In general, I’ve always had the opinion that binge watching anime series is a wonderful advancement of the modern streaming world. If you could have all the enjoyment of a whole series in a matter of a few viewings or even one long day, rather than taking weeks (of mostly waiting) to watch the same content, why wouldn’t you want to watch it all faster? Faster equals better, right? Well, I recently found a little problem with my logic. Depending on how fast you watch an anime, it’s not always the same experience. And this isn’t a new concept. Many Netflix viewers have commented online, that weekly anime just isn’t the same when viewed in one or two multi hour viewings. Likewise, many longtime anime fans have bemoaned the loss of the weekly anime schedule that naturally came with TV broadcasts. But are these opinions just nostalgia and a shying away from modern technological conveniences? Maybe not! Let’s take a look at a few anime that might not be the same while binge watching.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
It’s no secret that many anime fans were less than happy about Netflix releasing all of the anime series Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Ocean of Stone at once. There are many Many comments online grumbling about the series release in North America. But why would the passionate Jojo fans not want all that weird goodness all at once? Though I’ve personally only watched a few episodes of the series, so I’m certainly not an expert, what I’ve gathered from reading lots of comments referring to the Netflix fumble is that the problem is the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure franchise was never designed to be binge watched, and when it is watched all at once, the experience tends to be much less suspenseful. Not to mention that the series has a thriving community that was build around the suspense between each episode release. Having time between each episode meant there was time for fans to chat about what happened and come up with theories about what might happen next. When the series is released all at once there is no time for the development of conversations or theories, taking a lot of the fun out the whole experience.
Rising of the Shield Hero
I recently had the experience while re-watching the first season of Rising of the Shield Hero (in preparation for watching the second season) that things weren’t quite the same as the first time I watched the series.
The first time I watched the series, I was excited every week for the most recent release of an episode. I was deeply invested in the story, and I was rightly unhappy about how badly poor Naofumi was being treated by the nasty king and the manipulative princess, Myne. Naofumi’s reactions to this unreasonable treatment seemed understandable and justified. When Raphtalia nearly got separated from Naofumi, because of the trickery of the nasty royals, and he collapsed to the ground in grief. I honestly started tearing up! It was so sad!
The second time watching the first season, I decided to watch it as fast as possible so I was ready and waiting for the second season. And things were not quite the same. . . The first thing I noticed was that the story seemed to be moving along in the first few episodes very quickly. I didn’t remember the plot developing that fast last time I watched the anime. I also noticed that since so little time was being spent going in depth with the characters I didn’t feel nearly as invested in what happened to them. Raphtalia seem to grow up in a flash! Which really made me notice a lot more that, on the inside, Raphtalia is really still just a kid. Something I only vaguely noticed the first time around.
I think the most unpleasant thing I noticed with my second viewing, was that I felt much less sympathetic to Naofumi. On several occasions I felt like he was being the unreasonable one. Yes, of course he was treated badly by some very bad people, but there was also a lot of people that were perfectly nice to him. Though there were some who were agreeable, he viewed everyone with suspicion, even Raphtalia who had never treated him unkindly. Likewise, even though his trouble in the capital was rather short lived compared to the whole series length, he remained cold towards other people (particularly strangers) for the entire series. It really didn’t make any sense to me the second time watching the series, why his entire character would permanently change do to one short-term negative experience.
Detective Conan is a long running and time honored anime about a high school boy detective being forced to drink poison invented by a secret organization and instead of dying, he shrinks! Still wanting to solve crimes and track down the secret organization that shrunk him, he becomes a grade school detective!
Though this anime came out much before my time, so the only platform I’ve seen this anime on is streaming services, I did kind of get a little taste of what it might have been like to watch the series in it’s intended weekly broadcast format. Last month a relative was taking vacation nearby and wanted to spend more time with me. Of course I freed up my schedule as much as possible. Unfortunately, that meant that most of my anime watching time was cancelled for the week. So I ended up having over a week long gap between my Detective Conan episodes, and I found that the first episode I watched after my return to anime was a lot more suspenseful than the series usually was. I was actually really surprised at how good the episode was! Maybe I just was lucky and happened to watch a particularly good episode, or maybe distance really does make the heart grow fonder?