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Hey, Answerman! - Popularity Contests


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scineram



Joined: 17 Jul 2006
Posts: 307
Location: Budapest

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:34 am Reply with quote
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I'm currently studying abroad in Japan, and had to switch my laptop's region code to DVD2 so that I could rent movies to watch, as well as help host movie night for my job.


I just installed DVD43, that detects a region locked DVD and automatically frees it. At least if you run Windows.
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Soundmonkey44



Joined: 25 May 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:14 am Reply with quote
Another solid Answerman, and I agree Popularity is a fleeting thing, like beauty it is temporary & fickle. Overall it should not matter how popular an anime is or is not, but how much the individual viewing the anime enjoys it. Just because something is popular doesn't mean its good *doesn't mean its bad either mind you, but doesn't mean its the best thing since sliced bread* different strokes for different folks and what not.

Also, I too am one of those 10 or so people that still enjoys Master Keaton. Razz
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thenix



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:49 am Reply with quote
it's weird but popularity can be a snowball effect. If it's more popular: then more people will enjoy it, if more people enjoy it: it will be more popular. Whereas if something is under the radar it doesn't get the boost to get started on that cycle. Sometimes that's good, an anime may not be good so it's not popular, so it doesn't get recommended etc. With anime it's hard to get the initial boost to have a chance at being popular though. Either it needs to be rather good and on easily accessible tv, or be so good that people will spread it word of mouth across cons and the internets etc.
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:55 am Reply with quote
I do not consider any anime property as being popular until it receives a special monthly promotion at the local Lawson's or FamilyMart. Very Happy
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RyanSaotome



Joined: 29 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:30 am Reply with quote
Popularity does matter quite a bit if you care about the state and direction of the industry. Things that are not popular will get made less, while massively popular properties get quite a few clones that drive the direction the industry goes in. Just look at Idolmaster from last year... we already have 4 or 5 idol anime clones since because of its massive popularity. But for shows that aren't popular, there aren't more anime like them.
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Swissman



Joined: 11 May 2006
Posts: 412
Location: Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:38 am Reply with quote
RyanSaotome wrote:
Just look at Idolmaster from last year... we already have 4 or 5 idol anime clones since because of its massive popularity.

I think this has rather to do with the popularity of AKB48 and idol culture in general than with Idolmaster as an anime. And let's not forget that idols have been long popular in anime, not just recently.
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vinamara



Joined: 30 Nov 2008
Posts: 228

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:45 am Reply with quote
Soundmonkey44 wrote:
Also, I too am one of those 10 or so people that still enjoys Master Keaton. Razz


I don't see how anyone can't enjoy this masterpiece. Keaton is a force to be reckoned with.
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ChibiKangaroo



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:48 am Reply with quote
To be honest, I thought Zac's praise of Madoka Magica was a little too exuberant. Although I agreed with most of what he said in his multiple reviews on the show, I thought the final review was a little over the top. Long after viewing the series, I have yet to see any explanation of the Madoka Magica finale that makes sense in any kind of meaningful way. Most explanations seem to be more or less whimsical, vacuous, wish-fulfillment psycho babble about the power of love overcoming all or the power of a pure girl's heart saving the universe and offering hope to all girls everywhere, or Madoka becoming a god so that she could change the rules of the universe and give hope to all people throughout time. For such an ambitious show to end with a finale saturated with inane platitudes and superficial (and very well-tread in the genre) concepts was a travesty. I don't disagree that Madoka Magica was one one of the best anime to come out in recent years, but after doing so much to break the mold of its genre, it finished up by quietly slinking back into the mold and relying on die hard fans to come up with hackneyed interpretations of how amazing it is in spite of its play it safe conclusion.

I haven't watched the films, and I probably won't go out of my way to do so, but I understand why a person who is not a die hard anime fan would not find the show all that compelling. The first 95% of the show appeals primarily to anime fans who are distressed over the stagnation of the magical girl genre. The last 5% of the show appeals to strident optimists (and young children) who want to believe that hope and love conquer all evils. For the general audience of the L.A. Times, and the vast majority of all American movie viewers in general, neither of those two apply. That is why I imagine that the L.A. Times reviewer's take on Madoka Magica expressed little more than lukewarm intrigue.

P.S. I found his comment about "all-girl universe" to be kind of funny. I suppose it is more or less a given that most magical girl shows will exist in an all-girl universe. Perhaps that might have been something else that Madoka Magica could have addressed, but perhaps that will be forthcoming in another deconstruction of the genre.
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angelmcazares



Joined: 23 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:37 am Reply with quote
ChibiKangaroo wrote:
Long after viewing the series, I have yet to see any explanation of the Madoka Magica finale that makes sense in any kind of meaningful way. Most explanations seem to be more or less whimsical, vacuous, wish-fulfillment psycho babble about the power of love overcoming all or the power of a pure girl's heart saving the universe and offering hope to all girls everywhere, or Madoka becoming a god so that she could change the rules of the universe and give hope to all people throughout time. For such an ambitious show to end with a finale saturated with inane platitudes and superficial (and very well-tread in the genre) concepts was a travesty. I don't disagree that Madoka Magica was one one of the best anime to come out in recent years, but after doing so much to break the mold of its genre, it finished up by quietly slinking back into the mold and relying on die hard fans to come up with hackneyed interpretations of how amazing it is in spite of its play it safe conclusion.


I have not quite thought that much about what the ending of Madoka Magica means, but I did not feel very comfortable with it. The story, characterization, premise and animation/art on Madoka Magica were very strong in my opinion, but the ending does feel contrived.

Before Urobuchi announced that Madoka Magica will be milked out, I had hopes that the third film might have clarified some aspects about the series' ending.
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cl-shojo



Joined: 04 Sep 2011
Posts: 65
Location: New York

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:40 am Reply with quote
Although I like Ranma 1/2, that's not the Rumiko Takahashi series that makes me wonder why InuYasha is more popular - my vote goes for Maison Ikkoku! Sure, Maison Ikkoku is a much different breed of series since it has no action and is a pure romantic-comedy, but there's no Takahashi series as touching or moving as this one. But the fact that it (and Ranma) are over twenty years old doesn't help, either, since there are certainly fans out there who won't touch titles from before the 2000s. So yeah, timing is everything.

Last edited by cl-shojo on Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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brand



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 659

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:41 am Reply with quote
I also love Master Keaton but the show probably came out ten years to early to find a real audience in the U.S.
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Animerican14



Joined: 19 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:33 am Reply with quote
ChibiKangaroo wrote:
To be honest, I thought Zac's praise of Madoka Magica was a little too exuberant. Although I agreed with most of what he said in his multiple reviews on the show, I thought the final review was a little over the top. Long after viewing the series, I have yet to see any explanation of the Madoka Magica finale that makes sense in any kind of meaningful way. Most explanations seem to be more or less whimsical, vacuous, wish-fulfillment psycho babble about spoiler[the power of love overcoming all or the power of a pure girl's heart saving the universe and offering hope to all girls everywhere, or Madoka becoming a god so that she could change the rules of the universe and give hope to all people throughout time]. For such an ambitious show to end with a finale saturated with inane platitudes and superficial (and very well-tread in the genre) concepts was a travesty. I don't disagree that Madoka Magica was one one of the best anime to come out in recent years, but after doing so much to break the mold of its genre, it finished up by quietly slinking back into the mold and relying on die hard fans to come up with hackneyed interpretations of how amazing it is in spite of its play it safe conclusion.


Sigh... I'm really way too busy now (and dead tired! college is kinda sucking now!) to really articulate much original stuff, but I never saw the ending as something being "safe." Even if you look through the latter parts of the main series thread, or the latter parts of the Volume 3 review that you might've merely skimmed over/not read, I think you can find some good arguments for the relative merit of the ending that definitely do NOT talk in phrasing and concepts as sophomoric as merely "pure love overcoming all". For instance, from the Volume 3 review thread (which was actually partially addressed to you but didn't seem to get a real reply from you there.):

Juno016 wrote:
Shippoyasha wrote:
My problem with that theory is that spoiler[Incubators can't risk an all out war with Madoka. She is a goddess surpassing all logic and power and reasoning and I'm not sure Incubators would risk getting wiped out entirely if they keep attacking Madoka's idealized world so directly. And despite what Kyubee says about the lack of emotions, he seemed plenty frightened of what Madoka was going to do when she made her wish]


I think people are getting the wrong idea about spoiler[Ultimate Madoka's form and role. She ISN'T so much a God/Goddess as she is a "kami." Japan doesn't really discriminate between the two, so it's kinda vague, but I wouldn't be surprised if they had no particular religion in mind when creating her character and role, thus opening it up to lots of interpretation as to why Kyuubey called her a "kami." Yet, I also believe they didn't allude to her having "creation" powers or anything usually associated with an almighty God. In fact, it isn't really supported that she's actually anything but a Magical Girl whose wish simply contradicted her present existence and thus, she was erased from any existence that wasn't compliant with her wish--which was to travel to through time and space and erase witches by taking the souls of the magical girls with her and releasing their contaminated soul gems before they could turn into witches. The change of the universe had to do with the consequences of her single goal--she didn't "create" a universe to her liking. She can't just eliminate anything... at least, to our knowledge. She's simply a really powerful magical girl whose wish created a new "law" for the universe. And as she is the being that puts that law into motion, she is a force of nature itself. Thus, she is a "kami" by means of Japanese classification of the term--which includes forces of nature (some of which who can assume human form in old folklore).]

ChibiKangaroo wrote:
As far as them leaving things open to speculation, I do generally like when writers do that, and they did do a decent amount of that with Madoka, but my real hesitation to calling it an A+ classic has more to do with the conventional nature of the ending and the fact that the subversion was pulled back, rather than a question of whether or not they left things open to speculation.


Conventional? The subversion was pulled back?
What kinds of other series have you seen that pull an ending like this? And even barring the issue of originality, what is wrong with such an ending, anyway, if it makes sense in the end and brings about a conclusion (tying up all necessary loose ends)?
Not to say that you're wrong, but I certainly thought it was fresh. And I've seen evangelion a billion times over.

And I don't think they "pulled back" anything they did before. Everything that happened was necessary for this particular ending to occur. spoiler[Mami died in order to show the seriousness of being a Magical Girl. Sayaka lost her Soul Gem to show that Magical Girls are not what they look like, and are now, in fact, no longer human--causing many to fall into despair when they've lost their humanity. Sayaka's downfall was, of course, the major plot twist to the system. Kyouko's sacrifice showed that it was possible to regain your humanity and fight from something or someone you believe in. And Homura's entire background premise gave us the necessary build-up to provide Madoka the means to conclude all of the main thematic issues the series was leading up to: hope, despair, and the value of one's humanity vs. how the world works.

You don't necessarily have to agree with the message the series was giving, but it still used all of its "subverted tropes" to re-construct our image of what a Magical Girl is. It doesn't void everything that happened because it takes advantage of each aspect they subverted to put the new Magical Girl into perspective. I mean, just because Magical Girls don't turn into witches anymore doesn't mean they are that much better off. Sure, they don't turn into witches anymore, but that's hardly the only problem they have to face when they are still fighting real death and their souls are still trapped in Soul Gems. Madoka just used her own power to give back the "humanity" to these girls, at least mentally. Instead of watching them suffer continuously and then turn into monsters to deny everything they valued, she supported their values. She supported their "dreams" and their "hopes" that brought about their wishes, just like the magical girls she always liked when she was younger. Just like the magical girls we know today, who fight for similar reasons (in other anime, and especially more generic Magical Girl shows that are there mostly for show and to sell toys). But unlike many of them, the Magical Girls in PMMM are not immune to death, absolute downfalls, and/or even destruction against their own will--things we humans are eternally afraid of.

The series subverted tropes intentionally, and then utilized all these new elements to create a message about why Magical Girls might have good reason to fight for what they believe. Madoka may be a bit optimistic, but... with the right opportunity, that optimism can be a great tool to solving major issues.]


And besides, it would be one thing if the creators were simply out there to make a statement against Magical Girl series in general and how flat they are at times, but... Madoka was never a case like that from the beginning! It paid tribute to past classics straight from thespoiler[ comedic opening movie to the figurative swirl of Kyouko's blood down to the naked and emotional space scene and final ribbon exchange.] (I've seen people mention that particular Nanoha reference, but was I the only one to notice the Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Kannazuki no Miko references here? I had to take my own screenshots to prove my argument...)


Moving back to your points....

Quote:
I haven't watched the films, and I probably won't go out of my way to do so, but I understand why a person who is not a die hard anime fan would not find the show all that compelling. The first 95% of the show appeals primarily to anime fans who are distressed over the stagnation of the magical girl genre.


"Distressed over the stagnation" of the genre? Maybe it's just an aesthetic matter of wording, but I really didn't care too much about the genre (nevermind "distressed" over it) when I got into the series, save for some pre-conceived notions I might have had of it due to memories of Sailor Moon. It appealed to me because, regardless of genre, it was intelligent-dramatic-tragic-entertaining-compelling.

Quote:
The last 5% of the show appeals to strident optimists (and young children) who want to believe that hope and love conquer all evils.


Again, the ending isn't that simple-minded. But even if your notion of the meaning of the ending held true, I don't think you're all that right about the audience to whom the ending appealed. Personally, I was nearly deathly obsessed over Madoka between the beginning of March and end of April 2011, and I can't tell you how much I was not and am not an optimist, at least to this naive an extent. I was counting on a largely depressing ending, maybe something Evangelion style or just something bitter through and through. Instead, the ending was more positive (though definitely more nuanced, which I very much appreciated, than you're making it out to be), and managed to make sense in the scheme of it all; it was a natural conclusion to a dark and angst-ridden series.


Last edited by Animerican14 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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HitokiriShadow



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 6145

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:47 am Reply with quote
ChibiKangaroo wrote:
I have yet to see any explanation of the Madoka Magica finale that makes sense in any kind of meaningful way. Most explanations seem to be more or less .... spoiler[Madoka becoming a god so that she could change the rules of the universe and give hope to all people throughout time.]


It's fine if you don't like what the ending did, but that's very different than it not making sense. It did make sense. So sorry you weren't paying attention and/or refuse to acknowledge the explanations given to you. That's your problem, not the show's.

Quote:
I suppose it is more or less a given that most magical girl shows will exist in an all-girl universe.


You clearly don't watch many magical girl shows. There are usually at least a few male characters (usually at least one that is the object of at least one girl's affection). And if you mean none of the major characters.... well yeah, no shit, its a *magical girl show*. That doesn't make it an "all-girl universe".


Last edited by HitokiriShadow on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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RyanSaotome



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:07 pm Reply with quote
To me, Madoka was a show I really enjoyed while it aired, since it gave better internet discussions than nearly any other anime I've watched as it aired... Hell, I enjoyed discussing what might happen next and the symbolization more than the anime itself. But looking back, I don't really see it as a masterpiece or anything. If I was just watching it now, instead of while it was airing, I'd probably consider it simply an above average series, nothing more.
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ChibiKangaroo



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:12 pm Reply with quote
@ Animerican14 -

That block you just cited in your reply is an exact example of the kind of vacuous, platitudinous explanation I was referring to. I'll quote a few passages which exemplify what I am talking about:

Quote:

She is a goddess surpassing all logic and power and reasoning


What the hell does this mean???

Quote:

She ISN'T so much a God/Goddess as she is a "kami."


Kami means god in Japanese. What is the point in trying to extract some kind of distinction here?

Quote:

In fact, it isn't really supported that she's actually anything but a Magical Girl whose wish simply contradicted her present existence and thus, she was erased from any existence that wasn't compliant with her wish--which was to travel to through time and space and erase witches by taking the souls of the magical girls with her and releasing their contaminated soul gems before they could turn into witches.


Psychobabble. Also, it doesn't even make sense that her wish was contradictory to her present existence. She hadn't even turned into a witch yet.

Quote:

The change of the universe had to do with the consequences of her single goal...
She's simply a really powerful magical girl whose wish created a new "law" for the universe. And as she is the being that puts that law into motion, she is a force of nature itself.


THIS MEANS NOTHING!!!

Quote:

And Homura's entire background premise gave us the necessary build-up to provide Madoka the means to conclude all of the main thematic issues the series was leading up to: hope, despair, and the value of one's humanity vs. how the world works.

The value of one's humanity vs how the world works??? What does that mean???

Quote:

she supported their values. She supported their "dreams" and their "hopes" that brought about their wishes, just like the magical girls she always liked when she was younger.


What dreams, hopes and wishes? What are we even talking about here? You see what i'm saying? Explanations of the ending of Madoka Magica always involve these kind of hackneyed statements

As far as your last two points, perhaps you are different than the demographic that I think is mostly serviced by Madoka Magica, but I think given that the show is clearly posed as a deconstruction of traditional magical girl tropes, and the ending is massively optimistic compared to the rest of the dark themes preceding it, my points are well made.
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