Don’t worry guys, this isn’t yet another post on why anime is so awesome or why I happen to love it so much….Or maybe you should worry since I’m going to attempt to explain something I’m not quite sure how to wrap my mind around and it could end up being one of those messy aimless posts. I have a feeling this opening paragraph could have gone better.
O.k., let me try again!
I use the expression “falling in love with a show” a lot. It’s not exactly hyperbole but it may not be the right phrase. I get smitten, infatuated, enraptured… And just like you can get a crush on someone and think back a bit down the line, wondering what you ever saw in them in the first place. I get the same way with anime.
It really is like a crush. I get excited when I thin about watching the next episode, tiny little butterflies in my stomach. I can’t seem to stop thinking about a series and slip into conversations without noticing to the utter indifference of my friends. Sometimes I get a little weird about it, a little scared to watch the next episode for fear of disappointment or just a bit overwhelmed by it all. When I write it out like that, it really seems nuts. That’s just not a rational reaction to have to something like anime. Then again it’s harmless and makes me happy so why not.
I’m not really sure when it started, but I first noticed it about 5 years ago. I have always enjoyed anime a lot and there are shows which are still among my favourites that I watched way before that 5 year mark but that sort of almost physical reaction to entertainment was limited to music only before that as far as I can tell. And when it crept into anime, it changed. Became a little less visceral but also more enduring.
I’m not writing this out in order to convince you all that I’m certifiable (I guess to build up a future insanity defence…). I’m actually trying to explain something about myself that affects deeply the way I review anime and that you should probably know about if you’re going to read any of those reviews. I really fall in love with anime. And occasionally that makes fools out of the best of us.
But it’s not just that my feelings may occasionally lead me to be overenthusiastic or blind me to some obvious faults. I think in general I’m not the type of person that thinks my favourites are perfect. Rather, I just don’t care about the flaws in my beloved series so I might not bother going on about them in my reviews.
The greater drive I have behind all this is that, despite freely admitting that this may not be the most down to earth way to take in anime, I would really like to share that feeling with some of you. Not only share it, but I would like it if some of you experienced it too. Because it’s really wonderful to get that type of enjoyment out of something so simple and generally not harmful.
I don’t have any clue how to make that happen of course. Beyond endlessly spreading my own love for the medium and hoping something seeps through the screen. At the end of the day you can’t just manufacture love, no matter how hard we are trying to figure that one out.
In an attempt to figure this out, I went to the hallowed repository of knowledge known as WikiHow and searched for How to Fall in Love. I immediately found exactly what I was looking for, 3 folds at that, and will now translate it for anime specific purposes! Here are 3 ways to fall in love with anime:
Identify your defense mechanisms: Don’t just shoot down a series because of a single element or trope you have a bias against
Accept things about yourself that you can’t change: Hmm, this one’s tricky. Oh it’s okay if a character hits too close to home. You can still enjoy a series and maybe learn a bit about yourself?
Redirect overly critical thoughts: yeah!
Resist the urge to play games: while you watch anime. You have to give it the attention it deserves!
Don’t be afraid of rejection: Sometimes you gotta drop a show!
So are you in love yet? no? Hmmm maybe it’s a question of finding the right series. Let’s move on to method number 2:
Put yourself out there instead of relying on fate: Look up what’s coming up next season and do some research before picking up a new show! (something I have never done)
Take up a new hobby or join a club: Like they do in your favourite series, to appreciate the context.
Give online dating a try: By seeing what’s on other platforms.
Come up with specific qualities that you want in a partner: Or specific story lines, tropes and/or character arcs you would like to explore next.
Avoid rushing to judgment: give it 3 episodes at least
If you’re not in love yet, you must at least be a little tingly by now! O.k. one last WikiHow to bring it all home!
Let a relationship develop naturally instead of trying to force it: Some amazing series take a while to get going. Sometimes an arc is better in hindsight. OR just wait till the season is done and binge that stuff. It’s what I do!
Try to keep a positive, curious mindset: If you start off telling yourself you’ll hate it, you’ll probably hate it…
Communicate with your partner openly: So anime doesn’t communicate back all that well, but you can talk to others about your current fave!
Discuss your goals and plans: Get invested in the narrative and where it is leading you!
Show interest in each other’s individual passions: If there are references or contexts you don’t get in a show, look them up! It’s fun!
Find healthy ways to deal with conflict: don’t get sucked into flame wars, Twitter fights or questionable fandoms!
And BAM! You are in love! Awesome. I’m so happy for you two crazy kids and or anime series! I hope you are very happy together.