Hey, Answerfans!

by Zac Bertschy,

I'm a little - okay, a lot - under the weather this week, so welcome to Hey, Answerfans! Thankfully I got enough replies to last week's question to fill up three or four columns, so you'll still have something to read and then argue about online.

I'll be back next week. Until then, here's.. uh, you.

Here's last week's question:

First, from Ashleigh Wall:

I'm probably going to be struck by fans swinging oversized swords yelling “BANKAI!!!”, but I think Bleach is a bit overrated. Now, I enjoy the series (Johnny is my hero), but I won't throw myself into the Pit of Despair if I miss some episodes. It's just the latest in a long line of shonen anime and I'm sure it won't be the last.

In my absolutely humble opinion, there are several reasons why I shake my head at this series. First, I am quite tired of the "well-it-took-everybody-else-1,774,528-years-to-master-this-but-tough-sh*t-kid,-you-got-3-days" thing. Enough. Ichigo is the chosen one or son of a shinigami or half hollow or his Day-Glo hair gives him super powers or whatever. I'm sick of seeing the characters who have been doing their thing for years get their asses handed to them by the punk kid who happens to be in the area. It's common in a lot of anime, but it gets really old, really fast. The shorter the amount of time it takes, the less spectacular the final result seems.

Point Two: Sooooo many characters. I remember the main cast, some of the captains and very few of the lieutenants. My friend gets irritated with me when she starts talking about a character and I have to stop her to ask her to describe them. Okay, listen, there's 13 squads each with a #1 and #2 and depending on which squad, #3, #4 and up to like, 18. Throw in the main cast, non-squad good guys, classmates, bad guys, family and random lecherous stuffed animals and you have a cast too big for one anime.

Point Three: In terms of originality, Bleach doesn't really stand out. Spirits fighting other spirits has been done… a lot. In fact, the first couple episodes reminded me so much of Yū Yū Hakusho that I almost stopped watching it. Story goes that a boy who, through a series of (un)fortunate events, gains supernatural powers and then goes on to stop others from abusing similar powers. Wow, I think I just described about ¾ of all shonen anime ever!

Random points that bug me: I have NEVER seen a character do a 180 so fast as Byakuya Kuchiki. Now, a lot of characters have changed sides at the most crucial moment; it makes for a more interesting story. But there was no hesitation, no internal angst-ing; two seconds before, he wasn't even on the battle-field! (He did flashback though, so he gets points for that.) And the care he shows for Rukia after the battle is creepy when there were previously ZERO displays of affection.

The battles in Bleach are… interesting. There's really no way to describe them: sometimes you see the beginning or the middle or the end or the whole thing or nothing at all. You are left to imagine what happened. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. No one likes it when fights drag on and on, but it's an action anime; shouldn't you see the battles…?

And lastly, Rangiku's chest is a lie.

From Johnathan M Davis:

I would have to list 2 shows for this one.  Given that the first one will likely be stated a few million times or so, this will probably not be posted, but I might as well try.

The first would be Neon Genesis Evangelion.  I truly do not understand why this show is so popular.  It's a decent show.  It has some cool stuff going on.  The fights are certainly entertaining.  The characters are well developed.  If you're looking for fan service, then it certainly has plenty (it even goes so far as to mention fan service in the previews).  I can kind of understand why the psychology and philosophy in the series would attract people, but personally I think that a lot of it was messed up and pointless, but then I don't tend to be in to that sort of thing.

So, overall this show does have a lot of stuff going for it, but it's been put on a bit of a pedestal.  There seem to be a lot of fans that think that Evangelion is the best thing since sliced bread and that nothing can even compare - this in spite of the fact that it has one of the most universally disliked endings of all time.  It reminds me of Star Wars really.  Star Wars is good, but not that good.  It seems to engender a fanaticsm strong enough to have people practically adopt it as a religion.  People complain about how horrible the prequels are and then go and see them in the theater multiple times.  They become totally obsessed with it.  From what I can see, Evangelion appears to have much the same effect and I don't know of ANY show that I would consider worthy of that level of obsession.  Sure, it's a good show, but I've seen plenty of other shows that are good - some of which even have good endings!  In my opinion, Evangelion is too flawed to be anywhere near the best Anime of all time - let alone worthy of obsession - and yet many see it as such.  Evangelion is good, but I think that there are other shows are far more deserving of praise.

The second show that I think is highly overrated is Dragon Ball Z.  I don't think that very many people are going to claim that it's a masterpiece, but it's insanely popular.  From what I understand, it's by far the best selling anime that Funimation has ever had.  It's an enormous hit.  However, while it does have some cool fight scenes and semi-decent characters, its plot is quite weak, it drags things out to the point of insanity (how many half-hour episodes did it take to cover the last five minutes of the fight with Freeza?), and it's just generally not all that great.  Even if you compare it to similar shows aimed at a similar audience, it isn't as good.  Take Yū Yū Hakusho for instance.  It's not a masterpiece either, but it manages far more rounded characters, much better character development, and it actually has a somewhat decent plot.  And yet, it's nowhere near as popular as DBZ.  And that's just comparing it to a similar show, not shows that are vastly superior in terms of character development, plot, animation, etc.

DBZ is by far the worst show from Funimation that I've ever seen.  Now, I've heard that Ragnarok is pretty bad, but I haven't seen it, so I can't compare.  However, when DBZ is selling far better than any other Funimation show and it's one of the worst, that would imply that it's seriously overrated.  I mean, how many people have watched shows like Fullmetal Alchemist, Gunslinger Girl, or Fruits Basket and thought that DBZ was vastly superior to them?  I guess that it's just cool enough, just mainstream enough, and just well known enough, that it manages to do better than a lot of other stuff that's better put together and actually tells a solid story with solid characters.

From Neal:

I'm sure many will disagree, but Naruto and Shippuden(sp?) are far too lame to be as popular as they are.  Perhaps one of my biggest complaints is that due to this popularity which is inexplicable to me, many of the quality fansubbers are monopolized by these projects.  As such, more worthy projects are often slow to release, shorthanded, or left to inferior fansub groups.  Being such a powerhouse, Naruto seems to overshadow other, much better series with a similar genre/premise such as Nabari no Ou.  Although Nabari is emerging while Naruto is relatively established, it is almost impossible to find a discussion that does nomeasure the former against the later.

flourescent orange jumpsuit = stealth

From "UF Gator ":

The most overrated anime series is Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away."  I use the rating system here at ANN and it's the ONLY one I have rated as "Weak" out of 130 finished series.  It obviously excels in areas such as visuals, originality, characters, etc, but in the end the storyline and plot is what truly matters.  In my opinion, it was just too childish and outlandish.  I felt like it was 4 hours long and only finished it because of all the accolades it has received.  I just can't understand how anyone was entertained by it, let alone praising it as an unrivaled masterpiece.  Let me add that I love most Disney movies.

I don't know, maybe it's because I watched the Dubbed version.  I have been told to give it another chance subbed, but I fear that my conceived image of it has already shattered any chance of a change of heart.

From "jukugo":

At first it is tempting to cite any number of bad to mediocre shounen series, whose fans tote them as the best series ever, as the most overrated series. But the ones doing the overrating are, in many ways, isolated and routinely insulted. Similarly, any number of equally bad to mediocre harem/moe-pandering series are tempting, but once again it is a small populace that really overrates them like no other. For every person that speaks at length--often in broken English!!!!11one--about the superiority of these series there is at least a half a person waiting to smack them down.

After much debate, the series which seem to me to be most overrated are two which, in fact, are quite impressive by almost any standard. These two are Cowboy Bebop(hereafter Bebop) and Neon Genesis Evangelion(hereafter NGE). Even though the question sought a singular answer, I can't for the life of me decide which could be considered more overrated, so I'll call it a tie and move on. Both series are rather amazing in their own right, especially given their time of release, but both also are constantly deified in the hearts and minds of vast portions of the anime-watching community, both at the popular and critical level, to an extent which is borderline fanatical.

There are plenty of other series which could easily be regarded as most overrated--especially if you consider things overrated by just critics or just fans--but because of the mass fanaticism surrounding NGE and Bebop from their release up to the present day I had to give it to them. It may be that newer series carry this title later down the road, and there are certainly plenty of new series receiving more praise than they are really due, but NGE and Bebop have been hugely overrated more fiercely and for a longer period of time than any other shows that I could think of.

All that being said, I do love me some NGE and Bebop.

From A. Shen:

No doubt you're going to be getting a lot of rants about "Naruto" and "Bleach" this week but my beef is with the show that is supposedly one of the most "badass" vampire shows ever made.  I'm talking about "Hellsing," which aside from a charismatic title character and a handful of good action scenes is a pretty pedestrian piece of work.  The writing's sloppy, leavng dangling plot threads left and right. The visuals are mediocre, with derivative character designs and a garish color scheme.  Worst of all, thecenter of the narrative is far too often Seras Victoria, one of the dullest anime heroines who has ever been inflicted on an unsuspecting audience.  I don't understand why this thing has so many fans.  As a horror show, it wasn't dark enough.  As an action show, it didn't have enough momentum.  And as a vampire show, it completely missed the point - whatkind of self-respecting creature of darkness needs agun anyway?

From Zerreth Kim:

The anime that come mainstream are overrated to me. I always had this peculiar idea that if something becomes too popular, then I should be wary of it. Often it's the very popular anime that are localized in the states regardless of how good or bad it may be or become. Because it's popular, it's more likely to get more viewers and better ratings. That doesn't necessarily mean it's good, but it has a solid base, so it would end up being the best candidate, or at least... I believe that's how it works.

To this day, I still see One Piece to be one of the most overrated anime. Ignoring the amazingly large fanbase and hordes of people who believe they can "save onepiece" by signing a large online petition, I still don't see the glamour of it. By no means do I see what makes One Piece unique bad. I found the character designs innovative, I found the overall plot to be a good spinoff of that kind of "on the search for (insert item here)" or "the search to find pieces of (insert another item here)." However, I always found that plotlines with a very open ended option tend to have some issues in the execution of high quality story telling. This is what One Piece suffers from. Similar to Naruto and it's however long timespan of episodes before moving onto Shippuden, One Piece has the option to (and does) take an easy way out and spends many episodes on mediocre sub-plots.

So while there are those who've seen all three hundred some odd episodes up-to-date and felt that each character has been fleshed out properly, I personally question if watching all those episodes were really necessary to get that rush of watching a good story unfold. I'm not talking about 6-12 hours that can be easily broken down into a couple weeks or a day if someone has the time. I'm talking about a bit over a week of straight watching including the nine movies (unless my math is wrong). I feel that some fans simply continue to watch it because it's hard to drop something once you've spent a good deal of time on it. Rather, you don't want to drop something because you spent a great deal of time on it. They watch no longer to judge it and see however everything unfolds but because it has become somewhat of a chore and continue to like it, because they liked it before. I try to keep an open-mind about this, but I think that One Piece to me is that anime that really is simply over-hyped. One thing that bothers me particularly is that a significant portion of the fans make the issue of One Piece being edited a really big deal as if it was the only example in the world. Nearly everything is edited. Why should One Piece or Naruto be the exceptions?

From Duncan:

Over-rated anime series – Guyver, The Bioboosted Armor

Despite the fact that this gets big thumbs up on forums and reviews and was universally popular when it aired on The Anime Network over here in the UK I was stupendously bored by about episode 5. Each week The Guyver gets seemingly beaten only to have yet another secret weapon up its sleeve. Like two massive lasers coming out of its boobs instead of one. Who didn't see that coming? Plus it was classic shonen build-up. Son has no mum and issues with his dad as he is teenager and then he accidently kills his then mutated dad – yawn. Train and then fight, etc. And yet it was very popular, go figure.

From About 2 BILLION people:

Naruto. Meh. 'Nuff Said.

Now you've got this week's question, and it's time to get answerin'.

For those of you new to Hey, Answerfans!, I'll explain the concept.

Believe it or not, I'm genuinely curious what you think.

That's right; as much as I love the sound of my own voice, I do love to listen to what other people have to say on a subject. I'm finding that over the last few years, the attitudes, reasoning and logic that today's anime fans use eludes, confuses or astounds me; I hve so many questions for you, and I'm dying to hear what you have to say in response.

Welcome to Hey, Answerfans!

Basically, we're turning the tables. Each week I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to email me your answer. Be as honest as you can. I'm looking for good answers; not answers I agree with or approve of, but good, thoughtful answers
. People feel passionately about these subjects and I'd like to see that in the responses I get. I'll post the best answers I get, and maybe some of the crappy ones. Sometimes there may only be one or two good ones; sometimes five or more. It all depends on what I get in my inbox! Got it? Pretty simple, right? Start writing those answers and email them to answerman [at] animenewsnetwork dot com.

We do have a few simple ground rules to start with.

Things To Do:

* Be coherent.
* Be thoughtful.
* Be passionate.
* Write as much or as little as you feel you need to to get your point across in the best possible way.

Things Not To Do:

* Respond when the question doesn't apply to you. For instance, if your email response starts with "Well, I don't do whatever you're asking about in the question... " then I'm going to stop reading right there and hit delete.
* Be unnecessarily rude or use a lot of foul language.
* Go off-topic.

So check this space next week for your answers to my questions!

See you all next week!

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