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!
34 thoughts on “First World Problems – Anime Depressions and Podcasts!”
Awww yessssss I can totally relate to this post. When the anime, manga and games are over, there is nothing else to do but start collecting things 😛 I tend to go into “magical thinking” and make up my own happy endings. Oh and for Amnesia, it felt so good to watch the anime, get unsatisfied and then realized it is based on an otome game, proceed to buy it and get your happy ending!.. or not :/
I would totally play a Natsume otome – I just freaked myself out a little. That was a very bad idea…
pfffft hahahaha!!! yep, that is somehow disturbing… specially if we add bad endings 😛 tho I wouldn’t mind some BL routes, maybe, dunno. I shall stop thinking right now.
I’ve definitely had some sad moments when a beloved show comes to an end. I think the anime I was most invested in several years back was Bleach and having committed so much time to it, it was really difficult to watch that last episode and know it was over!
A slight twist on this is an anime that I loved, but feel the ending was messed up. This was Claymore. I really liked Claymore, the mid-evil world, ‘scottish’ inspired music and weapons. It’s hard to explain, but I think I just liked the art style, ambience etc. and I felt the world was a bit mysterious, they didn’t explain everything about the organisation etc. The problem was I think they rushed the ending, and they didn’t really resolve the story. I mean there was no resolution to the motivation that originally drove the characters.
I think I might read the manga someday. But it still feels sad knowing it was such a short anime series and it’s over 🙁
I haven’t seen Claymore but it sounds interesting. However I know what you mean – Kenshin and Soul Eater both deserve infinitely better endings than they got. It dos make the series feel incomplete.
I’d recommend giving claymore a try, criticisms might be – it’s a bit slow, and it suffers from the ‘female scantily clad armour thing’ that doesn’t make sense 🙂 – but I reckon for the soundtrack alone it’s worth watching a couple of episodes – I sometimes listen to the music when I am reading / studying etc. It’s also a bit of a unique anime in my experience (although I haven’t seen nearly as many anime as you).
You forgot rewatching, where you turn around and jump right in do you can enjoy the same moments ask over again and notice all the things you missed. This is when you gather all the awesome quotes you forgot to right down and actually learn the lyrics to the songs well enough so you can sing along.
Efficiency: well you already know where the show is and what is about, so iTs easy. You reexperiencing What you really want to, and when im done im usually more satisfied and docile in my meloncholy.
Karandi mentionned that one too. I guess since I never do that it didn’t even occure to me. I susally float onto “is there a game?”. There often is – my tastes are pretty pedesterian
I think I’ve done most of these at some point or other, aside from denying (I sometimes put a show on hold for ages though, so it’s pretty much the same thing) and the one with the cosplay.
As for endings specifically, I’d prefer one that wraps up nicely best. I see incomplete endings as a betrayal of a fan’s trust because they may never get another shot at completion…the exception is, of course, a new season announced at the end of the latest one.
I like to pretend they will be continuing it a decade down the line. I have a gift for delusion… But obviously a satisfying ending is always appreciated.
I don’t usually get post anime sadness; very often I see a picture of a show, or an OVA comes up, and I realise I’ve missed the show (yeah, I can miss shows without realising that I do). But usually I’m fine with shows ending. There are exceptions: when shows work up to something but don’t get there (I want Spice and Wolf season 3), or when there’s not enough time for a satisfying wind-down (I want Crime Edge season 2), I do want more. I’m lazy, though, so I don’t usually follow up with other media.
I dislike clutter, so no figurines for me (Azumanga Daioh plush? I think I might make an exception for an Iriomote Mountain Cat…). Cosplay’s not for me. Writing fanfiction’s not for me (I tried with Katawa Shoujo, since it’s a basically fan product anyway, but I suck at writing other people’s characters – except for Rin, so people tell me). But luckily none of it is necessary. I just move on, naturally.
A couple of things:
1. I really, really, really want more Alien 9. A 4-episode OVA isn’t enough. They’re currently resurrecting nearly everything, so who knows…
2. Mushishi isn’t very much like Natsume, IMO. I’ve read your Natsume reviews, and the things you like there are almost entirely absent. Mushishi is not, with notable exceptions, about the main character, Ginko. There are very few recurring characters, and the ones that do recurr are perhaps in two or maybe three episodes. Ginko doesn’t really change (well, maybe a little) as a character (most of what you learn about him is backstory). It’s generally an episodic series, where each episode is about a Mushi infestetation, and the style is a detached look at human folly. You get good endings, you get bad endings, you get ambious endings, you get life-goes-on endings, you get all sorts of endings, but unless you’re watching a rare two-parter, every episode gets its own ending. It’s a very, very, very good show; one of my favourites – but if you expect a show like Natsume, you’ll likely be disappointed. There’s none of that familiarity. It’s not a re-assuring show. When it’s unsettling it usually doesn’t supply relief, and it can be very unsettling. There are nice episodes, too, so it’s not actually a grim show. And some episodes are even quietly optimistic. But the overall tone is sombre (supported by a solemn narrator, lots of green and brown in the colour pallette, and a chromatic-percussion-dominated soundtrack). You won’t get out of Mushishi what you got out of Natsume. I don’t think you’d be comparing the shows for very long, but if you’ve made the connection, and you watch Mushishi in a Natsume-frame of mind, disappointment is near inevitable, and you’ll have a very unfair first impression.
Personally, between Natsume and Mushishi I think Mushishis is the better show, but Natsume is about a million times more endearing. So, yeah, you really need to face Mushishi on its own terms (which reminds me that there still three to four episodes I haven’t watched yet, plus one or two OVAs – Mushishi is not a show that’s very good at motivating me to watch it, but I’ve never ever seen an episode that hasn’t completely drawn me in – in a way that no other show has. Puzzle that out for me, if you can, because I can’t.)
Hmm I’m actually even ore intrigued by Mushi-shi now. Natsume is already the best Natsume – I don’t need another one. I’m similar with Durarara – one of my very favorite shows but I can put i down for months.
Mushishi is really good, and it’s unlikely that you’ll make the Natsume-connection, unless your brain comes with a hack that insists on making the connection. What’s more, Mushishi is a good show to watch a very slow pace. You can fit in an episode every month or so. There’s no great sense of urgency, but almost every episode has enough weight to last you for a while. I know I feel like that (and other people have said they understand what I mean, so it’s not quite only me.)
While I’m here: the banana-god show, is that, perhaps, Milky Holmes? If so, I should watch that show some time.
Also, where’s the painting-class pic from? That looks like a fun show, too.
YES! the banana god is Milky Holmes which is an acquired taste and the art class is from Twin Angels (Kaito Tenshi) which is…not that good…
Ah, I recognised Milky Holmes mostly because it’s drawn my attention at some time, and some people said good things about it. I should try the show perhaps.
I remember dropping Twin Angels, and I’m not in a hurry to go back to it. Thanks for the info.
I sometimes go for the instant rewatch (not pretending I haven’t seen it but just to be in that space for a bit longer and maybe see something I missed) but for me the end of a story, even a brilliant one, is a good thing. Stories are supposed to have endings and a conclusion and I prefer something drawing to a close than being left open for a sequel that may or may not ever come or leaving the character drama perpetually drawn out rather than resolving things. Even Angel Beats, that crushed my heart entirely, I loved the ending of. It makes me cry every single time but it draw the story beautifully to a close and there’s something very satisfying about that.
A satisfying ending is certainly something to cherish
I do recognize in some of those! Nana will have the ending I want so much! I don’t know when or how, but it will!!
I should have added magical thinking!
That’s a good one! If you wish enough the universe will give it back to you!
I do ALL but Collect LOL.
But for once, Rin-san, I don’t sympathise as much as I generally do *victory jig* Because I’m an eternally ongoing manga reader!
40 ongoing titles with no hopes of endings any time soon!
On second thoughts can I have my denial of endings back?
You are slowly making me fall down a manga rabbit hole from which I wil never return with those fantatic posts. Keep it up!
At least you’ll have me to keep you company?
Makes every trip better
Haha, this was such a fun post. And I have suffered from anime depression myself at times. One of the things I really, really hate is a series that ends without a resolution. Where you just ask yourself, why did I watch this in the first place.
I have to say as far as resolutions go, Denying and Expanding work best for me (although expanding is really bad for my wallet lol). I did expanding for Another: I bought the novel, the prequel novel and the manga….it saved me…at least for a while 😂😂
Are they good? I like Another but I felt there was something missing – mostly the end felt rushed and really not as suspensful as the begining
The book was pretty good. It gave a little bit of extra things that weren’t in the anime. The prequel novel I have yet to read so can’t really tell much about that one yet. The manga was, quite frankly also very good, and expanded the story even more. Highly recommend it 😊😊
Hmm….the ending did seem to completely go over the top, I agree, but then again the reveal was totally unexpected (at least I didn’t expect it 😊).
For once I had figured it out. I’m usually so bad at these things…
Really? Wow, okay that really is impressive indeed!😀
I often get this with games and visual novels, particularly long ones, and it’s often difficult to know how you’ll cope once it’s all over. However, I often find myself moving on to something else and immediately being enraptured by some aspect of that, so I tend to find myself in a constant cycle of being excited and enthusiastic about new things.
Part of this is why I run my site, too. I don’t start playing/reading anything I’m not intending to write about as soon as I’ve finished it, and going into it with that knowledge makes me think carefully about what I’m experiencing and how I might talk about it when the time comes. And then when I’m done I have a “permanent” record of what I’ve experienced through the magical medium of words. That then allows me the facility to have something substantial to point to when someone goes “so what IS Senran Kagura anyway?”, which is always nice.
I’m a bad blogger. I still don’t really consider the blog first and I still have trouble/avoid writing about experiences that touched me more deeply. There are some exceptions…
You look like you’re doing all right from where I’m sitting! You often write from the heart as things occur to you, and that’s a perfectly valid way to do things that often leads to some great, immediate reactions. Don’t be so hard on yourself! 🙂
Writing about things that you found particularly meaningful can help you appreciate them even more, I find. It almost certainly isn’t an approach that works for everyone, but I know everything I’ve written about to date I count among the experiences that I’m genuinely glad I’ve had and even treasure in some instances. Even though they’re “just” video games and visual novels, heh.
I often haven’t played the games you post about so I basically experience them through your posts which makes that connection you have with your material a really great plus.