Anime Seasons: Who Cares?

You do not live in Japan.

A new season of anime means new anime airs on TV in Japan, which is a country you do not live in, unless you’re a disillusioned expatriate who has yet to learn that watching anime all day makes you a loser no matter where you are in the world. You do not have access to a Japanese TV service provider. You aren’t forced to watch whatever they decide to air that season. You access anime through the internet. You just go to a website and click on whatever show from whatever season you want.

You have no idea what’s going to be subbed.

Check out a typical season preview chart. You’ll see about 25 shows. How many will get subbed quickly? How many will get subbed with reasonable quality? How many will get subbed to completion? How many will get subbed at all? I’ve been burned too many times. As far as I’m concerned, if an anime isn’t subbed, it doesn’t exist.

You have no idea what’s going to be good.

Adaptations get butchered, original works are a shot in the dark, and picking shows based primarily on their animation studios is stupid enough to warrant its own post (forthcoming). You’re no worse off picking shows based on their titles. Rather than pick a show and hope it’ll be good, why not let prior viewers be your guinea pigs?

Waiting sucks.

I’ve tested this theory under a variety of circumstances. For example, one time this girl asked me if I could come to her birthday party. I told her I could probably make it, but I ended up staying home to watch preseason football. The theory of “waiting sucks” must’ve held firm, seeing as how she hasn’t spoken to me since.

Why wait a week for a new episode when you could watch every single episode of a series consecutively? People who say waiting is a good thing have no discipline. Waiting isn’t satisfying, rewarding, exciting, frustrating, or anything like that. Waiting is nothing more or less than time spent not watching anime. What’s the point?

You haven’t even come close to watching everything better.

Have you watched Touch yet? Why haven’t you watched Touch yet? Fuck you. While you’re at it, watch Legend of the Galactic Heroes, especially since Maddox just wrote the same post I wrote three years ago. Now the circle of life is complete, and I can begin penning my memoir.

Newer isn’t better.

It’s not like there’s some radical advance in animation or storytelling that makes newer anime inherently superior. Anime from 2010 has little to offer that anime from 2005 couldn’t, unless you’re into some crappy fad like moé, in which case I’m surprised you had the attention span to make it this far into my post.

Talking about crappy shows doesn’t make them suck less.

Some people watch all the new shows just so they can talk about them. This is how they end up watching anime like Chu-Bra, the show everybody talked about for three months and nobody heard about ever again. Or Basquash. Or Kampfer. You get the picture.

Some of these guys blog about all the new shows because they think it’ll make them popular. It’s kind of sad how much crappy anime they’re willing to watch just so they’ll have someone to talk to. I hate talking to people and still get more comments than them. No wonder they all quit blogging and joined Twitter.

85 Replies to “Anime Seasons: Who Cares?”

    • I was talking more about better in terms of potential, not in terms of the actual product. Take video games for example. Newer games might not be better than older games, but with more powerful technology, they have the potential to be better. There’s improvement in the technology, artistic technique, etc. of the 2D animation industry too, but it’s at a slow enough pace that you won’t notice the difference from season to season.

  1. I can’t believe I’m going to say something the slightly contradict you. While it might be stupid to watch a show solely based on the animation studio, if you watch something because of the production cast, voice actor or composer associated with a certain studio; I don’t think there’s something wrong with this.

    • I’ll let your insubordination slide just this once, since I’m not all that familiar with the particulars of the roles of individuals behind the studios. If you’ve found a formula for success, by all means follow it. I’ve found no such formula for studios in general. In fact, I’ve scientifically disproven any relationship between animation studio and watchability.

      I’ve watched shows just for the composer. I’ve enjoyed the music, though I’ve not always enjoyed the show. I’ve never picked a show for the vocal cast, though I do much appreciate a strong performance.

  2. I agree with everything in this post except for this:

    >>picking shows based primarily on their animation studios is stupid enough to warrant its own post

    It only doesn’t work for you because your shitty taste only cares about plot. For me, every element of a production is equally important, so knowing people who will be involved is a huge help.

    • And I’ve learned many times not to pre-judge a plot. I say it’s better to hold off than rush in clamoring, “OOOOOOO, GAINAX! OOOOOOO, SHAFT! Get this J.C. Staff crap out of my face.”

    • I’ve been using those sites lately too. My inspiration for this post was watching Giant Killing on Crunchyroll. I marathoned the first few eps. Then I had to wait every single week for the rest. On top of that, if I wanted the simulcast, I had to pay up. I’m cheap, so I waited a week for episodes to be released for free. What would be the point of having the simulcast? I’d still have to wait a week between episodes; I’d just be one episode farther ahead. But then I’d be able to talk about the latest episode with everyone! Screw that.

      Those sites have a pretty good and growing library of older anime. That’s what you need to tap. For example, I watched Initial D on Hulu and Eureka 7 on Crunchyroll.

  3. I considered OreImo as crappy anime and the reason why I blog about bad anime is because I need an outlet to vent. That’s what my blog is about anyway. And I do watch certain anime because of the production studios. It has to do with personal preference. As for the other point you raised, it is valid as fuck.

  4. damm true that all anime and manga we get is from internet . i had observed during reading the recent post by maddox that i was reading your logh post . this summer i watched logh . the day i completed it i searched it in blog post result and found your post which shares same thought with me – EPIC . regarding new anime do u have plan to watch bakuman ? (answer i think is probably NO because it has a tag of SLICE OF LIFE of MANGAKAS ! )

    • At first, I considered watching Bakuman as it aired due to name recognition. It’s one of the few titles from this season I’d recognized older from posts by other bloggers.

      Then I decided to put it off until it someone else reviewed it.

      Then I heard it was sexist and was tempted to watch it.

      Then I saw a screenshot of the so-called sexist line, which was little different from dozens of lines I’ve in other anime.

      Current status: waiting for final reviews.

  5. Well that’s why we blog, don’t we? TO vent our frustration, to write about our thoughts, etc.

    But sadly, it does seem that no-one would read a blog blogging about ‘old’ anime. I should give it a try.

    • Sure, when it’s legit, but in some cases you wantonly bring that frustration upon yourself and thus lose the right to whine about it.

      It’s generally true that nobody pays much attention to episodic posts of old anime, mainly because they don’t remember what happened in any distinct episode and thus can only parrot what the blogger said, but they definitely pay attention to reviews of old series (like Initial D). One of my goals when I started this site was to review every anime I’d ever watched. I’m farther away from that goal than ever.

  6. I’ll usually pick up several new shows each season that I plan to watch.

    Then I just don’t watch them. I lost interest quickly and watch a show that’s already completed. I remember when I first was introduced to anime, I was under some impression that people only subbed completed anime, because who the fuck would want to watch shows that weren’t finished yet. When I first realized that people actually subbed ongoing shows from Japan, I was baffled, because who the fuck like to watch that? No I’ve begun to accept this and some shows I will watch week to week, but I usually never like these shows as much as shows that I watch all at once.

    I usually hate watching shows that are still going on. Usually I won’t even start actively indulging myself in a show until it’s close to completion. Granted, I’m watching a few shows this season, but even then I waited for said shows to be halfway finished, and now I’ve lost interest in them, and I’m probably going to wait fro them to completely finish.

    I don’t get what’s so enticing about reading a post describing an episode that you already watched. Like, do you really forget things that quickly where you need to read a recap about the show right afterward? If so then congratulations, you have Alzheimers, and you’re old as fuck. Granted, sometimes episodic posts can be funny, depending on who writes them.

    I refuse to write posts about single episodes, unless the episode is so awesome that I feel like writing a post about it. Sometimes I say that I’ll do it, but then I just don’t. In fact, I haven’t even been writing many posts relevant to anime lately. They’ve all been shitty filler posts, and I know it, I’m just too lazy to care.

    Maddox actually wrote a post? That’s fine but I wish he’d put his book out soon.

    • I think of it like this: If the author is the star of the episodic post, it’s a good episodic post. If the episode is the star of the episodic post, it’s a bad episodic post. The post should be about what the author can add to the episode, not what the episode already gave you.

  7. I think the one good reason to watch the latest anime is that the once per week format resembles the way we watched TV in the past – everybody watched the same thing, and it was new for everybody. Then you had fodder for discussion afterwards. If you don’t care about that aspect I can’t see any good reasons at all to follow the latest shows.

    • My old motivation for watching new stuff as soon as possible was to watch it before it got licensed and the fansubs were pulled. With so many new shows being immediately streamed legally nowadays, I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

  8. There are many diverging opinions among many people regarding the selection of animes.As in this case (season animes) different people have different ways of seeing.
    Now you say waiting sucks and it is better to marathon a good show.That is true but for people who are really busy and dont have that much time,for them one episode per week is beneficial as they can be regular with the series.
    Well I have gotten into seeing season animes just recently.But I dont look up to the production company or see without any reason.Lets say I ran into Death Note a year ago and I was completely amazed that I wanted more related works.So I am seeing Bakuman as it’s by the same writers.All Key works are brilliant so any new anime which they release are very much expected by all fans.
    It’s just a matter of personal choice I’d say.

    • I’ve got a whole post planned, so I’ll keep this short: the more anime you watch, the more you’ll realize that brilliant shows come from unexpected places.

      One episode a week is fine if you’re busy, you can always choose to watch one episode of a series at a time instead of marathon it. Yeah, I know all too well it’s easier said than done. I’ve got plenty of stories about only wanting to watch one episode and ending up watching half a series in one sitting. Doesn’t happen much anymore, but happened all the time when I was first getting into anime. Just gotta have discipline.

  9. I first read Touch when I was in elementary school and really disliked it. Being so young I didn’t fully understand why. Then I read it again in high school, finished it and completely hated it. The manga was good but I can’t stand the whole Kazuya-Minami-Tatsuya relationship. After reading a few more titles of Adachi Mitsuru (creator of Touch if you don’t know), I realized his idea of relationship sucks. Which is why I’m always in a bad mood after reading his manga even though I enjoy reading them most of the time. Except for Katsu, that manga is just pure fun.

    I choose anime based on the posters, some extra information here and there while surfing around, and it’s correct most of the time.
    Watching an anime in 3~6 months and reading/talking about it in that span makes me remember it with better details than watching an anime in 2 days.

  10. I never really wanted to try to watch them anyway, but at least I’m trying to cope up with the blog-sphere

    I usually watch anime after 6 months after the release of last episode because it’s easier and I can have my copy of it.

    • Keeping up with other bloggers has been my biggest motivation for paying attention to seasonal anime for the past three years. Lately I’ve just stopped bothering, and I haven’t noticed a decline in my enjoyment of anime, which was a motivation for writing this post.

  11. When I watch an anime that’s not airing in the current season, I still only watch one episode a week.


  12. You may hate talking TO people, but it is very clear you enjoy talking AT them – otherwise you surely wouldn’t have put out the sheer volume of articles necessary to successfully beat Maddox to the punch at something so specifically.
    Speaking of which, not like it means jack shit, I’ve never been more proud of anybody in my life.

    • What makes me really happy is that it cancels out the time I used the phrase “pun intended” in a Talk-A-Raptor video mere weeks before he wrote his post pointing out I was a douchebag for doing so.

  13. You do not live in Japan.
    => I do.

    You have no idea what’s going to be subbed.
    => See above.

    You have no idea what’s going to be good.
    => The only way I use to check if an anime is good is to watch it. Just look how hyped are some anime, Angel Beats!, Code Geass…

    Waiting sucks.
    => Not for everybody. The pros of weekly episodes is that you live the waiting and the emotions of watching your favorites show together with a hundred other persons, like when you watch an important baseball competition live, for example. Besides, there are much more discussions about an anime when its airing or just aired. Everyone likes discuss about anime.

    You haven’t even come close to watching everything better.
    => That’s why I don’t only watch airing animes, but also old anime beside.

    Newer isn’t better.
    => See above and above above.

    Talking about crappy shows doesn’t make them suck less.
    => Talking about epic shows make them rock more.

    Now shut the fuck up.

    I am a pedophile.

    • Are you taking a caustic black-backgrounded blog’s opinions at face value over a decade after Maddox got his first PETA hate-mail?
      You really need to take it easy.

    • Funny, I checked my logs, and the closest hits from Japan came 4 hours before your comment was posted. That means either you’re not from Japan or your comment took 4 hours to write. Owned yet?

      I will address one point you made. Let’s say you do luck out and pick a good show. Isn’t talking about it while you wait for the next episode fun? No, it’s not, it’s annoying. I could do without all that “MAYBE PEIN IS KONOHAMARU’S FATHER!” nonsense. If you draw a funny comic about the previous episode, write an insightful observation, or do something of that sort, ok, then it’s worthwhile, but an actual two-way conversation is going to plow through a lot more crap than gold. I have no patience for it.

      • If you checked my IP you’d have seen I’m using a proxy. Magic?

        “Isn’t talking about it while you wait for the next episode fun?”
        Am I waiting for the next episode to begin with? I do so much things beside that an episode broadcast before I even had time to wait it.

        As far as I’m concerned, I occasionnaly discuss on forums but I mostly excitate myself like a retarded brat with some friends on MSN.
        That’s really distracting to watch an anime at the same tempo than other persons.

  14. Only point I’d argue is those who wait have more discipline as waiting generally requires patience. Patience requires discipline. Wasn’t that was Splinter was always talking about to the turtles? (especially Raphael)

  15. this is a GREAT post. I completely agree. The only show I MAKE SURE to watch when it first airs is Dexter (on showtime). Thats because I dont get showtime so i have to go to a friends to watch it.

    The only thing i disagree with is the waiting paragraph. Its true for the first season… However, when a show is in its later seasons i can not wait till the season over to watch it straight thru. I will use Dexter as an example again…. There is no way i could wait 12+ weeks to find out what happens in season 5. So i watch it every week.

    Any show in the first season you SHOULD wait tho… cuz its not like you are emotionally invested in the characters or story anyways… so why not wait??

    • I’ve marathoned first seasons of anime and watched later seasons week-to-week. You don’t have to worry about the show sucking if you’ve already had a taste, and if the first season was widely accepted as good, the second season usually won’t have subbing issues. The big problem is with shows with continuous plots. Sometimes you forget what happened in earlier episodes when it’s spaced out. Sometimes events that are depicted over the course of several episodes make the event as a whole lose its impact. You see it a lot in action, sports, and mystery anime. Marathoning Higurashi was probably the best anime-watching experience I’ve ever had. Watching the second-season and Umineko week-to-week were still good but not as captivating.

  16. Touch is really good. But Cross Game is even better.

    To correct you, newer isn’t necessarily better, but it also isn’t necessarily worse. Tatami Galaxy, for example, is a brilliant piece of animation.

    And seriously, Panty and Stocking is a disappointment.

    • I watched Tatami Galaxy. I haven’t decided whether I’ll review it or not. It was exceedingly clever, but as an overall story I’d only rate it about an 8/10. Maybe it was my annoyance from Haruhi’s Endless Eight in the back of my mind, but at times I just wished they’d break the loop already.

      I’ve resigned myself to the inevitability that I’ll watch Panty & Stocking someday just to see what all the fuss was about, even though I know I’ll end up dying of boredom.

  17. See, this is why I just wait until the current season is over. That why I know what’s been subbed and what hasn’t, and I don’t have to worry about anything other than my own lack of patience But I still have a boatload of anime from years gone by waiting for me to sit and watch it.

    Life is just easier that way.

    Arianna Sterling

    PS Any chance I could be added to your blog roll? You’re on mine already.

    • I don’t have much of a stockpile. There always have been, however, a few old anime I doubt will ever get licensed that I’ve been confident I could download whenever I needed. Of course, now with streaming anime taking over, I won’t have to rely on that anymore.

      To be on my blog roll, you must pass grueling tests of mind, body, and spirit. Prepare yourself.

  18. I almost completely agree with you.

    >>Waiting sucks.
    I’m not saying that waiting doesn’t suck but marathoning an anime just is a different experience than waiting weekly for each episode. I don’t mind marathoning generic moe anime #1371 but sometimes marathoning more serious anime loses some of the effect. Any especially strong cliffhanger can be ruined if you just go to the next episode right after. The intended effect can be lost and that just takes away some of the enjoyment.

    >>and picking shows based primarily on their animation studios is stupid enough to warrant its own post.
    In choosing anime, the production studio will clearly be a bias. I’d expect more enjoyment derived from a GAINAX or a Madhouse series than from a XEBEC or DEEN series. Production studio wouldn’t be a dealbreaker but it’d certainly be a larger factor. For example, if Panty and Stocking wasn’t created by GAINAX, I’m sure it wouldn’t get as much pre-hype than before. A production studio’s reputation from previous works will certainly carry over, just like Bones’ reputation for mecha anime.

    And personally, I’d watch a show just for its music, background or just OP/ED, although more of a preference on background music. Stupid, I know, but I bask in the glory of composers like Shirou Sagisu, Yoko Kanno, Tenmon, Hiroyuki Sawano, Nujabes etc.

    • Sure, if the intended effect is to enhance the story, instead of pulling out all the stops to make sure you tune in for the next episode, then you’re missing something by marathoning. In that case, if you really feel like you’re missing something, you just need to stop yourself instead of the Japanese TV network forcing you to stop.

      I haven’t found a studio I prefer over another, and if I look over my list of favorites, I see a ton of names. I’ll save the rest for my post on studios.

      I have watched series just for the music. It was back in the day when my eyes worked, less than 30 series came out each season, and I was under the impression that I’d watch everything that looked remotely good eventually.

  19. I watch the new shit that comes out every season because its entertaining to do so. And because I’m the sort of masochistic person who completed Dragonaut and Kagihime – Eternal Alice Rondo. The only thing more fun than watching the first few episodes of shitty shows is dancing on broken glass, don’t you know?

    Also, the people who are going all SRS BZNS in the comments section is cracking me up.

  20. Ask any Japanese person, one of the most special things about Japan is the fact that unlike everywhere else in the world, Japan has four distinct seasons. This is something which the Japanese are especially proud of, and think that foreigners would find the most interesting.

    Even Japanese living abroad will say that the seasons elsewhere aren’t like the seasons in Japan. Japan’s seasons are just so much more real and better.

    I am not making this up. I’ve seen it a few times when reading Japanese sites, researching Japan (when I was planning my trip there) and from Japanese people I know in real life living in North America.;read=299

  21. There are so many truths to this post. The only reason I pick up currently airing series is so I can be part of the hype (circle playing) in the blogosphere. My favorite anime are all from ages past (Mai Hime, Gunslinger Girl… etc.), and there are so many known classics I still yet have to watch. However, I still spend of my time on current seasons. Peer pressure/ need to fit in. 🙁

    Anyways, production means nothing to me. There’s too many to keep track of and they mean so little to how much I’ll enjoy the anime.

  22. I usually watch older series, the few times I tried to watch a new series week to week I’d forget to watch them some weeks and just wouldn’t bother trying again until either the entire series was done, or at least an entire season. For a while I tried watching a few ongoing shonen series week to week, but it was too bothersome during episodes where there is a single fight that lasts more than 2 episodes. If I’m going to watch a shonen I need to be sitting down to at least a few months of episodes.

    • Shonen is terrible week to week. I don’t know how I’ve survived reading the Bleach and Naruto manga for the past few years. After a while you completely lose all sense of the fight, how it flows, etc. Forgetting a week is the best medicine. That’s what’s happened to me for Gantz right now. I forgot to read a chapter a few months ago, and now I’m off until I care to jump in again.

  23. I’ve found that discussing anything, anime, TV, movies, makes it much more enjoyable. I sure as hell wouldn’t pay a shit site like CR to watch it sooner, but talking about it is definitely good. Granted you are at the right place with the right people.

    And I just watch the first ep of whatever sounds interesting to me. Studio, staff, etc, is irrelevant.

  24. EPIC WINS:

    1. “Now the circle of life is complete, and I can begin penning my memoir.”
    2. “…I’m surprised you had the attention span to make it this far into my post.”
    3. “I hate talking to people and still get more comments than them. No wonder they all quit blogging and joined Twitter.”

  25. First time commenter, going through the logs. While I normally think you’re a contratian, smug little troll and that’s why I find you entertaining, I genuinely agree with your post 100%.

    Last time I tried to watch a seasonal show, all the information I had on it was that it was “a cute shojo”, shrugged and said why the hell not since my grandpa just died and sure as hell needed a pick me up at the time. Turned out to be about the happy go lucky adventures of a molester and potential rapist. It really pays to not be a guinea pig. And if Utena taught me anything, it’s that I really hate waiting when I genuinely enjoy a series; I was stupid enough to start with the series when the DVDs were in the local library and it turns out they only had up to the Black Rose Arc. Well, waiting suck, AND that headcase of the week is more fun than monster of the week, but that’s irrelevant.

    My only exception will likely be for G Reco in the fall for Tomino’s sake since it might be his last series, and thus good or bad I know I feel obligated to watch it no matter what ASAP. But that’s just irrational and sentimental bullshit.

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