Easy-to-Watch Shows

This season, I’ve called Nagasarete Airantou a “guilty pleasure” type of show, a series where I’m perfectly aware of how cliched pretty much every element is and yet I find myself enjoying a lot. I felt the same way about Zero no Tsukaima, too. But I think there’s another element to why I find myself watching it, often over shows that I know are more substantial, like Darker than Black. Shows like that are easy to watch.

What do I mean by that? There are some animes where I’m comfortable watching it while eating lunch or dinner, where I can just sit back and relax and not have to pay too close attention. I find myself clicking on those files consistently more often and sooner than more serious fare like Bokurano. It’s like I have to mentally prepare myself for that type of anime; I have to feel like deliberately setting aside some time (even though it’s the same length of time as these “easy to watch” shows) or else I feel like I’m not really watching the show. Easy-to-watch shows, on the other hand, I tend to watch on a whim, and it doesn’t feel like so much of an investment. And this is not just a comedy/drama divide, either. I don’t consider Hayate no Gotoku in this category; perhaps it’s because of the high expectations I placed on it from the start, but I tend to think of watching it as an “investment” as well.

I could be real snobby about it and say that this means there’s something deficient in my tastes, but you know, not only is there a place for shows that are easy-to-watch, I think there’s something actually good about them. This is, after all, entertainment, and there’s a place for comfort food in one’s anime diet just as much as in a regular diet. It’s sometimes good to let the time go by imperceptibly (because that’s my experience with these easy-to-watch shows) and let the formula wash over you. I’d still want to preserve a distinction between this sort of thing and work that tries to reach for something else, arguably something more enduring, but I don’t in the least want to denigrate it.

So what shows do you find “easy to watch”? What’s your anime “comfort food”?

Author: gendomike

Michael lives in the Los Angeles area, and has been into anime since he saw Neon Genesis Evangelion in 1999. Some of his favorite shows include Full Metal Alchemist, Honey and Clover, and Welcome to the NHK!. Since 2003 he has gone to at least one anime convention every year. A public radio junkie, which naturally led to podcasting, he now holds a seminary degree and is looking to become Dr. Rev. Otaku Bible Man any day now. Michael can be reached at mike.huang@animediet.net. You can also find his Twitter account at @gendomike.

4 thoughts on “Easy-to-Watch Shows

  1. Hmmmm I’d say ARIA the Natural…most slice of life anime are easy watches

  2. Lucky Star, but the problem with watching it with your family having dinner nearby while you’re eating in front of the pc is that you tend to get the jitters, especially if you’re watching anything that came close to episode 6.

  3. Hmm, I’d rather give Aria my full attention, but World’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi fulfills my eat-while-you-watch criteria more often than say Serei no Moribito (especially since I can’t watch Saiunkoku Monogatari anymore – without the fansubs: I’ll just buy the first season and hope someone does a Right Stuff and somehow gets the second season, too).

    Addendum: I don’t normally watch shonen anime at all, but Kenichi is such a fun mixture between loser and competent, I can forgive the raunchy jokes.

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