Anime fans are complaining that the latest season of anime comprises little more than a series of painfully derivative rehashes of overworked themes coupled with rigid adherence to genre templates.

The diagram below accuses Gosick, Infinite Stratos, Freezing and Merry of being rehashes based on three near identical elements – “a harsh heroine, lame protagonist, and a school setting”:


Other disgruntled anime fans complain that all anime of any quality now merely focus on the “three pillars” of anime – “battle, romance and school.”

Fans unkindly speculate that the popularity of these inescapable elements is based on “a need to compensate for miserable otaku childhoods.”

Add to this “moeblob,” “slice of life” and “incest” and a fairly complete picture of contemporary anime is arrived at (a few other equally staid tertiary genres, such as mahou shoujo, mecha and harem also continue to be regurgitated).

Whatever their exasperation at being endlessly presented with the same formulaic drivel season after season, unfortunately it seems few fans actually bother to buy anything original when it does get made, rather suggesting a significant portion of anime fans may merely be reluctant to admit their endless hunger for schoolgirl dating fantasies and imouto fetish material.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    19:27 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun. -Ecclesiastes 1:9

    Avatar of Overt
    Comment by Overt
    22:58 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Associating a deep religious metaphor to a seasonal creative business... brilliant.

    “Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of.” J.S.Mill

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:24 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    if that was really true we would still be using horses as transportation.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:20 12/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    what makes you believe that people STILL don't use horses as transportation lol.

    Avatar of Josh
    Comment by Josh
    19:54 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Wait what? Who said this, what anime fans? Where the hell is this exactly coming from?

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:18 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    2ch ? or somewhere in japan? or "anime fans" are actually a programmed opinion generator software that feed on your soul and demise?

    Avatar of King Tiger
    Comment by King Tiger
    23:41 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    if it wasn't for me being "a very fucking invader" gaijin there are a few ideas I have I would like to see made into hentai anime.....*sigh*

    aw well~

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:02 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Well I might be one of them, but I gotta say last season was sooo much better.

    Comment by Anonymous

    if you dont think it will be a promising season for you it is your pwoblem

    fact is you will still watch more anime and even some of those you dont like that much

    it is still not more than one ep per anime out and there are some anime that have yet to get there -.-

    Avatar of Riiku
    Comment by Riiku
    23:32 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    “a need to compensate for miserable otaku childhoods.”

    Couldnt have said it better. The lame hero is always there so otakus could easily relate to them. They're pathetic. And you still ask why Ishihara hates them?

    Avatar of お茶
    Comment by お茶
    19:10 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.1)

    End of the Anime World

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:51 10/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    What do you mean, end of the anime world? this is just four shows. Anime's been staling for years now. There's fucking hundreds of titles that have been released over the past few years you wouldn't have heard of - they flew under everyone's radar, because they were stale.
    People have been pointing out that 'three pillars of anime' crap for yonks.

    Avatar of tyciol
    Comment by tyciol
    20:46 10/01/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Yes but, each year they aptly point it out, the truth brings it to a wider span of attention and zetsubou.

    I had not thought about these pillars until reading of them now.

    How long until anime loses its magic from our analyzing it like this?

    2ch, you are brutal with my love. This is like reminding us that women have ovaries that produce prEGGnancy.

    Avatar of Nameless
    Comment by Nameless
    21:12 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    I have a feeling they don't know that there are over 20 shows every season.

    22:20 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    I guess i was too busy ogling at the female characters to notice the similar theme and such.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:03 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    All according to keikaku...

    Comment by John Hayabusa
    23:30 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)


    this sucks! where's my k-on!!! (k-on! s3)?

    Sorry, not-racist(2) no K-ON! updates at the moment; though there's a K-ON! film in the works.

    Avatar of not-racist2
    Comment by not-racist2
    22:44 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    this sucks! where's my k-on!!! (k-on! s3)?

    Avatar of The REAL Lamberto
    Comment by The REAL Lamberto
    22:08 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    This is what I was really hoping for: originality. Future animes/mangas better show us something new.

    Comment by John Hayabusa
    21:26 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Now that this article mentions it, I'm beginning to doubt that Oniichan no Koto is gonna overthrow Ore no Imouto.

    Avatar of Xerxes
    Comment by Xerxes
    03:13 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    seriouskly everyone is overreacting. as if three similar elements that almost every anime ahd for years- i eman, come on, everybody says "tthe golden age of anime" and talks about NGE. NGE had a school setting too. it was hardly ever there, but it was there. as well a sdraonball Z, in the end. i dont think if soem part of the naime plays in school or if the characters are emant to go to school , you can really tell it a "school setting" and "all the same". the only anime of those mentioned that really seems to have an important role to the "school" part yet is IS. and anyway, we cant really judge stuff like merry aftre just one episode without knowing whats it gonna be. of the first epidose, less than a minute of it was in school.

    Avatar of Satonaka
    Comment by Satonaka
    03:18 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah they need to lighten up... lately it seems like they're been WAY too picky with their reviews. I mean hell, there isn't gonna be a Code Geass every damn season for god sakes. Your practically guaran-damn-teed a show from a "trinity" every season and in this case, its three or more shows it seems.

    Yeah their reviews are a dime a dozen and when you watch a lot of anime over the years your not gonna be razzle-dazzled by anything that even remotely resembles something from the past.

    I personally enjoyed Yumekui, Freezing, Oniichan, and most definitely the new Magical girl show Madoka. Shows like Gosick, Infinite Stratos, Starry Sky, Cardfight and Mitsudomoe S2, need a bit more polish for my tastes for me to stick with them. From what I heard Gosick gets better but the first episode was pretty lame, but I'm willing to give it more time to win me over.

    Best new episode(s) (this season) that hasn't dissapointed me since the first episode would have to be the mini episodes of Bungaku Shoujou Memorie. If you havn't seen those then they're worth a go whether or not you've read the manga, truly great stuff.

    Avatar of Hikage
    Comment by Hikage
    03:21 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Anon 21:31, are you sure you didn't watch the Beelzebub OVA? The first episode of the TV series was actually pretty good.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:29 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    @Josh go read ANN's winter 2011 preview.. thats who's doing all the trash talking.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:31 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe there are over 20 but the ones I expected the most from (like Beelzebub - shit in comparison to the manga) disappointed me to the point I gave up on this season. At least until it finishes and there will be some reviews available.

    Comment by John Hayabusa
    21:35 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I wonder where all of this stuff came from and who made that diagram.

    Now that this article mentions it, I'm beginning to doubt that Oniichan no Koto is gonna overthrow Ore no Imouto.

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    22:31 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Battle, romance and school setting"

    I fail to see the fail in this....

    And we're missing the "Gosick" tag.

    Avatar of i like pandas
    Comment by i like pandas
    20:23 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    I never get tired of people saying anime is dying. With such a self-fulfilling prophecy in mind, no wonder they never even bother to try the many good shows in every season.

    2010 had:
    - Kuragehime
    - Black Lagoon 3
    - The Tatami Galaxy
    - Shiki
    - Arakawa Under the Bridge 1 & 2
    - Disappearence of Haruhi Suzumiya
    - Durarara!!
    - FMA: Brotherhood
    - Katanagatari
    - Nodame Cantabile: Finale
    - Rainbow
    - Trigun: Badlands Rumble
    - ...etc.

    With all these great new entries and old veterans, anime isn't going anywhere. In fact, it's just as good a medium as it always has been; the gems will always be there, you just gotta ignore the surrounding trash.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:25 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    That's not something that will get through to someone who is resolved to hating whatever you're defending.

    Never mind that there's more great stuff than any normal person can reasonably watch in the time they have. Let's all focus on the bad stuff we won't be watching and make a fuss over it!

    It's completely fucking retarded but hey, these people are completely fucking retarded.

    Avatar of Overt
    Comment by Overt
    22:30 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I wonder who the retards are. Those who have noticed that 4 "quality" shows this SEASON are all based on the same overdone template, or those who fail to realize the difference between "year" and "season", and use static (other than generic and subjective) data to argue a tendency and call everyone else a retard.

    Avatar of Xerxes
    Comment by Xerxes
    03:20 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    @ilikepandas i can proudly say that i watched everyone of those except for nodame cantaible. :finale. and i just cant do more than absoltely agree with you.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:37 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't understand why people complain about this. All of those (not sure about Merry) anime are based off their respective manga/light novel. Is there a need to complain that so many manga released X year are based on the same settings?
    Everything is based on the same concept of WHO, WHERE (subsequently WHEN) & WHAT. No matter how similar they may be, the single perception of HOW makes the whole difference.
    Give the same ingrediants to two different chef and the cake they make will be different. Who cares if they're all of the same settings. As long the entire character cast (incl. sub characters) are not all exact replica of each other, its not going to be the same.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:22 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Your point is..? Ya saying you're not one of teh retardes? Good for you, I guess.

    Avatar of PirosThe3rd
    Comment by PirosThe3rd
    19:58 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    No,it is the beginning of the end.
    (maybe not,maybe just some dirty trick that those studios do just to fill timeslot like the one in ore no imoto)

    Avatar of Megidola
    Comment by Megidola
    00:24 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    This may not be the best season ever, but “a harsh heroine, lame protagonist, and a school setting” and “battle, romance and school" have been anime staples for years, this is hardly the first time they've been rehashed.

    Avatar of BlaqCat
    Comment by BlaqCat
    02:59 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Things have been going in this direction for years. Highschool of the dead livened things up for me a bit though. I don't often see zombie anime.

    Avatar of EXkurogane
    Comment by EXkurogane
    20:47 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    So what? I see ecchi. I see nekkid hot chicks and cute lolis. The rest (shitty plot) doesn't matter. If these "fans" are complaining, why dont they go and write a manga and make an anime themselves.

    It's a shame as "anime fans" they fail to realize this is the current trend of anime, where a load of gals surrounding a noob and innocent guy in a mix of harem & comedy ecchi. Nowadays anime focus on fan service and low budget (less episodes), then earn money from figures and merchandise made out of the anime characters after they sell the copyright to figure companies.

    If they cant adapt to changing trends in anime, they dont deserve the title "fans".

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:19 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Anime to me was a valid storytelling medium
    it just appears to be becoming less about substance and more about shoving as many "cute" girls into each frame at once

    I thought Love Hina was funny back in the day
    because i thought it was the only one of its kind

    how wrong i was

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:53 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    People that believe in "trends" in anime are the reason why anime is getting rehashed and regurgitated nowadays. Its basically studios trying to jump on the bandwagon trying to make a quick buck. You cannot treat the art of storytelling just like any other business where you just follow market trends and just punch in numbers to find what the next hit product is. Despite what you think, anime producers know that fans DO like originiality. Its just that originality is not predictable and can either go boom or bust..

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    19:43 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Loli >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Women don't take away the school settings pls.

    - Love, Concerned Lolicon.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:02 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    On the plus side you wont be contributing to humanities gene pool

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:13 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    school life genre to me is like rice or potatoes, seen all the time, but never getting sick of it

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:52 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm the other way around.

    Once I've seen the SAME basic plot, I can't stand watching it again. I get bothered by how similar it is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:24 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    This is a totally useless post. No sources, and examples of only the first episode from each series, etc.

    Also, older anime fans may have seen all this stuff before, but there are also newer fans. I'm sure anime fans transitioning from the 80s to the 90s also experienced an "overload."

    Avatar of Overt
    Comment by Overt
    22:43 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    An anime's genre is defined even before said anime airs. The post just reports an ongoing critique of anime rehashing the same old genres and, even more notably, the same "features", like a harsh female and apparently useless male (who will probably kick ass in an anticlimactic manner later on in the show).
    These are all facts, antithetic to what is most desirable in any work of art: originality, personality, depth.

    Avatar of Shizu's Waki Obsessor: MaidNiac
    20:42 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yep, how many mecha animes were there about a group of kids riding robots to combat aliens back in the 70-90's? Hard to count. The only difference are back then people just watched and enjoyed almost every shows as usual.... plus there were no internet and that much stuff where people think they can roleplay as Nostalgia Critic, Ramsey or Cowell.

    Avatar of Kyon
    Comment by Kyon
    19:05 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.5)

    “a need to compensate for miserable otaku childhoods.”

    Oh C'mon you fans, I had a cool and nice childood, yet, I like to watch animes with those elements.

    Anyways, the same kind of shounen animes always have something in common.

    Avatar of rei_yuriko
    Comment by rei_yuriko
    19:26 10/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Don't brag some of us (points to self) had miserable otaku childhoods. Growing up was hell and damaged me for life.

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    19:41 10/01/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Cuz featuring about aging heroines, balding protagonists in a working reality is much better what we have now......pffff

    Avatar of Darkrockslizer
    Comment by Darkrockslizer
    07:41 11/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    ...and this is why I don't watch newer anime.

    making something better or more realistic than repetitive, boring reality doesn't mean creating something different that repeats itself into infinity.

    Avatar of Kitsunemimi6
    Comment by Kitsunemimi6
    14:09 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I do have to admit, it gets very repetitive & they don't really try hard enough to make anything all that original imo...

    I do not however agree with that disgraceful statement about why that may be however...miserable otaku childhood, fucking idiots...

    Comment by Anonymous

    Darkrockslizer, if it was realistic, it would be boring as hell.

    Better--- as in a more varied mixture of the basic elements, would be welcome.

    If moeblobs, harems, and incest animes sell, then what's a commercial company going to do? Make more of what sells. Until anime fans start making mega-successes out of the "non-mainstream" "cookie cutter" animes, the market isn't going to change.

    Avatar of demonhaseo
    Comment by demonhaseo
    14:19 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Agreed... I had one hell of a childhood cuz I liked anime back when America was still looking at anime and going "WTF is this shit?"

    Avatar of Overt
    Comment by Overt
    22:35 10/01/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    If you have enough nerve to self-commiserate in a public comment and enough money to actually afford an otaku childhood, you're just a spoiled brat. (and he wasn't bragging)

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:15 11/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    I think you're the only one who imagines that otaku childhood means anime and gunpla, that's relatively rich nerd childhood. I and probably others understand otaku childhood as series of events that turn one into a shutin, something that I've just recently started to get over thanks to my love for cars and actually driving one which forces me to interact with people on the road, in gas stations, various stores and so on. I have even befriended two of my neighbors. And despite all that I have started watching and liking even more anime than before (I only discovered the fun in Initial D and Wangan Midnight around the time I started learning to drive) and my fear and distrust for people I don't know has decreased only a little and probably thanks to the fact that I'm now a bit more self confident and armed with pepper spray (more effective deterrents are illegal here).
    Dang, wanted to refute you but ended up talking about myself, anyhow, otaku childhood is nothing nice and I still haven't fully gotten over it, and probably even if i ever do I'll keep on watching anime.
    Once an otaku, always one.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:55 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Are you talking otaku as in Japanese usage or otaku in "Western" usage--- as that means "nerd (anime)" outsside Japan. Nerd upbringing can be good or miserable, just like anything else. But I don't see how a CHILD in Japan can really be an ANIME OTAKU. Unless their parents support them doing it, they aren't going to have any money to be a true otaku (collecting all the extras, going to see the voice talent and the creation talents, etc). So I would think anime otaku doesn't start until one is working to have the money to then start collecting all the otaku aimed stuff.

    Doesn't mean they can't wish they could, but if you don't have the money, I just don't see how you could live the associated lifestyle. It isn't like being a train otaku, where you just need a camera and a train pass to go spotting.

    Avatar of Dirty_Dingus008
    Comment by Dirty_Dingus008
    05:14 11/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Don't drag down that fictional male protag in GOTHIC (aint writing that lame ARSE "correct" title) as I like to point out that he climbed up something like 20 TWENTY 20 floors almost on a daily routine!
    When I was younger I visited a Lighthouse and climbed to the top. I had to stop halfway, because -most likely(I delude myself)- I've been walking for hours before I got there. That was at best 6 stories! And I only did it ONCE
    The only lame asses here are all the 2ch otakus who's only exercise is Right arm jerking, and finger smashings on keyboards to get their fictional dream girl of questionable age to "climax"~

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:37 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    good point. none of the heroes in these stories are really lame, well I haven't seen freezing yet. Infinite stratos is more like a copy of that tenchi muyo oda about his little brother. It's more closely related to original harem comedy not the types made from "this loser is you" heroes. They where originally about a hero who happens to be one of the worlds greatest warriors and often happen to be a prince or from some special lineage. Originally, harem comedy was about a hero with status and skill, the kinda person who would have women swarming after them in real life, who happens to want a normal life. This is what it is.

    Side note: chances are if you think something is original it is just unfamiliar to you. original things can suck to so just make it interesting even if it's familiar.

    Avatar of Lurkerman
    Comment by Lurkerman
    01:42 12/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Actually, some of the far more interesting series are just rehashes of a story format. Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach all have elements of DragonBall Z, (the fight-happy protagonist, anyone), but its what they do DIFFERENTLY that makes them stand out. It's not that the Winter 2011 anime season is the "least original", it just has a lightly lower range in quality of animes from the prior seasons. Honestly, I'd expect this with all the crap that's happened with the anti-otaku bill, because companies are trying to make the "safest profit" rather than going out of their way to spend mass amounts of money when a dry spell of spending could be immanent, and, if you look at the gaming industry, a "safe profit" is a product that has the biggest market, even at the cost of originality.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:43 11/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Same here Kyon. I don't pity these slovenly, pathetic Otaku though. It's their own fault they are penniless virgin wretches with no life.

    They just need to snap the **** out of it and realize everyone has hard times, not just them.

    That being said, the new episode cracked me up. Gachi pink is a tubby one, ain't she?

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