Anime is Culture, Culture is Love: What the Prophet Might Say About Watching Anime

In this post I talk about spoilers, and how important they are to my survival as an anime fan.

A few days ago, ghostlightning went totally out of character and started saying weird things over twitter:

ghostlightning gives up love

Wut? Then I read the previous message:

ghostlightning has RAGEHAET

Wtf is this guy on? Legend of the Galactic Heroes is awesome!

the source of things

He who was pressed from all sides but remained victorious in spirit is welcomed into the choir of heroes.

He who was pressed from all sides but remained victorious in spirit is welcomed into the choir of heroes.

Ahh, oh well. It’s not the first time I’ve seen  people, not only ghostlightning react to an anime plot development that way. One of our friends still refuses to watch any further episodes of Gurren Lagann after episode 8, and ghostlightning (again) as much as he says he loves Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, it’s one of the titles that he outright says he doesn’t want to re-watch.

As for myself, I realize that it has been a very long time since I had felt emotions that strong after viewing an anime. In this age of Wikipedia, Random Curiosity and other similar resources like 4chan, it has become all too easy for me to manage my story expectations for an anime by spoiling myself. This way I am able to prepare myself for any and all untoward story developments which may occur. Worst comes to worst, I may simply put on hold or drop an anime altogether based on spoilers in order to minimize my own emotional discomfort.

However, is this truly the way anime is meant to be enjoyed? Honestly, I think not. I am reminded of Elmo’s words in Macross Frontier wherein he asserted that music is culture, and that culture is love. Might we not make a similar comaparison for anime?

Wiser than he looks?

Wiser than he looks?

If anime is indeed love, then perhaps to spoil ourselves is to deny the fullness of the gifts it has to offer. In 1923, Kahlil Gibran, through the voice of a great prophet, spoke about the nature of Love. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, you may check his book the Prophet here for free. ]

Had he lived today, perhaps he might have said the following about watching anime (lovingly pillaged and butchered from Chapter 2: Love of “The Prophet”):

Then an Otaku, clutching his gunpla and DVDs said, ‘Speak to us of Anime.’


And the prophet raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:

When anime beckons to you follow her,

Though her ways may be strange and not always so good.

And when her story enfolds you yield to her,

Though the FAIL hidden among her scenes may wound you.

And when she speaks to you believe in her,

Though her voice may shatter your expectations as the dimension eater lays waste a planet.


For even as anime decultures you so shall she troll you. Even as she is for your Fanwank so is she for your rageHate.

Even as her drill pierces the heavens showing you the way to tomorrow,


So shall her quantum brainwaves ensnare you into bridge bunny-hood.


Like sheaves of corn she gathers you unto herself.

Her fanservice threshes you to make you naked.


Her plotholes sift you to free you from your husks.


The GAR-ness of her sons grinds you to whiteness.


LOLTOMINO kneads you until you are pliant;


And then she assigns you to her sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

But if in your fear you would seek only anime’s peace and anime’s pleasure,

Then it is better for you that you spoil yourself on RandomC and pass out of anime’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.


Does this mean I will stop spoiling myself in regards to anime I am watching? Probably not completely. But I have resolved to lessen this habit somewhat. That said, here are a couple of questions for our readers:

1. When you visit episodic anime blogs, do you read the episode summaries after you’ve seen the episode?

2. How do you feel about spoilers? How significant are they in your experience of anime?

3. If you do spoil yourself frequently, what are the reasons why you do so?

Until next time,

Mechafetish came.

This entry was posted in fanboy, how to remember love and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Anime is Culture, Culture is Love: What the Prophet Might Say About Watching Anime

  1. schneider says:

    Kahlil Gibran alone makes this post so fucking awesome. Brilliant job!

    1. Yes, but only for extremely popular shows. I’ve done this for Gurren Lagann, Macross Frontier, Code Geass and Gundam 00.

    2. I am immune to spoilers. They don’t ruin my watching. In fact I feel better getting spoiled for something that getting surprised instead (I’m looking at you, Kircheis).

    3. Again, to be prepared for what’s coming up? I also spoil myself if I’m bored at the show I’m watching, in the hopes that such spoilers would push me to watch more.

  2. schneider says:

    Ugh, correction for #1: I don’t read episode summaries except for the popular ones, and as for those that I *do* read, I read them before watching the ep. I fail for not reading carefully.

  3. choujin1 says:

    1. I don’t read many episodic blogs due to the fact that I’m never watching what is being watched at the same time.

    2. I hate spoilers. Hate. Hate. HATE ’em. If someone had spoiled the ending of School Days for me, it would’ve never had the impact that it did. For me, that impact is important (especially for the first viewing). Otherwise, why bother watching, and possibly relating to the characters?

  4. omisyth says:

    1. Never. I see episodic summaries as meaningless, especially for subbed shows. Unless you really weren’t paying attention, you’d probably be able to recount most of what happened in the episode. I could see how some might want to know every detail about the episode they watched, maybe to clear up some confusion or create extravagant theories (guilty -_-), but to me that just makes anime less of a hobby and more like work. Imagine reading a summary of an entire Heroes or 30Rock episode. For the former it would probably take away some of the impact of plot revelations and for the latter things wouldn’t be nearly as funny.

    In fact, I think those who ignore summaries after seeing the episode have a better time with the series they’re watching. Rather than revise you impressions or opinion based on a minor detail, you could simply go with the flow of the storyline and let yourself enjoy, despise or RAEGHATE how you will.


    2. That all depends on the significance of the spoiler. Most spoilers just = plot twist/revelation anyway. Then there’s also whether the anime is airing at the moment or has long finished (for instance, I found out Kamina died around the time Gurren Lagann finished airing). But the funny thing is, unless it’s a completely unexpected and HUEG spoiler, it most likely won’t affect your feelings on a show. There’s the initial , of course, but once you get over that your still X number of episodes away from when the spoiler occurs and if your watching a show you enjoy, rather than thinking “Aww crap I know what’s coming fuck fuck fuck” you’ll be opaying attention to what’s happening at that very moment. I’ll mention TTGL again; when I was around episode 8 I was truly surprised when Kamina died, because the show was so engrossing that only what was happening now mattered. I myself avoid spoilers like the plague for the shows I love, but were I to find something out, I’get annoyed, get over it and continue watching a great anime.

    3. N/A

    Though lolikit’ll probabaly show up here eventually, his is an opinion I could get on board with.

    Spoilers have consistently made shows better for me. TTGL was spoiled by Lucky Star and so I laughed at how stupidly over-epic it was because I couldn’t take it seriously, elevating it to “enjoyment” instead of “piss.” School Days was spoiled by Shirukii’s blog and so I laughed at what a shitpile Makoto was instead of vesting any emotion in him.

    See? Spoilers rock.

    In the end, it all comes down to the experience you want to have while watching a show. if you want to let yourself really be sucked into an anime and to be able to feel passionately about what occurs within a show (as ghostlightning apprently did) or want to lessen the impact of significant events in a bid to stop yourself feeling in such a way.

    In my opinion, it is better to have watched and RAEGED then never to have RAEGED at all.

  5. I don’t do spoilers, period. I hate for anything to ruin the effect on me. And I can handle that, because stuff that messes with my emotions only makes me like the show more. Could Gurren Lagann really have been one of the greatest anime ever if it weren’t for ep 8? I highly fucking doubt it, especially cine that was THE moment in the show.

    There’s never been a plot development that made me drop a show, far as I know. There have been ones that made the rest of the show suck, though. Nana is the best example. At around episode 27 it becomes NONSTOP depressing for about 20 episodes, and even though I love the show, I see no reason to rewatch something that is only depressing. That’s the only show I think I’ve had that reaction to, though.

  6. I should clarify, beforehand I had liked Nana because it was so uplifting, which is why I couldn’t stand how it had become depressing.

  7. Camario says:

    1. Sometimes. Even if the episode has already been subbed, summaries may help once in a while, by mentioning details I’ve forgotten or making me spot a wrong translation.

    2. Moderately important. I usually have no problem with spoilers at all, but sometimes I do run across things that I’d rather have ignored. The line isn’t always clear but I’m usually willing to take the risk. Generally the “what” is less important than the “when” or “how”, if you get the idea.

    3. There are couple of main reasons: I’m following a series very closely and can’t help but find out what’s coming up next (Code Geass) or I’m not currently following it but want to know if the series is going to get somewhere by the time everything wraps up (Macross Frontier). Or just out of plain curiosity, really.

  8. ghostlightning says:

    @ omisyth

    epic comment is epic. Good that you clarified #2, I realize that if I’m spolied about: TTGL SPOILERTAG LOL


    I wouldn’t really be affected at all. But if someone told me Kamina died while I was still watching ep 5 or something, It’ll be a letdown for sure.

    @ mechafetish

    1. No, with the exception for Macross Frontier. I just couldn’t help myself. I’d go to /m/ to track their watching of the stream, then read Random C, then read Crusader, then download and watch the raws.

    It was more a discipline issue, and you were around to witness it. Otherwise, I stay away from spoilers as much as I can.

    2. I won’t lose sleep if an anime gets spoiled for me, but I’d rather not know. Like db, I actually like it when a show messes with my emotions… AFTER I hate it for a while.

    3. No way would I do this.

  9. to be honest, actually, if ther’s a show I have absolutely no intent of watching whatsoever, a good spoiler might make me watch it.

  10. TheBigN says:

    1. Yes. Because I plan to watch the episode first, get my impressions about what happened, and then read what other impressions are present from others. I don’t read an episodic blog for the summaries, which probably defeats the purpose. 😛

    2. I don’t want to be spoiled. I’m one of those who does like to get immersed in the anime, and I watch it for more than entertainment, as silly as that sounds. Spoiling tends to kill the moment, and lessens the impact of the show for me, which isn’t something that I want to happen. Even if the information is supposed to be “general information”, it sucks being one of those people who aren’t in that population. 😛

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  12. otou-san says:

    1. I never read the episode summaries. Not before, not after. Spoiler before, pointless after.

    2. Hate hate HAET spoilers. Not a fan. There is an intended effect that the creators had in mind when writing/producing/directing an anime story, and I want to witness that.

    That said, if a series relies solely on ridiculous plot twists and surprises (LOLGEASS), it should probably be providing me with more value. With few exceptions, being spoiled rarely totally ruined a really good anime.

  13. taleweaver says:

    I for one don’t really mind being spoiled (except for a few exceptions). Despite what others might say I still know that by personally watching it I can still have a unique experience with that particular episode.

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  16. Cratex says:

    “1. When you visit episodic anime blogs, do you read the episode summaries after you’ve seen the episode?”
    No. I already watched it, why do I need to read a summary? 😉

    “2. How do you feel about spoilers? How significant are they in your experience of anime?”
    Usually (but not always) I avoid them. Part of what I like to do when watching a show is guess where the plot is going. But mostly I just like being presented a story without knowing ahead of time what is going to happen. The exceptions are hard to explain. Infrequently I might read a show description or watch the first episode of a show and somehow I’ll get a ‘gut feeling’ that it will go somewhere I don’t like. I might then try to get an idea of what will happen in as general a sense as I can so I don’t spend 4 or 5 hours watching something I won’t like.

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