So Valentine’s Day and White Day have passed in Japan and you’re alone. You spent the days eating chocolate you bought yourself or maybe you plan on celebrating Single’s Day like the people in South Korea. You have to celebrate something, right? You deserve to celebrate something, too! But wait! What if you are actually in a relationship and you didn’t realize it?
If you are an otaku or an avid anime enthusiast, as many of you must be if you’re on this site, you will be surprised to find out that you may actually be in a relationship and not even know. What do I mean? Have you ever thought that your relationship with anime is just like dating someone? It may seem like a strange idea on the surface, but maybe there’s more truth to it than you initially thought. How is dating different than watching anime?
Well, it may not actually be as different as you think. Sure, you may not be in a relationship with a physical human, but perhaps it is not as ridiculous as it sounds.
Let’s talk about 5 reasons why watching anime is like dating, shall we?
1. Every Relationship Takes Time
One of the most important things to remember in a relationship, especially when you’re starting off, is that it needs time. Once you start dating, you end up spending all of your time together to get to know one another. Time is necessary to grow and get closer, but sometimes, you’ll find that maybe you spend more time as a couple than you do as an individual.
When you watch anime, don’t you opt to spend quality time watching anime, getting to know the characters, and falling in love with the story? Don’t you take the time to find out if the anime is worth continuing or dumping? You want to know if the anime is worth it. When the season’s done, you still spend time reading the light novels, playing the games, watching the specials, re-watching the series, reading the manga, etc. When the season ends, your relationship with the anime doesn’t!
Just how much time do you actually devote to your anime? Do you spend more time watching anime than you thought you did?
Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai(Kaminomi)
2. Sacrifices Must be Made
You can’t forget that when you start dating, sacrifices have to be made. Sometimes you will have to forsake time with your friends and family to spend time with your significant other. You will have to sacrifice something you like, foods you enjoy, other hobbies, etc. to please your other half. No, it is not something so restricting, but relationships may require some sort of sacrifice so that you can get along.
This can be applied to anime as well! Have you ever sacrificed time with your friends to watch anime? Maybe you sacrifice a day of work to play an anime video game—not that you should shirk your responsibilities, but some people do make that choice. How many people watch anime in Japanese? Well, don’t you sacrifice the ease of watching anime in English so that you can watch your favorite anime in Japanese? Or likewise, if you opt for English dubbed anime, don’t you lose some of the meaning and Japanese culture when you watch?
Sometimes, sacrifices do need to be made so that you can make it work between you and your favorite anime.
3. Relationships are an Investment
Whether you are male or female, don’t you find yourself spending more money when you are in a relationship? You have meals to eat, movies to see, amusement parks to go to, and gas to pay for. Don’t even forget the gifts for birthdays, holidays, and no reason at all. Relationships are an investment!
When you have an anime you love, don’t you find yourself buying the DVDs? Even if you can watch the anime as it is airing, wouldn’t you prefer to just buy the Blu-ray Discs to see the uncensored scenes? Fans also buy anime merchandise like figures, dolls, games, posters, and clothes. When something new comes out, you buy it. If you happen to be lucky enough to be near an Animax Café, you might be compelled to drop in every time they have a new theme. If you love cosplay, don’t you invest your time and funds into finding the best materials to craft your costume, or buy a costume online? You cannot forget about anime conventions! Anime conventions require a lot of time, planning, money, and energy.
Upon closer inspection, perhaps anime fans invest more in their anime obsession than people do in their relationships. From merchandise to events, it is clear that we do invest a lot for our love of anime. Isn’t it similar to when you are dating? How much do you invest into your anime relationship? How does that compare to when you are dating someone?
4. Don’t Forget to Show Off
After all that you have invested in your relationships, sometimes you just want to show off that you’re in a relationship, right? Do your aunts ask about your relationship status? Show them your partner! You can show off your relationship at places like Disneyland while wearing matching Mickey Mouse ears. Do you remember hating couples when you were single? Well, when you’re in a relationship, you can be that couple everyone hates!
When you are in a relationship with anime, you will show off in your own way. Sure, you can be that person who takes your waifu or husbando on a date. There are even apps and games that make it easy for you to take your virtual partner on a date in the real world, but that may not be for everyone. Many otaku show off their anime love by accessorizing their handbags with anime pins, stickers, and decals. There is such a wide array of items available online and in stores these days, especially when you’re lucky enough to live in a Japanese city like Tokyo, as it is extremely easy to find the anime accessory for you.
Now, if you do not like accessories, there are other options. Others will opt to show off their anime love by wearing anime clothes or accessories. You can purchase them online, in stores, or make them yourself. It doesn’t even have to be an outrageous costume that will have you stick out amongst the crowd. How easy is it to dress like Sora while you’re walking around? Pretty easy. You will have an easy time blending in, but to the right people, it will send the right message: that you are an anime otaku.
Sure you cannot walk hand in hand with your anime love, however with the right anime merchandise, you can still show it off and be proud of your anime relationship!
5. Sometimes You Care Too Much
Have you ever been in a relationship where you may be a bit too sensitive to how other people may perceive you and your partner? You can be quick to defend without even realizing the ramifications of your actions or the jest behind a person’s remark. Sometimes, your partner is not even offended, yet you will be the one to take on the offense in their stead.
Yeah, that does happen, and you can bet it happens in the anime community as well. There are people who are quick to defend anime to people who aren’t fans, unable to fathom the idea that there are people in this world who don’t share the same views as you do. If you have a favorite genre or series, you may be extremely quick to defend the series or push it on someone who may not even have the same tastes as you. While yes, I realize that anime do not actually have feelings so they cannot care if you enjoy them or not. Fans are pretty quick to take offense if someone doesn’t like a particular anime, which is especially true for mainstream series.
Sometimes, you care about anime too much because that’s just how you show your love. You love this series too much for someone to go around talking about how they dislike it. Isn’t it similar to when you’re dating and someone makes some sort of remark about your partner because they cannot undertand what you see in them? Do you still think that watching anime is nothing like dating?
Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
When you’re in a relationship, there are a few key factors that come with any relationships. Dating has quite a few traits that just seem to come with it, but do they really only apply to dating? Whether you’re just an anime fan or you have a waifu or husbando, watching anime can be similar to dating.
Have you ever compared any of your hobbies to a relationship? What qualities do you think apply? Are you in an anime relationship?