Sundays are the new Fridays to every anime fan out there. Right now, two of the hottest animes are releasing a single episode every Sunday, and for those six days between the releases, the community burns with anticipation.
But are these long-anticipated episodes satisfying the viewers? Are they worth the full week of waiting?
Even if you’re not an anime fan, chances are you’ve heard of “Attack on Titan” and “Demon Slayer.” But if you haven’t, any anime fan can tell you that they are a big deal, especially right now. After the release of a very successful movie, “Demon Slayer” enters its long-awaited second season. After starting Part I of its fourth season at the end of 2020, “Attack on Titan” left fans hanging for almost a full year before starting up again this January. With both of these major and long-awaited seasons of anime being released on the same day, the question is, are they living up to the hype?
KJ Adams, a first-year student at Guilford who has been watching anime since seventh grade, provided his thoughts on the two popular shows.
“Sometimes the wait is worth it,” Adams said. “For example, an episode will end abruptly, so you’re looking forward to the next episode, but then by the time the next week’s episode comes on, they spend their time talking. I don’t want talk, I want the battle! Sometimes it is important because exposition is important or plot but sometimes, I just want to see the battle progress.”
Daniel Diaz, director of the Office of Global and Off-Campus Initiatives and international student adviser, agreed.
“Sometimes I do get weary when the show gets really drawn out; back in the day you could watch a month of ‘Dragon Ball’ and not get a conclusion for one fight!”
Diaz has been watching anime since he was a kid, back in the days of ’80s and ’90s cartoons.
Michelle Ward, a community director at Guilford who started watching more anime at the beginning of the pandemic, disagrees with Diaz. She enjoys watching every piece and believes that “even if it is filler, it gives me a piece of the story, so I watched 113 episodes of ‘Naruto’ because I want that full context of these characters’ lives.”
Most fans seem to think the new episodes were worth the wait. COVID has brought with it an increase in anime watchers, which, within such a small community, was a bit of a shock. New viewers tend to read ahead in the manga, and older community members, who tend to watch the new episodes weekly, feel that the mystery of the episodes is now lost in a sea of hype and spoilers.
“With things like TikTok and other media, the second the new episode drops people are talking about it and it is really a war zone,” Adams said. “Spoilers suck; I know what it’s like to have to watch a show already knowing what is going to happen because of new viewers spoiling things.”
However, Diaz believes that the hype and occasional spoilers can bring in new viewers more so than losing old ones.
“Sometimes knowing something interesting about a show will lure you in to better understand why and how, so that might work to boost viewers,” Diaz said.
He also said that people in the anime community who like spoilers can find them, and those who don’t usually know how to avoid them.
Ward agreed, noting that “with any week-long wait, spoilers can be a common occurrence, but they don’t bother me because I’m invested. Newer viewers can read the spoilers all they want but without watching the show, they have no context.”
Even if the episodes are worth the wait, would the community rather have a shorter wait time? For fans like Diaz, it’s a yes. He and his wife like to binge-watch shows, so the long wait is kind of a bummer.
For fans like Ward, waiting “fosters patience. We live a microwave-type lifestyle, so (not) getting that instant gratification every week is difficult.”
The week-long wait makes her appreciate an episode that much more, and as someone with many responsibilities, she doesn’t have the time to sit and binge-watch. So the weekly episode feels almost like a reward.
Adams had more mixed feelings about the wait.
“I like it mainly because it gives me something to look forward to. Every Sunday I’m like, ‘Here we go!’ and I can just sit and watch it…but I also hate it because I’m used to binge-watching, so going from watching everything at once to an episode a week is frustrating, especially because each episode feels like it’s getting shorter and shorter.”
With a week between each episode, the anime community is abuzz with anticipation, and each week they are rewarded with the next piece in an addictive puzzle. In a growing anime-watching community, spoilers are more rampant than ever, but the new episodes still manage to keep older, invested fans on their toes each week.
Good luck to all the anime community members out there. Let’s hope the continued episodes are worth that week-long wait.