Not long ago, I used to watch entire seasons of anime within a week.
This is between work, study, games and sleep.
So the speed was pretty much incredible.
While I was consuming massive amounts of episodes and plot lines in a small time, I realized I couldn’t enjoy it as I used to.
I thought more and more episodes would do the trick.
The magic happened when I went the opposite direction.
Instead of watching back to back episodes, I started watching only 1 episode from 1 anime per day.
These days I am watching Fire Force, Food Wars and Haikyuu.
Of course I don’t have a choice with Haikyuu because they are releasing episodes weekly.
But what I realized when watching one episode was, the quality of my engagement increased.
Enhanced Music and Art Styles
I suddenly started noticing things.
The music came first.
I even started separating different instruments in the background during fight scenes. Starting with Fire Force which was the obvious one.
If you watch Fire Force, you know, the background music is an epic collection of strings, trumpets and drums.
Without paying attention, the beauty of their collaboration just becomes one big noise.
Same for the art styles.
It is easy to notice unique art styles in Great Pretender and Devil Man Cry Baby without even trying.
But it is difficult to truly appreciate the colors and art in a fast paced anime like Fire Force or a vanilla style like Food Wars.
I can’t even imagine how powerful my experience with Great Pretender could have been if I had just taken it slow.
All that vibrance was wasted in my binge.
This appreciation is not possible when you watch back to back episodes simply because your mind is tired.
When my mind got tired, I couldn’t focus on the art anymore because that meant I had to pay attention to different parts of the screen.
Plot Line Focus
Going back to back, even the plot line suffered. And that is the most important part in a show!
Not all episodes are packed with the same amount of excitement.
When you binge watch, you see a massive amount of exciting scenes per day.
And you get used to it.
So when you get to a less exciting episode, you can’t accept it and instead wish you could skip to the next episode.
Of course you can’t do that so you just sit through it without enjoying.
What happened after I stopped binge watching was, I had no choice but to watch that one slow episode.
But instead of feeling trapped, I felt more focused.
Even the most mundane episodes were attention worthy and I soon started noticing how some details in the slow episodes are important to enjoy the fast ones.
Information is minimal during action scenes.
So it is the slow episodes that feed us the context to truly engage with the fast ones.
Without proper context, action is just a clash of colors and loud music.
Now I am in the habit of watching only one episode from one anime per day.
Even on free days, I never cross that limit.
The intense 20 minutes of one episode has become more addictive than hours of binge.
And I think that is a good kind of addiction.