2009 Apr 21 harle

Guy Blade Guy Blade---10:43:00

Staying Power
Last weekend, at CAS, I ended up in a discussion about what anime have staying power. At the time, there seemed to be a consensus that it was possible to pick things out now that would continue to be relevant in the future. Once such pick was Baccano!, another was Irresponsible Captain Tylor. All of this made me start to thing about what I've seen are still worth watching today, especially things that I watched back in high school or from older eras.

Going over this, it seemed like there are definitely some things that have aged poorly. I would probably not recommend someone start watching Love Hina today, it hasn't aged very well. In fact, I'd argue that most of the harem anime from the mid-nineties to early aughts haven't held up well. I also probably wouldn't recommend someone start watching the Original Macross. I watched it at CAS and time has not been kind to it. This is made all the more noticable when you realize that the show is now set in the past (SDF Macross launched in 2009 inside its continuity).

There are even some recent shows that, as I've thought about it, will almost certainly not be relevant in the future. Despite how much I enjoyed the show, I doubt that Lucky Star will be important in 5 years due to its density of pop culture related in-jokes. There may be some core entertainment remaining, but it probably won't fall into the "old classic" that gets shown. I'm also willing to bet that Dennou Coil, another show that I enjoyed quite a bit, will fail to be lasting. This is primarily due to my belief that the show's futurism will diverge from our own future enough so as to be unrelatable. I'd argue that this has even begun to happen for shows like Serial Experiments Lain.

Nevertheless, there are some shows that appear to have lasting power. Just recently CAS showed Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, a show which was initially relased in 1993. This show has aged incredibly well and, despite its age, is probably the pinnacle of shounen fighting anime. I'd argue that when a new shounen action show appears, Jojo should be the yard stick against which it is measured. Another show that I think will continue to resonate is Revolutionary Girl Utena. It has always been a personal favorite of mine and, despite being 12 years old now, was well received by CAS.

I think all of this brings to focus two questions that I've spent some time thinking about:

What anime from 5 years ago is relevant today?
What anime from today will be relevant in 5 years?

Perhaps even more deeply, it is interesting to consider:

What gives a show staying power?
What resigns a show to obscurity?

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