Playing Favorites: Categorizing Anime



Recently, there’s been some back and forth (and more!) on the subject of ranking one’s “favorite” shows or what one consider to be “good” (or the best!) shows out there. What constitutes a “good” show? Is designating something a “guilty pleasure” legit? Can we make lists for our “all-time” favorites and also have one for “current” favorites? The mind boggles!

I have a pretty simple approach to all of this (which I actually stated in the comment section of 21stcenturydigitalboy’s post) – I don’t rank. Yeah, I’ll rate stuff on MAL, but I refuse to put together some sort of list with set positions. Why? Honestly, too confusing – and it seems disenguous in a sense to rank anime when I’ve only seen a fraction of what is out there, and haven’t even watched all the shows I’m interested in yet. There’s also something inherently vague in ranking things, as rarely can one really explain the exact methodology involved – well, why does Show X rank above Show Q on your list if you love both of them? Uh, just because!

I take a more… well, laidback approach. Instead of saying “These are my favorite five!” I tend to say, “Some of my favorites are…” and then name a few. This allows for the fact that favorites can change very easily, and in a way tends to inspire further conversation – oh, those are some of your favorites? Are there any others? What about such-and-such a show? The only thing I’ll commit to in terms of “favorite” is Revolutionary Girl Utena. Its my favorite show. Everything else? It ranks somewhere after that.

However, I will confess to having two different types of favorite.

The first is… favorites.

The second is… favorites that are those shows that are so epically crappy that they’re AWESOME. My reason for categorizing these separately is not really anything to do with my own self; as such, these aren’t “guilty pleasures”. I don’t feel guilty for loving these shows. However, I recognize that they are pure crap, honestly (which is fine, since most stuff is). And as such, I can’t recommend them to others without a disclaimer. With Revolutionary Girl Utena, I can point and declare, “Everyone should see this!” Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora (a.k.a. Shattered Angels)? Eh, not so much. (However, at the same time, I will list shows that I simply like and are not necessarily masterpieces without the disclaimer; I don’t feel like I need to warn people if its a show that I think they might just find mediocre or ok.)

Essentially, what I’m trying to say is, I don’t categorize them for my own benefit, but so that someone won’t go off to watch Myself;Yourself thinking it’ll actually be “good” (understandably, the term “good” is a bit debatable, but since I don’t really want to address that here… try to just roll with me, ok?).

Think of it this way – a friend has asked for a movie recommendation from you. That’s it, no other details. Would you really tell them to go see G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra without cautioning that its actually one of those so bad its good movies? No, of course not. I loved that movie, but I know I loved it because it was pretty bad. I’m not ashamed of having loved it, but I also know that not everyone loves horrible movies – or anime, for that matter. Hence the different categorization.

Anyway, for the sake of interest, some of my favorite shows are the aforementioned Rev. Girl Utena, Jigoku Shoujo, Princess Tutu, Mouryou no Hako, and Outlaw Star. Some of my favorite awful shows are Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora, Myself;Yourself, H2O~Footprints in the Sand~, and Weiß Kreuz (it actually pains me to put WK there, but there is no way in hell that anyone could consider that to be quality entertainment – I mean, come on, its about four guys who are florists by day and assassins by night!).

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14 Responses to Playing Favorites: Categorizing Anime

  1. Your approach is like my little brother’s, in any given medium he has a couple of favorites and then ‘everything else’. It doesn’t help that he likes pretty much everything he sees!

    In terms of anime, he’s got Gurren Lagann, Eureka Seven, and GaoGaiGar, and everything else is just anonymously amazing.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Well, I do have shows I simply like as opposed to love, and I definitely have a category of “DO NOT WANT”. I just don’t feel like ranking them really serves much of a purpose, and is pretty arbitrary – what really divides a Ginban Kaleidoscope from a Refrain Blue, after all?

  2. saturnity says:

    There aren’t a whole lot of people who admit to Outlaw Star being one of their favorites, so good on you for that. And it’s nice to know we’re in the same boat; Utena for you is like Haibane Renmei for me.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      I LOOOVE Outlaw Star. I really love it more than it deserves, probably. But I think its a really fun, it not exactly original, show.

      Haibane Renmei is one of those titles I’ve had on my ‘to-watch’ list for a while. I hope someone does a license rescue on it.

  3. glothelegend says:

    florists by day and assassins by night? sounds awesome to me.

    My opinions on my top ten change ever 2 seconds. Honestly, they’re all on pretty much the same level, so their rankings don’t mean that much.

  4. Baka-Raptor says:

    Why no DMC? Why doesn’t anyone list DMC? This is absolutely ridiculous.

  5. d says:

    After 2 seconds of skimming, I came to the conclusion that only the last paragraph is worth reading.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      After .2 seconds of skimming, I came to the conclusion that only the first two words were worth reading.

  6. schneider says:

    I saw Weiß Kreuz a long long time ago, thought it was okay. Forgot most of it, though.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Just know that it was awesome in the worst ways possible.

      Which reminds me…


  7. Bunck says:

    Can’t seem to see the images in this page, anyone have the same problem? o_O

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