I, like a lot of other people who watch anime, watch anime to have a good time and to enjoy myself… or at least I thought I did. Recently, I’ve been watching some shows that I don’t particularly enjoy all the way to the end. I can’t entirely justify why I do it. For variety maybe?
A while back, I loved all sorts of anime and watched anything and everything, always managing to find something enjoyable about every show. Hell, I even managed to enjoy Glasslip, despite the fact that it presents so little. But eventually, I began to develop some taste. I’ve only ever dropped three shows before: Classroom Crisis because it wasn’t very interesting (I was only 2 episodes in), Punch Line because it was a mess (also only 2 episodes), and Stella Women’s Academy because it was quite bad (hey what do you know also only 2 episodes cool). After realizing I probably haven’t watched any of these shows enough to give them a proper chance, I decided to go with the Three Episode Rule: No quitting a show unless it doesn’t present anything worthy in the first three episodes. Beyond three episodes is fair game. If it isn’t good after three episodes chances are it won’t be getting much better.
But after putting the Three Episode Rule into place, I haven’t dropped a single show. I’ve always made it a point to finish every show to the end, no exceptions (even if it means having to finish off some awful anime). While I can’t explain what made me feel like this was necessary, it’s something I’ve been playing along with for too long now. It has brought me some real pain.
I think the first sign of it getting out of hand was with the first season of Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (or Gate. I’m just going to call it Gate. That’s easier). I wanted more shows to watch over the summer season of 2015, so I picked it up based off of only the fact that it was popular on Crunchyroll so maybe I could get into it and talk to people about it. It felt a little sloppy, but I ultimately liked the first episode. It felt like the protagonist, Itami, was kind of an average joe, a normal guy going up against orcs and shit for some reason. But from the second episode onward, things started to feel very sloppy. It was all over the place, tried it’s hand miserably at intertwining plot-lines, and it had a whole lot of characters that really don’t matter. I honestly can’t say I like a single character (but I can say dislike Lelei least). It was a painful 12 episodes, and I was happy when it ended, but along came the second season (which is no better by the way) and for some reason I decided to watch it. I still don’t like it. I also still think Rory Mercury is really irritating. Fight me, nerd.
In between season one and two of Gate, I started to watch an anime I had sitting in my queue for a long time time, Sora no Woto. I’ve only heard great things about it up to that point (and since finishing it too, even) so I had no suspicion of it being bad. Well, I guess it wasn’t awful, but if I were to say I liked it, I’d be lying. It was essentially a slice of life anime that dabbled in different genres as well, and seeing as slice of life is my favorite genre, I was excited to get into it, and while the opening sequence was pretty, not a whole lot else stood out. In fact, it was kind of drag. Some art was nice, some was plain. There was sort of a story, one of the girls had a dark past and a secret, a few things to try to keep the viewer engaged, but it just wasn’t nice to watch. Sitting through it felt like a chore to me, not like something to do when I wanted to relax. However, I forced myself to watch it up until the very end. I hadn’t liked any of it. Not even soldier Nico Yazawa. I don’t know, man, maybe I just don’t like military anime.
I’m still forcing myself through an anime I don’t like right now. Wake Up, Girls! is an idol anime that I was told is “amazing.” But the more I watch, the more I disagree with that assessment. It definitely has a quirk to it, taking a bit more of a realistic take on idol anime as opposed to the more moe stuff we see coming from the genre. Some of it’s humor can be sort of left-field and weird sometimes, and I think that’s pretty cool, but that sort of faded within the first few episodes. I’m about a 3rd of the way through it, and right now we have a character with a dark past and a secret (familiar) and a mixed cast of characters. Not mixed in the sense that they all have unique and fun personalities and behaviors, but more mixed in the fact that some are definitely more enjoyable than others. Some of them are whiny, one of them likes to eat a lot, I think there’s a mom character probably. I don’t know. They all just kind of blend together. They’re are so indistinguishable that I honestly can’t tell you more than a couple of the character’s names. It’s different, but it isn’t very interesting.
There is plenty of good anime out there that I could be watching. I don’t have a lot of time to watch anime, but it is a hobby I really appreciate, and it is one I think I should respect more. So because I want to enjoy anime rather than tolerate it, I’m going to stop forcing myself to watch things I don’t enjoy. I’ll keep the Three Episode Rule because it helped me not miss out on some good shows (I’m still watching Phantom World because of this), but I won’t force myself to the end of every anime if I don’t think it’s worth it. If I keep up with things I don’t enjoy, eventually I’ll dread watching anything altogether, and that’s no good. I’m almost done with Wake Up, Girls!, so I’ll finish that up, but from then on, I’m going to make this fun for myself again.