Scattered Thoughts – about the Hype

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     Probably everybody has already talked about hype these days or soon will – it’s a phenomenon you just can’t escape – you either notice it or directly participate in it. My own two cents may not provide any really new points in the discussion about the hype train and I have to confess that my thoughts might be not that different from those people who have already stated their opinions. Anyway, I saw a post by Lethargic Ramblings and though I can agree on many points, there are some aspects that I would like to share my opinion about, mainly about the topic looking from the perspective of the anime community. As Lethargic Ramblings correctly stated, hype of the airing (or soon to be aired) season lets the fandom to understand better which shows deserve at least to be checked out despite their possible future successes of failures. Of course it only works if your own opinion is more or less consistent with the consensus opinion of the community.

     To think of it, on some level hype enables us anime fans to work better as a community. The essence of a community is the ability to have something in common (as the word itself suggests). And if the majority of the fandom because of the hype ends up watching the same three or four shows every season it opens easily perceptible ways to have what to talk about. Otherwise there would be little sub-communities formed around each of the airing shows but as the anime production tempos and extents are getting faster and wider, the possibility appears to have some central shows that everybody watches out of all the anime we are getting and that makes the whole community more united. Well, of course not everyone’s opinions will coincide but just the ability to discuss a certain anime with more people is one of the best advantages of having hyped shows no matter if they turn out to be good or bad by the end of the day.

     On the other hand, frankly I’m not one of the people who would end up watching something just because it’s popular. Yes, sometimes it’s the case (like with 3-gatsu no Lion this season), as the predictions whether a show will be good often have some grain of salt in them and it would be very untrue and foolish to claim that all the hyped showed end up forgotten. Yet, the hype itself must be taken reservedly. Weather forecasts still end up being more times false than a hyped anime turns out to be not that good but buying a cat in a sack also has risks. It’s especially relevant to me since I tend to complete every anime I start (should I be ashamed?) and anyway due to time limits I don’t even watch too many seasonal anime to begin with. What I want to say is that I’d rather watch some old anime that has already proved to be decent rather than experiment a lot and end up having to force myself through something I don’t enjoy. Yes, it comes down to my own mindset and every saner person would undoubtedly drop something that has lost its appeal. Still, the time spent watching the beginning of such anime as well as hopes about it turning out good won’t ever be returned. I think in this case spending your time on some already tested and approved show would be more efficient.

     Of course, getting overboard with shouts that hype is destroying anime and similar stuff doesn’t help the community. Also, as much as old anime need and deserve appreciation, the new series also have much to provide. Probably I would be watching hardly anything airing right now if having to talk to many people about current anime hadn’t been so much fun. Everyone has their opinions and people certainly may get too excited to see everyone watching the newest shows and not paying enough attention to older anime. Being oblivious to any recommendations of others may also be not the wisest decision. No one has any right to feel omnipotent or having superior knowledge/taste and to force anybody to watch (or not) any show but I can imagine that it could be a bit frustrating to see people immerse only in contemporary or older anime and miss opportunities to try something else. Well, everything just comes down to the ability of the members of the community to discuss and share opinions in a civilized way – a person shouting “All your hyped current shows are terrible” is as wrong as the other answering “shut up you elitist prick”.

     While Lethargic Ramblings proposes to ignore any annoying hype haters or excessive promoters (and I completely agree for most cases), I’d add that there could be a grain of salt in many opinions and it should be examined through discussion. Returning to older anime from time to time and skipping a show that you don’t feel is for you on one hand and trying to analyse why exactly some show is so popular  on the other may present you some unexpectedly enjoyable anime to watch. Well, hype may overpraise current airing shows that don’t deserve it and otherwise wouldn’t be watched as much but it also provides many opportunities to find any common topics to discuss about with the anime community. The hype train certainly isn’t the best way to find good anime but as a means to immerse into the anime fandom its worth shouldn’t be underestimated. I guess as everywhere the key is balance – the right combination of currently airing shows to keep up with the state of the medium and a fair amount of backlog stuff that has already been well rated.

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