Light and Dark: The Stereotyping of Anime GenresPosted: May 12, 2011
Just a little preface before I get into this, this is my first real, legitimate editorial-type post I’ve ever done, so sorry if I wind up incoherent. Or if it sucks. I’m a rambler at heart, and sometimes I can’t help but stray a bit on what my main point is. I’ll be able to stay on-topic, though. No worries there.
Just like with any other medium, anime is divided into multiple genres. These are usually to relay the actual content of the show (ecchi, psychological, mystery, horror, etc.).
However, there are also genres based on age groups (shounen, seinen, etc.). While there are certain elements that are common in these genres, it also seems like these genres are thrown around for people to say which shows they think are for kids, and which are targeted for a more adult audience. There’s nothing really wrong with this, it’s just like the ESRB that rates video games so that kids don’t play games that have content they aren’t ready for or can’t comprehend.
The fact that people didn’t die seemed to outright offend people. Is it honestly that bad, literary-speaking? Not really. It’s actually pretty imaginative, and it’s given enough context to make sense in the show.
But to most people it was terrible. They didn’t want to watch a show that had no death, let alone injuries. The show was labeled as “crap” by many bloggers, and they ceased to speak of the show. This brings me to the point of this post, and my question.
I won’t deny that by not having death or injuries, the target age of the audience is quite low, but how does that make the show bad? Of course I saw other reasons people had for it, but it always seemed to draw back to the fact that there are no injuries or death.
I assume that most people who gave the show a shot watched it because they like action shows. So why was the reaction so negative? You still have your violence. Is the lack of injury or death really that offensive? All it serves to do is change the atmosphere of the show.
The people who dropped it won’t even get to see that there are situations presented where people can get injured or killed, and the main climax of the show revolves around the foreshadowing of inevitable death for certain characters. Not that this automatically makes the show good. What I’m saying is, if anything, taking such a lighthearted approach at the beginning just managed to make the possibility of death in the future all the more impactful.
The main point is: why is a “childish” atmosphere or a show with a low targeted audience age automatically considered bad?
The anime fandom nearly creamed their pants when Mami was killed.
As Nadja said, Mami was killed pretty early on. Killing her this early wasn’t exactly the best move literary-speaking (though I’m sure people would argue otherwise), yet people wouldn’t stop talking about it. It was the best episode/scene in recent history, people said.
It seems like the appeal wasn’t due to good writing, but simply the change from a light-hearted genre into something more twisted and dark. Why does this make the show automatically good? It’s the same magical girl show the last two episodes had shown, but the change in atmosphere just makes the show “better,” apparently.
Don’t get me wrong, there are people who just don’t like shows targeted towards a younger audience. It’s just personal preference. A lot of people seem to have this same attitude. I completely understand this. I also tend to like shows targeted towards an older audience more than ones targeted towards a younger audience. It doesn’t change the fact that I still like some (i.e. Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!), though.
Basically, it doesn’t matter what the target audience’s age is. The age genres do not automatically decide if something is written well or not. So why do people automatically assume the quality is dependent on the maturity of the content?
It just seems as though, in realizing that most people like shows targeted towards an older audience, we’ve mistaken personal preference for objective critique.