I saw this post (linked above) and I was suddenly compelled to write. I knew I was angry about it, but I couldn’t really pin down why without mulling it over and putting it into a blog post.
To be fair, one fan can only see so much. Hype exists for a reason, but it’s your choice as to whether you succumb to it or forge your own path. Your unique position in the anime fandom and consumption of individual titles may mean you’ve ignored entire genres and/or demographics (hence making them “underrated” to you), in exchange for looking at other titles which are much more aligned to your taste. It can be comforting to know what you’re consuming is similar to other things you like and you can guarantee this (to some degree) through recommendations, reading reviews or going through the anime yourself, if you have the luxury to.
To put this into practice, Mia admits (in the post above) to having a fondness of romance anime, which means she will have undoubtedly seen more of those than me, who thinks of romance as a middling genre. Even for the one anime I did watch the full way through (as of writing this post) – The World is Still Beautiful – I believe the anime is…nice, but with the major caveat that if you think about how Livi is underage by most people’s acceptable metric (there is a section on the relevant wiki stating his age, depending on where you quote in the manga, is anywhere from 12 – 15), most people will nope out of there really fast, even before they learn the anime doesn’t include anything particularly squicky in that regard.
Now we’re talking about Mia’s post in particular, I’ve noticed most of the anime mentioned on that post are hard to access for some reason – to my knowledge, the anime for Phantom Thief Jeanne is (legally) only accessible in languages other than English, for one example, and most people don’t have the justification, time and/or resources to learn more languages for the sheer sake of consuming one anime.
Even with the argument you can sail the high seas for an English translation on this front, some of the series have an overall perception of being “middling” – particularly some of the romances which appear on the list, e.g. Kono Oto Tomare was known as “middling” during its 1st season and so the 2nd season didn’t get a lot of attention, from where I stand in the fandom – note said 1st season was competing against We Never Learn, which would have gotten more eyes by the sheer fact it was a Weekly Shonen Jump adaption. Certainly, “middling” is not necessarily “bad” and in order to have “good” and “bad”, you must have a lot of “middling” content, but less people bother with “middling” content, due to similar restrictions to learning a new language – competing demands (work, school etc.), the higher likelihood to be bored by works which are “too similar” to other works (because it feels like you’re wasting your time) and so on.
To be honest, as I was chopping and changing bits of this post, I realised what I took umbrage with was actually the hyperbolic language (“you need to watch these anime!”).
So, how should one increase the presence of the so-called “middling” anime? Mia’s way of promoting them – in a listicle of her own invention – is certainly one, but as you now know, that can have its downsides.