There’s this image a lot of people have of ‘the’ anime fan. There are variations on the theme but one point comes out again and again and that is that the anime fan must be a loner. I won’t deny I watch a lot of anime on my own due to not knowing anyone anywhere as near obsessed as I am, but I also know that I love watching with others.
That is more or less why my blog keeps going and why I continue to find the time and energy to write the posts I do. Because I watch an episode of something and I want to talk to someone about it. I want to share the random thoughts I had, and what I thought after it was over. I want to laugh at things that went wrong and I want to cringe at some of the corny lines. And I want to celebrate the well told and well delivered moments that made me catch my breath or had my heart soaring. And while I can experience most of that solo, I think most of us will agree it just isn’t the same as when you have someone to share it with.
It has actually been awhile since I had someone watch a series with me so I was really happy the other day when I had some friends over who had agreed to give Snow White with the Red Hair a go. One had minimal knowledge of anime (watched a bit as a kid) but loved Disney so I kind of sold her on the fairy tale aspect of the story.
The other had more experience with anime but not a lot of recent stuff. Knew of some titles from the last few seasons but hadn’t really gotten around to anything. The two of us got into a few conversations about various tropes and things that just seem to happen in anime that you don’t even notice until watching with someone else who asks whether that guy actually just patted that girl on the head. It is moments like those where you realise how much you just learn to accept some things as standard and you forget that non-anime fans are sometimes going to be just a bit confused by certain actions.
However, the point was that as we watched the episodes we got to point out the random things we noticed, like why red hair is apparently rare and worth kidnapping over but no one ever seems to mention Mitsuhide’s blue/green hair as being unusual even though no other character has that hair colour. Or why Mitsuhide is holding a bunny in the forest (I must admit that one escaped me until the watch through and now I will forever wonder why he is holding a rabbit). Or even why every other townsperson is in brown, yellow, some sort of pale green or blue but Shirayuki is running around in vibrant pinks and reds.
When the episode ended we could chat about what had happened and where the story was going (though I had to keep my mouth shut during a lot of the speculation). Then we could decide whether to watch more, take a break, have a snack, talk some more and usually just keep watching some more. We ended up watching half the first season before we finally had to call it a night.
I remember back a long time ago (not saying just how long), when the 1990’s Sailor Moon was being played (re-played?) on TV in Australia. A friend of mine was also deeply into the show. I remember this because we used to watch the episodes at our own houses and then we’d get on the phone immediately after to discuss the episode. It got so bad the two of us were taking notes of things we wanted to tell the other person or ask them if they’d seen that part of the show.
So while I will watch anime alone, for me anime has become a major part of my social world. I put myself out there to talk to others online and in the real world there are people who I connect with because of particular anime. I know that isn’t the same experience for everyone and I know some people who prefer to watch alone and not be distracted by the noise of people talking, asking questions, eating or whatever else.
Putting the question to my readers: Do you prefer to watch anime with someone or without? If you watch alone, do you want to talk about it with someone after watching or do you prefer to take your time to personally reflect?
Thanks for reading.
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