This video is sponsored by KurtzPel and KOG Games. KurtzPel is a free-to-play, anime-style action RPG for PC that is available in the link below. Right off the bat I’ve got to say that this game, honestly, has one of the most satisfying action combat systems I’ve played in an anime MMO game. Attacks feel good and weighty, chaining combos with special moves looks cool as hell and overall, battles can actually be quite challenging, not forgetting that it all looks absolutely beautiful. Choose from a variety of different classes to suit your play style and also create your own character to suit whatever protagonist you want to be. You can be an OP anime guy, or let’s be honest, we’re gonna be a girl cuz when in life wouldn’t I choose to roleplay as a cute anime girl? See you can edit all the important features like eye colour, hair style, and… DAMN BOI, SHE THICC, BOOOOOIIIIIIII Currently the game is in early access for North and Latin America, where you can play either PvE or get your ass handed to you in PvP. And I’ve been impressed at how closely the developers are listening to feedback and quickly addressing any issues the player base may have had with the game. If you want to try it out, again, Click the link in the description to give it a download on Steam. And with that said let’s get on with the video There’s a concept I feel has died as of late within our community. One that used to be a standard part of getting into the medium and that is the idea around classic anime. Anime that define their generation and pioneered the landscape you see today. It used to be mandatory to at least go back and watch a handful of them, but nowadays, not only is there less obligation to get yourself cultured by watching these shows, I also kind of feel like no matter how great any new anime coming out is, there’s nothing that really sticks out to me that we could call a modern classic. I off handedly mentioned in my Best of Anime 2018 video that despite how great I thought last year was, it had zero classics, which was more my way of describing that no matter how good any show was, it seemed to lack a sense of impact and longevity that a lot of greater years of anime had. But it certainly sparked an unintentional debate in the comments section about what exactly a classic even is and whether it’s too early to judge. So today, I wanted to really dig in on that exact topic, what’s lacking today, and really remind everyone why they were important in the first place. There’s a lot of different things I want to unpack in this video, so without further ado, let’s just jump into it. What What makes What makes a classic? What makes a Classic FM?
(Yay! A British joke no one gets!) I don’t think I need to state that the exact parameters of what defines a classic is entirely subjective and probably different for every person. But I guess I just did anyway. Most common definitions of the word, in a broader sense, simply played out to be something of universally recognized quality and established ongoing value. However, for the sake of the argument I’m making, for me it boils down to three main points… Number One: Number One: Staying Power Classics are classics because they have stood the test of time. No matter how many years pass, they will still be relevant in their own way. There are many older anime that have aged in some way, mainly to do with their art style or animation, but have preserved a sense of timelessness, with either their story or characters, that can be enjoyed in any era. As a side note, that have been many shows that set trends and pioneered legendary tropes on the bleeding edge of what was fresh and significant in the time they came out, but have lost a lot of their luster through these elements becoming oversaturated years later. The Vision of Escaflowne, for example, pioneered a lot of things, and there was a time it was considered a classic and I’m sure many still do. Now though, it’s a lot harder to recommend for newer audiences, as most people who watch it for the first time could see it as some generic, isekai-mecha show, because of how overplayed many of its tropes have become since, and, in my opinion, no matter how revolutionary a show is, this is a test it has to overcome. Which brings me to point Number Two: Impact
(Presumably not like Eva) I feel there needs to be a level of impact and influence because logically, it must have been able to impact its own time in order for it to be remembered. And this goes in two ways: an impact on the anime industry itself that influences future titles and the landscape of anime, or an impact on anime pop culture and the general audience of the time. I don’t think I need to clarify what kind of impact anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion or Akira had, but I could talk about more recent anime that had a profound impact on anime pop culture. If I shouted the phrase “And this is to go even further beyond!” or “Just who the hell do you think I am?”, how many of you would immediately know what I’m talking about? Some classics I feel only have an impact on the industry, some on pop culture, and some doing both. But I think it’s important because if an anime hits every other category, but isn’t that popular or widely influencial, in my opinion, it’s closer to a cult classic. And finally, Number Three: Number Three: Quality. The term classic surely implies that there would be a certain level of quality or critical acclaim behind it. You can have something that’s remained relevant for years and is also widely influential, as you would see with a lot of gateway anime, but unless there’s a general agreed consensus that it’s up to a certain level of high standards, people won’t take it seriously. I think the best example of this is the Sword Art Online franchise, which is still way more relevant than arguably any other anime that came out in the same year, and undoubtedly has had the popularity to back it up while influencing the landscape of modern anime. But would anyone actually call this a classic? Now with these points in mind, how many, if any, could you apply all three criteria to an anime today? To me, it’s the feeling of a modern classic that’s been missing from anime recently, and I don’t want you to get the impression that that means anime has gotten worse. Quite the opposite in fact I think it’s better than has ever been, and that might actually be it. Never before has such a wide variety of high-quality anime been available to us in a constant drip feed of seasonal content, never giving us a moment’s rest. We’ve been spoilt for choice, and I think it kind of shows when I think this spring season is kind of weak just because it only has two shows I’m super hyped for and five shows I think are pretty good. Get out of here. What do you mean I’m not literally spending every free moment trying to keep up with shows worth watching like the last two seasons? (Sᴜʙsᴄʀɪʙᴇ ᴛᴏ CᴀʟʟMᴇCᴀʀsᴏɴ) While there are less shows pioneering new things, which is understandable considering how old this medium is right now, I think the average quality and very certainly the quantity of choice has gone up. But that’s the thing, if everything is special, nothing is. Of all the three criteria, it’s Staying Power that seems to be missing most of the time. Current trends and hype series cover the majority of what remains relevant and impactful throughout the wider community, with the sheer density of new series being fed to us every season, it can become easy to forget even great shows. We used to complain that anime used to have filler seasons. Now, it feels like we have filler anime. You could argue that it’s far too early to determine which recently aired anime has staying power But I’d argue that you’d be hard-pressed to find any show that lingers around for longer than three months, let alone years or decades later. Just because not a lot of time has passed doesn’t mean you can’t have a good idea of what will stick around. There have been plenty of sporting events that have been labeled an instant classic, as soon as the last episode of Breaking Bad aired I knew was gonna go down in television history, and with what Infinity War and Endgame have achieved and how much is permeated into general pop culture, I have no doubt they will become classics that have defined this generation. On a rare occurrence, though I will watch an anime that does something special that would stay in my mind for a very long time, even in this climate. Something that goes above and beyond even compared to the best and has that special X-Factor you rarely see. The anime that I would say has come closest to becoming a classic recently is Mob Psycho 100 – Season 2. Hell, I know many of you would probably argue it already is, and I completely get that. Season 2 of Mob Psycho is one of the best anime series I’ve seen in years, that completely blew the first season out of the water. It somehow leveled up its orgasmic animation with some of the best fight scenes of the last decade, and paired this with a heart and intimate character writing that wasn’t as prevalent before, while ending every major plot thread it had set up, resulting in an all-round package that will certainly stick with me for years to come. It was just such a perfect storm of greatness on every level that you rarely get to see. So what exactly is it missing? Well, it’s precisely because… it’s a season two. As much of a masterpiece as I think it was a lot of people were dropped off after season 1, which is to be expected in the fast-paced seasonal anime cycle and an over two year gap between seasons. Even I had trouble remembering everything the first season left off at, and I’m sure this killed off a lot of the potential wide-scale impact it could have had. I have no doubts that if it was one long season, or even if the gap was shorter, It would have permeated the community much deeper than it did, but as it stands it wasn’t even the most popular show of its own season. There was more discussion around Shield Hero. More fresh hype around Promised Neverland. And more memes around Kaguya-Sama. This, I think, perfectly illustrates why it’s so hard for anime today to get a sense of longevity. Right now, Anime has become too segmented to have the same influence, and the community moves too fast to have the same staying power it used to. I’m sure it’s still possible, it’s just much harder. It has to be able to stand out from the dozens of anime it competes with every season. It has to be given a long enough run time to have a lasting impact, without big breaks if it’s broken up into seasons. It has to be easily accessible on a streaming platform that the community will collectively access, and, on top of that, it has to be… you know…. Really Really Fucking Really Fucking Good. I do, however, think there’s a small asterisk to this point, as I think every generation will have a long-running shonen that defines that era and goes down as a classic. With it being a staple of gateway anime and it’s long-running nature allows it far more time to build the popularity and impact and staying power because, well, it sticks around for so long So if there is an exception to everything, I’ve said here it would, of course, be: My Hero Academia I do think this is the one show that has done enough to be remembered for a long time to come, but I also consider these types of shows to play by a different set of rules than the Mob Psychos of the anime world. Because part of the reason the idea of classics has died is because, well, we don’t feel the need to look back into the past anymore. Even if the past is just a year or two ago. There’s so much to choose from now, What’s the point of looking back? And that’s the real reason I wanted to make this video. Because over the past few months, I actually did set a bit of time to watch some classic anime I had never seen before. And it just reminded me why classics are indeed called classics. Two months ago I set off on an arduous mission to start the anime that had been sitting on my watch list for years. Waiting until I was ready to take that leap of faith to finally watch it. Legend of the Galactic Heroes. It was an undertaking that was as intimidating as the reputation that preceded it. A classic so highly spoken of, it has literally been memed to death by many people, myself included, as the one show that’s been put up on the highest pedestal. “Anime won’t be the same once you watch Legends of the Galactic Heroes” they said, and with this all in mind, what I found was exactly what I had expected. One of the greatest stories to have been told in the history of anime. A tale so grand, no other anime even comes close to the scale, depth, and density of the saga told here. A production that took almost ten years to complete, contained in a whopping 110 episodes for a one-of-a-kind experience you can’t find anywhere else in this medium. It’s not the kind of fast-paced instant gratification anime more common today, but a full-length epic you gradually immerse yourself into. With a show like this you can get so caught up in its reputation that it can be easy to forget how and why it got its reputation in the first place. Through this, it reminded me why there used to be this big notion that you should go out and watch the classics. Not just because it was a great show, there are plenty of great shows that are coming out right now, but because it’s a unique experience from anything you can find today. There’s a reason the classics have survived the passage of time. They might have pioneered something, they might have left a deep impression on the audience of their time, but most importantly, it’s because throughout the years that came after, nothing came along that was able to replace them. I can safely say since I first watched Cowboy Bebop, there hasn’t been any other show quite like it . Serial Experiments Lain has a depiction of technology that somehow seems more relevant today than when it came out in 1998. Akira still looks better than 90% of the anime coming out now. Neon Genesis Evangelion redefines what it means to be genre defining. It can be easy to forget through the current sea of Isekai Power Fantasy Highschool rom-coms of today that anime didn’t always look like this. So if you think this season is a little slow and you have some time to fill, just pick a classic title that’s been collecting dust in your watch list and I guarantee, it’ll be a way more fulfilling experience than watching another disposable show that’s been airing in the last year. Whether or not you agree on which anime counts as classics, or even if you disagree with my opinion that we haven’t gotten any recently, I think it’s important to keep the idea of classics alive, because it does feel like lately there’s been a depreciation in the value of longevity and revisiting the past. So if there’s anything I wanted to do with this video, it’s reminding people that there is a reason to look back It’s taking a break from the current climate and having a look at a product of another time. It’s having that realization of “Oh, this is what everyone was talking about.” It’s experiencing a show that has done something to deserve to be remembered. Because one of the saddest things I think could happen to classics is for them to be forgotten. Hey guys, hope you enjoyed that video. Again, I want to thank KurtzPel and KOG games for sponsoring this video. If you liked what I showed and want to give it a go then just click on the link below to download it also Also, thank you very much to Bddinyolife, Robert Hamilton, Walt O, SupremeSayain, Nicholas Tatum, Michael, from my patreon discord lets me use one of his lines in this video There, Michael. There’s your free shout out. And everyone else on my patreon for helping to support me for this month and making this video possible. Not many updates today, by the time this video comes out, I’ll probably be in America or Ireland just travelling around. So, yeah, I’ll just leave it at that. I’ve been Gigguk and I’ll see you all next time.