Introducing others to anime can be a tricky thing. Since anime is still a more niche hobby, there are some more hurdles to overcome then for something like board and card games. However, many of the techniques that I mention in my board game article can be applied here as well. These methods have helped me introduce both friends, family, and complete strangers to anime with high rates of success.
How Do You Do It?
The first thing that should be done is to identify what sorts of shows/movies the other person enjoys. Knowing this is key to providing a good recommendation. For example, my mom didn’t really know much about anime at all. She figured it was mostly kids stuff, having only experienced Ghibli films such as Spirited Away or shows like Pokémon. When I was looking for something we could both enjoy I considered what my mom enjoyed in the past and decided she would probably love Clannad.
I was right. My mom did end up enjoying both seasons of Clannad and has enjoyed a multitude of other shows since. Considering who your recommending for is often where most people mess up. There are some common trappings here that most people fall into when making recommendations: failing to account for taste , recommending for you vs them, and recommending something inaccessible.
Failing to account for taste is the easiest thing to overlook. Looking back at the example for my mom, it would have been easy to just pick a show that I know is good and ignore my mom’s preferences. However, if I would have done this, I would have gambled with the outcome. Knowing that she enjoys romance shows, especially ones that aren’t necessarily happy, Clannad was an obvious choice. Taking account for taste shows that you took time and care about what you are sharing.
The second pit to fall down, is recommending a show you like vs what they might like. For example, you might think Sword Art Online is the worst show ever made but it may just be the perfect show to get your buddy into anime. Don’t discount something just because it’s not your preference. Your goal is to get somebody else excited and interested in your hobby, so don’t scare them away by being snobbish in what you recommend.
Lastly, don’t recommend something inaccessible. Before, I said not to filter out potential shows when looking at what to recommend. However, in some cases you are definitely going to want to. This may seem contradictory but allow me to elaborate. If your friend is adverse to subtitles, avoid sub only shows (even if that’s your preference). If a show requires some in-depth knowledge about Japanese culture, it’s probably not a great place to start, and etc….
With this last one, the big difference is to be mindful not to intimidate who you’re recommending for. If your buddy is down for subs, I say go for it. Overall, just remember to recommend something you think they’ll love and have fun watching. If you do this you are bound to have success.
You may have some resistance when trying to recommend anime to somebody else. Unfortunately, anime is viewed as something for kids, or as a perverted anti-social stigma for many people. You may have found the perfect recommendation, but these hurtles might prevent you from achieving your goal right away. Don’t fret though, there are ways to get around this.
When pitching your recommendation, don’t even say that it’s an anime. Just describe it the best you can, keeping in mind to make it sound interesting and enjoyable to the other person. Once you have them hooked, you can mention it’s an anime. They have already showed interests in the show and you are ready to deal with objections they may throw your way. This can be a little tricky as you have to use your best judgment when dealing with objections, but I have found it’s fairly easy to quiet them once they are invested.
Alternatively, you can simply just explain what anime is and why you enjoy it. A great example of this can be found in my Why I Love… Anime article. In this article I explain why I personally love anime, make some general recommendations, and feature a video explaining what anime is. Both methods for getting around these hurdles have worked well for me, so I am very confident they will work for you.
What If They Still Aren’t Interested?
There may be a chance that what you recommended just didn’t work for the other person, even when taking everything in account, if that happens try making a secondary recommendation if they are open to it before giving up.
However, even if you make a big effort and do everything right, the other person may just not have an interest. Unfortunately, this is bound to happen when attempting to get your friends or family into anime. Don’t sweat it though, anime isn’t for everybody but I definitely think that people should be willing to give it a chance.
Hopefully, the other person will at least give what you recommend a shot and come out enjoying it. If not though, then at least you made a good effort and learned some ways to improve your approach for the next person.
Ultimately, when trying to get others into anime make sure to keep it fun and interesting for the other person. If you aren’t enthusiastic with what you are sharing, they won’t even give it a second thought.
I’m sure there are other tips and tricks for getting others into anime that I didn’t think about so let me know what methods have worked for you in the past. Additionally, let myself and others know if this advice was useful to you.