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.

snow_white_red_hair_cast_characters_summer_2015_anime_bentobyte

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.

shirayuki_5a

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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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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Orange Episode 10

Review:

This episode needs to come with a warning about the sheer amount of cheesy scenes they are about to throw at you. We’re still at the athletics competition and we finish with the long awaited relay. Ignoring the over the top words of encouragement the friends are throwing around (which should be making Kakeru wonder if his class is actually some form of cult at this point) I now have to wonder if the guy in the blue team who now lost the relay gets to send a letter to his past self telling him to win to undo a past regret. It seems unfair that only Naho and gang get to make every situation turn in their favour. And how did they even win after subbing out all the actual racers from their class? Anyway, relay done, lots of happy photos, touching moments, and now I’m waiting for Suwa to realise what he’s done to himself and to explode.

Orange is available on Crunchyroll.

Orange Episode 9

Review:

While this episode is an improvement on last week the show is very much stretching things out as far as they can go. Kakeru and Naho still aren’t ‘dating’, just walking home together, giving each other significant looks and becoming unreasonably jealous when other people interact with the other. Naho’s friends are completely ‘supporting’ her but I’m pretty sure most of what they do this episode is what normal people would consider intrusive meddling. I don’t think this episode is any worse than any of the earlier ones but I do think my patience has run thin which is making it all a little harder to deal with. They either need to move forward or something new has to happen other than the two main characters awkwardly circling one another.

Orange is available on Crunchyroll.

Shonen Maid Episode 9

Review:

What can you say? The show continues to be adorable is illogical. Why you would meet someone for tea and talk with them for a whole afternoon, and discuss meeting again when you haven’t. even asked their name makes no sense. It feels in part like they are wanting to look at the deeper issues underlying the family leading to the end of this series, but it honesty, it is still really just the day to day of the various characters. Chihiro cleans, his friends are silly, Madoka avoids work, and somehow all of them have some wisdom to share with the others and everything ends well. While not as dull as some other shows this season, there really isn’t a whole lot going on other than cute.

Shonen Maid is available on AnimeLab.

Kiznaiver Episode 7

Review:

We continue to learn about Honaka this week and the story continues to be much stronger than the random mission episodes earlier in the series. These last two episodes have actually made me feel something for the characters beyond idle curiosity and I hope that the show continues to build on this emotional strength. We also got a two for one cliché moment with fireworks on the beach and then a random swimming scene where my major question was why didn’t any of them take their shoes off. Most surprising of all, both Nico and Tenga actually make some sense in this episode and feel more real because of it, rather than feeling like the comic relief characters.

Kiznaiver is available on Crunchyroll.

As a side note, on weekends, when I have a bit more time, I’m updating twitter while watching new episodes. If you happen to live in a similar time zone you can always check out my twitter feed. During the week, it really only gets used to announce when a new blog post is up.