Meta context: You can tell this post has been sitting in my drafts for a while because it mentions Seasonal Prattle, a blog I thought had gone inactive at one point due to some of the backlog posts disappearing when I wanted to read them. According to the date in the scheduler, this post’s start date goes back all the way to June 2019, hence the references to anime closer to that time.
Prattle argues that seasonal gems depend on perspective – if you pick up a show and acknowldge it is “good”, then “good” it shall be, as according to the community. However, I have one thing to throw into this argument.
What if you choose your pre-season list without the intention of finding gems and yet “get a gem”, as acknowledged by others later on in the season?
That is what happened with Planet With and Princess Principal for me. In the former case, it was because one of my favourite voice actors was in it. In the latter case, I was struggling to watch anything good, so I picked up anything that seemed halfway decent. This is probably why some people have “sleeper anime”, although why they like to identify them is a mystery to me. (“The sake of being right” doesn’t seem to justify it all.)
Basically, anything that’s lower than halfway down my hype list is stuff I’m not really that enthusiastic about, so you could arguably throw in Hinamatsuri (which was exactly halfway) into the list of things I can count as gems.
Let’s take a look at Prattle’s definition of “seasonal gem” again (bolding mine):
“Seasonal gems” are typically nothing more than quality works that were under-watched in the general eye of the anime community during their run.
The thing is, when I go around picking anime for my pre-season hype list, I only ever pick for myself – even with 2018’s attempt to look at genres that were outside my comfort zone, there were still certain anime I never touched, such as Aho Girl, simply because I knew they were too far outside my range. Don’t just say “I got lucky”…after all, if there were no audience for it, no business person in their right mind would want to release it.
Also, even niche anime garner their own fanbases after a while. Even more casual anime watchers who are waiting for their anime of choice can watch episodes of things they don’t really like in the name of killing boredom…although that’s less true in the age of streaming…but unless it’s one of those Crunchyroll anime licensed off the scrap heap like Anime Capibara-san that people only really watch so they can cover absolutely everything in a season, this should hold true enough. It’s just that most fandoms can be found if you dig under the surface a lot – some fans congregate on certain social media sites more than others, though. Generally, this includes a preference for Twitter, for reasons which are somewhat explained in this post.
So, do “seasonal gems” always exist? Or do they never exist? Is it all a matter of perspective like Prattle says?