Is Turning off Your Brain The Only Way To Enjoy Anime Fully?

Charlotte Yuu

I was just having a chat about Charlotte with a friend of mine when he said he really liked Charlotte, even its last episode. I was kinda shocked to know that. I don’t think it’s good especially the last episode so I tried to express my point of view by saying that the last episode is hilariously ridiculous and doesn’t make much sense. Then, he answered me with “don’t ask how the Yuu (the main character)’s brother found him at the very right moment. Don’t ask why Yuu didn’t heal himself to travel back through time and save everyone. Don’t ask how he travels around the world or how he can get reception in the middle of the dessert. Don’t ask anything! Just enjoy the show without asking so many questions.” This little conversation triggered me, is turning off our brain the best way to enjoy anime?? Because I think that’s what he basically meant.

The answer to the question is obviously a no. I don’t agree with it at all. Yes, there are some anime, mostly slice of life moe shows that requires our brain to be switched off in order to enjoy fully. But there are also anime that requires us to think more than you usually do in order to understand and enjoy the story. I mean, try watching Steins; Gate with your brain off and then understand the time travel theories. Try watching Code Geass with your brain off and remember every single motivations the characters are driven by. Or watch Baccano and memorize every single ‘important characters’ in the anime. Chances are, you won’t be able to do any of these and you certainly won’t enjoy the show. And it works the other way around too. If you think too hard on the plot of K-on (K-on is the easiest example), you’ll never understand the purpose of the show.

Of course, it is not that simple as there are also shows like Gurren Laggan where you should accept the ridiculousness of the show while keeping your brain functioning at the same time but generally speaking, there are two types of anime, anime that wants you to use your brain and anime that don’t.

So here’s the thing, I have a method of watching anime. For the first few episode, if not the first episode, I will pinpoint whether or not the anime actually wants me to use my brain. Only after that I would know how to enjoy the anime fully.

I’m not saying that you should look really deep into every single anime you watch but to believe that enjoying something is not thinking about it at all is retarded and wrong. You see, sometimes when I tell this friend of mine how a story or a character doesn’t make sense, he would answer with “don’t think too much and enjoy what you’re given.” How can I like something that doesn’t make sense but the anime tells me otherwise?? I know anime is an entertainment but to foolishly follow or believe something is well, foolish. So to me, if the anime asks me to use my brain but it makes no sense, then I believe that the anime has failed. If the anime asks me to switch off my brain but the anime makes so much sense, then I’ll be… rather confused. I don’t think I have experienced watching such anime…

So yeah, that’s basically how I view on this topic. What do you guys think about this? Do you agree with me or do you not?

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15 thoughts on “Is Turning off Your Brain The Only Way To Enjoy Anime Fully?

  1. For me, there are somethings that are to be enjoyed for aesthetics and others to be enjoyed logically and with reasoning. It just depends on what it is. I kind of agree with both you and your friend.

    One must also remember that anime is an art, and should be viewed with the eyes of visual appreciation.

    And also if you think too hard about something, doesn’t it become meaningless in the end?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sup Bro, long time no commenting here.
    I quite agreed with your opinion here. Of course anime are made for entertainment, but that doesn’t mean you should turn off your brain for that sort of stuff. I mean, this ain’t drug.

    Comedy anime is one thing, but if an anime’s too nonsensical especially for those with serious plot, it’s unacceptable in my book.

    I’m raring for anime that can match up with “spice and wolf” now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yo bro, did you ever comment on my blog? Just kidding 😀

      Yeah pretty much like the Otaku Judge said.

      Spice and Wolf? It has very good romantic plot? I haven’t watched it. But I will!!

      Like

  3. ‘Mindless’ entertainment only works when there’s nothing that naturally excites the mind (for example, complex empathy or themes or an expansive or convoluted plot); anything else is ‘switching on’ your brain in order to deliver its thrills and feels, and it therefore needs to have answers for the questions you will naturally ask it.

    Ridiculousness, likewise, works when the style and characterisation point you to other things than how exactly the armour transforms in such a scanty and OTT way – what the audience is more drawn to is what that ridiculousness represents, and within that the viewer is both given answers and is encouraged to supply their own.

    Basically, the explanation as to why something happens can function on the literal or metaphorical level. Charlotte failed on both, arguably – parts of the story towards the end were purely coincidental literally impossible (or at least, their possibility is not even attempted to be explained), and the themes that they stood for subsequently fell apart. The cause-effect nature of a time-travel plot meant that we were directed towards wanted to know how A caused B, and the finale robbed us of that enjoyable logic, and hence also took away our capability to draw meaningful conclusions about the characters and what they stood for.

    I personally think you can choose to look as deep into anything as you like – but you should recognise when you’re going beyond the show’s natural impetus of depth. The difference between what the show naturally tries to communicate – even more specifically to its ‘target audience’ – and what it can be judged to be communicating once scrutinized under a different context, is always interesting to explore; Spirited Away, for instance, has many different ‘readings’ that all contribute to how great a work of art it is. It’s a kids movie, but a child won’t be looking at it the same way Hayao Miyazaki is. Pixar’s Inside Out is another great example of how the ‘target audience’ won’t connect to the same areas and levels of meanings that teenagers and adults will. I’d also say that Angel Beats! works fantastically in this way, albeit not for different age groups, but rather different appreciations of the characters and surface-level impressions of the show (the negative of which inevitably leading to cries that the show has ‘no depth’ – for how can you enjoy depth if the surface turned you away?).

    Anyway, my favourite shows are the ones that simultaneously feel fantastic whether my brain is engaged in unravelling meanings or just sitting back and enjoying the style and grace displayed on-screen, the show’s encouragement swinging between both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, as a guy who does not actually think deep about these things (because I was just rambling up there), I just naturally nod as I read your comment. And to be honest, I don’t really know what or how to reply… That’s why it took me a very long to reply. But I’ll try to make some sense while replying to your comment.

      I agree with you that people can look deep into anything if they want to. Even though I don’t look into things as deeply as other people do, I actually like to read deep analysis about a certain show, recently being the anime ‘My Teen Romantic Comedy Is Wrong As I expected’. The analysis makes me think that anime or any other entertainment medium for that matter have a very meaningful message to its audience even if the anime itself is generally bad. It makes me think that I will always miss things as I casually consume them.

      Lastly for my taste, I will always rank the shows that are thought provoking over a mindless show even though I’m easier to be attracted to the latter. For me, anything that requires my brain to function is better and superior than the ones that doesn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Personally using my brain iz what makes amime/manga so enjoyable. Cuz through different series i would always find myself daydreaming and wondering, what if that happened to me. Also sometimes it’s the things that dont make since that really makes me think most. But i guess it helps that i’m a very vivid daydreamer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I see. I like thought provoking anime better because usually they are more engaging as I can experiencing cliffhangers here and there. For one, comedy anime which is to me mindless anime, while funny, is not very engaging so that’s a minus for me.

      Like

      • To be honest my faves are the mind blowing/screw with your head kind of anime with crazy amounts of deaths by unknown reasons and psychological murders, etc… But the irony behind that is my second faves, Romance XD

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah me too! It seems like you know a lot of mind blowing anime. do you mind recommending me some? I like shows like Death note, Code Geass, Baccano and Steins; Gate. As you can see, I only pick more popular anime but if you have some anime that are underrated or not so popular, I’d love to watch it.

        Liking romance anime after mind blowing anime is not that weird. I mean, I’m exactly like that. I like romance drama that actually have development and ending. Some of my favourites are True Tears and recently Nagi no Asukara. So maybe we have the same taste?

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    • A couple id prolly personally recommend is Another, and Shiki. Idk if u seen them. As for my all time fave romance. I’d have to say Ai Yori Aoshi. It has personally a really great story.

      Liked by 1 person

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