If you’re gonna write a “Top 10” list, then at least try to not suck at it

My friend Austin (@albatrossd, Albatross Abroad) convinced me to get into StumbleUpon, because apparently he became an overnight superstar by submitting a blog post of his to the site (in other words, he got 150 views). I did the same thing, and you know what, I’ll be damned! While an increase in traffic is a good thing, we both agreed that it was probably just a bunch of hits that will never return again. Nevertheless, I got an extra 146 hits in one day, so I’ll admit that it is pretty, well, impressive, I guess.

Of course, I don’t want to just whore out my website, do I? I want to actually, you know, use the website! So, I started browsing through the anime section of StumbleUpon and, well, I will say that there are a lot of “Top 10 anime you should see” and similar shit like that. I have also run into a few Kotaku posts about anime, which are just as bad as the gaming articles. It is all clickbait, and frankly I am not surprised that a few of them got their content from BuzzFeed (fuck that godawful site).

What do I think of “Top” lists? They’re shit. God awful shit. Well, OK, I admit, the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list is pretty good. Of course, the thing about that list is, it is actually determined by 1) more than one person 2) those people actually know shit. As Wikipedia says,

from a poll of more than 1,500 artists and leaders in the film industry who chose from a list of 400 nominated movies

So, people who have written “Top 10 anime lists” and similar drivel, I ask you, why the fuck is your list worth anything? I see a few common problems with these lists:

  1. They’re all the same. How many fucking times have I seen Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Paranoia Agent, Ghost in the Shell, and Neon Genesis Evangelion on these lists? This list fucking sucks. Why? The only semi-decent list is this one at wildgrounds.com. That brings us to point two…
  2. Everything on these lists was either on Toonami or is a Ghibli film. What the fuck is so great about Toonami? Yeah, sure, Toonami introduced some people to anime. And, yet, I can’t help but feel that the adoration for Toonami is nostalgia. Remember when Cartoon Network brought Toonami back? Everyone was throwing a party. Now that it’s back, who honestly gives a fuck? Do you know anyone that regularly watches that crap, that wasn’t watching it already? And I ain’t got nothing against Ghibli films (Porco Rosso and Nausicaa are, like, amazing), but recommending the same three movies is a little stupid. Which brings us to the third one…
  3. Everyone has seen this shit already. You recommend Cowboy Bebop? Motherfucker, everyone and their grandmother has seen that shit. It’s only, you know, the most popular show on the anime block of Cartoon Network? The Big O? FLCL? Who the flying fuck has not seen this shit? Spirited Away? Fuck you, that won an Oscar! WHO THE FUCK HAS NOT SEEN THAT? Unless they have absolutely no experience with anime, they have probably seen Trigun or Blue Gender already. When I write a “Top 10 American movies you should see” list, I’ll be sure to mention The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and Avatar, because obviously nobody has seen those obscure movies. This brings us to the fourth point…
  4. These lists are clickbait drivel meant to start a circlejerk. Time and time again, the top rated comment is, “Great list!” FUCK YOU! The whole purpose of this garbage was so everyone would agree in the comments. It was written by lazy fucks who did zero research and who don’t care about anime and just want to list some shit they saw when they saw it on Toonami or whatever the fuck is popular. This then starts this gigantic circlejerk of “Yeah great list but I would add this shitty anime.” Oh, and that shitty anime? Everyone has seen it already. Now, the final point…
  5. Liking shit doesn’t make you special or interesting. Oh, you like Tatami Galaxy? Who gives a fuck? So do 18,000 other people.

What can be done about any of this? Not a god damn thing. All I can do it make my own list, because obviously I can’t criticize the work of someone else unless I can do it too, right? Here’s my fucking top 10 list, motherfucker.

OPTIMAL EXPLOSION’S TOP 10 LIST OF KICKASS ANIME THAT DON’T SUCK AS MUCH AS YOUR MOM

  1. Naruto
  2. Bleach
  3. One Piece
  4. Dragonball Z
  5. Attack on Titan
  6. Death Note
  7. Code Geass
  8. Neon Genesis Evangelion
  9. Spirited Away
  10. Elfen Lied

Go watch everything on that list, fucker. Oh, you’ve seen them already? FUCK YOU! Watch them again.

P.S.: Don’t forget to comment “Great list!” below! :3

Update: added a fifth point. Don’t forget to like, share, favorite, and subscribe!

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10 thoughts on “If you’re gonna write a “Top 10” list, then at least try to not suck at it

      1. SushiKitten

        :p Kidding aside, I agree. I was looking through top 10 lists to find new shows a couple months ago and it was all the same stuff. Top 10 anything is just lazy blogging, tbh.

      2. optimalexplosion Post author

        Yeah I had that same problem, which inspired this. I will admit that they have uses (e.g. top 10 of 2013) but anime is such a huge medium with so little exposure that any top 10 ends up being the same crap over and over.

  1. steelbound

    Horrible list!!!! Wheres the awesomeness that is Sword Art Online ?!?!?!!!!
    I kid, I kid. I am, however, so excited for a second chance to hate SAO all over again when the sequel comes out.
    I was worried about just this problem so I waited eight years from the point I considered myself an anime fan before I compiled my first top ten list. I agonized over the criteria I would use and how to account for nostalgia and recency bias all in effort not to create a sucky list. It still turned out to be a rather weak list. My second try – two years later – was much better but I know there’s plenty of older series like LOGH that I still need to get to before it’s truly ready.

    I think a top 10 list is useful for the reader to help decide how well the writer resonates with their own taste in anime and how versed the writer is about anime. If someone’s top anime list would actually start with Naruto, Bleach, etc. then I would realize this writer probably covers series I don’t care about and probably hasn’t seen many of series I liked. If someone’s top anime list features only series from the 80′s and 90′s then there’s a good chance they are a curmudgeon who hates all newer anime and also is not a good fit for me.
    For reference here’s my top 10 : 10 – Ichigo Mashimaro, 9 – Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, 8 – Baccano, 7 – Steins;Gate, 6 – Haruhi Suzumiya, 5 – FLCL, 4 – Kino’s Journey, 3 – Natsume’s Book of Friends, 2 – Tenga Toppan Gurren Lagann, 1 – Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
    And since one’s top 10 list is so personal I would never suggest using it as a list of anime I would recommend anyone reading to go watch.
    For example, if the person already generally dislikes the animation studio Shaft then I certainly wouldn’t recommend either Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei or Puella Magi Madoka Magica. If the person already generally likes Shaft anime then they’ve probably already seen both. And if the person doesn’t know about the animation studio Shaft yet then I certainly wouldn’t suggest either of those two as one’s first experience of their work, instead I’d suggest giving Arakawa Under the Bridge a shot first.

    This post makes me want to try making a 10 anime you should watch post.

    Reply
    1. optimalexplosion Post author

      Thanks! Great comment! I don’t think that lists are inherently or always bad. As I said, the AFI has a pretty good one. It’s just, well, they’re generally bad. I talk about what makes a bad list, but what makes a good list? That is a hard question to answer. Yours I would not classify as bad, if only because it seems like you’ve peaked outside the entrance to Narnia (most people don’t even get that far).

      A big problem, though, is is it fair to compare a big budget movie (like a Ghibli film) to a TV series? No one would seriously compare Blade Runner and Breaking Bad. Why is it OK for Akira to be compared to K-ON? Because they’re anime? Uh, no. One is a movie from the 80s, while the other is a TV show from the 2000s. There’s the Academy Awards and there’s the Emmy Awards for a reason.

      It is a good gauge, but I think it would be better to not even rank them. I consider all 10/10 to be equivalent, but 10/10 for different reasons. Just say “here’s ten anime I like and here’s my absolute favorite that I consider perfect.” No ranking. Maybe not even ten. Use 11. Or whatever you want. Maybe forgetting about the ranking will help you.

      Edit: forgot to mention. Your list is only good if it’s personal. Don’t try to appeal to an audience. Otherwise it’s clickbait and it sucks. So if you like Naruto then whatever.

      Reply

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