Apples to Saiyan – Comparing Anime

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Anime bloggers, as people who watch and talk about anime a lot we naturally have a tendency to compare series to each other. I see it all the time, especially in comments or Twitter. But is there any point to it? Considering all the variables in an anime, it seems unavoidable that even very similar shows are in many respects completely different. In my opinion, the answer to that is both yes and no.

Did I just throw in a YES because I compare anime series to each other???? Maybe.

Let me give you just the barest amount of context possible. I was talking to fans about a recent series and one of the immediately responses was it’s not as good as “insert other show very vaguely in the same huge category”. As the conversation progressed and more people joined in pretty much all the comments started to be stuff like it won’t stand the test of time like X or it will never be as great as Y….

Setting aside the subjective nature of the statements, when I took a step back I realized that this was a rather ineffective conversation. Sure I got that these people hadn’t enjoyed the show but really nothing else. And comparing the potential legacy of a series that started this year with something that has had decades to develop and influence fans simply doesn’t give me any useful information.

levy reading
cause information is power!

This is why I started thinking about this. Speaking about anime in terms of other anime is probably the most common way we discuss series. Not the only one by any means but definitely one of the most widespread practices. So it would be odd if it was mostly useless, as opposed to just me being especially slow.

The major downfall with comparing series, particularly in subjective arguments, is that you don’t know what the other person’s experience is. When I say this show will never be as good as Natsume for instance, that’s not even an insult. There are tons of shows I love and think are amazing but still think will not be as good as Natsume. It’s like a general statement. But if you happen to think Natsume is a boring and pointless series with underwhelming visuals then for you, I completely trashed a show with that statement and we are now having two different conversations. That is of course if you even have any idea what Natsume even is…

Then there is the point I mentioned above about all the factors that come together to make an anime in the first place. For instance, even a die hard fan like myself will admit that the Natsume colour palette is just not that exciting. In the early seasons it could even be called…dull. There are a lot more visually exciting shows out there. So if a show will never live up to Natsume can it still surpass it in those elements? Do I mean in popularity? Am I talking about the plot, characters, voice acting, all of the above? I can even narrow it down and still be super vague. Let’s say I’m specifically talking about characters, do I mean design, personality, their establishment, development, arc? All of these elements are independent. And they get appreciated in different ways. Some people think development is key and find that characters that don’t change through the story are lacking, others love the reliability as long as those characters are cute, or smart or whatever their preferences may be.

Natsume and Hotarubi
ok, comparing these two makes sense!

Those problems are mitigated when you don’t use comparisons to support subjective opinions but only for exemplary purposes but you still have to really define how the anime are similar or different and by that point, you might as well just describe the anime you’re talking about.

Wait, am I just saying comparing anime is useless? I clearly said it wasn’t in my first paragraph. Also I really do it all the time! Hmmm….

Well there are benefits to comparing anime as well. One is efficiency. There’s a reason that these types of comparisons come up more often in conversational formats (comment threads and Twitter for example). It’s a very quick and easy way to get a whole lot of information out there… provided the other person has seen the show.

If I tell you Given is an all boys version of Madoka, you instantly get a very clear mental picture *if you’ve seen either shows*. For the record I don’t think Given is an all boys version of Madoka but I did think it was funny to describe it that way. Actually now that I think about it they have themes of grief, accepting loss and getting over survivor’s guilt in common. Maybe I’m onto something….

I got off track there. I’m sorry. I just amused myself into distraction.

not the same

Like I said drawing parallels between shows allows you to save on word count and helps the other person visualize what you’re talking about.

Moreover, I find that obscure similes can be very enlightening. I’m always fascinated when someone compares two shows that I think have nothing in common. As long as they give their basis for the comparison I can follow along and it usually helps me discover completely new aspects that I would not have noticed myself. Or it gives me a bit of a glimpse into how the other person thinks which makes the rest of the conversation easier and usually more interesting.

Truth be told, it’s also one of the ways I tend to discover new shows. Hearing a series being compared to something I’ve enjoyed is almost always going to pique my curiosity. No matter how many times it didn’t actually work out for me.

Basically what I’m saying is that in my experience, comparing one anime to another is much more useful for describing it than for assessing it. But what do you think? Do you feel like simply comparing two series makes for decent value judgement? Do you do it? When? How? Does it work for you?

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

Conception: It’s The Joke That Just Keeps Missing

Conception Anime Episode Review Title Image

Conception Episode 9 Review

I think Matt said it best over on ‘Anime Q and A’ but Conception has proven time and again that it has zero interest in pursuing its own premise and is instead determined to indulge in whatever it feels like indulging in. While sometimes that might be the smuttier aspects (though apparently never outright sex despite early promises – and I’m not actually disappointed by that but I would at least understand what sort of anime this was trying to be), it is far more frequently its forays into humour usually spear-headed by the regularly fourth wall breaking Mana (who still hasn’t had a close encounter with a paper shredder despite my endless wishes since episode 2).

 Basically if you’re still watching this for the actual plot, I feel sorry for you because I don’t think this show is particularly interested in it either! 

Cactus Matt
Conception Episode 9 Itsuki and Mana

What happens in episode 9 of Conception?

Well, Mana pursues the line of thought that the thirteenth labyrinth must be some sort of forbidden door and uses that to create an incredibly flimsy premise that clearly the ‘maiden’ must be someone forbidden and proceeds to suggest that they are either male (in the absence of being a younger sister or a step-mother). We then see the two other male characters indulge in some fairly blunt dialogue with Itsuki that is more or less a take-off of the usual pick ups they’ve been doing with the girls, but now there’s an incredibly amount of awareness behind every single line and it is almost as if the anime is daring you to call them on it.

Conception Episode 9 Itsuki mad at Mana
Conception Episode 9 Itsuki

All of this is rounded up in a twist reveal at the end that more or less confirms what the audience more or less knew all along. And that is, Mana is a punk and the single most obnoxious character of the season. 

I’m guessing there’s humour to be found here but to be honest I just found this whole sequence tiresome and Conception has definitely earned its title of ‘Anime I Wish I Hadn’t Watched This Season’.  Still, too late now to back out so let’s see if they manage anything resembling a resolution given they’ve ignored their own plot for so long.

But What Happens When You Get Tired Of Anime?

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 12 Rimuru

I was asked this question, quite innocently, by someone in real life who actually expressed an interest in my blog and what I spend so much of my time working on. And I have to admit, I did have that momentary pause as I thought it through. It isn’t as though I haven’t had weekends where I haven’t been in the mood for watching that next episode of whatever (fairly recently my desire to finish Conception or Release the Spyce has been pretty low and A Certain Magical Index was dropped because I just couldn’t stomach watching anymore) or even seasons where it feels like there are slim pickings on shows I am genuinely interested to watch. More importantly, it is something I have seen happen to quite a number of other bloggers. They take a break and put the blog on hold or change topics for awhile because they feel they’ve hit a rut or they’ve lost their passion for anime.

Conception Episode 11 Itsuki

And there’s been a real glut of these kinds of announcements recently with reviewers and those who discuss anime deciding they need a break to re-find their passion or just explore other options. It makes sense that when you are putting so much of your time into one thing burn out is a real problem.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 11 Mai

For me though, that isn’t something I am overly worried about. While I have the off day or weekend where I am genuinely too tired or just over everything, for me stories have always been what have grounded me. Whether it is books, movies, TV, games, or any other form, I’ve always surrounded myself with stories. It is a feeling like no other for me; that moment of possibility and hope when I hit play on a new show or movie or crack open a novel for the first time. The pure joy found in watching Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai or falling in love with something like Girls’ Last Tour, or even just the fun of revisiting something like Sword Art Online, is more than enough to keep me coming back for more.


And specifically with anime, I think the reason I’m not concerned about ever getting too tired of it is because I don’t limit myself to a handful of genres. I’ll give pretty much anything a go (now that I’ve gotten over my snobbery about sports stories and I’ve become less inclined to drop shows that are in a genre I don’t like mostly because I want to give things a bit more of a go) and I’m regularly surprised by what shows end up grabbing me. And my tastes change with the season and with circumstances. Basically, every season is a new beginning and while I might end up disappointed by the end the wonderful thing about seasonal anime is it is seasonal. In three months time a whole new round of shows will roll out. In the meantime, it isn’t as though my watch list has actually gotten any shorter. There are a plethora of shows I genuinely want to watch that I just never had the time for so a slow season might give me that opportunity.


I think I might feel differently if I was just an anime fan. However, it isn’t actually anime I’m in love with. I’m in love with stories. Well crafted stories with great characters, trashy and predictable stories, stories that fall apart under the weight of too much ambition, characters that I can love, hate, feel something for, just experiencing stories. For me, anime is the medium that allows me to experience an incredible range of stories in a way that is fun and engaging. Some of them have great depth and others are completely shallow and clichĂ© filled dribble and yet there’s always something out there and the next great story that will blow me away could be just a click away.

Voice of Fox Episode 6 Hu Li and Sky

So to answer the question of what happens when I get tired of anime, I would have to say that I don’t anticipate that happening. I anticipate the kinds of anime I like and what I look for in an anime to change over time as it has already, and I anticipate that there will be seasons where I get a bit stuck as nothing really grabs my interest, but given the wide variety of shows out there if I ever can’t find any anime that I want to watch it would have to be because I lost my love of stories. And that would be a very sad day indeed.

A question then to all the ani-bloggers out there: Do you ever worry you will get tired of anime?

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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