The business in being an anime fan is usually a short one. Most fans hang around for a couple of years and flounder off once the show that brought them in starts to fade off. However if you manage to stick out for longer than that, maybe even ten years like some of us, you’ll find that your fandom tends to evolve from what it starts out as. Part of this may be because you get older, it might also have to do with the amount of shows you watch naturally grow and you tend to get a wider variety of shows that you see. For some, myself included, there is a point where you want to deeply hold onto those early favorites of when you first got into the fandom. This is completely understandable. No one would ever tell you that something doesn’t mean a lot just because it happened a long ago. Newer isn’t always better and reflecting on past favorites plays with this invisible balancing line where you need you figure out when a show is still worth your time or needs to take a back seat to better things.
Basically what spawned this whole article is something that spawns most of my content. I spent way too much time thinking about how Code Geass was my favorite anime since it came out on adult swim in 2007. It stayed my favorite show until 2012 or 2013, I can’t really remember. What I do remember is saying for about a year that it was still my favorite anime when it was in fact not. Also I’m having trouble with that same situation right now and need to evaluate Neon Genesis Evangelion and see if it still means enough to be my favorite show, or if there is something better to take its place. For some reason I have this knee jerk reaction when it comes to taking a show off of my favorites list, and I have a few ideas why this may be and will share how my affections towards these shows hasn’t really diminished, but evolved. This can also tie into the nostalgia factor so I kind of want to address that as well since it sort of ties into this topic.
Okay to start off I’ll bring up what I went through when it came to a show like Code Geass. For me I think it felt like I was admitting that I was wrong for so many years up until that point. I didn’t want to think that I wasted so much time focusing on this one show that now paled in comparison to other shows that I had watched. On a bright side though, it showed how I had grown as a person and a fan. There was a clear difference in a show like Code Geass and others that I used to hold up, and the ones I do now. This was sort of enlightening. Now while not everyone’s fandom has to evolve in such a way. It was ultimately beneficial for someone like me who had decided around that time that writing was a passion to be focused on. I also was deciding that I wanted more out of my entertainment and wanted to feel those deep emotions, sort of like what I did with Code Geass, but I wanted them to be lasting and not as shallow and fleeting. You see the more I got into anime the more greedy I became. I started wanting more of all the things I liked and wanted them to be well made since that is what I expected from myself as a writer. It was sort of jealousy if anything. Whenever I would see a poorly written show I would get mad since I was trying so hard to make my writing good and here is a horribly written story getting published and praised. Sure it sounds like I was a little conceited, but what artist isn’t when it comes to their creations. Anyway I played with calling Code Geass bad, but I quickly thought this to be overkill in trying to cover up my tracks of holding up such a “meh” show. I then had to watch it over again to see what I could get out of it now, and voila. I found myself appreciating it for its sheer density of things it had going on and how it struggled to keep them together. I loved how all the situations are complete nonsense but played with so much heart and care that its compelling. In a way it was all the things I liked about the show to begin with, I just liked them in a different way now. Except for Kallen and CC, my love for them stayed just the same as it did when I was 15.
This is where the whole nostalgia love comes into play. Sometimes you just need to admit that things aren’t as you once saw them. But that’s okay because now there is a chance to appreciate them in a different light. I’m a believer when it comes to art, some things are better off forgotten. There are things that will eventually hold no value for you as a person and you need to let go of them. Pretty deep stuff for anime trash that I love, but still. This is not something that I think anyone else needs to agree on with me. Some may say I don’t really care about things from the past by saying such things. Honestly, yeah I don’t. I used to be super into Digimon when I was a kid and early teenager, but now I look on it and shrug it off as something I once liked. I certainly can watch some Digimon but the feelings I had for it as a kid are long gone, because I don’t need them anymore. Just like with Code Geass, there are some things you don’t need in your life anymore, or at least not in the same way. Sure I haven’t given up on Code Geass, but if that one day does happen, it’s no skin off my back. I feel like I am sounding super pragmatic, but it’s actually quite the opposite. I care so much about these dumb shows that if I don’t feel some kind of connection with it anymore, I throw it away and make room for newer and better things.
However I wouldn’t really think of it as throwing away things either. Just like you eat food to get nourishment. Art is nourishment for the mind and soul. You use it and let it fill you with whatever you need at the time and once you don’t need it anymore, you move onto the next thing that will give your life nourishment. I didn’t really mean for this simple topic to go this far down the rabbit hole. Some of the things I said probably don’t need to be said but its at least a better understanding at how I view the vast amount of anime in the past and the vast amount to come. All I want is to have this deep emotional connection with a show so I can truly call it my favorite, and like I’ve experienced with Code Geass, Neon Genesis Evangelion might not be that show anymore.