What gets (and keeps) me interested in an anime?

While an episode usually lasts around 24 minutes, sometimes even less if you discount the opening and ending, the number of anime titles seems to be steadily growing over the years. Hundreds upon hundreds of new series occupy our lists. The difficulty of determining what is worthy of entering the list seems almost random for me. Oh the synopsis was really interesting in this one, oh the poster looked nice, oh but the music in the trailer was a total banger…! Even now, I am currently watching around 15 anime from this season and it seems as if I never learn to really distinguish. That said, I am one of the “3 episode rule” believers, however, as much as I always follow it, I take it as both a guideline and a suggestion. I force myself (if I have to) to watch at least 3 episodes unless I downright despise something about an anime that is a core part of it, like setting, characters or art; and naturally, I sometimes know from episode 1. However, that got me wondering, what makes an anime interesting or good enough for me to stick with?

If I like a show enough, I just keep watching past the 3 episode mark and keep my list crammed to the brim. Taste is subjective, and that is true with all things, but here are some things that more often than not, play a part in my continued watch of an anime:

  • The story/setting

The story, in my opinion, is something that is the core of an anime. Without it, are you really watching an anime? Of course, it comes in many parts and different shapes, yet the key components remain the same- story, characters, character/story arcs… Characters can exist by themselves only for so long, usually a season or two and no more, if you have any concerns about quality. Of course, slice of life anime is still a thing and is still immensely popular, but no one really hypes it for its grocery store arc…

The setting is also important. The more time passes of me watching anime, the more I tend to roll my eyes over certain settings. Yet another average high schooler sent into a fantasy world, only to figure out how badass and unique they actually are, can fly by me completely, please. The main character tripping into the main girl’s chest while on his way to his new school? I’d rather without that.

  • The characters and their interactions; especially the one they show in the op and then for 3 minutes in the actual episode

One of my biggest pet peeves are anime that act as a hype generator for the manga/light novel. While that sounds silly, if you want to sell a product you do a commercial for it kind of thing, I’m the type that tends to get interested in side characters, only to wait for them to appear their fateful 3 minutes of the anime. I see a flash of them in the opening, maybe they even tease with an after credits scene, and so, I get hooked! I end up searching up art of them from the manga/light novel, maybe even stumble upon fanart and know it might be the end for me, cause the anime might not even run to their arc…

Another side of this is if I particularly like the dynamic of two characters, I’ll get devastated if I can only see them interact more in the light novel or manga adaptation.

Another big plus for me is relatable characters and inspirational characters. While these might not be the best characters necessarily, but they are definitely the most memorable.

  • The art style; aka, some good old Sakuga

Aesthetically pleasing animation should be considered a national treasure that speaks for itself. A well animated fight scene or a romantic scene makes or breaks the moment and atmosphere that it wants to create.

Over the years there have been a wide spectrum of anime cash grabs that are beyond lazy and it shows in the animations, or others that simply had an incredibly rushed production. In certain cases the otherwise compelling story or charismatic characters take the major blow of the horrible animation.

The opposite is also possible – something somewhat boring or usual taken to the extreme with masterful directing and animation. One such example, is K-on adapted from a fairly simple yonkoma manga.

  • The music; mainly the op/ed

Good music is always appreciated! The hype I feel from an awesome opening song blaring during the high stakes end fight is immeasurable!

  • That one random action packed clip I saw on youtube from like episode 9

I come from the days where you had to hunt for new anime and did not know a single thing about seasonal anime charts… Most of my knowledge came from clicking random names that sounded nice or interesting and watching random clips on youtube! Most of them were old amvs, but I have to admit, the clip tactic holds up to this day, especially since a lot of channels are dedicated to making quite specific (top 10 romantic, action scenes etc.) anime list videos.

  • A familiar voice

I cannot emphasize enough on how loud I shouted when I recognized the voice behind Sakaido from Id:Invaded as that of Kei Matoba from Cop craft. Or in a more recent example, recognizing Ranpo from Bungou stray dogs as having the same voice as Araragi from the Monogatari series.

  • It has both magic and action, what do you mean I’m watching yet another magic battle harem?

What are the things that get and keep you interested in an anime? Share in the comments below!

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