While I was typing up my monthly review, I noticed that my watching list was a bit smaller than I originally thought it was. Since I’ve watched the first episode of practically everything this season that’s either not a sequel or doesn’t have flying underwear, this confused me a bit until I realised exactly how many anime I’d dropped. Basically, I’ve already dropped over half of the series airing this season. That figure will probably rise since I end up dropping a lot of anime around the episode 5 stage (Kobato and Sacred Blacksmith are heading towards that point and Natsu no Arashi has already been dropped). I always knew I was a vicious dropper but the extent of my dropping capabilities hadn’t quite hit me yet. Intrigued, I looked back at last season to see how many anime I had watched and how many I had dropped.
Watched/Watching: Bakemonogatari, Spice and Wolf, Sora no Manimani, Umineko
Dropped: Needless, Canaan, Tokyo Magnitude, Princess Lover, Umi Monogatari, Aoi Hana, Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou, Taishou Yakyuu Musume
If this trend continues, I’m going to have a larger dropped list then a watched list.
So why is this so? Well, it appears the Average Joe Anime Watcher simply takes what reviews say are good or whatever appeals to them from the synopsis and watches them. I just can’t bring myself to do that. It’s not that I generally don’t agree with these reviews. I most certainly do agree with them most of the time (it’s one of my permanent disappointments is that my top 20 anime pretty much solely consists of already uber-popular stuff and doesn’t look anything as unique as someone like psgels), but what if there’s something out there that I’ve missed? If I had taken that approach I wouldn’t be watching Book of Bantorra, which is probably my second favorite series this season after Darker than Black.
‘But how do you have time to check all these series out’ I hear you cry. That’s the thing: I don’t. The more I watch, the more series I know I’ll enjoy. But obviously I don’t have time to watch them all. So in order to watch those anime I enjoy the most, I cut off those anime I’m not enjoying that much. I don’t have time to be watching the average rom-coms, the uninspired harems or those shojo series that everyone else loves but I just can’t get into. There’s a little internet law known as Sturgeons Law that states that 90% of anything sucks. That’s not exactly true and more of a pessimistic view of entertainment. Closer to the truth would be that 10% of anything is awesome. That doesn’t make the rest of said product crap. There’s the decent series, the average series and so on. Obviously a huge amount of these are still utter crap but I find that a lot of people are sitting through the decent and average stuff. And that is exactly where my vicious dropping routine comes in.
There are a few anime series I watched in my lifetime that shaped my dropping routine. These anime set out the boundaries for when I should have dropped a series a long time ago. When I’ve finished a series and I look back and think ‘what a unenjoyable experience’ I know that there’s something in there that meant I should’ve dropped it. Learn from your mistakes, although a cliched term, is exactly what I’ve been doing. Here are a few of the mistakes I’ve made and what I’ve learned from them, in rough chronological order.
1: Green Green – Learned to not continue to watch anime just because of the boobies.
Where this was applied: To-Love-Ru
Where this should have been applied: Shuffle, Nagasarete Airantou
2: Fruits Basket: Learned not to watch an anime in order to see what happens in the end
Where this was applied: Soul Eater, Chaos;Head
Where this should have been applied: Itazuru na Kiss
3: Rental Magica: Learned not to watch average series
Where this was applied: Tokyo Magnitude, Valkyrie Chronicles
Where it should have been applied: Vandread, Library Wars
And that list could go on and on. Don’t watch an anime because of the pretty visuals (Maria Holic). Don’t be afraid to drop a second season if it sucks (Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei). The three listed above are probably the most important three because it’s those three rules are what most people break. How often have you continued to watch an anime simply because the girls or guys are hot? How many times have you watched an anime you weren’t really enjoying so you could see how it ends, especially waiting to see if the main romance gets solved? And by any chance did these endings end up about as disappointing as the rest of the series? I’m right amn’t I. But the most important of all is the third one. The average series. The ones that you can’t really muster much enthusiasm to watch the next episode. The anime where you can’t really remember the characters names. The one where, if someone asked you if it was any good, you would reply with a resounding ‘meh’. If you take anything from this post then take this message: Drop the average series. Take a look around you at the vast amount of anime at your disposal. There will always be something else to watch.
Why do I have this intense attitude towards dropping? It goes deeper than simply time management. One reason is that there’s always more to watch that I want to watch. In fact, this is still time management but at a totally different level. There are so many series I want to watch that I don’t have the time to summon the enthusiasm for a series that I didn’t like the first episode of. A show that I may have had enthusiasm to watch before I watched a dreadful first episode gets instantly plummeted down my to watch list. So the rest of Mazinger Z is way better than the first episode? Fine, I’ll watch it again. Just after I’ve watched Wolfs Rain, Gankutsoh, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Gundam Seed, X, Ergo Proxy, Nana, Gunbuster, Hidimari Sketch, Akagi, Beserk, Hellsing, Ghost Hunt, 5cm per second, Hajime no Ippo, Gungrave, Ichigo Marshmallow, Mars of Destruction and so on.
But probably the main driving force behind it is the fear of the inevitable burnout. Reports from folks who have experienced this dire infection that can spring upon any unsuspecting fan at any moment are few and far between. But from the few that I have managed to scavenge, what they said was they kept watching series that they couldn’t get excited about. In short, they were watching series they didn’t enjoy. So I’ll sit back, watch my drop list continue to shoot higher than any other, and enjoy my anime. Except for me, it’s only the good ones.