Crunchyroll’s ‘High Guardian Spice’: The Internet’s Most Unfairly Defamed Anime | Panda Anku

There is a lot to say about Crunchyroll’s High Guardian Spice. The series came out in October last year and sparked backlash almost everywhere. Against my will, the YouTube algorithm gods have decided to spam my feed with clips of this seemingly harmless “anime-style” show that has really drawn the wrath of nerd bros for their “Tumblr politics.”

I watched a few of these clips out of curiosity, and I could see some minor reasons why people might not like it — like the awkward pacing, the sometimes cheap-looking animations, and the low-budget voice acting. stuff like this. But what always rubbed me the wrong way was how people seemed to become the most get upset about “the political BS”.

See, I’m very passionate about progressive issues, but I wouldn’t call myself a bleeding-heart “SJW.” I’ve walked through toxic political spaces and decided that no label is the best label for me, just to have my own peace of mind (way too far from being patronized by white Marx Bros., thanks). But with that comes a sense of perspective that made me a pretty neutral viewer for a show like this.

After almost a year had passed, I decided to finally watch High Guardian Spice. I would judge it on my own terms. And I did. And you know what? It was perfectly in the middle as far as shows like this go. Yes, there are things that could be improved, but for the most part I concluded that the amount of hate it got was directly related to how “political” it was compared to other shows on Crunchyroll. And me right now. Spring. I mean. I can’t imagine this being the hill people want to die on to make themselves the Bill Mahers of animation.

So let’s talk about it.

About the quality…

(crunchy roll)

I realize that if I don’t address the other elephant in the room — the series’ many actual flaws, separate from the “agenda” it’s supposedly pushing — a bunch of internet bad guys will try to factz me and burn . So yeah, let’s address the actual quality of the show.

It leaves a lot to be desired. I think anyone who looks at it will be able to tell. The infamous “Street Lamp PNG” is just one of many small animation glitches that hardcore animation fans struggle with; There’s also the fact that Crunchyroll gave this show resources that could have gone to well-deserved overseas contributors, or the fact that animation in and of itself is such a difficult industry to succeed in, and a show like this High Guardian Spice was somehow able to make the grade.

Some people have attributed this to the fact that animation studios and projects are made up of groups of friends in some major metropolitan areas. So to get into a new show opportunity, you need to know the right people, just like that, network, and so on. I have no idea what the budget for this show was, so I can’t really tell if the lack of technical expertise is because it was only rented out to friends, or because Crunchy decided to use it from the start to bring about failure. Maybe it’s a mix of both.

Admittedly, I watched this show through the lens of someone who doesn’t actually mind if a show is technically subpar. I like that to be honest. I like alternative comics and parody dubs and High Guardian Spice reminded me of those two things. Unfortunately, that was absolutely not the case intention, so it’s fair to criticize. I really don’t think show creator Raye Ramirez wanted the voiceover quality to remind me of the infamous North Star dub, but here we are. And here I am, personally not as interested as die-hard animation fans, but still understand their frustrations.

However, the other side of this quality medal is the LGBTQ+ representative from the perspective of people in the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions, particularly regarding the show’s treatment of trans themes and characters. Ramirez himself is trans, and he’s voicing a trans character, so as a cis person I can only assume that he spoke and wrote these storylines from the heart and from his own experiences.

I personally don’t, but some people have had issues with how blunt the introductions to these topics were. I think the moments when the conversations erupted were natural and made sense, albeit with the expected awkwardness of a cartoon. And I also found it really refreshing to see characters so openly confront their sexuality in a cartoon, from sweet Snapdragon’s journey of self-discovery to Professor Caraway’s commitment to that journey as a transformed person.

But it’s ultimately not my place to comment definitively on whether or not these storylines were handled with grace, as I’m cisgender again. I think if this show got the green light for a second season, the team would be wise to listen to their community and move on from there. Many thought that Kümmel, for example, was too squeaky clean and that he needed more dimension to be seen as a believable trans character. Others extended this argument to other queer characters on the show, which I see as an extension of a pre-existing problem that members of the community are tackling with self-described “diverse” shows.

And while we can and should talk more about these gullible criticisms, we must first address the bad faith that has dominated conversation surrounding the series online.

“No politics in MY anime!!!”

A Behelit screaming from Berserk, an anime horror
(GEMBA)

I won’t post links to the specific threads where I read these statements because I’m not trying to (or be) abused by anyone, but many people objected to the fact that Crunchy got “political”, by adding this show to their roster – a roster which by all accounts is NOT “political” as it literally consists of the work of another hemisphere and hence sense of “politics”.

A fairy tale as old as time: introduce something different from the norm and suddenly it’s “politics”. Suddenly, the existence of people different from oneself is an act of rebellion against the comfortable ignorance of Tomoko-chan’s giant boompaloompas. I hope I don’t have to explain that any further. It’s a topic that’s been beaten to death.

Unfortunately, ignorance itself wasn’t beaten to death, which is a shame because it’s that kind of ignorance that has resulted in the show being bombarded with reviews before it even had a chance to make its case. Dudes saw what Crunchy gave them and instead of just doing it anything Otherwise, they’ve made it their mission to ensure that all this “uwu anti-conservative rhetoric” doesn’t just harm the site, but humanity itself.

When you look up High Guardian Spicesee all these videos about “insert agenda” and “lol gay” this or “huge bitch” that – just a barrage of carefully worded videos to remind me when The Last of Us 2 came out. And yes, between the two mediums, one is a haphazardly made cartoon, while the other is (dare I say it) an incredibly well-crafted and ambitious storytelling feat.

But I wrote this article because I’m so damn sick of the snub noses and persistent sneers of these bottom-fed idiots who are so unwilling to show a little empathy, a little understanding, that they ignore any possibility of criticism drown out thinking about anything outside of their sphere of existence. They are making something out of nothing unnecessarily, and consequently sending a message to creators who may have similar creative ambitions that they are being pursued, that their ideas are being taken out of context to fulfill an “anti-agenda” agenda. that no matter how well or poorly they execute their idea, it just doesn’t matter because these guys don’t want “politics” in their anime.

The best way I can think of to explain this, and consequently deal with it, is to understand that it’s coming from a very specific place that Madame Points explains better than I do. (And the implication isn’t that all of these people are necessarily incels; their way of framing that way of thinking is just more articulate and fairer than other explanations I’ve seen or read.) I’m just saying it has to be terribly painful To live a life of feeling like a victim and to decide that the only way to survive is to bully others.

Final Thoughts

(crunchy roll)

To be clear, I didn’t want to write this article because I’m a High Guardian Spice Superfan or because it is not deserved any criticism, but because tendencies on the other side on the Internet bother me. I firmly believe that no matter how badly done, a show deserves as much of a chance to prove itself as any other cartoon you might watch on streaming platforms. “Politics” shouldn’t get in the way.

But to be perfectly honest…I didn’t hate the show. I actually liked it. It didn’t strike me as any more or less creative than other shows of this nature – honestly, most animated shows, anime or not, tend to bore me to tears and are only interesting to watch for the animation itself. My main complaint with this show is that it should have been more adept at handling its overall identity crisis. As it is, it feels like a children’s show, with swear words and not-so-subtle innuendo thrown in at random.

Considering Crunchy kept this show under wraps for two years AND the viewer reaction, I don’t have high hopes for the release of a second season. But when it comes out, I’ll probably check it out. After all, I need to know what Neppy Cat is up to.

(Selected image: Crunchyroll)

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