Reader Response: Judging An Anime By Its Name?

After a meeting with the rest of the Beneath The Tangles staff, a couple of us started talking about our anime viewing habits. I was really surprised to hear that we all chose what shows to watch each season in very different ways. My personal preference is to watch as many anime a season that I can. First, I cut out anime that I personally have problems with, this includes ecchi anime, anime based around sexual themes, and especially little sister anime. Second, I find shows that I think I will really like and make those the first priority for watching. Third, I watch whatever is left. Once each new season starts, I watch all these anime. If an anime seems to have no potential, I drop it. If I hear good things from other ani-bloggers, I might pick it up again.

Last season, I made a mistake. I did not watch an anime called Log Horizon, because the name sounded dumb and the synopsis sounded like a remake of Sword Art Online. After hearing many good things about it, I finally decided to try it out. It has been only a couple of days since and I am now having to wait till Saturday for a new episode. I love the fact, that the show is intelligent, where as Sword Art was much more emotion based. It is like a video game version of international politics, and I love that. I am going to keep watching this one.

I do not believe that judging an anime by its name is bad though. I made a mistake this season by starting episode one of Recently, My Sister is Unusual. It seemed interesting with the sister fainting on the steps, but then it quickly went placed I didn’t expect… I dropped it right away. This is one of the reasons, I do not start certain anime and do judge them before hand. Most of the time I don’t use only the name; I use the synopsis. (Though these can be incredibly vague.)

How do you watch anime and choose what to watch? Anything you won’t watch? Any shows that changed your opinions?

zeroe4

Artist with a heart for Japan.Student at SPU. Blogger and Nomad. Formally with YWAM Tokyo.Portfolio @ arxyuki.com - Blog @ zeroe4.me

36 thoughts on “Reader Response: Judging An Anime By Its Name?

  1. The name will catch my eye, but I’ll usually use the synopsis to judge whether I want to start watching it. With Princess Tutu, the name kinda threw me at first, but I ended up loving it.

    1. The synopsis is really important to me, too. I rarely give the title any due, unless it something terribly inappropriate. 😛

  2. Yeah, I dropped “Recently My Sister is Unusual” before the end of the first episode, too. I wondered why it had an 18+ flag on Crunchyroll, especially when I started it and it wasn’t filled with panty shots or fanservice. Then the intro came and I saw what I later found out was a chastity belt and was like, “Uh…”, and finally dropped it when it got to the poin where they showed the sister in said chastity belt. Okay, I don’t think they full-on showed her in it, but that was the point that made me decide that I had reached the point of dropping that one.

    As for how I pick anime, I can’t say I have a tried true method. If the title or artwork catch my eye, I’ll usually check the synopsis and see if it sounds interesting. I think I’ve had times where I’ve just added something based on art or title alone, though. If I’m really on the fence about something, I go to Wikipedia for more information. From now on, I think I’ll let Crunchyroll’s 18+ flag be an immediate, “Nope”, for me.

      1. I thought about throwing up a partial review for it, but decided against it. I think it’s something of a morbid curiousity that drives me to see why something is rated 18+, but after experiencing “I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Got a Part Time Job” (at least, I think that’s right) and now “Recently, My Sister is Unusual”, I think I’ll just assume 18+ means sexual content or other perversion. Perhaps it will result in me missing a good action series, but I doubt it, seeing as Attack on Titan didn’t get the 18+ treatment.

  3. Thinking about it, I can’t recall if I ever did judge an anime by it’s name. Although, I do remember judging some by their cover.

    Although I vehemently dislike most ecchi anime as well, if there is a story and some other good elements that are more prominent than the fanservice, then it’s fine. An example would probably be the monogatari series (although the latest season wasn’t that great to be honest).

  4. Anime with interesting names catch my attention easily, so they are the ones that I check out their synopses. Another factor is animation. If a see a picture of an anime that has brilliant animation, I would be eager to know more about it. As for the rest, I pick anime that have many positive reviews. One important thing I keep in mind is the age rating so it determines whether or not I watch the anime.

    1. The picture is really important to me as well. One of my biggest factors for watching a show is the art style. That is why I watched the entire series of Guilty Crown.

  5. Yay, another Log Horizon convert!

    The award for “anime with the worst name in contrast to how good the show actually is” has to be “The Pet Girl of Sakurasou”. The title suggests some kind of creepy, objectifying ecchi rom-com, not the genuine story about a bunch of young artists trying to achieve something that the show ended up being about. Though the first episode wasn’t particularly good either, so at first I didn’t plan on following it, but after keeping my ear to the ground and hearing that it gets better, I decided to give it another shot, and I’m glad I did.

    When I choose what I watch, the big thing is to do a bit of research. Obviously, there are genres which I like, and genres which I know not to bother with (ecchi shows, for example; also, I’m really bad at following heavy action shows weekly, so those I usually save until after they’ve aired). Beyond that, I try to find out a little bit about the source material and staff members involved, if possible (Random Curiosity’s season previews help a lot in this way). If anything sticks out from those, then I may add them to my tryout list.

    1. Yeah, Sakurasou was really good. If an anime seems interesting, I normally will check it out. Especially mecha series, though those often let down with plot.

      I tend to look out for anime information before a season at Crunchyroll news, sometimes ANN, and numerous aniblogs I follow.

      1. I too enjoyed Sakurasou. I kept wanting to drop it throughout the first three episodes, but something kept dragging me back, and in the end I’m gald I stuck with it. I could have lived without the fanservice, but the overall story definitely outshone the fanservice content, and I felt genuine emotion at the graduation scene. It really was well done and spectacular, even with its fanservice handicap (can you tell that fanservice is something of a hang-up for me?).

  6. It’s why I try to follow staff/studios to some degree to get a slightly better picture of what to expect. In the case of Log Horzion, it’s the same author as Maoyuu, so while the latter may have been more harem/ecchi, the author’s tendency to write about politics was clear. Compare that to SAO whose author went on to write Accel World, and you have a much better idea of how to gauge the two than off synopsis alone. Guilty Crown had the same director as Code Geass, so it was kind of inevitable for it to go the direction it did. Conversely, I know I’m going to enjoy anything from Shinbo because I like his directing style. Anything from Seven Arcs is going to have amazing animation while anything from PA Works is going to look beautiful, even if the stories from either may not be up to par. I picked up Silver Spoon from chapter 1 of the manga because I had faith in FMA’s author, and I’m glad I did. I was pretty sure Bakuman would end the way I wanted it to because of how the authors dealt with Death Note, and it did. A show called Buddy Complex is really strange but a quick look tells me it’s a mecha from Sunrise, so while it may be a Valvrave 2.0, I now know the title is referring to some sort of mecha gattai system as opposed to whatever idea might otherwise pop into your head.

    Source material is also a helpful indicator. Light novels with the word “sister” in it are going to go in uncomfortable directions as LNs tend to be blatant otaku pandering in the first place. The exceptions show their worth pretty quickly. Anything harem/ecchi from a VN is going to have bad plot. I know Christians are more likely to avoid it in the first place, but anyone expecting good plot from that is silly, yet I see these people on forums a lot. Even if I praised OreTsuba for some of the best storyboarding in anime, the plot itself was nothing to write home about. Conversely, VNs that aren’t blatant harem/ecchi are going to have a lot more potential. At the same time, VNs tend to have poor anime adaptations so this often becomes more a question of the studio than the material (this is why there is so much hype for ufotable’s new FSN anime). Manga is a lot more diverse to draw any general trends from but chances are it’ll be better than something from a LN or ecchi VN.

    Plenty of exceptions, of course, and I do dislike hyping myself up only to be let down by an otherwise average anime. Also I tend to just stick with most of what I pick up even if I’m not liking it all that much. But in the context of stumbling into unexpected material, I’m far more likely to be pleasantly surprised than the reverse.

  7. Usually I have a bias against shows that get hyped or are supposed to “save anime.” Usually to me that’s a big sign of overrated or not worth the hype, and I won’t touch them till all else is lost. Attack On Titan was an exception for me, but I only lasted till mid-season because it started to drag on.

    Shonen in general too is a tough sell. I used to like it a lot, but Negima?! burnt me out of it.

    I guess mostly exploring randomly or sampling episodes of a recent season is how I find what I like. I think the most unexpected like I had was Tsukuyomi Moon Phase; you’d think it would be cliche, but there’s so many weird stylistic choices repeated through the anime that it almost turns it into something like a stage play. A lot of fourth-wall breaking at times too.

    1. Oh, Negima…I never watched the redo of the series, but the original one, I thought, had a nice tone, though it deviated from the manga way way way too much (except for the positive exception of less fan service). If you ever want to get back into it, you may like the manga better.

      1. Actually it was the manga that killed my desire. I owned the first twenty-four volumes and then I realized they still really didn’t get into Nagi’s search for his dad or do much explaining. After that it was hard to buy any more. Watching the first episode of the anime where they had Asuna dress up in that weird costume in the hopes of getting her teacher to notice her and I was done.

        Same way with UQ holder. I wish Akamatsu would realize that it really isn’t shonen manga we want from him.

  8. How do I pick my anime and what will I or won’t I watch?

    Well I won’t watch ecchi, hentai, yaoi, yuri, or shonen/shoujo ai. Those are automatically a no-no for me. I also try to avoid anime with large amounts of fanservice: that’s why I dropped Star Driver, even though I thought it was hilarious otherwise.

    Like others have said, I usually check the synopsis even if the title weirds me out, unless the title and cover point to it being ecchi or excessively fanservicey or something. I think it’s perfectly legitimate to judge a show by it’s name or cover because the titles and cover art *usually* indicate the nature of the show’s content in a way the synopsis doesn’t always.

    So basically, I just pick a show that looks interesting, and as long as it doesn’t seem to be overly fanservicey, I give it a try. I find that of what I’ve watched I’ve enjoyed shonen the most (Trigun, Rurouni Kenshin, Tiger and Bunny, Attack on Titan, Yowapeda). I’ve seen some shows that are either shoujo or based on otome games but none of them have really been good or recommendable. Even Toradora! (one of my favs and a romcom) technically falls under shonen.

    1. Is Toradora considered a shonen? Coincidentally, I was thinking about how to categorize that series the other day, and it seemed a hard fit into any genre or category.

      1. Yeah, I *think* it is: I can’t remember exactly where I read that, but I think maybe I got the idea because Wikipedia says the manga was serialized in a shonen magazine. I assume they wouldn’t publish a shoujo in a shonen magazine, or vice versa, but then again I only know a very little about how manga is categorized. =)

        1. Small pet peeve of mine here. Shounen/shoujo/etc. are not genres or inherent implications of the content. They are terms 100% decided by what magazine the manga is published in. So by definition, it is impossible for a shounen magazine to publish a shoujo or other combination because it has no classification until the publication within said magazine. Granted, you can see trends in shounen/shoujo/etc. because the magazines are aiming at a specific gender+age group and tend to publish relatively similar content which has led to “close enough” misuse of the terms. However, such classifications do not mean a manga will contain or lack certain content because it’s all a matter of who is publishing it and has nothing to do with the manga content itself.

          For this specific example, look at MAL’s Toradora! LN page – it is not listed as shounen/shoujo because it is not a manga and cannot be classified under those terms. Look at the manga page – it is listed as shounen now because it is serialized by a shounen magazine.

  9. I’m open to almost anything genre-wise, but I don’t like shonen action that much; the only shonen action series that I enjoyed was Rurouni Kenshin (namely the manga; the anime was too full of filler) and even when I was new to anime, I didn’t see why people enjoyed Shonen Jump’s “Big Three” until later.

    Other things that tend to bug people such as fanservice don’t tend to bother me much at all; after all, I’m a die-hard fan of Strike Witches and some people went nuts over how fanservicy it was.

  10. I personally prefer to look at the premise rather than the name, although if the name and premise match and are reeeeeeeeeeeally not my thing, I won’t even bother. I look for my own shows to watch, and prefer to stick to shows that I know I’ll probably like and enjoy watching.

    I’m usually open to most genres. Yaoi, hentai, harder ecchi(I’m still unclear on what exactly constitutes ecchi…) and yuri are out, except for the first and last if they don’t hit you over the head with it.
    Fanservice doesn’t bother me since I’ve seen a lot of it. It only gets annoying if it gets excessive and is railroaded in there for the express purpose of seeing characters in compromising positions.

  11. It is believed that many of us have *quality movies” like Citizen Kane, Rashomon, Lawrence of Arabia on our must-watch-someday list. But we end up watching Dumb & Dumber reruns for the 3rd time instead. 🙂

    Honestly, I think I’m one those guys – having chewed many “easy comedy” anime, and stashed those heavier shows to be watched someday.

    1. Yeah, I agree with you completely. I’d put myself into your category, too.

      When I was younger, I watched a lot of classic/great series and movies, but I found that as I got older, and had less time to consume such media, I had a habit of choosing “turn your mind off and have fun” series over “this is a piece of art!” series more and more often.

      Not that Dumb & Dumber isn’t a piece a art. 😉

      1. Funny that you mentioned that. The fourth episode of Nourin – a comedy full of dumbness, where everyone is ‘boke’ – has one touching moment about how to put back a smile on one of the character. Surprise. 😀

  12. Okay, guess I’ll be starting Log Horizon then… this weekend, right before my two exams on Monday. Yeah, that’s a good idea.

    I’d judged Log Horizon by its topic – the MMORPG thing has been done a lot lately, and SAO left a bad taste in my mouth, proving that not all wildly popular anime are the best for me. But this isn’t the first time I’ve heard good things about Log Horizon, so I’ll give it a shot.

    In the past, I would watch whatever look vaguely interesting (usually action or comedy) and go from there, dropping or stalling as necessary. Sports anime are almost guaranteed to get my attention, unless they’re ecchi or something like that masquerading as sports anime. I’m still trudging through Area no Kishi, as a matter of fact (at a rate of 0-4 episodes a month). It’s probably not worth my time, but I’m stubborn like that.

    Well, Clannad has changed my opinion, proving yet again that I shouldn’t confine myself to the same old genre trails, and that I shouldn’t judge an anime by its first episode.

    I still have to be a little picky about what I watch, especially during the school year. So, lately, I’ve been watching Twitter and the blogosphere before trying too many anime. And when a synopsis on Crunchyroll looks interesting, I like to find the entry on Anime-Planet to see what users have rated it – if it’s around or above 4 stars there, it’s usually pretty good. I don’t always agree with the average rating, but it’s generally a decent guide.

Leave a Reply