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”?