When you watch too much anime, you turn into an unmotivated slob who hates anime. True fact.
I haven’t updated this blog or my Twitter in a couple of days, mostly because I was off in a land where there is no Internet. Because of this I did not watch any anime, so now I’m behind and am temporarily avoiding all other anime blogs for fear of spoilers. I probably won’t be able to watch anything new for another couple of days, either.
And you know what? I don’t really mind at all.
I don’t hate anime. In fact, I love it with all my heart and soul. But sometimes, I find myself wanting to take a break from watching so much of it, mostly because there are other things I want to do in life (yes, really) and also because I don’t want to run the risk of getting burnt out on it. These jaded cynics who seem to criticise every title they’re exposed to – could it just be because they’ve been watching too much anime in too little a span of time?
It’s a very real risk. Anime can be too much of a good thing. Besides the fact that staying in front of a computer or a television all day can cause you some physical problems, one tends to lose critical perspective on the stories themselves. It’s the latter idea I’m going to focus on here, mostly because I don’t really give a toss about my health and neither do you, probably.
So what do I mean by ‘critical perspective’? First of all, let’s acknowledge that like all storytelling mediums, anime has its strengths and its flaws. While some of you might prefer it to watching movies or reading books, let’s not pretend that anime in itself is this vastly superior thing and that every work of Japanese animation is complete genius. No, my good sir. A lot of it is actually quite shit.
But when you watch anime – and only anime – you tend to judge them only by the standards of other anime. You get sick of the cliches that are unique to anime and what was once endearing and novel becomes trite and boring. On top of that, you stop being able to relate your own life to what you are watching because you’re cutting off your life experience by saturating yourself with so much fiction. You are not able to appreciate some subtle character interactions and themes because you haven’t exposed yourself to those sorts of ideas in real life or in other media. Suddenly, everything seems so closed off in your mind and generic. That’s really no fault except your own for exposing yourself to the same material ad nauseum. You become unable to appreciate the individual elements in anime because you’ve oversaturated yourself with the genre.
This is why I think every self-respecting anime fan should actually take an occasional step back and explore other modes of fiction. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a hardcore or a casual fan, there’s a lot to be gained from immersion outside of anime. Then, when you return to this medium, you’re able to see it through fresh eyes. The things that were annoying you before aren’t nearly as bad after you’ve had a break from it all.
“But wait Froggy,” you say, “why should we believe you? Telling us to stop watching anime for a while? Maybe you just don’t like anime as much as you thought you did, you traitor!!!”
Okay, then. I see how it is. Explain then to me how I was able to come back from my self-induced anime drought and enjoy the hell out of Asu no Yoichi despite it being the most anime-ish anime ever?
I actually much prefer the official English title Samurai Harem for this anime. It is so much more descriptive about what actually goes on in the show. Anyway, I liked it because it was funny and big boob jokes and hot girls beating up a hapless nice boy is what makes me laugh and turns me on? lol. (By the way, Chihaya is Best Girl.)
Before going ahead and watching this anime, I read – or more like devoured – the following books in order:
- Poirot’s Early Cases by Agatha Christie
- All The Sad Young Men by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
- Kusamakura by Natsume Soseki
My favourite of these was All The Sad Young Men because F. Scott Fitzgerald is a genius and The Great Gatsby is quite honestly one of the greatest books ever written.
I also watched my first ever Alfred Hitchcock movie. It was one of his early ones, so it was in black-and-white. I loved every minute of it. It was awesome.
So you might be wondering how, after reading and enjoying so much high-brow stuff, I could go back to anime and love something called Samurai Harem? Because there are some experiences you can only get from watching anime, and watching Samurai Harem was enough to make it all come rushing back to me.
I’m convinced of it: for all its flaws and dumb annoying crap, I love anime. Exposing myself to a wider variety of great fiction is what makes me appreciate anime more. I also believe that my experience is universal and that you, the reader, can also relate to what I’ve been through.
So if you ever feel like you’re getting sick of seeing the same thing repeated in anime over and over, why not take a break and read a few good books or watch a few good movies? If you do that and you still feel the itch to go and watch more anime, then you’ll know for certain that you’re an anime fan through thick and thin.
It’s just that sometimes, no matter how much you love something (or someone, for that matter) you want to take a break from them. And that’s perfectly reasonable. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. If we all truly want to appreciate anime in the spirit that it’s made, then there really is something simple we can do – watch less anime.
You don’t want to get burned out now, do you?