(…Yes, I’m going out on an extreme limb here and dedicating an entire post to weird cheese metaphors. Sue me.)
I mention the word “cheesy” regarding some summer 2020 anime (hence the summer 2020 anime comparisons throughout this post), but to be honest, I have several meanings when it comes to that word.
Note the categories aren’t exclusive – in fact, the first two may have a lot of overlap. Also, this can get very subjective due to these being loose categories.
Furthermore, apologies in advance if you have dairy allergies.
The guilty pleasure
The “cheese”: Like blue cheese, it may smell rank, but it’s a delicacy for a reason.
How that translates: This is the closest meaning to the actual definition of “cheesy” – “cheap and of low quality”, to quote Google-sensei. People might give you funny looks for it because there’s clearly something “wrong” (whether it’s other people calling your taste “bad” or this niggling thought in the back of your head that what you’re watching is morally wrong) with what you’re consuming, whether that be the sexual content or animation that “melts”, but you enjoy it…that’s all that matters. My personal (and recent!) example for this is Super HxEros.
Bland but comforting
The “cheese”: You ever just craved a toasted cheese sandwich? This anime is a similar variety of comfort food, pure and simple – the kind of cheddar (or whatever cheese) you throw into that sandwich can seem bland by itself – even disgusting – but dang, that stuff hits the spot when you want it.
How that translates: The meaning I have for Koi to Producer is the kind of content you regularly facepalm to because you want to scream “Idiots!” every so often (how do people with superpowers keep using them in broad daylight when they’re meant to be a secret?!), but it happens to have some redeeming factors that mean you giggle like an idiot and enjoy yourself watching it in about equal measure anyway. Often you’ll encounter this sort of thing for indulgent self-insert works, such as harems and reverse harems (or adjacent series, like the aforementioned example), so folks squarely outside the key demographic might not understand the anime’s appeal. Even though they can be less embarrassing than the type above this one, the same rule applies – so long as you enjoy yourself, that’s all that matters.
The serious but silly stuff
The “cheese”: Like mozzarella, it may not look like cheese at first, but it’s cheese alright…It might even be good cheese, y’know? You just have to try it.
How that translates: Even less embarrassing than the last category are series that seem to be taking themselves seriously at first, but then reveal themselves to either take themselves so seriously, they become funny (such as how some see Mayoiga), or reveal themselves to have a comedic streak that’s as charming as it is stupid (which is how I see Fugou Keiji).
I admit I had this idea for a few weeks – to the point where I had an entire post planned out in my head but couldn’t bring myself to type it out because it sounded silly, so I forgot what my original comparison to the final cheese was. (Also, when I typed the bit about a cheese sandwich, I kept feeling hungry, let’s be real…)