Anime and manga fans burn bright with passion, but sometimes we hit a wall. Perhaps you want to love anime and manga even more than you already do, but don’t know where or how to look. Or maybe you’re someone who fell out of the fandom and you want to rekindle your spirit, but all of these new series aren't anything like what originally got you into anime and manga. The following 5 tips are here to help you (re-) invigorate your love of anime and manga, so that you can learn to appreciate it even more.
1: Try Out Unfamiliar Genres
When we only look for similar titles, anime and manga can start to look boring and repetitive. This leads to the idea that all series are harems, fighting series, or whatever. Instead of just sticking with what you know, try out something that you wouldn’t normally expect yourself to look at.
By experiencing something outside of the familiar, it potentially allows you to discover stories and works that you might not have paid attention to otherwise. Moreover, if you end up not liking it, you can use that opportunity to understand your own tastes better. By knowing your boundaries, you can have a better idea of how to push them.
2: Look at Different Decades of Anime and Manga
1970s classic series Rose of Versailles
You might have discovered anime 6 months ago and are watching the latest shows. Or perhaps you grew up on manga from 15 years ago and think it’s the best ever. Whatever your situation, experiencing anime and manga from an unfamiliar decade can be valuable. Doing so gives you a broader sense of what anime and manga are capable of, and fosters appreciation for their diversity.
There have been significant shifts in stylistic trends in character designs, humor, timing, and popular tropes over decades of anime and manga. With multiple periods to work from, your resources for discovering your next favorite work grow tremendously.
3: If You Watch, Read. If You Read, Watch.
This doesn’t apply to everyone, but anime fans might not necessarily be manga fans and vice versa. Perhaps you prefer having sound and animation, or you love the way pages are laid out in manga. Maybe it’s a matter of convenience for your own particular circumstances. Either way, taking on the other can be a great way to help expand the depths of your interests in both anime and manga.
Even though anime is often adapted from manga, and thus for many stories you can often get a similar experience, there are both medium differences and historic differences that can make them different experiences. Don’t knock the other just because it’s not quite what you’re used to!
4: You Don’t Have to Watch Everything
Go at your own pace, like Tanaka-kun
Burning out on anime and manga is a real problem. For many fans, trying to consume as much as humanly possible transforms anime and manga from a hobby into a burden. It’s one thing to marathon a show when you’re invested in it, but if you find yourself complaining more than having fun, it might be best to stop.
If you decide to stick with a work in spite of its flaws, then don’t let it grind you down. Give enough of yourself to an anime or manga that you can spot any positive changes that might occur, but don’t be so attached to obligation that each chapter or episode leads to mounting disappointment.
5: Don’t Hate Your Past Self
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai
One thing I’ve noticed about anime and manga fans over the years is that many of them eventually grow to dislike how they used to be. “I used to like Naruto, but I grew out of it!” I think this is a mistake, as it encourages self-loathing and embarrassment towards being a fan. Rather than viewing one’s youth as a dark history to be shunned, take a cue from the series Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai: embrace your former self.
This doesn’t mean that you must forever preserve your preferences in anime and manga. People change, as do their tastes. However, no matter who you used to be, you should believe that you had good reasons for liking what you did. Don’t have to worry about being the “right” kind of fan. If you do continue to watch and read anime and manga, someday your future self might just look back on your present self with similar positivity.
One More Thing
Genshiken, a series about anime and manga fans
You might have noticed that none of the tips on this list actively involve making friends with fellow fans or anything like that. This is because they’re designed to work whether you’re by yourself, you have a group of friends who love anime and manga too, or you want to meet like-minded companions.
If you prefer the solo route, the internet has vast databases for you to discover interesting titles such as Baka-Manga Updates, Crunchyroll, and My Anime List. If you have friends who also watch shows, you can ask them for advice. If you want to make friends with fellow fans, asking people what they would recommend can also be fruitful.
For some, anime and manga fandom are social activities, while for others it’s about the pursuit of knowledge. Do things your way!