Reputation precedes substance?

As anibloggers, we tend to review anime on a variety of factors, such as entertainment value and quality of plot, not to mention the cast of characters involved. Recently, I came to realize that before any criticism any of us do, we are always first affected by the show’s reputation.

What do I mean? It’s simple. Before anything else, we subconsciously first analyse the reputation of the show before we start writing. As such, it often seems counter-intuitive to write opinions which go against what most people think. See this article? Star Driver had been known to be one of the more popular anime last season, watched by many who all had good reviews of the show. As such, it seems almost compulsory, to have to put a disclaimer at the back of the post to clarify my stand on Star Driver.

And it’s more than just that. Reputation affects our judgement when it comes to criticizing the show. How? We tend to remember things by solely their reputations, after some time. We simply forget. All our impressions of the show are shrunken into a singular idea, which is the show’s reputation. Everyone often comments how NGE is one of the best shows of all time, but how many have the evidence to substantiate this claim and differentiate NGE from shows like, say, Top wo Nerae? Everyone often comments how Rei is nothing more than a lifeless doll, when in the show itself it’s clear that she is capable of actual human expression (gasp). Why doesn’t anyone pick up on the times she smiles or gets angry? Heck, have people completely forgotten the scene where she slaps Shinji?

And if anything, reputation affects us in real life too. We , as a result of reputation,never bother to examine the quality of a product or organization if their reputation is not as good as another’s. Say, for instance, President George Bush, who ran for two terms. Was he a bad president? Many would say yes, given his reputation for being portrayed as the dumb, childish character in various forms of media. However, was he as bad as he was portrayed to be? Similarly, take current President of the USA,  Barack Obama , who’s decided to run for a second term, I might add! He’s remembered for his charisma and his election phrase, ‘Yes we can’. But was he as good as he portrayed himself to be? Sadly, you’ll find that both leaders are actually around the same level of competence.

Let’s bring it higher. Take, for instance, China. Would you invest in China? From an outsider’s perspective, no. Look at all the cases of poisoning and corrupted manufacturers! All the bootlegs and all the poor quality of XXX,YYY and et cetera. But no-one realizes that China is beyond all that. True, cases like these exist- many of them falsified, such as the ‘buttock-meat’ sandwich’ – but China is capable of doing much more than its reputation suggests. Take, for instance, Huawei Technologies. Who? Exactly.

As a result, it would seem that shows nowadays are more focused towards given a shining impression and thus, reputation rather than have quality content. Look at all the fight scenes in Star Driver. Entertaining, yes, but in quality and substance, they are lacking. Look at many of the shows that shall never see the light of being mainstream. B Gata H Kei? Forever a show about a slut, and nothing more, when it clearly isn’t so.

What do you think?

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26 Responses to Reputation precedes substance?

  1. Baka-Raptor says:

    Reputation preceding substance: inevitable.

    Reputation superseding substance: stupid.

  2. TRazor says:

    True. Very true. Before reviewing, I always try to inform the audience whether or not the show lived up to the hype. A good anime turns bad in our eyes even when it’s good, but didn’t quite live up to its name.

    But seriously, you’re way off the mark with China. As an economics student, I can’t resist my nerdgasmic reactions slide. China is the world’s second largest economy and it continues to grow at a phenomenal rate (fastest, in fact). They have had several cases of lead and harmful toxics in their toys and other cheap products since the early 2000s, but trade has never declined between China and the world. Nations continue to trade with CHina because of its potential and also, it’s a no-brainer that people would want to buy bonds and invest money in Chinese stocks because they have a GDP growth rate of 10%, which is enormous!

    Minor quality issues aside, they are world’s largest exporter as well. I would invest in China, no doubt about it, being an outsider. Also Huwaei Technology are well known around South East Asia for making cheap internet modems and such.

    • Valence says:

      I wasn’t off with China- that was exactly my point. To the misinformed, they would not invest in China simply because of those cases – while China has become the second largest economy in the world. Potential has kept growing. Yet to the misinformed, I hear their tales of how they’d never invest in a country like that. Interesting observation.

      • TRazor says:

        It wouldn’t be the second largest economy if tons of people and governments weren’t investing in it. Thus, from an “outsider’s perspective” people are and will continue investing in it. I don’t think anyone out there pushes away China as an investment option because of bootlegs and knock-offs.

        What I’m trying to say is that, there aren’t many of these “misinformed”. There are informed and the uninformed – no “misinformed”s, because when you decide to invest, you obviously look at the numbers more than the production values.

        • Valence says:

          Not at the moment, but you have to admit that to the man on the street China’s reputation as a country is poor and needs much work.

          Perhaps misinformed should be ‘uninformed’ instead.

  3. kluxorious says:

    Kinda true. And B Gata H Kei wasn’t just about slut? I tend to ignore ecchi shows and that’s the reason why I dropped it, not because of the reputation. It has more to do with genre than with it’s rep.

    The only reason I write reviews about show is because I don’t want to be biased. Putting my thoughts into words ensure that the show get the mark that it deserved, and not just because of it’s reputation. So for me personally, reputation means nothing. As long as I enjoy the show, that’s all that matters.

    • Valence says:

      The preface is the whole slut thing, but underneath that it’s golden. It’s like coating a golden egg with shit to make an artistic statement or something. Genre is an issue too – but this only serves to further my hypothesis further, being how the reputation of the genres can affect one’s perception of them too. We think ecchi is completely, well, ecchi, but more often than not there are good shows that exceed our expectations, much like B Gata H Kei.

      I think reputation does come into mind when I’m writing a review. Sure, I write my own opinions, but I feel inclined to conform to supporting the reputation upheld.

      • kluxorious says:

        ah but you see, this goes back to previous posts regarding fanservice. If only they lessen the fanservice and focus more on the story that it wanted to tell, i might have different view about B Gata H Kei.

  4. afkeroge says:

    I feel some of your lingering sentiments about Lotte no Omocha! here… hahaha!

    True, most of us are affected by what other people say about things. I quote a great Filipino man, Bob Ong: “Kung nandiri ka o natawa dahil kakaiba ang pangalan ng isang pagkain, ibig sabihin lang noon ay apektado ka ng salita.” (If you get disgusted or laugh at a particular dish because it has a weird name just proves that you are affected by words.). This is also a reason why many people are reluctant to try and watch anime. They just get put off by what other people say about it.

  5. Anima says:

    I’ve always tried to avoid a shows reputation until I’ve evaluated it for myself, but we’re all affected by it in one way or another. I suppose it has to do with human nature. In an evolutionary sense, we share and communicate how we perceive things around us so that others can either avoid or gravitate toward them. It can be useful in determining initially whether or not you want to obtain the item in question, but ultimately is a flawed means of judging something before you try it.

    • Valence says:

      But you simply cannot, especially when the show is finished.

      In a way, we kind of want to get on the good sides of things. We kind of want to get in touch with people’s good sides, to resolve things and not face opposition, and thus we gravitate towards the norm instead.

  6. Shance says:

    I don’t know where you’re getting to, but it seems your idea of precedence between reputation and substance needs polishing. The standing in which you designate precedence isn’t properly clarified in terms of possibility. If you are a person who is driven by what people tell you about something interesting, then you are a person that regards reputation before substance. However, if one is a person who is driven by sole curiosity to find interest in something, then you regard substance first before reputation.

    It may not always be the case, so don’t state it too much as a fact.

    • Shance says:

      Well, it seems that while I was writing the above comment, people already stated what I was trying to clarify. Wouldn’t hurt to add some point on the matter, though, I guess…

    • Valence says:

      My point was that everyone, to an extent, is swayed by reputation before anything else. We come in with an expectation due to this reputation, and soon according to his expectation we rate the show to be either good or bad. In a way it makes us biased.

  7. baka~ says:

    This just show how naive most people are and how media contributes to such naivety. As the comedian, Russel Peters, once mentioned in one of his skits (iirc):
    When the media shows Afghans/Arabs, they mostly associate them with terrorism by showing footage of the act. The media doesn’t show the ordinary Arab citizen living their normal lives because it’s boring and wouldn’t cause much appeal
    In this effect, whether it be an individual, a race, religion, or popular culture, media tend to demonize everything, establishing the opinion-as-fact that reputation precedes substance

    • Valence says:

      We are swayed by reputation, but reputation could be swayed in order to change our view so as to make it biased towards a particular cause. For instance, the negative depictions of Arabs and Afghans even though it clearly isn’t the case. The demonization of Cuba even after Fidel Castro. All of it goes to show that to an extent, reputation does precede substance.

  8. Nopy says:

    I have a Huawei phone and I love it 🙂

    I try to discard the reputation factor when it comes to anime, but like you said, it still sticks in my mind subconsciously. Sometimes it takes an overly obsessed fan screaming at me to see things from a different perspective before I actually do.

    • Valence says:

      Huawei…sells phones? I had no idea. Shame on me.

      True enough, it stays in our subconscious when we review things. I suppose it differs from person to person though.

  9. ~xxx says:

    Sometimes, I just watch the show for it’s contents… For it’s is the truer measurement of the quality for greatness.

    And sometimes, due to the reputations, we are mislead on how the show will look after.

    The lesson was; Judge the book not by it’s cover, but through to it’s contents.

  10. Pingback: Entertainment not taken at face value: Nichijou, Steins;Gate and Lotte no Omocha! | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

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