Everyone’s taste in anime changes over time. When we were six or seven, it was probably Dragonball Z or Pokemon, or whatever else the telly was showing at the time. When we were 13, Naruto might have come into the occasion, maybe even some *gasp* shoujo romances. For many of us, the shoujo romance phase existed throughout the teen years up until we were threatening 20, with no indication that it was slowing down. No matter the person, the way we watch anime definitely changes over time. The kid anime fans of the late 90s and early 2000s are becoming adults, so what are the differences that we’ve noticed?
- Not fancying the male lead anymore.
A phenomenon that comes around for many a fan of the classic shoujo. Take Kaname from Vampire Knight. As teens, many of us were bowled over by his good looks, suave voice, and his oh-so-adorable possessiveness. Sure, he was distant and bossy, but that was part of his charm. And it was okay, because really, he was old and tired of being the good guy all the time. That kind of attitude was soaked up by teenagers in days gone by, but as these teenagers aged, we realised that this kind of male lead gets kind of boring. Watching Yuuki agonising over which tortured male vampire to be with used to get us really emotionally invested. However, as time goes on, we come to realise that Kaname’s not just tortured – he’s kind of mean. Instead of just being on Yuuki’s side, we’ve started to pity her. This isn’t to say the show isn’t enjoyable no matter how old you are. It has its great moments, and the manga gets intense. But it belongs in the days of old when 13-year olds swooned over Edward from Twilight like they did Kaname from Vampire Knight.
- Those edgy ‘grown-up’ anime are no longer edgy and grown-up.
Remember being a new teenager and thinking that Death Note was the coolest/darkest/most twisted show ever? Well, it could have been that, or it could have been Darker than Black. Both of these really are great shows, and are still enjoyed by a lot of adults today. But nothing beat that feeling of smugness when you were enjoying shows that glorified killing people with agonising heart attacks or electrocuting them just because. So dark and edgy, right? Of course, now we know there are other, sometimes much deeper, shows to get our teeth into (tried Monster yet?). Some of us might also have noted a shift when we stopped reading L x Light fan fics and started writing our own.
- Adult life is kind of starting to get in the way of watching long-running shows.
There was once a time where we could wake up, watch a couple of episodes, go to school, come home, and watch anime till bedtime. That routine could get us through a 200+ episode series in just over a week if we were dedicated enough. Watching all of DBZ in one half term? Done. Give us a one-season show? We’d have it down in a day. These days, work and uni and rent and housework have a bit of a priority. If we really put our minds to it, we can get a season down in two or three days. But there’s no doubt that we’re starting to slow down. It might actually be a good thing. After all, the number of short one-season shows has dramatically increased in the past few years. While it might be sad, the industry has played to our advantage in a way. While we no longer have the time to start the 800+ episode Detective Conan from scratch, we can really enjoy a bit of shows like the amazing Death Parade and get just as emotional over the ending.
So times are changing. Anime viewership is changing. What we enjoyed as adolescents is definitely not always what we enjoy now. But we do know for sure that if this niche little obsession has lasted all our lives into our adult years, it’s probably here to stay.