Does Anime Need a “Deep Meaning” for it to be Good?

Recently, a post on Twitter was brought to my attention that an anime series needs to have deep meaning or have signs of symbolism for it to be considered good. That phrase in itself already poses so many red flags and begs the question, “Who determines what is good and what is bad?” But putting that aside, let’s look more into what this means. 

Having deep meaning in an entertainment medium means that there is something more than what the viewers see the characters do or feel or what is going on in the scene. It basically puts another layer of depth to a scene of character waking up in the morning or what the characters are saying and how they say it that isn’t blatantly laid out for the viewer.

But does another layer to the scene really need to exist in order for the masses to consider the series “good?” Simple answer to that is: NO.

Having a deep meaning in a series should not be something a series NEEDS to have in order for it to be good. If this was the case, all slice of life or comedy series wouldn’t be good, and we know that Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is one of the highest rated comedy series this year. While many can argue that ratings on sites doesn’t count because they didn’t rate the show critically, you cannot say that of the 97,000+ people who rated it are all wrong.

Well, people who like to analyze a series might say that Nozaki-kun criticizes the anime and manga industry of Japan and it is trying to change the outlook of the shoujo genre because of the actions made by the characters. As far-fetched as that might sound, it MIGHT be a plausible analysis and because it has that deep meaning, people gave it a high rating.

But what if it’s not the case? What if the author of Nozaki-kun came out and told the world that this series’s purpose is to make people laugh by the strange antics of characters? That would mean that because it doesn’t have a deep meaning, Nozaki-kun is not a good show and the 97,000 people who rated it is wrong. Well that just sounds very silly and a little bit elitist, but I don’t want to dive into that realm.

The point here is that an anime series does NOT NEED a deep meaning to be considered good. Viewers may come up with interpretations to a series whether the author meant to or not, and their interpretation may be the opposite of what the author wanted the viewers to get. But it is not a necessity for a good series.

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