I returned to anime this time around because of several really, really good shows airing this season.
However, that’s not how I usually get drawn back into the world of anime after “taking a break”.
Usually though, it is those comfortable anime re-watch that pulls me back into the anime phase again. Usually it’ll be one of these few: Nodame Cantabile, Hunter x Hunter 2011, Silver Spoon, Toradora, Kawaisou, Sword Art Online, Log Horizon, and Nana.
I reflected on why these are my go-to comfort anime and why they leave me craving for more. Then I thought to myself that this can be a nice starting point to write about anime.
So here I go and I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts.
All these shows have one undeniable similarity: they are long; and one very, very long (HxH 2011 with a 148-episode run). Length is important because it gives time to re-develop the strong passion for anime again. The melancholic obsessive mood that follows after an ending of a re-watch becomes the fuel that drives me into watching the next show and the next show and the next.
For me to place an anime on the “comfortable” category, it needs to have strong, unique characters. This is true to many of the examples.
The adorkable Nodame and the straight-man Chiaki. The friendship of Gon and Killua. The dominant Taiga and supportive Ryuji. The tries-his-best Hachiken and the reserved Mikage. The awkward duo Usa and Ritsu. The naive Nana and the powerful Nana. Excellent casts like these are very attractive to me and they make for very absorbed re-watch sessions.
Where does this leave SAO and Log Horizon? Power fantasy.
Power fantasy not as in the self-inserting fulfillment, but rather “You think you can gang up on Kirito? He’ll show you his true powah” kind of power fantasy. It’s particularly satisfying to watch the characters vindicate themselves through sheer, unmatchable power; either with game-breaking skill or genius intellect. It is a sort of guilty pleasure for me.
Swiftly moving on to better taste… I am a sucker for Rom-Com. Romance and humour is possibly the best combination a genre can get. It makes me warm and fuzzy and happy. Kawaisou is probably not an “excellent tier” anime, but it got me real good in the rom-com department. Its self-described “70% comedy 30% romance” works for me very well. Throw in a few curve balls of hard-hitting life lessons and I’m already obsessed with it. Silver Spoon, OBJECTIVELY the better anime in the genre, throws even more hard-hitting balls. Toradora, often hailed as the best rom-com, needs no more description. These slices of life are my frequent go-to when I want to just watch some anime.
Perhaps more than anything, my comfort zone is full of anime re-watch because I already know what will happen; and that gives me a strong sense of stability. I look forward to the big scenes, the big reveals that I know are coming. I get excited to see my favorite anime teens reacting to the silliest things. Even though I know what major event is going to happen I still can’t help myself from anticipating with excitement.
That excitement is stable, always there, and it won’t betray my expectations.
It is when after I’ve been fueled up and enriched that I venture out and watch something new and do something I don’t usually do, like writing an aniblog post.