Negative Mood and Its Effect on Watching Anime
There are a lot of factors that effect our enjoyment in watching anime, be it internal factors like the appeal of the characters or the settings of the anime world, to external factors like the time and place in which we watch them, quality of the video and so on. One of the most important external factors is our current mental state, and how it effect our enjoyment of anime.
A human is capable of vast emotions, and since humans are such emotional creatures, it gets awkward, or perhaps even irritating when we are doing something in a contrasting mood. Attending courses while immensely ill, going on a vacation with lots of unsettled problems at home or work and so on. It will be alright if one had perfect mood when doing something, but as a person grows older, so does his responsibilities – which means being free of obligations when doing something is next to impossible. So, how do we fit anime in? Likewise, it can’t be helped that sometimes, the experience of watching our favorite anime can be a little awkward or unsettling due to one’s current mood, and learning to cope with that is essential.
Obviously, I myself tend to be okay with any types of anime whenever I’m feeling fine without stress or pressure. Since my mental state is okay, it is more open to anything. When I’m feeling depressed however, my choices of anime is a bit complicated. At times, I choose a lighter anime to soothe my mind, body and spirit: Aria, K-ON and Natsume Yuujinchou for examples, are all great anime for their thematic relaxation and gentleness. Some of them may be a bit awkward to watch due to their exaggeration of happiness, but that exaggeration is just what I need at the time.
However, there are also times of depression where I think the complete opposite. At times, I can’t relax properly, as my mind keeps wandering back to the future tasks and obligations I need to commit myself to. At such times, I embrace the darkness. Oddly fitting with my dark, depressing feelings, I finished anime like Elfen Lied, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and more recently, Hellsing Ultimate. Not limited to anime however, I never forget to impose myself on other violent media, catching up with all 300+ chapters of Berserk (the anime is less gore from what I can see), and some time later I also finished one of the most disturbing visual novel of all, Saya no Uta. Quite recently, I also finished Kara no Shoujo in a similar fashion.
What goes into my mind as I watch anime? As you can see from the above, I go for the two very different sides of extremes, it is either I went for the more lighter, yet positive and meaningful anime – extreme optimism, or to the heavier and darker anime – utmost pessimism. However, both sides are a different kind of escapism. Watching light and peaceful anime awarded me an obvious route of escape for all the problems of real life and when watching dark anime, it also counts as an escapism of sort in a way that I can regard the dark world in the anime as a reflection of my real life societal enemy, and seeing the characters fighting against such a world gave me strength.
How does this relate to our overall enjoyment of anime? I feel it is important to know how to cope with one’s negative emotion, and to choose anime that you feel most comfortable with at one’s current mental state. Everyone will have their own ways of dealing with them however. Do you still watch anime when on a negative mood? Or do you prefer waiting for a better time?