[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.
One of the most straightforward ways to enrich one’s viewing experience is simply by knowing more about what you are watching. This transcends having read the source material or knowing what’s going to happen next – this knowledge relates more to studying the medium itself; in this case anime. At face value this sounds like a far more tedious method than the last entry however this isn’t about hitting the books or taking notes. There are a myriad of different things one can learn about a single show and all of them carry over into future experiences.
What I’m talking about here I think could best be described as ‘finding value in the show’s components’. Maybe the most recent show you watched enthralled you with it’s world and characters and the narrative left you craving more at the end of each episode but there is a great deal more going on that is less immediate. Knowing about what kind of methodology went into certain animation sequences or the visual implications of lighting and it’s techniques or the interplay of themes and motifs within the narrative are all immensely interesting things to carry into a show. The anime itself is wholly compelling on its own but this additional conversation between you and its individual elements and the insight it garners can markedly supplement an already enjoyable experience.
This topic might sound pretentious and even esoteric but to make things clear – you don’t have to have a comprehensive knowledge of any of these topics or even one of them. Moreover, the shows, which often expect little to nothing from their audience, don’t require knowledge of them either. And it’s easy to inform yourself of these things; read articles, reviews, reactions, and listen to podcasts and interviews. You shouldn’t have to do anything studious to come into knowledge that will bring insight and enjoyment to your viewer experience. All you’re looking for is that tidbit of information that exists beyond the immediate scene which brings the show to life for you.
Perhaps the best part of this all is that the easiest way to learn of these things is by simply watching more. Anime is very close-knit, incestuous, and referential and the more you are familiar with each show the more aware you become of the parallels between them and the dialogue taking place. Recognizing an iconic shot, or finding interesting nuances within the cinematography of a scene, or understanding the emotional subtext of a show can be downright thrilling insights. What are some of the memorable observations you’ve made? What do you find to be repeatedly the most interesting characteristic of the shows you watch?
You can read the next post in the series here: Becoming A Better Viewer: Making Lists
You can read the previous post in the series here: Becoming A Better Viewer: Creating A Space