Is there really a time to rewatch anime

The Yuletide season is upon us — and what better time to mull over the choices we’ve made, and will continue to make in our respective anime-viewing lives, as the year winds down to a close.

A lot of us, I’m sure, are in eager anticipation of the coming holiday breaks which are fast-approaching. Rather, they can’t come any sooner really. A period of joyful celebration with the family, followed (ideally) by some well-deserved downtime. Some may argue that weekends alone are already a nice reprieve from the mundaneity of everyday life (be it from school or work) and while that may be true, it still doesn’t beat not waking up at some ungodly hour on a Monday — though I say that, I really do wake up that early anyways; time is precious dear reader :p

Precious indeed, especially for us anime fans but, I digress. Another year is about to end (at the time that I’m writing this at least), and I simply can’t help but think about all the anime that I ended up watching in these past twelve months. Ever since I started watching anime seasonally (which would be Fall 2010/Winter 2011, specifically with Index S2 *coughcough IndexS3 in 2018 get hyped cough*) I don’t think I’ve ever really “ran out” of things to watch.

I almost always try to follow at least three shows per season at the minimum. If I end up not picking “the” show of the season I’ll go back to it in the interim between seasons if I can. If not, I’ll mark it down on my un-ending backlog of stuff to watch. It can’t be helped. Some of us just don’t have the time to watch as many anime as we may have had in the past (one of the more grim-er realities I’ve come to realize as an adult). I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t get to watch every “good anime” that comes out every three-four months anymore, and at the very least I can pick them up down the road whenever I do have the time (I even very stiffly talk about this back as early as 2012 xD)

The list of titles that I want to finish continue to rack up, leaving me to wonder whether I’ll ever cross everything out in my anime-viewing lifetime, and as I think about this predicament I came across this quandary — at the rate that I watch anime as it is, would there really be a time to rewatch anime?

There’s this mentality that I’ve adopted for quite some time now for reading (books) in that there will always be something new out there to read. Not “new” in the sense that they’re books published recently, but new to me. I’m not the biggest reader (in so far as being appreciative of “classic literature” is concerned) and I’m surely not the fastest either (I must’ve finished only close to twenty titles this year, counting light novels which are generally short to begin with, so I don’t think that’s a lot at all), but I do love it. Reading, that is. In fact, ever since I got done with my undergrad thesis the number one thing I was most excited about was that I’d be able to read for leisure again, when at the time I read only things relating to my research.

A reality of sorts befell on me while I scoured through dozens of scholarly articles and journal publications at the behest of my adviser, and that is: while I’m reading something, I’m not reading something else — so why read something I’ve read before, if I can read something new. Of course, this was in the context of me having to build a proper review of related literature for my paper, but as the practice had become part of my life for about half a year, I couldn’t help but take on this perspective and apply it to my consumption of media in general; anime included.

That is to say; while I’m watching something, I’m not watching something else — so why watch something I’ve seen before, if I can watch something new.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve rewatched anime before so I understand quite well that there’s merit to it (more so if it’s a show that you really like and can’t get enough of). Some viewers even approach the practice more seriously than others. I know of a few people who have annual traditions for revisiting a certain anime during the holidays for example. That said I also can’t help but get this nagging feeling sometimes whenever I do end up rewatching something. Like a voice eking out from the back of my head that’s telling me “you already know how this story is gonna go so why bother“.

There’s also the idea that just because something is new, doesn’t mean it’s good, so you might end up wasting your time on a show when you could’ve just as easily enjoyed an anime that you know is good. Then again the argument comes back around when you realize you won’t really know whether something is good or not if you don’t sit down and watch it.

There isn’t really a right or wrong answer here because at the end of the day how you choose to spend your free time is entirely up to you. I am however curious about how you personally, who’s reading this now, value the idea of rewatching with regard to the time you spend watching anime as a whole. I may sound like I’m against the idea of rewatching but I’m really not (I must’ve seen Kara no Kyoukai close to a dozen times already). What I am, however, is aware (painfully so) that there’s so so much anime to be watched still, and so little time to watch ’em all.

What are your thoughts on rewatching anime?


23 thoughts on “Is there really a time to rewatch anime

  1. Lol, thesis references.
    And i dont rewatch. With a 1000 anime goal, hopefully 1 a week, while also balancing work and personal stuff, i just cant rewatch. If i see it on tv, then i’ll rewatch it but thats rare. Also the dubbing in hero and animax is bad sometimes.

      • as of yet, none, unless it’s a show i watched before i did my 1000 and i now have to review it. but just re-watch, nope. i welcome the new. but again, if its yuyu hakusho airing at animax for the nth time then i’ll watch it, or haikyuu in hero for the 4th time, then i’ll sit and watch it. xD
        i’m an odd case though. whatta about you? what do you re-watch?

        • I guess with such a lofty goal as a 1000 you really can’t afford to huh
          Aside from Kara no Kyoukai, I’ve rewatched stuff like Haikyuu and Big Windup! (even Saki I’ve seen a bunch of times already) so mostly sports anime that I likd — it’s almost like a trap really, I set out to see just one scene but I end up watching an entire arc ’cause I get so into it xD

  2. I love rewatches. If something really clicks for me I will just watch it again and again. When tired or stressed I would rather watch something I am familiar with than something new. It is more relaxing.

    • Good point that you brought up; familiarity with the show is definitely a factor I agree. Any specific title you go back to more often than others Karandi?

      • Black Butler, Darker Than Black, Noragami, My Love Story, Kimi ni Todoke, Shiki…
        Pretty much any of the shows I loved end up being part of my go to when feeling down collection and then it is just a matter of what genre I happen to be in the mood for.

  3. I love re-watches! Unfortunately, like you mentioned, it’s not “is there a time to re-watch anime?” for me but “is there time to re-watch anime?” When I barely have time to start anything new, I’ll only really re-watch anime movies rather than a full show.

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  5. Ahhhh the dilemma of rewatching stuff!! I guess it depends for me. If I watch anime airing on tv chances are I’ll rewatch it. But I hardly watch anime like that anymore xD So I guess now I’m usually reluctant to rewatch stuff for the same reason you mentioned. I’m more ok with movie rewatches bc thats what 1.5 to 2hrs of my anime watching. It’s not much

    If I ever do rewatch something it’s because I remember nothing about it, which tends to happen after a few years with me. Like I recently rewatched DN bc it had been so long since I watched it. I also tend to rewatch stuff as soon as I finished it but usually not the whole thing. Just certain eps bc I like them or for reviewing purposes xD

    And for books. I hardly every reread. It just takes me so much longer to read. I also average out about 20 novels a year. Oh but I do tend to reread manga, esp of it’s short! Like BL oneshots or series that have about 10 volumes xD

    • “If I watch anime airing on tv chances are I’ll rewatch it.”
      lol had this happen to me too before we moved to the US (since a local TV channel at the time was basically *all* anime, plus Animax was a thing too… does Animax still exist?). Yeah, movies are good too because it’s easier to get someone to watch it with you as an excuse for you to see it again xD

      “[…] I remember nothing about it”
      I’ve had that happen a lot too! lol, I’ll look through my MAL or something and I’ll see a title that I *apparently* finished but I can’t for the life of me remember a good chunk of what it was about. For DN (I’m assuming this is Death Note :)) I had to rewatch a good bit after I watched the live action adaptation because of the things that I forgot had happaend in the anime.

      The only time I reread books is (and I’m horrible for this) is when a new book for a series comes out, but it’s been so long in between the releases that I tend to forget a whole lot xD I think that’s right around my average too, but book lengths have been very varying for me as of late (Murakami’s THe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle for example felt like an eternity going through it)

  6. “Not “new” in the sense that they’re books published recently, but new to me.”
    This is me, but multiply it to all forms of media in existence :p It’s hard for me to rewatch anime, replay (or New Game+) games, and I always think time spent on things which I have already experienced is better spent someplace else, someplace new — for example, stuffs from my mountainous backlog. While my heart is painfully aware that there are definitely merits in revisiting a series, my mind is telling me not to. It’s sad, but it’s one of those things that just naturally comes to you as you grow older. Hell, for the past 2 seasons or so, I deliberately forced myself not to pick as many shows as possible, and think I actually enjoyed my time more with the little that I picked.

    • It’s a harsh reality in a way — like that meme of life balance that has people sacrificing sleep time to be able to play games, watch anime, and read stuff is slowly starting to become true (though I guess it already is for some). I value my sleep though so something had to give way. On my end it’s games. I barely if at all play anything anymore other than mobage and the occasional VN here and there. It helps that the “newest” console that I own is still my 3DS.

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