Management: This one should obviously go without saying, but it comes up so often in response to criticism that I figured I might as well give a more full response. A couple thoughts that I’d rather just link than constantly paraphrase.
Why are critics so against shows that are popular? Just because perfectly good shows likes SAO or Titan become popular, they have to pull at the seams and attack them? It seems mean-spirited and pointlessly non-conformist to put down shows just to look “critical.”
My short answer here is “Holy strawmen, Batman!”
My long answer is…
Yeah, it’s still a strawman. You’re assuming people who don’t like things you like are somehow lying, when in fact they probably just don’t like what you like. People just really do have very different opinions. And yes, there are people who get their kicks out of going into threads for shows and saying “this show was crap, you’re all stupid for liking it” – but A. Those people are the exception when it comes to contrary opinions, and B. So? Ignore them. They’re acting like children. If the only way they can find satisfaction is by deliberately seeking out people who enjoy things so they can bring them down, then wow, that’s really, really sad for them. Don’t let it spoil your fun.
But also don’t let it make you assume that’s the default reason someone doesn’t like a popular show. You use examples of shows like Attack on Titan (which I actually reviewed) or SAO and say “despite being very good, these shows are attacked by critics to make themselves feel smart.” That is a tremendous assumption there – by saying “despite being very good,” you’re basically doing the reverse of what those critics do, and saying “I think these shows have many merits, therefore anyone who doesn’t think so must be lying to look smart” instead of “I think these shows are terrible, therefore anyone who likes them must be stupid.” These are both personal opinions being cast as universal indictments of how other people appreciate media, and they’re both a problem. And in fact, it’s the “you shouldn’t badmouth shows” point of view that scares me more – going into threads of show-love and saying everyone is stupid is one thing, but simply saying “I think this show was bad, and here are my reasons why” in a normal discussion? Denying that sounds like denying the very idea discussion and critical dialogue should be applied to shows, which is just straight-up anti-intellectualism. Everything should be up for discussion and spirited debate – and in fact, these debates often comprise a substantial part of someone’s enjoyment of a show.
Someone can dislike popular things and still be passionate about the medium – hell, oftentimes people’s dissatisfaction with a popular show comes about because they had high hopes in the first place, or because they think it would be really good if only it changed this or this. And that can actually lead to compelling conversations with people who do like the show, as long as both people are willing to set their feelings on the show aside from their identity or feelings about the other person. Which is one of the biggest problems here – people perceiving an attack on something they love as an attack on them personally. And yes, when it comes to the trolls, they really do combine the two. But assuming a person who dislikes something you like is just trying to look smart is just as bad as assuming someone’s stupid for liking something, and meaningful conversations require more mutual respect than that.