The sudden realisation of a tired anime fan

I’ve had so much fun watching Giant Robo for the first time this weekend – an impossibly epic, jaw dropping spectacle set against frame after frame of sprawling neon-lit cityscapes and the kind of fluidic action packed excitement you just don’t see anymore in modern anime – it has again sparked that raw enthusiasm for anime inside my heart, you know that feeling you get when you uncover something special. Compare this with my somewhat dulled interest in the current and former 2006 seasons, where I’m enjoying but hardly enraptured by a lot of what I’ve seen.

Around about this time everyone is getting excited about the new autumn anime, but when all people are looking for is the latest and greatest series (and I’m guilty of this myself too), we forget the older, less trendy classics. I’m so glad I’ve discovered Giant Robo – created over a decade ago in 1992, but I’m disappointed it’s taken me this long. I’ve probably been wasting my attention on mediocre eye candy like Ergo Proxy just because it’s fresh and new, been considering previewing the likes of "killer loli" favourite Higurashi and Bokura ga Ita because I keep seeing them pop up in gushing reviews, but since I’m still uncovering lovable, shiny gems like Giant Robo, suddenly a lot of what I’m following these days looks, and more importantly feels almost transparent.

I suppose what I’m trying to say (to myself) is that simply being new is no real substitute for actual quality, and sitting through anime you’re ambivalent about because it’s all the talk on forums and blogs is an easy way to lose interest in a genre you used to love. I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with the energy to sit down with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in a vague attempt to at least salvage some experience in what’s popular these days, but if truth be told, I’m just not interested in it, so it’s time to get ruthless and drop any illusions that one day I will catch up with this mountainous backlog and again start searching out anime I can actually love. Trust me, it’s taken me a long while to come to this realisation.

Author: bateszi

A huge bloody nerd. I apologise in advance. I live in Cambridge, England. That's not an excuse, by the way.

10 thoughts on “The sudden realisation of a tired anime fan”

  1. Partly through circumstance and partly through choice I’ve only had passing glances at the upcoming season – so far only two have caught my interest and I can’t even recall the names! Looking at the UK DVD releases and the number of shows on my ‘current’ roster that’s probably a good thing anyway. Even so there are so many series that I’ve not kept up with, but may enjoy if I’d made the effort.

    My own realisation is that time is short and as much as I regret missing out on something at the time, a few months down the line it probably won’t bother me one bit since there’s already enough already out to fill my dwindling free viewing time. Unless a show is on the verge of entering the black hole of pre-DVD/already licenced limbo it can wait!

  2. interestingly enough, I watched Giant Robo for the first time this summer, and had a similar reaction… I’ve watched the final battle sequence more times than I can count now. It’s just pure hot blooded action that you can’t find these days in anime, with the closest thing in recent years being Shinkon Gattai Godannar. In some ways, it’s just a trait of the super robot genre… but yeah, Giant Robo has a certain spark to it that really seems to show that it’s a quality product. In truth, this is probably because the world of Giant Robo has such richness and content, which is barely touched on by the anime – you first realize this when all the Magnificent Ten show up, and only two of the Celestial Nine show up during Giant Robo (Chujo and Taisou).

    But at the same time, Giant Robo was a sprawling creation that took years to make and tons of money. These days, that kind of effort sadly just isn’t put into anime… because everything is done by computer, anime has, in a way, become too easy to make.

  3. Well considering that Giant Robo is a 7 episode OVA that was made from 1992 to 1998, that they would have PLENTY of time to make a quality work. You really have to cut some slack to current anime shows, they REALLY don’t have the ability to just churn out one episode a year. Also that you would compare a OVA to an actual tv series which seems rather disingenuous as OVA are almost always better quality wise than their TV Series counter parts current or not

  4. As for one of its insert songs, it happens to be one of the best songs ever:

    Una furtiva lagrima

    From: L’Elisir d’Amore, 1832
    By: Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)

  5. The amount of time between the release of the first and last episode of Giant Robo really doesn’t count; there was a massive pause in production that included massive changes in staffing and so forth.

    Giant Robo benefited from existing in the world that they don’t take the time to entirely explain. Sure, they hammer the miracle of the Shizuma Drive into your head every episode (for obvious dramatic reasons), but we don’t know anything about Big Fire and very little about the Experts of Justice. The story stays focused and well-paced, production values were OVA quality, which is always a plus, and they had the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra doing background music.

    On top of all that, the characters themselves were great. Who’s a better boogeyman than Von Folger? What a great pride-filled villain Lord Alberto made. Daisaku was a snot-nosed punk, but that was kinda the point, no?

  6. I was rather disappointed with Giant Robo; I’ve only got the first DVD but just found it really boring, for some reason. A very odd reaction to have given the hyperkinetic action and obviously excellent production values, but I ust couldn’t get into it.

    Probably just my chronically short attention span, though; I get bored halfway through a single episode of many things these days…

  7. You should really give GR a second chance BluWacky… it starts off kinda slow because the first two episodes are kind of more exposition, and then really explodes in its second half. GR is something that shouldn’t be missed by any anime fan, in my opinion.

  8. >>The amount of time between the release of the first and last episode of Giant Robo really doesn’t count; there was a massive pause in production that included massive changes in staffing and so forth.>>

    So, you are saying it took them 6 years to do a staff change? Also you might want to note the fact Giant Robo being worked on since the freaking 80’s, face it folks, a LOT of time was was put into the series no matter how much you explain it away. No one is going to wait nearly 6 years for the first episode to be released and another 6 years for the series to be completed anymore.

    There was a time when you can get by making multi-million dollar super ovas like Giant Robo and my favorite, Macross Plus, that time has passed, don’t like it? Oh well. The industry’s current fixation on harem anime is because the mainstream anime consumer wants it.

  9. >> mikemil828: You really have to cut some slack to current anime shows, they REALLY don’t have the ability to just churn out one episode a year.

    I’m not really complaining about the quality of today’s anime, it’s more to do with the fact that while I’ve been stressing over trying to keep up with everything new and popular, I’ve been overlooking past greats. I can respect a series like Ergo Proxy, but when I find I love something like Giant Robo, it just seems pointless waisting my time on something I find that merely passes time. For example, I’m yet to see "Twelve Kingdoms" – it’s often acclaimed as a brilliant fantasy series and I love fantasy anime like Escaflowne; it’s time I sat down with something like that rather than say an episode of Haruhi that I find somewhat predictable – giving it a chance simply because it’s new and current. I guess I’m trying to say "fuck the trends" ;)

    >> BluWacky: I was rather disappointed with Giant Robo; I’ve only got the first DVD but just found it really boring, for some reason.

    I’m with Rift on this one – give it another chance. It is overloaded with scientific techno babble, but by the end of episode one you should be won over by the crazy action and brilliant soundtrack. I was sold on this show the minute I saw the characters fighting each other, it’s so creative and fluid – a real visceral treat when compared with today’s budget saving antics. Episode two and three have some great jaw dropping visuals too – I can’t help but love this giant black orb floating across the world sucking up an entire country’s worth of power.

    >> Rift: Shinkon Gattai Godannar.

    It’s now on my list :)

  10. Well, I don’t know about you, but there is one series that I have really loved so far this year, and that’s Welcome to the NHK! That show really does what I love to see the most in anime – develop characters. Other than that though, I agree with you. It’s easy to get caught up in the whole "watch it because it’s new" trend and play the blogging game to keep readers around (because everyone knows people who watch fansubs are only interested in what’s current). I came to this realization myself after watching well over forty episodes of Blood+, and realizing that it was only a mediocre anime series (which happens to have Hans Zimmer doing the music – wtf?).

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