Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Things to Come and General Ramblings on Genre Preferences

First off I feeel I should apologise for a complete lack of posting in the last week and a half - I blame this entirely on two things: Legend of Zelda - Skyward Sword and Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7. What I can promise however, is that December will be seeing a fairly hefty post count. For the month of christmas I am undertaking two challenges. The first is a standard ani-blogger thing: I'll be doing my own "12 Days fo Christmas". So, from the 12th - 24th of December I will be posting about various christmas anime and manga in whatever way feels vaguely appropriate at the time.

My second challenge is somewhat larger and will be my main focus in the upcoming month. As a christmas present to Anime-Planet, I am doing "25 Days of Manga" in which I will be adding at least one manga synopsis to the database a day based on suggestions from community members in this thread. As a companion to this, I have decided that every five days I will be posting my thoughts on each manga since I will be picking up series I may never normally have touched. So, stay tuned for more posts from me in December!

One thing that I have noticed however, is that from looking at the list of suggestions in the "25 Days of Manga" thread, I started to think more about genre preferences when it comes to anime and manga. Having taken on this challenge, I will be reading manga that both appeals to me (some I had already marked as wanting to read, others are series from some of my favourite mangaka that I didn't know existed), as well as some that I would never normally have even looked at, let alone considered. It made me think that really, doing this will be a good experience, as it will expose me to genres I'd never normally bother with too much. Now, we all have certain tastes when it comes to any form of entertainment, but I can't help but wonder, should we stubbornly stick only to those which we like, or should we occasionally try something out of our comfort zone?

My thoughts are yes, we should. I'm not saying that we should all immediately change our entire viewing menu to something entirely different, but who knows what you're missing out on if you vehemently cling to one or two genres. After all, tastes change. When I first started watching anime I was, for lack of a better phrase, a yaoi fangirl. I lapped up every single shounen-ai and yaoi title that I could get hold of. However, I soon grew out of that and began to gravitate more towards slice of life, comedy and eventually shounen - all three of which now form my core choices of preferred viewing. You need to take risks sometimes, or you could be depriving yourself of a new passion. Had I not taken up a friend's recommendation to watch Bleach years ago, I may never have gotten into shounen and I certainly wouldn't have discovered the joy of watching (and reading) One Piece.

Additionally, aside from personal tastes changing as you mature, just because you like one genre, doesn't mean that you will ultimately love everything that it has to offer. Recently I picked up Choir!, a 4-koma comedy slice-of-life manga - something that should in theory have been right up my street - however, I could barely make it through the first volume and promptly dropped it as soon as I had enough fodder for a synopsis. If not everything in one genre is to your tastes, it's likely that you won't hate everything in a genre you don't particularly enjoy. As much as it may be more convenient to simply put a blanket over one type of series and exclaim "I hate xxx", there's always an exception to the rule. I personally have little time for mecha, yet I found myself oddly enjoying Neon Genesis Evangelion (well except for the last few episodes - seriously? SERIOUSLY?). Likewise I'm not a fan of zombies, or ecchi, but for some reason I genuinely love Highschool of the Dead. For me it's proof that no matter how much you think you may know yourself, there's always room for surprise!

I guess, amongst all my rambling here, my overall point is this: don't limit yourself. Try something new every now and again and if someone (who you trust I hasten to add) recommends a series to you, don't immediately dismiss it if it's not something you usually go for, as you could be surprised. And if any of you do feel inspired by this post to go and watch/read something different, then brilliant and I hope the experience pays off; and if not... well at least it'll make you appreciate the genres you like even more.

As for me, well I'll be galloping into the next 25 days with an open mind and a hint of excited trepidation in the hopes that I'll stumble upon new series that I can appreciate and enjoy.

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