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Anime consumption and ‘worth’ as a fan.


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Animerican14



Joined: 19 Aug 2006
Posts: 804
Location: Saint Louis, MO

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:24 pm Reply with quote
For a long time, I’ve thought, with a mixture of envy and confusion, “How have you been able to watch as much anime as you have?” Other questions have popped up along this line of thinking—particularly….
~“What has driven you to watch all that anime?”
~“What has driven you to keep track of all that anime & put it up for public display?

Such questions have stemmed from occasional glances at a number of user’s “MyAnime” lists on ANN over the years, and less often on MyAnimeList.com. Being a bit of an excessive perfectionist in secondary school, and somewhat less so in college, I never gave much outright priority to trying to ‘fill myself up’ on anime in lieu of other big things that took up my time (CCF, studies, gaming). Now that I am out of college with no definite future plans set, and am away from much that had kept me engaged in The Real World, I am trying now, or aiming to attempt, to ‘fill myself up.’ I’ve essentially become preoccupied with building up what I’d like to consider ‘self-worth’ as a fan. I’ve been struggling in seeing the worth in so much anime consumption or this (probably self-imposed) value of fan ‘worth’ in the first place—while simultaneously becoming increasingly curious about others’ reasons for consuming anime.

Now I think it can be safely said that, in most cases, we watch anime for pleasure. But when I see people that have their anime lists number in 400s, 500s, 600s, and beyond, it becomes kind of hard for me to believe that. At the very least, I increasingly wonder if “I do it for pleasure” is the sole or even primary reason of anime consumption for many of those with the gargantuan lists. Maybe I’m just feeling real disheartened here, since looking at the rate my own list has progressed, it seems like I will never “catch up” with a good deal of fans, despite being into anime for nearly half my life.

Or could there really be something else that drives you to complete anime? (In my case, I’ve been trying to justify avid consumption as looking for sources of creative inspiration, but I’ve begun to think that justification holds little water if I don’t try to regularly create new things myself.) Might you guys be consciously trying to complete as many anime as you possibly can? Or are you taking an approach akin to savoring fine wine, devoting your attention to only a few anime at a time and dragging that out over the course of several days? I have tried this approach with some shows in the past, and am basically trying this approach again with Fate/Zero, and it seems to make room for a somewhat more ponderous viewing experience-- but then there is less time for other anime...

TL;DR: I am conscious that I may be psychoanalyzing too much here. Even so, I remain very curious about the mindset with which you guys approach consuming anime—might you in part seek to increase the total number of anime you’ve watched/completed?’—and whether you feel that your approach contributes to some greater sense of “worth” as a fan or ‘nerd cred’ in you.
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Alan45
Village ElderVillage Elder


Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 3663
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:37 pm Reply with quote
I would prefer to say that I watch anime, and read manga for entertainment. The word pleasure has some connotations I'm not comfortable with. I started a bit over 16 years ago and still limit myself to shows I find entertaining. When a show is not entertaining I stop watching.

I do not watch to achieve some numerical goal, I have no idea how many I've seen, and I'm not even sure how many I have. Nor am I trying to improve myself or achieve some higher goal. I just found that anime is fun to watch and continue to do so. When it stops being fun, I'll stop watching (and be very sad).

I can't speak for you or anyone else, but that is how I approach it.
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getchman
Pirate KingPirate King


Joined: 07 Apr 2012
Posts: 6518
Location: Cheshire, CT

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:43 pm Reply with quote
I like looking at stats. I initially created a profile on MAL just to occasionally post. but then when The King of Harts posted a link to MALGraph on the subscriber forum, that gave me a reason to actually use MAL for it's intended purpose just so I could satisfy the inner statistics nerd inside of me. Same reason I have a profile on anime planet. It gives a a year/month/week/day/hour breakdown of everything I've watched instead of MAL just listing a number of days. I like the achievements as well, especially the guy slowly dying for how long you have been watching. I just also like having list that allows me to keep track of things I've watched. I watch anime because I like it, and not as some sort of competition to see if i can watch more than a certain person. And because I like a very wide range of genres I just end up watching a lot each season
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KyuuA4



Joined: 28 Sep 2006
Posts: 1314
Location: America, where anime and manga can be made

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:53 pm Reply with quote
For starters, I submit my completed list:
http://hummingbird.me/​users/​KyuuAL/​watchlist#​completed

Yes, I've watched all of them. I can't say, that I remember all of them in terms of content. Although, I can be reminded of them if the correct memory is triggered.

I'll confess. Due to this whole listing thing, my viewing rate has increased; but at the same time, I refuse to complete anything that out right aggravates or bores me. These either automatically get dropped or eventually I drop them. Yet, some I actually do managed to finish watching; but at the end, I regret doing so.

At the end of the day, no, my motivation is not for my listing e-peen. The alternative would be US TV and sadly, this medium offers few and far in-between for me to watch lately, other than The Walking Dead or sports. There are other shows that people point to, like Game of Thrones. However, I'm not inclined to start watching those. Generally, I have my TV turned off, unless some sporting event is happening.

A couple of times, I actually had to go back to watch a couple old series, that I enjoyed. However, I could have missed out on them. They simply flew under my radar at the time.

I have other reasons behind my now growing backlog; but I'll keep that quiet. Speaking of a backlog, the existence of one can sometimes may viewing somewhat of a chore. However, I know that I have a few gems in said backlog to watch; and I do look forward to watching those. At the same time, I loop older and previously viewed series on my other computer, while I play games - like Civ V.

Finally, I've re-started watching back in 1994. However, I know that I missed out on some good ones, due to fewer options to viewing series. Nowadays, it's much much easier to just pick out a select bunch of series to watch.
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Key
Moderator


Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 11839
Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:31 pm Reply with quote
While I think you're overthinking this, Animerican14, I still find it to be an interesting discussion point.

I am a statistically-oriented person by nature. My "pay the bills" jobs (teaching high school Math, tutoring for the SAT and ACT) both heavily involve statistics, and I originally got into following pro sports and playing tabletop RPGs because I loved analyzing the numbers involved. However, this generally doesn't apply to my interest in anime. Oh, sure, I love to rank things, but I have never had any interest in getting into pissing contests about whether or not I have watched as much anime or more as someone else. My work for ANN aside, I watch anime because I want to and only rarely because I feel compelled to.

That being said, I will sometimes watch series just so that I can know what others are talking about. But there's still no aspect of competitiveness to it for me.

And as for how much I've watched: I've been a casual fan since the early '90s and a serious fan since the mid-'90s, so I have had a long time to build up my viewing record. (My list here on ANN probably represents only 2/3 or less of what I have actually seen.) I also watch very little TV beyond football, basketball, and an occasional series; the only ones I am actively following now are Marvel's Agents of Shield and (when it comes back on) Dr. Who, so that leaves a lot of time for anime viewing.
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VORTIA



Joined: 26 Jul 2005
Posts: 751

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:04 pm Reply with quote
Animerican14 wrote:
For a long time, I’ve thought, with a mixture of envy and confusion, “How have you been able to watch as much anime as you have?”


Because I love it. It's nothing to be envious about. If anything, I should envy others for having more normal interests, but the idea of normal is something I find painfully boring.

Quote:

~“What has driven you to watch all that anime?”


It's basically a combination of the fact that anime characters resonate strongly with me on a personal level and that I find I detest most other forms of popular entertainment. I don't watch TV, I rarely watch movies that were made after 1990, and the majority of novels put me to sleep. Anime is practically the only entertainment I watch.

Quote:

~“What has driven you to keep track of all that anime & put it up for public display?


Honestly, it started just as a way for me to keep track of what I'd seen or purchased myself. When the amount of anime you've seen reaches into the hundreds, you start to find yourself forgetting what you own or what you've seen, and you need a way to keep track of it lest you buy duplicate DVDs or watching the first twenty minutes of an episode only to realise you've seen it before.

Over time, however, I've become the go-to anime guy in my group of friends. After having people regularly ask me for recommendations or other information, I figured slapping some ratings and comments on the list would make it something I could refer to or show them when people asked an anime question.


Quote:
Maybe I’m just feeling real disheartened here, since looking at the rate my own list has progressed, it seems like I will never “catch up” with a good deal of fans, despite being into anime for nearly half my life.


Well, for one thing, it's kind of silly to see every anime fan in the world as your peer. An anime fan in their twenties couldn't possibly "catch up" to the anime watched by a fan in their forties who watches at the same pace, and they really shouldn't try to. "Ultimate foreign cartoon trivia guy" is not a coveted title or prize to be won.

Quote:
Might you guys be consciously trying to complete as many anime as you possibly can?


Actually, at this point, I'm usually just trying to find a couple of shows to watch a season, but I end up trying them all and finding I like a whole lot of them. I actually get a little annoyed by how many shows I find myself liking because then I feel compelled to complete them.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 7919

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:54 pm Reply with quote
I watch a lot of anime because I can, and because I can usually derive some kind of entertainment value from it. It's the same with live-action film, where you'll find yourself unlimited in choice, it only takes some research and knowledge to keep adding movies to a list. That's my approach to anime and why I've seen hundreds of movies, OVAs, and films over the years. I watch it because it's there and because I don't know if it's good, average, or bad until I get through it. I more I consume, the more knowledge of anime I have, the more conclusions and comparisons I can mentally draw when I see something in the future, to better understand how and why something is produced.
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Jedi Master



Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 375

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:57 pm Reply with quote
Do not seek self-worth in the amount or quality of entertainment you consume. Instead, seek worth in the accomplishments you make in your life and the quality of interactions you have with other people.
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rheiders



Joined: 05 Jul 2011
Posts: 1023
Location: Colorful Colorado :)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:42 pm Reply with quote
My list isn't entirely complete since I forget about things, but I think the number of anime I've completed is still quite a bit less than 200. I started just a few years ago, around my first year of high school, and I didn't get into it more seriously until probably junior year. I used to be a little daunted by the users here who have seen hundreds of shows, but now I know that's pretty silly. They've been in the fandom a lot longer than I have, and they watch a lot more than I do. (A lot of them are completionists too, whereas I'll watch a few episodes of like three different shows in a day and then completely forget about all of them as soon as I get busy with something. >3>;; )

I also used to feel bad about not having seen some of the "classics" that other fans say everyone has to watch, but I realized recently that that's pretty silly too. Anime's just a hobby; I should watch what I feel like watching. I'll get around to Utena eventually--I do really want to see it--but if I'm more in the mood to finish UtaPri2 then that's what I'm going to do. I shouldn't feel self-conscious because I chose one cartoon over another to watch in an afternoon.

So tl;dr, if you'd asked me this question a couple years ago, I probably would have answered that yes, I do care how many shows I've seen and that I prioritize the "important" ones. But now? Nah. And I can guarantee statistics isn't a draw for me because I'm an art major and math is gross xD. People who like math are weirdos Razz
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TrailOfDead



Joined: 09 Aug 2012
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:57 pm Reply with quote
Jedi Master wrote:
Do not seek self-worth in the amount or quality of entertainment you consume. Instead, seek worth in the accomplishments you make in your life and the quality of interactions you have with other people.


yeah. it's totally cool and good to consume media and enjoy it and talk about it and be inspired by it or whatever, but it's probably not very good or cool to define yourself by the amount or type of products you consume, imo
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Ghost_Wheel



Joined: 30 Jan 2013
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:00 am Reply with quote
rheiders wrote:
But now? Nah. And I can guarantee statistics isn't a draw for me because I'm an art major and math is gross xD. People who like math are weirdos Razz


Lol. I'm a mathematician, and I don't think art is gross or that people who like it are weirdos Razz. Kind of weird how these days one seems more socially acceptable to say than the other, but that's a whole other rant.

On topic, I've actually tried as hard as possible not to waste my time with bad shows, because if I start something I generally tend to finish it. I tend to find friends who have similar tastes and draw from their experiences. For me it's all about finding great art, and even if I had a list large enough to be able to brandish my e-peen, I wouldn't really have anyone I'd want to show it to.
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st_owly
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 3578
Location: Edinburgh, UK

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:18 am Reply with quote
The reason I made a profile on MAL is because I have a memory like a goldfish and forget where I'm up to with a show, especially if it's a series which has finished airing and I'm marathoning it. I only choose shows to watch which I think I will enjoy, I'm not the type of person who will watch something for the sake of completing it. If something is not entertaining, I drop it.
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Aylinn



Joined: 18 Nov 2006
Posts: 1578

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:18 am Reply with quote
Like others I don’t derive my self-worth from the number of watched anime and I watch it because I like it and I don't care whether or not I have a long list. Besides, I suspect I am too picky to ever have a very long list.

As for making my anime list public, well, I think it is good to spy on like-minded people from time to time and see whether there is something interesting on their list that I may enjoy as well. Smile And since I am spying on others, I suspect it is only fair I allow others to spy on me.
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Mesonoxian Eve



Joined: 10 Jan 2012
Posts: 1858

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:21 am Reply with quote
Skipping the OP/ED of a series, it takes a little over an hour to watch 3 episodes. Given a series is typically made of 13 episodes, it's conceivable to watch a series per day.

This is how I used to consume anime, saving those 26+ episodic series for the weekend, so it didn't take long for me to rack up many series. Compiled, I couldn't even begin to tell you how many I've seen.

I've been watching anime on and off since the late 70s, and I've forgotten many series I've seen. Hell, this is becoming the standard even for today's series, since they're so cookie-cutter, most are forgettable by a season's end.

I don't put my viewed series online anywhere at the moment. I did have a listing in My Anime here on ANN, but an accidental deletion of a collection wiped out everything I entered, and I've just not had the energy or drive to restore it.

To me, there is no "worth" in viewing anime, aside from enjoying what I do. I'm not here to brag to anyone I've seen hundreds of series, but I'll not mind telling people if they're interested in my viewing history.

Now, if we're talking figure collections... Razz

I would suggest not to put stock in anime viewing as a self-achievement, because it's been my experience this has led me down the path of anime burnout many times (including the current, as I've not watched many of the new series out in the past few years).
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errinundra
Enjoying the time of EVEEnjoying the time of EVE


Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 2678
Location: Melbourne, Oz

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:25 am Reply with quote
I DO derive a measure of self-worth from how much anime I have watched. I am also proud of My Anime (go on, click on the link below and see why). I am quite comfortable admitting to both.

I also enjoy watching anime immensely.

Be envious of how many things bring me satisfaction.
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