12 Days of Anime – Day 8 – Giving Bad Anime a Chance

Watching Softenni was not one of my top 12 anime moments of the year, not even close.  But why you’re seeing it here for the eighth day is because I gave it a chance, even though I knew it was a bad anime.  And you know what, the earth didn’t shatter, the oceans didn’t dry, and the sun didn’t burn out.  And Softenni proved me wrong and turned out to be a somewhat decent and enjoyable anime.

I pride myself on being able to quickly evaluate anime after only one episode.  I know enough of my preferences and have experienced enough anime to know which shows are worth keeping and which ones are not after 24 minutes.  If it’s on the borderline or in its proximity, the anime gets another episode to show me what it’s got and by then the season is already set.  Of the ~50 anime I watched this year, only one was dropped (Deadman Wonderland).  So whatever system I have in place does a pretty fine job when it comes to saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to anime.

But in my second season of anime blogging, I wanted to do something new and try something different.  Rather than just blog anime I love and gush over them each week, I decided to take a ‘No’ and make it a ‘Yes’.  In other words, I was giving what I always thought of as a bad anime a chance to prove me wrong.  Additionally, I decided to chronicle this adventure over the course of the series, too, just to challenge myself and see what I could do and where it would take me.  No, I wasn’t doing this to for terribad or anything, I wanted to give an anime I wouldn’t normally watch the same opportunity I’d give an anime I generally liked.  With that in mind, I watched Softenni but never expected much of anything from it.

The first handful of episodes seemed to confirm my doubts.  The cast was a bunch of anime stereotypes and the material of each episode ranged from ineffective humor, to purposeless ecchi moments, to mind-numbing romance, and all with a negligible amount of tennis, too.  It was bad but I continued to watch.  And then something changed.  The anime began to improve and I began to warm up to Softenni.  The comedy grew to become delightful, the fanservice decreased to a tolerable level, and the romance faded into irrelevance.  That and the girls actually played tennis in these episodes.  I actually began to enjoy Softenni as an anime and began to enjoy watching it.  What began as a simple experiment with watching a bad anime turned out to end with me watching an anime I enjoyed.

I’m not sure what happened but something changed with Softenni.  Perhaps it was the anime that improved or maybe my endurance quit or possibly I accepted the message of this anime that it’s simply to have fun.  Whatever the reason, it justified its inclusion into my Spring lineup and proved that an anime that is labeled as a ‘No’ can sometimes end up being a ‘Yes’.  It didn’t turn out to be the best of anime of the season but it ended up doing decently and received a respectable score when the anime finished.  It still had its faults during the latter half of the anime and the improvement didn’t excuse the dismal first half but the anime ended up being enjoyable to watch as a whole.  If there ever was a success story for an anime this year, from my perspective, it would be Softenni.

Anyway, the point here is that I gave a bad anime a chance and it proved me wrong.  That is an experience that I should remember at the beginning of every season and try to give more bad anime a chance to prove themselves rather than dismissing them after one bad episode.  And no, I don’t mean only for terribad purposes or anything like that, but to give the anime an equal opportunity.  Softenni was the only anime I did that to this year and while I know most bad anime will remain bad, some will turn out alright.  I should learn from this experience and give more bad anime a chance and see some through to the end, just to see if I’m missing something worthwhile.  Giving bad anime a chance turned out to be one of the most memorable, and hopefully influential, moments of the year and merits a spot in my 12 Days of Anime.

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  1. #1 by tsurugiarashix on December 21, 2011 - 6:39 PM

    Only reason I kept watching is because I rarely decide to drop a series once I start it. After being pulled into a series that only runs 12-13 episodes, I sort of made it a firm rule to follow. Anyway, I do agree with you on giving bad series a chance, since usually that are classified that way only are for a couple of episodes due to bad execution. Perfect example for me was Zegapain, not really a bad series, but the execution for the first four episodes were awful. Glad I keep watching though, since it turned out to be one the best series (for me) of the mecha vain I seen in awhile.

    • #2 by avvesione on December 21, 2011 - 9:07 PM

      Glad to hear you gave an anime a chance, too, and ended up liking it. I’m going to try to do more of that next year starting with next season and see what happens. If the anime remains bad or gets worse (somehow) then I guess I can just drop it and that’ll be the end of that.

      I know a lot of people have trouble dropping anime once they start it but I don’t mind unless it’s one or two episodes away from ending. There’s only one other anime that I thought about dropping and that was Blood C, the only anime I gave a 5 to this year. I usually enjoy most anime I start watching so that might be a reason why I keep so many around. But when anime get a break in their run and they’re split over a few seasons, I don’t have trouble dismissing the sequels and I did that a few times this year (Bakuman, KamiNomi, Nurarihyon, and a few others). Not that they were bad shows or anything but that I think I’d enjoy other anime that season more, especially since I’ve already given those shows 12 or 24 episodes already.

  2. #3 by TWWK on December 22, 2011 - 6:36 AM

    There’s something comforting about some “bad anime,” I think. I didn’t watch Softenni, but I imagine it has this quality. “Fortune Arterial” had that sort of vibe for me several seasons ago.

    • #4 by avvesione on December 22, 2011 - 5:52 PM

      Yeah, you have a point there. When I realized I began to like Softenni, I also noticed two things about the anime that were either absent in the first half or were not as apparent as they were later in the series. One is that the series was just trying to have some fun. The other was that the series had absolutely no tension throughout and gave off a relaxing vibe. Those were probably my two favorite characteristics of the show and it really went a long way in helping me like the anime.

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