Edgy is an overused word in the anime community, and it has become simply a buzzword for basically everything ”teenage angst” related. I believe that’s because we are using it wrong. Let’s get a better understanding of what I think we should be saying instead.
The word edgy is often atached to anime like Akame Ga Kill, Mirai Nikki and Tokyo Ghoul, all shows in wich the main characters are Teenagers, deal with ”adult” issues and get involved in a lot of killing.
So what exactly is edgy about them?
The issues themselves? The gore? The fact that they’re all teenagers?
No, no and no.
It all comes down to wheter the show comes of as pretensious when doing those things. I see people treat the subjects themselves or the events hapenning in the story as edgy, or just discard the show purely on how exagerated it is. But I can assure you that it isn’t as simple as that, and there are definately shows doing exactly the same stuff and not being ”edgy”.
There are several reasons why something comes of as edgy. But it can all be boiled down to how the scenes are handled. A scene where something exagerated happens needs to be taken a lot of care of to not seem forced. And having a teenager being the main character of the scene makes it a hundred times more difficult. How can you make a troubled teenage kid be taken seriously in such scenes?
That’s why most of what we call ”edgy” is teenage related. It has nothing to do with the fact that it’s a teenager, but with the fact that the scene can’t be taken seriously. It’s not like every show is actually trying too hard to be extreme(Akame Ga Kill for example), in wich those cases I would consider being ”bad edgy”. It’s just a matter of what seems cool as an idea but is difficult to translate into an actual thing. With a little thinking I can imagine Mirai Nikki being pretty cool and not that ”edgy”, but the overly gruesome and weird aesthetic of what it was trying to be just ended up seeming forced to me.
Now about Tokyo Ghoul, I have mixed feelings . Plenty of times it is self-aware and embraces it’s edge, but sometimes it embraces it too much and it just becomes self-indulgence(And not in an ok way). It has been some time since I seen it, so I can’t say a lot more about it.
But along with shows like Black Laggon or Fate/Zero, it does have some good examples of how to be ”good edgy”. And what is good edgy you might be asking? It’s like I said, embracing it, but being self-aware enough so that you don’t make an ‘Akame Ga Kill’. Having your character’s hair become white and wear cuffs is not bad unless you do it wrong by forcing the idea that that is cool into the viewer. Same with flying a boat into and helicopter to fire it’s missiles, or having a character like Revy(Black Lagoon) or Berserker(Fate/Zero). Those things when done right are just cool.
In my opinion, we should re-evaluate what we call edgy and stop throwing the word around with no actual explanation. There’s a difference between ”edgeness” and pretensiousness.
So independantly of your opinions on the shows I mentioned, give a little thought to what I said about them. My intention is not to disrespect or diminish the value of the opinion of who likes those shows, but to just express my opinion about them and a subject I feel needs a discussion. And I overall enjoyed Tokyo Ghoul by the way.
Point is…stop using edgy all the time, it isn’t very usefull and it doesn’t add a lot to what you’re saying.
(Sorry, I had to)