Watching anime is already a solitary activity and seeking out like-minded individuals who share and appreciate this hobby is the reason why the majority of us are doing this anime-blogging business.
A few nights ago, I started and then marathoned the first six episodes of Kyoukai no Kanata. It’s been a while since I’ve done that: knew nothing about the series other than the buzz generated by select anime bloggers I follow, but enjoyed it immensely that I couldn’t stop watching. Those three hours just passed by.
And then I started checking out random blog posts on Animenano. And then I stopped doing that ’cause some of those dudes were bumming me out.
In short, I’m thinking that the one of the few ways to have a pure, unabashed love for a series is to enjoy it with only your experiences and knowledge and not be influenced by the prejudice of others. When the love for the series has been kindled beyond a spark, of course sharing it in a community setting (ie, reading or writing blogs or forums) could only liven the blaze, but not before then.
Maybe this is my subconscious dig at certain ‘type’ of anime blogger, so if you think I’m referring to you, dear reader, I most probably am not. I just noticed a general trend of anime blog posts where the authors seem so jaded and so filled with ennui that every new show is awful. Maybe it’s just burn-out? After all, most anime bloggers/watchers reach that point of oversaturation every so often and would need to take a break from the hobby. And that’s fine! When a hobby starts feeling like work (and when most of us aren’t getting paid for it), it may be time to take a breather.
I then started reflecting on my feelings about the past few series that I’ve watched and why I seem to have derived, overall, more enjoyment out of them. Am I just easily amused? Am I not thinking about the series as critically as other anime bloggers are? I’d like to think that the answer to both questions is no, so then could I possibly be doing differently, how else is my anime watching behavior different this time than it was in previous seasons/months?
Here’s where I have to ‘fess up: if you’re posting about (new) shows that I haven’t had chance to watch yet, even if I follow your blog on a feed reader, I’m actually not reading them. Sorry! I’ll skim and glance through it, maybe. Or I’ll just add it to my to-read later checklist. I can’t possibly be the only one who does this, right? Part of it is that I don’t want to spoiled right away — I’m weird ’cause I don’t mind knowing the BIG spoilers but I hate finding out the little details in advance. The other part of it is that I want the chance to trust my own gut feeling and to figure out my own feelings for the show with minimal outside influence.
I think that one of the traps that anime and book reviewers fall into is the fear of having a differing opinion from the majority. (Though having a contrary opinion just to be unique or to be a troll is a separate issue entirely.) I know that I still feel weird if I watch an anime and either don’t get it or don’t love it as much as everyone else. And I know those feelings are amplified when I’m actively seeking out blogs or posts where the writers are so effusive or so jaded about the show, thus creating a death spiral of doubt about my own opinions and tastes.
This is just me, and it’s a system that’s worked for me so far. It’s almost like each new anime is a potential relationship; I’d like to get to know them thoroughly first, figure out what makes them tick, learn why they do the things they do, and for me, that’s only accomplished best if it’s just the two of us first. We can hang out with friends later, but I want the chance to figure out my feelings and know whether this new relationship will go far or if it’s just a fling.