We Anime fans are pretty lucky, aren’t we?
Every three months, we’re blessed with a massive stream of brand new shows from every single possible genre that we can dive into and lose ourselves in. It’s a great phenomenon and the number of shows coming out every Season continues to grow in size with every passing year. It’s insanity!
And as a result of this cycle, this constant stream of new content, many Anime fans have taken up the practice of watching these new shows while they’re still being released, on a weekly basis.
Watching Anime as it comes out has become somewhat commonplace these days. People value the weekly watch quite highly, particularly for those who enjoy engaging in discussions about what’s currently “hot” while it’s still at the height of its popularity.
However, as I’ve stated several times in the past, I don’t watch Seasonal Anime as it comes out. If I’m being completely honest, I can’t stand the practice at all. I don’t like doing it. It doesn’t work for me.
Well, I guess most of it has to do with investment. Personally, I find it extremely difficult to get invested in a shows narrative or care about its characters if I’m watching it on and off every week. I’m a lot more at ease when I’m able to just sit down and watch the entire journey from start to finish in one sitting.
But where does that lack of investment come from? Does watching an episode once a week as opposed to 12+ episodes in a day really make that much of a difference?
I’m honestly not sure if this is the case with anyone else, but for me it makes a whole world of difference.
When I watch a show, it takes me a while to get settled and embrace the shows overall tone and atmosphere. If I’m watching something for the first time, it’ll take a good 10-15 minutes for me to really start “feeling” the show, to immerse myself in it, to “get in the groove” as one would say. And if I’m watching a large chunk, or the entirety, of a series at once, that’s not a problem. I fire up Episode 1, I get comfortable, and I steamroll through the thing in one sitting, constantly immersed and invested once I overcome that initial hurdle. But if I watch one episode a week, I always find myself stopping just as I start “feeling” the show, and the process repeats itself every week and I never truly feel as connected to the series as I’d like to be.
This is further worsened by the fact that I have a terrible memory. In my life, I have this awful tendency of forgetting extremely important things on a daily basis, such as turning off the heating when I leave the house to go to work in the morning, or picking up a parcel from my girlfriends parents house after work. I can hardly remember crucial details like the first 5 years of my life never mind what happened in last weeks episode of whatever show I decided to watch weekly. And that’s a big issue for me because remembering things from previous episodes is a necessity. This need to remember something that happened a week ago, or maybe a month ago, makes getting invested in a shows narrative extremely challenging for me. If I were to watch a show over the course of a couple of days, I’d be more likely to remember exactly what was going on 4 episodes ago because I just saw it a couple of hours ago as opposed to several weeks ago.
I’m also not a fan of watching multiple shows at once. When I watch Anime, I tend to watch one show at a time because I want to direct all of my attention towards one specific narrative. But watching Seasonal Anime, on a weekly basis, goes completely against that. To me, watching an episode of 10+ shows every single week is complete chaos. Keeping track of so many different and conflicting narratives, characters and ideas on a weekly basis is absolutely mental to me. The whole practice just feels nauseating. Then, to further add to the chaos, there’s the fact that I also like to play catch up with previous seasons or shows that I missed out on years ago. If I’m watching Seasonal Anime as it comes out, how the heck am I supposed to find time to watch all these other great shows that came out years ago? I’d never find the time.
And to top it all off I just dislike this whole idea of scheduling. I despise routines. I’m a very spontaneous person, and watching Seasonal Anime feels like a schedule to me. The idea of dedicating each day of the week for a couple of shows just isn’t my thing. I’ve tried it in the past, several times, and it’s just never appealed to me.
That’s not to say I don’t want to get into watching Seasonal Anime. I’d love to. There are certainly benefits to doing so, especially if you’re a content creator or like to engage in discussion with other Anime fans. Talking about what’s currently coming out and what’s “hot” is most certainly beneficial and is really enjoyable.
However, for me personally, I don’t think its worth the hassle.
While I most definitely appreciate and would absolutely love to get more involved in the water cooler discussions about what’s currently “relevant”, I don’t necessarily feel that it’s ever irrelevant to talk about any show. If there’s something I have to say about a show, I’ll say it, whether it came out 5 days ago or 5 years ago.
Sure, a lot of people will lose interest in a show once it’s over. I mean look how many people are talking about Re:Zero now that it’s finished airing, but that doesn’t make discussion about Re:Zero any less relevant than it was while it was still coming out. Just because a show is no longer at the height of its popularity, that doesn’t mean that anything I, or anyone else has to say about it is irrelevant. Will my words have less reach? Maybe. It’s very likely. But that doesn’t mean I’ve missed out on making an interesting point about the series.
I also don’t approach my viewing of this medium as “urgent”. As someone who wants to consume as much of this medium as possible, I’m in no real rush to do so. There’s so much Anime out there for me to watch as it is, and these new shows that are coming out every Season are just more shows for me to watch. I don’t feel the need to watch them right away. I don’t need to watch them “right now”. I have all the time in the world to get around to a series and I’ll get around to it when I get around to it.
I should probably make it clear that I’m not criticising those that enjoy watching their shows weekly. Keep doing it. I love seeing everyone’s weekly posts on the new episodes as it keeps me in the loop without me needing to go and watch them myself.
I’m aware that a lot of people enjoy doing it and that’s cool. I’ve even done it myself a few times, like with Scum’s Wish and elDLIVE, although towards the end I wound up waiting until they were over because of these reasons I’ve talked about, and I ended up having a better time as a result.
I just wanted to get my thoughts about this out there, since a lot of people have asked me why. Hopefully this was interesting.
Perhaps one day I’ll embrace the idea of weekly watching, but until then, I’ll continue doing what I do. You do the same!