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It certainly has been a rough year for just about everyone, huh? So much so, in fact, that the holidays did not even really feel like the holidays. Yeah, I exchanged presents, watched Christmas movies, and had a nice dinner, but it still did not feel like a normal Christmas, because it was not.
As I was reading Yumdeku’s thankful tag post the other day, I was reminded that I never really thought about what I was thankful for this year. I thought about it for a while, and came up with some pretty common answers: friends, family, the stuff I have. However, something that hit me like a brick was: Theaters. Specifically, I am thankful for the ability to watch anime in a movie theater, even though that’s not really possible right now.
I am not sure how it is for other countries right now, but at least in America, all of the major theaters, and even the smaller ones, are closed down right now. You know, for good reason. I honestly cannot imagine how much worse things would be if people were allowed congregate in theaters…yikes.
Movie theaters are gross. Like, gross as hell. Still, the one good thing about them was the fact that, at least pre-COVID, I could go pretty much every week and expect to find some sort of anime being shown. Whether that be the newest Shinkai or Hosoda work, a re-run of old Ghibli movies, or something completely new, it would be there.
This is pretty much solely due to the increase in popularity of anime in the west. Because companies like GKIDS and others have now found it profitable to air certain movies and shows in theaters, they did, and since then a whole new market has been opened, despite the fact that many see traditional theaters as dying. For me, going to watch an anime on the big screen instead of just on my laptop or tv at home is one of the things I have missed a lot in the last few months.
Part of it is just due to the viewing experience itself. The surround sound audio combined with the comically large screen makes for a much more enjoyable watch. This goes doubly true for shows and movies with particularly good animation and/or sound design, as these extra features make big moments, like the end of “Your Name” hit that much harder.
A lot of it though, is also to do with getting to go with other people. At least from my experience, the majority of the people in the anime community prefer watching shows alone. However, having someone there with you in a theater, for the occasional glance over to say “this is amazing” or even “this is awful” is a really nice feeling and one that I would like to have back.
I know this post was a bit more rambley, and that’s mainly because I wrote the majority of it on the spot. Still, it is my honest feelings.
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3 thoughts on “That Which is Lost: The Joy of Watching Anime in Theaters”
“Part of it is just due to the viewing experience itself.”
*nods* I usually watch with my wife, so it’s not so much the “look over”/”occasional glance” as I get that all the time. It’s the… psychic experience for lack of a better term. When 200 people gasp in awe, or you can _hear_ half the audience holding back tears, or the cheering at the protagonists Crowning Moment… The sheer experience of watching a movie with 200 other nerds.
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Well said, my friend. My best experience with this is going to see the No Game No Life movie. It was incredible getting to interact with so many other fans in one location.
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