My Anime Matrix

So over the past days during my weekend I was thinking about what I want to talk about, until I came up with (at least to me) interesting idea how to categorize anime in a way it doesn’t tell you simple black and white good and bad but a more nuanced way.

The Anime Matrix

animematrix

Based on a similar matrix called the political compass, I thought of a way to put anime into perspective.

Beginning with the Y axis you have a spectrum going from (top) a serious tone, to (bottom) a less serious or light tone. This refers to the intentions of the creator. A movie like Ghost in the Shell would be very high at the top of this spectrum while a lighthearted comedy like Nichijou would be closed to the bottom. This doesn’t tell you about the quality however which is why…

On the X axis you have a spectrum on how well the anime was executed. The more left the less well executed the anime was, the more right the better.

Which brings us to the 4 squares.  The red one says ‘Pretentious‘, meaning the show tried to be serious but failed because of something making it a poorly executed serious anime. An example could be Mars of Destruction which is one of the worst anime ever but tried to be serious.
The green square south west is called Trash and just generally refers to any anime which is just mindless but fails to be entertaining. I don’t have an example for now (but will add some candidates of mine here later) so just think of any show that didn’t try to be serious but also wasn’t good in being light hearted. (well maybe something like Vividred Operation could be considered here)

On the right side we have both Art and Fun. While fun is easy to pin point, it is basically just shows which are very entertaining but also well crafted at doing so. Example could be Baccano which is more on the light end of the spectrum but was also very well made.
Art is something that might not be easy to pin point at first but it is basically something that takes itself very seriously, has a consistent tone and also is well crafted. A good example would be Mushishi, which is not particularly fun to watch but is more a piece of art.

 

Now to some of my picks this season:

season

Wixoss clearly tries to be serious and also does it quite well. It is not perfect and also not super serious. Chaika also falls into the “art” category, while ‘art’ surely doesn’t suite all as a description it basically means well executed serious show. Chaika is less serious however than Wixoss but is pretty well executed. Unlike Mahouka which lies in the realm of pretentious. Not that ‘pretentious’ is the one and suite it all description but you get the idea.
Akuma no Riddle lies somewhere between absolute trash and absolute pretentious. While it tries to have this serious tone, it throws in all those stereotypical shit and ecchi and fan service and fetishes etc. It just does it all very badly.
Dragonar is a guilty pleasure. You know it is shit, but you still kinda like it. It is somewhat serious as it tries to have a plot but also throws all this fan service at your face. Similar is No Game No Life, which is better executed than a mediocre show like Dragonar however is also less serious as it does not only rely on ecchi fan service but otaku pandering, breaking the 4th wall and reference humor. On the furthest right is JoJo as is encompasses everything you have to do in order to create a “fun” show, a show which relies more on entertainment than on deep thought. It’s so over the top and campy but also extremely well made in its own right.

This all of course is debateable as this is merely a beta version of this Matrix. Feel free to use it yourself, expand it and put in your shows!

Misconceptions about objectivity, criticism, taste and personal preference.

I got into a discussion about my last post on how I criticize MAL ratings on shows and how they do not apply any critical thinking when rating (of course not all of them) thus deeming their opinion as invalid or less worthy.

objective

When I say something is shit, I mean that in a personal way. While I can still use arguments to persuade you, in the end there is no objective evidence I can show you, because statements like “it’s shit(bad)” are based on values.

So we first have to share these values in order to come to the same conclusion.

There are no objective values however, so again I have to persuade you to accept my values.
We do that all the time, our values are usually inter-subjective meaning that many people share the same subjective values and thus together we have some sort of “objective” consensus.
We can even use facts to back up our values, but in the end no one has to accept them.
When you have a set of inter-subjective values you can derive “context objective” qualities about something.

 

When applied to anime lets say – Realism is a positive value (aka good). Therefor if a show has realism in it, it is objectively good in that department.

However if you don’t accept the statement “Realism is a positive value” then this does not logically follow.

Now of course people who hold this value can point out all sorts of facts like “unrealistic portrayals lead to misguidance and can’t teach the viewer important information, it makes them delusional and ultimately harms them in the long run unless they apply critical thinking to these kinds of escapism shows”. But however well you articulate your argument, even if you could show empirical evidence to how escapism anime (or anything) leads to long term unhappiness no on has to accept those values and apply them to their life.

This might all sound very futile to reviewers and the likes, since whatever they do, you cannot change the minds of those who aren’t willing or able. However, reviewers have no obligation to persuade all people. All reviewers have to do is review. This means apply a critical eye to a show, analyze it and evaluate it. The reader/viewer then takes the parts that persuaded him or her and might object to the rest.

So what are my core points here? 

  1. First reviews aren’t objective.  They are context objective in the sense that the reviewer has certain values which he or she should be communicating to their audience  and then based on these values can judge the quality of a show.
  2. Secondly critical thinking is the ability to scrutinize something based on your knowledge and position it in the larger text, question it and don’t accept it right away without evaluating it first.
  3. And lastly, I can trash talk what I like, if you disagree I am willing to engage in a debate but don’t say I can’t point out my opinion just because it isn’t “objective”. See the framework I am talking in and take what you want out of it :>

I will make a post in the future about how I rate anime and what I look for in them. But not today.

What this is and who I am

erio

So this blog is still in it’s early stage. To get some basic idea out there, it is just me talking about anime and anime related things. I try to be somewhat consequential when posting my thoughts here and try to get a post at least once a week in the future (and of course hopefully more). Right now I aim for one post per day, or one post per two days. I don’t want to be too strict on me since I just keep this as a hobby and outlet to share my ideas.

By the way, if you are not already coming from MAL or Hummingbird, I do have accounts there and you are free to contact me there, follow me or whatever you like. I have written reviews on both accounts (more on MAL, more recent on Hummingbird)  Here are the links:

http://myanimelist.net/profile/Orsonius

http://hummingbird.me/users/Orsonius

I also plan a Youtube channel in the future and maybe then make video reviews of shows I like or feel are worth talking about. But all in due time. For now I just focus on writing down my thoughts and sharing my ideas and taste with people who care.

I don’t really want to just post some personal information about myself, so just some basic ones. I am a guy, I watch anime and I am not a teenager anymore. Any additional info you can ask me directly.

I also have skype and sometimes hang out there with other people, talking about anime, but usually I am busy with work, playing video games or of course watching anime. I also have some other things I do but they don’t matter for this post. I do answer all kinds of questions and am willing to debate. For now of course I am not super confrontational to be arguing about anything, but don’t worry I have some strong opinions about the one or other show, or concept.