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By Shamus
on Friday May 19, 2006
Filed under:


I live a pretty sheltered life when it comes to anime-watching.

Start with the entire universe of anime, right in Japan. Now there is way too much coming out at once to even begin to get a handle on it all. But I don’t have to. The funsubbers watch a lot of it, but they usually only translate the stuff they like. This helps the show get some attention among non-Japanese speaking fans, and arguably creates a demand for it elsewhere. So, only shows which are very popular in Japan or which have an anticipated demand will end up getting translated, dubbed, and released in my country.

I’m sure that process filters out a lot of the dreck and a lot of the more esoteric titles. But what’s left is still quite a bit. Hardcore anime fans watch it, and sort it into what sucks and what’s watchable. From that list, avid fans like Steven watch them and in turn subject them to another round of reviews.

And then lightweights like me come along and cherry-pick the best titles to watch. At this point I’m watching a sub-section of a part of a fragment of a portion of all english anime, which is in itself a small chunk of all anime.

It’s possible that there is another layer of even more casual and picky viewers who watch a fraction of the titles covered by people like me, but probably not. I’m pretty sure I’m at the end of the food chain here.

Sometimes I break ranks and dive into some anime without reviewing it first, and the results are rarely satisfying.

For the curious, my current queue is:

  1. Someday’s dreamers: This is a great series, although its taking forever to get through these three discs. I’m only watching it with my wife, and she just started a part-time job. One disc left, and since others have reviewed the series before me, I’m confident the ending will leave me happy.
  2. Last Exile: Not yet started. This is in the queue thanks to suggestions from several readers here. (Thanks)
  3. The World of Narue: Just went into the queue tonight, based on what I read over at Chizumatic. Sounds like another good title for the wife and I.

Comments (7)

  1. I haven’t finished watching “World of Narue” yet, so my report is far from definitive. (But then, for $30 you’re not really risking all that much.)

  2. HC says:

    The flaw with cherry-picking is that the several filters sort by taste more than quality.

  3. Shamus says:

    The flaw with cherry-picking is that the several filters sort by taste more than quality.

    This is very true, and always makes me worry I’m missing the “good stuff”. It’s one of the reasons I go off and get stuff that SEEMS like it will be good.

    This is probably what turns casual fans into hardcore ones – you can’t trust anyone else to do your filtering for you.

  4. A different solution to that is to read the opinions of several different people whose tastes vary, and whose tastes you know about. When I write my reviews I try to include enough information so that people whose tastes are different than mine might still be able to determine if they’d like something that I did not (or vice versa).

  5. Alex says:

    Or you establish yourself as someone who will watch anything and people take your words and eat them like bitter candy. I have several methods, largely involving production teams and getting an idea of what a show was like, and what it meant to the world at large.
    Of course I don’t have to do that with fansubs, because they don’t have any history and I can discover them as I go along and drop them with no harm done. When I say “no harm done”, I am of course ignoring Girls’ High.

    The “production team” method does not work for a show like Karin, which had almost exactly the same crew as Sugar yet failed to hold my interest in any capacity. The beauty of anime in the US is that there is so much of it that you can simply clean up at sales: AnimeOneStop has 45% off a big selection of Pioneer titles at the moment.
    Thus you know the secret of my collection of imports: catalogue sales.

    PS. Agent Aika only $12 total at Right Stuf this week! Go for it!

  6. ubu roi says:

    Aw, Alex, don’t say that. I’ll need another source of income, at this rate…

  7. Sam says:

    Lately, a very high percentage of non-hentai anime is fansubbed, at least for English; I’m not really familiar with the other major fansub scenes (though I’ve heard that most non-English fansubs are based on translating English fansubs rather than translating from Japanese, a recipe for translations to go absurdly awry).

    What gets licensed into the US does tend to fall into several mainstream categories, titles outside of those categories rarely are licensed and the quirky hard to classify stuff also gets overlooked a lot.

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