For newer fans and some older fans as well, it’s difficult to imagine how someone’s passion for anime could ever fade. How could anyone get fed up with anime – there’s an unlimited amount and it’s entirely made up of cool…
I feel you. It has been my entertainment of choice for years now and I don,t see that changing. But even a huge anime enthusiast such as myself does have periods where my interest cools a bit. I feel like doing other stuff. It’s like a long term relationship, you know. You’re still madly in love with the other person, for sure. But it’s not like it used to be. You need to spice things up once in a while to keep things fresh. Maybe bring in a friend… you know what, I think we can all agree this analogy has run its course.
Point is, throughout the years, I have at times come up with a number of ways to keep up my fervour for anime and maximize my enjoyment. Just to be clear, it’s normal that sometimes people feel like, diversifying their hobbies and doing something different. For me, watching anime is primarily for fun, if not entirely for fun… so if I’m not having fun with it, then there’s no point at all. These are just little things I do to remind me of the fun and that just makes the experience more enjoyable for me. Cause I’m a weirdo.
Obviously, the first big thing is the drinking games. Although not necessarily with drinking. That would make my kidneys explode. I might use my handy dandy conversion chart to switch out the booze for something else or maybe mix up some mocktails. Even just playing along by noting the instances of a particular occurrence can really give a second life to a series I’m starting to get a bit bored by. I can’t explain it. It’s a bit like playing I Spy while watching anime. It makes me concentrate on the show and gives my brain a tangible activity when the pot isn’t quite enough. And even when it is, it’s like a little scavenger chase. It gives me a small thrill and it’s fun to do with friends.
Considering the popularity, or really just the existence, of drinking games in general. I figure I’m not the only person who feels this way.
I also like to collect anime fan art. Not necessarily art from my favourite show. In fact, there are quite a few series I have discovered through fan art rather than the other way around. But seeing other artists’ interpretations of a series r character is something that I find very interesting. It can reveal facets I had not noticed for myself and bring me to consider a show from a brand new angle. And the activity itself is just looking at really pretty pictures so it’s enjoyable regardless of what else I may get from it.
Now I’m a dork and a bit obsessive-compulsive. That’s probably why keeping track of my anime in fancy little formats has been such a boost to my experience. When I first started watching anime it never even occurred to me to do so. After all, I had never kept track of any of my other media consumption. I didn’t have a list of sitcoms I had watched or games I had played. I figured if I even forgot a movie so entirely that I would see it again without noticing, then why not see it again?
But there was just o much anime out there and I was interested in so many different things that it got a bit overwhelming. I ended up creating a spreadsheet mostly to keep a list of the shows I wanted to see. And then I started moving them to a second list next to it when I had seen them so that I wouldn’t add a show I had already watched back into my to watch list. At the time it had only a handful of titles, so it was pretty easy to manage. But I started getting a weird sense of satisfaction from seeing my watched list grow.
By the time I got a bunch of streaming services, the to watch list wasn’t necessary anymore but I still wanted that weird thrill from my watched list so I created a MAL account. I ended up abandoning MAL after a while and moving on the AniList cause it serves my needs better.
For those of you who aren’t total introverts like me, both of these sites have active forums and AniList has little forum games that allow you to earn badges from watching anime. I keep meaning to look into it but then I don’t. I figure it is a fun way to keep up with your anime watching for some.
For a while, that’s all my AniList was. I list of watched shows. I don’t keep track of my manga there. And that was already a boost because adding new titles to the list was oddly fun. Then I started to keep track of what I wanted to see there as well. It was a way of consolidating my different streaming queues in one place to make picking the next show easier. Seeing how many amazing series I still have left to watch really makes me motivated. I’m just plain excited to get to start a new one. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner.
Then, just a few weeks ago I tried two more shakeups in quick succession. First my watching routine. I use to watch one or two shows at most at the time, and whatever seasonal series I happened to be reviewing. I prefer bingeing in general but there are shows which are better savoured slowly, in small increments. In the past, I would do so by watching only one or two episodes of such shows in a sitting but I would still watch every day and not start anything new until it was over. I threw that all out the window. I decided to start 6 different shows on top of my seasonal ones so that I could change them from day to day (or not) depending on my mood. And that has been great! There are series I watch only once in a while while others I still breeze through. I find that evenings where I would previously have done something else, I now enjoy a series I watch only sporadically.
The other change I did is in how I choose my next shows. Whenever I finished one series I would look through my list and decide according to what I felt like watching at that time. My to-watch list is a collection of shows I really want to see, shows I really wanted to see at some point and shows I thought could be interesting, maybe… Some stuff’s been on there for a really long time. The problem with my old method was that for one, my mood of the moment could easily change the next day and mostly, it sort of created this baseline expectation. I looked through the series and created an image in my head of what they would be like. After all, I needed to base my decision on something. I would also probably do some minimal research. Read the summary, see what other people thought.
That’s not a bad thing at all, but just for funsies, I decided to go completely random with my last two choices. I used a random number generator to pick two animes out of my list and ended up with Aoharu x Machinegun and The Irregulars at Magic High School. Both titles were a quite low priority on my list and I had considered dropping them without watching them on different occasions. I even thought of swapping out Irregulars since technically Aoharu was the first title chosen and if I had taken it out of the list immediately it would have changed the position of all the other titles… No, I said to myself. I made up these arbitrary rules with no stakes or logic behind them and I’m going to stick to them for reasons I can neither explain nor understand nor guarantee exist at all….
As I write this I have only seen the first episode of each of these shows. And I liked them. Both of them. A lot! I didn’t bother to read summaries or look up anything because I had no decision to make. It was a complete surprise. And I guess my default expectations are low or something because I ended up having way more fun with both of these series than I thought I would I look forward to continuing them and I’m actually already super curious about what the random number generator will pick out for me next. I’m hoping it will be Run Like the Wind but we’ll see!
That’s all I got for you today folks. I know, I’m a dweeb. But I thought maybe I’m not the only one who enjoys these little things. Not that you’re a dweeb if you do. I’m a dweeb for completely separate reasons… Is there anything else that you do to keep your motivation for anime watching up? Let me know!