Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hitting it Big and Making it Count

I recently read this post by author Rawle Nyanzi about how My Hero Academia will never be a hit on the level of Dragon Ball Z. Go give that a read and double back.

The thing is that we have a fractured culture with few, if any, shared values anymore. Even if a television show was great and aired on the biggest network and garnered terrific ratings, there's a good chance many out there would not bother with it for a multitude of reasons. It's not going to happen like it once did. The 20th century is long gone and we are where we are.

For instance, look a the absurd popularity of Game of Thrones. Books, television shows, pop culture references, and merchandise galore. Certainly everybody has heard of and embraces this franchise.

Well, no. I've never seen a single episode, and have no intention of ever doing so. People I know are split the same way, half love it and half can't stand it. There's no getting around that. One also can't escape the obvious eventuality that it will be forgotten quicker than The Sopranos, Party of Five, or Ugly Betty, when the next "hit" comes along to replace it. They fade from public consciousness faster than goldfish's last thought.

Add to that, we largely don't want to connect. We simply don't have those shared interests any longer to find common ground as we once did.

So the best we can do is to help each other.

It is true that My Hero Academia will never be on the level of Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or Bleach, in popularity, but that doesn't mean we can't help make sure those that would otherwise miss out pass it by. There are many who simply don't know. I review every volume of the manga on this very blog for the purpose of promoting such a fantastic series for that reason. It is why I review most everything I do, and why I tend to stay away from reviewing already known classics. There are those missing something they might enjoy tremendously.

Before I sign off, let me do you a solid. You may or may not have heard of My Hero Academia (go watch and/or read it, if not) and may or may not have read my reviews, but I will give you a heads up on something else.

Here are three shows in the upcoming anime season you might be interested in. They all have the potential to hit it big--if potential fans are alerted to their existence.

That is the key to all this.

Black Clover

Black Clover is Naruto with magic knights instead of ninjas. It's not particularly original, or on par with My Hero Academia, and the manga is way too fast paced, but if you're just looking for a fun time, you can do far worse. It's just a simple and enjoyable action series. This will probably by the big hit of the next season, so here's a heads up for potential fans.

Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond

From the creator of Trigun and Gungrave comes the sequel season to his third series. Imagine paranormal detectives in a city overflowing with chaos and destruction, as well as a healthy dose of Christian themes and imagery. The first season was a cult hit but lacked the penetration into the mainstream his original two series did. Obviously this has to do with how niche anime has become, but this series deserves better. Give this a shot and let more people know it exists! Yasuhiro Nightow should be a household name already.

Garo: Vanishing Line

The Garo franchise isn't well known in the anime world, but it is a project Studio MAPPA has been working on for a while. Created by veteran Tokusatsu creators, the series changes settings and characters with every entry varying even between live action and animation. The new series has more of an action thriller bent than the previous more fantasy-styled versions. That may be in its favor in order to give this franchise more visibility over here. You see, Studio MAPPA is one of the better studios in Japan constantly putting out quality originals and adaptions that do not get the attention they deserve. They really are a quality studio. Make sure you don't overlook this when it comes out in the upcoming anime season.

And that's really all we can do. We live in a fragmented world now, so the best we can hope is to spread the word about the great material we find. That is what I hope to do with this blog, at the very least.

Maybe someday things will change. But if it does, it won't be for a very long time. For now, this is the way it has to be.


  1. It's not just the lack of shared culture, it's also the sheer volume. I mean just compare what was DBZ's competition to MHA's nowadays.

    As my daddy always said: everything is a trade-off. I love capitalism and increased competition, but we have to admit that one downside of it is that the culture will fracture.

    1. This is undoubtedly true. There's just so much material to comb through these days, including that which I missed out on, that it is hard to keep up.

      On one hand it's nice to have so much, on the other... there's going to be a lot that falls through the cracks. And that's just the unfortunate part of it.

  2. "Add to that, we largely don't want to connect. We simply don't have those shared interests any longer to find common ground as we once did."

    Movies and sports are just about the last shared cultural events that we have, but even those are being eroded in the Balkanization that seems to be occurring.

    This is especially sad because we really DO want to connect. But we've freighted more tenuous connections with the weight of our identities now that that that cultural commonality is gone.

    I think the very speed of turn over that you and Nate discuss above is indicative of this. If the things that hold you up and hold you together are entertainment oriented rather than deeper national, religious, or familial commitments, you have too keep searching for the "next big hit" to maintain those connections.

    1. That is precisely my feeling. It is going to e next to impossible for the next generation to relate to each other when Hollywood, and eventually the big sports leagues, are made irrelevant by their own doing.

      I can only imagine what it will be like then. It certainly won't be pretty.

    2. Here's the deal. (warning! incoming rant...)

      You remember those "lodges" that used to be a plot point in all kinds of sitcoms? You know what one of the primary purposes were for them? Insurance. Take that away (which government did) and lodges have pretty much collapsed all across the country. Why?

      Because of the question that always arises when people get together: why not leave? Because whatever brings people together, eventually something will arise to cause conflict between them. While we all may like to believe we're noble souls, the simple fact is that unless there is a strong counter-incentive to maintain the social bonds, we'll just break it. Nowadays the cost of breaking and forming new bonds is so low that there's no reason for people to stick together and form a culture. Don't like the group any more? Split and make your own.

      Most of the old features of communities ultimately arose from efforts to solve a need. We've removed the incentives to form communities by filling the needs and then wonder where it's gone. Yeah, I know we all like to think that we could be noble angels who would get together out of our own goodwill but the simple observation of humanity is that we won't.

      That an entire generation have been raised on a diet of self-esteem such that they cannot tolerate wounds to their self means it's going to be even more impossible to form new cultures until things get back enough there is a forced relapse into traditionalism.

  3. Since I'm a fan of New Japan Pro Wrestling, I figured it was time to give Tiger Mask W a try and I've been enjoying it. Animation isn't anything special but the art has a retro charm, and it's just fun to see the NJPW wrestlers make appearances on the show and to see a show that keeps kayfabe :)

    1. I've been going back and forth on watching that for a while now. Thanks for speaking up for it.

  4. My Hero Academia deserves to be the new DBZ, but I agree it's unlikely for it to get the exposure needed for that.

    I've seen a few episodes of Game of Thrones at a friend's place. Great production values, dreary show. He wants me to watch the whole series once it's out on dvd (I don't do Netfix). I *might* take him up on that on the condition that he watches Trigun, Ushio & Tora, and G Gundam.

    On that note, I just rewatched G Gundam and it's even better than I remembered. It's both a great action story and a great love story.

    1. G Gundam gets hated because it came out after Gundam Wing over here and wasn't what Gundam fans wanted but it is a great love letter to old school mecha anime.

      It's easily my favorite Gundam series.

    2. My favorite Gundam too. I'd love another Gundam like it, or just another show that combines mecha with martial arts.

      Rewatching G Gundam I realized that Pokemon XY (stealth good shonen) seems to have taken some inspiration from it - quite a few scenes and some story elements are reminiscent. Makes me wonder if it was subconsciously reminding me of G Gundam and that's part of why I enjoyed it.