What If I No Longer Like My Old Favorite Shows?

by Justin Sevakis,

Brent asked:

I have been considering going back and watching some of the first anime I ever watched. Here's the problem though....i'm afraid too. I have memories of those series being flat out amazing and they all hold a special place in my mind. I've been debating if it's worth the risk to go back and watch them again, considering i'm older now and have experienced a lot more anime, and other media in general. I feel like i'll be crushed if they don't hold up. But if they are just as good as I remember, I might be reinvigorated into really watching anime again. Any advice on going back to older series you once loved, even though they may not be as good as you remember?

Here's an uncomfortable truth: you will probably not still like some of the old shows you remember fondly.

While we all get "nostalgia goggles" for our favorites, some of us have thicker ones than others. That is, some of us can fool ourselves that a mediocre show we loved back when we were first discovering anime and everything seemed awesome and unique and amazing is still the greatest thing since sliced bread. But just the nature of the fact that you're getting older, and you've seen a lot more content, is going to make a lot of those shows really pale in comparison to your golden memories.

A big part of getting older is just the fact that you will probably enjoy a lower percentage of the stuff out there. You will become less patient for shows that just run on autopilot, doing the expected in ways you've very much come to expect, over and over again. It's why so many of us at ANN get accused of "hating anime" or being sticks in the mud: it's sort of unavoidable when you've been around the stuff for as long as some of us have - once you've been around the block enough times, you've seen the sights, your tastes change and you're not quite as taken with the same old same old. It's just a natural part of anyone's experience with a hobby.

But the truth is, not everything will stand the test of time - that's just common sense. Some of it will, though, and that's the stuff that really deserves to be called "classic." Those are the ones that become lifelong favorites. Some of them, the point of view of an older person might bring you a new perspective, and a new appreciation for. This is the best part, honestly - discovering that the thing you loved as a kid not only holds new wonder for you as an adult, but remains relevant to you even now. These are touchstones, works of art that will hold meaning for you throughout your life - discovering which those are is one of the fun parts of adulthood. It's not always the most joyous discovery to find out that a show you enjoyed as a kid doesn't hold up to adult scrutiny, but that doesn't negate your happy memories of that show once upon a time.

Have you ever gone back and watched the cartoons you used to love when you were a REALLY little kid? Most of that stuff is absolute garbage: mindless candy and thinly veiled toy advertising, especially if you grew up in the 80s. But you loved it. I loved it. We all did. Those are good memories, and they're memories we should all cherish. But that stuff may not hold a lot of entertainment value for you anymore, and as an adult, you've moved on to other things. That's OK - it's a natural and healthy process.

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    Justin Sevakis has worked in the anime business for over 20 years. He's the original founder of Anime News Network, and owner of the video production company MediaOCD. You can follow him on Twitter at @worldofcrap.

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