Too old, huh? (Pt 2)

So, I keep saying ‘maybe I am too old’ but I might not have addressed that properly in the last post.

Part 1 of this discussion-thing/thought-experiment/rambling mess was optimistic, and I’ll try to stay that way now. But at times, I can’t help feeling like my younger self might be wondering – why do you still watch my stuff, old man?

Considering that my life is pretty far removed from that of most protagonists in a lot of anime, what exactly am I relating to with their struggles? Again, it comes back to empathy, I hope, rather than some half-realised Peter Pan Complex, lol.

For instance, I know it’s currently in vogue to dump on millennials for ‘joining’ a Harry Potter house, but I never saw that urge as very different from claiming to be a Gemini or proudly declaring oneself as a fan of a particular sports team.

I mean, spot the difference, right? You learn the names and vital stats of all those involved in the thing you like, you dress up in costume/team colours when you attend the relevant events and you cheer and express excitement, you share opinions with like-minded folks… it’s all the same.

Yet I can’t seem to shake the spectre of doubt – this interest of mine is considered the domain of younglings.

Sure, I teach film analysis and I write about this pop culture element I mostly love, but is that just me cloaking my enjoyment with professional trappings? “Oh, I don’t just watch anime, I teach and write about it too, blah, blah, blah.”

Not sure I’m getting closer to figuring it out, precisely.

It might all be that perceived societal pressure, pressure that chips away at my mind in the background, it might just be the stories that are most often told, or the ones that are super-popular right now haven’t changed much, but I have…

But let me try to return to a more positive frame. Sure, I don’t have to face the same problems as younger folks, and so of course some things won’t speak to me in those shows, but again, not everything has to.

And you’ve probably read a review from me here at the Heap where I’ve either:

a) complained a bit when an anime is once more set in a school.

or b) been happy when an anime was set somewhere other than a school.

Now, these are two phrasings for the same thought, but one is just a little more mean-spirited than the other.

And of course, I do want to see stories about adults too – maybe that’s part of why I’m enjoying No Guns Life so much, but once again, I enjoy plenty of shounen and shoujo and coming of age stories as well. One isn’t better than the other for me, I just want more of both, perhaps.

In fact, I guess I crave a market where stories ‘aimed’ at folks younger than me exist alongside stories about people dealing with the problems and joys of being around my age, or older. Or younger. I want to continue to see stories from all kinds of people and places, because I’ve seen plenty of both and I’m always happy to see more of both for that matter 😀

Sometimes, and usually this comes from fans who seem to be my age and older, I see complaints about how ‘everything is the same’ now, or there’s ‘too much [insert genre name here]’.

Well, whether there’s ‘too much’ of one thing right now is a judgement call and one that I won’t make because I’m simply not up to date with everything produced, but nor would I be comfortable saying that. If heaps of people enjoy a certain genre, cool, go for it! Of course more of that thing will then be produced – sub-genres thrive and then wither in cycles.

And if I want something different, I just have to put a bit of effort in and look for it – after all, there’s around 70 years of animation from multiple countries available if I care to seek it out.

Tired of my rambling, yet? 😀

Okay, having subjected you to two posts worth of this topic now, I will say that there are themes, tropes and settings that I’ve seen many, many times and which won’t be exciting to me.

Especially in shounen or portal fantasy. And so I know what Oshii is saying there, it can be hard to get into a new series if that new series is (even a fun) re-hash of familiar elements. That’s what happens when you age – you see lots of stuff, lol.

But where I disagree with what I cannot be certain he is truly implying is the possible idea that because plenty of new anime is aimed at people younger than him (and me) that such a thing is a problem. (For me, it’s a problem if less variety occurs in the industry, but not if a certain thing remains popular).

Did I even come to any sort of conclusion? I don’t think so.

I feel older because I am getting older but whether I’m heading for my own Oshii moment… maybe not just yet.

20 thoughts on “Too old, huh? (Pt 2)

  1. Pingback: Too old, huh? (Pt 1) – The Review Heap

  2. Reading both of your posts regarding age is a subjective thing to ask especially with the vast amounts of animations we have today.

    I’m 20, but I do feel like at times the anime I grew up with does seem to aimed only for younger audiences. I even complained in a post about how there aren’t any Shoujo anime as of late and it could be a possibility. I don’t have a say with Western animation since it doesn’t follow a fixed release unlike the seasonal releases of anime. But, I still give animation a chance because it’s one of the very few mediums to be as expressive it can be with varying interpretations.

    The one thing that could be considered aiming for a “younger audience” is if the story is written in a way people in different age groups felt something what’s shown on screen. It is hard to pull off with how everything is so different. Just my 2 cents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about shoujo, yeah 🙂

      That’s really interesting that you’ve noted differences between the shows you grew up with seeming to only be aimed at younger audiences, which shows did you have in mind?

      Like

      • First thing comes to mind is Eizouken and to a lesser extent, Shirobako.

        If I don’t know the technicalities of what the club is doing I would see the anime as three girls who want to have fun with creating. The difference between that compared to Shirobako is it takes place in a professional setting even though the stories can be accessible to all ages.

        Another example is last season’s Appare-Ranman. It’s presented in a way by mishmashing two cultures in anime style and has a substance behind the characters. If only the next episode does come sooner since I’m begging for more!

        Lately anime now is fulfilling a gap for those who rely on self-inserts, specific niches, and the story doesn’t seem to get anywhere. I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter but I did with the Hunger Games trilogy except I never went back to it since it lost my interest.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh yeah, great examples – and I really need to watch ‘Eizouken’ one day, everyone seemed to love it 🙂

          Me too with ‘Appare-Ranman’, I can see the tone there too, especially. I hope that one is due for more episodes soon, I’m not up to date with the new schedule but it’s on my watch list at least 😀

          The ‘self-insert’ is always fascinating to me, because too far one way and lead character will obviously feel too generic, but too far another way, and I won’t enjoy spending time with that lead. (Maybe for instance, when a show has an anti-hero that’s *way* too ‘anti’ I can have trouble staying with them.)

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the sports/Harry Potter/anime comparison. So funny, when you think of it that way.

    I think we’re probably similar in age and I’d agree that the random inclusion of school settings get old, especially in a series that it really shouldn’t be there.

    When I first started watching anime it seemed to be aired at older age groups. There was swearing, violence, nudity. All things that left a younger me surprised given that they were animations. I think those still exist, although I also think that more shows are being released each season so it’s harder to find the more “grown-up” titles. That said, as long as the story is interesting and/or it makes me feel good, I’m fine watching whatever.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I always smile to myself when I see someone exhibiting classic signs of fanatical love of a thing, all the while convinced that their behaviour is somehow different to that of other folks.

      Yes! That shift from the semi-underground nature of the OVA/video scene to a far more commercial industry has changed so, so much!

      It’s got to be a new golden age in a way, huh? Streaming is so much cheaper and I can see so much more, things that, in the past, would never had been given an overseas release. The only problem I guess (and it’s a good one to have), is that I have to do a bit more ‘sifting’ through to find something that really grabs my attention.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. You’re not alone! It makes us happy so it’s ageless. But yes when I’d take the day off from work to attend cons, I’d notice the attendees tend to be on the younger side. Anyone close to my age, we’d lock eyes and share a head nod of solidarity lol. I’ve closed myself off in some ways, so I’m thankful for anime letting me laugh, cheer, reflect, and relax. Aspects of the characters and their stories can be motivating. My family always watched anime but I became a fan later in life. In general I’ve always detested romance in film, but in anime, for some reason I love it! In these trying times its been uplifting and I haven’t found anything else like it. I enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that description, yeah! Happiness and agelessness 🙂

      And thanks – I had *some* fun writing this one! I’m a bit the same with romantic storylines, I love them but I tend to need something else happening at the same time, and anime is usually good at that.

      Can you remember the anime your family was watching when you were younger?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was trying to think back, and the ones I remember are Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Love Hina, Sailor Moon, Dragon Half, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Hand Maid May. I think I could watch them now and appreciate them more. I remember liking the comedic elements but I didn’t actively look for anything I was interested in watching. Granted as an anime fan later in life, I might be spoiled. They tell me of all the times they had to take a chance on purchasing dvds, without knowing exactly the type of anime they were getting. Plus it was more expensive, not as easily accessible, and streaming wasn’t an option.

        Liked by 1 person

        • So many classics, nice 😀

          And yes! I remember that, with the price and the difficulty in previewing shows, you really had to trust the blurb and screencaps / cover image.

          I’m finding more so that show with at least some comedic elements are far easier to re-watch too, compared to ones without. Even knowing when a sight gag or punchline is coming, I still enjoy those moments in those anime a lot.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve loved anime for decades, and just don’t see that love fading with time/age. And, honestly, I don’t care. If folks thought I was strange back then for liking anime, well, they do seem to think it stranger still now–but I still don’t care. It’s my love, and I’ll be damned if anyone else’s opinions influence me on the matter!

    That said, I have found myself enjoying cons much less over the years. Youmacon 2018 was great because I got to help as a handler with 4 Japanese animators; OmniFest 2018 & 2019 were also both lots of fun and deeply memorable because my younger sister and I attended together. But as far as simply attending a con? The crowds have grown much larger over the years; the panels and discussions have become less civil in many instances; and the cosplay has become downright dangerous. (Seriously, as a police officer, I often find myself wondering how many people attend as fans and how many [actually] attend as pedophiles out prowling.) So I’m about done with cons.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I haven’t been to a con for years – sounds like they’re becoming quite stressful (or, at least they were before they all got cancelled).

      But that sounds awesome, helping out with animators, what was that like? 🙂

      (I’m really curious to see how I’ll respond to anime in the next ten to twenty years, hoping I’m still interested enough to watch and write about it).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helping with the animators was insane! The only events I got to attend were theirs–otherwise we were busy making sure that they got fed, got to do touristy stuff, etc. Lots of setting up at events; then going back to fetch the animators; working the events themselves (materials, water bottles, crowd control); returning the animators to their quarters or other activities while also taking down their event. . .crazy and crazy busy, and fun as all get-out!
        https://anotheranimereview.com/2018/11/06/youmacon-2018/

        Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a great follow-up. I really liked your analogy with liking sports. You have people dressing up, getting excited about teams or players, or pretend they’re in the industry by playing fantasy sports (AKA D&D for jocks) online. However, you don’t see otaku wrecking stuff after a major win or loss like Vancouver rioting in hockey or the Philadelphia Eagles destroying the city after they won the Super Bowl a few years ago.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks!

      Isn’t it bizarre – celebrating someone else’s achievement by breaking a heap of stuff? Right…

      (It’s almost exactly like that time when ‘Your Name’ broke those box office records and then fans went out and set fire to all those cafes and small businesses.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome.

        I really don’t get why people do that as a term of celebration. Going back to the Eagles example, the cops there were so soft on them breaking buildings and property while never considering what they were doing a “riot”.

        Hahahaha! I know, right? I think it happened on February 30th a few years ago if I recall. Nice joke, by the way.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I never once heard about joining a Harry Potter house to be “uncool”…(I did the Pottermore quiz at one point and got Hufflepuff, but nobody wants to know that. They might want to know about the dragon Patronus, though, which is apparently quite rare…?) Likewise, I don’t think astrology has a set colour/colour combo for each sign.

    About 4 years ago, an anime called Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu showed up and stole my heart. It was at that point I realised I wanted more anime about adult protagonists (although the anime encompasses the entire life of one character, it focuses on his adult life a lot), so in my pursuit for them, I’ve watched ACCA, The Great Passage/Fune wo Amu and Kado (list not definitive) and had Active Raid recommended to me. Maybe try one (or all!) of those and see if you like them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, most recently I saw a little trend where Gen Z were attacking everyone’s favourite punching bag – poor old Millennials, over their love of Harry Potter. (I’ve never read the books and I probably won’t now that I’ve learnt a little about JKR but I remember liking the first film.)

      Awesome! “Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu” sounds fascinating, thanks! I’ll add the others to my list as well, I’m especially interested in ‘The Great Passage’, that sounds ace, I haven’t seen many anime about publishing, great 🙂

      Like

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