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Do anime that take themselves very seriously have a harder time than anime that don't?

May 19, 2:11 PM

Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 412
And by that I mean: are anime that don't take themselves seriously allowed to fuck up (writing, characters, etc, etc...) more than those that do?

Because I keep reading stuff like: "if the anime didn't take itself seriously, it would be decent instead of crap".
On the other hand, should good anime that take themselves seriously be held in higher regard? Or is it an inevitable lose-lose situation for those works?
Modified by Buo, May 19, 2:18 PM
May 19, 2:18 PM

Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3430
The more serious an anime, the more serious my 'approach' towards it will be. This will definitely make me harsher in my critiques than I otherwise would be. I became highly aware of any perceived issues with Monster, for example, due to the nature of the show. I noticed times where the exposition was forced and unnatural; feeling like it was shoved in just so that the viewers received information, rather than the characters talking about facts and events because there was actually a legitmate reason for them to do so.
I normally wouldn't care about that in a less serious series; it wouldn't become a memorable point for me like it has for Monster. It kinda sucks really, because series that I recognise as being better can often fall short in my eyes for reasons that wouldn't be applicable to other series; the exact same occurrence will hold different weights.

Although I suppose that it does make those series all the better when they do pull it off, though.
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May 19, 2:23 PM

Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2199
I think the types of problems that people have with writing in anime that take themselves seriously effect them more than their counterparts because the reason why I, and probably many others, watch those types of shows is to see some complex characters or themes or any number of things that might b described as "deep" and "well written".

On the other hand, less serious shows focus on something different, maybe they simply aim to be entertaining with pretty animation and cool fights. Those shows would be severely hurt by bad directing or shitty looking art so I think it just depends on what the show is trying to do and why you're watching it. I don't really care about the lackluster animation in Oregairu, for example, because I'm watching for the characters, and as long as it doesn't look like complete ass, it doesn't bother me. FLCL is fun to watch mostly do to how goo the art and directing is, so even though I had no idea what was going on the first time around, it didn't bother me too much because it was so entertaining on a very basic level.
May 19, 2:23 PM

Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 1270
Normally shows that take themselves seriously are "trying" in some regard. To send you a message or keep you on the edge of your seat or something. If they fail at that, then the entire point of the show falls through. Shows that don't take themselves seriously have more room to mess up because it's not trying to elicit any specific emotion or reaction from its audience, other than not being bored/thinking it's shitty obviously.

May 19, 2:29 PM

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 6624
Yes; they will be more critically received. They also happen to be in much lower demand.
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May 19, 2:46 PM

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 2334
I think they generally are easier to fuck up but are also able to reach much greater heights.

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May 19, 2:49 PM

Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 5766
it depends on what people consider "taking itself seriously" or just "serious" in general, as i've seen people call anime that is clearly trying to make you laugh "serious" which i just don't understand

imo its the people who take anime seriously who have a harder time than people who don't... i mean.. just because an anime has drama, death, gore, violence, etc doesn't mean the anime is supposed to be serious

May 19, 2:57 PM

Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 2286
I think people are taking anime too seriously lol....
May 19, 3:00 PM

Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 1271
This may be a stupid example but, if a child insults you, do you react the same way as when an adult does it ?

It's pretty much the same here, the more an anime tries to be "smart" with plot, world building, logic the more it can screw up of course. On the other hand, these are usually the ones which can impress me the most. High bet, high reward.
May 19, 3:04 PM

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 96
Whether they fuck up or not, this world is full of critics... MAL is infested with 90% of the worlds' critics

However, anime with high expectations of greatness often receive disgusting backlash if they fuck up, more so than their counterparts obviously. Ppl are unforgiving lol ...

(RIP Berserk 2016/17)
Modified by BararaqSaiqa, May 19, 3:09 PM
May 19, 3:09 PM

Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 8516
A show should be faithful to its tone, if that's what you mean.
May 19, 3:21 PM
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Joined: May 2015
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In my opinion, it's a matter of perspective. A serious anime is expected to be serious, so if it stops being serious, then it just collapses. As for an anime that doesn't take itself seriously, they're allowed more leeway because they aren't being as serious. However, it is up to the watcher to perceive if the anime is being serious or not. Those who are able to perceive an anime when it is not being serious may find the anime much more enjoyable than those who are unable to perceive the non-seriousness. What's that word that everyone uses nowadays? "Pretentiousness?" This usually results in extremely varied scores where one side praises the anime while the other pans it.
May 19, 4:01 PM

Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 2271
the only anime I watched that wasnt to be taken seriously was opm and it was shit compared to hxh which takes itself very seriously. almost as seriously as hxhtards do.

but if its a show like kinmoza, does kinmoza take itself seriously or kill me baby?

maybe im partial to those bcz of the all female loli waifu cast.
May 19, 4:08 PM

Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 826
I'll put an hypothetical situation:

Let's say anime "X" is a show about a young man that's investigating the murders of various schoolgirls. It's dead serious. And in the end the villain turns to be extremely obvious from the start. You would have liked that? Of course not.

Now, there's anime "Y", is about a girl that has a romantic relationship with a literal fart, obviously it's a comedy, so, do you think that the twist that for example, the gasses of the fart end up provoking a zombie apocalypse, is stupid? Well, of course, that's the point.

Do you get it now?
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May 19, 4:16 PM

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 34
You actually need a quite a few words to answer that, I'll split it into parts

It's also noteworthy that the "writing" term I use is based on the ANIME ADAPTATION script rather than the source material itself, meaning that a very good manga or LN could be a bad anime or vice versa.

I would actually rephrase "serious and unserious" and elaborate it to:

An anime that aims for a serious plot.
An anime that has an unserious plot but tries to be aware of what it is doing and where it is at
An anime that has unintentional sloppy writing (bad writing or adaptation), or an anime that has genuinely good writing, meaning that it is "taking itself seriously"
An anime that has intentional "sloppy" writing that is meant to be acting as a set up for something, most often comedy, often in the form of reused tropes, which could be described as "not taking itself seriously".

It can be elaborated on much more, and it definitely doesn't cover every plot or way to write a story, but to keep it relatively short I'll just get to the point.

It's also noteworthy that the "writing" term I use is based on the ANIME ADAPTATION script rather than the source material itself, meaning that a very good manga or LN could be a bad anime or vice versa.

A few examples on very popular animes that this applies to would be:

Gintama falls into the category of an anime that is extremely aware of what it is doing, with mostly great writing, meaning that it's an unserious show taking itself seriously. I can see how one could argue for how Gintama is "not taking itself seriously" - but it really is. The writing for the anime adaptation in particular is meant for you to get a good laugh out of most episodes due to a masterful use of the "setup" and the often early or delayed executions for the gags to strike home. The show is taking itself seriously in a sense that every detail is very visible and deliberate, and often used to deceive the viewer.
Other examples - OPM...Bakemonogatari? Durarara maybe? Hard to place a few of these.

Another comedy - Konosuba.
Konosuba is a show that yet again fit with "being aware of what it is doing" but does NOT take itself seriously. The writing is pretty sloppy in general, but it is definitely intended. A lot of the comedy in Konosuba relies on the viewer to appreciate stuff like funny and wildly differing facial expressions, GREAT voice acting, characters being quite one-dimensional and made fun out of for it, overreactions to events, the list goes on. Konosuba has 0 character development, 0 ""Plot progression""(lul who are demon king? who is rpg game, does it taste good?) which is exactly why many including myself loves it.
Other examples: Most romcom/harem/ecchi/highschool shows carry these traits, in that the plot not being serious, and they do not take themselves seriously, while heavily relying on reiterating old tropes or "things a highschool animes must contain" to keep their targeted audience interested. A few comedy anime also land here, like konosuba, but it's not as common as it would make sense to be, after you filter away the comedies containing those other 1-4 genres.

For animes that fit the bill when it comes to having a serious plot, they almost always take themselves seriously. The question comes to whether they become great or wastes of time. In the top 100 section on MAL you can find that a high percentage of shows fit these 2 descriptions, almost all shounen animes, stuff like Berserk, Psycho Pass, etc etc. And example for a show like this with bad writing could be Bleach, which is due to a decline in quality after a certain amount of episodes. Other "serious series" with bad writing often go pretty far down in the rankings, but SAO would fit the bill when it comes to popular series. It's serious, it takes itself seriously, and the writing does not add up in many places.
Other examples: Most shounen shows, most shows in general that do not include the comedy/highschool/harem/ecchi genres. (Otherwise that would obviously contradict with my above statement)

I actually have no good example of an anime that is serious but doesn't take itself seriously, and that is very much due to that the "opposite" of comedy would be staleness, or in this case being serious, which the above paragraph is about. it would be a contradiction for anything to be both serious but not be written in a way that isn't serious. What this section instead covers goes for EVERY show with a budget restraint.
"Intentionally making something worse" would be a rephrase of "Writing something sloppily on purpose", and that goes for animation quality, amount of fight scenes, fillers etc etc. Long shounens like Naruto and One Piece serve as great examples for this, as their budget restraints as well as needing to create filler episodes to not be out of source material for the real episodes are very apparent. These shounen shows usually contain very long fight sequences that can vary and fill up an ENTIRE year, and since we know that fight scenes are the most costly scenes in anime, they have to lower the overall quality a notch or save up the budget in pointless episodes to compensate. This is not only limited to shounen series like OP/Naruto, but many shows have to lower their quality due to budget and time restraints. This basically means that shows lower themselves in quality on purpose, meaning that even though they are taking themselves seriously, they are also intentionally limiting themselves.

TL;DR + conclusion.

No, if I am not wrong in what I said (please criticize), the shows that line the top of the MAL rankings and popularity rankings are the ones both taking themselves seriously in terms of writing, however the seriousness of the shows themselves can vary quite a lot depending on the genres.
A lot of the shows that are (unless I am wrong) not taking themselves seriously are often the ones being criticized for being low-qual pieces of generic trash that keep clogging up the rankings between 6.8-7.4 on MAL and also criticized for (yes, I've read this:)"corrupting anime".

My personal take on the question would be that every show with a different name is a new show, some are bad and I generally avoid, some are good, some are great.
Modified by Tyiriel, May 19, 4:22 PM
May 19, 4:19 PM

Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 8101
So to put it simply. You wanna know if director actually wants us to fap to the fappable waifu or they don't want us to fap...

Either way. If it is fappable I will fap. Like really fap.
May 20, 2:10 AM

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 15232
I don't think so. I think 'serious' shows simply have different storytelling methods and thus I look at them differently, but not more harshly. There are a lot of 'serious' shows which don't achieve their aim but achieve just enough to be good - Psycho-Pass, Ping Pong for example.

I do agree it can be more annoying when such a show isn't amazing. 'Serious' shows tend to declare themselves to be phenomenal and life-changing. Obviously few shows can reach this status, but just because a show isn't as good as it wanted to be doesn't mean it's not good at all.
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