Every three months we get another round of shows to consider and while I’d love to try them all it just isn’t possible without a time machine (quick, someone get on that). It’s almost impossible to know what is going to be good or not from the synopsis (and fan comments) prior to watching a show but there are certain things that will make you really want to give a show a go. Even after you’ve tried it and you know it isn’t that great, there are some things that will make you hold on and just keep hoping.
This list is 100% subjective but it is my top 5 draws. Those things where if you tell me they are in an anime I will definitely try at least one episode. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.
Please Note – Pretty sure no spoilers this week.
Honourable mentions this week go to: romances that progress in an interesting manner, over the top action that is fun to watch, and dry humour.
Number 5: Classic Horror Elements
Vampires, ghosts, creepy old houses, you name it and I’m in for at least the set up. The problem being that too many of these shows max out on the atmosphere in episode 1 and you are left with sub-par writing, 2 dimensional characters, and usually a resolution that feels like it got plucked at random from a hat. That said, when they get it right, I enjoy a good classic horror, so I will continue to wade through ever B Grade (and even C and D grade) horror that appears on our screens in search of the one that just makes me smile.
Number 4: Well Rounded Female Characters
I’m not one of those people who insists every show should have equal numbers of male and female characters and that every female character needs to be sassy and fiercely independent. That said, I do like a show that presents females in a more well-rounded way than mainstream entertainment usually give them a chance to be represented. It isn’t about being a strong character. They can be weak and cry a lot, as long as they have more depth beyond being the crier who needs rescuing.
Number 3: Explores the Supernatural
Having gone through my teen years living on a diet of Buffy, Charmed and similar fare (not to mention a massive collection of fantasy novels) I really do enjoy a story that deals with the supernatural (not in a horror manner but just as another facet of life). I find a lot of these stories charming and entertaining. That doesn’t mean everything that throws in a few gods and the like is gold but I’m usually up for at least trying an episode of something that deals with the supernatural.
Number 2: It has a dragon in it.
Okay, this really should have been my number 1, because I have sat through some terrible stories due to a lifelong fascination with dragons. Of course the terrible story thing isn’t exclusive to anime (Dungeons and Dragons movie anyone?). More than any other magical feat or creature I’m going to at least start a story filled with dragons. Will I continue the story? That entirely depends. Dragon Zot from Cerberus didn’t even manage to hold my interest in the show beyond episode 2 (although it didn’t help that the entire rest of the cast drove me crazy and the dragon wasn’t even that great looking).
Number 1: Well Written Character Dialogue
The rarest of rare finds. The show that just makes you sit up and pay attention. Characters who are talking in a way that makes them feel like people instead of character archetypes. Characters who aren’t just voicing every random thought in their heads, providing exposition in order to progress the story, or being silent because they can’t reveal any more of the plot because we’re only in episode 3. So should you find such a gem, please let me know.
Okay, as you may have picked up from my list I definitely have a soft spot for fantasy. No matter how many times I am burned I still watch as many shows with these elements as I can because just every now and then I find something that can make all of the other shows seem worth it.
What are your top 5 draws when choosing an anime (even if you know that you are likely to end up disappointed).