When Hype Trains Get Derailed


You know what really grinds my gears? When people see an anime that’s coming out and it looks great and all, leading fans to proclaim “ANIME OF THE YEAR!1!!” or “GREATEST ANIME EVER!1!!!1” going by only the Preview Video alone. That is an example of getting hype, and that leads to disaster.

I’ve been guilty of getting hype for something in the past, case in point Guilty Crown. When I first watched the preview videos, I couldn’t help but be excited for it. It was from one of my favorite animation companies, Production I.G, had great production values and had a soundtrack worthy of purchase. And the first episodes did not disappoint. Then somewhere along the way, something happened. The show went rotten. The story made no sense, the characters got boneheaded, and it seemed way too like they were blatantly copying Evangelion. Yet, I enjoyed it. Even though I consider it to be one of Production I.G’s biggest shames, aside from Blood-C, I still bought the series boxset. It mainly serves as a reminder of my first mistake of falling for hype.

It happened again with Sword Art Online. When I first looked at it, I thought “Hey, gamers trapped in an online game and have to fight to stay alive. Sounds cool, even though there was another anime with that same premise. Also, it seems people familiar with the source material spoke highly of it, so it’s gotta be good.” And just like Guilty Crown, the first episodes did not disappoint. And just like Guilty Crown, somewhere along the way, the show went rotten. Even more rotten than Guilty Crown, if I say so. As the show went on, it became less about a game of life and death and more of a misogynistic power fantasy with a blank slate Gary Stu protagonist and females only there for the purposes of boobs, harem-bait, and moe-bait. Then the 14th episode of that happened and it seemed obvious that the writer(s) just didn’t care. Then episodes 15-25 happened, and then it became the worst anime I’ve ever seen in my life. Whenever I think about what’s wrong with modern anime, I look at none other than Sword Art Online. I can only assume the show is “popular” because the target audience is for male NEET gamers who probably live in their parents’ basements.

After 2012, I’ve decided to Hell with hype. After constantly being disappointed because of anime fans’ inflated expectations, I’ve just decided to just believe it when I see it. Even when Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) rolled around and people instantly jumped on the hype train (again), I decided to sit back and miss the train. And surprise, surprise, Attack on Titan was good to me, and remained good despite some issues with the story, which I’m willing to bet the hype train passengers overlooked. Although, I will admit there were better anime from that year, I do believe it is one of the biggest anime since whenever. Likewise, Kill la Kill was good and lived up to its hype as well (Kill la Kill more than Attack on Titan, in my honest opinion). However I still believed in the off-chance that they wouldn’t be good.

And now, in 2014, what’d you expect? History repeats itself with The irregular at magic high school (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei) and Sword Art Online II. From what I’ve heard of the former, It’s basically the second coming of Sword Art Online, which already has my expectations at rock bottom. After seeing the PVs myself, I’l willing to agree with them. People are excited for this? It looks bland and unimpressive. And already, fools are already proclaiming it AOTY for hell if I know. Well, when the show goes to shit, you only have yourself to blame.

Don’t get me wrong, It’s not bad to have expectations. But it’s worse to set your expectations way too high, because inflated expectations will, 9 times out of 10, lead to disappointment, as it has to me.

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