No I’m asking!

(Extra points if you figure out why I used that gif)

Tell me, has this ever happened to you. You start a series and it’s fine. I mean it’s ok. The art is pretty enough and you kind of want to see where it goes. Then as the episodes tick by you start suspecting that it really isn’t going anywhere at all. But whatever, it might improve. You’re maybe at episode 6 or 7 and the thought of watching the next one is just a downright chore. You have to motivate yourself to do it. You tell yourself that when you’re finally done, you can start another series and that’s now really what you’re looking forward to cause at some point you stopped caring where the story you were watching was going.

And when you think back on it you hardly remember the series beyond the fact that it wasn’t that great. Yet you still watched it…. Like 6 hours of it at least. And kept on watching it for no particular reason.

anime sreaming at tv
why am I watching this???

Like many of you I have an online listing of the anime I watch. Now it’s one thing to have a movie or a two part OVA or something relatively short, set as completed but rated really low. That happens a lot. Especially if you go watch anime in theatres where you can’t just switch to something else at any time. But I always wonder about people who have tons of series rated 4 or under in their list and yet they sat through 12 or even 24 episodes. Why do people do that to themselves? Why do I do that? ‘Cause I do that.

As far as lists and ratings go, there are a lot of possible answers. A person could have actually really enjoyed the bulk of an anime but disliked the ending enough to bring the score way down. There are also people, such as myself, that watch anime because they review it. Heck I hear some people may be watching anime with friends(?) This is just something I’ve heard, I have no proof. In any case, there are many situations that can explain why someone might be sitting through shows they consider so so, once in a while.

But in my personal case, there have definitely been numerous occasions where I have sat through anime I found boring or annoying for no clear reason at all. They were never that good to begin with. I wasn’t a big fan of the source material, the director or the studio or anything like that. And unless I’m doing episode reviews, I really don’t “need” to watch any specific anime for this blog. I just talk about the anime I watch anyways. In fact, if I dropped anime more often, I could do nice little posts on: this is why I dropped this show. Sounds like fun and I bet it’s easy to write. Makes me want to drop more anime.

sound euphonium
I wanted a picture of an anime character dropping something but I couldn’t find anything so then I thought I could look for an anime character specifically dropping their glasses as that seems like a common scenario and then google images decided to throw a Sound Euphonium screencap at me and it was all over…

As far as I can tell, it all comes down to the fact that I am unreasonably optimistic in general. There is a part of me, a pretty big one, that sincerely believes all anime has potential. I also tend to latch on to the positive so one mildly interesting episode will count more for me than the 3 boring ones that came before or after. Still, it’s a pretty weak reason to voluntarily spend hours doing something I’m not enjoying.

I think part of it may be old learned behaviour. Since I still remembered the time where there was just a handful of anime available and you made do with what was there, I sort of learned to go along for the ride. Back then, fans were way more forgiving since we just didn’t have options so even shows that were kind of predictable, repetitive and with flat characters were considered “good”, anything beyond that was a masterpiece and we were all so grateful to get it!

With time my tastes have gotten a bit more refined and with the sudden and overflowing availability of anime, I have gotten to experience much more of it and figure out what I really like as opposed to what I just don’t hate. But even though my appreciation of anime may have gotten more mature and complex, my anime watching habits have not followed suit. Somewhere in the back of my mind I am still so inherently grateful at the opportunity to watch any anime that I end up just watching..well.. any anime.

if this post is boring you, you can try naming all these anime instead

The tough part is that because of said inherent optimism, I rarely actually start disliking a series before the halfway mark and by then, I’m invested. There’s only 4 more episodes, might as well finish it. For the record, I don’t think I have ever drastically changed my mind for the better in the last few episodes of an anime season.

I’d love to say something like watching bad anime makes you appreciate the good ones more so that my own behaviour can make some sense to me. But honestly, I don’t think that’s true. However, bad anime does make me appreciate anime more. When I watch a series that fails to entertain me, I am reminded how difficult creating a great anime is. When everything in a series is well done, it all sort of blends in together. I never noticed just how much ambient sound can bring to a scene until I watched one that didn’t have any.

And those are the types of things I only notice in series I’m not really enjoying that much so I pay attention to other stuff.

Then again, there are the drinking games. That’s a big reason to keep watching a show….

Do you ever consciously watch series you’re not really enjoying? If so, do you know why?

Rini 3 (9)

52 thoughts

  1. I think dropping more comes with practice. 😉
    The first thing I ever had difficulty dropping was books. No matter what book it was, I couldn’t stop once I started- no matter how awful or graphic the book. I read some things that I wish I could have unread as a child. There were so many magical, unknown worlds waiting for me and I had a lot of time on my hands, and my mum was a librarian, so I was able to read most of the books in the library (we had an extremely small library in my village).

    I won’t disgrace the author by naming her, but although most of her work is adored, I found one that was incredibly long and described every detail of the protagonist’s boring schedule- from rising out of bed to brushing her teeth. By the time the girl had trudged down the stairs and out the door, I was crying…. and, I closed the book.

    I will never forget that moment. It was like I was released from a spell.
    I was so overjoyed, that I began to laugh, and strode about the room only to pick one of my beloved favourites and defiantly opened it midway and read a passage from the Jungle Book aloud, and snapped it shut. I was free!

    So as not to jinx myself, I placed the book in a bookshelf downstairs in the living room… just in case if I was compelled to continue as I drifted off to sleep. I needn’t have done so, because I never, ever had to finish a book (that I didn’t want) again.

    Since then, I have found ways to get around that same compulsion with other forms of storytelling, but it is tricky the first time around.
    With horror films (which I dislike immensely if they are gore or teen ones), I give myself permission to skip to the very end. If I do not see the ending, they are forever running in limbo in my imagination.
    With romantic dramas and animes, it works just the same. Skip to the end!

    Other genres are trickier, because there is a chance that I might miss out on some genuine magic. So, usually I keep pushing through. If an anime immediately grates on me in the first episode, I can usually drop it no problem. If it had promise, but it began to lag, I usually push through all the way, unfortunately… like Sword Art Online.
    I honestly wish I could get those hours of my life back. The beginning was so promising and then… what was that?! Really, it was more like a soap opera that….. ah, I am moving into a tirade.

    So, yeah. I don’t have it down yet. Some are easy to drop, others are easy to just skip to the end (for closure), but others I push through. If it gets really slow or aggravating mid-way, I will look online for reviews, but that thought doesn’t usually occur to me until I am complaining aloud to my screen.

    I just realized something, Irina. It probably also has to do with access. Since you had limited access to anime when you began (much in the way that I am now- I am at the mercy/good grace of whatever my friends loan me), you were grateful to try any of it.

    Although we had a great selection of books at home, the new books that were available to me growing up were limited. We often received boxes of used books (and we always bought loads at garage sales), so I went through a ton of Sci-Fi and mystery books that were a huge waste of time… but sometimes there was a genuine gem. I found Lord of the Flies, The Day the Tripods Came, A Game of Thrones, and The Outsiders due to boxes on the way to be thrown away. I had no idea what these books were before I read them, but gems like these made me continue leafing through every book that came my way before I finally figured out that I could judge some books by their cover (or colour).

    Lilac and all general shades of light purple should be avoided at all cost, for example. Women who look like men with exaggerated curves should also be avoided- especially ones involving Vikings. And I am sure there are some good Westerns out there, but I really just can’t do it… 😛

    So, back to anime. I am betting that people that had access to tons of anime in the beginning would be better at dropping one, since there are so many more out there to discover. Since you started out with only a few at a time- and rarely so, it makes sense that you would not want to miss out on any.

    1. I think you are right on both counts. Access probably influences behaviour a lot but I also never practices dropping anime at all and have gotten into a comfortable rut of just watching whatever show I randomly pick up until it comes to a natural conclusion

  2. Challenges/Chibi Tamago are the big reasons for me. I did give up Chibi Tamago after the main admin put in a rule I couldn’t possibly keep up with (because I’m a slow watcher in comparison to other people), but the other challenges are still there for the completion, including an independently-made (to the AniList Watching Club) Masochist Challenge with Darkness on the badge. (…Yes, I joined it to clean up my hundreds of PTW, dropped and paused anime. Why do you ask?)

    Due to how slow I watch, time is more valuable than most for me. If I drop something, it might be only several minutes in (I even recorded how fast I dropped some of my least-liked anime and it tends to be < 10 mins). I do believe in giving my dropped anime a chance though, which is one reason I ended up liking AniList – it allowed me to make a custom list for all the anime I should try again for whatever reason. However, it's fairly usual that the drop is final once it happens.

    1. You always know about these interesting challenges. I really want to make some time to look them up

  3. I drop anime I don’t like reguarly, but I see it a bit as follows.
    Take Code Geass for Example which I dropped trice.. even as late as middle R2 or lately Tower of God. I do believe in energies of sorts. If you watching something you like , it creates a positive energy, if you watch something you dislike you’ll create negative energy. That energy is contagious (example the internet where people flow inside a certain energy about a subject) . When I drop something I dislike I end the cycle of negativity for me.. no more negative energy it’s done.

    If I keep watching it and grow to hate it more eventually I will come to a point where I say.. I hate it. Like Kirito from Sword Art Online.. I did not drop SAO because everyone loved it and I hated him more and more..Now I send out little clouds of negativity each time I say his name. Which either hurt people that really like Kirito or makes people ‘realise’ omg she is right! Kirito sucks.
    Dropping an anime ends that cycle. I do not hate Bam or Khun.. I just do not like them, not my type of characters anymore. I do not hate Code Guess, I just feel the plot is somewhat forced at times and the Mech’s do not matter a lot and LeLouche and me never would be friends. It’s another vibe I emmit and I choose to rather be the source of the second then the first. I might encounter less anime to forgive.. but I also encounter less anime I really end up hating.

  4. It depends on how far into the series I am. If it’s a few episodes then I can drop it easily, but if I’ve gone beyond the half way point I feel obliged to finish it. Demon Slayer is a great example for me – I really enjoyed the first half then it took a huge downturn and I struggled to finish it but stubbornly felt compelled to stick with it.

    I think 2 cour shows are more the problem since you lose out on less if you ditch a single cour show early one, wheres the longer show *might* improve over time.

    1. I’m sort of o.k. dropping a show in the first 5 minutes. Like if it managed to annoy me enough that quickly then I feel safe that it’s not for me.

  5. Personally, I tend to drift away from a lot more anime than I actively drop. Lots of times it’s like, “Eh, I don’t feel like watching more of that tonight,” and then next thing I know, “tonight” has turned into a week, a month, a year, and I’m going, “Oh yeah, I never did get back to that, did I? Oh well, next.” I’ve noticed two main reasons why I often don’t come back to a show. One is if there’s just no hook, nothing I’m finding especially entertaining or engaging. The other is if the next episode promises to be unpleasant to one of my favorite characters, I’ve learned that it’s better to just go right on and power through that episode immediately, because if I stop then the anticipation of having to see them suffer often turns me off from coming back. Yeah, I’m just a big old softie that way. The shows I drop on purpose are usually the ones that either manage to actively anger me in some way, or that I start and very quickly realize that no, this is NOT my thing at all. But I’m happy to finish any show, even an obviously mediocre show, as long it’s got something that’s still appealing to me and making it worth tuning in.

    1. I have even less paused shows than dropped ones I think, and I have like 5 dropped ones… It would just annoy me. Ok so maybe I’m just OCD and your way is both normal and healthier…

      1. I don’t have paused shows. I have shows I dropped but am thinking of giving a second chance, and shows I’ve dropped (even if I never made a formal decision). MAL has a on-hold category, I think. I didn’t find it useful.

      2. The way I do it goes all the way back to when I first started watching anime. My sophomore year roommate was in the college anime club, so he was always borrowing tapes and bringing them home, and he brought home a lot of stuff that didn’t really catch my interest at the time. For every gem like Escaflowne or Evangelion, there were always three or four El Hazzards, Jojos, and Gundam Wings that I was bored with after one or two episodes. If I’d forced myself to sit through every single show I started with him all the way to the end, I probably would’ve gotten sick of all anime pretty quickly.

  6. Life is too short to waste it on bad anime. I have other things I could be doing that are fun. Or even necessary. The older I get, the truer this becomes.

    I am pretty ruthless about DNFing anime. Most of the time I come out ahead because I drop due to failures in plot or characterization. Or the writing is off. Comedies need to be funny. Dramas need to get me involved emotionally. Action needs to be exciting.

    I am a lot more forgiving of deficiencies in art because I let my imagination fill in. After all, a story may have no pictures at all and can still capture me. But if the art is really crappy, that story had better be incredible or I’ll DNF it. When art is great… I melt.

    The first time I tried it I DNFed “3 Gatsu no Lion.” Not because it was bad but because “3 Gatsu” dredged up bad memories of being bullied and isolated. “Euphonium” just didn’t click the first time around, probably because I had bad memories of being in a band. Eventually, I finished both of them due to the rave reviews I read here and ended up enjoying them.

    I DNFed “Clannad Afterstory” because I could see what was going to happen long before it was going to happen and didn’t feel like wasting another night crying over a glass of vodka. Sometimes anime can do that do me. I DNFed “Stein’s Gate” because the MC irritated the hell out of me. And I know it turns out sad. I may revisit them someday.

    So occasionally I’ll miss a winner but it’s usually for an internal reason and not because I misjudged the quality of the work. I don’t see any virtue in pursuing a work I’m not enjoying. Reading the great reviews of other people helps steer me to the best offerings.

  7. I used to keep watching anime I didn’t enjoy (I distinctly remember watching the first 100 episodes of Naruto, for example), but I haven’t really done that, other than strictly for blogging purposes every now and again, probably since the 2010s. These days, I just don’t have time even if I wanted to!

    1. You didn’t like Naruto?!!!
      Hahah! Oh well…. It’s true that the scene where the Hokage and Orochimaru were on the roof was ridiculously long. What was that? 5, 6 or more episodes staring at each other?
      Otherwise, I loved the first 3 seasons.

  8. Same with the optimism. Also, because honestly I’m a lazy bum and why use actual EFFORT to go out and look for a better show when I can, y’know, just keep watching the mediocre one?

  9. Yeah, that Asuka picture is great! Way too powerful.

    I don’t usually drop shows either. Even bad ones unless it’s gotten to the point where I am actively skipping through parts of an episode and then do it for the next and then the next. That usually tells me thanks should drop something. That’s the only point when I do it though. Or, you know, no value was found in the series at all.

    1. I don’t think I have done the actively skipping around bit, I very rarely actively skip over parts I know will make me very sad….

  10. Purely obsession for me. That’s why I haven’t given up on Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary or Ms. Vampire who lives in my neighborhood. The former is really grating on a number of fronts, and the latter is actually too cute for me.

    For Sword Luminary, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m trying to identify the reasons it’s grating, which, I hope, will help me in my writing. Maybe that’s the optimism you mentioned!

  11. The way I see it, starting a new anime and then leaving it after only a few episodes is like starting a new software project, getting the basic stuff done, and then abandoning it right after. It’s messy, unorganized, and I myself don’t like that. Who knows too, you might be missing out on something cool later on along the way.

    That’s why I am one to start a series and do everything to power through it no matter how good or bad it is. I never want to leave a project unfinished and sitting in the dust. Better to get it done and out of your way than to have it unfinished and haunt you 😉

    1. I think that’s my mind set as well but I wonder the actual benefit of missing out on series I would have loved because I am busy watching ones that I am not getting anything out of. But then again, it will bother me if I’m not sure

      1. There’s no problem with that! Believe me, I’ve spent more time watching random shows that a lot of people aren’t as hyped about, and in turn it’s helped me gain a better appreciation for anime as a whole, the stories and I’ve gotten some good life lessons from them that I’d never thought an anime could do. So there’s that one aspect: learning something cool from a show!

  12. I guess I’m in the minority here cause I usually drop shows if they don’t hold my interest for like, 4-5 episodes 😛 Most of the time I’ve kept going with a show I wasn’t keen on, it was because I liked the first few episodes or a friend recommended it to me. I feel like an anime hipster (is that even a thing?) for saying this, but there are a lot of popular anime people have told me to watch (Attack on Titan, JoJo, One Punch Man among others) that have just done nothing for me. But I kept watching because people kept saying how amazing it is, or because “the start is slow but it gets better in arc 2”. And there have been anime that I wasn’t crazy about at first but ended up loving by the end (Re:Zero and Hunter x Hunter are the first ones that come to mind), so I’m usually willing to give shows the benefit of the doubt. But after a while, it just becomes a slog and even the sunk cost fallacy of already having spend 12+ hours on this show isn’t enough to keep me engaged, so I eventually drop it 😅

    1. Actually it seems I was the weirdo this time. Most of the comments are super ok with dropping shows they aren’t having fun with…

  13. I absolutely will drop a series early on if it hasn’t hooked me within a few episodes. The only exception is if I feel like it’s meant to be slow-paced and seems to be building to something worthwhile. If I do get to around the halfway mark, though, I’ll feel obligated to finish just because I’m over halfway at that point. It’s a psychological thing, maybe. I treat live-action shows the same way.

    Music, though — for me that’s different. If I’m listening to a lousy album, I’ll listen all the way through even if it’s pissing me off. Maybe because it’s a lot shorter to listen to a half-hour to hour-long album than to watch an entire season or more of anime, less time wasted.

    1. Oh wow, I’m the total opposite. Like if the tune doesn’t get me in a few bars, it’s dead to me. Then I rediscover it 3 years down the line and go – this is brilliant, why didn’t I ever hear this before???

  14. Well, Darkness is the one of the most famous masochists in all of anime, and watching anime you don’t like, for the sole purpose of finishing it, is kinda masochistic. Are… are you sure you don’t enjoy being bored? Maybe, uh, a little *too* much? 😉

    Kidding aside, I do this too. The good old “why the hell am I watching this?” question: Asked so frequently and so vehemently, that it becomes a quandary of nigh-metaphysical proportions.

    I used to finish bad anime (or books, etc) for the sole reason that there could still be a chance that the anime becomes great within the last few minutes, even if the odds of that happening are extremely low. I don’t really use that reasoning anymore, because yeah, 99.9 times out of 100, a show I don’t like is just… a show I don’t like.

    What I do now when an anime bores me and I’m fairly certain it’s not going to get better, is keep watching until I can explain to myself, written out or in my head, precisely *why* I dislike the series. I turn it into a mental exercise. Sometimes I have a decent idea of why I don’t like the show, but end up watching to the end just to confirm my theory. To that end, even boring shows can become entertaining. Then again, a lot of the time I can establish why something isn’t to my tastes long before the 12th episode (seriously, you should totally just write a “Why I Dropped _____” post when you can, instead of beating your head against a wall!)

    And then there’s the “so bad it’s good” variety of anime. Something can be so campy and predictable and frustrating and a waste of time, and yet… I’m laughing. It’s a trainwreck, and I can’t look away. In a way, these shows set out what they intended to do: entertain people. They’re entertaining for all the wrong reasons, but still! I wonder if someone could *intentionally* create a “so bad it’s good” show, and produce the same effect as one that was bad-good expressly by accident. I don’t think it would be the same.

    1. Oh wow, homework to alleviate to lack of closure itch! That’s kind of brilliant.
      A lot of people seem to compound “anime I am not enjoying” with “bad anime”. For myself though, there are plenty of bad animes I actually enjoyed. I know why I watched those.

      1. I try to avoid using the word “bad” for that very reason. It’s not anyone’s place to tell someone else what they can or cannot enjoy– though I certainly do have my pet peeves, and they can slip out from time to time (Like on your Ghost Stories post– I was being *waaay* too preachy there and you and your readers didn’t deserve that spiel. Sorry!). I have my own fair share of “guilty pleasure” anime, but ironically, those are the most difficult for me to explain why I enjoy them. None of them can be called unique or high-quality by any stretch, and yet, I just find them calming.

        1. All f my boy idol reviews are tributes to my bad taste and I don’t even have the decency to be embarrassed by them…

  15. Ah, yes, the holdover habit from the time when all anime I saw was on TV or in the cinema (sure, there were VHS tapes, but I didn’t have a player). Watching bad anime to the bitter end often sits somewhere between obsession and habit to me. At one point I dropped nothing I watched for more than one episode. I decided to delete my MAL, and it was worth it. I was suffering from anime fatigue.

    The worst thing, though, is when you watch a show for the good things in it, even though it mostly annoys you. Because, you know, memory recedes and the good bits are what you remember, until the bad bits accumulate, and then it’s turnaround time, but you still don’t quite drop it. That’s how I stuck with My Hero Academia for three seasons, and – yes – I was tempted to pick up season four, but I stayed strong.

    The savage cabbages are relatable. There’s a kind of euphoria in endurance… I’M AN ANIMe fannnnnnnnnnnhhhhhhhhh………

    Seriously, I’m happier now that I drop shows much more ruthlessly. I still finish shows I don’t enjoy now and then, but it’s not as common an occurance as it once was.

    1. I’M working on developing the dropping anime skill. It’s been one step forward a marathon back…

  16. If you look at the stuff on my own personal anilist and myanimelist you could see i’ve finished some real terrible to meh quality anime.
    Recently i finished off binging Chaos Head and School Days just to see how terrible everyone said it was and yeah Chaos Head is a pretty bad anime adaptation just as much as its sequel version Chaos Child and i’m still feeling sick to my stomach seeing the ending of School Days. And just a couple a days or so i finished Genocyber or Ellfen Leid of the 90s i’d like to call.
    My main reason for watching terrible at worst to mediocre at best quality anime is so that i could be able to help alleviate my anxiety issues by taking out my anger out on it.
    I’m not even done yet with my evergrowing to plan watch list on mediocre to low quality anime as i’m going to be watching as i’m just going to keep on looking for more stuff for me to tear apart on.
    But the good news though is that i plan on watching Robotic Notes soon since my copy of the blu ray just arrived and i also plan on getting the robotic notes game soon.

    1. I like Robotic;Notes… So you actively seek out anime you won’t enjoy. Not sure that’s the same thing but it’s interesting nonetheless

      1. I actually tried to import it from Japan a while ago for my ps3 and another game called Chronobelt for my psp but both orders were sadly cancelled due to the pandemic and since mail is re-opening from Japan and now almost all of my imports are starting to arrive i’m going to be trying to re-order them soon. In the case of Robotic Notes though i could wait for the ps4 double pack that includes Dash.

  17. Did you find out why? I recently sat through twenty-four episodes of Plunderer and it’s quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I had suspected that by the third episode but continued. Sure, I had hoped it would improve and my excuse is that I was reviewing it and didn’t want an incomplete series of posts, but it became more and more of a chore and I’m sure my opinion got worse because I resented it.

  18. I think to me, in order to finish an anime there has to be one element that I’m interested to see through to the end whether it’s a romantic pairing, a plot point, or a general character that I enjoy. If none of those interest me 3-5 episodes in, I usually drop it. Your post was very interesting thank you for writing it

  19. This happened with me while watching Steins;Gate. I never knew that it would be so interesting after maybe 9th episode or something. To be honest, when I first decided to watch it , I watched the first episode and dropped it there.

    But later after some months, I decided to complete it because of it’s popularity and it feels awkward just to abandon something from between, without knowing it fully.

    So I managed to go through the episodes, only to find out that it was a brilliant anime. So in short, even though we may actually become disinterested, we always look for hope that the further episodes might be interesting ,which drives us to complete it.

    Also, being a blogger and someone that analyses an anime entirely, it might be important to finish the anime because the goal is not just to watch and enjoy, but to grasp and find out the uniqueness, the goods, the bads, and whatever you can out of it. Nevertheless, if completing an anime gives you more information to put in your head, I think its fine!

    1. I have so much anime I want to see that I could just move on to one that has more to analyze. I don’t know why I don’t

  20. Here’s one of those times where I know I’m definitely an outlier amongst anime viewers. I will drop an anime like a slipper bar of soap. I’m NOT an optimist by any stretch. I try my best to stick to 4-episode rule with any anime I watch. If I end up feeling like it’s a show not worth sticking with (and that happens often), poof. Out of the queue.

    On top of that, there have been shows that have had a full 50 episode run that totally fell apart in the 40s, and actively made me angry for finishing. Like, how dare you string me along like that!

    Best example of this is when I was doing a podcast we called “It’s In Season”, where three of us would pick a few shows we’d watch in a season, and give our episode thoughts every two weeks. And somehow, we ended up voting on Prison School. We all unanimously ended up agreeing to drop the show 6 episodes in. We found it to be beyond the pale, and just irredeemably bad. When a show is just a pain to get through, I have NOTHING in me that tells me to see it through to the end.

    But I know I’m in the minority with a lot of anime fans. I did not get that completionist gene.

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