It’s the start of the anime season. You’re sitting there at your screen of choice (looking hot as usual). And then it begins – the episodes start coming out. You want to absorb it all, but herein lies the question – how? Do you take it in week-by-week? Or do you marathon it in one go?
I would say it’s the million dollar question – but that would be a lie. Nonetheless, tackling this question is a team effort! I teamed up with the very loveable Daziigirl from UNOTAKU (check it out, you know you want to) to put together this response. So expect to see some dual commentary!
Daziigirl: If the anime is short, meaning only having 12 or 13 episodes, you can literally finish it in 4 hours (when you skip the op and ed), which is so much better than having to wait 3 months until you know the end! And you don’t have to walk around with the question “what will happen next?” in your head for an entire week, which can be pretty annoying, since I get way too excited when it’s a really good anime.
But on the other hand I have to say: that’s what makes the anime even better and more meaningful sometimes! Let’s say we’re talking about a mystery/thriller anime and the main character’s best friend was killed at the end of episode 6 – that’s one of the worst cliffhangers EVER! But it’s also one of the best, because it makes you want to continue the anime next week even more! And I’ve noticed that cliffhangers like those are very important for many anime, because if it weren’t for those, I wouldn’t have a reason to watch the next episode, so why should I waste my time?
Sparkly: If an anime is already fully released then given the option I would pick marathon every time – because…well, i’m impatient. I feel like the experience in marathoning an anime is more immersive. Particularly for anime with slow storylines I can also find myself much more tolerant of random monologues or plot diversions as I know i’ll get there in a few hours as opposed to a few more weeks.
For airing anime it often comes down to my desire to watch a show in question. It’s much easier for me to wait for a series i’m interested in to end if I haven’t had previous exposure to it. However if it’s a series sequel (and I loved the previous series) the idea of waiting months before continuing the storyline is often too difficult for a person who has poor self-control (me).
Week by Week
Daziigirl: But of course it really depends on the anime, the genre(s) and the length (watching the entire Naruto series at once might be a bit difficult). For example, I think marathoning a comedy, romance or drama anime makes more sense than a mystery, thriller or action anime. So I basically enjoy watching anime with lots of suspense week by week, since that really gets you excited for the next episodes – and you don’t really get that feeling with a slice-of-life anime, so you could just finish the entire anime in a day.
Then again, I must say I could watch any anime week by week and enjoy it a lot, since that’s more my type. I also think the story stays more in your memory than when you watch 12 episodes in a row – I can barely remember the anime I watched in just a couple of days, but I still know what happened in the anime I watched week by week last summer (for example).
Sparkly: Week by week is what I default to when my need for a show outstrips my patience (this happens often). Although I’d often marathon given the option – there are some aspects of weekly watching that make me enjoy this viewing style. Often it gives me time to reflect on the show, as well as something to constantly look forward to – I know theres a show i’m excited to watch coming out every week.
Note that when watching weekly I often have higher expectations of the episode being released, and I’ll feel let down if it’s a lacklustre episode where nothing happens. I also find that binge watching can be a little overbearing. I can find myself up late and literally so engrossed that I momentarily forget everything else. Watching an episode weekly doesn’t ruthlessly compromise my schedule.
This being said I can’t watch shows which are released bi-weekly. When Sailor Moon Crystal was released every second week I would completely forget what had happened two weeks ago to the point where the series was incredibly disjointed and hence not that enjoyable.
Daziigirl: All in all I’m for “week by week” episodes, even though it might get me really impatient at times, when the story gets way too exciting. Nevertheless it’s easier for me to stick with an anime, if I only have to watch one episode a week. I’m not really the type, who can sit still for hours while just staring at a screen without doing anything – I need to do something else at the same time. But every now and then it’s also fun to take a day off and just finish every anime I started a while ago :D.
Sparkly: While I definitely enjoy both types of viewing the allure of getting lost in a story and the ability to give it my complete focus is something that can’t be beat. It’s always refreshing to have a few series to watch week by week though, as it keeps my excitement constant and can give me something to daydream about on the train – but overall if I had to pick one, it’d go with marathoning.