Last week, I wrote about Mayoiga. I wrote about how it failed in my eyes and why I disliked it along with why it made no sense for it to be a comedy, at least as far as I could see. Then, another point that came up inspired again by Jonas from Fighting for Nippon, who also inspired the change in my Mayoiga post. Today’s topic brings back what I mentioned back when I returned to doing my weekly editorials. Objectivity is a very tricky subject and when I voiced my opinions on it, more to kindle thought on it than to critique it, I questioned what we could even call objectivity in anime. Then, last week, I said that Mayoiga was objectively bad. Jonas then brought up to me the topic of objectivity and whether or not I believed in it. So, without further delay, let’s begin this week’s post.
Objectivity is something I believe is very important for a product being offered to a commercial audience. Whether it be a game, show, book, movie, or song, I do believe on some level every single thing should be subject to some form or objectivity or another. Receptivity in music, bad colour choice in art, bad controls in a game, and the list goes on and on and on for things we expect not to be done and can rightfully be upset about when they are. No one who’s played Alice: Madness Returns for PC questions why people are upset with that specific title because we all know what made it bad on an objective level. Controls were terrible, glitches were beyond abundant, forced fights were repetitive and made up 99% of the combat, and for some people the game straight up broke their computer. Without a doubt this made a bad game. No level of effort, thought, love, or hard work that went into the title could change anyone’s minds on how bad the game was. I believe a level of objective viewing should also be applied to anime.
Despite anime not being worth nearly as much money as a AAA video game, or even an indie band’s debut EP, objectivity is still important. Months ago I said that anime reviews as a whole don’t really have a standard to look to as to how we should objectively judge something and true objectivity alone is already an insanely difficult to achieve and I wouldn’t blame the people who do for believing objectivity doesn’t really exist. “Objectively” is a touchy word and when I brought it up last week when talking about Mayoiga, I meant it mostly from a writing standpoint. Even then, however, I do believe that objectivity should exist. Art should ultimately be viewed at an objective standpoint to some degree regardless of what kind of art it is. I don’t think opinion should just be completely out of the picture because how retarded would that be?
Well, to what degree should objectivity be used? That, I’m not even sure about. I respect people’s opinions a lot but there are times when there’s an anime so bad that disagreement is usually on an all time low. We’re talking lower than School Days, lower than even the Tsukihime anime that was never made, but rather things like Pupa or Mars of Destruction. I know the argument could be made that since so many people dislike it then objectivity shouldn’t even be needed to explain why it’s bad, but I feel like there should be some level that objectivity can easily explain why an anime is bad. If there’s a not in the chorus of a song that’s consistently out of tune, doesn’t that make the song objectively bad? Even if it was intended to sound that way, if the effect doesn’t come across at all, doesn’t that mean that it’s bad and that only a select few actually enjoy it? What if there was no objective defense against why games like the aforementioned Alice: Madness Returns were bad? What if it was just seen that the popular opinion was that the title was bad?
The primary reason that I believe objectivity is important is to set a standard for productions and to minimise the number of projects being executed poorly whilst also maintaining a consumer standard for people to look to when wondering whether or not a production is something they would enjoy. Objectivity shouldn’t dictate either point, but in my opinion it needs to guide both. There needs to be a standard that should be somewhat followed whenever creating something as a product. Artistic expression and subjectivity is still an important part of the creative process, but if every single game coming out was endlessly the same quality as Steam early access titles, every single new album being released was terribly out of tune and sounded like it was recorded in a bathroom with a cellphone speaker, and every single anime coming out was of the same quality as Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi or Yuri Kuma Arashi or whatever shows you feel personally were the worst anime you’ve seen, wouldn’t that be bad? Not just for consumers and for people spending money to legally watch or buying BD releases to watch for the first time, but for the entire industry as a whole? Would it be good if people had a natural declining interest in anime as a whole just because a majority of the shows coming out were of extremely poor quality or required very specific interests and subjective views to enjoy? Shouldn’t there be some level of objectivity to follow so overall quality doesn’t diminish like that? To me, these questions are rhetorical since I personally believe the answer is extremely obviously yes. Even if Mayoiga was good to some, it would be very bad if every single show that came out split the anime community how it did with that show. I know it’s a bit of a stretch to say that every show would become as controversial, but I do believe objectivity does have a place and should be exercised at least to a point where the medium we all enjoy so much doesn’t degrade over time to the point where almost no one subjectively enjoys the shows being produced.
Well that last paragraph is gigantic. Anyways, thank you everyone who read to this point. I really do appreciate everyone who reads my editorials regularly or even just occasionally and even though I make a point not to reply to any of the comments on these posts to keep them open for discussion, I do appreciate what every last one of you say. Anyways, seeing as next week is our special little idol’s birthday, there will be two posts from me next Friday. One at midnight for the best female character of all time, and another at the usual time (12:00pm CST) as the weekly editorial. As always, if you’d like to see what I’m up to when I’m not doing my part for this blog, you can follow me over on Twitter. I’ll see you all next week for a rather exciting Friday.
The featured image for this post was drawn by pixiv artist にしもん.