The Casual Anime Fan: How My Anime Viewing Habits Changed Over The Years

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know I count Sailor Moon as one of my favorite animes (and manga) of all time. It set me off on a path to becoming a major anime fan. I just about consumed everything I could get my hands on. Usually if a series had an anime, it most likely was based off of a manga. Animes that were twenty-four episodes or longer, I managed to finish within a week or two weeks. The Japanese animation style and the stories kept me eager to watch a marathon of episodes after homework and studying was done, or when the weekend rolled around. These days, I can barely finish two episodes in a week.

Why do I call myself a “casual anime fan,” as I have entitled this post? Over the years, I have devolved from an anime super fan to the casual or occasional anime fan. It’s not because I have lost all interest in watching anime, it’s just I’m not up to speed with all the newer series everyone else is watching. Time and a pesky thing I like to call “adulthood” has factored into my change in status as an anime fan. When I do find time to watch anime, I’m mainly watching the older series I have bought a long time ago but never got around to watching. Among the older series in my anime collection are ones I have enjoyed during my high school days and series I rewatch to remember why I loved them to begin with.

Clannad
Clannad

Considering I’m not up-to-date with what’s good in the world of anime, even if I wish to get into a new series, I don’t even know where to start. I’m more overwhelmed with what to watch, though I am grateful for the existence of Netflix. I think if I were to try a completely brand new series, I would go off of recommendation. It also helps when a cousin or friend comes over my place and shows me a few episodes of the anime they are currently into. This helps me find the time to watch anime and it’s the best way to gauge my level of interest in deciding to continue a series on my own when they aren’t around. A good example of an anime I got introduced to by a friend and found myself completely hooked on the series would be Clannad.

Clannad was an anime I wasn’t familiar with. When a friend decided to show it to me one day, I wasn’t sure if it would be the kind of anime I would be interested in. I’m not a huge fan of slice-of-life animes. After watching two episodes of the anime, I found myself immersed in the story and characters. This same friend let me borrow his first season DVD and I managed to watch all the episodes within a week. It was the first anime in a long time where I went out of my way to finish it. When I found out there was a second season to the series, I went to Netflix to watch the final season.

With my time being so limited and having other leisure hobbies I like to indulge in during my downtime, like video games or reading, I’m not as open to watching every single popular anime I hear about as I used to. Most animes have to come highly recommended from a trusted source, or if I do find one afternoon where I feel like trying a new anime on my own, the story and characters have to capture my attention within at least two or three episodes. Apparently, I have developed a short attention span in my old age and it’s harder for me to stick with a series, compared to when I was an anime super fan in high school.

Another reason my anime viewing habit has changed over time is I don’t watch as much TV as I used to. Most of the time I’m not in the mood to watch a particularly long anime series. Watching these series is a huge time investment and if it doesn’t have something that should keep me watching, I most likely won’t bother. This is why animes I have grown to love during high school and part of college are easier for me to watch when I’m in an anime viewing mood. Maybe it’s because I already know I’ll enjoy it and I don’t have to take the time to decide if I will.

Anime along with manga used to be my main source of entertainment. When I added video games into the mix a few years ago, it has put anime on the wayside for me. Video games reduced my anime viewing by a lot. When I had a particularly stressful week or when I’m not in the mood to watch TV of any kind, I tend to pick up my controller and fire up the console. There’s something really satisfying about shooting things and blowing stuff up. It’s the best way to wash away all the stress and bad vibes from a taxing week. I also like pretending to be someone else for a while and get caught up in the world a video game presents to me.

There have been a number of factors as to why I can’t consider myself a super fan of anime anymore. This doesn’t mean I have given up on anime. I’ve just become more selective and picky about what I’ll spend the time watching. As long as there are good stories, fascinating characters, and beautiful animation I’ll find time to watch those animes.

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19 thoughts on “The Casual Anime Fan: How My Anime Viewing Habits Changed Over The Years

  1. When I was in high school my friends and I tried to become the greatest otakus ever. I’m not sure if I reached that goal. I still watch anime all the time, but only because I don’t watch much TV, unless something special is on. Haha Sailor Moon! I love it, but mostly the manga, I bought the whole series that was reprinted! 😀

    I watched the first 6 episodes of Clannad, then stopped because of other things, but I did like it…so far.

    As for older anime…one question…ever saw Serial Experiments Lain?

    1. No, I haven’t seen Lain! I’ve heard so much about it back when I was on the hunt for every anime I could possibly find and wish to watch. For some reason, I never got around to watching it. Maybe I should try one of these days…if I wasn’t already bogged down with the DVDs I do have.

  2. You’re right about video games being great stress busters! I also totally relate to feeling like there’s not enough time in the week to pursue every single hobby. I go through phases with things, maybe similar to how you do if you say you are in an anime viewing mood! On the anime front (which I am rarely on), I watched the run of Cowboy Bebop and the movie in less than a month. I get like that when I’m really into a certain video game or other too… but I tend to only focus on one (or two) things at a time in my free time and leave all the rest behind for a while! I just can’t focus on too many hobbies at once with so little free time in the week.

    It makes me miss summer vacations from school…

    1. Right? This is the only reason why I wish I could be back in school again. Summer vacations make it 10x easier to do everything you want: game, watch anime, read, etc. With work and other stuff going on in your life, you’re just too tired or not in the mood to do it all as much. You really have to pick and choose which leisure activity you rather be doing. Unfortunately, anime falls way below my must list these days.

  3. and I thought I was the only one who experienced this because of adulthood .To be honest I kind of miss enjoying anime, even the ones with terrible plots it was entertainment for the sake of entertainment. Sometimes I wish I could still keep up with it all

    1. It’s really a dilemma I started noticing lately. I really want to have marathon anime viewing days and then watch a new series everyone currently loves, but I noticed I end up choosing video games, reading, or watching a movie on Netflix once I’m done with everything else that needs to get done for the day.

      1. Exactly! the hundreds of episodes in all the latest anime are very daunting even though the reviews may be good. I end up putting it off and watching a bunch of trailers or doing something else entirely. I think the best solution is getting a bunch of friends and having a marathon together so there’s someone to hold you to it

  4. Yeah, it definitely has become the case that I have to really be interested in watching an anime (whether through personal recommendation or hearing a lot of hype about it) to want to watch it. I still occasionally try out a random anime to see if I like it, but that’s pretty rare. I also tend to drop a series if I’m not hooked within a few episodes, unless I’ve been warned it’s slow at the start, because like you said, I just don’t have the time and I’d much rather watch something I know I’ll enjoy. It’s a shame though, since I’m sure I’m missing tons of anime I’d absolutely love. If only there was more time in a day!

    1. I think we can all collectively agree that time seems to be our worst enemy. When you’re an adult and have more responsibilities than before, you really can’t invest as much time into something like you used to. This is where anime becomes too much of a time investment. If the series is really short, maybe 10 episodes long or a movie, then I may sit down and watch it. Anything longer and I’m still deciding if I’ll like it to keep watching, I don’t find myself as interested in doing.

  5. Yeah, now that I’m older it’s hard to find the time to watch anime. I have so many hobbies that if I want to get anything done during the day, I need to limit my viewing time.

    1. This is why my anime viewing habits have changed so much. It used to be a breeze to sit down and watch a big series within a week or consume more episodes in a day. Probably if I didn’t have so many other interests aside from anime, I probably would be going through new series like nothing.

  6. Time is really factor… When I entered university I opted to reading manga instead. It’s an easier way of getting your anime doze in a short time ^_^. And that was when I realized that there are tons of good manga out there that aren’t turned into anime. So yeah, when there’s an anime title that catches my attention, I first search if it has a manga. If it has, then sorry anime adaptation, I’ll choose the manga =)).

    1. I can understand that. I’m the opposite. When I read the manga and find out that it has an anime, I really want to look for it and check it out. For me, I like to compare the two. I like the idea of seeing a book come to life.

  7. I find that over the years, I read manga more than following anime. The opposite was true the first few years of my anime fandom, but I think a huge reason for this change is the fact that so many more manga are released than anime in the U.S now. And like you, when I do sit down to watch a new series, it’s likely to be one I missed out on from years ago rather than a recent one (for example, I watched El Hazard partially because it’s a ‘classic’). The only currently-running series I found myself watching within the past few years was Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun because of all of the controversy surrounding the series. If it wasn’t for that, I probably still wouldn’t have seen it – I even delay watching series I really want to see (such as Toradora) because of the amount of time it takes to fully invest in a series.

    1. I think I find more time to read manga than watch anime these days. I may not be reading the latest manga series (as I want to collect and finish older and longer running series like HYD and Ouran), but I find I’m diligently keeping up with that than anime. I do hear about popular series I do want to try, like Attack on Titan, but I noticed I’m less inclined these days to go out of my way to spend a weekend afternoon to watch anything. It’s really based on me getting in the mood.

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