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.