Do you suffer from anime depression, maybe anime withdrawal or mourning? You know, do you get that cold empty feeling when you finish the last episode of a beloved anime series? I do. All the time. Look, I know this doesn’t actually qualify as a problem in any way. I’m not trying to pretend you should feel bad for me or anything. I just think that if I go through this, maybe some of you do as well.
There’s something inherently sad in endings. We are programmed on a most primal level to want things to keep going. So there’s nothing unusual in feeling bummed out when you have to say goodbye to characters you’ve come to know as well as your own friends and family. Really it would be weirder if you were ok with it. (Nope – I’m the freak, they’re just drawings…fine!
It’s one thing when a story comes to a natural conclusion. You may be sad, but you accept things must end. I absolutely love Death Note (the manga, I have not seen the anime) but I am completely uninterested in a season 2. I would have just wanted L and Light to spar for longer. But when it’s a very long running series that you basically grew up with and that has open-ended narratives which would always allow for more story, like most shonen or SoL, or even worse, when the show ends without any resolution (side eyes Haikyuu there’s still hope…), it can be devastating.
I suffer from anime depression big time. It’s pretty much the only from of depression that gets to me and as such, throughout the years, I’ve tried a number of different techniques to alleviate the gloom. They don’t really work that well but sometimes they help.
Before we start, let me just explain the Efficiency ratings I’m giving here are entirely based on my personal experience and do not apply to anyone else. In a way you could say they are useless but in another way.
I am a master at this. I will hold out hope for a new season for YEARS. They’ll continue Alien 9, you’ll see! I even take this to a whole new level by not watching the last episode(s) of a series until another season is announced. Yup. I bought Hajime no Ippo Rising a bit after it became available and I have yet to watch the last 3 episodes. Same goes for the last two episodes of Durarara!! which has been a constant on my Crunchyroll queue since I got my account. I’m simply not emotionally ready to let go.
Efficiency – pretty good, I mean I do still have episodes to watch. The show isn’t over!
Finding a similar series to fill the void. To be honest I can’t do this. If I attempt it, I almost always end up disliking the second show simply because it’s not the same as the first. This is the main reason I’m not currently watching Mushi-Shi. I don’t want comparisons to Natsume miring my enjoyment. There are people however, that swear by this. They have a very specific set of preferences and simply go from one show to the next that meets the required criteria.
Efficiency – Unpredictable. It depends on the person but you risk ruining a good show for yourself. I have had seriously mixed results with this technique to the point that I now just plain avoid it.
This is the opposite of the replacement. This is when you go for a show that is almost polar opposite to what you’ve just watched to sort of reset your mind. You can also purposefully choose a show that’s almost entirely devoid of substance if you’ve just had an emotionally/intellectually draining watch (I am making anime watching sound like such a travail! I’m really earning my first world cred here). The idea is to go for something completely new, so you can move on.
Efficiency – Mostly harmless. It may take a few series to really have an effect. I found it to be a great way to get through shows you’re tepid about. I’ll schedule a bunch of random series I’m not even sure why they are on my list right after a particularly marking show. I’m watching FMAB right now – so expect a whole bunch of random reviews at some point…
First, you start by looking up every official scrap of storyline you can find. You read all the manga or light novels, you watch every OVA, you play through the officially sanctioned games, maybe you can find a drama cd you can actually understand. Anything to get just one more hit man. And when that runs out, you turn to the harder underground stuff. The loosely licensed media, the “inspired by” or “in the universe of” stuff. The sequels and prequels written by different authors. You sit through stories you can barely recognize just because they might mention the name of a beloved supporting character in passing and you lap it all up.
Efficiency – TBD. I’m not entirely sure on this one. Seeing as I apparently live in a frozen tundra and no one wants to risk sailing off the edge of the world to provide me with items, there’s not that much available here. AT least not legally and we all stick to stuff that is legally available. Of course we do. I have to say though, when I really really love something, there’s a certain you can never go home again bias that sets in. I have found myself more often disappointed than not by “extra” offerings, but the few times they can live up to the original experience, it’s amazing. And then you have double withdrawal….
Well, you’ve already sunk this low, what’s another step down. The licensed stuff may have been so so but the unlicensed stuff, created by the fans is bound to be good right? OK so these people aren’t always professional artist, or you know: talented, but they are passionate and that’s what counts right? Proceed with caution, fanpics are often beautiful and a way to see your favorite characters drawn in a different genre. Whenever I do a post featuring fan art, I find myself spending hours in galleries and it is one of my favorite things to do. Similarly, I’ve read some fanfiction that easily rivals it’s inspiration and deserves recognition in its own right. But I’ve also seen works that were… Let’s just say, there are some things you can never unsee.
For those heroes not put off by the perils of fan offerings, you can always just take one more leap and become an active part of the fandom. I can’t say much about this as I have never interacted with fan communities in any significant way. Unless you count responding to some occasionally very fervid comments on this blog. What I can say is that the only comments I ever hear are “that fandom is toxic”. It doesn’t matter about what exactly, it seems they’re all toxic.
Efficiency – Good but risky. I just said I didn’t have any experience with fandoms! As for the fan fics and art. They do help a little as long as you have a good eye for quickly spotting and avoiding anything that could potentially be soul destroying. Against all odds, I find that filling my Pinterest with random fan art does make me feel a little better. I guess the notion that someone else cared enough about the show to actually create something, is comforting.
But what if you’ve tried everything and there’s just no back scratcher out there to reach your particular itch? Maybe your show wasn’t that popular and there no spinoffs or fan community to latch onto. Well you know what they say, if you want a job done right, do it yourself. Write, draw sing, create interpretative dances to show your devotion to your favorite series. Don’t let lack of skill stop you – no one else does!
Efficiency – You do it. I have never pretended to be particularly creative. I can draw decently and do so from time to time but my fanart is usually technically good and creatively dull. I’m really much more interested in consuming than creating if truth be told. This is why I deeply encourage you all to do so. That way i’ll have more fanart and fanfics to discover. Remember me when you get famous!
Ok so reading is for nerds and drawing is for pansies(?) In any case, you’re not into that stuff. Or it just wasn’t enough. You can rest assured in the comforting notion that capitalism won and no matter what your interest is, someone out there is going to try to sell you something for it. Figures, T-shirts, posters and accessories of all kinds are available for pretty much every show out there. I recently found an Azumanga Daioh plush. Up until a few months ago, I had never really understood the appeal of figures until I received one in my first box. It was a gateway fig – now they litter my bookshelves and I can’t wait to get more.
This said, I have always been a huge fan of apparel. Because I have the cerebral complexity of a small child, wearing a t-shirt printed with the same design as the guy in the show wears makes me feel closer to that character. I wear simple silver bands on my index fingers almost every day…like Izaya. I sleep with a large dog and a stuffed Nyanko. Basically I love merch.
For those most ambitious types out there, you can combine the material goodness of merchandise with the artistic aspect of fan creations and put together detailed cosplay of your imaginary best friends. No one can deny that there is cosplay out there that is just a work of art. We’ve all gawked in amazement at those galleries, right? Being the lazy, soft sort, I tend to opt for comfort and ease in my cosplays so they’re hardly impressive. (except for my P4 Naoto cosplay – I put a lot of effort into that one. True story, my mom said she likes me better that way and occasionally asks me to wear the cosplay when I get invited to dinner). I do however get great joy in finding everyday wearable items that match something I’ve seen in a show, Maka’s skirt or Izaya’s entire outfit. Lately I’ve been cosplaying as Komeada at least once a week. I own every piece of that outfit and have the hair anyways so…
Efficiency – Great. Maybe part of me is scared that I will one day forget beloved shows. Maybe it’s the fact that these items are real, solid, sharing the same dimension as me. Maybe I’m just a sucker. In any case having *stuff* around is one of the most efficient ways I have found of prolonging the giddiness I feel for a show and staving off the melancholy.
Pretend you never saw the show and watch it again!
That’s all I got for you. Yeah, I know there’s nothing very revolutionary here. I mean it’s surviving the end of a tv series. There’s just not that much you can do. In the end, time heals all wound and all that. Is it weird how I never even thought of putting in that you can blog about it. I literally just thought of that. There is a very good reason I’m not a professional blogger.
If all else fails – drink! Wait WAIT – Good advice from Irina: never drink when you’re sad, drinking is for celebrating. It tastes so much better that way. In fact forget what I just said. Instead, distract yourself by listening to episode 2 of our podcast! Remember the first time we did this and we were super awkward and hesitant. Well I was… I think we got a little better! Lethargic Ramblings is currently slaving away at editing episode two in which we discuss this very subject. It should be out in the coming days and I will definitly let you know as soon as it is!