To stay on the safe side, some fans will recommend (and promote) mainstream anime because it’s a safe way to avoid criticism.
Going against the herd is tough.
Others do it because well, their knowledge is limited. Or because they genuinely love some mainstream shows.
As for me, here’s why I choose to avoid recommending mainstream anime too often.
Whether that’s online or in-person.
1. Everybody else will recommend it anyway
There’s nothing more boring then coming across dozens of articles with the same opinions.
If too many people agree with something, it’s obvious some people are being dishonest or trying to “fit in” or please people too much.
This is true with mainstream anime shows and the usual recommendations you’ll see online.
If everyone else will recommend it anyway, what’s the point in me doing the same? You’re not gonna get anything from it (because you’ve seen it before), and it’s only gonna add to the noise.
There’s enough “me too” recommendations as it is.
That’s why this post is different: --> 53 Of The Greatest Anime Shows Of All Time (2018)
2. Because “mainstream” anime isn’t always the BEST
When you see an anime series that’s mainstream, successful and famous, it’s normal to think “this MUST be a good series”.
But here’s the thing: popularity isn’t “always” about quality.
If an anime is mainstream, that means a couple of things:
- The anime had a good marketing team behind it.
- The company did a better job of branding and promoting it.
- Pirate sites like KissAnime skyrocketed it to fame.
- Or SO many people hate it, that it draws attention to itself and becomes successful (SAO, etc).
I’m oversimplifying it, but it’s usually along those lines.
Angel Beats is an example of something I dislike. The anime is over-hyped and overrated for what it delivered.
Where as shows like Guardian Of The Sacred Spirit, Good Luck Girl and Witchblade are much better (personally).
Despite being underground and not as famous. Mainstream isn’t always the best.
3. You’re probably tired of hearing about it
I hear about Steins Gate all the time. It’s hard to escape its popularity and fame in the anime community.
The same is true for Death Note, My Hero Academia, SAO, Naruto, and countless other anime. That’s why I tend to avoid mentioning it or “recommending” people to watch these shows.
It’s much more useful (and interesting) to recommend an anime like Hinamatsuri, which isn’t as popular.
Or even Kino’s Travels which is a classic slice of life series with a unique focus on story-telling and traveling.
Sure, I could mention DBZ or other mainstream anime (and I do), but not too often because there are 100’s of other anime that deserve some praise.
4. Mainstream anime isn’t the “best” first impression for new anime fans
It’s no wonder outsiders (and critics) who haven’t watched a single anime in their lives… believe shows like DBZ, One Piece and Naruto is what “anime” is supposed to look like.
That’s not to say Naruto, One Piece or DBZ aren’t classics in their own right. But if you’re new to anime, their fame is a little overwhelming. Giving you the wrong impression of what anime is.
There’s more to the anime industry than these 3 big anime shows. With more than a dozen anime genre’s unlike anything you’ve seen that’s worth recommending.
5. There’s much more to the world of anime than “mainstream” shows
Continuing from my last point, mainstream shows aren’t the be all and end all of what anime is supposed to be.
You have Seinen shows like Shuffle, Jormungand and Monster that are nothing like your average mainstream series.
Then there’s “slice of life” like Flying Witch, which is more underground compared to popular anime like Clannad or Toradora.
There are too many shows that go unnoticed because anime writers, bloggers, fans and site owners play it safe. Recommending “only” what’s expected.
Instead of sharing their own opinion of what they enjoy (whether it’s mainstream or not).
That’s the point I’m getting at with this post. And that’s one reason I avoid doing that when recommending an anime for people to try out.
That being said…
I’ll give credit where credit’s due.
If it makes sense to recommend a mainstream series, then I always will. But only if it makes sense instead of for the sake of it.