I’m having a case of Anime Burnout. What are the symptoms?
Inability to get into shows. What shows? Backlogged shows that are known quantities (read: do not have a reputation for excellence); shows that are logged due to conforming to a genre or sub-genre of choice (robot, Gundam, space opera). Or, shows that are known for excellence within a fandom, genre, or sub-genre outside of one’s tastes (shoujo, moé, harem, cry-porn, horror, etc.).
Why can’t get into them? I would start, but tune out of the episode fairly quickly. The thing is, I know that under other circumstances I would appreciate some of the things I’m seeing, even just as variations of superior or favorite examples. But now I am easily bored by them.
I know if I continue watching, I will end up dismissing most, if not all of these shows. My ideal attitude when I’m watching is highly enthusiastic. I don’t usually start watching a show with an approach of “making the show audition for my time” or “making it justify the hype.” Both approaches make me feel like an ass, as if I’m importantly entitled to something.
This doesn’t apply to new or currently airing shows. I try a large sample and drop a lot as well. This is because I know I can only keep up with so many and only stick with those I enjoy the most. Thus, I’m not worried about not having new shows to watch, and I’m rather impervious to the idiocy of sentiments such as “anime is dying” or “oh no yet another season of cancer” and variations thereof.
I’m more concerned about my ability to watch the shows I want to complete as a fan of anime. As a fan of Gundam I must complete After War Gundam X (5/39) and I just can’t get into it. As a fan of Gundam I want to complete Mobile Report Gundam Wing (5/50) no matter how shitty it is. Last year I watched over 150 episodes of shitty Gundam (ZZ, SEED, GSD) so I know I can do it!
What’s so different this time?
I watched a whole bunch of awesome. I rewatched a whole bunch of awesome. I got addicted to awesomeness and can tolerate very little that isn’t awesome. I’ve spoiled myself so that what isn’t awesome loses my interest.
Here are the (awesome, and by this I don’t mean an overall score of excellence, but instead have moments and/or elements that actually fill me with a real feeling of awe as an anime fan) shows I’ve watched and/or rewatched this year (R = Rewatched):
Eureka SeveN (R)
Whisper of the Heart
Heisei Tanuki Wars Pom Poko
Porco Rosso (R)
The Borrower Arrietty
Welcome to the Space Show
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (R)
Revolutionary Girl Utena (R)
The Adolescence of Utena (R)
Macross: Do You Remember Love? (R)
Super Dimension Fortress Macross (R)
So uh, yeah. It’s just so much harder for me to get into a show like Dai-Guard which should be pushing so many fun buttons for me but it really isn’t. Like I said, new shows aren’t really a problem, since these have a built-in interest motivator in the form of other people watching. This is encouraging because you can see people’s reactions to shows, making you more interested to see what they saw; you have people to discuss shared experiences with. Yes, watching new shows is no problem at all.
So, is this only a mild case of anime burnout? Is it further invalidation of the notion that old shows are better — if they are, why can’t I even bring myself to watch so many of them? And yes, I’ve been watching anime since maybe 1979. You tell me.
Shows in my backlog:
Legend of the Black Heaven (1/13)
Aura Battler Dunbine (1/26)
Panzer World Galient (1/26)
Heavy Metal L-Gaim (5/50)
Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Pailsen Files (2/13)
Armor Hunter Mellowlink (0/13)
Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko (0/26)
After War Gundam X (5/39)
Mobile Report Gundam Wing (5/50)
There are a lot more shows I told myself I’m going to watch but I don’t even want to list them. My backlog is huge, and I need a prescription.