fujos will need their dose of BL-oriented anime, the creepy idol-loving perverts will need their dose of overly cute high school girls in dance and music (yes, I have something against idol anime), and the lonely dude hungry for love needs their dose of moe vanilla sweetness anime. There’s something for everyone; nobody’s left out. But we live in “democratic society” where the majority wins out. There’s bound to be a certain genre in more demand than the other. Thus, the industry picks out which anime to air based on the highest demand of the demographic. Remember, they’re corporates; they want profit.
Example: Naruto is still alive because the fans want it and the author’s still strong enough to continue the series, thus it is aired continuously.
Another example: The sudden idol hype has caused anime such as AKB0048 and Love Live! to become popular. Actually, I’ve never seen an idol anime before 2011, maybe it really was because of the AKB48 craze.
Another another example: Sword Art Online and Accel World launched the long-forgotten MMO-anime genre (remember Ragnarok The Animation and the .hack series?) back into existence. Log Horizon capitalized the moment, perfecting the flaws of its predecessors and on its way to becoming the most impressive MMO-anime I’ve seen in years.
Another times three example: Ever since the term moe gained popularity (eventually becoming the center of every anime produced henceforth), we’ve seen an increase in moe anime featuring girls, girls and nothing but girls. The manly action genre has lost their fanbase and are gaining less and less airtime. KyoAni is one to capitalize this: K-On!, Tamako Market, Chuunibyou, Kokoro Connect, and even the new Kyoukai no Kanata. They all have something in common (not only the iconic “template” characters): it’s always moe, moe, and moe!
Another x4 example: Remember those days when the adventure genre was like MAR or RAVE? A boy hero with a greatsword larger than his own body, a heroine with magical support powers, and a party of 3 other characters on an adventure to stop the greatest evil in a fantasy world. I’d kill to see an anime like that again. They had the right amount of episodes: not too long that it gets boring, but not too short that it leaves major holes in the story; they were just right. It seems that the genre is no longer in demand anymore, or it could be that it’s not profitable. The newer adventure anime are either too short or infected with moe fanservice.
So can you still blame the industry for giving you what you don’t want and not giving you what you want? The industry tries to cater to the needs of the consumer; at least they give us an array of anime to choose from. So, it must be us then?
Over the years, our tastes in anime may or may not have developed. Last year, I was into cute moe anime. This year, I realize I’ve had too much vanilla sweetness and I change course to adventure anime. Also, I’ve developed a liking for certain anime with good graphics, a solid story, and less fans service. Based on my preferences, only a few anime can make the cut. As the seasons go by, I download less and less anime because the rest don’t come up to my standards. I don’t follow all anime within a season anymore like I used to two years ago. See how my taste has developed over the years? That’s what’s happening to us. That’s why we complain the industry can’t meet our thirst for anime. Sometimes our taste development surpasses what the industry can offer.
The industry is not in the wrong; they’re just people who work with anime for a living. It’s our tastes. We crave perfection and we want it given to us anytime soon. So, before you start blaming the industry for not giving us quality anime, think about how they work and how we have developed our anime sense to such a sophisticated level.