Viewing Anime Alone & With Others – How do You Watch Anime?

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?

Watching Alone

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.

Me after a late night of anime watching

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.

Watching anime with friends can be like this too

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.

Ok my family isn’t this big but you get the idea

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!

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50 thoughts on “Viewing Anime Alone & With Others – How do You Watch Anime?

    1. It seems that increasingly this is more common. I’ve done this a few times myself, when it is dubbed, but generally I try to give stuff my full attention on a first go. Thanks for reading an older article of mine and taking the time to comment 🙂

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  1. My partner and I love watching anime ☺️☺️ So we always watch together. Of course where it comes to more magical ones like Sailor Moon, I usually watch by myself but everything he watches I will watch because I can get into any anime haha. Great post dear x x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyed reading this… Never crossed my mind to talk about this, but while reading your post it came to my mind that it is in fact different.
    Daily I watch anime with my boyfriend and alone. I’m always watching 2 different animes at the same time. One series with and the other for my random Anime series where sometimes I need to binge watch, but that is another topic.
    Basically at dinner we always watch an episode of Anime together. At the moment we are watching natsume, at the same time I watch on bed (he falls asleep 1 hour more or less before me) before going to YouTube and watch videos that don’t need me to think and helping me to fall asleep xp
    Now I think the main difference is the commentary. We like to talk when it’s happening something and well when we are watching a sad scene I always make fun of him when he has a tear coming out of his eyes (he becomes emotioned really easy), when it’s something sad, but strong that even I feel sad, well we normally cuddle up a little tighter lolol
    Now while watching alone, since I started this blog is completely different, although I try not to over analyze what I’m watching because I want to write as a viewer and not a critic, it is true that I am more attentive to smaller details.
    With friends I only have the experience with my best friend and since we are not able to be together that many times we always go for a movie and it’s basically watching a movie (although we both end up getting into the movie so much that we don’t even talk or comment anything LOL)
    With family… Well my mother calls every Anime I’m watching Naruto X’D thats the only one she knows I think xD normally I am watching Anime in the pc while she watches a serie in the TV, so although we are together we are consuming different entertainment xP but that’s OK non the less xD sometimes I see her peeking the laptop but every time I ask if she wants to watch it and I’ll find something with Portuguese subs she says she doesn’t xp
    Sorry for the long comment… Maybe I should have done a post and just start with “in response to Jon…”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to watch anime by myself, but occasionally the wife will watch some if I put a pre-sleep show on at bedtime. She’s not what I’d call a big fan of anime, but she’s found herself getting interested and invested in certain shows when she’s caught them; she particularly enjoyed Himouto! Umaru-chan (which she refers to as “hamster girl”), Sword Art Online, Dragon Maid (I don’t trust anyone who claims not to have enjoyed that one) and Konosuba, though we both still need to finish watching that.

    Some friends (who I’ve unfortunately lost touch with somewhat over the last few years for various reasons) used to tell me about a regular, weekly anime night they had with cocktails and I was always a bit jealous of that. I’ve tried in vain to get my “IRL” friends who live near me to come and have an anime night, but no-one is biting. I am disappointed; if there’s one thing the online community shows, it’s that many of these shows can be greatly enjoyed with friends!

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    1. Hamster girl isn’t too far off to be fair lol. Even though it’s just sometimes, it’s nice that your wife will watch with you. As for friends, invite them over for a movie night and try Your Name or something. That will probably work.

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  4. When I watch alone, I end up laughing a lot more at minor jokes. When I watch anime with my brother, I get more invested in the characters we both like and fangirl out loud. I think I only prefer watching anime with either someone whose tastes are similar to my own or someone who isn’t too critical.

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  5. My anime watching habits mirror yours pretty closely. The “soft cut-off time” has shifted back over the years, but it’s still downright necessary for me to watch at least two episodes of something a night. Blogging has also offloaded a lot of my nighttime viewing to the day (thanks to the note-taking and the thinking cap). Watching with family is tricky, but Ghibli films are the gateway drug in my experience.

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  6. Most of the time, I watch anime alone. I’d like to watch with friends more often, but it’s tough because of my work and my friends have busy jobs themselves.

    The last time I watched anime with friends was when I brought my Jungle Emperor Leo (1997) Blu-Ray to a friend’s house after telling them about the “lion controversy” associated with this film and with the Kimba series at large. They actually enjoyed it, but there was one interesting moment where one of my friends who’s an Evangelion and Akira fan (keep that in mind) witnessed a major death scene in that movie. He said “This movie is so dark! Are your other favorite movies about the Holocaust or something?” after one protagonist succumbs to a disease. Come on, it’s still a PG movie, people. It was fun, and I wish I could do it more often. I’ll pick something lighter like Shinesman next time around.

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    1. I feel like watching anime alone is pretty common. Seems to be from the comments so far at least. Any way, that is so funny about your friend! I could absolutely blow his mind XD At least you get some time with friends and a lighter thing may be fun for next time 🙂

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      1. Same here. I’ve noticed that and my friends who like anime tell me that, too. It was so funny and ironic on so many levels. This same person also became a recent Go Nagai fan after watching Devilman Crybaby, so that adds to the humor in hindsight. That would be fun if I could bring some funnier or more lighthearted anime along.

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  7. I watch quite of bit of anime with the hub. We usually watch action shows like Dragon Ball Super together. Alone, I usually watch girly stuff like Fruits Basket. Or watch a series I’ve seen a billion and one times. I got my brother to watch Kenichi with me. But, I can’t get him interested in any others.

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    1. Nice! That’s so cool that you can enjoy anime with your husband and by yourself 🙂 Don’t knock the girly shows! Have you read some of my reviews??? Shoujo and Josei are my jam! Any way, at least you got your brother to watch one before and he enjoyed it. Can’t win ’em all though.

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  8. When I watch anime alone, it’s generally during the day and I’m way less forgiving. After my housework is done, daytime is my time… and I have way, way too many interests to spend it on anime I’m not enjoying. Though I do find that since I started blogging I’m less likely to drop shows, and I need to work on that.

    Usually I go to bed way later than my wife, so I don’t watch anime in bed unless I’ve gone to bed early. (Because I’m sick or unusually tired.) When I do, that watching is virtually always re-watching favorite eps or series because I’m just killing time as I wind down. Other than that, I rarely watch in the evening, that’s my reading and gaming time. Plus our TV is either too soft or too loud, and we have an absolute *sshole living downstairs.

    When I watch with my wife… I don’t mind interruptions/discussions/whatever. It’s all part of the experience of watching the show. (I loathe the term consuming.) We do have to consciously avoid “Gift of the Magi” type experiences though. More than once we’ve caught ourselves sticking with a series because we (incorrectly) thought the other was enjoying it.

    We watch anime on a Roku connected to out TV. Sometimes I watch something on the computer, but I just don’t find that as comfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great comment Derek! It’s so awesome that you can watch anime with your wife 🙂 I have been in that type of situation where I thought the other person was enjoying something or vice versa, that is the worst! I agree, watching on a TV is usually more comfortable than the computer.

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  9. I usually watch solo. Come to think of it, I can’t remember an instance where I have someone to watch it with. Movies and TV series yes, but not anime. And even with movies I prefer watching alone (except if the genre is thriller/ horror) because I’d love to be able to concentrate 😂

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  10. Well…I usually watch anime alone and it can be early in the morning when I have to start late with working. In the weekends I like to do the occasional bingewatches, which is also a lot of fun. I watch my anime on either my Xbox 360..or my iPad.
    And then there is one other person that I sometimes watch anime with: my mum who is going to turn 71 this year. And I’m talking about the cool animes here like Attack on Titan for instance 😊😊
    This was a great post Jon…you really did some outstanding work on this one (not that you don’t do that always 😀).

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I usually watch anime alone if I really want to concentrate. Although, watching with friends can be a real riot! I got together with a group of friends and watched “Girl Bravo” …wow. That was too funny! We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into and We’ll never be able to say “it’s a banana” with a straight face AGAIN!!! It’s great to watch the crazy ones with friends to MST3k (Mystery Science Theatre 3000) them… make fun of them. Lol!

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  12. I’m the only one of my family who watch anime regularly since most of the time I watch it on my laptop. But I do know if a series is airing on TV and it’s spark my mom or my little sister interest, they will watch it. I remember watching Psycho-pass and my sister sit a watch it a little bit with me showing some interest. My mom enjoyed Cowboy Bebop the Movie and Princess Mononoke when it aired on TV. She used to watch more back in the time, she saw show like Captain Harlock, UFO Robot Grendizer and Mysterious Cities of Gold.

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  13. Mostly I watch by myself. I do have someone who will watch ‘good’ anime with me. So once I’ve watched something and know it is the kind of thing they will probably like I’ll ask them to do the rewatch with me. And it does make me more critical because everytime one of those cliche moments hits the screen I wonder if that will be the end of his watching the show. I also have a couple of friends who will watch anime with me of various types, but none of them live anywhere near where I live so it is kind of when I visit we pick a show to sample, usually something I have seen and thought they would enjoy.

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  14. Really enjoyed reading this! I love to see how people watch things differently! I watch anime primarily on my own at night before bed as my form of downtime! I can share some of it with my parents and they enjoy what they watch of it but it’s nothing compared to how I am with it! Most people I know don’t seem interested so on the whole it’s my own little thing! Great post! 😄

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    1. Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 I enjoy seeing how people watch things differently too! I figured a lot of people would be in the solo watching camp but it is cool that you can share anime with others sometimes 🙂

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