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.
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.
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.
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?