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Old 2011-06-09, 21:32   Link #1
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Anime as you age: what it means to you

I joined this forum when I was around 16 years old and near the end of high school, and I was into anime a few years before that. Back then, anime meant a lot to me: it was a source of inspiration, a nice escape from reality, and something that I generally really got into. I watched virtually every single series listed on AnimeSuki, no matter how generic and crummy, and always felt that I got something out of it. I lived and breathed the anime culture. It was my thing. Whenever I considered myself in the future, anime was a part of it: I'd decorate my house with wall scrolls and posters, and I'd still be watching series.

Now I'm 25. I've gone through college and graduate school (science!), dated and got married. While my "anime activity" peaked in college (I was a fansubber), on the whole anime meant less and less to me. I watched fewer shows, and for those shows that I did watch, I began to wait until I had a few episodes accumulated before watching. I was no longer hanging on to each show from week to week as I once did. By the end of college I was watching one or two series; by graduate school, I had stopped watching anime entirely.

Recently I felt nostalgic for anime and the culture that once played so heavily into my life. I've come back here and am trying to watch series again, but it's difficult. The plots, and artwork of the newer series largely feel generic and uninteresting. The science and fantasy worlds that I once thought were inspirational now seem ridiculous. The characters that I once found entertaining, inspirational, cool, and interesting now seem deeply flawed, as if they all need a healthy dose of psychiatric treatment.

I'm left wondering if this is what it's like to outgrow anime. Is it something that happens as you age and experience different things, or is it something that arises from being away from anime for too long?

I'm putting this out there because I'm interested in hearing others' thoughts on it (although I suppose that those who have truly outgrown anime won't be hanging around here to discuss it). Even if you're a young'un (or an old'un) who is heavily into anime, your thoughts are valuable to me, too.

What anime means to you; how its meaning has changed as you aged; what you think it will mean to you many years from now... I'm interested in all of it. Through your own thoughts and experiences, perhaps I'll be able to better make sense of my own, and where I'm headed.
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Old 2011-06-09, 21:57   Link #2
Vexx
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I've been watching since.... 2003ish? ... in any serious way. The biggest change is that I'm much more likely to drop "average" series or the "I've seen this done too many times and they're just matrixing looks/personality" stuff.

Stuff that probably seems wonderous to a newer watcher, I'll more likely think of 3 or 4 older series that covered pretty much the same material and the new series isn't doing anything at all fresh.

However, I keep finding the new series that do even the "usual stuff" in fresh ways... so its a matter of picking through the trash for the good stuff.

The caveat is that I'm interested in Japan, japanese culture, and the language in general -- not "just anime/manga" (half my family is japanese).
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Old 2011-06-09, 22:02   Link #3
Archon_Wing
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I guess it's hard for me to think of these things, since I've only watched anime for short periods of time. I watched a few of the ones like DBZ and whatnot back when I was young, and was amused by same but unimpressed with most. Thus, I really don't have that strong of a sense of nostalgia for most things, except your occasional Miyazaki film.

But honestly, the anime market may just have changed to something outside your tastes, it can happen, and really I don't think has anything to do with outgrowing it, it just means that one isn't in with the newest trends or w/e.

Personally, I watched anime on a regular basis since 2006 and stopped around 2008. Before 2006, I actually hated the medium for the most part. Then I met a few people who informed me that I wasn't really trying hard enough to find good things (they're not always the popular shows) and have been better off since. Sometimes you just have to dig harder or else it leads to self-fulfilling prophecies where you will be doomed to write off stuff as generic and bland without giving it a chance.

Still, most shows don't work on me, but nothing's changed.
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Old 2011-06-09, 22:07   Link #4
Reckoner
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Well I joined this forum at a similar age to you, as I was only about 15-16 at the time. However, I've been following anime since I was much younger.

I don't think age has much to do with it in of it by itself. Rather, as people grow older, their responsibilities and duties change and for some anime loses its role as a primary activity of your life as you further integrate yourself into the real world growing up.

Usually anime fans tend to watch less series as the years pass by because generic series start becoming boring. If you've seen something that's been done a 1000 times before, the first time might seem interesting, but the 2nd and 3rd time will start to really bore you.

It becomes more about weeding out what really is quality from the bland. Sometimes the quality of shows dip down, but then it eventually dips back up (At least I'd hope so). I personally hated the years of 2009 and 2010 for anime in general, but am enjoying 2011 so far very much so.

So basically, like any hobby, you have to try harder to enjoy it the longer you do it. Any hobby will get tiresome if you just see the same things over and over again.
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Old 2011-06-09, 22:47   Link #5
Shinn Kamiyra
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It’s a difficult question, no doubt about it.

Back when I was still just a sixteen year-old runt, anime felt like my salvation; silly though that might sound to some, but that’s how I honestly felt at the time. I wasn’t really into sports and I didn’t have too many friends, not to mention school itself just felt like a big chore that I was doing to please my parents and get past with rather than having any actual ambition of my own; so… to have something that I could channel all my feelings into and really dedicate myself felt simply indescribable.

At first it felt as though I simply couldn’t get enough of it. I wrapped my hands around every new anime series I could find, and it felt as though I was walking away with something new and powerful inside of me after each one. But as I graduated High School and began moving onto college, I noticed a change. No longer the eager little fan boy, I began feeling skeptical about many new anime series and even downright disappointed with some of them. Was I losing my passion for anime, I wondered. But I thought that it might simply be a passing phase and I would get over it soon enough.

I didn’t.

For a while, I near stopped watching anime all together, but then… one day I realized that I had been reliving the same routine I had since I first started. Nothing had changed. It was then that I came to my resolution that if I wanted to stay true to my passion, it had to evolve and grow in the same way that I had. I couldn’t just stick to what was good enough for me as a boy. It was then that I started reading manga; and suddenly a whole new world was opened up before me. Not limited to the scope of what animation showed me, I was far freer to use my imagination to bring what I read to life. However, I knew that if I simply kept this up, someday my rekindled passion with follow in suit with what had happened before. And so, I backtracked even farther and came upon light novels; which, again opened up an entirely new world to me.

To put it simply, with the three ‘worlds’ of anime, manga and light novels to indulge myself in, I’ve found myself at a comfortable level and pace where my passion isn’t so fixated on a single one that I’m left wondering if I’ve watched and/or read enough and I should just call it quits.

That aside, perhaps one of the most important discoveries I made when I began reading manga and light novels is that there are so many amazing stories that are never adapted into anime; and, if there’s one thing I honestly believe, and to my experience, it’s that you never grow tired of a good story. I’ve followed that belief through in reading innumerable mangas and light novels; and as a whole, it hasn’t let me down yet.

Of course if you find that you’re forcing yourself to try and enjoy the anime you’re watching or the mangas and/or light novels you’re reading, then perhaps you should seriously consider calling it quits. If it’s a passion that’s burned out in its entirety, then that’s something you need to be honest with yourself about. But I would honestly suggest giving other options their fair shot before you start thinking that way.
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Old 2011-06-09, 23:51   Link #6
Akito Kinomoto
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I started watching anime at around 05/06ish, but had other hobbies and things to do that would mitigate the impact of burning myself out. So things were pretty slow and I just tended to savor everything I watched. But at around October of last year, the number of things I've watched more than doubled to the amounts they're at now. Yeah, I completed more in 9 months than what I've watched over the last five or six years; I felt the need to quickly expand my library, threw caution to the wind, and just watched whatever without regard to my own tastes.

I don't know whether that was a blessing or a curse. While I feel that my preferences have become broader, I can't say it was worth nearly annihilating my pace and sense of enjoyment. Because of that, I've become less tolerant of anything I don't highly enjoy, if that somehow makes sense. In other words, I've long passed my anime is teh greatest thing evar!1! stage and just try to take it in slowly. The rush of material has pretty much kicked me back to my 05/06 viewing state of not excessively saturating myself with the stuff.

The funny thing is, even when I get to the point of only watching a few things a year, I can still say it's just about the single thing I'm most passionate about seeing. The definitive I can always count on is that, even as I age and demand different things, I don't necessarily have to look at the new stuff; the older shows still exist, and I can always go back, but never watching just for the sake of watching, and instead try to savor every moment. And comparatively speaking, my opinion on anime is still much, much, much better off than live-action television. Finding time to do so will get harder, but it satiates me on so many different fronts that I don't imagine myself abandoning it altogether.
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Old 2011-06-10, 00:59   Link #7
Guardian Enzo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
I've been watching since.... 2003ish? ... in any serious way. The biggest change is that I'm much more likely to drop "average" series or the "I've seen this done too many times and they're just matrixing looks/personality" stuff.

Stuff that probably seems wonderous to a newer watcher, I'll more likely think of 3 or 4 older series that covered pretty much the same material and the new series isn't doing anything at all fresh.

However, I keep finding the new series that do even the "usual stuff" in fresh ways... so its a matter of picking through the trash for the good stuff.

The caveat is that I'm interested in Japan, japanese culture, and the language in general -- not "just anime/manga" (half my family is japanese).
Vexx' views on this are remarkably similar to my own, actually. I started on anime (not counting stuff like Star Blazers) pretty late in life - it wasn't until I was out of school and had been working for a while. So maybe I'm not subject to that sense of disillusionment of not seeing the same magic in anime that I did as a teen - because I wasn't watching it as a teen.

Like Vexx, I tend to shy away from series that aren't doing something fresh. But at the same time, I think I benefit from having very little connection to specific genres or styles. I tend to view anime very much like any other entertainment medium - lots of crap, lots of mediocre to decent stuff, and a few gems that really stand out. I look for the gems and enjoy some of the rest, and continually hunt for the older series that I might have missed the first time around.

In truth, I don't think I can say I enjoy anime especially more or especially less than I did, say, 5 years ago. I'm quite happy with the quality of the material now, collectively - it's not where it was at the peak of 2006-7, but I don't feel the medium has especially gone downhill either. The mix of good, bad and indifferent feels about the same to me.
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Old 2011-06-10, 02:12   Link #8
Tempester
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The first anime I ever watched through more than 5 episodes was Rurouni Kenshin back in the late 1990's. I had trouble remembering the character names and plot, but it was nice and fair entertainment for me. At that age, Rurouni Kenshin was simply above average compared to those silly shows on Cartoon Network and the like. I didn't have any standards so what I would later recognize to be 'anime' was at that time just another fun cartoon, just with blood in it. I saw some other anime around that time but none was quite as interesting or memorable as Rurouni Kenshin, and I can't even remember their names.

Now the first anime that truly absorbed me was Pokemon. Around 2000-2003 I went bananas over the Pokemon anime. This was probably the time when I first learned about the word 'anime'. During that time when Pokemon was the meaning of my life, I watched close to no other anime. Seeing the horribly dubbed anime prompted me to play the games and my gaming life (as well as a meaty portion of my real life) ended up dominated by playing Pokemon. I started to lose interest in the anime gradually starting around 2003, the release of the great Ruby and Sapphire Pokemon games undoubtedly a contributing factor. Still, a stubborn little part of me expected the show to get better at some point or change into something different, even as my interest in the episodes of the anime itself petered out into oblivion. Looking back on the show and rewatching some of the earlier episodes for curiosity, I'd be lying if I said it holds no nostalgia value. But the abhorrently low quality of the animation and writing (emphasis on writing) far outweighs any wistful feelings of the past for this show.

I eventually thought to myself that I really needed to see some other anime than Pokemon. I was convinced that there was something out there in the medium that could surprise me and free me from the grasp of the Pokemon anime. However, I was lost as to which show to try out, until in late 2005 a certain special someone suggested I watch the film Howl's Moving Castle. This film shattered my perspective of anime and greatly broadened my horizons on the limits of animation in general. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I feel that Howl's Moving Castle changed my life.

After that, I looked up Miyazaki Hayao and Studio Ghibli on the internet and watched tons of other Miyazaki films, almost all of which I adored. Because Ghibli only had so much to offer I got some other anime I randomly saw around, including some shounen action anime. I watched and enjoyed the first twenty-something episodes of Naruto but stopped for some reason I can't even remember. I watched some of the 2003 series of Fullmetal Alchemist but gave up halfway through, probably out of boredom from the filler. (I would later finish the series in early 2009.) In retrospect, even though I wasn't committed to watching anime TV series, in 2006 I saw anime as a preferable medium to everything else and started to finally become an entry level anime fan. Still, that was just scratching the surface.

In 2007, I got more committed to watching TV anime. I saw Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion, both of which I loved. Admittedly, it gave me a thrill to be watching the 'more niche' anime as opposed to Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon. (At that time, the Death Note anime had just finished and hadn't reached its top popularity among western anime fans yet.) At the same time I watched the extremely length Yuyu Hakusho, which I found to be noticeably much sillier than the other two shows I mentioned, but was still fun.

My tastes were broadening but eventually came to be more focused on the oft-dreaded otaku side of anime in 2008. This was mostly thanks to Kyoto Animation's excellent adaptations of Kanon and Air. When I saw Kanon for the first time, it felt like I was watching a movie. I also watched Gurren Lagann in 2008, an amazing anime that made me want to mock almost all draggy shounen action series. By the end of 2008, anime had a strong influence on my life in pretty much the same way as Pokemon did before, except not as one monopolizing series but as a medium of preference. And it is November of that year when I registered on Animesuki forums.

Since I got here in 2008 to now in 2011, the amount of anime series I've watched has multiplied nearly 9-fold. I have become attached to the anime medium for better or worse. I watch currently running anime almost every concurrent season. At the same time I am constantly seeking out older anime and anime from varying genres, as well as critically acclaimed anime and critically panned anime. I've gained a thirst for discovering more in this medium, and as I'm still a bit of a newbie compared to some others here, I can't predict what will happen next.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
But honestly, the anime market may just have changed to something outside your tastes, it can happen, and really I don't think has anything to do with outgrowing it, it just means that one isn't in with the newest trends or w/e.
Ah, yes. One major appeal of anime for me these days is that it often contains very cute things, like cute characters and cute romance. The appreciation of cuteness is overwhelmingly absent from western culture and entertainment, which could make anime a sort of refuge for me. Ironically, the recent trend of cuteness is one thing about modern anime that turns off anime veterans. It's a generation gap, I suppose. I personally fear that someday cute anime will be phased out for something I don't care for. Maybe that will be the day I lose interest in anime. But I know that I'm certainly enjoying myself at the moment.

I almost never use the term 'outgrow' these days, preferring to say 'lose interest' instead. Use of the term 'outgrow' can be potentially insulting to people who still have an interest in the subject in context, especially if they are your age or older.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Recently I felt nostalgic for anime and the culture that once played so heavily into my life. I've come back here and am trying to watch series again, but it's difficult. The plots, and artwork of the newer series largely feel generic and uninteresting. The science and fantasy worlds that I once thought were inspirational now seem ridiculous. The characters that I once found entertaining, inspirational, cool, and interesting now seem deeply flawed, as if they all need a healthy dose of psychiatric treatment.
If you're interested in returning to anime we can recommend you some awesome recent anime as well as some old classics you may have missed. Just start a thread in the Suggestions forum and we can help you from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shinn Kamiyra View Post
To put it simply, with the three ‘worlds’ of anime, manga and light novels to indulge myself in, I’ve found myself at a comfortable level and pace where my passion isn’t so fixated on a single one that I’m left wondering if I’ve watched and/or read enough and I should just call it quits.

That aside, perhaps one of the most important discoveries I made when I began reading manga and light novels is that there are so many amazing stories that are never adapted into anime; and, if there’s one thing I honestly believe, and to my experience, it’s that you never grow tired of a good story. I’ve followed that belief through in reading innumerable mangas and light novels; and as a whole, it hasn’t let me down yet.
Thanks for this excellent post, Shinn Kamiyra! I'm trying to get into the manga medium myself. It's difficult, but I know that there are countless manga masterpieces out there waiting to be read. Seeking entertainment from different mediums really is refreshing and satisfying.
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Old 2011-06-10, 02:16   Link #9
lightsenshi
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I've been watching anime (if you count what was available in the early 80s as anime) for a very long time. I've noticed that my tastes haven't so much as changed as expanded over the years.
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Old 2011-06-10, 02:36   Link #10
james0246
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I "started" anime way back in the early 90s, buying dubbed titles on laserdisc and vhs (Akira, Bubblegum Crisis, etc), expanding from there. The main difference between my "origins" and many others is that I approached animation (not just Japanese, but all), as simply another facet of a medium I already love: Film. And since I've always viewed it this way, I've never developed any particular interest in one style or genre (though I will develop "attraction” for specific directors, writers and occasionally actors). Consequently, I have never really gone through the malaise that other fans go through because I've never been restricted in my purview, going in and out of anime at my leisure, watching and experiencing anything and everything I can get my hands on.
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Old 2011-06-10, 03:10   Link #11
fanty
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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I don't really think you can call it "growing out of" anime, it's more like "getting tired of it". It took me just a few months of marathoning anime like there's no tomorrow to start feeling a little tired of all the clichés and tropes.

But the thing is, I don't regard anime as something that one is ought to live and breathe, and never did. I do watch a few anime series per year, and that's about it. And I really don't think that will ever change. Why would it? People don't "grow out of" fiction. I don't read as many novels as I did when I was a teenager either, but that doesn't mean that I'm growing out of novels.
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Old 2011-06-10, 03:25   Link #12
cyth
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Ledgem, I still got ways to go before I finish school and find a suitable mate, but still, speaking as an ex-fansubber, I think a lot of us fall into this rut where anime just isn't fun anymore, at least not on its own. I've dropped fansubbing because my teams were picking up show that were uninteresting to me, or I'd grown tired of them in the middle of their run and simply left the projects. So I wasn't much of a team player, you could say, but that is one of the things that saved me from becoming a desensitised or jaded anime fan. I'm certain that fansubbing leaves a certain scar that needs healing, but even when that heals there's no guarantee you'll come across disappointing anime series, and there's no guarantee that your tastes in entertainment have changed for good.

I think you'll have to forget what you loved in the past and reestablish your tastes from scratch, and as others have mentioned, it wouldn't hurt to extend your interests beyond the anime you watch. Vexx has mentioned Japanese culture, Shinn Kamiyra mentioned light novels and manga. Some people dabble in Touhou, others in Hatsune Miku, and so on.

Last year I started following Japan more closely. Especially now, after 3/11, I'm interested in its future development, which is where the "otaku boom" and "pilgrimages" come in, with anime projects revitalizing local communities, tying anime down to scenery from real life (like AnoHana, HanaIro, or some early examples, Onegai Teacher & Twins).

You could say that today's anime fandom isn't really the anime fandom you once knew, I think it's much more diverse and fueled with so many other interests. Some people can't enjoy anime without participating in forum discussions or posting on image boards or blogging, and I think it's good to mention that many shows these days are created specifically for contemporary fandom and how it interacts with anime, how it rallies around anime. I think many people who don't participate in fandom in some kind of way lose out on the real effect contemporary anime is meant to have on us, but that's another topic for another discussion.
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Old 2011-06-10, 03:33   Link #13
solomon
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Real late (or early) so i'll keep it simple.

When I was a teenage aspiring cartoonist, anime seemed like an oasis in a desert of uninspired inbred american junk (and this was the 90s, a pretty good decade for the american cartoon).

Now I see anime for what it is; a mere subset of television that's gotten an increasingly focused demographic due to casual fanbase's withering.

It's hard for me to find a lot of shows that appeal to my non-otaku, non-youth at heart side as a 23 year old male.

Hell I still love the shit and it's manga counterpart, but it just doesn't get me like when I was a kid.
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Old 2011-06-10, 04:29   Link #14
iceyfw
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What anime means to me as I age means I grow very picky when I first read a short summary of what it is about. I've watched and read plenty of anime media in the same genres who do the same thing over and over and over again. I immediately get bored knowing what is the outcome of the situation or ending and move onto something else more entertaining. The last anime media that really intrigued me was JSDF Gate or something over in the manga section. I plan on reading it over at Baka-Tsuki once more chapters are translated into English from the light novel.

I've been watching anime since I was about 9 years old. My dad bought me a Guyver VHS video back then (no idea what he was thinking buying me it. it was so violent and bloody to a 9 year old kid) and I actually enjoyed it way more than my favorite American cartoon shows. Unfortunately, it took me a long time until I was 19 taking some English classes at College that changed my view on what makes a story good, and then I immediately knew what drew me to anime - how original the story is and its subplots and character development. This can be said now for anything I watch or read about.

Last edited by iceyfw; 2011-06-10 at 04:41.
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Old 2011-06-10, 07:20   Link #15
Last Sinner
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I first saw an anime when I was 4. It was Sherlock Hound, which had Miyazaki directing a few episodes. I was instantly in love with the medium. It had substance and imagination to it I didn't see in Western shows. And that title in particular felt like something I'd still like when I was an adult. Unfortunately, since anime was hardly around in Western countries in the 80s, lost contact with the medium. It wasn't until the mid 90s I saw Evangelion airing on TV. As a teen, I found it a bit sexy yet rather absurd. Anno probably kept me away from anime for quite a while. I saw Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Zoids and DBZ on TV in my early adulthood but they weren't spectacular. When I saw Cardcaptor Sakura airing, that was when I began to truly feel something. It was the first time I'd seen something so feminine/girly and I began to wonder 'What else is out there if something like this exists?' It took Spiritied Away's release to truly ignite my interest in the medium since I could tell this was a tale that was pure, straight from the heart and without personal rants.

Wanting to know more about what this medium could achieve, seeing a flyer for a local anime convention (it had only just started occuring when I found out about AVCON), I went there that weekend to see what else was out there. It was quite an experience. Seeing titles like Full Metal Panic, Read or Die OVA and Nadesico there got me excited. By chance I crossed paths with someone who was a long-time anime fan and told me there was actually an anime club in Adelaide. As of late July 2003, I started going there (AJAS) and still am. It was an interesting playlist - last episode of Someday's Dreamers, early into Witch Hunter Robin and Scrapped Princess. What won me over was that was the night that Last Exile started screening. It was the final show for the night, so it was fortunate some other titles were good. Last Exile blew me away from the moment it started - hearing such exotic music, a steam-punk world full of carnage and detail, spunky characters full of personality. It was love at first sight. Last Exile was what compelled me to keep exploring the anime medium.

I guess most of the next 2 years I explored shows made in the 1998-present time period. I think I was fortunate to have started my journey in proper detail in 2003 because 2002-2003 was a great time for anime. So much variety, risks and titles pushing the barrier. 2004, I felt a little let down by the sudden lack of decent titles. However seeing Satoshi Kon and Makoto Shinkai works gave me some faith. 2005, I almost lost interest in the medium, wondering if I'd seen all there was to see, although October that year proved otherwise. 2006 was a good year and provided me with plenty to enjoy. 2007 - I hit another wall. The sudden barrage of Shounen Jump titles hitting the screen and narrowing variety worried me. This was probably the closest I came to parting with anime.

I was rather late onto the Code Geass bandwagon, but I was utterly into it once I saw it. For all its flaws, everything it did right as well as its ambition and passion just compelled me. I hadn't felt so desperate to see a new episode of any show in years. 2008 brought a good helping of titles that appealed to me and I felt safe in the medium once more. 2009, I saw the K-ON and Shaft empires take hold - I wasn't enthused. July season was all I cared about that year. 2010, January and April brought me enough to like, as well as another title I truly admired - Tatami Galaxy, which was so unlike anything airing at the time. It felt challenging yet so rewarding to watch. 2nd half of 2010 was rather bland for me.

Despite my trials in 2007, perhaps my greatest trial could have been 2011. I have no problem admitting that there is no series made in 2011 I've been able to watch in full or enjoy. I'm rather appalled at how much simplisitc slice of life, generic moe harems and botched attempts at trying to recycle the past (sorry, Fractale, but you're clearly a mediocre remake of Nadia from 1992. Only takes 1 episode to see how blatantly identical they are! And let's not forget this newly announced crossover of Gundam with Inazuma Eleven...give me a break...) Suddenly all that seemed to matter to a great deal of newer fans was pretty animation, a certain mood and characters you could lazily watch without a care in the world. My long-time mentor saw my conflict and invited me over to his place. He took me aside for 6 hours and showed me material from the early 60s to about 1994. He told me in was time, now that older shows were emerging, that I should take the plunge back into anime's history and see where the medium came from.

And I am never going to regret having my mentor send me on the journey back into the earlier days of anime. Seeing how Tezuka boldly took it on himself to be the father of modern manga and modern anime. Seeing how Nagai, Matsumoto and Tomino generated genres like mecha, space opera and the like in their own way that made the 70s daring, yet also seeing the iconic Group Year 24 allow icons like Ryoko Ikeda and Moto Hagio show that women did have a place in the realm and lead to shoujo and other genres being a place where women could create. Seeing the importance of singers like Ichiro 'Aniki' Mizuki and Isao Sasaki in forging a series as great by having epic theme songs to go with them. Seeing franchises like Lupin being born, seeing where the team of five/Let's combine gimmick came from. Seeing the Miyazaki/Takahata partnership grow from its early days to taking the plunge leading up to the formation of Ghibli. Seeing the raunchy, hilarious ways of the 80s and that the high school dynamic was viable. Seeing the rising role of the seiyuu selling a series in the 90s as well as why anime gradually became more accessible for the Western world. And I've only seen a fraction of what there is to see in the pre-2000 era. I'll have a lot of time required to properly explore it.

So I say to you fellow anime fans - if you hit a wall, don't let the idea that you have to rely on current anime be the reason you stop or lose faith in the medium. My advice to you is to dare to take the journey back in time. Older series are now accessible - they are worth watching. You'll learn where anime came from, the titles that were crucial in genres/animation styles/tropes being born, that there are other characters back then that helped to pave the way for the characters you like today to be viable. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Just don't let the idea that the animation isn't digital/super pretty or that it's so far back in time that it's just not possible. I think that the current generations of anime fans are somewhat taking for granted that the animation can reach the levels it is today and compensate for weaker aspects in the medium, because it's pretty looking. Yet not many studios utilise that properly - and truth is - there were people that could do a damn good job with it even 3 decades ago.

If you think you've seen it all, there is a likelihood you haven't. Something I keep learning no matter how many series I've watched. Just be willing to keep looking and see where the medium came from back then. It's a very fulfilling journey. Now if you'll excuse me, my mega marathon of Galaxy Express 999 beckons.
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Old 2011-06-10, 09:06   Link #16
Arabesque
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I'm left wondering if this is what it's like to outgrow anime. Is it something that happens as you age and experience different things, or is it something that arises from being away from anime for too long?
From what you wrote, I think it has more to do with the sort of events you underwent these past years rather than staying away too long from the medium. I mean what you described are life altering events (going to collage, graduating, getting married etc.) and they might have had a rather great influence on the way you see entertainment and what sort of thing you want to take from it.

You mentioned that back then, the 16 year old you saw anime as an escapist fantasy, where you could get inspired by all these new ideas and concepts that you hadn't come across before. This changed as you grew older and became more familiar with the medium and the place might have lost a bit of the charm it had then, till now you are simply filled with nostalgia for that feeling of wonder like what solomon is talking about.

Additionally, it could be that you ended up burning yourself by digesting too many shows at the same time, and you might be having trouble getting back into the hobby because there isn't really that much shows to sustain the same level of consumption you have (had?).

In any case, I don't necessarily think you've outgrown anime. I don't think it's an easy thing to outgrow something that from what you wrote seemed like a pretty important part of your life at one point. Your outlook on life had changed, your knowledge base had increased and your life in general has drastically been altered, what you expect from anime now isn't the same from it was back then. I agree with Reckoner that the longer you stick with a hobby the more it gets harder to simply watch it on it's own. Like cyth had mentioned, these days you are going to find a lot of people how add something in order to enjoy anime more, in a way to make the hobby stay enjoyable and not break away from it.

Do you mind telling us though what sort of titles had you tried watching to get back into anime? Also at what point did you start losing interest?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
What anime means to you; how its meaning has changed as you aged; what you think it will mean to you many years from now... I'm interested in all of it. Through your own thoughts and experiences, perhaps I'll be able to better make sense of my own, and where I'm headed.
Well, I was but a kid who watched shows like Treasure Island, Future Boy Conan and Grendizer on these badly dubbed Arabic/English TV recorded VHS tapes, but I prefer not to count that and just start from my days when I first started watching Digimon Tamers, as that was the point where I finally got to know that what I was watching was anime, and finally got familiar with the word and its meaning.

I sort of started getting more and more familiar after joining with this forum, back then when Code Geass was airing, and then I started watching Xam'd Lost Memories week by week, which was the first step towards my current way of viewing anime.

Simply put, I found people to talk to in an intelligent manner about the shows I liked, and people who when they disagree with me can present their view in a logical manner and make me reconsider my position on each episode. That I think plays a large part into why I still like anime, I can talk with people about it, and whether or not they agree or disagree with me, they still help me think about the show I watch and add to the experience. I still find members here in Animesuki who continue to really make me want to continue watching anime from the way they talk about it and far too many too name just on this post alone without making it too long

But more importantly thanks to that, I started growing interest in the behind the scenes production.

Forum members such as duckroll, 7th, Celestial Kitsune and DarkLordOfkichiku back at the Xam's thread made me get interested in learning more and more about the sakuga community and how anime was made in general, and eventually I made enough progress to help me understand how they are made, and make sure to check what happnes behind the scenes of my favorite shows.

Their is also other aspects, such as manga's & Light novels, that help me maintain my interest by making sure I have something to fall back too during a season where there is not much to watch.

So what happens afterwards? I still think that I will continue to watch anime, depending on what happens to my life from this point onwards I might change the amount I watch, but I will still love it regardless and consider it a part of who I am. I most likely will grow more knowledgeable about the production aspect of anime, and continue to appreciate the high quality and great looking animation coming out.

Hope that helps
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Old 2011-06-10, 11:38   Link #17
wontaek
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In 1970s, since I was in Korea, I watched many Japanese anime in Korean Dubs, and it was common knowledge that these were Japanese made to the Koreans. In 1984, I started watching Japanese anime in Japanese, and have kept up since.

Animated works throughout the world has long history for being unconventional. Japanese anime just happened to be the most commercially successful of animated works that has regular television audience. The reason I started to watch and kept on watching Japanese anime was due to it not being similar to most other shows you can see on TV or recorded medium ( Can't say DVD because I started with Betamax tapes and Laser Discs ). Now , I think I keep watching them due to the aquired taste. Still, I continue to see something new, thus I remain hooked. One of these days, I might stop watching, but it is highly likely because I found something new that occupies my time greatly ( and I know that there will be great multitude of gamers in the AnimeSuki Forum who will be devoting more and more time on the new games, thus less and less time on watching new anime works in very near future), not because I have grown tired of anime.
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Old 2011-06-10, 12:06   Link #18
Larthak
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When I first started watching anime, which is approx. 7-8 years ago, I got amazed by the difference this medium offered. Until then, I've never seen something so alien before. Starting with Hellsing, I got hooked on the pure experience of whatever the hell the artists wanted to draw. The cartoon directed for the tastes of an adult audience; never in my life would I have thought of something so genius, it was mind-shattering.

Of course it has changed over the years, but in a good way. I've less time for it, but I still enjoy it like I always did. Except that now, I prefer the subtler things in my shows and the culture itself as a whole. Once I started admiring all the traditions, customs, the language itself, I began to appreciate these details.

Someone fresh to anime doesn't get all the facial expressions, the behaviour of characters, nor their morals. But once you get some understanding, rewatching the older shows is a gift in itself (older as in those among the first you watched).
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Old 2011-06-10, 13:12   Link #19
Gamer_2k4
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Join Date: Jul 2010
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Age: 26
Unlike probably most of the people here, anime as a medium has no appeal to me. They're never especially well-animated (not to be confused with well-drawn, which many are), and the fact that they're "exotic" (that is, foreign) has little importance me. Plots seem stale, humor seems empty, and characters seem derivative and unoriginal. It's been a while since an anime has really lit that spark and made me think, "Wow, I want to see where this goes!"

Things were a little different a decade ago, when I'd be watching cartoons and thinking, "Oh, ha ha, it's those crazy Japanese with their Pokeymans and their Yugeyos." At the time, it was new, it was different, and even though both shows were pretty formulaic (protagonist battles the baddie of the week and wins), they felt unique among all the western animation I'd seen. But, I never really followed either especially closely, and it wasn't until college that I expanded my horizons.

A friend mentioned Neon Genesis Evangelion to me, and I watched the series. It was my first introduction to the giant robot genre, and it was the first anime I'd seen that actually had a tight, self-contained story line. It blew me away. Nothing about it was anything close to what I expected, and from that point on, I thought, "Hey, maybe there's something to this anime thing."

I followed up NGE with Gurren Lagann, then Azumanga Daioh, then Elfen Lied. My mantra became, "I don't know if I like anime, but I do know that I like every one that I've watched." And how could I not? Each of the four I'd seen are, as I understand, pretty much considered shining stars in their respective genres. I watched the best and left the rest.

But, that's where the downslide began. Once you're at the top, where can you go but down? RahXephon, Eureka Seven, and Samurai Champloo came and went, being moderately entertaining during the run but never memorable. FLCL was too extreme for me. Code Geass was cool and had some high points, but was pretty forgettable. Akira was beautifully animated (the first example of that that I'd seen in anime), but didn't really hold a candle to the manga. I started Ghost in the Shell but couldn't finish it. All hope seemed lost...until I happened upon an AMV featuring an anime with a ridiculously complicated name. I thought, "Hey...I kind of like these character designs, and it looks like some interesting (and varied) stuff is happening. What was the title again?"

Cue my fateful viewing of Episode 00 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Suddenly, I found an anime I couldn't put down. Each episode had me laughing, but each also left me thinking, "Okay, what the heck is going on here? They'd better do some explaining in the next episode!" This continued throughout all fourteen episodes, and once everything was concluded, I was left with something I hadn't had in a long time: a sense of satisfaction and an intense love of the characters and the show.

But, first impressions can be deceiving, and as I dug deeper (watching the second season and reading a couple of the light novels), it no longer felt interesting. The characters were still okay, but they never DID anything of substance. It was disappointing, and the experience pretty well sums up how I feel about anime as a whole. Every so often, there will be a brilliant point of light, a shining star among a vast sea of mediocrity. But it's those points of light that really illuminate how dark everything normally is. You can only get away with being average as long as there's no one to show how bad "average" is.

Naturally, this isn't restricted to anime; the problem is prevalent in any media, or really anything ever. But that just proves my opening point: there's nothing really special about anime. I'm here because it's the place to discuss things that I like that happen to be anime; not necessarily because I'm a fan of the genre itself. And I believe that's how I've changed as I've grown older: my feelings have gone from "Hey, this thing is really cool because it's anime!" to "Hey, this thing is really cool! Also, it's anime."
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Old 2011-06-10, 13:22   Link #20
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Thanks everyone for writing out your thoughts and experiences. I've found it pretty interesting how many of you had similar experiences and feelings as I did (and some of you even matched them exactly).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Stuff that probably seems wonderous to a newer watcher, I'll more likely think of 3 or 4 older series that covered pretty much the same material and the new series isn't doing anything at all fresh.
This is a really good point. I hadn't considered it before, either - anime was drastically different compared to Western animation and even film (plotlines and storytelling), and each series seemed to be so different from the rest. But I'm speaking from a different time, back when digital fansubs were relatively new and anime wasn't as popular or well-known as it is today. That was when Neon Genesis Evangelion was the "initiation" show that every "true" anime fan had to see; when Love Hina, a typical harem show by any other standard, was a huge hit among the anime community; and when Noir, a series that would probably be regarded as somewhat generic and bland today, was a big deal.

(Do people even know those titles today? The fast pace of technology is marvelous - we can talk about "the olden days" and how good they were compared to today, something that people traditionally did when speaking about times 30-40 years prior, and yet here we're discussing things from barely a decade ago.)

It's likely as you say - once you've seen enough of something, or had a long enough time to contemplate it, everything else begins to feel like a rehash in some form.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempester View Post
I almost never use the term 'outgrow' these days, preferring to say 'lose interest' instead. Use of the term 'outgrow' can be potentially insulting to people who still have an interest in the subject in context, especially if they are your age or older.

If you're interested in returning to anime we can recommend you some awesome recent anime as well as some old classics you may have missed. Just start a thread in the Suggestions forum and we can help you from there.
You're right about the "outgrow" term, and I apologize for being a bit insensitive about its usage - I was using it from the point of "changing and growing as a person" rather than "growing up." The correct term would probably be to "grow (change) away from"... but I do appreciate your pointing it out. And thanks also for the suggestions forum - I've been getting suggestions from closer contacts, but I may create a thread over there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyth View Post
Ledgem, I still got ways to go before I finish school and find a suitable mate, but still, speaking as an ex-fansubber, I think a lot of us fall into this rut where anime just isn't fun anymore, at least not on its own.
...
I think you'll have to forget what you loved in the past and reestablish your tastes from scratch, and as others have mentioned, it wouldn't hurt to extend your interests beyond the anime you watch. Vexx has mentioned Japanese culture, Shinn Kamiyra mentioned light novels and manga. Some people dabble in Touhou, others in Hatsune Miku, and so on.
Ah, Lythka, it's good to see that you're still around You're right that fansubbing certainly added a whole additional element to anime fandom, but even after I left the fansubbing scene I was still watching series (albeit not as heavily as before).

It's an interesting idea about re-establishing my tastes, and you're probably right. I find it interesting what you wrote about extending interests beyond anime, though. I used to be incredibly interested in Japan and Japanese culture, which probably helped to fuel my interest in anime. I even studied the language for three years, and had dreams of possibly moving there, or finding some sort of work that would allow me to visit there regularly. As I progressed in my studies, and then when I got married, those dreams sort of disappeared. It'll probably never happen, and even if it did, I'm not sure that I'd be happy with it. While that may be responsible for diminishing my level of fandom, I'm not sure that it could be responsible for preventing me from enjoying a random series or two... but it's an interesting thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyth View Post
You could say that today's anime fandom isn't really the anime fandom you once knew, I think it's much more diverse and fueled with so many other interests.
Interesting point, and undoubtedly true. I can't say that I was ever into the social scene behind anime, though. I attended a few anime conventions when I was younger, but never really got into the online discussions. If you could find my earliest posts on AnimeSuki, you'd see that they were nearly all in the tech support forum, rather than in series discussion threads.

But perhaps the changes do catch up to you. When I approach anime these days, I'm still thinking about the series that I saw way back when, and make small comparisons. Nostalgia will almost always make the older series win out. When I visit the community now, I don't expect it to be similar to how it was in the past, but in some ways I long for it.

Yet the most interesting thing to me is that I've tried to go back and re-watch series that used to be my favorites, and I couldn't get past the first 2-4 episodes. The series just couldn't hold my interest as they once did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arabesque View Post
From what you wrote, I think it has more to do with the sort of events you underwent these past years rather than staying away too long from the medium. I mean what you described are life altering events (going to collage, graduating, getting married etc.) and they might have had a rather great influence on the way you see entertainment and what sort of thing you want to take from it.
...
Additionally, it could be that you ended up burning yourself by digesting too many shows at the same time, and you might be having trouble getting back into the hobby because there isn't really that much shows to sustain the same level of consumption you have (had?).
Very insightful post. Are you studying to become a psychotherapist, by any chance? I'm impressed!

I will note that I didn't burn out - over time I became too busy to follow every single show, as I once had, and became more selective about what I watched. That was also when I began to have difficulty getting past the first few episodes of some series. Aside from becoming more selective, I began to watch less in general, even passing up series that were regarded as being good and that probably would have interested me.

I think you raise a good point about undergoing life-changing events. In my mind, I'm the same person as I was ten years ago. My knowledge base, skills, and certain aspects of my personality have changed since then, but my basic interests, thoughts, and feelings all seem the same. In reality, they've probably... no, most certainly have changed. My new response to anime, something that was once very engaging, is likely a result of those changes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arabesque View Post
Do you mind telling us though what sort of titles had you tried watching to get back into anime? Also at what point did you start losing interest?
To try and get back into it I tried to re-watch some older series that I had. I started with Scrapped Princess, a series that was one of my favorites (if not the favorite) from back in 2003. I watched two episodes and couldn't bring myself to watch the third or more. It wasn't that I was bored because I already knew what was going to happen; I remember what the ending is, but I'd forgotten a surprisingly large amount of things about the show. Rather, it just didn't feel interesting or engaging. When I first watched it (back around 2002-2004), the world and its characters had seemed so vibrant, even from the first episode. Everything just felt sort of flat when I tried watching it a little over a year ago.

One year ago I managed to watch all of Full Metal Alchemist, a series that I had never completed. I enjoyed it well enough, but I had to force myself through some parts of it. Half-way through I almost stopped watching it entirely, but didn't want to have it sitting around half-finished. I didn't want to go a few years and then have to re-watch the first half again to satisfy curiosity that would come up about the ending.

Now, with a few recommendations, I'm starting into Steins;Gate, Mahou Shoujo Madoka, and Moshidora. I also intend to finish watching Aria, which I loved but never completed (sorry, Vexx!) I watched the first episode of Steins;Gate yesterday, and that's what got me thinking about this topic. The quirkiness of the characters that would have once been appealing and "cool" to me now seemed annoying and somewhat saddening. The premise that once would have seemed intriguing now seemed uninteresting and a bit over-the-top. Character designs that once would have been appealing now don't seem like anything special (even though the character designs and art in this series are top-notch by my old standards). I'm going to force myself to go to at least episode 8 of each series, because "back in the old days" a series' true plot (and worth) usually wasn't revealed until around then, but it feels harder than it used to be to get that far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arabesque View Post
Well, I was but a kid who watched shows like Treasure Island, Future Boy Conan and Grendizer on these badly dubbed Arabic/English TV recorded VHS tapes, but I prefer not to count that and just start from my days when I first started watching Digimon Tamers, as that was the point where I finally got to know that what I was watching was anime, and finally got familiar with the word and its meaning.
...
So what happens afterwards? I still think that I will continue to watch anime, depending on what happens to my life from this point onwards I might change the amount I watch, but I will still love it regardless and consider it a part of who I am. I most likely will grow more knowledgeable about the production aspect of anime, and continue to appreciate the high quality and great looking animation coming out.

Hope that helps
So you've been watching since a long time ago! Thanks again for your insightful remarks - you've given me a lot to consider.
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