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Post Reply What defines good or bad anime?
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Posted 10/19/16

TheAncientOne wrote:

You never notice good CGI.




Ahhh, **** you wisdom shines clearly as always. Well put, indeed....
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Posted 10/19/16

jaykirbydudee wrote:


52infinity wrote:



And SAO=Bad, sorry kiridouche but that plot armor isn't going to save you from any "REAL" person.

That sao comment is kind of out of nowhere


Not really I just gave an example of a bad anime.
zoqu25 
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I think everyone saying "there is no good or bad anime, it's all just opinion" are giving a free pass to bad anime. I also think it's a rather obtuse statement. Obviously everyone has different opinions on what animes are good and bad. But that doesn't mean there is no such thing as good and bad anime.

Yes, OP is asking for an objective answer to a question that is based on opinion. After all, anime, and by extension manga, is essentially just one form of storytelling, and it doesn't require good storytelling skills to succeed in it at all. But rather than tell you characteristics of bad stories, I think it's easier to list characteristics of good stories and simply define bad ones as lacking those characteristics. Because we know when we see a good story, for example they're satisfying to partake in and they leave us wanting more. A bad story does not do those things for us. We judge stories based on how they compare to others that we enjoyed and how they make us feel. That's the subjective part.

But from the collective opinion, we can derive the common characteristics of stories that are considered good to arrive at an objective answer. Usually it boils down to how well the viewer or reader can relate to the characters, and how well the story immerses them through good use of setting, world building, character development, art direction, animation, music, themes, etc. Granted, a good story does not necessarily need all these things, but it does still need to do a good job in whatever it does do.

In my opinion, plot and characterization are two of the most important things in determining what is good or not. You can be strong in one or both, but if neither are strong then you have nothing of worth. For example, slice of life anime make up for lack of plot with lots of colorful characters and character interactions. On the other hand, you have the vast majority of anime which have pretty creative plots but have a cast full of cookie-cutter character archetypes with mix and match "tragic" backstories. In either case, there are many that are still good, or funny, or make you sit on the edge of your seat.

And then you have stories that are strong in both areas like pretty much every film by Miyazaki, the reason being that Miyazaki actually writes characters to be more realistic and therefore relatable as well as writing stories with strong themes and well developed plots. It's no wonder that his works are considered to be some of the best in the anime industry. Stories that are weak in both areas are often not even worth mentioning or remembering. I'm gonna throw out The Last Airbender as an example. It took every storytelling element that made the original show good and threw them out the window. Characters were stripped of their personalities and were either depressed or edgy, and the entire plot was dragged forward through heavy use of voiceovers, which is to say the plot wasn't really developed, it was just relayed to the viewer like a badly written plot synopsis on Wikipedia. I doubt anyone really considers TLA a good movie, and if anyone does, then I seriously question your judgement.

All this is to say, what I think makes a story definitively "good" is a setting that really pulls you into the world, a plot that takes you on a ride and makes you forget that you're just sitting at home watching anime, and characters that feel like people you would meet in real life. There aren't actually a lot of anime these days that do all these things well since most of them don't bother applying any creativity to characterization anymore. They rely heavily on rehashed character archetypes and put more effort into fanservice moments with cute girls so they can sell more merchandise to pervy fans (just kidding). There's also way too many school anime these days where they take things from other anime genres and make a school for it. BAM. Instant setting. It's lazy writing, but at least the plots and sometimes settings are often decent enough to make up for it, even if the writing and dialogue is also oftentimes lacking. So in other words, if Miyazaki is a 10/10, then by these definitions the majority of "good" anime are more like 7 or 8/10. Which is kind of sad because I would like more anime to be of Miyazaki quality, but most anime writers would rather settle for Michael Bay level good, which is all fanservice and no substance. But enough of this digression.

What makes good anime good is also somewhat dependent on the genre. Because as I said, most ones with good plot skimp on characterization. And usually anime with good characterization tend to be slice of life or gag manga adaptations which don't have much plot to begin with. What makes such anime good? For gag manga, obviously they just have to make you laugh. For slice of life, it depends, but they're usually either drama or comedy, and I just covered what good comedy should do. Dramatic ones sometimes also have a plot too but it's character driven, so this type of slice of life needs to really make you feel for the characters, and that takes good characterization and character development. A good romance should also be held to this standard. None of that cheap stuff like a stereotypical harem anime. An example of a good drama/romance/slice of life manga is Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice). If you haven't read it, they have the entire manga on Crunchyroll.

Aside from slice of life, gag, and romance anime, the rest are generally action oriented with more emphasis on plot than characters. I say this because even if an anime does have character development, it's often nothing original or unpredictable. What makes those types good is unpredictability, even if you know the hero will win in the end, how he wins it should make you feel good and be creative or make some sense, and not be a cop out like "power of friendship" or "willpower = power" or "BECAUSE JUSTICE" or some other bullshit like that. It's still a wide umbrella and a low bar though so I'll also add that having a plot and/or dialogue that isn't overly convoluted or pseudophilosophical just for the sake of it is also a plus. Or in other words, if it's gonna be convoluted or philosophical, at least make sense or have some kind of reason for it, like to advance a running theme of the story or convey a message to the viewers. Because the writer thought it was cool is not a good reason to insert random monologues of bad philosophy.

I mean when it comes to bad anime, much of the problem is it's too predictable and similar to other anime. In a medium with such diversity, finding genericity is a very bad thing.

Sorry, I ended up ranting but I was getting annoyed at people saying it's solely a matter of opinion. It's not.

I also want to say, SAO isn't terrible, or at least the SAO arc wasn't that bad, all things considered. I read the light novels long before it was an anime and was extremely pissed off that the anime showed all the side stories BEFORE the main arc. It totally kills the flow since those side stories have absolutely nothing to do with the plot of SAO and were all from later volumes of the light novel. I mean the SAO arc itself didn't have the most original plot developments, and Kirito was basically a typical anime protagonist but the setting and world building was fantastic in the light novel and if you start reading from volume 1 then Asuna is the only love interest and the romance plays out all right (plus there's the extra sex chapter ). But later arcs turn the side story girls into a harem and the story suffers for it.
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