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Joined: 22 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:27 am Reply with quote
To be honest, the idea that all of these so-called Netflix shows are equal is a perception. They all have different genres, staff members, traits, strengths and weaknesses. In fact, I'd even go out on a limb and argue that they're not necessarily going to be equally suitable for Netflix-style marathon viewing, so some of them might be better appreciated in smaller chunks rather than taken in all at once.

For better or for worse, each combination is distinct. Which may not work well enough to grab the typical anime fan or a demanding critic, but they are probably still reaching a self-selected sub-set of the audience or a base of purely casual viewers who haven't seen a lot of anime yet. Perhaps, in a way, that's most of what they are intended to do.

This is only a limited observation, but I've read a few Japanese creators talk about making some of these Netflix shows for an international audience instead of following the current trends of anime in Japan, so there's probably something worth looking into from that perspective, but ironically enough...that doesn't mean these attempts have been successful, since they are only rarely producing any show that actually catches fire abroad.

Still, it's not like the sense of boredom or indifference is absolute outside of Devilman Crybaby territory. Curiously, there have been certain circles or niche groups that have formed around or taken an interest in a handful of these Netflix titles, at least temporarily, despite not getting much attention or praise in the process. Thus, believe it or not, there can be actual discussions about a number of these series, even if they didn't leave a lasting mark in the grand scheme of things.

This will not be a popular take, but I think there's nothing really wrong with Netflix financing or licensing anime series that aren't meant to be earth-shattering in nature. At any given point in the history of anime, there's always been significant numbers of shows that are not necessarily going to be remembered as anything special.

However, many of them did have a small impact on their restricted pool of fans. Interestingly, this was already true back in the days when only a fraction of Japanese anime was ever licensed for overseas consumption.

There's lots of obscure anime that never got a U.S. release or only aired in certain parts of Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America or the Middle East. A few of those are arguably hidden gems, perhaps, but others were curiosities of their time and have smaller fanbases than the more mainstream shows that were broadcast along with them.

If anything, I believe the rise of Netflix and the overall fragmentation of popular culture in recent years have contributed to laying the groundwork for expanding such a situation. Rather than only fueling an increased concentration or consolidation around the bigger titles, I think a fair number of people combine their mainline interests (Attack on Titan, Jojo's, etc) with an individual response or connection to one or more of these "B" or "C" quality products. Of course, this doesn't have to involve a radical new experience either.
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Joined: 19 Jan 2017
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:10 pm Reply with quote
I know at least 3 guys in real life who never watch anime yet loved Hero Mask to bits, prompting them to discover other series like B or Psycho Pass, yet I haven't come across a single anime fan on the internet who even bothered watching it. I think that pretty much sums up where Netflix stands as far as the anime community is concerned: Many fans don't want their anime tainted by dirty western hands (I have seen this expression online many times, trust me), yet they don't realize that there's probably a lot of people out there who could potentially become anime fans by watching stuff like Castlevania, B or Hero Mask. And that's where I think Netflix is doing a fantastic job, catering to people who wouldn't otherwise bother with animation at the same time they are also funding (or distributing) stuff like Piano no Mori or Hi score girl that caters to a more traditional, otaku-friendly crowd. I'd say it's a win-win situation but , sadly, many anime fans don't seem to view it like that...
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Joined: 04 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:03 pm Reply with quote
I think a fair amount of the blandness and forgetfulness you're feeling is in the eye of the beholder, even beyond the difficulty of getting out of work mode. I could use many words to describe Kakegurui, but bland and forgettable are not among them, and enough people seemed to agree to get it another season, airing now (though not on Netflix yet). I don't see myself forgetting Baki anytime soon, though I'd like to see how one plotline resolves to see if I need to add any caveats. I can't really see Apocrypha as bland or forgettable, being part of one of the biggest franchises in anime, though it doesn't hurt that I have Mordred in F/GO and on my shelf (I'd actually bought the figure a couple years before the anime was even announced). I think it was a bit remiss of you not to mention Little Witch Academia, which made the top 5 of 2017 of two reviewers here and the top 10 in the Mega poll that year. I've enjoyed a number of their titles and remembered them well enough to buy them on disk (at least what was available and not exorbitantly priced), so I don't really share your feelings about Netflix's licenses overall, though, as with any other service, there are some I found bland or forgettable. While I don't doubt needing something to talk about beyond "That was good" is part of your feelings on it, I think there is more to it than professional needs, given the This Week in Anime columnists find enough to talk about most Netflix titles as it has become a regular part of their beat. From being a listener for the past few years and a reader of this site for several years, I get the impression that you most prefer shows that are trying to say something - particularly something you find interesting - even outside your professional capacity, which undoubtedly colors how you see a show. There's nothing wrong with that, but I think projecting that onto the general fandom, who each have their own preferences, is an error, which is compounded by conflating no longer actively discussing a show after it finishing airing with forgetting it. But you can only evaluate shows how you experience them, and I don't think anyone should expect otherwise. I do appreciate the discussion of Netflix nonetheless, as looking thorough the catalog again made me notice that High Score Girl's OVA episodes had dropped on Netflix, which they had not notified me of, strangely.

On vampire anime, I have fond memories of Blood+ and Trinity Blood, which were among the titles I saw on Adult Swim when I was first getting into anime, along with Ghost in the Shell: SAC, Cowboy Bebop, Eureka Seven, and s-CRY-ed (among others). Blood-C less so. I mainly recall it starting with head-poundingly inane school life segments with a few minutes of hyperviolence, the latter of which progressively overtook the former until it reached bonkers spoiler[human-blending monsters] levels. The Blood-C movie was a great improvement over the TV series though.
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