I Got to Thinking…
When I sit down to watch some anime I often do it alone. However, as you may know, I still manage to see quite a bit of anime either with family or friends. For series like Anime ABC’s I usually end up watching the show in a group (especially if it’s one I’ve seen before) and the experience is often vastly different than when I watched the series alone. Today I ponder the differences in viewing anime alone VS with others and pose the question to you: how do you view anime?
Let’s start with watching anime alone. When I’m watching anime by myself, I find that I’m usually a lot more forgiving with what I see. The main reason for this is that I get sucked in more easily alone. Getting invested isn’t hard because I’m not getting interrupted by somebody making a comment or joke as I’m watching. This isn’t to say that I don’t joke at some things or am always interested with whatever is going on in an anime, but this is the general case.
In terms of viewing habits, when I do watch anime by myself it is under one of two circumstances. The first is probably something we are all guilty of, late night viewing. During the day I’m getting stuff done or consuming other media. Anime makes for a good way to relax before going to bed, it isn’t uncommon for me to throw on a few episodes of something and then get ready for sleeping shortly after.
There have been times where I’ve stayed up far too late watching anime at night but most of the time I stop around 2AM. Watching anime in this way is convenient but not without its drawbacks. For starters, since I critique and discuss anime here, sometimes I’m tired when I’m watching something under these circumstances. This either leaves me hyper critical or dismissive of flaws. Normally, the shows I talk about here are not ones I watched this way but I can certainly think of a time or two where I’ve done that.
The other problem with late night anime watching is that it is easy to fall for the “just one more episode” trap. That’s why I have a soft cut-off time of 2AM, otherwise I’ll go all night. Inadvertently, this makes for a good way to pace myself through a series. Rather than binge the thing in a few sittings, I can spread it out over the course of a week or longer. Doing so makes the viewing experience generally more positive unless the show is just awful.
As for the second circumstance for when I watch anime alone, that would be leisurely weekends. While my weekends are typically devoted to group viewings, there are times where it is just me. I set aside time specifically on weekends for anime watching so I’ll use it. During this time I will usually watch a whole series or catch up on the few seasonal shows I happen to be watching.
For review purposes, this is actually when I do most of my anime watching. I take notes on occasion and am generally more diligent about critique. When I’m lucky, weekend watching is spread across Saturday and Sunday, but sometimes it is just Saturday. I have other stuff I like to do on the weekends, just like everybody else, but this is when I set aside specific time for anime.
A big part of this is that I have access to VRV and other streaming services during the weekend. I share an account with a friend of mine but only have access on my PS4. I don’t keep that at my house. My internet isn’t that great here so I just leave that at my Mom’s place. This way my brother and her can use it during the week and I use it on weekends. Works out pretty well.
Altogether, watching anime lone is the most common way that I watch anime. I don’t have to worry about what I’m watching and it is at my own pace. It’s an enjoyable way to watch a show for the first time and some shows are just better alone like Anohana. Still, this isn’t always my preference for watching anime.
Watching With Friends
When the weekend comes, I usually spend it with a friend or two. Unsurprisingly, we end up watching some anime and other TV at least for some of the time. Watching anime with my friends is a totally different beast compared to when I watch alone.
I hinted at it earlier but the biggest and most obvious difference is that we are pretty distracting. Lots of jokes, sometimes talking over the program, and pointing out flaws to each other. While this may sound like a negative experience, it really isn’t. Sure, we are a lot more negative towards more shows, but it is in a light, fun sort of way.
Not everything gets that treatment however. There have been plenty of times where we collectively get absorbed in a show and have an excellent time doing so. After which, we have some shallow discussion about episodes before proceeding with more or switching gears.
The types of anime that I watch with friends is pretty different too. When it’s just me, I watch whatever I want. With friends we lean towards shows I’ve personally seen and am curating for the group, stuff we know isn’t good but want to make fun of, or seasonal stuff. What we watch depends on my review lineup as well as what sounds good at the time.
For reviews, that trumps just about everything. If I need to rewatch something and there is interest, we do that. This helps me critique and explain my thoughts before I write them up. I don’t always have this luxury so I take the opportunity where I can get it. Otherwise, it is a joint effort. We just vote on what we want or go with what sounds good when there are just two of us.
Almost every anime for Anime ABC’s were viewed this way as well as a lot of random seasonal stuff. In terms of quality, I feel like these articles tend to come out a bit better than the ones where I was ridding solo. Of course there are exceptions to this though. When I can, I actually prefer group watches like this but recognize that this type of viewing isn’t easy to pull off either.
Watching Anime With Family
This one may be something you don’t have experience with. Getting your family to watch anime is tough because of all the social stigma that has built up around it over the years. Recently, there has been improvements as anime becomes more mainstream, but it is still not yet commonplace. A good place to start is with films, here’s an article I wrote about just that. Any way, watching anime with family is pretty different.
My brother and mom both will watch anime with me. I have a younger sister who sometimes might take a look if it’s on but thinks anime is just boobs or kid films (which makes no sense based on what I generally watch but that’s a whole different story). With my brother the focus needs to be on shorter shows with either a tragic romance or action. If you saw his MAL you would likely say he has pretty questionable taste but also he just hasn’t seen that much anime. In addition, he prefers to watch alone as opposed to in a group.
On the other hand, my mom likes philosophical focused anime and family centric themes. The kind of stuff I watch with her has been GitS SAC, Clannad, Ergo Proxy, and Sweetness and Lightning. She always claims that anime is stupid but she gets really invested in it, especially for someone who “doesn’t watch TV.”
I try to have discussions with my brother about the anime we watch but he hates that. He doesn’t like to try and think about the story, nor does he try and predict what might happen next. Additionally, he just isn’t able to communicate why he likes stuff or doesn’t like stuff. Overall, it is kind of frustrating to watch anime with him because he just doesn’t put any thought into it.
When it comes to my mom, sometimes will talk about an idea or theme presented in a work. She agreed with me and discussed a lot of the issues I mentioned in my review of Little Witch. However, she mostly just watches pretty passively. Both my mom and brother have a terrible habit of doing multiple things at once while watching TV. That means they just don’t pay enough attention to have a real discussion nor do they really care that much about the show’s quality.
Don’t misunderstand, I like watching anime with my family but it is easily the most frustrating. The big reason for this is that I don’t personally get that much out of it. I like sharing something I enjoy with them but the lack of discussion is always a downer.
How do You Watch Anime?
This brings me back to the start. How do you watch anime and have you noticed any differences between the various ways you do it? I didn’t even mention all the ways one might watch anime, like with a significant other, because I don’t have any experience with that. Be sure to tell both myself and other readers all about it in the comments below.
Also, what kind of setup do you use for watching anime? I usually just use my computer or Blu-ray player but I also use my PS4 on weekends. That’s also something I would enjoy hearing about in addition to the other question.
If you have any other points you would like to mention, or just want to let me know what you thought of the article, let me know in the comments below. Consider giving me your support and becoming a patron of mine. For full details, click the button below. As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!