Yesterday I told you I went to see Dead Apples with Mel and told you all about the movie. “All” being somewhat subjective at this point. “About” as well… I wrote a post that mentioned some Bungou Stray Dogs characters… But the movie you see, was only half of the experience!

Side note: does your phone randomly capitalize some words? If so, do you think it means something. Like there’s a secret code in there to unmask a wide ranging government conspiracy? I think so too. They’re probably watching. We never talked about this..

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nothing to see here

Back to the show! Because anime movies don’t make it here that often, and I’m no longer hip so I don’t hear about them til months after their release anyway, I don’t get the chance to see anime in theaters very frequently. It had been almost a full year since I had seen Lu Over the Wall and the Napping Princess at the Fantasia film festival and besides, the festival experience is a whole different beast. Point is, I had pretty much forgotten what it was like to see anime at the movies. It’s great!

I should once again say a big thanks to Mel(inanimeland) for inviting me, as I probably would have missed it otherwise.

Obviously, seeing a movie with a friend, especially one you don’t get the chance to see too often, is going to be a good time, no big revelation there. But there’s something about the ritual and ambiance of physically going to the movies that’s special.

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I forgot what I was saying…

Our movie was at 4:30 on a Saturday in a theater that otherwise tends to show movies in French. It’s no secret that the combination of affordable wide flat screen TVs and readily available streaming services, has been rather though on movie theaters in general, and Montreal is no exception. The huge complexes was rather sparsely attended.

Nevertheless, as we made our way to the concession stand roughly half an hour before start time, we noticed a number of people in anime themed hoodies, or sailor uniforms (school, unfortunately not scout) we even saw a group of 4 people in full BSD cosplay in the arcade.

I took a picture but forgot to ask permission to post it. It’s all good, it’s a nice keepsake. Besides, I’m the world’s absolute worst photographer, so it’s a really bad picture. Taking it, having them all pose in character together, that was super fun.

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well it was fun for me!

And it sent a jolt through me. Got me all reved up for what I was about to see. I was sharing this experience with people that were just as excited about it as I was. More so! This…exciting….

After a quick snack we decided to make our way to the screening room and I was absolutely delighted to see that just about everybody in the place was there to see dead apples and a rather good line up had formed in front of our theater. It was a fairly small room but it was packed, at 4pm on a Saturday, outside a festival event, in a neighborhood where most people didn’t watch movies in English, let alone subtitled. The times are achanging, and I see great things for tomorrow. Most of them don’t have anything to do with anime in theaters but I’m still stoked to have real world evidence of the growing market.

By the time I slumped down in my super comfy theater chair, realizing that my vertically challenged derriere would have to strain to see the subtitles (I did manage to catch most of them. These types of events are doing wonders for my posture!), I was just about giddy. I was grinning from ear to ear like a kid in a candy shop, taking personal delight in every line of overheard conversation discussing a show I had watched.

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the movie is about to start!!!

I was with my people, my tribe. We were politely not bothering each other and apologizing profusely if we had to walk past someone to get to our seats! Canadian otakus. I would like to mention that our audience had a pretty decent range. Both age range and ethnicity seemed pretty evenly varied and women slightly outnumbered men. This may have to do with the movie we were seeing, but I have been seeing a definite trend in the past few years and new anime lovers I meet lately are more often than not, women. In fact, when Mel and I took a little trip to a Manga specialized bookstore after the movie, the customers there were also pretty evenly split, leaning towards the feminine side with Mel and me in the room.

None of this is particularly relevant to the present post, but I thought the shift in demographics was interesting since some people still seem to think the fandom is comprised only of a certain specific group.

The movie watching experience is also just plain different in a theater. The room is pitch back, you pick up on excited whispers which, depending on your mood are either annoying or endearing, you get swept up in mob mentality, cheering at scenes you’d normally barely notice or gasping at something you saw coming a mile away just because everyone else seems so impressed.

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the mastermind character had a seret plan!!??!! wadda twist!

A particularly obvious bit of fan service between Dazai and Chuuya for instance, was greeted by such cheers and exclamations of pure joy from the room that I couldn’t help but squee as well. And although I couldn’t enjoy a nice glass of wine along with my favorite gifted boys and girls, and Mel couldn’t take screencaps (it made her very sad, me too actually…) I do believe I ended up enjoying this movie more than I would have otherwise because of the communal experience.

Not all anime is enhanced by these considerations. There are those deeply meaningful stories that touch me on a personal basis which I tend to enjoy more on my home turf. But for the fun, slightly shallow, breathless type, I had forgotten the visceral impact of sharing the experience with other fans. I’m really glad I made the effort to go watch something outside of my house.

So how about you guys? Do you enjoy watching anime in theaters or is it more of a hassle than anything else. Are there specific types of movies you like seeing with strangers? Wanna go catch a show sometimes? I snuck that in there…smooth!

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23 thoughts

  1. To add to the phone conspiracy my phone sometimes changes correctly spelled words to other words… I think they are sending secret messages to us and if we combine all the replaces words we will get the message.

    Also I agree with Matt if we all someday got to get together and watch anime that would be an awesome experience.

  2. I love going to see anime movies! Even though I’ve only seen two!
    The people were fun both times! Hearing other weebs talking weeb things is just so fun!

    Then again, since I don’t have a car, my overinvolved dad tagged along to both. I got zero chance to mingle, cus I knew he would embarrass me…
    I’m gonna try to learn from my mistakes for the next one! (Heavens Feel 2, here I come!)

  3. I’m really glad you wrote about this part of the experience. I haven’t been to a movie theatre since I got thrown out of Lord of the Rings first showing. I bought my ticket well in advance online – they oversold the show – I would have had to sit between two strangers with my husband a few dozen rows away between strangers, etc. I griped. I got kicked out. Not the best impression I’ve ever had (no refund – they offered me another ticket – no thanks). Hubby and I don’t like people, and we particularly don’t like screaming children (sitting down, minding your manners, etc.having apparently become a thing of the distant past when we were children) and yes, now that we can sit in the comfort of our own home in peace and quiet and enjoying homemade or reasonably priced snacks, why WOULD we go to the theatre.

    Well, because there often is no other way to see certain anime. And now that I live in a real city where we actually get the Crunchyroll movie nights, I was very much considering taking a chance and going. Having read your experience, I am even more inclined to take a chance on it. As a very long time veteran of the Rocky Horror Picture Show I remember that wonderful feeling of “being among my own kind” LOL. My peeps even. Cosplayers? Really! Wow! Hey, I would go in costume…

    So, yeah, thanks for sharing.

    1. Ohhh I hope you do go and have a fantastic time then tell us about it.
      I can understand that LOTR experience leaving a sour taste in your mouth. That sounds just really awful

  4. The Sword Art Online movie is the only anime movie I’ve ever been able to see in cinemas. Most movies don’t get an Australian release, and even when they do, the likelihood of it being in a cinema when I just happen to be travelling through a town with a cinema is pretty low. I just really lucked out with SAO.
    Glad you had an enjoyable time at the movie.

  5. It’s been so fantastic these past few years getting to see anime in the theater when previously I never would have dreamed of the opportunity. Usually I go with friends or my husband, but I went by myself for BSD: Dead Apple since I was the only one who had seen both seasons. It’s definitely a film made for fans by fans, and would be difficult for those who haven’t seen the television series to jump into. That’s awesome that your theater was so packed and you were able to attend with a friend!

    1. I agree, this was definitely something to hype us for season 3 rather than to make people discover the series. I had a blast and I hope you did too!

  6. I loved reading these two posts, thanks for posting your anime-movie going experience! Maybe one day we’ll even be able to see an anime movie together! That’d be fun!

    The last two anime movies I’d seen in the cinema were: Fairy Tail – Dragon Cry and No Game No Life Zero. Very different crowds and experiences.

    The crowd for Fairy Tail – Dragon Cry was very ethnically diverse with age bracket in late teens to early twenties (we were probably the oldest ones in the theatre). I’m guessing the race thing was the area we were seeing that movie in, as it was a predominantly Asian suburb. They were probably 50/50 male/female.

    No Game No Life Zero was different, mostly white people in the audience (though that’s because the suburb we saw this movie in was a bit more snobby). A wide age bracket—there was definitely some people in their 40’s and maybe even 50’s amongst the younger ones. Also the audience seemed a lot more into it than the Fairy Tail audience, hearing a group of people laughing loudly at lolicon jokes is a surreal but amazing experience!

    1. Oh that sounds like a fun time the NGNL. We have a few decent movie festivals in the summer, I’m hoping to go see a few more anime movies there as well.
      Fairy tail is a much larger and better know series that NGNL, I wonder if that has anything to do with the audience metrics as well? I have no clue about these things but for some reason I’m really interested in the fandom demographics.

      1. I forgot to mention the audience sizes, there was about 25 people at Fairy Tail and about 60 at NGNL, I was surprised about the latter being so popular! But maybe Fairy Tail had more sessions than NGLN and that’s why it wasn’t as busy? Could be many factors.

        1. Whoa that is surprising. Although I figure NGNL fans may be a bit more devoted since they don’t have as many chances to indulge in their fandom

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