Is Anime Binging Good or Bad?

Ah the anime binge. Like its other TV binge brethren, you span many hours doing nothing but watching an anime series. One episode after another, nonstop. With modern cliffhanger strategy, you are sucked into a temporary blissful oblivion.

Looking at you One Piece

Looking at you One Piece (which apparently is real)

Good or bad?

General binge watching, while enjoyable in the moment, can sometimes bring feelings of guilt afterwards. You spent your whole weekend inside doing nothing but sitting in front of the TV. Shame. Shaaaammeee!

But you are studying Japanese. Anime is in Japanese. So should you free yourself of guilt and pat yourself on the back for a weekend of “studying?”

Yes. Absolutely.

What about with “English su…”

Anime Binging - Good or Bad

No!

Assuming you weren’t using English subtitles, an anime binge is a positive thing. A binge can only exist if you are enjoying the anime. And you only enjoy the anime if you are understanding a certain percentage (this percentage varies depending on the anime).

While doing nothing but anime binges may not be the best for your Japanese progress (a little balance is important), your occasional anime binges are great. Enjoy them, guilt free.

This is one of the great benefits of learning Japanese. Things in life that are normally not seen as productive suddenly are. You can watch the trashiest talk show, read the trashiest books, and sit on the couch all day. Yet you are being productive and should be commended. Embrace that idea. It goes a long way.

Do you anime-binge study guilt free? Feel the progress after a binge? Share your thoughts in the comments!



Related posts:

The following two tabs change content below.
Adam

Adam

Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.

Comments

Is Anime Binging Good or Bad? — 17 Comments

  1. I anime binge all the time. Thanks to crunchyroll I now have anime directly at my fingertips (shameless plug). Plus you can right click the video and turn off subs! I just recently binge-watched the first eleven episodes of Parasyte: the maxim. The result: dreams in Japanese, and lots of thinking in Japanese. It felt awesome!

    I am also on a manga binge. Re-reading Naruto from the beginning in Japanese. I think I’ve forgotten how to use 丁寧語. @_@

    • I didn’t know you could turn off the subtitles. Extremely useful feature.

      You have a lot of reading ahead of you to read Naruto from start to finish. Enjoy every minute of it!

      • It seems like a feature they added somewhere along the line. A lot of older videos don’t support it, but newer ones generally do.

        In any case, it is extremely handy. I wish Funi’s site would incorporate it as well.

        • I guess it isn’t a requested enough feature yet since most people that use Funimation probably want subtitles. But it would be amazing if all sites easily offered the option to turn them off for everything.

          • I believe they did this to more readily support subtitles in multiple languages without having to store multiple video files for each language, so it’s more of a matter of conserving on data storage. That the Japanese learning community benefits from this is a happy coincidence.

            On another note, I managed to binge watch all of Cardcaptor Sakura not too long ago. I think it’s one that I’d highly recommend because the dialog isn’t too complicated and the plot is very carefree and fun.

  2. I can never not read that word as “bing-ing”.

    For me this usually applies to dramas more than anime since I like those more, but if I get hooked on one of those I’ll end up going through a whole series in a day if time allows. It’s a really freaky feeling getting up with your ears and brain full of another language after ten-odd hours doing nothing else. I use subtitles because the talky shows I really like are too hard to figure out what’s going on from just watching. Even then I can notice my comprehension’s a little better, I can separate more words from fast conversations even if I don’t know them, pronunciation improves, and there’s an overall feeling like I KNOW Japanese, I just don’t know what the actual words mean. I can only imagine what full immersion for an extended period would be like if you didn’t or couldn’t take a break away back to your own language.

    I bet if I binged regularly and actually y’know, studied things, I’d at least be conversationally fluent by now.

    • Haha, is that the act of using the search engine Bing?

      You can always try a full weekend of nothing but Japanese.

  3. I am watching Naruto again in Japanese, after having seen it in English already, and I just can’t stop watching it. Getting that balance might be a bit of a problem for me because whenever I watch something else the only thing I can think about is Naruto or whatever anime I happen to be binging at the time(last time it was 進撃の巨人). But I don’t mind because I can’t notice it having any negative effect and it makes the anki cards I use from anime a lot more enjoyable. Maybe I will start appreciating the other stuff later on, but right now I just cannot stop watching!

    • I think focusing on one series is fairly common and not an issue at all. That focus will often even switch genres and there may come a time where you want to watch nothing but Jdramas or read nothing but light novels. The binge urge has a nice way of evolving.

  4. I only watch subs or else I can’t understand the show. Of course not using subs would defeat all the enjoyment for me at this point.

    I tend/try to hear the japanese, infer/know parts of what is said, and then read the actual subs on screen to verify — all before the next subs pop up.

    I can solidify vocab I already know like this, and learn some new vocab in the process. However, the subs are a lot of times context-relevant translations rather than direct translations. So it can have you learning vocab completely wrong.

    Do you know of any good anime where the subs are literal translations even if it doesn’t read so elegant? To me, through my process, this would almost work like your anki decks which would be very beneficial.

    • One important thing you should realize, is that the words you’re learning from watching subbed anime come *not* from associating subbed English with spoken words, but rather from associating the JP words you’re hearing with the emotions and context of the scene – essentially picking up vocab by osmosis. This isn’t a bad thing and I don’t think you should stop watching subbed anime you enjoy, but if you’re serious about improving your Japanese ability, you need to be honest with yourself about what counts as time spent “studying” and what does not.

      I’ll be truthful – I still watch a lot of (EN) subbed anime, even at level 50-ish. Sometimes it’s with my wife, who doesn’t understand Japanese. Sometimes it’s a very difficult show (like the Monogatari series), where I’d miss a lot of the fun wordplay without subs. There’s no shame in doing that – as long as you accept that the time you spend on that isn’t doing much to improve your language ability.

      Here are a couple of options you might want to try-
      1: Watch a show once with subs, then re-watch it without subs. You’ll already know the gist of the story, so it’ll be a lot less painful to follow along.
      2: Pick shows you’re watching for fun, and shows you’re watching for study. Watch the former with subs, and the latter without. It may even help to pick “study” shows that you might have otherwise overlooked, so you don’t feel so much like you’re missing out. If you don’t normally watch J-Dramas, that’s a great way to get into watching TV w/o subs.

      It’s not easy to devote part of your “fun” time to studying in a disciplined way, but the more effort you invest, the easier and more fun it becomes. Experiment with how you divide up your time and find the point where you aren’t giving up too much and losing motivation, but are investing enough effort to have a real positive impact on your skills.

      Good luck! =)

    • > 1: Watch a show once with subs, then re-watch it without subs. You’ll already know the gist of the story, so it’ll be a lot less painful to follow along.

      I take this route more often than not. The trick I use is to cycle the shows I watch such that I’m not immediately re-watching something I just finished. For instance I’m re-watching OreGairu season 1 w/o subs now, and I watched it with subs maybe six months ago. And I’m concurrently watching the second season with subs, then will probably throw it on my “iPod” (phone) for passive immersion, then revisit it unsubbed some months down the road.

      If I really love a show I can just start over immediately, though. I did that with Madoka and all of the Monogatari seasons so far.

      I almost never go into a show totally raw, though maybe it’s time I started… lose the training wheels and so forth.

      (I’ve also been thinking of getting into Japanese subs as a stopgap, but haven’t found JP subs for any of the shows I’m currently watching so it hasn’t happened yet.)

  5. I feel pretty weird. I’ve played 2 mini-visual novels (Gyakuten Saiban), watched 105 episodes of Hunter X Hunter over the past few weeks and now am playing Steins;Gate 0 . I’ve NEVER immersed myself this much even when I was watching with English subtitles.

  6. This is my life right now. I openly admit that I am reading trashy manga and silly dramas. But I don’t feel guilty because hey, it’s in Japanese! There is so much trashy stuff I’ve found and liked that I would never admit to reading in English.

    Also, no one can look over my shoulder and know what I’m reading is trash unless they know Japanese.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *