I Watch Anime Alone

The manliest song without an AMV?

Anything worth doing is worth doing alone. Can’t exercise by yourself? See if I care when you get a heart attack. Don’t want to eat alone? Go ahead and starve. People who need others to hold their hands to get them to do things they already want to do are tools, plain and simple. If you like something, you should be perfectly happy doing it yourself. Chances are, if it’s not an inherently social activity, it’s better done alone. How are you supposed to talk with food in your mouth? Can you run your fastest when you’re gossiping with the person next to you?

How are you supposed to watch anime when people around you won’t shut up?

I used to watch anime with my college roommates. It was a marriage of convenience:

  • Only one person has to download the episode.
  • One person has the superior viewing environment set up.
  • Even if you’re both downloading the same episode, somebody’s going to have it done first.
  • If you’re in the room at the same time and don’t want to watch with your roommate, you have to avoid that entire area of the room for the entire episode to avoid being spoiled.

We rarely spoke during the episodes (I’d say never, but we did watch some Naruto Filler together, including the infamous Kakashi’s Mask episode). No discussion, no commentary, no shitty jokes, no sound effects, no singing, no nothing. We’d save anything we had to say for the end, which was usually nothing more than a nod and grunt to indicate “play the next episode,” because after a watching enough anime with the same person, you should be able to read his mind.

Back in high school, it was a forgone conclusion that I’d join my college anime club. Then when I got to college, I didn’t attend a single meeting. I figured it’d be pointless to walk across campus to watch some shows I’d seen before and a bunch more I could watch on my own time, just so I could do it all with other people, none of whom I’d want to have sex with.

This is why I was shocked when I found out that people are listening to each other watch anime via Skype. No, really. Are people this desperate for attention? Do people really need to hear each other snort and giggle and play virtual grabass over an episode of anime? I face three main barriers to watching anime whenever I please: work, health, and other people. Assuming you’re in good health and don’t have any work, congratulations, you’ve contaminated a previously sterile environment with that disgusting third factor.

But Baka-Raptor, even if talking ruins good shows, doesn’t it make bad shows better?

No, crappy shows suck no matter how much you talk about them. Sure, you could do a good job making fun of the show, in which case the credit would go to you and your comedy act, not the anime. Too bad that’ll never happen because most of your jokes are horrendous. I’ve sat through hentai panels at anime conventions. Not only do audience jokes get old fast, I’ve already come up with most of the jokes on my own and dismissed them as stupid moments before they’re told. Don’t make me suffer through them twice. What makes it even worse is that the geeks show no prudence or restraint because they’re overempowered around other geeks as a result of being repressed by society at large.

If you think you’re any good at making fun of anime in real time, try taking screenshots and writing the jokes down as captions. Feel free to edit or improve them as much as you want. If your jokes still look bad, just imagine how much they sucked when you did them live. Even if you got good at comedy, or got good comedians to join your Skype sessions, why do you have to watch bad anime? Couldn’t you watch bad anything? In any case, shouldn’t you always prefer good anime to bad anime? There’s no denying the comedic value in the super crappy stuff, but I’d never trade a Berserk for a Parappa the Rapper.

I do occasionally participate in KSK Live Blogs. Unlike anime, sports naturally lends itself to live commentary, which can definitely suck, but audience submissions to the Live Blogs have to be approved by moderators, and the audience is large enough that most of what gets approved is pretty good. Even I’ve submitted lines that have been rejected. I’ve been thinking for years about a way to carry over the Live Blog format to anime. Unfortunately, I can’t come up with anything that would work to my satisfaction.

(Until this week, my draft of this post hadn’t been touched since July 2008. That’s 1 more draft post down, 149 more to go. Then the moon crashes into the Earth.)