A lot of people have suddenly found themselves with a lot more free time on their hands, and for anime fans that can often mean – time for binging! I was hoping to be in that situation as well but sadly my workload has only increased. This said, I have taken staycations so I know what it means to suddenly have a whole 24 or even 48 hours in from of you where you can just watch anime if you want. 48 hours!!! That’s like 8 seasons of anime! WHOA!!! But do I want to do that?For the record, I’m not necessarily talking about binging a show here. You can watch you can watch a single episode of 96 different shows if you want in those 48 hours. I’m really stuck on that 48 hour trend aren’t I?

anime 48 hours
looks about right

I’m obviously exaggerating to prove a point. Only I don’t have anything to prove at the moment so I guess I’m just exaggerating. That’s not great… Point is, a lot of anime fans have probably thought to themselves (or even said out loud) I can never get enough anime. If I could, I would just watch it all the time. And then they start an anime blog and find that they actually want to play video games or watch a live action show or even *gasp* hang out with friends… instead of watching another series to review. And that’s normal, people need variety. I’m definitely like that as well.

This said, I’m the type of person who can do repetitive stuff for longer than average. Surprisingly, I have patience for repetitive stuff, probably the only thing I have patience for. I even find it comforting. I have been watching anime for a long time and I watch quite a bit. Or at least I sue to, I haven’t been able to turn on my tv (well I watch on the computer but just humour me) in days!

But even I have my limits. And setting aside the need to do other things from time to time, like read manga or sleep or something, I find that there’s only so much time I can consecutively devote to anime before I get saturated no matter how interesting a show may be. And that limit is 4 hours. Honestly, more that 8 episodes in a row, is a bit of a task for me. I can watch an entire series in a setting but I pretty much never enjoy the experience. 8 episodes, whether it’s different shows or the same, and I need to do something else.

anime exercise

I can however have more than a single anime sitting in a day. For instance, watch two or three episode in the morning. Maybe a couple more over lunch, then a whole 8 in the evening and bam, I’ve just marathoned through an entire season in one day. Unfortunately I just don’t have time to do that at all these days but I have done it and I loved it.

I have wondered about this phenomenon. It’s not physical, like my stomach being full so I need to stop eating. I can switch to video games which have a similar physical impact. It’s not purely my mind getting fed up with the material either, since different shows offer very different experiences and yet I still have the same cutoff when I switch from series to series. It’s something different and to me, it’s kind of fascinating.

You see I can switch to playing games, or even reading manga but I can’t switch to watching anything else. I can’t put on a marvel movie or watch some reality tv or something to act as a brain cleanser. It’s not the medium of the activity that has to be modified, but the way I engage with it. Apparently, just sitting there and watching something puts a specific strain on my brain that is different from reading on a screen or mashing buttons. And it’s a strain I can only put up with for so long.

sometimes you just find the perfect image

And now the even weirder thing. I can watch live action longer… I really enjoyed Love Exposure and that movie is 4 hours. I have put on Netflix and just let it play for like the entire day. But it doesn’t hit me the same way. Certainly having to read subtitles forces me to pay way more attention to anime, I should try watching a dub and see if I can just do 10 hours in a row or something (it will inevitably become background noise at some point mind you). But I think there’s more to it than that.

Cartoons may have been relegated as children’s entertainment but they are more demanding on our brains in some ways. Processing the sensory information for instance. Those colours and angles and movements need just a bit more translating since they are, impossible. There’s less shortcuts also. You know how your brain auto-fills information about the world around you all the time just to cut down on processing power and time, well that’s not as easy to do when you’re dealing with an animated universe that has less analogous points with your first hand experience of the world. All of this is on a very base level that you don’t notice at all, but it is there.

I’m sorry, I really should have said this right from the start. I don,t have a point here, or even a question. I like brains and I’m interested in how they work. I also like animation. Putting the two together is doubly interesting to me so when I noticed that I have some personal experience in that field I got all excited and wanted to ramble on about it in a post. I just found it fascinating that the mere fact that something is a drawing instead of a photograph has a real and physical impact on what’s inside my skull, and that impact is even in some way measurable.

it’s a little scary as well

So just to satisfy my own curiosity, I have a series of questions for you guys. Do you have an anime watching limit? Do you have a live action watching limit? Can you still do something that involves a screen once you’ve reached that limit or do you need to go out or something? Do I just sound a bit crazy?

crazy rini

60 thoughts

  1. I have a limit too, no matter how much I like the show I can only watch so many episodes before I engage in something else.

  2. Anime limit? Sadly, I don’t live alone, so unless I’m planning on pulling an all-nighter my anime watching is: 2 or 3 when I wake up, 3 more after breakfast, 4 after lunch, and then after dinner as many as I can stay up for. If I lived alone, I assure you, THERE WOULD BE NO LIMIT.

    1. whoa! You have anime watching super powers and way more of an attention span than I do. Impressive

  3. You need to get a handle on studying and watching anime, as I did in high school, watching it when I got out of class or when I went home at night for a break, sometimes watching anime when you can’t study all day on vacation, or buying comic books to read, but also controlling yourself and studying when you should.

    If you are a high school student, you can tell your mother that this is your hobby, and bet her that if she doesn’t care about you for a certain period of time, and if you can still get good grades, then tell her not to be too strict about herself, as well as to take responsibility for her own future, and to watch positive anime, which can also encourage you to struggle, when you go to college and watch anime almost every day, after all, learning is important.

    As long as learning is very, very serious, play and have fun, don’t let your youth down, overplaying, and overlearning is bad.

    1. I graduated university some time ago but it’s great advice for any students that read this blog. If there are any.

  4. My limit depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I can settle for two or three and others 5 down and still want more. It’s mood time and other times I might just have other things to do. I rarely watch anime on the daytime and the acception to that would be because I binged the night before and I diddnt get my full fix. The session continues. Anime is a nighttime activity for me. The same with most of my hobbies. I like to jump into them when everything is whined down and I can just chill.

  5. My anime watching limit usually is the point when I’m too sleepy to enjoy it any more. I have been known to watch an entire season at once with short breaks for food and potty, especially since COVID came round. Has to be a really good show for that to happen. I skip intros and outros to save time.

  6. I used to set aside days for anime marathons; 10 episodes would be the minimum, with 20-26 being more common. It’s been quite a few years since I last did that, however!

    These days I set myself tasks to achieve in order to make time for all my hobbies – for example, on a day off I might say ‘5 anime eps, 1 manga volume, finish 1 level on whatever game I’m playing, cut my Youtube video backlog down to 5, watch something live action’ – and most of the time I manage to tick them all off, with a little time left over for bonus eps or other things. So I don’t know whether my anime watching limits have changed or not, whether I could just go back to my old ways, but I enjoy the variation so feel no huge desire to find out.

  7. Depends on the anime honestly I watched the Monogatrai seiris in two days over Christmas (getting about three hours of sleep) but at most it would probably be three hours before i get tired on normal anime. If i had the time i could read manga for 24 hours straight though, even on a screen.

  8. once again another post that cracks me up lol I honestly don’t have a limit with anime because I go day by day. Last night I binged 7 episodes of after the rain because I was that into it.

    “Cartoons may have been relegated as children’s entertainment but they are more demanding on our brains in some ways. Processing the sensory information for instance. Those colours and angles and movements need just a bit more translating since they are, impossible. ”

    I couldn’t agree more that anime is mentally processing so much to take in. some days during breakfast ill watch one or two episodes but mostly I like to watch anime at night. but once you start a anime blog…. you want to do the other things, that’s the most difficult LOL

    1. You know…I watched 7 episodes last night too…. hmmmmm maybe we’re the same person.

        1. I’m trying to keep mu AniList up to date but I fail.. a lot. You can tell by my screencaps (don’t bully me)

  9. Generally I find my limit is 3 eps unless I clear my schedule and down the series in one go (normally reserved for library DVDs and other things with a set expiration date).

    I’ve joined all these challenges so that I could clean my started anime up, but I end up just starting new ones for their sake…For Chibi Tamago (anime = gacha pts game), I’ve watched 3 x 12 ep anime in about 2 weeks so far. Granted, they allowed up to the 1st 3 eps of the 1st 2 so it’s actually more like 1 x 9 eps, 1 x 11 eps and 1 x 12 eps, but the 9 and 11 were finished in 1 day for a total of 16 eps, which could possibly be a new limit for me (outside that peak phase years ago). I could really focus on non-anime stuff for a day or two after that…I can still handle a screen though.

  10. “sometimes you just find the perfect image”

    You know, that _is_ a perfect image given the context!

    “Those colours and angles and movements need just a bit more translating since they are, impossible. There’s less shortcuts also.”

    I read your post this morning, and I’ve been thinking about this piece all day. It never occurred to me. I love thinking about thinking; I love thinking about how we consume and create fiction and other kinds of writing. But I never thought of this angle.

    It’s a good day when I learn something new!

    1. And then I went and forgot to answer your questions:

      “Do you have an anime watching limit?”

      Maybe. I have so much stuff going down that I’ve never had a day to find out.

      “Do you have a live action watching limit?” Same answer, except that anime has ruined movies for me. I now think in 23-25 minute fiction segments. Anything beyond that and my attention starts to wander.

      I can’t even rewatch Babylon 5 anymore. Though my wife just expressed an interest, so I might see what I can do…

      “Can you still do something that involves a screen once you’ve reached that limit or do you need to go out or something?”

      Almost everything I do revolves around the computer. I started work about 13 hours ago, and my forearms are tired from typing. But so much of my creativity is tied up in muscle memory for MacOS, Scrivener, and Google Docs that I feel weird if I’m not at a keyboard.

      Good Lord. I really do need to get a life, don’t I? Or maybe scale back the one I have…

      “Do I just sound a bit crazy?”

      I’ve love to make a joke, but nothing’s coming to me, so I’ll just be honest. No. You’re not crazy. At least not because of this.

      1. I like your cautious reply. Reserving the right to call me crazy at a later time. Smart! Very lawyerly of you

  11. I also seem to have about a four hour limit on anime. For live action, I’d say probably only about 3, maybe 4 if there’s a movie involved. With one exception, and that is nature documentaries. These are comfort food for me and I often simply put them on the big screen TV from the computer and let them play for hours in the background, especially if I am sick and laying down. My general habit in life is to do something for a few hours and switch up, especially if the “something” is screen time. I get restless, so I do dishes, clean house, walk outside. Then I can come back in, sit down, play games, watch something, read blogs… I can’t really do anything all day long without feeling like I might explode. Now my DH, he can get absorbed/obsessed with something and do it non-stop for hours and hours and hours. I don’t know that he has a limit other than he’s got to sleep eventually. The only thing I can nearly do that long is read a good book. I made the mistake of starting a book by a new author (to me) last night and got so drawn in I had to finish it. At 4 am. LOL. Which was okay – I got up and went outside to watch the meteor shower for an hour or so. I actually even generally have to switch shows if I am watching hours of anime. Two of this one, one of that one, two of the other one… with a few exceptions like rewatching old favorites. So…it’s about time for me to get up and go outside and run this errand…

    1. I can play games for unreasonable amounts of time… like 12 hours or something. I’m not proud of it…

  12. I don’t really know how much I can watch in one sitting. All I can say is that I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full cour worth of anime in one sitting. If I binge, I watch no other anime in between (other than currently airing stuff). I tend to finish one cour series in two days, and two cour series in three days, but there can be exceptions depending on how much a show pulls me in.

    I can still do screen-stuff (like playing games or reading forums/blogs) after getting tired of watching anime. There’s also a relation between taking stuff in and talking about it. At some point (though that’s more like filling a gauge and can take days) I need to say or type something, or I can’t take other stuff in anymore.

    A problem I have is that I have little sense of time. For example, a few days ago I finally watched Skip Beat (and had lots of fun with it), but I already can’t remember whether it took me two or three days to get through 25 episodes. I think it was two, but I’m unsure. (I do remember that I was checking whether there weren’t, actually, 26 episodes, since the series ends just after the resolution of the arc conflict, but without any sort of satisfying denoument.)

    Also, it’s not often you get to see a Hyougemono screenshot. Great show that.

    1. I have never thought about my need to express my thoughts on anime and how that relates to my capacity to take it in. That’s a very interesting angle

  13. My limit is more by show than by medium. I love Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and there’s enough of it that I could watch it for a day straight – but I wouldn’t do that because it’s just heavy enough that I’d need *something* else as a mental break.

  14. It does depend on the series for me, but with anime, I tend to find my limit is around 4 hours, then a short break to eat, then another 3-4 hours. So 7-8 hours, I guess? I have done longer when needed, but I try to keep to that. I can usually do other screen stuff afterwards though, providing I take another break first. Usually to cook dinner.

    1. 8 hours – that’s a full time shift. I don’t even sleep for that long without a break….

  15. Absolutely bonkers, my dear! (I’ll tell your boss you need a heavier workload.) As for your questions, I haven’t reached an anime watching limit on my own–I’ve never been able to find a good enough hiding spot to see how long I can watch. Something always needs doing or someone always finds me. As for a live-action watching limit, that’s easy: I don’t watch live-action fiction. I can’t–I can’t generate a suspension of disbelief that allows me to become involved in the story. That said, I love documentaries, particularly about nature and science. (I try very hard to catch both Nature and Nova each Wednesday night on PBS, despite being at work.)

    So, hey, I’m apparently even crazier than you are! *Yay, or something*

    1. You are the second person to tell me live action is detrimental to their suspension of disbelief and I really find that interesting. Instinctively I would think it was the other way around but when I stop to think about it, I can totally see where it comes from.

      1. Actually, I made a very similar reply to another post from you a couple of weeks ago. . .

  16. Mine varies and depends on my mood most of the times. If my mood is good then my limit might be like…2 to 3 hours? If I feel low then my limit would be either one hour or I don’t watch any at all. I think I’ve never binge watch a series before.

  17. No yeah, I go through the same thing on the daily, you’re definitely not alone on this nor crazy for thinking so. I used to have the time and energy to binge about 20 episodes in one sitting (although it usually ended up being like 10 lol), but these days, I feel the need to kinda step away every now and then to handle the things I want and need to do. Before, I couldn’t go a single day without watching anime, that was just how the addiction went for me, but nowadays, I can go a while without watching anything yet still feel like I’m not really missing anything. I too spend time reading manga and playing games when I’m not watching anime and I think it’s a good thing to do so considering that as humans, we need to kind of have that balance, yanno? But anywho, that’s my take on it, this was an interesting read and a great way to get my brain going as I’m waking up! 💯

  18. Yeah I think my limit is about 3 hours at a time. After that I kinda start to zone out and miss stuff. If it’s the weekend sometimes I will watch a couple hours, take a break, and then come back. I have binged series before but I find I usually appreciate them a bit more if I try to take my time with them

  19. My limit watching on the computer is very short, since I like to multitask and can’t when I’m on Crunchyroll 🙂 But yeah, three or four hours is my limit, too. Interesting!

  20. I think I’m even weirder, partly OCD, part completist, so if I can’t watch the entire run of a show all in one go, I get really antsy. If I’m watching something weekly, that’s different, but if all the episodes are there in front of me, then i want to watch them. Of course I often don’t have the time to watch an entire show in a day and that bugs me to the nth degree, or I’ll just do something stupid like staying up into the wee small hours of the night to watch as much of something as possible.

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