Several weeks ago, I had this thought that some debates in the anime community are getting quite old, but they still appear from time to time, as if digging up some resolved conflicts. Why? That’s because a) new fans and enthusiasts show up and/or b) older fans still have some things to say about these debates. To some they may already be irrelevant, pointing it to individual preferences, and to others these may actually have new perspectives with which we can tackle them. I was actually convinced it’s the former, but after seeing Ayame and Neko’s stand (and later, OG-Man’s opinions) on these fandom controversies, it might actually be the latter. This is a good time for me to talk about anime and manga rather than writing separate posts on these issues.
- Anime VS Manga
The classic question among fans: which do you think is better, anime or manga? But from the looks of it, it is not easy to answer such a very broad question. It is not exactly which is better over the other. Most of the time, it all boils down to personal tastes and internal and external enjoyment factors whenever we consume either material. The safest way to end this debate, which I don’t really care about anymore, is to say “it depends on the person.”
I enjoy both, but I tune in to anime more frequently. Other than being visual, it’s also musical. Action scenes are just more exciting with all those sound effects to accompany the animation—it makes the whole thing organic, something that we don’t only get to watch but also to witness. As someone who is very dependent on pleasant sounds as background music for personal work, I gain positive vibes from trying to hunt down good OSTs and discovering new artists to look out for. What else? There is the voice acting aspect of anime that I really like. I’m one of those people who notice the seiyuu cast first before noting the production staff. In other words, I know more seiyuu than animators/directors/other staff. Lately, I have been reading some articles on people behind anime and about anime production in general. It is not my expertise, but I find sakuga a very interesting niche hobby that has somewhat changed my perspective on anime and animation, as in, the process.
Admittedly, I’m a slow reader, though I am actively trying to work on that. But that doesn’t mean that I care less about manga than I care about anime. Manga is another art form on its own because most mangaka have mastery over the lineart and shadowing of characters, backgrounds, and other effects (bubbles and sparks, anyone?). There’s just a different kind of feeling a black and white drawing can elicit. I get my inspiration to draw mostly from my favorite manga pages or panels. These images may not be moving like their anime counterpart do, but they can still move me to tears (pun intended)… or simply to practice my drawing.
- Dubs VS Subs
Subs. I didn’t have to ask myself twice. But everyone else’s answer still depends on how he has been conditioned in watching his anime throughout the years.
I grew up watching localized (Filipino) dub and started appreciating anime because of those localized anime. But back then I was not even aware of the original Japanese dubbed anime. Flash forward to end of primary school and I found Japanese dub “cute”. And even then, a few Tagalized anime were aired on TV. Comparing the two, it was easy for me to prefer Japanese dub. Japanese just fits the spoken lines of the characters, and I really admire the professionalism put into the roles by the seiyuu.
All that said, I don’t have a wide exposure to English dubs. I’ve had a couple of responses on Anime Corps’ editorial some time ago, and I still hold the same thought upon the matter:
Yes, meaning is still somehow lost through (fan or official) subs, but having the original Japanese dub to listen to gives the [watchers] a better idea of the narration/dialogue’s context.
- Vintage VS Modern / Cel VS Digital
I still remember the days when I’d try to sing along the opening to Voltes V. That was when I was a kid, before I entered primary school. Everything animated was such a wonder to me, and it still is even now. However, since 2009 I’ve only been watching modern anime, and not much anime from the 1990s, 1980s or 1970s. I kind of made a quest, which I haven’t started yet, to watch as many “old” anime as I can. Granted, these titles are pretty obscure to sites I choose to have access to.
My real answer to this is that I don’t have clear preference between the two, but my eyes are much more appreciative of the animation variety modern anime can tell their stories with. (Read: #1)
Since Yuri Headmaster OG-Man brought up the subject of 3D or CGI, I’m going to say that I don’t usually fuss over them—as long as they don’t look abrasive to the overall aesthetics of a particular anime. I even finished Ars Nova and Sidonia no Kishi which, animation-wise, I didn’t have real problems with. Sidonia was highly enjoyable, too!
- Moe VS Realistic
I have the heart for both. Moe and cute anime make me feel young and in love again, though I also tend to be picky with the cute girls doing cute things shows. Usually, whatever goes trending, i.e. Hestia, does not automatically mean it’s a must-see for me. I can’t explain how I pick my shows, but it’s just when I don’t feel like watching it. Putting aside the moe bubbles and sparks, I like my animanga realistic or convincing enough to remain mundane, even in the minute details like facial and eye expressions or hand gestures that should help portray what the characters think and how they feel in each situation.
- Light VS Dark
If I get something out of watching, at least, the first episode, then I will no doubt watch and try to finish a dark series, but most often they just leave me feeling somehow empty. That’s why I easily choose the light-hearted ones that impart some lessons or ideas to reflect upon, and these are more welcome with series that have some depth, melancholy, and drama in them.
- Continuous Plot VS Episodic
Why not both? Okay, to be honest, I prefer series with a very interesting main plot to keep me hanging and looking forward to each new episode. I agree with Ayame’s statement regarding Natsume Yuujinchou and Mushishi. Episodic series won’t hurt as long as they stay fresh despite their formulaic outline and if they’re feel good animanga (Read #5).
- Series VS Film VS Shorts
Just like with Hollywood/Bollywood/Hallyu films, I still have to get really motivated to sit down and watch an anime movie for more than an hour. It’s mostly because of my attitude towards movies in general, that most just end up disappointing and I can’t even get invested in the story or the characters. Of course, this does not apply in some cases, but that’s how it was with my early Studio Ghibli movie experience. But if you look at my MAL, there’s a huge fraction of the titles that are movies. I finished most of them when I was still relatively young in the anime fandom and I had this goal to watch as many as I could. Now that I’ve actually taken breaks from watching way more than I can take, I realized that there are still many anime movie gems waiting for me. It would still take time for me to actually watch them.
So the usual menu for me are TV series. I seldom watch shorts, but I know many of them can be pretty entertaining (i.e., Miss Monochrome, Chi’s Sweet Home, Hetalia).
I occasionally spoil myself, but end up watching the series anyway. And by staying around twitter and the blogosphere, I can’t avoid spoilers—screen caps count as spoilers. Even if I say I’d like to avoid spoilers, I still get to see them. Unlike years ago, I’ve learned to just be quiet and not say anything. But the truth is that spoilers do have some effect on which anime to pick up next.
- Weekly Watch VS Marathon
I do both, but since my activity decline in 2013, my backlog has been growing such that I won’t even actively keep up with currently airing anime. I try to watch the first episodes of my top picks every season, then decide which to drop and to keep watching. From there, I just let the weekly episodes pile up and when I have time I watch these episodes in 3-5 episode bulks. The more exact answer to this is it’s more of a hybrid of weekly watch and marathon.
- Watching Alone VS Group Watching
I watch my anime alone 99.99% of the time. The remaining 0.01% time of watching anime is spent on group watching, with close friends to be exact. When I do watch with friends, I make sure I’ve already watched the anime so when they ask and comment on stuff, I’d find their reactions amusing I wouldn’t be distracted. I’m really easily distracted when watching anime.
- Paper VS Digital
Anime DVDs and imported manga volumes in English are so unaffordable, and I’m just poor. Thank god, there are pirates ashore.
When reading a book or a handout for class, I always prefer I printed version. It’s easy to flip through and I can actually highlight stuff—with that tangible feeling of highlighting a text. But the reality of reading my favorite manga or occasional light novels is not as what has just been described. If I can just buy them at cheaper prices I can actually hold them, smell them, hug them, and sleep with them—the very proof that I own them.
So yeah, let’s settle for
free and digital for now.
- Reviews VS Editorials
In general, I avoid sites with blatant spoilers in their reviews, and I don’t have enough patience to read walls of text that try to justify a rating of 3 out of 10 stars for a series that I think should have deserved a 7, at least. But eh, individual tastes. Aside from well articulated, almost spoiler-free (because we do need some little teasers) reviews, I admire editorials that do not only have sound arguments, but are reasonably informative as well.
I recognize the fact that I’m not good enough as a writer and I still have so much to improve on. I’m not even an avid reader, so how can I instantly become a critical writer? Hence, I try to read articles (not only animanga-related) and books as much as I can.