Anime torpor

I should know better really, I do it every year. The summer or autumn anime season rolls around and my interest in keeping up week-on-week ebbs as quickly as the long nights. It doesn't so much break a habit as press pause on a lifestyle, leaving other hobbies and interests fill the vacuum.

I would rather read a book about hikkikomori syndrome than I would about media theory and Nausicaa
As the source dries up, content for this blog follows suit like an abandoned tributary. As with anything you do for sixteen years, I never wholly stop. I follow hang-overs from the previous season (Accel World, Eureka Seven AO and Hyouka in this instance) in spurts and sprints but the impetus to write anything about them is vanishingly small. Though not for lack of trying. I've tried to elucidate my qualms with Hyouka no less than three times only to end with the digital equivalent of crumpling up a sheet of paper and hurling it towards the bin (pressing delete on a Wordpress draft).

I've never been one to muse or ruminate though and any efforts I've undertaken to do so have been... unsatisfactory. Reviews are ideal vehicles for putting down my two cents on subjects ranging from strong female characters, or how an old story well told is better than an odd story poorly told, or how humour is always subjective. That they're tied to a particular series or movie is evidential grounding - I am talking about this concrete example - rather than speculation. Not tying my point of view to a single source means spreading it across numerous ones which has had success but is immensely more difficult to collate and corroborate.

Similarly the episode-to-episode musings of different series are largely irrelevant to me. Not commenting on something ongoing may sound like the recourse of a cornered political spokesman but until a series is finished I have little, if anything, to say about it. Some gain a sense of community by spitballing ideas and theories, lamenting the terribleness or just gushing with superlatives but that's never had any appeal to me.

It perhaps ties in with my eternal quest for strong storytelling in anime, a precept many of my reviews now revolve around. A story isn't done until an author says as much and I would rather accept and digest that story than challenge and poke at it until I am satisfied I have a grasp, however fleeting, upon it. Series have a natural break between each instalment that encourages digestion, a fact many who "marathon" series miss out on, but I digress. My reviews are ways of crystalising and codifying my thoughts on something as a whole and I live in quiet fear that upon being asked my thoughts on a series only half done, the words I respond with will prematurely railroad my thinking. Ideas and theories swirl around as I watch but they are ephemeral and only ripe when the credits have run for the final time.

This is not a fear of being incorrect, enough of my three episode taste tests have grabbed the wrong end of the stick for that to be meaningless at this point. It's more concern that listening too closely to the whispers makes them louder rather than giving each equal merit.

I have learned that this is a different predilection than towards what has become more prevalent with anime blogs in the years since I started: the rise of The Editorial Blog. Not Reaction or Review but more considered, intellectual and analytical. Many of the more caustic commentators would brand these as self-aggrandising or elitist and while in some cases this may be true, the discourse that many sites foster should be commended and encouraged. As with the Editorial's antithesis, the Episodic, though, I have little interest in reading them.

This should answer the question I was asked on Twitter regarding the choice of sites on my (still in beta) blog roll page. Despite having a "brain-trust" category, my favour lies squarely with investigations around anime rather than into anime itself. I would rather read a post about simulcasting woes or a book about hikkikomori syndrome than I would about media theory and Nausicaa or female hysteria within Nisemonogatari. None are measurably worse or better subject matter than the other and it comes down to where my interests lie and this what I would allocate my brain time to.

None of this really answers why my interest in anime as a pasttime waxes and wanes with the seasons beyond tiring of the eternal struggle between my lizard brain's lust for the shiny versus my higher brain's snobbery towards such pap. Sometimes the latter wins as is does when I try to watch more than the first ten minutes of I Have Few Friends (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai). Othertimes the former wins which would explain my fondness Cat Planet Cuties (Asobi ni iku yo!). Then other times there's a stag do to organise and attend, a wedding to help with and participate in, two olympic events to visit, a Steam summer sale, a full-time job and a dearth of eyecatching fodder. So slacking basically.

Responses to “Anime torpor”

In some sense, anime is attractive because it is unique and strange. The meta-level stuff that goes in to an anime and around it is also interesting because it's often unique as well. And as you implied, sometimes even more attractive than the anime itself.