How do we watch a show?

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The most recent show I have completed is Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, and as I sat in front of my computer trying to type out a review for the series, I was struggling. Halfway through the post you may have realized I wrote a warning for spoilers. I essentially summarized the plot of the anime in place of writing analysis. Why is this? Because I really enjoyed watching Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. I was so invested in simply absorbing the show’s content that I didn’t really have anything intellectual to say.

I call this way of watching shows “The feels”, or the emotional approach. In this method, I value my feelings over my reasoning faculties. I’ve read a lot of anime reviews, and while they critique art, story, and music, another factor they tend to include is precisely “the feels”. Because even if a series is not written well, it can be redeemed if it has heart.

Now, there is also a second way I watch a show. My favorite anime, for instance, is Hunter x Hunter 2011, but though I loved the majority of the series, I was actually indifferent to the Chimera Ant arc. That is, I didn’t exactly feel strongly about the arc. However, putting on my Critic Glasses, this part was the best. The sheer length of this arc (over 50 episodes!) was forgiven, because the characters matured and struggled with difficult questions of morality. I call this second method “So deep!”, or the logical approach.

I think the majority of my analytical posts rely on the logical approach moreso than on the emotional approach, as logic is easier to put into words than feelings are. It’s difficult to explain how my heart sort of twists when The Princess’ Man OTP parted ways for a while, or to detail how tears just straight ran down my face in episode 2 of Shut Up Flower Boy Band, for reasons I will not spoil. On the other hand, logic is as simple as saying “1… 2… and therefore 3…”.

The truth is that both approaches to watching a show are valid. In fact, the best type of show will probably have genius writing and be masterful at controlling the viewer’s emotions as well.


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