Reinserting Fun in my Anime Watching

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.

awkward

moving right along

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.

anime painter

fan artception! Found it here (warning some NSFW)

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.

Hatsume Miku with computer

I’m easily amused

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.

K-ON!! mio studying

picking anime is serious business

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!

Rini 3 (3)

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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27 Responses

  1. Aether says:

    Hah, I do a similar think with my gameplaying. In the past, I’ve been working to a list, trying to get all my games in a certain category or place in the alphabet done before moving on to the next. Very formulaic. But about a year ago, I started choosing more based on whim and with the occasional help of a random number generator, and it’s led to some odd decisions. I still have some bit of structure in there, because that’s the kind of nerd I am, but showing a bit of both has worked best for myself.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Had a conversation with someone recently and what they did was shift their focus from watching anime due to burn out to focus on antoher hobby which is gaming. So i think having another hobby besides anime does help with dealing with burnout.
    -K.Anthony

  3. ManInBlack says:

    Maybe if you wrote about an anime series once it has ended rather than every episode, you might be able to sit back a bit more and enjoy the shows with less pressure to scrutinise every detail. This way, your anime mojo won’t feel so tested?

    Or try watching something else like films or TV shows or listen to music or read a book to break up the monotony of just watching anime. You know what they say about too much of a good thing… 😉

    • Irina says:

      Uhm… I mostly write about anime after it has ended. I only pick a couple of shows a season to do episode reviews and only on the weekends. I would say 98% of the reviews on the site are full series reviews.

      I’m actually loving anime right now. I hope you’re enjoying whatever you’re watching as well.

      • ManInBlack says:

        Forgive me, it seems like you do more single episode reviews (or maybe did). 🙁

        • Irina says:

          No it’s the vast minority of my reviews. I think I’ve reviewed about 10 shows on episode basis, the other 300 or so are full series reviews. It’s weird that’s the impression though. Especially since I mention so often that I vastly prefer watching shows after they air so I can binge them. Then again I had an overflow last week because the two seasons overlapped so it was more than usual.

        • Irina says:

          No worries, This said, you should definitely try doing episode reviews. It forces to consider every setup and pay out and really take into account pacing both narrative and release pacing a way you never do when you don’t do that. As well as some of the more subtle production tricks used in single episodes for emphasis or effect.. It opens and entire new world of appreciation and really sharpens the way you talk in shows and the medium at large. When I started doing episode reviews for the first time a few seasons ago, it really opened up my appreciation of anime in ways I would never have expected.

  4. David Boone (moonhawk81) says:

    “Random number generator” Aw, why’d you have to get all sciencey and scare me away?!

  5. raistlin0903 says:

    As you know I was completely out of the anime world for quite a long time until I ran into Karandi’s blog and rekindled my love for it. The rest is history. I do have a bigger problem though, and that’s that I like watching other stuff as well! In fact I like so many other things that I always have trouble in deciding what to do next. My blog certainly helps with this though. As I blog about a lot of topics, I always try to balance things out😀 One week I’m watching anime, another week I’m watching K-dramas, then I’m reading…etc. I always try to keep having fun, and hey I use random number generators to decide things too! 😀😀😀

  6. Pinkie says:

    Well I do the anime saturdays where I get up for them and watch them with cornflakes and adds and other things as if I am watchhing morning cartoons. I also select anime at random or I give myself missions! Like.. how I found Yamishibai by looking for horror that felt like actual horror to me. Or missions like “can I grasp the rules of MahJong by just watching Saki (I could not) .
    I am considering doing a monthly poll like thing per november where I put in four sub genres like , Racing, Pirates, Spies or Board Games.. and then I have to pick my next anime within that area.

    I do love anime but I am at a point know where I struggle very much in what to pick. Since there is to many choice! So I will make it as random as possible. The anime pool is so vast that there is lots of fun to be had with our picks and we can be surprised! I

  7. Dawnstorm says:

    Personally, when I find myself doing stuff like drinking games, it means I’m not really into the show, and I’d better switch over to something better suited to my tastes. The exception to this is so-bad-they’re-good shows, where those games are the point. Colourful Pastrale came to mind, where I had fun finding stuff the show does that ignores that mermaids live underwater:

    Mermaids using an umbrelly, mermaids taking a bath, mermaids pouring sugar into their coffee (that’s a multifunctional list item), mermaids putting seaweed to… dry, soak up salt, what?

    Also, keeping an anime actually turned out to be a liability. I much happier without one, and drop shows more easily. The easiest way to have fun watching anime is to not watch anime if it’s not fun. It’s obvious, but surprisingly hard to pull through.

  8. I find I leave a lot of things due to personal disagreements with people. I left Chibi Tamago because it felt like I was always complaining to Shineek, for one. I’m still collecting badges now, just only the AWC/other challenge ones – there was a similar concept on MAL (which is how the idea for the AniList AWC was born, actually) but MAL’s basically a bit of a wasteland at this point.

    I think I knew for a while MAL existed, but until I stumbled upon MAL alternatives about 5 years ago, I was happy using a Word doc. I’d heard some Very Bad Things about MAL’s culture and so that data leak a while back made me proud to have never touched it outside of using its database as a reference and its blog archives as reading material.

    One thing I do is (computer) wallpaper collecting. Start with a topic, go find a nice desktop wallpaper. If you find nice large transparent images, make them into a wallpaper (or make your own transparent images for later wallpapers!). If you have an image that might work as a wallpaper if cropped, do so. If you pause on an anime and want that as a wallpaper…you get the idea. You might even discover the sources of some of your favourite art may not be where you expect it to come from – for instance, I have an undersea wallpaper with a red torii gate and coral which I assumed came from One Piece…It came, much to my shock, from Rolling Girls.

  9. I’ve been struggling with this for sure, though that’s more due to outside problems than with burnout on anime or anything like that. I do keep meaning to set up an account at AniList too, but the logne ri elave it, the more I begin to think ‘this is going to take ages to list everything I’ve watched…especially if I have to rememebr the stuff I don’t own but watched on stream or VHS.’

  10. I’m definitely struggling with this right now. While anime is a huge passion of mine, it’s been difficult to sit down and actually watch things right now. I think there are SO many interesting titles coming out this Fall seasons, when combined with all the shtick I’m behind on already, it becomes overwhelming. I go through this with reading too (which I’m battling now as well *sobs*). I think the hardest part about these “cool” periods is trying to find something to fill the time with. I’ve grown to respect the need to take anime breaks and embrace them whenever they do arise. I’m just terrible at trying to fill the void in the meantime.

  11. At the moment, I’m fed up of watching anime, i got bored very quick once i started my blog. But I rewatched my favorite anime and it helped me get back into the jist of watching anime.

    • Irina says:

      A lot of people go through that. Starting an anime blog is a quick way to stop watching anime. Hang in there! A great show is bound to come along

  12. I’m definitely struggling with this right now. While anime is a huge passion of mine, it’s been difficult to sit down and actually watch things right now. I think there are SO many interesting titles coming out this Fall seasons, when combined with all the shtick I’m behind on already, it becomes overwhelming. I go through this with reading too (which I’m battling now as well *sobs*). I think the hardest part about these “cool” periods is trying to find something to fill the time with. I’ve grown to respect the need to take anime breaks and embrace them whenever they do arise. I’m just terrible at trying to fill the void in the meantime.

    • Irina says:

      Oh I get what you mean. When you have a comfy routine all set up and somehow you don’t feel like it. I end up just role playing a potato on the couch as youtube plays….

  13. WCRobinson says:

    I imagine most/all people have this – you can be a fan of a medium without constantly engaging with it, right? Even switching my focus from gaming to films to elsewhere helps freshen them all up. I also find that writing on the shows you watch is helpful, as it makes me feel as though I am creating extra productivity out of my hobbies in a satisfying way. Which also plays into the whole discussion aspect which is fun too!

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