Hello everyone. Glad you can join me. Today I would like to share with you the results of this little experiment I’ve been running. Well it’s more of an accidental experiment since it didn’t start out that way. I guess it would be more accurate to call it an experience. I would like to share the results of my experience!

Akira was quite an experience

At the start of the fall anime season I found myself exhausted. Because of work mostly, nothing bad. But this exhaustion was fairly persistent and so in an effort to make my life otherwise as relaxing as possible, I went about trying to weed out anything I considered for lack of a better word “toxic” from my anime experience.

In practice this meant not picking up any new anime to episode review solo (as this can be great fun but also really wear me down), and only adding to my watch list shows I have a genuine interest in, instead of my cluttered let’s give everything a chance approach. In fact I even steeled myself to drop any show, new or old, that didn’t spark my interest in the first five to ten minutes max. A weird type of five second rule to get around my completion problem. It’s only 5 minutes, it’s like I didn’t watch it at all….

As a result I’ve been really into every anime I’ve watched for that past month or two. Ironically I haven’t dropped any but just knowing I have the option make me consider things differently.

I also cleaned up my habits around anime. I resolved to not take more hurtful comments on my blog personally. I don’t get that many to begin with so that’s good. I skip posts I know will get me peeved and refrain from commenting my disagreements. I stopped following a bunch of people on twitter who may be very nice but tend to make inflammatory statements all the time. I’ve avoided participating in any anime debates or even sharing my opinions on them. It’s been a little drama holiday.

And what did I find?

anime magnifying lense
found it here

Like I mentioned, I found that I have really been enjoying all the shows I’ve watched lately. Not only because I’m not forcing myself to stick to shows but also because I’m watching them free of the burden of surrounding drama or expectations. I’m really just considering my personal experience since I don’t even know the larger fanbase context of these shows.

I also find that I have been enjoying my blog a bit more as well. It’s just so much more relaxing lately. I’m not anticipating frustrating conversations or pointed comments and tweets. I’m not fretting over the idea that a reader could take my statements the wrong way. My posts are so light and fluffy there’s nothing there to take badly.

The entire experience has been calming and soothing and completely devastating to my inspiration!

Honestly, I have never had this much trouble coming up with post ideas. It’s a good thing I have episode and series reviews to fall back on or else I would have completely run out of material by now!

Sure I occasionally try to discuss whatever the latest drama is and I realized I wouldn’t have access to that as easily but I still thought some of it would reach me eventually. Not to mention that I also post on a lot of other things that have nothing to do with topical arguments. Yet *everything* has dried up. I never quite realized just how much of my ideas came from observing these conversations. Usually it’s not the actual topics themselves that I latch onto but random comments that have nothing to do with the main point. Or else, it’s thinking about what my own position is on some particular issue that leads me down a rabbit hole I can climb back out of with a handful of unrelated thoughts I want to explore.

anime exploration
I’m sorry – couldn’t find the artist

Mind you, I know I got a lot of inspiration from anime itself. A lot of times I only discover the conversations around an anime or anime issue only after I’ve posted on it and a kind reader let’s me know in the comments. So I’m thinking this new carefree and relaxed attitude may just be too relaxed for my productivity.

Let me tell you, all of this comes as an absolute shock to me. I would never have thought of myself as someone who feeds on conflict but I guess a little bit may be healthy in my particular case. I’m not sure how I feel about that…

I’m not giving up on my toxicity vacation right away though. There are some things I enjoy a lot about it but I do think it’s time I started challenging myself again. It’s about balance. I also think it’s time for me to revisit some of my classic inspiration sources. Reread old comments and make some time for YouTube. Play some video games. I’ve often found that video games remind me of anime and then I look a overlapping thematic or narrative elements.

I’m not going to start feeding trolls any time soon though. That’s how you end up losing a finger.

Let me ask you guys, am I the weird one again? Have you ever experienced something similar? It’s ok if you think I’m nuts, you can tell me.

Confused Rini



27 thoughts

  1. I’m on a forever vacation from toxicity. It’s so nice. When I gave up working completely, I eventually realized I could dump the vast majority of my work related social media. I feel like I dropped a couple of one ton weights. Then I cancelled my voter registration for good reasons, and chucked all the political crap out of what was left of my social media – and RL (much as possible). Life is quite nice now. I interact as much or as little as I want with whoever I want. I live in my own little bubble of sunshine, as much as possible anyway, and I’m perfectly happy with that. I’m priveledged to be able to do this now, and believe me, I know it.

    That said, I could probably have done without a whole lot of those toxins a long time ago and still worked and been just as successful. The important thing is finding a balance that works for you. So, now you know that zero toxins leaves you a little uninspired. I can see that – Ramen is better with the chili flavor packet in it. Now to sort out what works for you on an inspirational basis, without allowing in the stuff that turns into rain clouds on your sunny horizon.

  2. I actually had a similar experience to this, not with anime specifically but I decided to quit social media this year and deleted my Facebook, Instagram and Reddit accounts. I felt like these platforms were damaging to my mental health and unfortunately I’ve had to deal with a fair bit of harassment on all of them. I think that while it has been difficult to adjust to certain things (like planning or keeping track of social events is a lot harder), overall I feel happier and more productive and I don’t think I’m going back any time soon. Definitely helps to get that toxicity out of your life 🙂

  3. I think it’s seriously cool you do this sort of thing.

    The hardest part of experimenting on yourself is that it’s so hard to find a control group. Was it the sum total of everything you did that led to a lack of inspiration? Or only one or two things?

    For example, if you stayed active in some of the blog-centric debates but still steered clear of Twitter wars, would you draw motivation from the more rational discussions?

    Or do you really have to immerse yourself in the toxicity?

    I really like Dawnstorm’s analogy of a vaccine.

    As a veteran of newsgroup/NNTP wars of dating back until the late 1980s/early 1990s, I can see the parallels to what’s going on in Twitter and Facebook. It’s just further weaponized. I’m guessing that you might find rational debate motivational.

    At least, I hope you don’t have to willingly expose yourself to some of the more exhausting discussions…

    1. I think that for me, it’s like a spice. A few drops can bring flavour and interest to a bland meal but too much and it becomes unpleasant to the taste and ends up giving me a tummy ache.
      Now I got to try out some spices

  4. Too much is poison, a little is medicine. Or a vaccine, maybe? In any case, it’s perfectly normal to draw inspiration from toxicity. Language is (among other things) a problem solving tool, after all.

    I love sampling everything. The beginning of a season is my favourite part of it; something unexpectedly good could be lurking just around the corner. I find it invigorating. But, yeah, over time I’ve learned to drop things much quicklier.

    What’s helped my anime experience a lot a few years back was deleting my entire anime list (on MAL). I had to go through some 800+ entries one by one, but it was worth it. I like making lists, but the experience of watching anime becomes too meta.

    If I had a blog, I’d have to put a rule in place: no reviews of currently airing shows. That’s just how I work. Not the slightest bit of pressure on my viewing experience, and it’s all fine.

    1. I’m sort of a reckless optimist. I always think the next episode is the one that will make me glad I stuck with a show. I’m not like this about anything else. It’s weird

  5. I’m very much the same, at least in some sense. I do it by just being choosy and only picking up things I know I have an above 50% chance of liking. For me, that’s mostly a matter of time conservation.

    I also tend to avoid the drama, if only because I don’t find it particularly helpful. Debate’s awesome. But once it becomes full-blown drama, it’s no longer a debate. It’s a shouting match and I’ve no energy for that.

    The balancing act is difficult, but I think taking time to just not be stuck into it in that way is good for a refresh.

          1. Not necessarily. The rise of smartphones has already remapped neural pathways in new borns for a few years now. That’s a measurable physiological change in less than one lifetime.

            1. I think it’s amazing. The fact that we can essentially outsource our memories is going to free up neural processes fir higher problem solving and association. I really think it’s actually one of the best evolutionary leaps we’ve been through. What makes you weary?

    1. See I sometimes find myself thinking that life is too short not to challenge my own ideals…but I’m also a little lazy….

  6. I don’t think you’re weird for taking inspiration from the more “toxic” side of the community. More often that enough I find myself rethinking and reforming my opinions when watching or even sometimes participating in these conversations, and as result? Well I got better at articulating my own opinions and interacting with others,or at least that’s what I like to think.

  7. It’s difficult, isn’t it? Commenting on the latest drama is always a sure-fire way to get lots of people looking at your stuff… but if you start doing that, you run the risk of becoming “that person who has something to say about every controversy”.

    I’ve said my piece on a few things over the last few years, but I try not to make a habit of “opinion pieces” because they tend not to age all that well; they tend to be relevant to a particular moment in time (or, more accurately, a specific Happening) rather than something that is “evergreen”; something that anyone coming to your blog for the first time can pick up, read and enjoy even years after you wrote it.

    For better or for worse, drama and controversy bring with them plenty of topics to talk about. If you choose to step away from that side of things — and I applaud and encourage anyone who chooses to do so — then you can always focus on the subject matter itself rather than the community surrounding it.

    It’s at times like this that getting out of the “review or nothing” mindset some people find themselves stuck in helps. Think of other ways you can approach things — including things you’ve previously written about. Are there character studies you can do? Analysis of how a real-life inspired anime reflects real people and places? A look into the career of favourite voice actors? Investigating broader transmedia projects that an anime series is just part of? Personal pieces about why a particular character or story resonated with you specifically? There are lots of angles you can take… and not a hint of drama!

    1. You’d be surprised how people can find drama in anything. Actually you wouldn’t. You probably know that better than most!

  8. When it comes to dropping or cutting down on series, I’m with you on that! Although I tend to be more of an all-arounder blogger, I find it much easier to keep up with this season. Mostly because I am watching exactly two, currently airing series. There’s no point in watching something that doesn’t personally interest you!

    I can’t speak much on drama, but it doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me to cut back on it every once in awhile. Diving in just enough to get some inspiration seems reasonable enough to me!

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