Let’s Talk Anime Popularity Polls

Ayappi here (*´꒳`*)

Anitrending on Facebook, NHK Top 100, the MAL Popularity/Rating Rankings. Do all of these sound familiar? These are just some of the many anime popularity ranking polls scattered all across the internet. These popularity polls bascially take votes from people through a form, and then the one with the most votes comes out as the #1 most popular anime. Simple as that. Arguably this could be easily rigged by submitting multiple entries, but trust me these sites have gotten way better at preventing that from happening.

These popularity polls are great because it gives a voice to the normal anime fan. It’s a great way to know what the people are watching and possibly what their favorite series are. It also brings people together, and should their favorite anime land on the number one spot, it gives a small but still present, sense of joy to that person. I mean seriously, who wouldn’t want to see the things that they like flourish like that?

However, and here is where the messy part comes in, some people take it seriously. Even too seriously sometimes if that’s even a word. It starts flame wars and heated debates. Mostly it’s the so-called elitists in the community that start these wars, un-ironically. It’s as if, their way of thinking is that if an anime places high in a popularity poll, it’s automatically the best anime in the world.

I remember when I was still a Love Liver when the second season of Love Live Sunshine!!, the spin off series to the original Love Live, got first place in an Anitrending popularity poll, it was the ugliest post I’ve seen from them. It was total chaos, inside and outside of the post in question. Love Livers constantly taunting everyone else. Elitists typing up HUGE walls of texts just to prove the Love Livers wrong, enough words to even be considered as an academic essay by my professors. One or two trolls, just took advantage of the situation, but mostly it was an ongoing war between Love Livers and, well, everyone else. That’s just how I remember it.

I think, and I mentioned this earlier, the argument behind all of this is that an anime’s rightful place in a popularity poll must be consistent to its “quality.” I’ve seen many people say that the Love Live anime is written horribly and should therefore be lower in a popularity poll. The same people then proceed to endorse another anime that I frankly never cared to watch, which allegedly has “stellar” writing to be #1 in a popularity poll.

First of all, please remember that this is a popularity poll. This is not a “quality level ranking system.” The metric for this entire thing is simply, how many people like the series, nothing more nothing less. If many people watch it, then many people happen to be watching it. It’s as simple as that. Let’s go back to the case of Love Live. It’s undeniable that in Japan alone, Love Live isn’t something I’d consider to be a typical “community only” anime. It has certainly taken mainstream already in Japan, and it has huge cult level followings all across the globe. I already left the scene because of personal reasons, but I can tell you, it’s unstoppable. We could argue all day long about the flaws in the writing, and there are many, but many people still watch it.

Also, an anime’s “quality,” is entirely subjective, which means it may be different for everyone. Just because you perceive quality different than the average person, does not mean your words are superior. You could always argue to someone that an anime is good because of this and that, or bad because of whatever. Trying to convince people by stating your opinion, supported by solid arguments, that’s perfectly alright! That’s called, tearing apart a series and doing a close reading on it plus an opinion. What is not alright is to claim that your words are like the end all, like you’re the only one people should listen to. If it was like that, then AniBloggers and AniTubers wouldn’t exist in the first place.

Furthermore, honestly, not a lot of people watch anime for the “exquisite” writing and simply watch it as a stress reliever or a past time. Sure, it’s fun to tear apart a series and appreciate its good bits while roasting it’s bad bits, but normally that’s done AFTER the entire thing has finished.

Lastly, I know it feels bad to see your favorite series score low in these sorts of things (imagine how I feel everytime I see the popularity of Mahou Shoujo Site), but please do not let this get in the way of your enjoyment. You’re investing yourself in a battle, that will most likely take more away from you, than it will gain you. The broken interpersonal relationships, wasted time, stress, and decreased enjoyment that were consumed in this battle are not worth a #1 spot in a popularity poll.

To be clear, this isn’t an piece against popularity polls. I personally have no problem with them, and I actually like how it gives the fans a voice in the community. What did I hope to achieve writing this post then? You see, I personally think the petty fighting going on inside and outside these popularity polls is stupid, and frankly, this is just one of the many things that give people like us a bad name in the world. There’s more to anime, and life, than just numbers on a simple popularity poll, and I’d rather enjoy another 5 minutes of my favorite anime than to use that 5 minutes to look like a rabid weirdo fighting with a person I never even met with in the comments section of an AniTrending post.

I’m sorry if this was a bit too tough to swallow, but I felt the need to say it. What do you think? Please let me know!

Alright, I think that’s all for now. Thank you for reading as always, and please have a nice day ❤

Advertisements

My Honest Opinion on Dubbed Anime

Greetings anime community! This time I would like to talk about a somewhat sensitive topic regarding this community. From the title itself, you guessed it, I’m here to give my opinions on the never ending debate that is dubbed or subbed anime.

But first, a quick backstory! (3 paragraphs long if you want to skip it teehee)

I was scrolling through my feed on Facebook when a post from Netflix (or some Facebook page, I forgot) advertised its exclusive ONA with Sanrio, Aggretsuko (アグレッシブ烈子). After being hooked because Retsuko is just, really cute, plus I like the whole death metal thing going on, I finally had a reason to subscribe to Netflix. Luckily my aunt let me use her Netflix account and I have since been watching Aggretsuko and other anime (Tip: You can actually watch more anime if you use a VPN to Japan).

Now for all of you who are subscribed to Netflix, I think you know that you could change the subtitles and audio tracks in their TV shows and movies. For those that aren’t, there’s an option to change the audio tracks and subtitles through a little menu on the upper right if you’re using iOS. I’m not sure how it works for Android and PC, but anyway. By default, the show was set to English with no subtitles as far as I can remember. Being the person I am, I set the audio to Japanese and the subtitles to Japanese.

However, while it’s convenient that the show is just on Netflix and I could access it whenever I wanted to hear “SHITTY BOSS,” I get lazy and choose to just look it up on YouTube. Truth be told, I was kind of disappointed that the Japanese versions of the “SHITTY BOSS” songs are nowhere to be found, and only the English ones have been uploaded for my listening. However, what surprised me was that the English dub of Aggretsuko was actually really good. It was so good that I actually wanted to rewatch it in the English voices, while still retaining the Japanese subtitles because reasons.

STORY TIME OVER,

Dubs vs. Subs, it’s been a long running debate in the anime community. Many of the common arguments I hear about this issue is that, watching dubbed anime is tantamount to ruining the anime, watching dubbed anime does not give the same experience as that of the original, etc. In short, dubs ruin anime.

To an extent, I kind of agree with these arguments. In a way, a dubbed series kind of ruins the experience that the original aims to deliver to its audience. After all, there are some words and expressions that simply sound weird when translated into another language. The director or writer may have specifically chosen words, in the original language, as well as certain ways or accents of saying these words, that could simply not be captured as well if it was translated and adopted into a different language. You could say, some words get lost in the translation, and it really depends on how the translator interpreted these words, which could possibly cause lost meanings.

Let me give a little scenario on how I think this could happen:

Original Japanese: 「参ります」

Natural Translation: Going

While yes, the translation is correct, by translating to somewhat natural English the word has already lost its politeness level the original Japanese possesses. 参ります is the super polite form of the word 行く. Going could mean anything in terms of politeness in English. Furthermore, if we consider the fact that 参ります is also the super polite form of another verb 来る (come), we’re in trouble should the interpreter interpret it as such when it should be the other verb.

If you want evidence of this in Western animation being dubbed to Japanese, I suggest you listen to Japanese Spongebob. It simply, doesn’t work in my opinion. Patrick’s dopey English voice suited him better than the pathetic voice he has in the Japanese dub. Spongebob’s voice is kind of acceptable, for me at least.

However, I also kind of disagree with this statement simply because of the fact that there are some dubs that do a good job at it, an example being (if you read story time) Aggretsuko. Another example of dubs being good is the Dragon Ball dub. These are in my opinion, examples of dubs that actually match, if not make better the experience being set by the original. If we consider the fact many people simply watch anime to enjoy the experience of anime, and if a dub could deliver a similarly good if not better experience, then why not. In my opinion, anime’s purpose, other than being art waiting to be appreciated (and critically torn apart by critics), is to be enjoyed by the people who love it after all.

In the Japanese dub of Western animation side of things, if you ever get a chance to watch Japanese Gumball (TAWOG), I think that show’s Japanese dub is good. Gumball’s voice actually matches his character, and same goes for the rest of the characters, mostly.

With those out of the way, my take on the matter is that in the end, it’s really up to you, the watcher, to decide. Anime is subjective and we’re all into different things. Some of us could care less about a little loss in translation and prefer dubs. Some of us are simply purists and would rather appreciate the art in its purest form. (To be fair though, by reading subtitles there’s still some loss in translation from the smallest nuance to a complete butcher).

Me, I personally would rather watch my anime in its original Japanese audio, simply because I can practice my listening skills, and because of the argument I just said earlier about how there are terms that simply could not be captured well if translated into another language. However, I’d still watch a dub if I wanted to. Other than to aid my Japanese studies, I mainly use anime to relax and unwind so if a dub could serve that purpose, why not. Just make sure it’s like Aggretsuko level good and not that HORRIBLE niconiconii in that Tagalog Love Live dub I stumbled across.

How about you? What’s your take on the matter? Do you agree or disagree?

I think that’s all I have to say on the matter, for now at least. Bye and have a beautiful day!