Monday, November 11, 2013

To marathon or not to marathon; that is the question.

After following both Shingeki no Kyojin and Free! for a number of weeks, I have finally learned the ups of watching a show over a longer period of time. I spent most of my summer watching one anime after another, sometimes reaching as much as 16 episodes a day. Although it could become too much at times, I can’t really say I had a bad time; it was actually pretty great. 

So which of the two ways of watching is better? Is our perception of the show really affected by the way we watch it? To the latter question, I will have to say yes a thousand times. And I will try my best to explain how so. (This is all given that the show watched are generally enjoyed, shows that were disliked are not considered at all.)

Wouldn't actually mind watching this on a weekly basis. It's funny and cute, and mostly with independent stories for each episode.

It happens that we come across a show we really really like, and don’t have the patience or self control to wait with watching more, given that more episodes are already out, of course. So we marathon it. Episode upon episode is watched, until we are left with nothing but an empty feeling of something missing in our lives; we have reached the end of the show. The feeling will last approximately from a day till a couple of weeks at most, depending on our emotional investment in the show, the number of episodes, the length of the period the show was watched, etc. We will not want to watch anything new during this period. We will only look at fan art, read fan fiction, listen to the soundtrack, ship our newest OTP, and whine about the show on Tumblr. We will call up our friends and talk frantically about this show, hell, we’ll even tell our parents about it. However, soon enough the feeling of attachment to this particular show will lift a little, and we find ourselves bored, what to do now. So we move on to a new show or whatever else we tend to enjoy doing.

Airing shows however, they’re a bitch. I’ve never watched them until the phenomenon SnK reached my Tumblr dashboard in massive amounts (and made it to the top 10 list on MAL after only 6 episodes), and I had to give in to the temptation. I very literally marathoned the first 15 episodes or so, then was unwillingly forced to wait one week between each new episode. And I’m telling you, waiting is painful. But what happened then, that is so much different from the other way of watching? On a macroscopic level, it’s pretty much the same. Look at fan art, read fan fiction, whine on Tumblr, etc. 
But I think, the emotions are invested on a much bigger scale. When watching a show over a long period of time, our attachment has lots of time to grow stronger. 

The wisest decision I ever made was to put this on hold after 3 eps. I would never have lasted over a year with this shit.
Usually, when marathoning a show, I’ll spend maybe a day, two tops, to look at fan art and fan fiction, before moving on to something new. But when forced to wait for new episodes, it becomes something completely different. I don’t want to watch other shows in the meantime, but I’ll do it anyway because I don’t have anything better to do. I won’t enjoy these shows as much as I possibly could have, since my obsessiveness is already occupied by something else. I’ll read fan fiction, not just a couple to see if I’m still into them (like I would after a marathon), no, I’ll read them all the fucking time. Because I can’t stop thinking about the show. I need it in my life. I’ll stop going to my Tumblr dashboard, in favour of looking up my OTPs and anything related to the show. I’ll listen to the OST of the show non-stop until my ears are bleeding. I’ll spend as much time as I possibly can on things related to the show, and everything else in my life becomes a blur. And quite naturally, this lasts for weeks, even months, since the show is still airing. I won’t grow tired of it, I won’t move on.

In one way, you could say the only difference between the two ways of watching is the level of attachment we grow to a show. But personally, I’ve found out it’s a lot easier to decide whether or not I like a show by having to wait for the new episodes. When marathoning, I’ll simply watch all the episodes as an act of habit, rather than consider what I actually think of them. But if I have to wait, it’s easy to distinguish which animes keep me at the edge of my seat. It’s when I religiously wait for the episodes, set aside the time to watch them, even make a ritual or tradition out of it, and stay up till 4 in the morning just to wait for the subs, that I can be sure I enjoy a show, even if all I do is complain about its faults. 

SnK keyword: cliffhangers. Marathon to avoid unnecessary pain.
Now, which way is the better way to watch anime? I can’t tell, because I think they’re both great. If I watch an airing show I risk getting obsessed at a deeper level that can affect my life in general a great deal, while if I marathon it, I can at least limit my obsession down to a few days. However, with watching the show over a longer period of time, I can also extend the time that I enjoy it, and I can easily avoid spoilers. Let’s just say both have their ups and downs. 

Well, that’s it for now I guess. Not sure if any of this made any sense. Perhaps you guys feel different about it, I would love to hear what you think! 

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes watching the whole series really fast happens on accident. If you like what you see, keep doing it!