This post is going to be something a bit different from what I’ve written so far, as it’s a general reflection. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my blog and how I’d like to fill my twice a week post goal plus occasionally maybe a bit more (or should I actually bump it up to three times a week? I’ve been posting nearly three times a week as it is). I feel like committing myself to doing one series review per week is the act of a madperson, as I’m sure it’s not realistic to get through an entire series every week and be able to write about it, and I only have a finite amount of shows which I have already seen (plus for a lot of older shows my memories are so vague that I couldn’t write about them with any assurance). Perhaps reflections will become a regular part of my blog, or perhaps they will be a more occasional feature. I do have a few ideas for topics which I’m hoping to share with everyone.
The idea of spoilers is very much a hot topic. With information readily available to us these days on the internet, you can be only one click away from finding out something about a film, book, or a series which you haven’t seen yet, or you haven’t seen up to the point which has been discussed. Sometimes it’s even friends who are excited about something that you both enjoy who are a bit further ahead than you and share things that you don’t want to know. Some people can get very annoyed about finding out details, and there seems to unfortunately be some people who take joy in intentionally revealing information about something which will upset those around them.
I know that some people will go to great lengths to avoid being spoiled on details of things they’re excited about, which can definitely be a challenge when the thing they’re interested in is very popular but either not available in their area or they haven’t had a chance to check it out. For instance I know people who are trying to know basically nothing about the newest Pokemon games outside of what has been directly revealed in trailers.
I personally find this topic really hard because I’m virtually never upset by spoilers. I’ll very happily re-read mystery or thriller stories where I already know the conclusion, I’ll sometimes look at detailed reviews of a show discussing the plot and themes before watching the show, and I even watched an entire playthrough of Persona 4 prior to playing Persona 4 myself (what with the game being 70+ hours, I probably could have figured out if it was for me without seeing the whole thing if I wanted to be surprised by the plot. Also, Persona 4 is great). The only time I can think of being even faintly disappointed about knowing future details of a show I was watching was when someone gave me a detailed explanation of the end of Death Note when I was already about a third of the way through. I hadn’t asked for this, I just mentioned I was watching the show and they said ‘oh I loved the end when ____’. It wasn’t the end of the world, but knowing the details of the finale did mean that the outcome of certain events partway through the show were a foregone conclusion.
Why am I like this? I’m not entirely sure but I have done some thinking on the topic and think that one of the reasons may be that I don’t particularly care about surprises. While I wouldn’t say that I hate them (I wouldn’t for instance be mortified if friends decided to throw me a surprise party), to be surprised doesn’t generally add to my enjoyment of an experience. I’m just as happy to receive a gift from a list of suggestions, or even one which I’ve picked out myself, as one where someone has chosen it without my knowledge, even if the gift is something I really like. It’s the same with stories; a story which surprises me isn’t necessarily bad, but I can receive just as much enjoyment from a tale which is predictable or one I already know.
Another point is that in my viewing I highly value learning and laughter. As you can (and often do) learn more if you’ve watched something before, and many jokes can be funnier the second (or fifth, or twentieth) time, prior knowledge of the content is not a disadvantage, and can at times even be an advantage to my personal enjoyment. My personal priorities when it comes to anime aren’t especially reliant on being surprised by the plot.
What this means is that I don’t always have a great sense of what would spoil something for others. When it comes to reviewing anime, how much of the series is considered reasonable synopsis, and at what point is it reaching details that others would like to experience for themselves? How much can you talk about a character without revealing plot-important details? Would revealing something like themes covered in a show generally be considered to spoil the show or is it just story that people really don’t want to know about. I realise to a certain extent this is a subjective thing, but I also know that the balance for the average person probably falls on the side of preferring to know much less about things that they’re planning to watch than I would. I certainly don’t wish to intentionally ruin the experience of others with my posts, but I cannot use the idea of ‘treat others as you would wish to be treated’ to guide the information I share.
Some people fully discuss all of the content of a show when reviewing it, and of course in an episodic post I would consider the details of the series to be fair game, but I think that there’s also a place for reviews and discussions which don’t contain spoilers, despite my personal difficulties with knowing exactly what a spoiler may be.
Obviously if people are really concerned about not knowing about a particular thing they can try their best to avoid the information, but I think for many people there’s things which fall in-between really wanting to know all the possible details, and really wanting to avoid all possible details.
How much do you care about spoilers? What would spoil a show for you? Are there things which you would really hate to hear about or prefer to know in advance when watching an anime? I’d love to hear from you!