A lot of my friends are stoners, and nine times out of ten they smoke with a group because it’s more fun than doing it alone. We can all relate – while there may be anime fans out there who’re content with enjoying it alone, you and I are clearly not those fans, as proven by us being here right now. We like discussing anime with other people, but just like you won’t get far around potheads if you don’t know the difference between ‘dank’ and ‘chronic’, you won’t get far discussing anime if you aren’t up to speed on the shows that get talked about.
That’s not to say everyone has to watch what’s popular to be a part of the conversation, but if your tastes and knowledge are limited, you won’t have as much to talk about. This doesn’t matter to some, but if you have lots of fun getting in on intense discussions like I do, then it matters to you. For instance, I’m not huge on mecha and sci-fi anime, so I lose out on a lot of discussion over at We Remember Love, which sucks because there’s always a lot of it going on after each post, and I love ghostlightning and his audience.
Now, I’ve always thought it silly to watch anime that you don’t enjoy – I’ve dropped over 200 shows on the principal that I shouldn’t bother with something I don’t like when there’s still anime that I WILL like to watch. And I don’t plan on picking up all of those shows again either, since most of them will never work for me, but in the comments of my Shitty Male Leads post, reader Hogart introduced me to the prospect of watching a series that you know will get talked about, even if you don’t care for it.
I’d never thought of this, as I’ve looked down on completionists in the past. I’ve seen plenty of people who watch a whole show just to feel justified in bitching about it later, which pisses me right off. However, just because you don’t like a series doesn’t mean you have to flame it, and what’s even more fun is that you can engage in conversation with people who do like the series and can discuss it at length. Hogart isn’t a fan of Railgun nor Index, but he, Taka (also not a fan), and I had a pretty lengthy discussion about them in that comment thread and traded ideas about how we saw the series. They highlighted some of the flaws while I countered with some of the ways that those flaws are balanced out or justified, and I think we all came away from it with some level of appreciation and affirmation for each of our thoughts on the shows.
I’ve seen firsthand how watching a popular series can be hugely beneficial for a discussion junkie such as myself. I recently caught up with K-On!! and was able to get in on many inside jokes among bloggers, and also have some intense discussions with ghostlightning about the show across both of our blogs, twitter, and AIM. I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t watched Code Geass in 2008, though I even had a hard time with that craze because I stopped ten eps into R2 and only knew about the rest vicariously through /a/.
The prospect of watching a series not out of love for the show itself, but out of a love for conversation about anime is something that had never really occurred to me, and seems like an excellent prospect. It’s pretty rare for me to completely hate the shows that are popular anyway, but I definitely feel that I’d be better off if I stuck through shows like Fate/Stay Night that I may not like, but see tons of conversation about. [F]
Have you ever watched a show that you didn’t really care for, but had it pay off in the long run because you got to talk about it?
(Post title is a reference to the phrase ‘Weed is a social drug’, which Funeral uses a lot. By the way, he’s on twitter now – so how about we get him in on the worldwide conversation, eh?)