I’ve spoken to many bloggers who go through phases of just not wanting to watch any anime at all.  This is not something I struggle with myself.

Generally, I don’t get bored or fed up of anime as a whole. Occasionally, certain shows can be a chore to slog through and I’ll see my anime watching go down but as soon as I pick up something I enjoy, my enthusiasm tends to go right back up. This is probably a symptom of my binge-watching habit. If I watched a variety of shows all at once, I wouldn’t get brought down by any single one of them.

anime crowd
have you ever googled images of anime crowds? it’s interesting but I can’t explain why

This said anime exhaustion seems to be a real phenomenon. From very preliminary and superficial observation, I think it tends to affect niche or specialty fans more often. What I mean is that bloggers that tend to concentrate on a few (or one) specific genres seem to go through this more often than people who watch pretty much everything and anything. Of course, this is just from people I’ve spoken to, but it makes sense.

If you only watch anime that falls within specific criteria, you have much fewer options to chose from.  If only two shows match what you’re looking for in a season and they’re both not that great, it can turn you off very easily. And with so much entertainment to chose from, there’s no reason to stick to anime after all.

For me, the problem is a little different. I go through anime withdrawal. I’m a creature of habit, I enjoy a schedule. Shocker I know. And I love watching anime when I get home from work. Unfortunately, my work can be rather demanding on my time and I sometimes get home only a handful of hours before I have to get up and back to work again.

This is what happened yesterday (as of writing) and since I had a post to put together, I did that instead of watching anything at all. I am going to an event tonight and I’ll probably get home late and exhausted again, in all likelihood I’m not going to skip another day of anime. And now I’m a little off. It’s probably going to take a couple of days of watching only an episode or two before I get my momentum back. Like going to the gym or something.

polar bear anime

But that’s ridiculous. I love anime and thoroughly enjoy watching it. Unless a show is particularly challenging, I don’t find the activity taxing in any way. But my strange little brain goes into this withdrawal bubble and I need to re-establish my routine before I can get back in my grove. Man, this makes me sound like a finicky little weirdo. It’s not completely inaccurate but I don’t like to advertise it quite this much.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t matter in the least. I wouldn’t even notice this quirk of mine if it wasn’t for this blog. Since starting I Drink and Watch Anime, my daily routine of binging through a random series has become a communal experience. One that I hold dear. And this experience is only possible if I indeed watch anime.

That means there’s a little competing voice in my head that tells me I must make time for it. I do these little calculations where I figure if I just watch another episode today, I can finish the series a whole day earlier which means I can write the review before the end of the week and have material for… Are you tired yet? I am.  

It’s not a big deal. It doesn’t tarnish my watching experience in any way or make me enjoy shows less, but it does affect my approach towards watching anime. Or to be more precise, it affects my approach towards not watching anime. It makes me feel like I’m failing in some way.

watching anime
sweet sense of accomplishment

Have you guys ever played World of Warcraft? I have. A whole lot. There’s an audio cue you get whenever you abandon a quest. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s this. I use to joke around and sing faaaillure over it whenever I heard it. To this day, I hear that sound in my head when I mess up something. I also hear it when I decide I will not watch anime one evening.

It sounds like this would be bad. Like I’m putting this weird pressure on myself which is largely useless. But it’s not. First of all, pressure isn’t always bad. I get a weird and completely unearned but enjoyable sense of accomplishment when I finish an anime because of it. Obviously, I’m someone who works well with goals and deadlines that’s why I set them for myself.

At this point, if you’re still with me dear reader (I really appreciate it), you may be asking yourself what the point of all this is. In fact, I just wanted to see if anyone else has seen this weird change in the way they take in anime since they started blogging about it. Am I the only retentive weirdo? If I am can you pretend you do it too? It will make me feel better…

eager mha

57 thoughts

  1. As I also blog about anime, I’ll admit I’ve been addicted for quite some time. Your blog however does ensure that this drug goes straight to my frontal lobe. 😉
    I was at an anime convention once, browsing a booth of blu rays and this fellow steps up next to me and begins looking over the products. He soon has too many titles to choose from and as he starts shaking his head he mumbles ” Who needs drugs when you’ve got anime.”
    It was a beautiful moment that I’ll never forget.

  2. I think burnout is often more of a problem for the seasonal watcher. I tend to only watch a few new shows a year AS they air. I only pick really exeptional ones that I love the look of because they’re from a favourite studio or creator or based on a manga I love.

    Because I got into anime and manga in the 90’s and a lot of stuff from decades ago wasn’t translated until fairly recently I feel like I’ve always been playing catch up and even now in 2019 there’s quite a lot of older stuff that I’m only just getting round to.

    It’s great because I’m never stuck for anything to watch and I never really have the desire to start something brand new just to see what it’s like because there’s so much stuff that finished airing years ago that I’ve already got a good idea of whether I’ll like or not. It’s great that we live in this era where stuff is simulcast or available pretty soon after the Japanese release and I take advantage of it now and again but a lot of the time I want to have an idea of the quality of the show before I even start it because there is way too much stuff I still have to get through that I KNOW I’m going to love before I take a chance on watching something I could potentially feel like I’d wasted my time with. I’m probably a product of the VHS era where the only shows I got to see were ones that were finished airing and were often years old by the time we got em! 🙂

    1. That’s an interesting theory. There may be something to it. I watch some shows as they air and a lot of older shows as well. I haven’t actually tried to figure out how they affect me differently

  3. I don’t have a blog, but maybe you noticed I don’t reply as often as I used, or that my replies come in late (qed)? I used to watch an average of 25 anime per season, and a busy season could break 30 shows (though that would include a couple of shorts). Last season, I struggled finding good stuff, and that threw me off my game. It meant there was a hole in some of my days that – in other seasons – would have been filled with anime, and so I needed to do something different. This season is much better; there’s plenty to like and a good variety, too, but I often find myself putting off watching even my favourites (like Kanata no Astra). Some of the lesser shows don’t survive this process, so I find myself dropping shows that I would have finished earlier.

    I’m a creature of habit, and the habit is starting to crack. Who knows, maybe soon I’ll only watch a few shows a season? If I had a moderately busy blog, this is probably around the time my posts would become more infrequent. But I can only guess.

    I’m reading short stories by Daphne deMaurier, and playing Might and Magic 7 instead. I’m still watching anime, but not right away. And since I’m a creature of habit that can be confusing (what did I already watch? did I miss a show?) I’ve recently watched two episodes in a row (out of order, because I didn’t realise in time I forgot to watch last week’s episode), and things like that are going to become more frequent I suppose. The best thing to come out of this is that this situation shows me more clearly than anything else ever has what the shows are I really like.

  4. There are definitely phases when I get ‘anime fatigued’, but they’re pretty rare. On the whole, I get more fatigued of writing on the blog rather than watching the anime, which causes a correlation in my brain which makes me fatigued. Pure speculation of course, but that’s probably what happens in my case.

  5. Anime fatigue does exist for me as much as any kind of fatigue. Watching a whole series on disc in one go for a review then having a weekly episode still to watch afterwards is the sort of burn out I experience a lot. Imagine having watched 5 hours of something raucous like One Piece or Back Clover, or a heavy show like Steins;Gate then seeing the next episode of Fire Force or Demon Slayer is out – that is heavy going for me.

    But it’s like that with wrestling too – watching the weekly TV shows then having a review DVD of it to watch afterwards. Just tiring. I never know how people can watch films back to back either. So, I guess you are lucky it doesn’t affect you but for some of us, you CAN have too much of a good thing. 😮

    1. I’m guessing it’s different when it’s an obligation. I can always just not watch if I want so it’s purely self imposed.

  6. I used to go through periods of watching an embarrassing amount of anime and then no anime for a few months. I feel like blogging definitely helped me keep watching, and even enjoy it more! I feel you completely 🙂

    I’m the type of person who needs to feel productive all the time and blogging has helped me pass off anime as productive which is wonderful haha.

    1. I think there’s a bit of that for me as well. I didn’t want all my anime watching to **go to waste** which is quite insane of me

  7. I relate to this so hard! Because I have so much going on in my life besides blogging and anime, it seems I have to schedule both of them or neither of them end up happening. Then I start craving anime, which leads me to planning another review (which I’m still terribly slow at doing), and for some reason I can’t start anything new unless I have said my piece with the previous show. I never get sick of blogging or anime, but for me, balancing the two definitely requires scheduling (and a little stress).

  8. I try to watch at my own pace for everything so I avoid withdrawal/burnout – even if that means taking years for some shows and never finishing others (due to losing legal access in the time I didn’t watch). I’ve also got 1) a terrible attention span when it comes to focussing on non-simulcasts and 2) a life outside anime/manga, which is why I thought up a queue system. Occasionally, I will be in the mood for a specific anime though and I’ll follow it. That does mean occasionally having to think hard about what to write for next week if I’m in the middle of an anime and am not in the mood to write a post either.

    If I’m in the mood to binge a show (or its final episodes) hard enough, I’ll do the calculation thing.

  9. I’m a day one World of Warcraft player, hell I got a raid about a half hour as of this post!

    Anime burnout is a real thing, and sometimes it can be a chore. I’m just struggling to get through “So I can’t play H right now”, cause I said I’d do it for the blog, otherwise I would have dropped it. I think it is always good to take a break, and I am considering taking a season off in the near future, just to let the batteries recharge. I’ll probably still watch stuff, but perhaps I won’t blog about it. Though I did make an effort to prevent burnout by only doing 3 and 8 episode check ins. This allows me to accumulate a bunch of episodes and watch them when I feel like.

    For my Summer of Love project, I normally watch the episodes first thing on a weekend morning and that routine has helped me a lot. I think I might set aside an “anime time” for me in the future, especially with work coming back up soon.

  10. No real change in how I watch. I’m still perfectly willing to drop what I’m not enjoying–I refuse to slog through a show just for the sake of doing so. Latest drop: Fire Force.

  11. I just started doing episode reviews very recently, and before I had never considered it as something that sounded doable to me. I also prefer to binge watch. I have a lot of trouble focusing on more than one thing at a time and keeping things straight in my head. So all through spring 2019, I felt like episode reviews were almost chores, but I kept doing them and treating them as experiments. As of now, almost midway through summer 2019, I’m actually thoroughly enjoying episode reviews, and watching a broader array of shows than I’m used to. Sometimes, I still feel unmotivated when I’m starting an episode review, but before I know it, I’m in the zone and having fun! It’s very weird for me, Miss Anhedonia, to have such experiences. But I’m not complaining. It feels good.

    1. That’s great! I thought episode reviews were crazy for a long time too and I’m doing way too many this season but it is fun!

  12. I think watching a variety of genres is a good way to avoid burnout. Even if you are getting tired of one type of story there are plenty of others. I definitely watch more and more anime the longer my blog goes and still can’t get enough. Hopefully I never feel burnt out on all anime even if I take a break from particularly kinds of stories for a time.

    1. I need to switch up the types of stories I watch a lot. I’m amazed by people that stick to just one genre

      1. As a teen I only really read fantasy. It wasn’t until I’d exhausted the local book shop and libraries of new content that I branched into sci-fi and horror and then into romance. Now I’ll read almost anything that I find interesting but I definitely started from an almost genre exclusive point.
        I don’t think I ever had the same issue with watching TV or movies though because growing up that was kind of a family activity and you watched stuff other people liked even when it wasn’t your favourite so I just naturally had exposure to a range of different genres from the start.

  13. Well…You know that I have a pretty demanding job myself. In fact today I worked for almost 12 hours, and have just arrived home. As I have to get up early again tomorrow, I’m just catching up on some posts and placing some comments, and then I’m off to sleep. I watched an episode of anime in the early morning hours, but well that’s about it for today. So yeah, it’s hard to find a good balance between blogging and watching/reading stuff. Before my return I made sure I already had a pretty big supply of posts ready so I wouldn’t have to worry about new content for a while…but…that supply is already going down fast lol.
    That said…I’m happy to be back, and well without my blog (or rather without having run into Karandi) I would not have returned to watching anime. It’s because of her blog that my interest in anime got re-ignited, and well I’m very glad because of that. Also I watch seasonal anime these days, something I never did, because of all the weekly posts from you, Karandi, Cactus Matt and so many others, because I like the interaction. In other words, without my blog I would not have had anime in my life at all.
    Doesn’t mean it isn’t hard to sometimes find a balance between work, writing/reading, watching stuff. Either way…I’m still enjoying myself, and that is the most important thing! 😊

  14. For me, I just consistently watch a small amount of older anime daily and consistently because it’s like a daily medication or pill that I need or I’ll stop functioning. I once had long days where I didn’t watch something until late evening and I couldn’t breathe the whole day. It’s hard.

  15. That Warcraft sound brings back some PTSD.

    I haven’t been watching seasonally for months. Like you said, it’s not watching that’s the problem, it’s breaking the habit of NOT watching. It took me a YEAR to watch Sora Yoori, and that is probably my favorite show of 2018.

    That’s why manga is more like MY drug. I read it wherever and whenever I can. Always in the mood for it, for some reason.

    1. I actually read about one or two volumes a day but for many reasons, that’s a more personal experience so it doesn’t create tje same dynamic if I skip a day…

      1. Right? Manga just feels so much more, idk, welcoming. I can stop reading a manga after a long while, and it’ll be like I never dropped it at all.

        1. I don’t know about welcoming. It’s simpler so easier to consume for me. I don’t need to use as many parts of my brain since there are fewer elements to take into consideration. Because of that I tend to read anything I can get my hands on and a lot of it is not really worth discussing.

          1. I slightly agree and disagree. I know it’s not meant as a slight when you say you don’t have to think as much when reading manga. I personally find that anime is a lot more taxing to my brain because I have to pay attention if I don’t want to rewind. With manga, I dictate the pacing, for the most part.

            And since manga’s much easier to push out than anime, there are a lot more fluff you can read for fun as opposed to not at all.

            1. I meant it on a physiological level. The part of my brain that processes sound doesnt need to work. Or the one that registers movement. When I take in dialogue I don’t have to account for the voice actor’s performance. I pay a lot of attention to cinematic language and production techniques and those things are separate from the story. It’s simply a medium that layers more elements. This is neither good nor bad, just different.

  16. I have similar feelings with writing fiction. When I have to work on my series or even the occasional microfiction, it’s hard for me to stop. Right now, I’ve been hard at work with my next album. I did resort to binge watching an anime series that will have a review for it later this month and I was only able to do so when I had a day off last week.

    If you feel fulfilled by watching anime and blogging about it, then that’s good.

  17. I feel like this with gaming. I feel like if I haven’t had time to get at least a bit of gaming in, I’ve been hard done by. It is my main hobby, after all, and the source of all the content on my site — so I feel a bit bad if I haven’t been doing something that can provide me with something to write about! 🙂

    I wish there were more hours in the day. And that none of those hours were taken up by stupid work.

  18. I sometimes feel like I “must” make time for anime too, but I was already like that before I started writing or blogging.

    I have however experienced another sort of change that also makes me feel like I’m “failing” sometimes. I blog very irregularly, but I do write seasonal first and final impressions for a website. I enjoy doing so, but it has indirectly applied some pressure on me since I became aware of some other writers who are both well-versed in anime and are capable of articulating their thoughts and opinions very well. I’m glad I discovered them as they inspire me to be a more knowledgeable and articulate writer. However, the wish to be a better writer and critic like them also means that I sometimes feel mildly guilty when I switch my brain off and watch an anime “for fun” instead of watching them with a fully-engaged and analytical mind. I’ve even decided not to write any final impressions this season because I’m currently unable to pay complete attention to the show I had wanted to cover.

    1. Oh wow. I admire your dedication a lot. I’m sure you’ll get there and write these fantastic and insightful pieces and still not be satisfied with yourself (and maybe that’s already the case…just saying…)

  19. I find the hardest thing is trying to slow myself down. I’ve got about a dozen shows that I need/want to write up about, but finding time to watch them is easier that the time to write about them so I just stick on another one and hope that one day I’ll catch up with the posts.

  20. There are times I don’t have much time to watch anime. That happens. If I’m short of shows of the genres I like, I’ll watch something old again, if only because I knew I liked them. Some shows age well. Some don’t and become unwatchable, and that’s the saddest thing for me: when a show ages out of being good anymore. The reasons why tend to be subtle, like your brain doesn’t like or respect the animation anymore, or the shoulder pads on the characters are sadly distracting and tragic rather than cool. I think it helps that my social life is much less busy than yours. We don’t get much snow here so social engagements are spread over the whole year, not just the 3 months of summer. When the snows come back you’ll probably have more time after work again, and work will end at a reasonable hour because it is dark, cold, and there’s a foot of snow and black ice on the ground. Maybe this Fall you can continue to work your way through the classics list when you run out of current season anime.

  21. You are not alone in this miss irina. having a podcast, channel and blog I feel like most of the time Lita has taken on too much terms of different outlets to talk about anime. My preference would be my blog and podcast over youtube anyday. I feel bad if I’m not watching anime which is am entirely strange feeling, it’s the same as blogging, I feel bad if I haven’t put out anything for two weeks. But due to recent events that is slowly changing. It’s the real struggle when you read manga, watch anime, watching other shows, reading other books, you have to put aside designated time for everything so you can fit it in. I pshyically don’t even know how I’m balancing all of this right now, I feel it’s getting to the point of something has got to give. which would be youtube. But I take the little accomplishments of watching an episode or two of anime at the gym or while I’m having breakfast has a triumph.

  22. I mean, blogging had made me more defensive of the anime I like, does that count as a change? Otherwise I’m no different than how I was before the blog. Though I do often feel like if I have a day without watching an episode of an anime that the day was wasted so I guess there’s that!

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