Friday’s Feature: With or Without?


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.

Sailor pose

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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Karandi James.


29 thoughts on “Friday’s Feature: With or Without?

  1. I think when we find something exciting, it’s quite natural to want to share it with others. Of course, it doesn’t always work and sometimes, they could even end up killing our excitement. When I seriously and deliberately started watching anime, it was because my friends were watching it. Nowadays, most of my friends don’t watch anime and I watch things on my own.
    I don’t like watching shows with people who aren’t really interested because it spoils my experience. For instance, my sister used to watch One Piece with me but she never really got into it. She didn’t really find the sad bits sad or the funny bits funny. There was this one scene which made me cry but she didn’t seem at all moved and it made me wonder if I was weird or overly emotional.
    That being said, I do like it when I find someone who shares my interest and we can discuss the characters and stories that we watch. For example, I introduced someone to Death Note and he loved it. I enjoyed talking to him about the characters and discussing his predictions.
    So, to answer your question, I prefer watching things on my own, especially if I’m watching it for the first time. I LOVE talking about the shows that I’ve watched but it’s never easy finding people to talk to. Thank you for bringing up this interesting topic!

    1. I’ve definitely learned not to show one friend anything that has even mild fan-service because I do not like listening to the ongoing tirade that follows it. Still, they’ll watch mostly anything else.

  2. I don’t have much experience watching anime with other people. Most of the people I know aren’t die hard fans so it’s difficult to talk about specific anime in detail. The few experiences I had was when I was in college. Even though a few of them were close to me, none of them live near me. Therefore, I mostly watch alone and I don’t mind. That means I get to watch all the lighthearted, rom-coms, shoujo, etc. I want. Though, I am interested in what others think.

    On the other hand, I enjoy watching tv shows and movies with my brother. Since he likes CSI related shows, I recommended him Detective Conan. He loves it. Also, it’s fun exchanging comments and geeking out when our favorite characters such as Heiji, Kaito Kid, etc. make an appearance in a following episode. I do have a funny story, but I’ll save it for another time.

  3. It’s very difficult for me to even remember when the last time I watched any anime alone was – I’m a lucky person whose wife likes anime a lot and we watch everything together. I’m pretty sure that it’s great when you have someone who can reply to your comment on a scene, or you look through tumblr together searching for hilarious moments from an episode that just finished. It’s not about discussing shows — to be honest I believe that 90% anime aren’t supposed any serious discussion dedicated to them, it’s mostly just a quick comments exchange, but I would definitely have missed that if I watched alone. To add up, anime, in my opinion, is a very “real-time”, hm, form of art — you need to discuss it while it’s hot 🙂 That’s why internet anime conversations don’t work well for me (even though I like reading reviews) — because by the time you opened up the browser, found a thread dedicated to the episode, typed in “Shinji – baka!” — the urge to voice the idea that Shinji is definitely baka might have already disappeared (and, of course, online discussion don’t work for me not because I’m very opinionated and can’t agree with others’ thoughts, at the same time not offering any valid arguments).

    Watching anime with many people is a totally different experience (typically involving a lot of drinks), for such events either easygoing movies (like K-ON) or some comedy series you all have already watched and don’t afraid to miss something work perfectly. We also used to start a new anime season gathering together and watching first episodes — oh, good old days.

    1. I always like when I travel for work and I can catch up with old friends and we pick a series to binge together. It usually involves a lot of sugar, very little sleep and just a lot of fun. And you are right, it probably isn’t the immediate discussion that is fun but rather the comments. Still, watching something with someone usually means later there can be discussion around it or references to it and knowing the other person will actually get what you are talking about which is kind of nice.
      Thanks for the comment.

  4. I watch anime alone, but that’s basically because not many of my friends like anime. I think no matter what it is you watch, it is always better to see it with someone. I basically see it the same as watching a movie in the theatre alone. It’s always fun to walk out of a theatre and talk about the film you just saw. And that’s how it is with anime as well. Which is why ever since I started blogging I just really enjoy exchanging thoughts with everyone . It is also one of the main reasons that I have started watching a few series this season, just to keep up, and just look at the responses for each episode. Obviously this has made animewatching a lot more fun, and it doesn’t feel like you are watching it alone anymore either😀

    1. I know what you mean about walking out of a theatre and having some one to talk to about what you just watched. It is a great feeling and always good fun even if the movie wasn’t that good.

      1. Yeah, I saw the new Saw movie this week (that really is an awful line lol😂), but having seen the movie alone, it was a real shame to not be able to talk about it with some one. Luckily because of my post for it, I still got to exchange some thoughts about it, but watching a movie in the theatre is just better if you share it with someone 😀

  5. It’s always better to watch something with someone if they are into it as much as you are. If not, at the very least passionate enough, either in a positive or negative way, to have an opinion.

    I mean, like with you, that is what drove me to write online. IMDB used to be the shiz for TV and movies since you could have long back and forths you couldn’t have with people in your everyday life. Now Reddit has sort of replaced that but it just isn’t the same.

  6. If it’s a comedy or something light hearted in general, I prefer watching it with someone else. I don’t know, it doesn’t feel like I’m truly enjoying something unless I have someone else to share a laugh with. On the ither hand, if it’s a little on the serious side, I prefer watching alone.

  7. Well, mostly I watch anime by myself (again my major reason being I read manga much more than I watch anime) but I always do rewatches with someone.

  8. I have multiple blogs on various subjects. Oddly I find the anime blog the easiest to write because I am deeply invested in the subject. Often I have to work very hard to synthesize an idea for my educational technology blog but it is generally easy to find a subject in anime.
    Concerning your question, I think I like watching anime by myself better. Unless the person I am watching with is knowledgeable, I find myself losing patience with either their questions or their opinions.

    1. It is kind of funny as I’ve introduced a lot of people to their first anime and they always say the exact same things and ask the exact same questions after a couple of episodes. Experienced anime fans tend to forget just how much we’ve learned just to accept when watching anime.

  9. Talking about anime to someone is one thing. Them understanding what you mean’t is kind of where it gets harder. I usually blabber around with friends about the recent shows that I just watched and about a number of them would understand where I was coming from. Generally, people tend to just nod and just make faces as you talk about stuff you’re really passionate about while there are some instances that they would actually get in and discuss the show with you. I usually prefer watching anime alone since it gets really awkward to talk about this stuff, for me.

  10. Ah, this was an interesting post to read. Unfortunately I don’t have any friends who watch anime or if they do, it’s not on the same level as myself but I feel like it would be really fun to watch anime with others, just to get another person’s viewpoint or argue about why we like a certain character. As for wanting to talk about anime, I definitely do want to share my thoughts and I think my main platform to do that is here on WordPress since I know it has a group of people I can have interesting and relevant discussions with. 🙂

    1. Yeah, the few friends I have who do let me inflict anime on them are pretty choosey about which anime they will try so I can really only talk to them about anime when I relate what I’m talking about to the stuff I know they have seen with me. It limits the conversation a little bit.

  11. I prefer to watch bad anime with people and good anime alone. Great anime doesn’t matter because I tend to forget my surroundings…

    1. That’s a good point. I prefer watching bad movies (particularly bad horror movies) with people too because it becomes a social experience.

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