Admittedly, I am just using a framework from various bloggers, including Joe, for this post (several of the links are dead though, which is why I didn’t link each blogger individually), but…these problem are evergreen, are they not?
This is just a set of opinions, like most things on here…but obvious disclaimer is obvious.
Anime vs. Manga
I have no real preference on which medium is better, although I have a tendency to go, “I saw this series as an anime first, so I like the anime better,” and same with the manga where it applies. There are some anime that are made terribly (*erhem* Marchen Madchen *erhem*) and some manga which look much better as anime though, so really it’s a case-by-case thing underneath the surface.
Subs vs. Dubs
Again, I have no real preference. I might think certain things might work better as a dub due to their Anglophone influences (see Princess Principal) or due to how fast the comedy should land (Maou-jou de Oyasumi), but generally I just stick to subs so then I can analyse the heck out of things…and also, that used to usually be the only thing available for most series available to me as a non-paying person who waited an extra week, but now I have a subscription which unlocks most simuldubs.
Cel vs. Digital/Vintage vs. Modern
I have a preference for the more modern-looking stuff because that’s what I have the most access to as someone who’s predominantly been consuming things in the digital age, but there is a certain charm to the cel stuff you can’t get with digital. Also, sometimes animators try to deliberately recreate the cel style, only to fail miserably – I assume something along those lines was going on with Angolmois.
CGI is a bit more polarising. I can get annoying about exactly how much CGI I can pick out, but give me a good enough reason for the CGI to stay and I’ll back down. For instance, Tsukigakirei was using CGI background characters as an excuse to keep quality of the 2D animation high, which isn’t a good enough excuse for me.
However, if it’s actually conducive to making something look more organic – which is normally why, for me, idol series rely on CGI models for their dance scenes – then by all means, go ahead. This can also be true for the opposite, as Kado’s cube can attest…but the character models? Not so much.
Moe vs. Realistic
I’ve never seen this debate going around, so I don’t think I know the essence of it, but…given a choice, I would go with realistic. Moe can be used to feed into or subvert expectations (Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou and Higurashi come to mind for the latter), but the realistic style can make audiences take things seriously.
Also, I was having a discussion in a Discord about manga and I realised my favourite manga art styles, such as Tsuyoshi Takaki’s brush art style and CLAMP’s “noodle people” style, have lots of details. It’s hard to get lots of details in a moe style. In fact, the fact I don’t have to include all the details is why I haven’t learnt how to draw in a hyper-realistic style myself, instead opting for a pared-down style based on Gosho Aoyama’s at the most detailed level and a more chibi-like style at the least detailed level in fanart.
(Note I don’t really like to showcase my fanart because it won’t get much of an audience here, but I’m making an exception here to explain a point…Also note there are some errors I didn’t correct in both pieces of fanart – notably, the steering wheel should be on the other side for the car image while I forgot to colour in certain sections of the other image.)
Light vs. Dark
Jokes about Death Note and DN Angel aside, I don’t watch too many serious/tearjerker series because they can weigh down on you heavily, especially in this time of COVID. Action and comedy are two of the genres people can “turn their brain off” to, which is probably part of why I stick with the “light” camp.
However, the best comedy is probably one that can walk the tightrope between sentimental and laughs-a-minute without falling off, such as Hinamatsuri or the first season of Osomatsu-san. That way, you don’t have to choose a side!
Continuous vs. Episodic Plot
Again, this is a case-by-case thing: in the days of 12/13 episode cours, the tighter your plot/arc pacing, the more you hook your audience. However, in the world of long-runners which also have movies, it’s better if you can have a “quick pitch version” that can then be elaborated on forever in a series of arcs.
For instance, take Detective Conan. The quick pitch is that a teen detective gets shrunk and solves mysteries. The not-so-quick pitch is that Shinichi Kudo has to foil the Black Organisation who shrunk him by solving all these mysteries and heck if he doesn’t run into a lot of detours along the way! (Okay, I am sort of kidding about the detours, but in doing so, the series ticks off every genre possible – even fantasy and sci-fi when the in-series Gamera and Kamen Yaiba series are involved, sports when Shinichi uses his soccer skills…you get the idea.) Some cases are directly related to the plot, some are not but they expand on the universe.
Series vs. Films vs. Shorts
This is heavily content-dependent. Comedy with laughs-a-minute is easily suited to TV shorts, while longer adventures that can’t fit into a TV series, but aren’t long enough for a TV series themselves, would work best in movies.
The real sin about TV shorts is that they have a tendency to truncate storylines that could be worked on a lot better in an ordinary TV series, but the opposite is also true of movies, so the “TV series” format could be said to just be a happy medium of the lot.
Notably, this heading doesn’t seem to cover ONAs/OVAs, which I thought would be more polarising since most OVAs and chibi shorts/mini web series in particular are meant to be made for existing fans of the series, while still acting as supplementary material to the main attraction of the series it’s for. The ONA and OVA formats have some real experimental stuff though – Zenonzard at its best asks some cutting questions about humanity’s relationship with AI (and even art in the Yorusuke episode!) – and you shouldn’t look down on it for that. (Notably, Zenonzard is an episodic series and most of the episodes could easily be expanded into their own series, but the truncation I’m getting from the anime may be continued in the game itself…I dunno. I don’t play the game.)
As for sitting down and watching them, I find I always have to pause things a lot (whether for analysing things, taking notes or watching things multiple times because that one scene was so much fun), so movies are harder to incorporate into my daily watching and they were harder to get prior to this subscription. Normally, this service the subscription is tied to has “watching parties” and/or limited-time windows to watch certain movies in before they go to disc and sometimes, are lost to me as Blu-Rays.
…I have a spoiler policy on this blog for a reason. Unless I’m specifically targetting a thing at beginners – like this one HypMic post – or I’m writing a post which may contain spoilers for various series, in which case I will throw up a spoiler warning to be nice, I can and will assume you have consumed the same content as me.
Certain content can say it has spoilers, however, and when you actually read it, it’s really vague about what the spoiler even is. It’s better to have something like that to let the reader dodge it and let them be let down, rather than have the reader be angry at you for spoiling the entire plotline/twist.
Weekly Watch vs. Marathon
Pick what works for you.
As for me, I can only marathon while in the mood for it, which is not as often as I’d like, so weekly watching becomes important so I don’t have to marathon a bunch of episodes in one shot.
Watching Alone vs. Group Watching
Both have their perks, really – comedy can be magnified with a crowd that laughs along with the show, rather than at it. Grand Blue and a rewatch of the first episode of Zombieland Saga were made much funnier this way with my anime club.
However, most things I have to watch myself so that I can say I watched it on my own terms and so I can keep up with discussion. It’s no fun having a bunch of anime content emailed to you every day if you can’t keep on top of it all, after all.
(Also, the anime club didn’t screen Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu‘s long premiere until long after they moved to Discord. I don’t think I would have bothered with it had I only seen it through the club, but by the time they showed it – which happens to have been about a month before this post, if their weekly emails are any indication – I’d long finished it and called it a favourite…I have a lot of weird niche anime I have that are highly likely to not be shown in an anime club – Boueibu, gd men…
this is all the weirdly-oriented bishonen stuff, isn’t it?)
Reviews vs. Editorials
Editorials, obviously. You probably knew that if it’s not your first time coming here.
I’m not averse to reviews, but since there are so many other people who do specialise in reviews, professional or not, I find it’s hard to stand out that way and so I stick with a format that can make me stand out.
I only used Joe’s post as a reference, so apologies if I interpreted the actual subject of the controversy wrong or missed some headings present in the other posts that Joe omitted.
Now, it’s time to open up the floodgates of the comment section – remember, be civil!