Unfortunately, one thing getting a job has prevented me from doing is watching upwards of 10-12 anime series a season, as I did in the past. Thus, I’ve become a bit more selective as to what shows I do and don’t watch. This, in turn. requires an reasoned approach at filtering shows that look bad out, unless I hear that something unexpectedly has blown a large number of people away. This will prevent me from devoting time to shows I know are going to be a waste of time, such as this season’s “Kore was Zombie desu ka”, Upotte, and Shinning Hearts (thematically speaking), among others. Unfortunately, there are usually a lot of shows still considered “watchable” after this point, and in the past few years, a lot of these series have looked alike.
Cut to this season, and you will note that there are some shows using a bit of dated animation style. This includes the new Lupin, Space Brothers, Mysterious Girlfriend X, and Ozuma. Now let’s pull an Einstein and do a bit of a thought experiment here. First, while I think these shows by their very nature have a better plot and pedigree behind them than a lot of the other crap out there, let’s assume that every show this season has plots and pedigrees that are fairly similar. How would we know what to watch? More to the point, couldn’t we say this about some past anime seasons over the past few years. Everything looks the same. As such, viewers have selected shows randomly to devote their time to. Now, if you are reading this, that might not be a problem for you, but for a lot of people who only have time for 2-5 anime shows a season, they can’t watch the first 5 episodes of each new show before they make their decision. Thus, a show needs something that let’s viewers indicate it is of good quality and worth their time.
Now, and this is very counter intuitive,older animation is now an indicator of quality that forces viewers to give that a show a second look. Older animation is in stark contrast to shows of the past few years that all look the same and have, on the whole, generic story lines. Thus, by having older animation, people will be led to believe that more time and effort has been spent on creating a better story. Though not everyone will use this line of thinking, especially those of you reading this, it is important to realize that a lot of people, especially in Japan, don’t watch 10-12 anime in a season, but choose 1-2 shows to follow. As such, needing to differentiate the product is important, and its seems the heads of these studios are finally starting to catch on.
Hopefully, this means we will be able to look forward to a larger variation of anime styles in the future, older animation included.