Giving Anime a Second Chance

It’s scary to consider how long I’ve been watching anime already. The years keep marching on, trends come and go, and series once held up as masterpieces fall into obscurity. Maybe that’s a bit too grim for an intro. There are also upsides to spending this much time in the medium, of course. For example, It has afforded me many opportunities to revisit my past opinions.

PHOTO: Light sits behind his desk and stares at the monitor. Ryuk is standing ominously behind him.

Sometimes series that we adored at the time of their release don’t quite hold up years down the line; when we’re older and perceive their contents differently. An obvious example would be Death Note. Its anime released when I was a teenager and I felt inspired by Light Yagami. I too was a self-righteous prick upset with the state of the world, who felt that everything would be so much better if I got to call the shots.

I rewatched the series countless times, though staunchly rejecting the final third of the anime. It even became the first series that I bought on DVD. As I grew older, this fascination just faded away. First naturally as I got obsessed with other anime, then deliberately as I grew to realize how fucked up Light’s ideals were. I still think Death Note is an iconic anime for its era, but I can’t look back on it with the same personal investment in it. Fortunately.

However, this can also happen the other way around. Such as with Squid Girl. Sometimes you watch a show outside of your usual comfort zone and just can’t get it to click. As a young adult, I felt it was very important that my hobby was taken seriously. I watched a lot of seinen, with only a few “good” shounen anime thrown in for variety.

When I found Squid Girl, I just plain rejected it. The comedy was weird and unfunny, I hated how quickly Squid Girl’s invasion was turned into a joke, and I felt a lot of the anime was just too cringeworthy. I even skipped past the episode with the superhero show and, subsequently, the season 1 finale when it featured a callback to it. I never wrote a review, but did list it with a 3.8/10 score and never carried on to season 2.

Other shows followed a similar fate. For example, I dropped Panty & Stocking at episode 1 because I felt it was “not anime enough”. Or how about Death Parade, which I dropped 2 episodes in. It was too much of a downer for me at a bad point in my life, when I really needed an anime to cheer me up instead. Other anime I still haven’t gotten back to, such as Mononoke. That show was so weird right from the get-go that I didn’t even last a full episode. My friends tell me it’s great, and I trust them a lot more than I trust myself from 15 years ago.

PHOTO: Squid Girl is reluctantly pulled towards a hiking trail.

On rewatching such shows, I often found my opinion of them vastly improved. Being more open-minded and confident in my hobbies has allowed me to appreciate Squid Girl as a solid comedy anime, as opposed to whatever impossible standard I held it to a decade ago. So I wonder, have others had experiences like this? Have you ever revisited a show you used to hate and found that you now enjoy it? Or have your tastes in anime proven consistent, even as the years flew by?

1 thought on “Giving Anime a Second Chance

  1. I’m odd with this insofar as I generally find something to enjoy in most stores. The times I don’t, they’ve remained fairly consistent. I still can’t stand Dai-Shogun – Great Revolution or Gurren Lagaan, for example. Stuff that I’ve rewatched, I tend to still enjoy, but sometimes are not quite as magical as the first time.

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