Kiddy Girl-and Reverse Peer Pressure

I liked Kiddy Grade. It had nice character designs, an intriguing plot, and even though it fell apart by the end (something that would become a signature-of-sorts for its studio GONZO), I came away from it satisfied overall.

So when the sequel came out, I was quick to get the first episode of Kiddy Girl-and, and I found it okay but not great or memorable, kind of like the original series’ first episode. But then for some reason I didn’t watch the next episode, or the one after that. After a while, rather than continuing off from episode 1, I looked around for others’ opinions on the show, and nearly unanimously the response I got was “it’s terrible, even for Kiddy Grade.” Oddly, this did not cement my decision to ignore the show entirely, but rather actually prompted me to get another episode with the intent of continuing just a little further.

Why did their negative reviews make me want to watch it more? It felt like a combination of wanting to make a judgment on a work more directly, making sure I wasn’t writing a show off entirely based on the opinions of others, and maybe a twinge of morbid curiosity. As Daryl Surat will tell you, every time he tells someone not to watch Odin they almost inevitably disobey. I’m not sure if it’s that simple, but I think it plays a role in how I’ve approached Kiddy Girl-and, but it’s a mindset that has perhaps transformed into a form of “reverse” peer pressure.

Let’s say everyone you know hypes up a show to be the greatest anime ever. When almost everyone is touting this new show to be the best thing since Instant Sliced Brownies there’s a chance you might get this little voice in your head saying, “If it’s THIS popular, something’s gotta be up.” You start to wonder if it the work is “overrated.” Ask any person who dislikes Haruhi more because of the fanbase and less because of the content of the anime itself.

I think that’s how I feel about Kiddy Girl-and but in the opposite direction. With so many people telling me how not-good a show it is, it intrigues me further into watching, especially because its perceived awfulness wasn’t entirely apparent from episode 1 (as opposed to say, Akikan, where its level of quality was immediately recognized).

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9 thoughts on “Kiddy Girl-and Reverse Peer Pressure

  1. Yeah, but it really IS pretty terrible. I mean, don’t say you weren’t warned if it proves exactly as bad as everybody said.

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  2. Oh man, Akikan was so horrible… I actually tried to watch a second -and- third ep. I finally decided I was going to destroy my soul if I kept on and had to quit. I really wanted to like it, too.

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  3. It’s the Inverse Principle of Imperatives: if you tell someone to do something, they will promptly not do it; if you tell someone not to do something they will do it at their earliest convenience when you’re not looking.

    Parents are, of course, the most learned scholars on this matter.

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  4. I spent a fair amount of time as a “progressive rock otaku,” and saw something related there: “Sure, you can like relatively-easy-to-listen-to stuff like King Crimson or Dream Theater, but it takes someone special to appreciate Doctor Nerve or Magma.”

    There’s an imperative to want to like things that are difficult to like. It differentiates you from the rest of the herd. Which is fine, until you realize you’re listening to all kinds of absolute dross, *because* most people dislike it.

    This probably doesn’t map directly to fanservice anime, since “I like Kiddy Girl-and” is not likely to win you many intellectual points. But the same sort of mental/emotional process can still go on. “If they all dislike it, but I like it, I’ve got broader–and therefore better–taste than they all do. Yay me.” As you say, reverse peer pressure.

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    • While this undoubtedly happens (the “it’s less popular so therefore I am the cooler/broader person for liking it”), and frequently on a massive scale, it’s not quite what’s happening here.

      Rather than a desire to watch and like something that isn’t popular, it’s more of a masochistic lemming instinct: it’s running towards something that other people tell you is bad to see how bad it is, not running towards something that is obscure or disliked so’s to get brownie points for liking it.

      The “less popular = cooler/broader person” effect can also be dodged around by actually liking things as themselves rather than liking the status they give you, but I know how people behave in the music scene and the constant one-upsmanship and I-was-there-first moments and aaaaaaa.

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  5. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. If it gets talked about either very positively or very negatively, it’ll catch your attention. The middling, average productions are the ones no one cares to see.

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  6. For the record, I actually DO want people to watch Odin. The “Inverse Principle of Imperatives” and “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” arguments are the correct ones.

    That’s why on the Internet, the best tactic you can use against that which you don’t want people to see or experience is to ignore it. Don’t talk about the crap you don’t want to exist. Don’t even acknowledge that it does exist…because IT. DOESN’T. EXIST. If anyone ever brings these things up, quickly dismiss them for the sake of talking about stuff that’s truly important.

    This, sir, is your critical failing: I told you “don’t even acknowledge the existence of Code 044” but you did it anyway. Only then did the fansubs start coming out. That is blood on YOUR hands, sir. Enabling terrorism. ANIME terrorism. Why, I didn’t even know that stupid Gonzo show even had a sequel until you mentioned it here. If I were a bad person, this post of yours would have moved me to track it down. The only conclusion I can make is that deep down, all the people posting about how terrible Akikan, Queen’s Blade, et al are truly DO enjoy them and want more people to watch. Because otherwise, they’d refuse to even deem it worthy of discussion or thought.

    Come to think of it, negative motivation works better than positive motivation for EVERYTHING, not just anime. If I want someone to do something, I don’t say “you can do it!” I say “you can’t do it because you’re not as awesome or committed as I am and you never will be,” which allows for that extra bit of motivation to prove me wrong. They may not think highly of me afterwards, but I can live with that if it means they’ve become a better hero [through tragedy].

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  7. >>(as opposed to say, Akikan, where its level of quality was immediately recognized).

    Akikan had an ok first episode and an excellent concept, but episode 2 was yashigani as fuck.

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