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Old 2011-08-22, 19:11   Link #81
Flower
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
No, that's not it.

I'm not saying that pandering is always bad (i.e. has a negative "value judgement" associated with it). I'm saying that its something more precise than simply trying to be entertaining in a general sense.

"Pandering" isn't done to a general audience. It's done to a very specific audience.
On this you and I agree.

The previous post was mostly for general clarification regarding the Usagi Drop statement (afacti) - it wasn't primarily directed at the specific conversation you and 4Tran have been having ... apologies if I confused you or made things muddier!

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Old 2011-08-22, 19:14   Link #82
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The key here is not pandering in the general sense, but otaku pandering and how otaku pandering expresses itself in the myriad of anime there are.

Is otaku pandering bad in of it by itself? I don't think so. Can this be severely limiting to the amount of audience your anime can appeal to. Definitely.

If you're throwing around 2chan/4chan lingo in your show, or using things like heavy fanservice/ecchi, this pretty much destroys like 95% of the available audience ever tuning in the first place.

4Tran seems to be talking about pandering in a general sense, and I don't find that quite useful to explore... Clearly most works have a target audience, but I think what matters is how broad of an audience one is trying to target and who of the audience will be able to enjoy a particular show. Otaku pandering, if done too heavily, contains the show much too much.
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Old 2011-08-22, 20:37   Link #83
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I think it's useful to just establish that scenes can exist in an Anime for 2 reasons:

1. To further the plot, characters and themes.
2. To please the audience.

Describing Pandering as an extreme of number 2 sounds about right.

I would use Pandering to describe a scene that exists purely to please a small subset of your potential audience.

So to give an example, a long fight scene doesn't usually further the plot, it's there to please the audience. But I wouldn't nesecarily describe it as pandering.

A scene where a cute female lead eats Ice cream in a cute way and does Cute things that otaku would like is Pandering.

The difference between the former and the latter is how many people the scene will please. The fight scene is aimed at pleasing everyone (pretty much everyone likes fight scenes). The second scene is only there to please fans of the character. However drawing a systematic line between the two is quite hard.

I think the strongest aspect of Pandering is that it's used to please an "in-group" (in this case Otaku, who tend to have a strong relationship with studios), but leaves the "out-group" (the general audience) in the cold.

And actually you can see that the studios with the most heavy ties to Otaku tend to engage in the most pandering. A good example would be Gainax, who are well known for "Fan Service".
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Old 2011-08-22, 21:16   Link #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Because it helps to distinguish between entertainment elements that could conceivably appeal to anybody, and entertainment elements that are only going to appeal to a much more specific audience.
But pandering isn't an anime term to begin with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
You implied that simply aiming an anime show at adult males makes it otaku centric. I cited Monster to demonstrate why this is not the case. While Monster no doubt has some female viewers, and some teenage viewers, I'd hazard to guess that most of the people who have watched and enjoyed Monster are adult males.
Monster's target audience is adults from 18+, while otaku anime are aimed towards males 18-35.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
By this rationale, everything that fails to work well within an anime is due to bad writing or direction.
Nah. There's stuff like bad art design, music and voice acting as well.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
However, if someone reviewing an anime simply says "the writing is poor" or "the direction is poor", that tells us precious little in and of itself. Ideally, the reviewer will cite specific elements of the story that demonstrates bad writing. This will greater enable the reader of the review to take something of real value from it.

In some cases, the specific weak elements referenced by the review may be misplaced pandering.
True, but blaming pandering is also missing the point. A good reviewer would have pointed out why a particular element is bad rather than just labelling and letting implication do the rest of the work. However, using a particular pander as an example of bad writing would work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I'm not saying that pandering is always bad (i.e. has a negative "value judgement" associated with it). I'm saying that its something more precise than simply trying to be entertaining in a general sense.

"Pandering" isn't done to a general audience. It's done to a very specific audience.
Incorrect. Pandering isn't a matter of who the target audience is. It's a matter of how gratuituous it is. Since the word "cater" is concerned with being attentive to its object, that implies that it's doing so to a particularly great degree. Likewise, pandering in a work is to do so in place of doing something else. Hence, anything used to embellish scenes to cater to the audience is pandering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I think it's useful to just establish that scenes can exist in an Anime for 2 reasons:

1. To further the plot, characters and themes.
2. To please the audience.

Describing Pandering as an extreme of number 2 sounds about right.

I would use Pandering to describe a scene that exists purely to please a small subset of your potential audience.

So to give an example, a long fight scene doesn't usually further the plot, it's there to please the audience. But I wouldn't nesecarily describe it as pandering.

A scene where a cute female lead eats Ice cream in a cute way and does Cute things that otaku would like is Pandering.

The difference between the former and the latter is how many people the scene will please. The fight scene is aimed at pleasing everyone (pretty much everyone likes fight scenes). The second scene is only there to please fans of the character. However drawing a systematic line between the two is quite hard.

I think the strongest aspect of Pandering is that it's used to please an "in-group" (in this case Otaku, who tend to have a strong relationship with studios), but leaves the "out-group" (the general audience) in the cold.

And actually you can see that the studios with the most heavy ties to Otaku tend to engage in the most pandering. A good example would be Gainax, who are well known for "Fan Service".
Pretty much. Usagi Drop is a good example of this. The show doesn't pander all that much, but it does have a lot of scenes like Rin bouncing on a bed wherein the purpose is to draw attention to how cute she is.
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Old 2011-08-22, 23:42   Link #85
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Pandering isn't just trying to please a specific audience. It is when you ignore your own values to please that audience.

Hypothetically, if a director thought panty shots were awesome and intelligent stories were unimportant, then it would not be pandering to make a show with nothing but panty shots. It would actually be pandering if he made an intelligent show to please people who like that kind of thing.

So to me, pandering is pretty much always bad for artistic quality. After all, if the artists are ignoring their own artistic values, it isn't likely they will make good art.

But it isn't always obvious if a show is pandering. You can't tell just by the content. It is more of a sense that the people making the show find their own show distasteful or uninteresting, but are ignoring their feelings to please a target audience.

As examples, to me Go Nagai, Oh! great, and Nisio Isin don't seem like they pander, even though they have a lot of elements in their work that could be viewed that way... because I don't get the sense they are ignoring their own values.
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Old 2011-08-23, 00:41   Link #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ermes Marana View Post
Pandering isn't just trying to please a specific audience. It is when you ignore your own values to please that audience.
I can see where you're coming from to an extent, but IMO that only really works on an intrapersonal and static level. To elaborate, only the person themselves who creates a body of work will know that they're compensating their own idea for the sake of an audience, but the viewers or readers may not necessarily be aware of such a compromise taking place. The other problem is that it assumes the creative merit will remain the same, because some artists, writers, ect. do eventually change what they value, perhaps to the point where what they haven't been too keen on in the past gains more significance. That, and some of the directors/studios/whatever are pretty good at handling a diversity of content to begin with.
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Old 2011-08-23, 11:23   Link #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I think it's useful to just establish that scenes can exist in an Anime for 2 reasons:

1. To further the plot, characters and themes.
2. To please the audience.

Describing Pandering as an extreme of number 2 sounds about right.

I would use Pandering to describe a scene that exists purely to please a small subset of your potential audience.

So to give an example, a long fight scene doesn't usually further the plot, it's there to please the audience. But I wouldn't nesecarily describe it as pandering.

A scene where a cute female lead eats Ice cream in a cute way and does Cute things that otaku would like is Pandering.

The difference between the former and the latter is how many people the scene will please. The fight scene is aimed at pleasing everyone (pretty much everyone likes fight scenes). The second scene is only there to please fans of the character. However drawing a systematic line between the two is quite hard.

I think the strongest aspect of Pandering is that it's used to please an "in-group" (in this case Otaku, who tend to have a strong relationship with studios), but leaves the "out-group" (the general audience) in the cold.

And actually you can see that the studios with the most heavy ties to Otaku tend to engage in the most pandering. A good example would be Gainax, who are well known for "Fan Service".
Precisely.

I'm a bit surprised that 4Tran implied agreement with your take here, because it more or less reflects what I've been saying all along (and which he has been disagreeing with).

Pandering is not done for the sake of a general audience. As you yourself state, the strongest aspect of pandering is that it's used to please an "in-group" but leaves the "out-group" in the cold.

You have succinctly summed up why an elaborate and well-executed fight scene is not really the same as a cute female lead eating ice cream in a cute way while doing cute things. One has general entertainment appeal while the other is something that only a certain "in-group" is likely to enjoy.


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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
Monster's target audience is adults from 18+, while otaku anime are aimed towards males 18-35.
And who do you think most of the people watching Usagi Drop are?

Look, the point stands: Simply aiming an anime show at an adult male audience does not make it otaku centric. An anime being otaku centric requires a bit more than that alone, imo.


Quote:
True, but blaming pandering is also missing the point.
Not necessarily.

Some writers don't really recognize the fact that there is such a thing as misplaced pandering, and that's partly (if not entirely) what lowers their quality of writing in the first place, in my view.

In other words, for some writers, this is arguably their chief flaw, and it's hence valid for a reviewer to point that out.

Let me give you an example: Ken Akamatsu

Ken Akamatsu is a good writer in many respects. He's not simply a "bad writer", imo. However, he does have a tendency to throw in pandering fanservice all over the place. This isn't a problem when dealing with a relatively lighthearted section of the manga that he writes, but (in my opinion) it can become horribly distracting during fight scenes and dramatic scenes in general.

So, for me, Ken Akamatsu isn't simply a bad writer, or guilty of bad writing in a general sense. He has a very specific flaw when it comes to overuse of pandering elements (i.e. fanservice), in my view. Aside from that, I have few if any complaints about him. Again, I think he's a good writer.

If a reader is going to review the Negima! manga, then criticizing Akamatsu's penchant to overuse pandering elements is a perfectly legitimate point for that reviewer to raise.


Quote:
Pandering isn't a matter of who the target audience is.
Pandering is a matter of catering to a very specific audience, while giving no thought to a more general audience.

And in some cases, that's fine. Indeed, in some cases, that might be for the best. But not in all cases.


Quote:
Likewise, pandering in a work is to do so in place of doing something else. Hence, anything used to embellish scenes to cater to the audience is pandering.
No, scene embellishment alone is not pandering. imo. Don pointed this out quite nicely in his last post on this thread.
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Old 2011-08-23, 12:03   Link #88
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Another thing one has to note is that pandering in one show may not be pandering in another.

So a lot of things that may be considered pandering in a more general show, is not really pandering in the context of a Mo show. Because the entire point of a Mo show is the aesthetic appreciation of cuteness. If you suddenly put in a bit of that into a mecha show, that would then become pandering.

Different shows have different definitions of a "general audience" and the "in-group audience". And any show, regardless of it's genre, can begin to pander to the in-group.

So a Mo show can contain all kinds of displays of cuteness (that's the whole point), but if it suddenly started to focus on one element of that cuteness above all else, that might be pandering. So if K-On devoted all of it's time to Mio above all the other characters, just because Mio has a vocal fanbase.

It's very easy to pick out Mo pandering, (in fact you could easily argue that the entire genre is basically a form of pandering... Emotional pornography...), but you can get it everywhere.

And like Mo, there are many genres out there which consist solely to pander to their base. A good example is gore movies, or even Chick flicks and Chick Lit.

Examples:

In Dramas, having an extremely attractive male lead and continuously focussing on his handsomeness

In Star Trek, obscure references to other episodes, focussing on consistent techno-babble. Focussing entire episodes on stuff that only fans would care about.

In Mecha, having 10 models of mecha where 1 would do. Fujioshi bait
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Old 2011-08-23, 13:45   Link #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
And who do you think most of the people watching Usagi Drop are?
You do realize that Usagi Drop is a josei manga, don't you? Why do you think Daikichi is depicted the way he is? Hint: it's the same reason why Kippei is depicted the way he is in Aishiteruze Baby.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Look, the point stands: Simply aiming an anime show at an adult male audience does not make it otaku centric. An anime being otaku centric requires a bit more than that alone, imo.
There are other indicators, but the age and gender demographics are the strongest ones.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Not necessarily.

Some writers don't really recognize the fact that there is such a thing as misplaced pandering, and that's partly (if not entirely) what lowers their quality of writing in the first place, in my view.

In other words, for some writers, this is arguably their chief flaw, and it's hence valid for a reviewer to point that out.
I'm not even sure what you're trying to argue here. My view is pretty simple: bad writing or direction are two of the chief reasons why anime are bad. Poor pandering is a symptom of this, so why blame the symptom rather than the cause?

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Pandering is a matter of catering to a very specific audience, while giving no thought to a more general audience.

And in some cases, that's fine. Indeed, in some cases, that might be for the best. But not in all cases.
Did you skip my point about gratuitousness on purpose?

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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Another thing one has to note is that pandering in one show may not be pandering in another.

So a lot of things that may be considered pandering in a more general show, is not really pandering in the context of a Mo show. Because the entire point of a Mo show is the aesthetic appreciation of cuteness. If you suddenly put in a bit of that into a mecha show, that would then become pandering.
While aesthetics can be one form of pandering, there can be other ones like the story concept (Key anime) or character archetype (Kugiloli). Moe shows are going to automatically pander - it's the point of such shows.

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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Different shows have different definitions of a "general audience" and the "in-group audience". And any show, regardless of it's genre, can begin to pander to the in-group.
That's one of the problems with trying to define "pandering" as applying to particular specific audiences. Another major one is that it gives debater an out in the sense of claiming that what they like shouldn't be considered pandering. In effect, it reduces any debate to be about a different, and altogether irrelevant topic.
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Old 2011-08-24, 20:20   Link #90
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
an elaborate and well-executed fight scene is not really the same as a cute female lead eating ice cream in a cute way while doing cute things. One has general entertainment appeal while the other is something that only a certain "in-group" is likely to enjoy.
I feel like you're defining pandering based solely on target audience rather than the pandering content in the context of the work it is part of. Are all shows required to have a large, diverse target audience otherwise they are by definition pandering and therefore bad? If there is a work that is clearly targeting a specific audience that enjoys, for example, cute girls doing cute things and then out of nowhere an elaborate fight scene is included isn't that pandering to an audience outside the show's target audience as well?

If a show sets out with the goal of appealing to a specific audience and giving them what they want, is that pandering only if the audience is small? Is there something inherently bad about appealing to a niche audience? Obviously the earnings potential of such a work is going to be limited based on the size of its audience, but that isn't the question at hand. In fact, it seems like the pandering label comes up in the context of a studio being overly money-hungry rather than setting themselves up for commercial failure. I feel like pandering occurs when a writer tries to do too much and includes elements that detract from the overall goal of the work for the sake of appealing to a specific group of viewers regardless of the size of that group.
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Old 2011-08-24, 21:37   Link #91
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
I'm not even sure what you're trying to argue here.
I'm arguing that misplaced pandering is not always a symptom. Sometimes a writer having a tendency to pander too much is the cause of bad patches of writing, as is the case in my Ken Akamatsu example, imo. A writer "trying too hard" to pander, or simply taking too much enjoyment in pandering for his own good, can be the cause of bad writing, imo.

I'm not saying that it's always wrong to pander. I'm saying that it's sometimes wrong to pander, and that a certain writer having a consistent tendency to pander too much is sometimes the key flaw in that writer's writing, deserving of specific attention and/or critique.

Something to keep in mind here - Pandering could actually be due to "Executive Meddling". Executive Meddling doesn't always water down a work, or cause censorship for the sake of general audience appeal; sometimes it makes its pandering elements even stronger.

For example, I can't help but think that the head honchos at P.A. Works might have told Okada to "sex up" Hanasaku Iroha, and one result of this is that the wonderful character of Jiromaru has been given to us in ample amounts.

If this thought is correct, then this is a case where pandering is the cause of a problem (imo), and not just a symptom of it.


Quote:
Did you skip my point about gratuitousness on purpose?
My argument is that, whether it needs to be gratuitous or not, pandering is nonetheless done to a specific audience and not a general audience.

So your point there, which may very well be true, has little bearing on our discussion on specific audience vs. general audience.


Quote:
That's one of the problems with trying to define "pandering" as applying to particular specific audiences.
I don't think that's necessarily a problem. You simply adjust the meanings of "general audience" and "in-audience" as necessary depending on how the show itself would define them. In some cases, the two audiences may in fact be one and the same. In fact, if they are one and the same, that's when pandering is most legitimate, and may even be called for, since it doesn't really leave any viewer out in the cold while pleasing the viewers you have.

But the two audiences are often not one and the same.

A clear-cut example of this is a a Superhero movie. A superhero movie will definitely have a general audience (people who just like action flicks in general) and an "in-audience" (long-time comic book readers) that is only a fraction of the total audience.

A Superhero movie could conceivably pander too much to its "in-audience" (i.e. use a lot of terminology from the associated comic books that would be lost on a general audience). Thankfully, most superhero movies that I've seen have avoided this potential pitfall, and only pander a little bit (and in a seamless way) with the odd "Easter Egg" here and there.

I think that it's important to recognize the pros and cons of pandering.


Quote:
Another major one is that it gives debater an out in the sense of claiming that what they like shouldn't be considered pandering.
Well, I'll fully admit that some of what I like constitutes pandering.

I like moe. That doesn't mean that I would deny that, say, Denpa Onna panders. I personally often like the pandering in Denpa Onna, but that doesn't change the fact that I recognize that it's not really for just any anime fan. I wouldn't recommend Denpa Onna to somebody I knew that disliked moe, for example.

Now, an anime with great action scenes, though... I mean, just about anybody can like that.


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Originally Posted by DasDingus View Post
I feel like you're defining pandering based solely on target audience rather than the pandering content in the context of the work it is part of. Are all shows required to have a large, diverse target audience otherwise they are by definition pandering and therefore bad?
No, certainly not. It's fine to have some moe-driven shows. I like many of them myself.

But the thing is this - If an anime is aiming for a general audience, it's often good to keep pandering elements down to a minimum. If it doesn't, it can risk turning off or losing much of that general audience.


Quote:
If there is a work that is clearly targeting a specific audience that enjoys, for example, cute girls doing cute things and then out of nowhere an elaborate fight scene is included isn't that pandering to an audience outside the show's target audience as well?
Hhmmm... I'd personally call that an attempt to expand the audience by adding in something that can appeal to a broader audience. However, I can understand where the original audience would be pissed off by it, and the attempt might be misguided. If something is already niche, trying to make it appeal to a broader audience might simply put it into no-man's land: Not enough desired elements to continue to appeal to the original audience, but still feeling too niche for a broader audience.

Sometimes it's perfectly fine for a niche show to remain niche.


Quote:
Is there something inherently bad about appealing to a niche audience?
No, there's not. My problem is pretty much with excessive pandering done in shows aiming for a more general audience. Or, to break this down even further, some shows are just trying to tell a good story for the most part, which is something anybody can appreciate. If pandering to an "in-audience" gets in the way of telling a good story (and it sometimes does), then that's very problematic and regrettable, in my opinion. It is something deserving of specific criticism, imo.


Quote:
I feel like pandering occurs when a writer tries to do too much and includes elements that detract from the overall goal of the work for the sake of appealing to a specific group of viewers regardless of the size of that group.
Interesting take. It's actually pretty close to my own.

A writer should always maintain focus on the overall goal of his or her work, and make sure that none (or at least very few) of its elements detract from that goal.
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Old 2011-08-24, 21:44   Link #92
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
...
You have succinctly summed up why an elaborate and well-executed fight scene is not really the same as a cute female lead eating ice cream in a cute way while doing cute things. One has general entertainment appeal while the other is something that only a certain "in-group" is likely to enjoy. ...
Um.... not doing too badly til that one.... No, a "well executed fight scene" does not have automatically have "general entertainment appeal" and "cuteness" does not only appeal to some small "in-group".

Personally, i think the definition of pandering is being thrown about a bit loosely in this thread... first people have to decide if it is a pejorative term or not. I think its typically used in a pejorative fashion and therefore the user may have to evaluate their biases if they're trying to be objective.
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Old 2011-08-24, 22:12   Link #93
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
1.)...Personally, i think the definition of pandering is being thrown about a bit loosely in this thread...

2.) first people have to decide if it is a pejorative term or not.

3.) I think its typically used in a pejorative fashion

4.) and therefore the user may have to evaluate their biases if they're trying to be objective.
Agreed.

On all four accounts.
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Old 2011-08-24, 22:42   Link #94
4Tran
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Personally, i think the definition of pandering is being thrown about a bit loosely in this thread... first people have to decide if it is a pejorative term or not. I think its typically used in a pejorative fashion and therefore the user may have to evaluate their biases if they're trying to be objective.
That's true enough, but I reject the pejorative connotation of the term. To use it is both overly subjective and would render this entire debate meaningless. Or reduce it into a semantic argument (which would be even worse than a meaningless debate).

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Originally Posted by DasDingus View Post
I feel like pandering occurs when a writer tries to do too much and includes elements that detract from the overall goal of the work for the sake of appealing to a specific group of viewers regardless of the size of that group.
I've addressed this earlier, but I'd note that pandering is done on purpose.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I'm arguing that misplaced pandering is not always a symptom. Sometimes a writer having a tendency to pander too much is the cause of bad patches of writing, as is the case in my Ken Akamatsu example, imo. A writer "trying too hard" to pander, or simply taking too much enjoyment in pandering for his own good, can be the cause of bad writing, imo.

I'm not saying that it's always wrong to pander. I'm saying that it's sometimes wrong to pander, and that a certain writer having a consistent tendency to pander too much is sometimes the key flaw in that writer's writing, deserving of specific attention and/or critique.

Something to keep in mind here - Pandering could actually be due to "Executive Meddling". Executive Meddling doesn't always water down a work, or cause censorship for the sake of general audience appeal; sometimes it makes its pandering elements even stronger.

For example, I can't help but think that the head honchos at P.A. Works might have told Okada to "sex up" Hanasaku Iroha, and one result of this is that the wonderful character of Jiromaru has been given to us in ample amounts.

If this thought is correct, then this is a case where pandering is the cause of a problem (imo), and not just a symptom of it.
Pandering is still the symptom in both of your examples. In the Akamatsu one, you're claiming that his vision of the work detracts from its quality. That is the very mark of poor writing or planning. In the HanaIro one, bad writing is still the primary cause; you're just further blaming it on executive meddling. If you want to blame executive meddling, that's fine by me, but it doesn't seem to have any bearing on this thread.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
My argument is that, whether it needs to be gratuitous or not, pandering is nonetheless done to a specific audience and not a general audience.
How do you justify this stance?

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
So your point there, which may very well be true, has little bearing on our discussion on specific audience vs. general audience.
Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I don't think that's necessarily a problem. You simply adjust the meanings of "general audience" and "in-audience" as necessary depending on how the show itself would define them. In some cases, the two audiences may in fact be one and the same. In fact, if they are one and the same, that's when pandering is most legitimate, and may even be called for, since it doesn't really leave any viewer out in the cold while pleasing the viewers you have.
Why do you feel it's necessary to separate between the two audiences? Isn't it easier (and more fair) to simply apply the pandering to any element that fits the definition and determine what's good by how wll it works and whether it detracts from the larger work?
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Old 2011-08-24, 23:06   Link #95
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I'm also going to agree with Vexx. If anything, this thread shows us that nobody actually agrees what pandering is, and that you shouldn't use it when you discuss anime (or fiction in general).

If you think that the show uses too many Otaku-lingo inside jokes and references, say that. If it has sexual overtones that detract from and don't add to the show, say that. If there was too much executive meddling, say that. If the show is overrated because of the staff, say that. Don't just throw in a buzzword like pandering and expect anybody to understand what you're trying to say.

By comparison, originality vs. unoriginality is a straightforward argument that everyone reading your review will understand, even if they don't agree with you. I'm guilty of using vague words too (like "execution"), but it's something we should all try to avoid.
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Old 2011-08-24, 23:20   Link #96
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Semantics discussions.... uguu.

If we can't settle on a definition, I guess it's gonna be hard.

I'd say pandering is an overindulgent addressing of a certain thing addressed to a specific audience.

The key here is that it would be excessive, or higher than normal.

When I created the thread, I realized that pandering had negative connotations, because it was often used by various critics and haters as an argument to itself. So yes, the word is indeed somewhat loaded, even though to me it's a fairly neutral term. I do think one should cater to an audience...
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Old 2011-08-24, 23:40   Link #97
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Sigh, I can't believe what this argument has devolved into...

OK.

Pandering is not really a subjective term. A dictionary definition of the term is the following:

verb /ˈpandər/ 
pandered, past participle; pandered, past tense; pandering, present participle; panders, 3rd person singular present

Gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful desire, need, or habit or a person with such a desire, etc.)
- newspapers are pandering to people's baser instincts

--------

BASICALLY, you can indulge or gratify ANY type of audience, BIG or SMALL. The main concern here which is relevant to THIS THREAD is presumably OTAKU pandering.

What does that entail? Well that's up for discussion. Usually there are only certain things otakus can enjoy, and yes, excessive moe series and ecchi/harem sereis tend to be the sorts of things that only parts of the otaku base can enjoy, and NOT the general audience.

Is this harmful to viewership? Does it stem creativity? What are the implications of incorporating elements like this that only appeal to a sect of the otaku fanbase? That's what the concern of this thread is. Can people distinguish between good and bad pandering?
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Old 2011-08-25, 06:06   Link #98
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Well, it's clear from this thread that people simply don't agree on what "Pandering" means.

With respect to the definition that Reckoner provided, it would actually mean that pandering is a pejorative term (as it specifically states that pandering is done to an "immoral" or "distasteful" desire, need, or habit), hence making this entire discussion somewhat moot even if we were all to accept it.

If we don't accept pandering as a pejorative term, then we're left as we were before Reckoner provided that definition.

So, here are my final observations:

1) It may be legitimate for a reviewer to state if he or she believes that pandering elements are hindering a work, but the reviewer needs to specify what group the pandering is being done too, or what type of pandering it is (i.e. "sexual pandering"). To say that a work "panders" is almost meaningless in and of itself.

2) The core point that people are usually, if not always, making when they talk about an anime that is engaged in "pandering" is that its pandering to otakus, or to a specific type of otaku. I'm saying that whether or not such a pandering is a problem depends on the nature of the work. If somebody wrote "K-On! panders to moe fans" I'd say "Yeah, that's much of what the work is aiming for. It's fine that way." However, if somebody wrote "Why does Star Driver pander so much to otakus with these endless high school shenanigans? Can't we get back to, you know, the major conflict at hand?", I'd have to admit that he might have a point, even if I don't necessarily agree with him completely.

3) It's probably best to follow Kagayaki's advice. In most cases, it would make a critique more clear.


However, my main point is this - What is generally understood by anime fans to be "pandering" is not inherently bad, but nor is it inherently good. There are times when it fits the work, and there are times when it detracts from the work. My main issue with 4Tran is his seeming refusal to admit that pandering can ever be viewed as the chief problem of a work, or justifiably criticized directly, and I strongly disagree with him there.

Akamatsu's "vision of his work" is largely fine, in my view. His only major issue is his tendency to engage in sexual pandering where it clashes nastily with moments of high drama or action. So his problem is not poor writing/planning in general. It's that he engages in too much pandering, period. That is the cause of the problem, and not merely a symptom, in my opinion.

Why do I think that's the cause? Because if you simply removed the misplaced pandering, his work would be fine. Hence, it must be the cause. If you deal strictly with a mere "symptom" of a problem, the core problem is still there (just as treating mere symptoms does not cure a disease).


This is likely my final post in this thread, because I see at least four, if not more, competing perspectives on "pandering" in this thread. There's even competing perspectives on "general audience" and "in-audience": I respectfully disagree with Vexx on this as it pertains to well-executed action scenes and "cuteness".

If people can't agree on the meanings of the key terms within a discussion, then that will obviously undermine the discussion, probably beyond the point of repair.
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Old 2011-08-25, 09:10   Link #99
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I think we can all agree that Pandering is "excessively catering to the (possibly prurient) tastes of your core followers". That's basically what it is. I was attempting to be a bit more systematic.

I would use, as a yardstick, that Pornography is an example of something that is completely pandering, the entire point is to hit the fetishes of the viewers, with no artistic merit. Erotica has some pandering, but also has some artistic merit.

You can determine how much something panders by comparing it's execution to pornography. For instance, I would contend that hard-core Mo is emotional pornography, that hits emotional fetishes Otaku have. Mo is an intentional effort to make an attractive character based on assembling a character from a variety of fetishes, rather then actually imagining a fully formed person, instead it's imagining a frankensteinian assembly of archetypes into a character with little personality of it's own.

Like pornography, both have a very false, manufactured feel to them. They're too "perfect". Male leads of Chick lit/flicks are much the same. They're assembled from archetypes and equally have no personality.

That's not to say Mo is completely bad, it can be used to create a false sense of security (eg Higurashi), for instance. It's only in it's greatest excesses that it's a problem.
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Old 2011-08-25, 09:15   Link #100
4Tran
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
Sigh, I can't believe what this argument has devolved into...

OK.

Pandering is not really a subjective term. A dictionary definition of the term is the following:

verb /ˈpandər/ 
pandered, past participle; pandered, past tense; pandering, present participle; panders, 3rd person singular present

Gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful desire, need, or habit or a person with such a desire, etc.)
- newspapers are pandering to people's baser instincts
There are few concepts more subjective than "distasteful".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
BASICALLY, you can indulge or gratify ANY type of audience, BIG or SMALL. The main concern here which is relevant to THIS THREAD is presumably OTAKU pandering.
Presumably it's about pandering in anime, and the use of the term in criticism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
Is this harmful to viewership? Does it stem creativity? What are the implications of incorporating elements like this that only appeal to a sect of the otaku fanbase? That's what the concern of this thread is. Can people distinguish between good and bad pandering?
If we were to retain the pejorative connotation of "pandering" then can good pandering exist?

I find that it's a lot more interesting to use "pandering" in a more neutral sense, and explore what is good and bad about it and how it works and is used.
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