Hello all you wonderful people! It’s another week and once again I’m back here. Let’s go!
When season 3 part 2 of Attack on Titan started I had been going to my dad’s place weekly to watch the German Bundesliga matches I’d missed the previous day for a few weeks, and we both enjoyed those together. It became something we looked forward to each week, and when I wouldn’t show up on Sunday night because I had something more pressing to get done in my life, I felt a little hollow, like I was missing a piece of what made me, well, me.
And then, out of nowhere my dad started asking questions about what was happening in Attack on Titan. I tried my best to make it simple for him, but he was confused about what was going on, who was who, and where they were. I sighed, and thus began my journey into anime with my dad. After that episode of Attack on Titan (I can’t remember exactly which one it was), he got so far into the show. In the upcoming weeks, since I had a decent amount of time off where I could stay at his place a little longer than I thought most weeks, we went through every single episode of Attack on Titan. We watched season 2 in one day… It didn’t take me long to get him into the show, and he has come to absolutely love it. Oh, and HE SAW THE FINAL EPISODE OF SEASON 3 BEFORE ME! I was super excited to get to his place after work and watch that final episode with him, but I showed up about an hour after the episode aired and this was our conversation:
Me: “It’s time to finish Attack on Titan!” (yes, I can totally italicize my spoken words!)
My Dad: “Yeah, I already saw it.”
So, I succeeded right? I got my dad into anime!
Now, I’ll explain something here quick because I think this is the most important part about getting someone into anime: start with something you know they’ll have a higher chance of liking based on their personality and other aspects of entertainment they enjoy. I know my dad likes action and comedy in his entertainment; he’s also a history nerd like myself and enjoys some sports. So, what did that tell me? Well, after binge-watching most of Attack on Titan and then watching each episode weekly until the season ended, I sort of knew what he would enjoy if he were to watch anime.
What I gathered from knowing my dad, I made a list of anime I believe he would enjoy, and we started watching more than just Attack on Titan together. Currently, because he has a hard time watching more than one show at a time (it messes with his grasp on what’s happening during each show), we are watching Black Lagoon. And he loves it. He loves Revy and how the show has progressed and how all of the characters interact. Now, I wasn’t sure what to actually try to watch with him after Black Lagoon, so I asked my friend. He asked what we’ve seen together thus far, so I told him the two above titles. I gave him some information about my dad, what he usually watches, what he enjoys (or at least what he used to enjoy before he turned 60 years old) and we went through talking about different shows, what the plots are, and how the characters interact. This is our list for my dad:
- Black Lagoon
- Death Note
- The Promised Neverland
- Darker than Black
- Highschool of the Dead
- Bungo Stray Dogs
- Outlaw Star
- Kino’s Journey (possibly…)
I know most of these are in the same vein, but I figure if I can get him to watch at least a few of these shows, I’ll be able to open him up to other genres. For this upcoming season I figured I’d try to get him into Vinland Saga, but we started watching it late last night so he fell asleep after the second episode. Which is okay, he enjoyed what he saw and we’ll be able to get back to the third episode at a later date. Perhaps I’ll try getting him into Fire Force as well, but I’m not sure yet. Should probably get through that list up there first, yeah?
Anyway, that’s what I’ve got my dad going through right now. But what is it about getting people into anime that seems like such a hard task? I know firsthand that some people throw anime out the window completely because they’re animated. Well, duh, but seriously. Anime is entertainment, so why not find shows that you think they’ll like and try? If somebody enjoys stand-up comedy, or likes to laugh often, why not show them comedy anime. I’ve come across some people who absolutely love comedy, so I figured I’d show them some of my favorite comedy anime. And they laughed like mad! I don’t know if they continued watching any anime, but at least I was able to get them to laugh and have a good time.
Sports are another genre that I think would be easy to get people into anime if they’ve done some sport before. Are they runners? Why not try showing them Run with the Wind? Volleyball players? Obviously Haikyuu!!…oh, and on that note, I had a friend once who called me out on how I spell Haikyuu!!, and it was a shocker. It’s a friend who I had no idea even watched it in his life or knew anything about it, so that was a treat.
Now, there are people who would simply say that all anime is for kids because they’re basically cartoons, and that’s fine, but I figure you can at least try to get them to see something more if you’re adamant enough. Maybe I’m just too stuck in my ways of trying to get people into a medium I enjoy so I have more people to talk to about what I enjoy and what they’ll also hopefully enjoy, but the nuances of anime are a more concrete point. How do the characters interact? What are their personalities and what do they enjoy? Is there tension between characters? What about how the story progresses in itself? Is it gripping or stagnant? Does the story make you think? Some anime that I’ve seen were so intense I couldn’t stop thinking about them for days after! Oh, and there’s the talk of art style, animation quality, music, and the sub/dub aspect.
Honestly, I think the initial talks of getting people into anime can be tricky, because a lot of people see anime as cartoons, like I said before, but I do believe that there is some way to get them into it. Anime can be thought-provoking, intense, humorous, and much more, so what’s the harm in trying? If trying to get someone into anime doesn’t work it doesn’t work. That’s all there is to it. But, I don’t see any problem in trying. I will say that I almost got someone into anime based on music alone. I played a few OPs for one of my friends a while back without telling him where they came from, and hours later he said, “I haven’t stopped listening to these songs. Where did you find them?”
And with that, I told my friend this: “Anime. Seriously, they were opening and ending credit songs for anime shows. “found & lost” by Survive Said the Prophet is from a show called Banana Fish; “Hikari Are” by BURNOUT SYNDROMES is from Haikyuu!!; and “Touch Off” by UVERworld is from The Promised Neverland.” I don’t know if he started watching anime, but at least I got him to listen to some music, so I call that a win. I think there’s a part of the anime watching experience that starts with the OPs. If the OP catches the viewer’s attention, I think they’ll be more inclined to give the show a chance. I know that’s what happened when I started Vinland Saga with my dad.
However, if somebody isn’t used to watching anything in Japanese and isn’t used to reading subtitles, perhaps watching in a dubbed format would be an easy gateway into getting them to enjoy it. That’s what I’ve done, and slowly I’ve started watching things with subs if the English version isn’t available. It’s all been quite enjoyable, though.
I also think anime movies are a decent starting point, but I won’t really talk about that here. There’s many anime movies, and the dubs are actually quite wonderful (especially the Ghibli films) that could be a gateway for many people, so why not try?
With everything, I do think that getting people into anime can be a grueling experience, but sometimes it pays off. In short, I think it all comes down to what that person’s interests are and how they think. Are they into sports and camaraderie? Maybe showing them sports anime could interest them. Are they into psychological, thought-provoking things? Maybe something that deals with the human condition, or mentality and free will could work. I see it as a game of chess, with meticulous planning going into what the other person’s brain would enjoy and trying to find something that will grab them from the start. Then you can slowly branch out with them, or maybe they’ll do it themselves. Who know!
And that’s all I have for this post! How would you go about getting people into anime? Have you ever gotten someone into it and all of a sudden you had a monster on your hands that wouldn’t stop talking about it or watching?
Thanks for reading!