As we come to the end of the Summer 2013 anime season and prepare for the Fall season, let’s rewind and lightly talk about one anime hat I quite enjoyed last season. Nope, I’m not talking about Tamayura: more aggressive, which I did enjoyed, but Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku, or Chronicles of the Going Home Club. That show has every marking of it being a horrible show: the show didn’t broadcast for some weeks, causing it to not broadcasting its 12 episode before the end of the summer season; had frequent QUALITY animation, with the characters going off model way too often; had horrendous voice acting, with Doumyouji, Sakura’s VA being the worst offender (between the main cast) since it was possible that the ‘VA’ was an animator instead. However, despite all these horrible things about this anime, it was one of my most enjoyed anime.
Uncanny Valley is an idea applied to anything that can emulate a human being, ie robotics, animation. It states that, at first, when an object become more and more similar to human, humans will increase their comfort in that object, up to a certain point. However, after that certain point, there will be a dip in human comfort to that object as it becomes more human-like, again down to a certain point, where then it will turn around and have a positive relationship between comfortableness to the object and the human-likeliness of the object. That dip in the middle is called the uncanny valley. So how does this relate to Kitakubu, or anime in general. Xkcd once drew a strip about movies, showing a flipped version of the uncanny valley (starting with perfection and ending with Star Wars Holidays Special). So if I just apply the same uncanny valley graph to anime like xkcd did with movies, I argue that Kitakubu would be sitting quite nicely around the so-bad-its-good peak (local optima). Here is why: As with how people respond positively to robotics that just have minor human-like features, by magnifying those human traits (obviously knowing still the large areas that are not human-like), I might have responded with Kitakubu the same way, by magnifying those excellent parts (the good jokes) while acknowledging the massive load issues but taking less into account of it to my enjoyment. Furthermore, the uncanny valley also describes how I complained and disliked others shows that are better than Kitakubu:taking the good-quality parts as granted, I magnified the imperfect parts.
I recently read an article, describing how our generation are unhappy, defined happiness to be the difference between reality and expectation. If I shoehorn this idea to Kitakubu, gives me a second reason why I enjoyed Kitakubu so much: I just had really really low expectations of the show. Despite me actually enjoying the show so much, there were so many issue from the start to the finish that I just didn’t expect the show to do anything. In addition, since there are times where the show don’t even show in some weeks, my expectations of the show is so low that even by showing I might have a glimpse of happiness. Hence, I guess this is why when a joke actually follows through and was something that I found funny, it was pure happiness. And the best part is that even if the show doesn’t deliver, I won’t feel too bad because it is just close to my expectations.
Lets use another example about expectation: stock prices. (I am not a financial student anymore, so my financial knowledge might be quite rusty, most likely someone with a working knowledge of finance will just scream at my incorrectness later). Stock prices are defined both by the marketable price of the company’s assets – liabilities and all the expected future dividends that the company will give (hence it is harder to price a lot of tech companies, which rarely give out dividends but always seems to be places to grow). Hence, when a company do better than expected for a quarter/year, the stock prices tends to go up, because the company is shown have grown more than expected. If Kitakubu was a public company selling stocks, it would have priced rather low, maybe penny stocks, and people don’t expect the show to deliver. Hence when it actually does deliver something good, the stock increases, since people don’t expect it to. And heck, as someone holding in tons of Kitakubu shares, I’m really happy because being such a cheap stock, I would have way more shares than something stable like Shingeki no Kyojin, and most likely would have a higher rate of return.
Obviously, all these talk would mean nothing if Kitakubu never had any good moments, but it did, and it was pure gold. (However, I do understand how other would not have gotten returns, or enjoyed it, weither it is just a lower investment window (3 episodes), demanding a higher rate of return, or just didn’t have those good moments, as they are subjective). Furthermore, all these talk does not negative the fact that there are still mountains amount of issues with the show, and I do will not prefer this show over something that is close to perfection, ie on the other side of the uncanny valley.
However, in the end, the show is still crappy, but heck, I enjoyed it, I was entertained, I had fun. Heck, isn’t this the main point of anime, or any form of entertainment?