The right way to watch Anime
Let’s break down some of the finer aspects anime has to offer as an entertainment medium, and how the circumstances in which you watch it majorly affect the overall experience.
Anime is a unique type of entertainment medium that not everyone can easily enjoy. They are drawn in a variety of different ways and have premises that range from the wackiest of ideas to absolute masterpieces. If you’re unaccustomed to anime or Japanese visual culture itself, these uncommon animations may be unappealing from the very start. Or, on the other hand, you might have actually watched an anime or two but didn’t really enjoy it, consequently setting aside Japanese animation as a whole forever. It’s not uncommon for either of those reactions to occur. Anime, as a form of entertainment, usually falls under the realm of liking it from the start or giving it a shot but with no success.
This article will hopefully guide those who are on the fence about watching anime as a hobby or for those who gave up on it long ago due to a lackluster past experience. Use the advice below to help better understand the unique interest anime provides. All anime, much like any other TV show or movie, each have their own values worth watching. However, if you never give something a proper chance, their values will never reach you.
Watch it for your own sake
It’s as easy as it sounds. Although recommendations are great, they will not always match your preference or expectations. We are all vastly different from one another, so the ways we react to shows will differ as well. The people offering anime recommendations may have your best interest in mind, but don’t be surprised if your opinions differ from others. Instead, choose an anime for your own sake. There doesn’t need to be any logical reasoning as to why. The simplest of reasons, such as a well-drawn cover art, an interesting synopsis, or even a catchy theme song are all perfectly understandable motives to watch an anime.
The more popular method of sorting by top rated or most popular anime and choosing from there is also a valid reason to watch something. However, when you pick out something from the top of a list, your expectations will more often than not skyrocket tremendously. You might find yourself nitpicking at every little flaw of the show and make it your duty to find a million and one reasons why the show is ‘overrated.’ It’s not uncommon for extremely popular shows to be disliked by a vocal minority, but it does occur and they’re opinions are just as justified as anyone else’s.
Also, it’s important to never shy away from watching something that is outside of the norm, or something that is not ‘targeted’ towards you. Never let anyone question why you started watching a show. It’s a show, they exist to be watched. As long as you were the one to choose it, there can never be a wrong or right answer as to why. Choosing an anime on your own free whim helps to reduce the limitations on all the shows you can watch. There are no borders to cross, just pick an anime and continue watching.
Give it the attention it deserves
More often than not, people will have no idea what’s happening in their anime because they are too distracted on their phones or on another tab. It’s disheartening but understandable. If an anime does not show enough to warrant the viewer’s immediate attention, then it’s arguable to call out their rather lackluster storytelling. But on the other hand, to actually enjoy a show, you must give it your full, undivided attention. When you’re watching an anime, it’s assumed that you’ve got enough free time to simply pay attention to what you’re watching.
Essentially, when you’re watching an anime, do try to keep your eyes on the show and avoid any unnecessary pauses or distractions. One of anime’s key traits is the ability to immerse the viewers into the fictional realm. That, of course, will not be possible if your mind is already drifting elsewhere. If you’re giving an anime every chance to start becoming interesting but are still bored to death, then it’s time to rethink your strategy. Although there is some criticism to this train of thought, the anime community generally gives a show up until episode 3 before they axe it.
Free time is valuable but often very limited. It’s understandable to want to enjoy yourself during these well-needed rest times, and being bored to death from an anime doesn’t sound appealing in the slightest. Do give the anime a chance, but if it passes the 3rd or 4th episode and it still doesn’t strike your fancy, then simply move on. We don’t want to be forced to watch an anime we find no connection with, so feel free to drop it and move on. As mentioned before, when you can, always watch anime for your own sake and never feel obliged to complete a show for the sake of finishing it. You will probably end up hating the anime even more.
It’s not a race, pace yourself
Most anime are on a one-episode a week format. Seasonal watchers are given an entire week to think about what transpired in the latest episode and to speculate on what happens in the next. This lengthy cooldown is sometimes needed to give the viewers a chance to appreciate each episode, rather than just skipping ahead to the next one. The build-up is a real phenomenon and viewers have something to look forward to the following week. Depending on how you look at it, the fortunate part about watching shows that have already aired is the ability to watch everything in one sit through.
Just remember to pace yourself. There is no race to see who watches an anime the fastest. Ruining a watching experience over something so trivial is just nonsensical. If you want to binge an anime because you’re enjoying it on all levels, then go ahead. But don’t watch it in one sitting because you want to simply get over it, or ‘skip’ to the good parts. Watching anime, or any show, at speeds faster than its intended rate should also be used sparingly, especially if it’s your first time watching. Even at a 1.25x faster rate, the dialogue sounds higher pitched and the pacing of the show will inevitably feel rushed. Always remember to watch in moderation and for your own enjoyment, not for speed-run achievements.
Get a feel for the Japanese language
Pretty self-explanatory. Although anime is rich with English dubs, not all anime is fortunate enough to get translated. If you continue to actively watch anime, then you should at one point accept watching in its original Japanese voice work with English subtitles. This may ruin the immersion for some, considering that reading while trying to watch the visuals could be somewhat of a nuisance. Unfortunately, English natives will simply have to endure the subtitles. However, not all is lost. The Japanese language sounds rather soothing once you get used to it. Also, with a few hours of watching anime, you’ll begin to familiarize yourself with some of the common words, giving your brain a rest from all the reading. It’s a learning process but it’s simply something all anime fans must endure. Again, you can get away with just watching anime in English. However, you will be depriving yourself of some of Japan’s most spectacular stories and characters.
Never skip openings/endings
Last but not least, never under any circumstances should you skip openings/endings. Alright, maybe it’s not that serious of an offence, but do try to listen to the songs. More often than not, anime themes are performed by the voice actors themselves, adding even more sentimental value to a show. They are catchy works of music that set up and close out each and every episode. At times, they even show the story’s plot through it’s (SPOILER WARNING) 1 minute and 30 second intro. The songs make up an anime, just as a story or characters would. They are a central piece to identifying a show, without revealing any names or premises.
They don’t provide the same weight as the aforementioned do, but at the same time they are not something you should be wilfully skipping. How else would you feel the excitement when an anime’s first opening plays as the final episode’s ending? If you actively skipped all songs, no connection would be made, missing out on an opportunity that is cherished among many anime. The opening and ending themes are part of the episode, so try your best not to skip them. Anime has grown more popular over the years but still continues to be somewhat of a niche medium. The show’s animation quality is getting more refined every year, but the same wacky premises and out-of-this-world plotlines are still very much the same. Although anime may not be for everyone, there is most likely an anime show out there that everyone can enjoy.
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