Pruning the Watch List

You know, my dear readers, the past two seasons, precisely because they have contained a surfeit of good shows, have convinced me that I’m not the sort of person who can benefit by watching ten or more currently airing shows at once.  I’m no Angry Jellyfish.  My inspiration for writing about anime peters out as it becomes divided over so many shows.  Not only that, by my other interests seem to suffer.  (Admittedly, it’s likely not anime’s fault, but it can be the scapegoat here.)  And so, I have found myself tempted again and again to quit blogging for a while or to abandon watching current series.  Of course, if I quit watching currently airing seasons entirely, then who would read my articles?  Moreover, how could I properly enjoy other blogs?

Don't worry Tokyo ESP.  When the season's done, I'll come right back to you!

Don’t worry Tokyo ESP. When the season’s done, I’ll come right back to you!

The solution lies in cutting back on the number of currently airing shows I’m watching.  And so, I have decided to stall all of them save for the following four–four seemed a good number:

  1. Akame ga Kiru
  2. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
  3. Rail Wars!
  4. Sabagebu!
Aldnoah Zero, another show I'm dropping so that I can properly savor it.

Aldnoah Zero, another show I’m saving for when I can properly savor it.

That the last three do not contain serious subject matter at all (unless you include Sabagebu’s hunting and airsoft regulations, anyway) works to their benefit.  More serious shows often have more complex plotlines, hence they deserve more focus than viewing them on a weekly basis can provide.  This might be less of an issue if I kept an anime commonplace book, where I included quotes, episode commentaries, and glosses.  My current method is to wait for inspiration to hit while watching the show and then to write enough drafts until I am satisfied with the final product.  But, an anime commonplace book does sound like a good idea, doesn’t it?  Does anyone else have such a book or take notes after watching episodes?

Hanyamata girls

Hanayamata: proof that even I can be snared into a show featuring cute girls doing cute things.

Akame ga Kiru still remains on the list for a different reason.  Having read fifty-two chapters of the manga, latent topics for articles have been rolling around in my head.  (Here’s my favorite one of the articles I’ve written concerning that show.)  Also, I would not exactly call Akame ga Kiru a show brimming with complexity; though, various circumstances cast doubt on the efficacy or righteousness of Night Raid’s actions, and Esdese herself is one of the most complex and interesting characters I’ve seen in a long time.  (On the other hand, some people consider her stupid and uninteresting, but I want nothing to do with those Philistines.)  As a matter of fact, I have an article brewing on the past episode’s fights, which annoyed me greatly.

ARGEVOLLEN's not as bad as people say it is...and I'll prove it later, I swear!

ARGEVOLLEN’s not as bad as people say it is…and I’ll prove it later, I swear!

Of course, this shall not prevent me from reading articles on other shows, even if they contain spoilers.  Shocking twists and turns are not where my interest lies in a story.  I’m happy to go along with the story’s steady revelation, to enjoy the hero’s journey, and to wait for interesting themes to drop from the author’s genius.  The nice thing about this attitude is that stories can hold an almost endless interest for one as the reader constantly uncovers new themes.  I apply this even to anime, but perhaps I hold the medium in too high of an esteem?

Zankyou no Terror is perhaps the only show which risks being stalled permanently.

Zankyou no Terror is perhaps the only show which risks being stalled permanently.

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22 comments on “Pruning the Watch List

  1. iblessall says:

    I take notes by taking screencaps. The visual cues are often the best reminders for the points on which I want to touch or scenes or lines that particularly struck me.

    Both when reading and watching shows, it’s far too distracting for me to trying and take written notes at the same time. Such disruptions of the flow of the experiences kill both my enjoyment and my engagement with the show—often leading to a lower overall impression.

    • I have actually sat down with a notebook to take notes on certain shows when I vehemently desired to write a post but lacked inspiration. But, I do agree that it breaks the flow of the episode. What I had in mind with the commonplace book was writing about the show afterwards or even recording good quotes in the book as I heard them. Though, taking screencaps is likely an even better method for that. Thanks for your idea!

  2. Josh W says:

    To be honest, I find it difficult to even consistently watch shows I really like. For whatever reason, I’ve found it easier to power through a series of novels than a few seasons of TV. And I applaud you for having a more perfectionist method of blogging than I do.

    • I used to be pretty good at powering through series of novels myself and even switching between half a dozen books at the same time. Now, I find this trick harder to pull off effectively. With TV series, I’ve usually needed someone else to be watching it with me in order to keep up with the show. Blogging has certainly made me more particular about keeping up with the season, especially when certain bloggers try to release posts on an episode practically the same day as it airs.

      You might call my perfectionist way of blogging a product of my laziness. When one has a system in place, work always becomes that much easier. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the pingback! 😀 I do occasionally feel that there would be benefits to cutting down the amount I watch – more time for other interests, as you mentioned, but also it would make it a lot easier to keep track of characters’ names! Most seasons though, I struggle even to cut down my list to the usual 18-19 ongoing series. 😛

    • You’re welcome! I myself have noticed that I have trouble remembering certain characters names. And anime is often not helpful since the Japanese prefer addressing people by their position or relationship to them. You miss their name the first time it’s mentioned, and you will have to wait three episodes before hearing it again!

      Watching 18 or 19 currently airing episodes is nothing short of amazing. As you said, it does cut into one’s other interests. I started to notice that I had nothing to write for my other two blogs, though I’m busy remedying that.

  4. dmdutcher says:

    Yeah, I wind up doing the same. I start watching them all, and end up with about four to six series. For me it’s Locodol, Invaders of the Ryukojoma, Barakamon, Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun, Sabagebu, and Sword Art Online 2.

    Surprised you’re sticking with Rail Wars. Guilty pleasure?

    • My friend has been trying to get me into Sword Art Online. The first time I tried it, I only lasted a couple of episodes before putting it down. But, I did promise to give it another shot.

      Nozaki-kun and Sabagebu are great comedies, aren’t they? One might say that I’m also continuing to watch Rail Wars because it makes me laugh. The fanservice borders on excessive for me, but it hasn’t felt like they’ve sacrificed the characters or the episode plots to fanservice–similar to the first season of Freezing. (Which is strange, because the first season of Freezing actually had more fanservice than the second, but the fanservice in the second bothered me more.) Rail Wars is essentially a cross between Tenchi Muyo and You’re Under Arrest, both of which I enjoyed.

      • dmdutcher says:

        Nozaki-kun is classic. Sabagebu is funny because it’s the first anime I think I’ve seen with a female butt monkey that you don’t mind her getting what’s coming to her. You don’t cringe or feel sorry like in Watamote. I can get why you like Rail Wars then; realistic anime is pretty rare. Have you read Library Wars? You might like that one too.

      • I’ve watched the anime of Library Wars and am reading the manga. That’s a story with great characters! The only thing which annoyed me with the anime was that the last battle was so well done, while the prior fights were lackluster. It shows that they had the talent to make the show more exciting but perhaps not the budget.

  5. Sindar says:

    I watch four shows this season, and I consider that a hard schedule 😀 Also I’d be perfectly fine with reading about older shows; but I do know what you mean, writing about currently airing shows seems almost to be a requirement, for good or for bad.

    • Very true. I admire writers who blog about entirely old shows, but one never sees much discussion on their posts, which is unfortunate. In my own case, I also used to only be interested in new anime until I felt a wave of mediocrity hit from 2009 through 2011. During those years, I concentrated much more on older shows, but engaging with other bloggers and a general improvement in the quality of new shows brought me back.

      • Sindar says:

        Yeah, it is surprisingly hard to initiate an interesting discussion about something that is not a hot topic =) And writing stuff without any feedback isn’t always fun.

      • In looking back on my first month of blogging, I realized that I was pretty much blogging without feedback the entire time. (For some very obvious reasons, but I still like some of those posts.) I wonder if I could have kept going had not my second month been more successful.

  6. Genki Jason says:

    I also found that ten shows was too many and stick to four. I find that anime is a broad church and even if there isn’t a show for me in one season, the sheer amount that gets produced guarantees that I will be able to find something to enjoy sooner or later. This current season is very strong with the likes of Tokyo Ghoul, Zankyou no Terror, Aldnoah.Zero and Space Dandy. Those four titles alone make this a good year for anime for me but we’ve also had Ping-Pong: The Animation and others!

    Amidst all the moe of the next season there is at least one title I know I will adore.

    • It’s funny that four seems to be a magic number for several bloggers. 🙂 Many people seem to like Tokyo Ghoul, but I’m not really a fan of horror unless a werewolf or a vampire features in the story. The last horror anime I enjoyed was Shiki, which had a wonderfully Gothic feel to it.

      Zankyou no Terror is incredibly complex. So, I’ll enjoy it more when I’m able to watch it in chunks of three or four episodes. And, I’ll probably pick up Aldnoah.Zero again as soon as it more comfortably fits into my schedule.

      I can see what you mean by the Fall Season having a lot of moe. I’m most looking forward to Psycho-Pass 2 and Hitsugi no Chaika 2.

  7. David A says:

    I kept watching Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon and Zankyou no Terror. I haven’t watched Arvegollen since various weeks ago. I was checking and recent episodes feature some spa and massages fanservice…looks really out of place.

    Glasslip. I only watched the first episode, and I think I’ll want until is finished to decide about it. I haven’t been reading good things about it (lots of drama, supposedly unlikable characters and one of the girls seems to have a crush on the girl protagonist and still carries a boy around and calls him her “boyfriend”). Can’t believe is a P.A. Works show.

    • I agree that fanservice seems out of place during the war we see taking place in Argevollen–unless the soldiers were off on leave getting some R & R. Some people don’t think the show’s terribly inventive, but I like how it features a solid plot and a mature mecha pilot.

      I found Glasslip boring from episode one and could not watch it. I rather pity people who are still sticking to it, especially because of the bad things I’m reading about it. Oh, well, not everything with excellent animation has an excellent story. Which P. A. Works have you especially enjoyed, by the way?

      • David A says:

        Yes, I think some people see it as a very generic mecha show.

        I’m watching Tari Tari since February, but I put it on hold some weeks ago. I think is a fantastic show. I didn’t liked some fanservice scenes (unnecessary, like bathing and partial undressing), but almost everything else is quite good. Such realistic and likable characters, a display of family life, slice of life, musci, and various hobbies. Beautiful scenery and animation, good character designs. Back in february, that helped me for motivation about making good slice of life stories.

        So, I had very high expectations for Glasslip.

      • I’ve heard much praise for Tari Tari, so I can see why that would make you eager for another anime from P.A. works. Perhaps the poor reviews from Glasslip will convince them of the need to produce a brilliant work in the future.

  8. David A says:

    Yes, maybe this is going make them (P.A. Works) reconsider their next works.

    Speaking of fanservice in mecha shows(shower variety), now A/Z too… but, it could be called fan-disservice… what a surprising scene.

Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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