Anime is awesome. You know what makes anime more awesome? Watching it with friends. What’s that, you say? Your friends think anime is weird and refuse to give it a shot? Well, have I got some good news for you: I’ve created a dandy little guide that will help you help your friends become every bit as anime-obsessed as you are. Read on, and soon you will be able to spread the joy of anime faster and easier than spreading a venereal disease.
|Why would your friends think THIS is weird? It's just a rifle-wielding teddy bear.|
Admit it, your desire to get your friend addicted to anime is mostly self-interest. You want someone you can laugh with, someone to share your hobby with to make it even more fun. That’s understandable. However, you are far more likely to succeed if you think about what your friend likes first. If they love Disney movies and romantic comedies, starting them out with a psychological meltdown like Evangelion or Serial Experiments Lain probably isn’t going to go over so well. Try something like Fruits Basket instead. And if they’re a sci-fi nut, steer away from Sailor Moon. Introduce them to Ghost in the Shell instead. There’s an anime out there for everyone. However, the uninitiated think Pokemon or Naruto are the norm. If you show something that captures their interest, they’ll be more willing to sit through an episode. After the strangeness of “japanimation” wears off, then they might be more willing to branch out into new territory. Until then, though, your best bet is to show them that anime can be cool be introducing them to genres they already like, just in a different medium.
|My friend likes Twilight. I bet she'd LOVE this show.|
Look, it's got a vampire and a werewolf!
What’s more annoying than a squealing fangirl? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You know how most people mock Twihards and people who wear Jacob Black shirts? It’s because people don’t like you rubbing your weird obsessions in their face. If they’re a fan too, that’s another story. Then they might just squeal along with you. If they aren’t a fan, though, more than likely they will find your constant blabber about the “godlike sexiness of L” annoying, and it will turn them off to all anime. You can show you like something without looking like an obsessive maniac. As a general rule when talking about shows or characters you love, imagine someone saying the same thing about a subject you are disinterested in. If you don’t like My Little Pony, and someone says, “Man, I love those ponies. That show makes me laugh,” chances are this won’t bother you unless you are really immature. But if someone goes, “Omigosh, I freaking watch My Little Pony seven hours a day! I’m saving all my chewed bubblegum, and I’m gonna make a huge sculpture out of Pinkie Pie with it. You have to see it when it’s done. Anyone who doesn’t like
MLP is gay!” …that’s weird. What are
the chances you will want to go home and watch MLP after this? Not very likely.
explain things they might be confused about.
4. Don’t strap them to a chair.
|Pop quiz: This guy sits next to you on the bus. What do you do? |
Answer for a non-anime fan: Be very uncomfortable.
Spolier: anime comes from
This means that anime uses different narrative techniques to express
itself. When people first watch anime, they might be totally confused over something as simple as honorifics. If they are, briefly explain what you
know. Tell them that when characters go “super-deformed” it is usually for
comic relief and not what is literally happening. Let them know that
magical-girl transformations usually don’t happen in real-time. This may
seem like common sense to you, but it isn’t. You learned it intuitively
over a period of time. Your friend can’t help being a stranger to the
culture and norms of anime. Don’t make them feel like an idiot, because
they aren’t (and making them feel bad will only associate a negative
emotional state with watching anime, lowering their future enjoyment). Try
not to overwhelm then, and don’t talk so often that they can’t hear what
is going on onscreen. But if they are confused, try to explain it to them.
They are in unfamiliar territory, and you are their guide.
|For example, your friend might have questions like: |
What exactly is a host club? And where can I FIND one?
4. Don’t strap them to a chair.
Here’s a little anecdote a hope you will find enlightening: when I was in middle school, I had a friend who was absolutely insane over Inuyasha. I did not like Inuyasha, but she was certain she could “convert” me. On a sleepover to her house, she forced me to have a non-stop marathon of the show. Before, I had only known enough about the show to think it was bland. After sitting through fifteen episodes, though, I changed my mind. Now I hate it. Forcing me to do something didn’t change my mind. It just made me bitter, and forever sparked a fiery rage against the fur-eared faux-female. The same can happen to your friends if you coerce them into watching anime. Refer to step 1. Find a show you think they will like, and explain that it appeals to their interests. If they don’t want to watch it, then drop the subject for a little bit. Only bring it back up occasionally, extending the invitation but not being pushy. No one likes a pusher.
|Behold the subjects of my darkest nightmare.|
5. Give it time.
So they watched a few episodes of whatever with you, and they are unimpressed. Fine. Don’t fret. Give it a little while. If you did step 1 properly, then chances are they will want to see what happens eventually. It just might take some time for them to lay aside their pride and admit they actually like an anime. If they don’t come around, then either they are really biased against the medium, or you didn’t do step 1 properly. Try again, choosing another anime that you think they will like. Again, don’t force it. If you introduce them to something that sparks their interest, they’ll come around.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my guide! If you did, feel free to browse some of my other nerdy blog posts. And for the even more nerd, check this sweet puppy out