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A topic I frequently go back and forth on is the best way to consume anime as a medium. This involves a number of things: streaming vs owning, weekly viewing vs marathoning, and the thing I am concerned about most in this column: watching everything from a season vs watching just a few shows. There is of course a lot of nuance to this discussion, and I do not think this post is comprehensive in any way, but I tried to bring some light to the subject regardless. I hope you all enjoy it!
One of the most prominent parts of the anime community is the seasonal watchlist. It is incredibly common for fans to sit down, go through every anime that is airing and in a given season, and pick out everything they want to watch beforehand. I myself used to do this quite often, back when I had a lot more time.
However, as time has gone on, My feelings about seasonal anime watching have become a bit more complicated. For starters, there is the issue of watching something weekly versus marathoning. Watching something weekly can certainly be fun, as it allows one to keep up with series in real-time, as well as share experiences with others who are doing the same by talking about it with others online.
Still, there are some disadvantages. In the age of much shorter attention spans, waiting a week or longer for a new episode of a series can feel like a drag. It gets even worse when you find an anime that seems really interesting only to learn that it is only halfway over and that you now have to wait for the rest.
Marathoning also has its ups and downs. On the one hand, it’s a lot more satisfying knowing you have access to the whole series or at least the whole season and can watch it without pause. However, unless you have a friend who also enjoys watching anime to join you, the sense of community becomes lost.
Whether or not one’s anime watching preference falls more towards seasonal, weekly watching or marathoning, or somewhere in between, it is important to remember that both are perfectly valid ways to enjoy the wonderful medium that is anime.
One thing that does appear to be a problem is gatekeeping. Gatekeeping, for those unaware, is the act of controlling or limiting access to something. It is commonly used in modern popular culture to refer to those who try and limit those who can enjoy a specific cultural product or event, such as anime.
Gatekeeping has been a problem in the anime community for a while now and has most recently manifested itself in the subculture of cosplay. Many have tried to argue that, despite most of the characters being Japanese, black cosplayers should not be allowed to cosplay anime characters unless they are also black.
This kind of behavior creates feelings of unwelcomeness and makes it less likely that people will want to be associated with the community in the future. At the end of the day, anime is something available to everyone and it should not normally be the case that others get to police how someone enjoys something.
All of this is to say that the same feelings should be applied to how one watches anime as well. It does not matter if you watch everything in a given season or only marathon an anime every other weekend. How you enjoy anime is, and always should be, up to you.
How do you like to watch anime? Let me know in the comments down below.
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