Watching outside the box

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I'll be the first to admit that I don't have by any means what could be termed an balanced variety diet. Harem show, harem show, harem show, and the occasional slice-of-life do not a good balance make, no matter how awesome said shows are.

Often times in the American anime community those who are only partially exposed to the True Wonders of Anime, through mainstream, typically shonen hits like Naruto or Bleach, are ostracized for being Not True Fans, for only liking one show or not watching "real" shows, so on so forth.

But, on the flip side of the coin, are those of us who've got a master's degree in Harem Studies and not much else any better? Just because we're further ahead on the curve (usually) through fansubs and have our communities to agree that, say, Kanon is the best thing ever made instead of Naruto, is that any more right?

Which leads into the real question of today: is it wrong to only watch one or two styles of anime, to only focus on a few shows and genres and ignore the rest?

"CCY, you dumbarse. Of course it is. You should try to experience as much anime as possible and live the true anime experience."


The catch here is that, unlike actual food diets, you don't per se need a balanced anime diet to live, even if you are a die-hard fan. Personally, anime is meant to be something you enjoy, something that you do for fun.

Even if one writes a couple novels' length of posts about a 'hobby', it still remains a hobby. It's not like work, where one gets up and grudgingly goes "Ugh, time to make the blogpost for today." If it's not fun for you, don't bother.

And thus this policy is one that I believe should extend to anime watching as well. One shouldn't be obligated to watch a different type of show just because they've never done it before. If a person don't enjoy harem shows, for example, then forcing them through Da Capo, for example, will be roughly equivalent to running one's arm through a meat grinder. There's no reason to do that, since anime is not an obligation but a pastime.

It's like college. Usually, one goes to college to specialize in a particular area, whether it be math, science, writing, or something else. One doesn't go to college to learn something of everything. Either you'll become a jack of all trades, master of none, or you'll explode your head.

But what differentiates specialty anime fans from your standard Naruto fanboy, just like how a college student is different from some farmboy, is that most fans have at least tried - or heard of - most of the series and genres out there.

Sure, your Computer Science major might not be able to write the next War and Peace, but he/she can still communicate fairly effectively and bang out a decent essay.

Your resident action fan might have watched a magical girl show for a few minutes, put it back on the shelf, and said "This isn't for me." And that's OK.

Balance isn't one of those things that's really needed in an anime fan so much as tolerance. It's OK for an anime fan to dislike Haruhi, it's not for them to pan Haruhi as the worst show ever because they didn't like it.

Beauty's in the eye of the beholder. Because, somewhere out there, every show has a fan, every show is made for somebody, whether it be the mecha fan, the romance fan, or the fetishist.

And one has to realize that they can't (or shouldn't) be every one of these people at once.

Are people missing out by not watching Show X because they disliked Show Y? Maybe.

Is it OK for them to completely ignore Show X then, and live off of Show Z? Fine, but don't try to claim that Show X is junk. To each their own.

So maybe 'ignore' is the wrong term to use at the top of the post then. It seems perfectly acceptable to me to instead 'pass up' on a lot of shows and only watch a core group of a certain type; especially when you take into consideration real-world concerns such as free time.

It seems tacky, but the core rule of anime watching is enjoyment, and so if you can't handle the heat, get out of the fire and back into the fridge, if that's more your style. Just as long as you leave your boundaries sometimes in order to make sure that you want to keep watching what you already are.



I'm sorry, but was this not obvious enough that it had to be said?

I don't know of a logical fan that would commit him or herself to grudging through a less-than-appetizing genre of anime simply to maintain a "balanced diet". Seriously, if someone actually needed to be TOLD that they DON'T have to watch anime from a genre they don't like, then maybe watching lame shounen-actioners or pathetic moe-infested harem comedies are the least of their worries right now.

Amusingly enough, in a post where I muddle on about how blogging shouldn't be a chore, I crank out a half-dead, obviousbat post.

I'm sure this was more of an imaginary conflict against my inner consciousness telling me to get out of my moe-bishoujo hole (and go watch one of them other Good Shows) than any ground-shaking argument for the depths of the history books, so if it comes across the wrong way, then, eh, off day it was. :P

I suppose the real deep message here is: I'm very biased in my anime pickings and damn proud of it. XD

Maybe an off day, but if it helps you sort our your emotions... ^_^

I say watch what you like. Just don't shun something if you haven't at least sampled it. I'm extremely picky as well...saves me the time and eyesore of watching a lot of bad stuff.

"I say watch what you like. Just don't shun something if you haven't at least sampled it. "

I agree with this too. At least take a look at new genres before writing them off. You might be limiting what you watch by staying in that comfort zone of what you like to watch, but as long as you don't mind since you're the one actually watching, it's not a problem. Doesn't mean that I still won't try to nicely offer expand someone's options anyways. It's a hobby, but it doesn't mean you have to stay in the same place with it. :P