Becoming A Better Viewer: Creating A Space

[Description]: A short series of posts about the relationship between viewer and anime and how to get more insight and enjoyment out of what you watch.

When I say ‘creating a space’ what I effectively mean is putting aside time for your show. This may seem like an obvious thing but what I’m referring to is the kind of time you are putting aside – the kind of space you are surrounding your viewing with. When you watch the newest episode of your favorite airing show, do you watch it first, before anything else? Do you save it until its the last thing on your list of things to watch that day? Maybe you save it until the end of the season when you can watch it all at once without waiting or only watch it after a certain meal of the day. These kinds of rituals put the viewing of that show in a special ‘space’ – by paying particular attention to how and when you watch the episode, you’ve set it apart from everything else and this accentuates your enjoyment of it and solidifies it better in your memory.

The important part of all of this is to attach significance to your experience with a show. Marathoning and binge watching are actually a perfect example of this in that you take the show in all at one time without much interruption. You can do any number of things to achieve this such as tying your viewing to a signature snack or turning off all the lights before settling down. This is one of the reasons I generally take time before and after watching my favorite shows and temporally separate it from the other things I watch. Book-ending an exceptionally dark or depressing show with something lighthearted with no pauses in-between can compromise the mood of the show your watching. Giving each episode time to breath both creates this significant space and allows you to prepare a specific mindset going in.

With all of that said, many would argue that this is meticulous and a waste of time but there are plenty of ways to elevate your enjoyment of what you watch without infringing upon your use of time. Do you have any rituals and practices you have tied to certain shows? What’s your favorite way to make a show stand out in your mind?

You can read the next post in the series here: Becoming A Better Viewer: Valuing Components

You can read the preface for this series here: Becoming A Better Viewer: The Preface

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7 thoughts on “Becoming A Better Viewer: Creating A Space

  1. I agree that where and when you watch has a big impact on your enjoyment. I know I can’t enjoy anime while I’ve got work hanging on in the back of my mind so I have to clear my latest to do list before I can sit and watch.

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  4. Glad to hear about this, as it’s already something I’ve done instinctively. I pretty much only watch anime during meals, and tend to watch light-hearted shows during breakfast and darker/more complex shows at dinner. I find it a good way to start the day optimistically, and then end it with a series that requires more thought (which I usually have available at that time).

    Also, I only watch one episode of a series a day. This means a 24 ep. series takes me nearly a month to finish. I’ve binge watched very few shows, and the ones that I have tend to be less memorable. I love this approach because you have time to reflect on the episode if each episode is quite thought-provoking (such as Mushishi and Shinsekai Yori). However, it means that I really dislike cliffhanger reliant shows, and longer shounens with large periods of filler are a huge incentive for me to drop a show.

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    • I can certainly relate to the general day/night approach but there’s no way I could control myself when it comes to only watching one episode a day haha. Especially in regards to cliffhangers I’d just have to keep watching to see things through. It’s funny that the shows you binge watch are less memorable to you because I find the ones I really plug away at to be more memorable than some others myself. I could definitely see the case for it though because watching in a continous stream like that definitely blurs a lot of episodes together in the retrospective and you don’t have nearly as much time to mull things over like you talk about with Mushishi and Shinsekai Yori. Is there a reason why you tend to limit yourself each day?

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      • It’s mostly because it’s an easy way to manage the amount of “time” I have available. Watching one episode a day doesn’t get in the way of other things I need to do that day (like grocery shopping or studying). Wouldn’t want to be swept away by a show when I need to be studying for an exam, right?

        As for memorability, I think going back to the show each day for a longer period of time constantly causes you to remember aspects of the series and move it more into long-term memory. From my binge-watching experience I normally remember my feelings quite clearly, but the plot and characters tend to be more forgettable as a result. A little bit like cramming for an exam. You still understand all the information the day of the test, but a good chunk of that is forgotten soon after.

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      • Makes sense and it takes a more measured and patient person than I to take in each show and commit it to long-term memory in such a way. I feel perhaps the most pronounced downside to such a strategy is that some shows aim to take you on a ‘trip’ of sorts. It’s all about immersion and connectivity and the grand scale of it all and perhaps that style is hampered by only imbibing it at a steady pace.

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