Aren’t hobbies supposed to be fun?
In the modern age, there are a lot of different ways to watch anime. You can watch it on Blu-ray, TV broadcast, or Internet streaming. Subtitled and dubbed options exist for the majority of series. You can choose to watch it alone, or as part of a massive fan event.
So with so many ways to consume anime, what’s the worst? Manga artist Yohsuken (@yohsuken on Twitter), makes a pretty convincing argument in these four panels, starring a bespectacled otaku who has a revelation.
▼ “Ah…while I’m watching this anime…”
▼ “…from the very beginning, all I’m looking for is ways to talk trash about it on the Internet.”
▼ “I wonder if I can ever go back to how I was before, when I didn’t think about those kinds of things and just thought ‘This anime is fun and interesting.’”
The phenomenon of hate-watching anime is partially a sign of the times. For decades, anime was hard to get your hands on. Its commercial availability was severely limited outside of Japan, and even here, for much of the 1980s and ‘90s a lot of otaku-oriented anime was only offered in high-priced direct-to-home-video format. Sure, you could always expect a sour dissenter in any large gathering of fans, but for the most part, anime was something that you had to go out of your way to see, often at a substantial cost, and so most people went into a viewing session looking for positives.
Now, though, it’s extremely unusual for a new anime series to be anything other than a free-to-watch TV series, or a cheap-to-stream (or free, if outright pirated) series for much of the overseas fandom. Lowering the access barrier allows anime fans to consumer far more shows than they ever could before, which in terms makes them more informed and better equipped to critically analyze a show’s strengths and weaknesses.
But sometimes extensive experience comes bundled with a jaded outlook. Whereas in the past it might have taken years to gain access to enough anime to start to feel burned out, it’s now possible to stream enough Japanese animation to reach that same level of burnout in a much shorter time, which can lead to your brain instantly picking apart any minor flaws or artistic choices that rub you the wrong way.
In the same tweet, Yohsuken also offers his take on watching live-action movies.
▼ “The movie I saw today was good!”
▼ “Oh, looks like it’s getting really bad viewer reviews online. It’s doing terrible at the box office, and my friend just sent me an email saying it was ‘boring.’”
▼ “But I still think it was good.”
▼ “If your honest opinion is that a movie was good, don’t be so quick to let others, or even yourself, deny you that feeling.”
Yohsuken’s take on media consumption prompted online comments including:
“The most important thing is whether you like it, regardless of whether or not other people feel the same way.”
“Everyone is so negative these days.”
“If you like it, you like it, and that’s all there is to it.”
Granted, there’s a certain brand of fun to be had from clowning on an anime’s unintentionally silly or baffling moments. That scene in Gundam: The 08th MS Team, for example, where a guy poisons a group of people, then blows up the room with a grenade as they’re already dying before coolly walking away? Unintended comedy gold. But Yohsuken definitely has a point that if you’re primed to rip an anime to shreds from the second it starts, you might be better off watching, or doing, something else.
Source: Twitter/@yohsuken via Hachima Kiko