Gluttons For Punishment

hisuiconEvery week I see a bunch of tweets all with the same general theme. “Why did I watch Milky Holmes this week? This show is so terrible.” Why should I see that so often? I can enjoy things on an MST3K level of bad as my movie collection shows. I am sure that almost everyone who watched the colossal disaster that was Musashi Gundoh did so out of a morbid curiosity to see exactly how bad it could get. But there is a distinctly vocal part of the anime community that seems hellbent on watching things they hate and then complaining about it. That makes no sense to me. Either watch what you like because you enjoy it, watch what you hate because it is fun, but don’t watch what clearly makes you miserable. Unless you are a professional reviewer there is not reason to subject yourself to torture.

hisuiconThere are dozens of excuses as to why people do this. I know that some people want to watch what everyone else is talking about. Other people need to watch things until the end so they can be definitive on why they hate it. Others feel they most know the enemy to understand them. Then there are the schadenfreude fueled nature of people who just want to see crazy rants. Some people watch what they hate just to get rubbernecker hits on their website but that in itself is perpetuating a sickly system. You watch more things you hate to get more hits which forces you to watch more things you hate.

hisuiconBut my response is don’t do these things. They are poison to the soul. It can be tricky to know when to stop watching something because it might get better and you don’t want to write off whole genres casually but a stubborn completionist attitude is only detrimental. I am sure that the inability to just let something drop is a cause of a good deal of anime fandom’s burnout rate and the strange culture of anime fans who hate anime. One of the reasons Narutaki and I have remained pretty optimistic in our anime viewing is the fact that we are more than willing to drop shows that does not work for us and just focus on what we like. Nothing would burn me out quicker than watching every Key anime, followed by some dreadful harem show, and topped with Special A for desert. But I know I would hate those shows. So I simply don’t watch them and I am happier for it. I think some people would be better of doing the same.

12 thoughts on “Gluttons For Punishment

  1. Shinmaru says:

    There are usually two types of bad anime I end up watching weekly: The first are those that are hilariously bad and fun to watch because they are so terrible. The second are those where I’m somehow dumb enough to have some optimism and keep watching under the vague hope that it will somehow get better. I’ve become better at cutting off the latter, but my senses don’t always work, unfortunately.

    • reversethieves says:

      The first type is fine because your having fun. If you watch something so bad that it entertains you then that makes sense to me. What I can’t understand is torturing yourself with a show that has no value to you. It seems counterproductive and merely masochistic.

      Sometimes you are not sure with your feelings on a show so you don’t want to stop before it gets good but sometimes you just know it is time to hit the eject button. There seems to be a part of fandom that refuses to eject but gets angry they are watching a show that makes them so angry. But no one is putting a gun to their head and making them continue. They are not going to lose their job if they don’t finish the show. I just can’t understand that mentality and it just seems all around harmful.

      – Hisui

  2. Paul says:

    I’m willing to give things a try, even if I don’t think I’ll like them. But I’m not willing to go back week after week just to complain about them not meeting my desires.

    • reversethieves says:

      Exactly. Trying new things is admirable. But there is a point where your gamble did not pay off and you have to back out. You don’t get extra points for taking a bet you know you are going to lose time and time again.

      – Hisui

  3. thedigitalbug says:

    Introducing another reason for continuing to watch bad shows. You will have to agree that when drinking (regular) coffee, (regular) beer, or (dry) wine for the first time, will leave a bitter taste in your mouth that can be quite repugnant. Coming back to drink these takes a little more will. After drinking a bit more, you start to notice the subtleties that make them attractive. Anime can be quite the same.
    But of course, people who complain are probably not in it to try to really enjoy.

    • reversethieves says:

      I did not think about that. I understand people trying to ease themselves into a genre. Say you want to understand mecha so you watch a bunch of mecha anime. But the way to do that is to watch mecha anime that has elements you like andis overall well regarded. You don’t get into wine by trying Thunderbird or get into coffee by constantly drinking cheap burnt coffee. You start with mild but high quality products and than ease yourself into the normal fare. Staring with the bottom of the barrel is a good way to make sure you fail.

      – Hisui

  4. zzeroparticle says:

    It is sometimes worth watching a bad show just to keep up on the conversation though in my view, I’d like to make sure that it’s tolerable enough that I won’t start to find it gnawing at my soul. There is value in being able to relate and add a few cents to a discussion.

    I do think the tendency to watch shows you hate lessen when you have less time to burn though. Ever since I started working, my anime intake has been greatly reduced and I do have to pick and choose shows worth my while so as to maximize the utility. I can’t go like how I used to.

    • reversethieves says:

      I can’t see needed to be part of a conversation so bad that I would torture myself with say Lime-iro Senkitan, Yosuga no Sora, or Gokujou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou. We all have a limited amount of time as you said so I rather watch something I know I will like or at least sample something I might like. At most I might watch an episode to know what a series is about but Kanon (either version) can go unwatched by me forever. I will say watch something like Roots Search but becuase it is so bad it is fun. I feel that maximizes both my time and my fun.

      – Hisui

  5. Geoff Tebbetts says:

    I apologize profusely.

    I watched all of Motto To Love-Ru, MM!, and Seitokai Yakuindomo to see how bad they could be.

    They were really bad.

    Before you whip the hell out of me, all I ask is a screening of the Yosuga no Sora ending.

    Please, mistress, can I have another?

    • reversethieves says:

      You can do whatever you like. It just makes no sense to me to do something so self destructive. My post is more a cautionary tale than an indictment.

      Also To Love-Ru (an by extension Motto To Love-Ru) is my go to “That anime/manga is SO BAD” anime/manga.

      – Hisui

  6. Hoshiko says:

    I agree with you – it is tricky to know when to drop an anime. For quite some time, I keep on continuing with the show because I was hoping it might get better – especially those highly acclaimed anime. Now I know better. I’ve learned to drop some of the anime that really doesn’t appeal to me.

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