Let’s break down some of the finer aspects anime has to offer as an entertainment medium, and how the circumstances in which you watch it majorly affect the overall experience.

Anime is a unique type of entertainment medium that not everyone can easily enjoy. They are drawn in a variety of different ways and have premises that range from the wackiest of ideas to absolute masterpieces. If you’re unaccustomed to anime or Japanese visual culture itself, these uncommon animations may be unappealing from the very start. Or, on the other hand, you might have actually watched an anime or two but didn’t really enjoy it, consequently setting aside Japanese animation as a whole forever. It’s not uncommon for either of those reactions to occur. Anime, as a form of entertainment, usually falls under the realm of liking it from the start or giving it a shot but with no success.

This article will hopefully guide those who are on the fence about watching anime as a hobby or for those who gave up on it long ago due to a lackluster past experience. Use the advice below to help better understand the unique interest anime provides. All anime, much like any other TV show or movie, each have their own values worth watching. However, if you never give something a proper chance, their values will never reach you. 

Watch it for your own sake 

It’s as easy as it sounds. Although recommendations are great, they will not always match your preference or expectations. We are all vastly different from one another, so the ways we react to shows will differ as well. The people offering anime recommendations may have your best interest in mind, but don’t be surprised if your opinions differ from others. Instead, choose an anime for your own sake. There doesn’t need to be any logical reasoning as to why. The simplest of reasons, such as a well-drawn cover art, an interesting synopsis, or even a catchy theme song are all perfectly understandable motives to watch an anime.

The more popular method of sorting by top rated or most popular anime and choosing from there is also a valid reason to watch something. However, when you pick out something from the top of a list, your expectations will more often than not skyrocket tremendously. You might find yourself nitpicking at every little flaw of the show and make it your duty to find a million and one reasons why the show is ‘overrated.’ It’s not uncommon for extremely popular shows to be disliked by a vocal minority, but it does occur and they’re opinions are just as justified as anyone else’s.

Also, it’s important to never shy away from watching something that is outside of the norm, or something that is not ‘targeted’ towards you. Never let anyone question why you started watching a show. It’s a show, they exist to be watched. As long as you were the one to choose it, there can never be a wrong or right answer as to why. Choosing an anime on your own free whim helps to reduce the limitations on all the shows you can watch. There are no borders to cross, just pick an anime and continue watching. 

Give it the attention it deserves

More often than not, people will have no idea what’s happening in their anime because they are too distracted on their phones or on another tab. It’s disheartening but understandable. If an anime does not show enough to warrant the viewer’s immediate attention, then it’s arguable to call out their rather lackluster storytelling. But on the other hand, to actually enjoy a show, you must give it your full, undivided attention. When you’re watching an anime, it’s assumed that you’ve got enough free time to simply pay attention to what you’re watching.

Essentially, when you’re watching an anime, do try to keep your eyes on the show and avoid any unnecessary pauses or distractions. One of anime’s key traits is the ability to immerse the viewers into the fictional realm. That, of course, will not be possible if your mind is already drifting elsewhere. If you’re giving an anime every chance to start becoming interesting but are still bored to death, then it’s time to rethink your strategy. Although there is some criticism to this train of thought, the anime community generally gives a show up until episode 3 before they axe it.

Free time is valuable but often very limited. It’s understandable to want to enjoy yourself during these well-needed rest times, and being bored to death from an anime doesn’t sound appealing in the slightest. Do give the anime a chance, but if it passes the 3rd or 4th episode and it still doesn’t strike your fancy, then simply move on. We don’t want to be forced to watch an anime we find no connection with, so feel free to drop it and move on. As mentioned before, when you can, always watch anime for your own sake and never feel obliged to complete a show for the sake of finishing it. You will probably end up hating the anime even more.      

It’s not a race, pace yourself

Most anime are on a one-episode a week format. Seasonal watchers are given an entire week to think about what transpired in the latest episode and to speculate on what happens in the next. This lengthy cooldown is sometimes needed to give the viewers a chance to appreciate each episode, rather than just skipping ahead to the next one. The build-up is a real phenomenon and viewers have something to look forward to the following week. Depending on how you look at it, the fortunate part about watching shows that have already aired is the ability to watch everything in one sit through.

Just remember to pace yourself. There is no race to see who watches an anime the fastest. Ruining a watching experience over something so trivial is just nonsensical. If you want to binge an anime because you’re enjoying it on all levels, then go ahead. But don’t watch it in one sitting because you want to simply get over it, or ‘skip’ to the good parts. Watching anime, or any show, at speeds faster than its intended rate should also be used sparingly, especially if it’s your first time watching. Even at a 1.25x faster rate, the dialogue sounds higher pitched and the pacing of the show will inevitably feel rushed. Always remember to watch in moderation and for your own enjoyment, not for speed-run achievements. 

Get a feel for the Japanese language

Pretty self-explanatory. Although anime is rich with English dubs, not all anime is fortunate enough to get translated. If you continue to actively watch anime, then you should at one point accept watching in its original Japanese voice work with English subtitles. This may ruin the immersion for some, considering that reading while trying to watch the visuals could be somewhat of a nuisance. Unfortunately, English natives will simply have to endure the subtitles. However, not all is lost. The Japanese language sounds rather soothing once you get used to it. Also, with a few hours of watching anime, you’ll begin to familiarize yourself with some of the common words, giving your brain a rest from all the reading. It’s a learning process but it’s simply something all anime fans must endure. Again, you can get away with just watching anime in English. However, you will be depriving yourself of some of Japan’s most spectacular stories and characters.  

Never skip openings/endings

Last but not least, never under any circumstances should you skip openings/endings. Alright, maybe it’s not that serious of an offence, but do try to listen to the songs. More often than not, anime themes are performed by the voice actors themselves, adding even more sentimental value to a show. They are catchy works of music that set up and close out each and every episode. At times, they even show the story’s plot through it’s (SPOILER WARNING) 1 minute and 30 second intro. The songs make up an anime, just as a story or characters would. They are a central piece to identifying a show, without revealing any names or premises.

They don’t provide the same weight as the aforementioned do, but at the same time they are not something you should be wilfully skipping. How else would you feel the excitement when an anime’s first opening plays as the final episode’s ending? If you actively skipped all songs, no connection would be made, missing out on an opportunity that is cherished among many anime. The opening and ending themes are part of the episode, so try your best not to skip them. Anime has grown more popular over the years but still continues to be somewhat of a niche medium. The show’s animation quality is getting more refined every year, but the same wacky premises and out-of-this-world plotlines are still very much the same. Although anime may not be for everyone, there is most likely an anime show out there that everyone can enjoy. 

Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls introduces Konomi Kasahara to the up and coming sport of climbing. Using her background of puzzling gaming, she transfers her innate ability to problem-solve on the climbing walls.

With the fall 2020 anime season being jam-packed with popular shows and highly anticipated sequels, it’s rather common for some series to go under the radar or even completely forgotten. Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls unfortunately seems to be following in this trajectory. That, however, is to be expected given the anime’s relatively short-lived manga and mediocre ratings.

This will also be author Ryuudai Ishizaka’s first manga to get an anime adaptation. Although that is a tremendous accomplishment for Ishizaka, it won’t help that he has no other past works to attract existing or new fans. Despite Climbing Girls’ underwhelming reception among the anime community throughout the first five episodes, it is still a worthwhile show that explores the up and coming activity known as sport climbing through the lens of a charming group of girls.

Rocky Puzzle

The anime begins when high school junior Konomi Kasahara stumbles upon a climbing wall right outside of campus after her first day of class. She was initially drawn into it because of the many different shapes and colours the holds of the climbing wall had. To Kasahara, it reminded her of a puzzle video game, a variety of gaming that she was all too familiar with. Despite being extremely skilled in video games, so much so that she has even won national tournaments, Kasahara wished to move on from her stay-at-home lifestyle and to embark on a new ambition.

Due to her background in puzzle gaming, Kasahara instinctively climbed the wall in a strategic manner. Using the best route available, she made it all the way to the top, hooking the final anchor. As the three members of the climbing club looked on, thoroughly impressed at her first attempt ever, they welcomed Kasahara with open arms and told her about the upcoming sport climbing tournament.

Climbing Girls offers a new perspective on the sport of rock climbing and highlights the athleticism, precision and strategic prowess needed in order to ascend or send a wall. Right off the bat, the anime is quick to dispel any narratives that suggest rock climbing is solely an upper body dependent activity. As the show progresses, we begin to learn more about the subtle techniques and finesse climbers must utilize in order to conquer their wall or route. The climbers are drawn with detailed muscles, especially the abominable section, and glossy sweat that illustrate the sport and its athletes to perfection.

Perfecting the craft

The anime is a delightful surprise for those who aren’t knowledgeable of climbing and quite a refreshing take on a relatively niche sport. Kasahara learns the hard way that arm strength alone will not bring her to the finish line, a great deal of commitment and effort is required, much like any other sport would. Hours upon hours of training are needed to swiftly and safely ascend towards the top, and the anime makes certain that viewers understand this. As she continues her training, she learns how to properly mount holds with her feet, take advantage of her body’s leverages and the best way to assess a route even before taking the first step. Kasahara’s journey from a beginner whose arms gave out after the first climb to a specialist who can contort her body in seemingly any position, is a truly motivating experience that would leave most viewers grinning from ear to ear.

The other girls in the climbing club are still leagues above Kasahara and push the newcomer to her limits every now and then, but all of it is with good intentions as they prepare for the tournament. The girls make sure to give their due diligence in nurturing Kasahara to meet and exceed her untapped potential, even if that comes at her dismay. The friendship the four girls share is the kind of bond many would be envious of, a spiritual connection that allows them to learn, grow and prosper from one another, whether that be in sport climbing or life in general. To the untrained eye, rock climbing is nothing more than using your arms to grab the next hold in front of you.

Not only does Climbing Girls offer an endearing story about four girls competing for a national tournament, but it also provides us a glimpse of the mesmerizing art form known as sport climbing. Regardless of the tournament’s outcome, viewers will be sure to finish the anime feeling satisfied learning about a less than traditional sport, Kasahara’s character development and the unwavering friendship she obtained along the way.

A growing sport

Although rock climbing’s relevancy is still miles away from mainstream sports, such as basketball or baseball, its community continues to grow. For the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, sport climbing was set to make its debut as an official event for the summer games. The new format would introduce three disciplines of the sport, lead-climbing, bouldering and speed climbing.

Climbing Girls combines the appeal of sport climbing with a down to earth main character who every viewer can relate to one way or the other. It brings us into the crafty and newly refined world of climbing and practically teaches us the sport from the ground up. The only thing more entertaining than learning the mastery behind climbing is watching Kasahara get teased relentlessly from her fellow club members.

Climbing Girls may be overshadowed by the other, more popular, anime that headline the fall 2020 season, but there is nothing about it that makes it any less inferior in terms of production, characters and story. Overall, it is an anime that stands completely fine on its own and is certainly worth a watch for those who enjoy the competitive nature of sports, or for those who relish in watching a group of friends strive towards a common goal.

With the second season of Fruits Basket coming to end, we take a look at what makes Tohru’s relationship with the Somas so remarkably endearing. This article contains no spoilers.

Fruits Basket returns with the same emotion and drama we’ve come to love in the first season. The second season focuses on the rest of the zodiac members and their misfortune bond with Akito. Despite not knowing the entire intricacies behind the curse or the spiritual connection the zodiac members harbor towards Akito, Tohru desperately tries to help the Somas while trying not to overstep her boundaries. 

The spiritual transformations the zodiac members are born with are without a doubt a supernatural element that no one can possibly relate to. However, the emotions and pain they endure throughout both seasons are very much down to earth. Fruits Basket echoes something we are all aware of but unfortunately are quick to forget. People handle day-to-day struggles differently from one another. We have a range of emotions and sometimes it’s hard trying to deal with them. These unfortunate experiences are something we have no control of, but it is something we eventually have to move on from.

Regardless of how someone carries themselves publicly, they might be hiding a terrifying issue that dwells from the bottom of their soul. It might not be our business to intrude on someone’s personal life, but offering a shoulder to lean on, at the very least, could provide the reassuring comfort needed to help make their lives a little easier.  

Forever, Always

Tohru has excelled in showing compassion for others, especially complete strangers. Her humble upbringing has allowed her to always be empathetic, even if she is unsure of the entire situation. Fruits Basket has reminded its viewers to always try to look from the perspective of others and above all, to try to assist whenever possible. There are always going to be issues in our daily lives, that is unquestionably just a part of living. How we chose to overcome these obstacles differ from one another, but a helping hand whenever possible could be the needed assistance to lift someone from their anguish.

The world is too demanding to push on by yourself, everyone needs companionship to help them forget or move on from their worries, suffering and pain. Seeing Tohru throw herself out there, getting right in the middle of the Soma family affair, hoping to ease the burdens of every zodiac member is truly uplifting and extremely inspiring. After being perceived as a nuisance from her Grandfather’s side of the family and losing her mother in a tragic accident, Tohru continues to shine as a beacon of hope, a warm aura of comfort, for so many others. 

Zodiac Curse/Bond

Abuse and neglect seem to be the same problem all of the zodiac members have experienced, be it from Akito himself or from primary family members. Although they seem fine on the surface, deep down they are troubled. Suffering from an unusual curse with a cruel master being the evident perpetrator of their disdain, these members have experienced continuing traumas that no teenager or young adult should be forced to live with.

They’ve endured these hardships since birth and are unable to break free from the shackles of their cursed fate. For some, putting on a smile every day and living as if they were regular people have exhausted them mentally to the point where they break down in tears. It’s a cruel reality that they were given. That was until Tohru came stumbling into their lives. Her cheery personality and innate ability to connect with someone brought forth new hope that many of them can cling onto. She has brought them wonderful memories and another reason to continue to strive through the hardships.

Cherish the Moment

Fruits Basket is a wonderful anime that will make you appreciate your friends and family even more than you already have. More often than not, it will leave you feeling like a puddle of emotions, unable to stop crying from the funny, sad and joyful moments the anime has to offer. The characters are all relatable and each brings their own story or personality to the show.

The Somas are indeed one big troubled family, but as Tohru continues to be a mediator for them, they gradually learn to trust and care for another, just as any family would. Fruits Basket 2019 has far exceeded its expectations and provided the original 2001 series the well-needed justice in their reboot so many years later. Although the exact date has yet to be determined, the third and final season of Fruits Basket is expected to air next year in 2021.   

A new martial arts anime in the form of an ONA has recently aired as part of the 2020 summer season lineup. The first episode hits us with a good impression that will have many new fans tuning in for more. This article will contain spoilers for the first episode of the anime adaptation but will not mention anything included in the original webcomic.     

The God of High School, a South Korean webcomic by Yongje Park has finally been adapted into a 13-episode anime. The debut episode launched on July 6, 2020 as a Crunchyroll original and has many fans hyped to see the long-time Webtoon hit the big stages.

After watching the first episode, there is no surprise as to why this particular series has garnered quite the attraction from both Asian and North American fanbases. The characters are distinct and the fighting styles, though limited in the first episode, are flashy yet graceful at the same time. Not much is given regarding character backgrounds or story context, but timing is, of course, of the essence and it looks like The God of High School will give us the information we need piece by piece. Although we only have the first episode to work with, it gave the viewers enough of a preview to get a feel of what the God of High School is all about.  

The Gods of High School

The show starts off with the main character, Jin, waking up late for the preliminaries of a martial arts tournament called ‘The God of High School.’ Although he wakes up from a dream regarding his grandfather, not much else is given about that relationship. On his bustling commute to the arena, he unfortunately witnesses a robbery, much to his dismay. Despite already being late, Jin, like a true selfless hero, decides to retrieve the stolen purse from a man riding away in a motorcycle. Equipped with only his bicycle, it would appear to be quite the uphill climb for Jin to apprehend the robber. Thanks to two others who were coincidentally caught up in the incident, Han Daewi, and Yoo Mira, the robber was stopped and the purse was retrieved. As the strings of fate would have it, Han and Yoo, the two people who assisted Jin, are also contestants in the martial arts tournament.

Even though we don’t know much about our three protagonists, it goes without saying that we can assume they have a strong sense of morality and righteousness. In no way did Jin request for aid, but everyone stepped up to the occasion to apprehend a suspect they were not involved in at all. Many would-be inclined to simply stay out of trouble, or perhaps let someone else more capable help in the situation. But Jin, Han, and Yoo all decided to put it on themselves and help out when no one else would. They all have reasons to fight and participate in the tournament, but this selfless act of vigilance implies that all three compete for reasons beyond the satisfaction of pummeling the opponent into smithereens.

As the story develops and we learn more about the characters, it would be quite the delight if they were to retain these kind personalities all throughout the season. As mentioned before, we know very little about our heroines. However, one thing is absolutely certain. Jin is as hilarious as his star-shaped eyes would suggest. Only someone who enjoys humor in all of its forms would pants his opponent just to check the type of undergarment they’re wearing. Despite being a fun person Jin is more than capable of handling his own in a fight, even when outnumbered. Han and Yoo have also shown a great amount of skill when it comes to combat, Han with this thunderous punching power, and Yoo with her precise swordsmanship. Hopefully, they’re all fighting for a noble cause and not simply because they enjoy being involved in violent battles.

0 to 100 real quick

The first episode throws world-building out the window and it surprisingly works. Instead of gradually introducing us to the characters and the setting in which they must interact with, The God of High School quite literally puts a bunch of fighters in an arena for them to beat each other into submission. Apart from the motorcycle theft incident, we don’t know anything about anyone. Apparently, this martial arts tournament is extremely popular and instead of the contestants applying directly to compete, they are hand chosen by recruiters. The administrators are donned in black suits and appear to be quite the shady organization on the surface.

The winner of the tournament is said to have their wish granted, but that sounds unbearably vague and unachievable. Despite all the signs of a business having somewhat of an ulterior motive, hundreds are seen participating anyway, only for most of them to get beaten up. The anime is far from what you would call slow-pace, in fact, it’s moving at a rather absurdly fast pace that may end up being detrimental to the plot. Regardless, it still remains to be an interesting anime with much to be discovered.

Fighting tournaments are not overly complicated. Two or more people fight on a platform, and the one who remains standing is the victor. However, fans should expect the show to have a supernatural aspect later down the line. Superpowers and elements beyond any form of martial arts are definitely hinted throughout the show, especially at the beginning when an entire island is crushed by, what appears to be, a human hand. The heightened abilities from fighters will either enhance the show’s fighting scenes or blow it out of proportion with ungauged power levels. From the looks of it, The God of High School looks to take an old format and add a touch of razzle-dazzle to it that no one has seen before.

The first episode was well done, despite taking a very different approach from most openers. It has a ton of action scenes but with much of the story to be told. This mysterious martial arts tournament, combined with several characters that look interesting on the surface is a certified recipe for a worthwhile watching experience. From just one episode, we can tell that The God of High School is more than just a fighting tournament anime. Fans will just have to wait in suspense for the show to naturally unfold every week. If patience is not something you can endure, The God of High School can be read on Webtoons here. The anime is expected to air until its season finale in early September.