Image Credit: 蒼天空 from Pixiv
…Illness when writing that mess aside, I don’t think it needed to be any clearer for comprehension.
I was going to do another Cardcaptor Sakura post or a Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works post, but in light of certain reactions to my previous Kantai Collection post from denizens of the anime community’s infamous cesspool (I say “the”, but in actuality, there are quite a few of them — pick your poison) repeatedly missing the point, I feel the need to clarify more than a few things for others who might also misunderstand the context.
(The real reason is mostly because cramming for midterms in college sucks, and I’m finding an excuse to procrastinate and letting out stress.)
tl;dr (just kidding)
People can say whatever the hell they want
I was not telling people to stop criticizing Ship Girls: The Anime. Ultimately, everyone has a right to criticize whatever the hell they watch or read. I’m in no position to tell people to shut their mouths (unless they’re in my domain, i.e. this shit weeb blog. j/k. kinda). Hell, I agree that the Kantai Collection anime isn’t all that good on its own.
But there are certain amounts of lack of common sense that is genuinely perplexing to me. I think everyone should do whatever they want as long as it ain’t shoving a socket wrench up someone’s ass or something, but that doesn’t stop certain lapses in judgment from coming across as silly to me. Now let me explain why.
Image Credit: RONA
Did not do the research
Let’s use KanColle as an example here. Usually, when I decide to watch a new anime from the current season, I give it a quick look-up to see if the basics interest me. As I’ve made clear before, I’ve already experienced KanColle through the game, 4‑koma manga, fandom, etc.
But let’s say I wasn’t already a fan. Let’s say I’m a newcomer during the beginning of Winter 2015 and saw the KanColle anime on the list. So, being somewhat interested, I type “Kantai Collection” into Google.
“Oh, damn! Look at the first result. Good ol’ Wikipedia. Easy to vandalize, but an alright source for basic information most of the time.
Let’s click on it, shall we?”
“Hm, over 2.5 million players and counting? Seems to be pretty popular in Japan. The Wikipedia page for it is quite big, it even seems like this franchise has a crapton of merchandise and manga spin-offs. Jeez, shit seems like a cashcow like that 2hu thing.
What kind of game is this, anyway? Hm, Wikipedia seems to have a whole section dedicated to explaining the gameplay. Let’s skim through it.”
“WHOA, you need a proxy in order to play the game here? Looks like they don’t want us dirty gaijin to be playing their games. Oh well.
The anime for this franchise is coming out pretty soon. If the game was never officially made available to the outside world, let alone America, and the fanbase is already as huge as it is in Japan, then the anime’s most likely aimed at the pre-existing fanbase.
I’m probably not going to enjoy this. It seems there’s no other anime to enjoy this season, so I might try to watch an older series I never got around to starting up yet. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso sounds pretty good, maybe I’ll watch that instead. Perhaps I’ll watch a drama, or read a manga or visual novel as well.”
The alternate idiot route
“I’m probably not going to enjoy this. It has cute girls, which isn’t enough for me. I prefer deep and intricate storytelling first and foremost. It’s probably going to contain a bunch of strange game references I won’t fucking understand and I happen to not like sort of thing, but fuck it, I’m watching it anyway.
Awwwww game references, this anime suuuuuucks.”
Do you… not understand how silly I think that is?
It’s like if a person disliked hot and spicy foods, but then proceeded to chug down a bowl of soup that had HOT AND SPICY labeled on the can. And then bitched about it.
Oh, wait? You didn’t quickly research the nature of the anime before watching it? And then you had a gall to bitch about it and everything you didn’t understand about it? Frankly, from my point of view, you seem like kind of a dunce. I’m not going to stop some dude from sticking his head into the toilet because he really wants to, but I’m not going to pretend he’s the most intelligent person on the planet neither. It’s funny because I’m literally trying to warn people before they stick their heads in, but I’m apparently I’m being condescending by doing so. “Okay, go ahead and stick your head in the toilet then, douchenozzles.”
This anime is a prequel to a video game.
This anime is a sequel to a video game
This anime is a prequel to a light novel
This anime is sequel to a light novel
This anime is a prequel to a visual novel
This anime is sequel to a visual novel
This anime is a prequel to a movie.
This anime is based on my anus.
Not every anime is a standalone. That’s something to keep in mind every time you start a new series.
Let’s move away from KanColle for a sec and switch to Type-Moon. I like Fate/stay night, the visual novel and the UBW anime. I didn’t like Fate/Zero as much, but I still enjoyed it. I dislike fans of Fate/Zero or others who watched it that complain about its pre-determined ending when it’s a fucking bonus prequel to Fate/stay night, where Kiritsugu and more than half the cast from Fate/Zero are dead before the game begins. (And no, I’m not sorry about those Fate/Zero spoilers. It’s something you’re supposed to know beforehand.)
Also take Carnival Phantasm or Take-Moon, for instance. If you’ve never read Fate/stay night or Tsukihime, you’re not going to fully understand the full context of the jokes. Mind you, it’s funny by itself which is a plus, and is actually a good gateway into Type-Moon, but it’s the truth that it’s more funny if you’re already a fan. Newcomers don’t bitch about not understanding the jokes, they ask about them.
Back to in-general. It’s alright if you’re not a fan and go into an anime adaptation like KanColle with the reasonable expectation that you’re not going to understand most of it. If you end up somewhat enjoying it for what it is, that’s a bonus. This is why I like James M.‘s anime blog, among other reasons. He has a pretty open and sensible mindset that allows him to take the nature of the show into consideration, i.e. his mind has the capacity to basically say “I’m aware of what the source is, past the viral Pixiv images, but never played it, so I probably won’t get some of the jokes aimed @ the game’s fanbase, but I’m going into the show with that in mind anyway and won’t give it any shit for it. If the show by itself is not my cup of tea, it’s not my cup of tea — we’ll see.” Not an actual quote, but it seems like this is basically what he did. Tons of respect.
In the context of Ship Girls:
“I did not like this anime, probably because I was never part of the fandom.” Makes sense. No problem, man.
“I was part of the fandom, but still didn’t like the anime.” Sounds fair. I have a KanColle-loving friend who dislikes the anime too.
“I never played the game, but happen to like this anime.” Great, I’m happy for you. You just became a fan!
“This game-anime is fucking dumb, it’s dumb because I only watch anime and never played the game.” Uhhhhh
See, adaptations can be loads of things, so depending on the source material, what works and what doesn’t varies. There is no black and white, because things are *different*. Manga-to-anime works smoothly most of the time, the only issue is the gap between the chapter releases and the anime episodes — which, depending on how close, results in filler. VN anime adaptations are trainwrecks most of the time because of route mechanics and cutting out necessary material — though there are unique cases like KyoAni,who managed to turn Air, Kanon, and CLANNAD into enjoyable anime despite the medium’s limitations.
Video game adaptations are split within. Depending on the game, a story of a JRPG can theoretically be fully imported into an animated format, although it might have varying pacing issues regardless (world maps, side quests, etc). See: Tales of the Abyss. For KanColle… it was a mobile browser game. A grindy browser game with no story, just sorties with cute girls based on ships and collecting more of them. Literally, the whole appeal is the fandom’s amusing interpretations of the various facets of the otherwise simple browser game.
Truthfully, I acknowledge the KanColle anime is nothing special if it was a standalone. In fact, if I didn’t have an attachment to the cute ships I got to like from playing the game, I would probably think it’s mediocre.
But that’s not the point. It’s not a standalone. It was never meant to be a standalone. Is that a bad thing? In actuality, no, it is not. There are plenty of anime, adaptations or not, that are suited to be standalone. There are also plenty of shows meant for different audiences. That’s right, the wide range of media we have available to us is for a wide variety of different audiences, and not just for you. Grow up. You can watch only anime and refuse to partake in anything else all you like — I think that’s fine — just don’t expect every fucking show in the universe to be catered to you. That’s straight-up fucking stuck-up.
That may have come off as a bit harsh, but that’s truthfully how I feel about anime fans sometimes. Like, I don’t mind if you criticize an anime series (in this case, KanColle). But going about it in the way I constantly described is way beyond silly. Otherwise, I think people who never played the game and watch the anime are “real fans” if they enjoy it. Hell, my Mandingo-sized essays were never about “real fans” to begin with, nor was it about me bragging about playing the game. In the previous post, I… talked about the first episode as a person who played KanColle, watching an anime based on KanColle, because I…enjoyed and played the game??? Literally who gives a shit, unless one is an insecure little chach who thinks everyone’s out to look down on them.
I’m fine with people dropping the crap out of this anime, fan or not, and reasonably stating why it’s not their cup of tea. THAT’S OKAY. What I’m ranting about are ignorant masses of toxin who toss shit at things for the sake of tossing shit at them, context be damned, which is completely different from someone picking at the flaws in something they otherwise like, as they are not “fans” to begin with. Revelations!
While I may come across as a bit of harsh dude with my opinionated voice and sharp-tongue, I’m actually very reasonable. For example, a week ago on Twitter I went a little overboard when I was saying (paraphrased) “I love it how anime-only folks are still going crazy over the ‑mystery- of Archer’s identity when it was pretty much spoonfed to them in the DEEN anime” (actually in response to seeing a YouTube video of someone “theorizing” Archer’s identity + stating he’s watched the old anime adaptation, but I left that part out), someone replied (again, paraphrased), “Well, not everyone read the VN or watched the DEEN anime”. I acknowledged that could totally be the case for a lot of people, before explaining the context behind me saying tweeting that to begin with. ‘Twas all my bad. While it’s literally a ten-year old spoiler, I’m not a big enough source material snob to purposefully spoil a newcomer who is enjoying the newer UBW anime. It’s cool that they’re enjoying it through this medium because it’s a pretty good rendition of UBW.
This counts for anything. If someone successfully counters my arguments with reasonable logic, instead putting words into my mouth, I will always reconsider my disposition. Unfortunately, a good chunk of our world’s ego is inflated to the point where many don’t like being told that their viewpoints may be wrong and defend them the point of absurdity, like making stuff up and resorting to childish insults as if they were born on a futaba-styled imageboard. It’s like talking to a brick wall.
After this, it’s refreshing to be going back to writing about, analyzing, and/or critiquing the things I actually enjoy because… well, to be redundant, it’s enjoyable. I’ve ranted about things I dislike with a passion in the past, and while I enjoyed the discussion it garnered all the same (actual fruitful ones, unlike my previous post which garnered a tumor), it always really has to be on the spur-of-the-moment or otherwise it feels like I’m forcing myself to be a perpetual hate machine in order to have more topics to post about.
And trust me, there are a lot of things I actually hate about the anime fandom. The shit-tossing on MAL, waifu wars, a mix of the two and other oddities found on 2ch, Tumblr users making lame image macros using Pixiv fanart that belong to other people, the lack of basic social etiquette at anime conventions, fansub reviews by egomaniacs who don’t know Japanese and have imaginary English degrees, etc. The list is endless, and if I wrote about all of them on even a monthly basis, my head would explode.
Now excuse me while I go and get drunk as a skunk like a normal college student.