Are you an avid seasonal watcher? Do you watch very few older series?
Seasonal anime has given fans a buzzing accessibility and streaming has changed the way we consume anime. Look at our current Spring 2018 season, with airing titles such as My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia) and Tokyo Ghoul: re. With popular titles like this, no wonder the anime community was in a frenzy months before the season started.
Seasonal anime is all well and good but watching older classics such as Cowboy Bebop (1998) and Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shinseiki Evangelion, 1995) can give anime fans a glimpse into how the medium has evolved over the years. The 80s, 90s, and early 2000s was anime prime time and will let you explore the roots of anime, the history that you won’t get that from seasonal anime. Diving into the older anime classics and hidden gems will expand your watching tastes.
Here are 3 reasons to dive into the past!
Break Up The Seasonal Cycle
I’m all for checking out what’s in the newest seasonal lineup. Having 40+ new series to choose from is a treat. But at the same time, I’ve felt the burnout that huge selection causes. You may have heard of people speaking about feeling ‘burnt out’. I’ve spoken about this tiredness before on my blog and even if you are someone who doesn’t get affected, getting tired of watching seasonal anime is a thing that happens to many anime fans.
From my perspective, I don’t feel the need to keep up with all the new titles. Many of my friends are telling me that they are watching 10 shows at the same time. Well… some of us don’t have that much time on our hands. Two to four titles is my limit, just like I’m sure you’ll have your own limit. People feel there is this need to keep up with what’s current, and that makes you to quickly become tired. It creates a lack of interest for seasonal anime, and in other cases, lack of interest for anime in general.
Which is why it’s important to break up the cycle and avoid becoming tired. Everybody is different in how they consume their anime and I think it’s good not to overwhelm yourself in the process. At heart, I’m a binge watcher. I’d rather binge a series in one hit. If I’m waiting weekly for episodes, it has to be for a series I’m hyped for. And to balance my need for anime, I’ll be watching one older title on the side.
Nothing for me could beat the happiness of watching an older anime. The 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s are my jam as I find the stories from this era vastly different when it comes to their stories. One example of a favorite of mine is The Vision Of Escaflowne (Tenkuu no Escaflowne, 1996), which I’ve recommended to many people. It seems a typical fantasy tale about a girl who goes to another world but you will quickly learn it’s so much more than that. The plot itself handles war corruption, individual complexes, romance triangle and much more. These three decades consist of this complex flare in its anime plots. It’s the best remedy to break up your seasonal consumption and discover new interests. I’ve found this method for me to be most effective and makes it easier for me to come back to the seasonal scene without feeling burnt out.
Old Roots and The Process of Creation
Having 40+ titles each season gives the impression that anime production is only about the money. It causes for worry and while this kind of thought can be a turn off in itself, going back to the classics can be the best refresher. After all, the classic anime were also part of a season but they were good enough to pass the test of time. Even if you are new to the anime scene, there must be a couple of old classics that were recommended to you, right?
It’s always the best remedy to seasonal overload to revisit those favorites. They rekindle that spark, your reason for loving anime. Every revisit has expanded my interest in anime and I started looking for things I never cared before like music composers and animation studios. It’s fascinating to learn the origins of anime itself and the stories of their creators. To give an example, Youtuber Anime Everyday did a splendid discussion on the history of mecha. Fascinating watch on the inspirations and ideas put into the mecha genre, and how the evolution of Mobile Suit Gundam (Kidou Senshi Gundam, 1979) and the series of anime that it spawned caused a storm.
Going behind the scenes and learning about the creation process has allowed me to love anime even more and ignite a whole new passion for the medium.
Discover Hidden Gems
Anime seasons seem to have about one or two hidden gems among their roster. Winter 2018’s A Place Further Than The Universe took fans by surprise and no one expected it to be as good as it was. After all, it was about cute girls going to Antarctica, right? These cute girls’ character growth and expanding friendship gave a breath of fresh air to the slice-of-life (well, among other tags) genre.
Every anime era had its own hidden gems. It’s so exciting to discover old and new series and it has become my main interest in anime. Using such sites like Anime Planet and MyAnimeList is a fun way of finding undiscovered series. Another way is to go through recommendation posts by anime bloggers.
You never know which anime is going to be your next favorite and you may need more than a few episodes to really appreciate it. It’s all about experimenting. Shangri-La (2009) was one such series; the first watching did not grab me. Halfway in, its fascinating plot couldn’t let me go. A great hidden gem to have in my personal collection now.
Looking for new anime is like a treasure hunt. Discovering the unknown really opens up your anime tastes.
Expand Your Horizons
Many new anime fans don’t like the ‘weird’ old animation style and prefer to watch only new series. The truth is that there is so much vibrancy and flavor when it comes to older anime: Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shoujo Kakumei Utena, 1997) explores acceptance in sexuality, and Yu Yu Hakusho (1992-1995) is a classic, fun shonen series. Current seasonal shonen Black Clover imitates those traits and has an underdog working their way to top. Would a series like Black Cover be around if there were no classics to look back on, like Yu Yu Hakusho?
All the shiny new seasonal anime are exciting but digging back to the anime past can reveal titles that will expand your anime horizons. Beneath the surface, you may find something exciting, or your next favorite title!
MANGA.TOKYO reviews 13 new anime each season and the latest news for all the new titles, but we also try to revisit old classics, so check out our series reviews. Tell us in the comments some of your favorite old anime and if there’s a reason you don’t check older anime often.
Happy hunting those rare and old anime gems!