I’ll admit, anime isn’t a strong suit for me anymore. I haven’t been into it for quite some time. The reason being? I just can’t find that show again.
Back during the 90′s and even the early 2000′s there was plenty for me to get excited about in the world of anime. My friends and I would get hyped up whenever Toonami showed that preview for another localized saga for Dragon Ball Z. I remember how excited I was when I picked up the DVD for the Cowboy Bebop movie. I used to scour eBay looking for a great deal on those collector edition DVD sets for Rurouni Kenshin.
I just can’t seem to find a show to keep me interested anymore. In fact, I haven’t been able for a long time. I’m a product of the late 80′s and 90′s. While most aspects of my life and hobbies have evolved past that, anime hasn’t. I still look at Trigun as my show of choice and consider that along with Cowboy Bebop and Rurouni Kenshin as the front line of great anime examples. When I couple that with titles like Dragon Ball Z, Vampire Hunter D, Gungrave, old school Pokemon, Rockman.EXE, early Inuyasha, Akira, Lupin The 3rd, and Guyver how can the new breed of shows even compare?
Am I stuck in a place where I just can’t perceive the new shows because of what I was raised on or am I just being fickle? I look at clips online or even browse the anime section at stores and I find it sad that the only things I get even remotely excited about is Dragon Ball Z Kai and the upcoming Blu-Ray of the Cowboy Bebop series. I just can’t get myself out of this old school lifestyle for anime.
I tried getting into shows like Bleach and One Piece but I can’t get into the characters, especially the main one. For me, the main focus of the cast has to be intriguing or exciting to watch. When I list names like Kenshin, Spike, or Goku and then I think of Luffy or Ichigo I just can’t do it.
I feel like anime has had a serious decline in quality over the years to the point where there are rarely any good headlining shows. I may be a bit demanding in what I’m seeking in anime nowadays but even on TV I can’t see a singular show being the cream of the crop. Just a myriad of titles littering Netflix or on store shelves that I never see in customer’s hands at the cashier lines.
I also find it sad that anime needs just that singular show to make it big again in America because in the time that I’m talking about above there was never just one show to reign king. There was always an option. There were plenty of shows to get into and even more to find over in Japan. To me, anime feels like an even worse Pro Wrestling. What I mean by that is most wrestling fans pine for the old days when guys like Hogan, Austin, or Piper ruled the ring. However, wrestling today still has figureheads like John Cena or CM Punk. There is still something to go to. Anime doesn’t have that anymore.
The icons of anime had their spotlight and moved on but the industry didn’t move with it. It still holds onto those gems to keep sales moving and announcements like the Blu-Ray of Cowboy Bebop to generate such talk. It isn’t new shows or characters bringing this kind of buzz to the anime world anymore and that is a serious problem.
For people like me that idolize the 80′s and 90′s for anime, is there really anything to bring us back?
The Toonami Era was a highlight of my childhood. It got me into anime and made me look for more. It was how I learned of shows like Rurouni Kenshin, Guyver, or Vampire Hunter D. It was how I got into Lupin The 3rd or Akira. Those shows (or movies/OVA’s) weren’t even on Toonami. It was the shows they did air that made me love anime and want to explore the industry.
I just can’t see how today’s show would inspire the same creativity or want for more. There is certainly plenty to watch out there in terms of recent or new shows. That I can’t deny. What I question is quality and if the way the anime industry itself clings on to the old shows for dear life is the reason why the new breed fails in my eyes.