Expectations and the Enjoyment of Anime

Time for the real editorial.

Also, though the title may mention anime, this concept also applies to other forms of media. The reason I used ‘anime’ in the title was because it’s what I’m going to talk about (though my example later in the post isn’t anime).

I’m not sure how many other people go into shows the same way I do (if any at all). For the most part, it seems as though people just look at a show to see if it interests them, then they watch it and enjoy it based on whether it’s actually a good show or not.

I do it a bit differently.

While I also only watch shows that interest me, I’ll watch a show that interests me even in the slightest. I’ve found a few diamonds in the rough this way (Higurashi, Shigofumi, Star Driver, etc.). You never know when show with a mediocre synopsis will actually turn out to be executed extremely well. Of course you can also get Rio: Rainbow Gate!, but it seems as though I find more diamonds than I do mud pies.

This is also partly because I don’t watch and enjoy shows based on whether they’re objectively good or not. I enjoy them based on my own expectations for them. Of course, I’m more likely to enjoy shows that are objectively good and vice versa, but I don’t let objectives critiques be the sole judgement of my enjoyment.

Before I watch a show, I’ll already have certain expectations for it. If it matches or beats those expectations, it’s very likely to get an 8, 9, or 10 and I’ll enjoy it very much. If it fails to meet them, on the other hand, they can get anything from a 7 to a 1. Though, as I mentioned earlier, being objectively good can also raise a score even if it didn’t meet my expectations.

This might be slightly confusing. Maybe I should give an example to clarify.snap1

There’s no real doubt that Transformers and its sequel were pretty terrible, objectively-speaking. However, I went into the show expecting some good action: giant robots beating the shit out of each other. I got exactly what I wanted, and I was satisfied (it’s also why the second one is much better in my opinion; there was much more fighting and Optimus Prime being a total badass).

I’ll undoubtedly agree that the movies were bad, but that doesn’t change the fact that they were enjoyable. They were “good” to me because I got exactly what I went for.

The main characters (Megan Fox’s boobs) also helped this judgement. Hey, I’m a guy, sue me.

Basically what I’m saying is that I don’t go into every show expecting a Madoka Magica, or a Death Note, or a Code Geass, or whatever. I decide ahead of time what I want from the show, and if it delivers, then I most likely enjoyed it.

I feel like other people should also watch shows (or any entertainment medium) this way. It allows you to enjoy a lot more shows. Of course you could also run across some pretty dreadful ones, but it’s not like you can go digging for diamonds without getting a few cuts and bruises along the way.

12 Comments on “Expectations and the Enjoyment of Anime”

  1. Logopolis says:

    Trouble is, I just find giant robots beating the shit out of each other in a relative storytelling vacuum so boring.

    • Riyoga says:

      That’s just it right there. You went in expecting a great story. I’m not saying it’s wrong to expect that, but it’s what blocked you from enjoying the movie.

      I’m not saying that people need to lower their standards for everything, but rather to have certain expectations for each thing they watch rather than the same, general expectations.

  2. Nadja says:

    I have also found some diamonds in the rough just by watching a show that others refused to because it looked bad.

    However, I did still think Transformers was crap. That’s because:
    1) I don’t like robots or mecha
    2) My friend wouldn’t stop talking about how incredibly amazing it was. My expectations were very high because of that.

    It seems like expectations are higher when many people praise it than when you simply look at a picture of it.

    • Riyoga says:

      Don’t like mecha? But everyone loves Code Geass!

      Yeah, hype can make or break something. For example, I liked Thor, but I enjoyed it more than I would have because I bought into my friends’ (that were with me) hype for how strong Thor was. So we were all excited and cheering when he was being badass.

  3. Nadja says:

    Well, I do love Code Geass, but that’s because it doesn’t rely completely on mecha to be awesome. It has an interesting concept, some awesome strategy, and quite a lot of emotional moments (all relying on the strength of the plot).

    To be honest, the mecha fights were the most boring part of the show for me. Without the captivating strategic movements during most mecha fights, it would’ve been almost unbearalble for me to watch.

    Or it’s interesting when everyone has high expectations around you, but when they see it, they say it’s really bad. Then, since you you heard from them that it’s really bad, your expectations are lowered. Once you go see the movie/anime/whatev you enjoy it more because your expectations were lower.

    I have a feeling that turned out a lot more confusing than I meant it to be. xD

    • Riyoga says:

      Of course it relies more on the plot and characters than the mecha. But what I mean is that people who say they “don’t like mecha” yet still like Code Geass don’t seem to give almost any show with the slightest bit of mecha in it a shot. Which I find hypocritical and slightly confusing. There’s always exceptions to every genre. I think Madoka drove THAT nail home for people.

      I feel like I understood what you were saying, but I also feel like I don’t. You know how sometimes the shower can’t decide whether it wants to be cold or not? My brain is kind of like that right now.

      • Nadja says:

        Oh, that’s definitely true. Some people miss out on series because they are turned off by the genres associated with them, but that’s not really how I work. I’ll try out anything. Usually, though, I’ll enjoy a series a lot less when there’s mecha in it. Of course, there are some exceptions. I did enjoy Code Geass and Gurren Lagann a lot. Although I did like the mecha design and concept in Evangelion (the mechs were actually, like, alive), the characters were extremely unlikable and the ending was a mindfuck of epic proportions (the middle episodes were good, though).

        Here, let me try to explain it again… Let’s say I have high expectations for an anime, but the anime doesn’t live up to it. I tell you how shitty it is, and because of that, your expectations are slightly lowered. Then, after you watch the anime, you may enjoy it a lot more than I did.

        ^That has happened to me many times, especially in the blogosphere.

        • Riyoga says:

          I love mindfucks. Which is why it’s strange that I still have yet to watch Evangelion. Probably because I’m waiting so I can buy the DVD box set.

          Ah, I get it now. Yeah, that’s happened to me before, too. The first one that comes to mind is actually Mars of Destruction. It was bad, but it was hilariously bad. And it was so short, that it didn’t really have enough time to make that bad of an impression.

          What shows has that happened for with you?

  4. Nadja says:

    I usually like mindfucks too, but the ending literally makes no sense whatsoever. It’s two episodes of anticlimactic psychobabble that didn’t answer any questions or put an end to any conflicts. I really didn’t think I would be as disappointed as everyone else was with the ending, but it really was that terrible. I really need to watch those movies, though… They may give some sort of explanation for the shitty ending…

    OH Mars of Destruction. xD That anime was incredible.
    I kept hearing a lot of controversy about Lucky Star; some said it was terribly boring and they wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, though others raved about it. I took a neutral stance and figured it wouldn’t be all too great, but it wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was actually enjoyable.
    I also thought that Naruto was going to be a childish romp through ninja-land, but I was surprised by how good the action was in the show. The fillers didn’t exactly help, though. D:
    I remember enjoying OreImo a lot more than the others on the blogosphere. I thought Kirino was a bitch, but I somehow really enjoyed the series… It’s the same way with Yosuga no Sora.

    • Riyoga says:

      I LOVE PSYCHOBABBLE. I’m curious to see my end thoughts for when I eventually watch Evangelion even more now.

      I only watched one episode of Lucky Star. They spent almost the entire episode talking about how to eat a single piece of food. I was bored out of my mind.
      Naruto has decent choreography, I’ll give it that, but that’s the only thing I can praise about the show.
      Ore no Imouto is good in every aspect that is NOT Kirino, that’s why. All of the supporting characters kick ass. The last episode of the OVA was a huge pukefest, though.
      Yosuga no Sora? I guess I enjoyed it, but I know the show’s terrible. I guess it was another “so bad it’s good.”

  5. Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman. says:

    Duhhhhh…. I don’t know what half the stuff you talk about is uh, Lucky star?, [insert japaneese name her] No [insert another japaneese name her]? dude what are you talking about? all i under stand is pokemon!!, Naruto!!, Bleach!! AND THAT DAMN AWFUL TRANSFORMERS MOVIE!!! thankyou, A-My Friend

    • Riyoga says:

      There are post categories if you want specific shows, though you’re better off on another blog if you’re looking for coverage of shounen. I’d recommend Toxic Muffin.

      Not sure why you bothered to change your name from NotedNotable, your icon stayed the same since you’re the same person, which kind of defeats the purpose of changing your name.

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