I take recommendations very, very seriously. One of my biggest goals as a blogger is to hopefully introduce people to new shows and experiences that they may enjoy. I’ve done a lot of recommendations in places such as Anime-Suki’s recommendation board (the only board I even use there) the Anime-Planet recommendation database, and to hundreds of people on forums, through AIM, through request, etc. And in return, I’ve also asked for many recommendations and learned about countless shows through recommendations – which is part of the reason I know so many shows. I think that with every recommendation given comes a little bit of weight, and it’s up to the recommendee to carry that weight.
I pride myself with my skill in recommending decisively – I don’t give bullshit recs that I don’t know that the recipient will be interested in. If you give me a list of shows that you like or that match a criteria, I’m going to compile the most common elements between those shows and rec a show that matches the most of those commonalities. If you are a new fan, I will quiz you on things like your favorite movies, your interests, etc, and give you a recommendation based on them. If you’re super-experienced, I’ll find you a completely unknown but totally amazing show that you will love. If you need anything to watch ever, fucking come to me, and I WILL find some fucking shit for you to watch.
Of course I want you to watch the shows that I enjoy or that I want you to enjoy or expect you to enjoy, because there’s something in it for me. If it’s a show that I love, I gain a comrade, maybe someone to talk about the show with, maybe someone who will provide me with new insights into that show. If it’s a show I know you will enjoy, maybe I’ll be hoping for your reactions to that show to see if I may have helped you find something in life you enjoyed. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when people on A-suki send me messages or raise my rep points with comments about how they loved my suggestions.
But as gratifying as it is when someone responds to a recommendation, the sad truth is that most of the recs I’m likely to give are going to get completely ignored. It’s to be expected in a lot of cases, especially on something like A-suki where someone could start a thread and then mysteriously disappear, or find themselves with so many recs from so may people that it becomes hard to decide what is actually worth checking out. But let me tell you, there are a number of people who have genuinely and truly fucking pissed me off in this regard, and most were people I met in ‘the meat.’
At my school, there were always a ton of people calling themselves ‘anime fans’ who we knew as ‘narutards’. These were the first people I tried – I gave them short, written lists of shows I knew they would love, and in every case, regardless of how excited they acted about the lists, months or years would pass with no one watching. Then there were the kids who actually hung out with me, some of which knew a lot more shows than the narutards. They would occasionally check something out, but still ignore most of my recs . I actually had people who I loaned fucking DVD boxes who never fucking watched the goddamn shit. One case I will never forget was of a girl who had never seen any anime but who had friends who liked it. I got her into the idea of trying, and talked about her for an hour about the things she liked to come up with the perfect recommendation – just 2 shows, 2 shows I thought she might like, and I wrote out a detailed explanation of how to find them streamed and explained this all to her and her enthusiasm. She never got back to me at all.
I can’t help but feel insulted when this happens – why would you get my fucking hopes up? Why would you fucking convince me that you were interested if you weren’t? After years I had given up on almost everyone but people like that bitch convinced me so much that they were into the idea just to do what I felt like was a betrayal.
I don’t even care if you don’t like the show. Fuck, I don’t care if you go on wikipedia or read about he show and tell me it doesn’t look like your thing – that’s a good fucking excuse, I myself wouldn’t watch shit that wasn’t my thing, but what the fuck is it when you say nothing? I’d like to think that I know most of the people I talk to’s taste quite well and if I don’t, I find out. There are some people I know not to share recommendations with – Patz is one of my good friends in the blogosphere and there are some shows we agree on, but for the most part we know better than to rec to one another because he’s a sci-fi nut and I’m waging some kind of war against plot. But if there’s someone who I do know I can rec to, and they want a rec, and I tell them a rec, it’s because I fucking know they will like it.
When I give you a recommendation, I am giving you a weight to carry. It’s the weight of my wanting to hear your thoughts – a weight of my emotions, because I wouldn’t have told you about something if I didn’t want you to see it or try it or just research it for one.
What prompted me to write this is really something only lightly related. For those who don’t know, I have two younger brothers (16 and 12) and my family is very close. Any time I spend away from my computer, I’m playing with my youngest brother or bugging my lil bro. However, I have a hard time spending time with my family because they are interested in different things than I am. In the past and even sometimes in the present, people are always telling me that they ‘never see me’ because I am always in my room. The truth is, though, that no one ever does anything to interest me around here – my parents watch a lot of TV, my brother plays a lot of video games – there’s not much for me to do but play with the young-un who has become as big an anime fan as I am.
But here’s the thing – it’s not like I don’t want to do shit with them, it’s that they don’t want to do shit with me. My lil bro loves anime, and he’s ultra-responsive to shows – he will like pretty much anything he sees. However, when I want to watch something with him – something I REALLY want him to see because I know he will love it, he never wants to sit through it. And he has the nerve to say that he needs to see more. But far more painful is my parents – there are a number of shows I KNOW they would enjoy, but they just won’t ever watch it. They’ll find every way out of it – ‘not today, some other time, I don’t feel like it, not anime’ – I’ve been trying to get them to watch something, ANYTHING, for YEARS, and they won’t even glance at it.
It’s a fucking recommendation. It’s like me extending an invitation into my own life. ‘Here, see a side of me. See something I appreciate, and see if you might appreciate it, too. See if we can find a commonality.’ When I get someone to watch something that I want them to see, I feel more connected to the world – I fell like more people are sharing my interests, my experiences, my life. It’s like a validation of my existence. Anime recs, music recs, movie recs – knowing that something that effected me effected others is like a validation of the emotions that I felt – it’s like telling me that those emotions matter, because I am not alone. So don’t ever ask me for a recommendation if you won’t check it out. Don’t act excited if you have no intention of checking it out. Don’t pretend that you want to be a part of my life if you aren’t willing to connect with me in the way that matters most to me.
^ Suspected to be the result of listening to Eminem all day