A majority of the time I watch anime alone, but on the off chance that I don’t have led to some, um, interesting experiences. Most of these happened on a Discord server that I use to visit frequently. Nowadays I make the occasional drop in, but not as frequently as I use too. I might expand on this down the line with something more coherent, but for now I shall ramble on about something related to anime.
I can’t remember exactly how the four of us came into this agreement, but me the lord of evil Lucifer, Gintoki the New Yorker, Josuke the Australian, and I’ll refer to the last person as Chill. Our obligatory female character who wouldn’t talk agreed to watch Rainbow by Madhouse together. Before the discovery of a site called Rabbit where it’s basically a site where you can watch things in group on a single screen. Me, and the other three folks had to find the episodes of Rainbow on our own, and then all start it at the same time. I saw it on my laptop so for me to check the Discord chat I would have to quickly go into another window to read what Chill said in the text chat said, and then quickly go back to the video player to make sure I read the subtitles quickly enough. Eventually I found an easier to do both.
So during our viewing of Rainbow I, and Josuke were in the indifferent party, and we had Gintoki, and Chill who enjoyed the first episode of Rainbow. So as we continued viewing Rainbow, we became more relaxed with each other, and openly mocked some things in the series. Like in episode 2 making fun of the fact of how easy it was for the prisoners to escape from prison. Me, and Josuke also gave silly reaction when seeing this one elderly character at an orphanage. She had the face that would turn a broken mirror into dust. Gintoki then told us a bit about his background, and how he could relate to the character living in a orphanage. Something like that, can’t remember to be honest. While he’s opening up to the entire group, in the back of my mind I’m thinking “Where did this come from! I thought we were just watching anime”.
What got me, Josuke, and Gintoki the most was in a later episode of Rainbow reading the line “I’ll rape the fuck out of her”, and the three of us burst out laughing! We still quote that line whenever we bring up terrible writing in anime. Despite all this negativity surrounding her, Chill acted like the fan girl, and loved every minute of Rainbow. Yes, even the “I’ll rape the fuck out of her” line made her hate the character Ishihara (who says that line) that much more. Also during that episode, we had Naruto (his nickname) pop in one day to see what we were watching even though he had no idea what was going on. He liked the episode enough to check out the series, and it become one of his favorites. Something I still poke fun of, alongside everyone constantly bringing up a certain anime I hate.
For the first half of the anime it would basically be 50/50 in terms of what we thought. It wouldn’t be until the second half where I warmed up a little bit to it. We started not making fun of Rainbow as much for a little bit. It was strange going from poking fun of it, to taking it seriously, and then all of us, except Chill, being bored with it. Another thing we sometime did after each episode is talk about what we saw, and than babble on about random stuff. It didn’t matter how serious the anime was since the group was pretty casual with each other.
When we finally finished Rainbow, two of us didn’t like it (one of them being me), the other one thought it was alright, and finally Chill thought it was amazing. 11/10, better than water material we’re talking about here. Something this group watch provided for me is the discussion part of it. Instead of waiting for someone to eventually talk about an anime I watched either searching on a forum post, or a comment section. It was instantly there in the watchalong group, and the conversations typically ended up being more enjoyable than watching the anime themselves at times.
The watchalongs, as they were called, eventually got bigger on the Discord server, and suddenly many others wanted to join. It got messy so instead of their being one massive watchalong group there’s a couple smaller ones. I would occasionally join on some of them before everyone got busy with their personal lives. Gintoki is still busy doing New York stuff, and Josuke is finding his inner artist learning the finest painting technique to paint a mural of Australia greatest person, Crocodile Dundee. As for Chill, she’s getting some kind of degree. It would be like a few months I think before I joined in on another watchalong group because my job didn’t want to give me a day off. They love working me 8 days a week.
The next series I saw with a group was Serial Experiment Lain. In the first episode of Serial Experiment Lain, in a Rabbit group watch there was a viewer, who I’ll refer to as Naruto (he likes it a lot). Naruto had to close his eyes, and stare away from the scream because he didn’t want to see a fictional character jumping off a roof. Needless to say it trigger hims seeing that. I would have asked Naruto if he was sure if he wanted to watch the anime, but the group just continued on with it. The experience was different since everyone was talking during the damn English dub! Making it impossible to catch important details when constantly hearing “This is boring” in a chat room.
The Serial Experiment Lain watchalong wasn’t quite as fun as Rainbow, but there were a few highlights. I decided to get the series on blu-ray, and watch it at home with my bro so I knew what was going to happen before anyone else. I took joy in seeing the group’s reaction to a number of things that transpire in the series. Especially Chill shocked reaction when hearing one of the characters played with herself.
Another highlight in that watchalong would be someone who I’ll refer to as Diamond Guy who makes the comment that Lain Iwakura was ugly out of nowhere. So I blurted, or typed out the first thing that came to mind that he was checking out a little girl. I, along with some other, picked on him for that as long as we kept watching Serial Experiment Lain. The reaction, as you would expect with a group who just talked over the English dub of an anime, is that they didn’t like it, or understood it. There was a also a discussion, and the rating we would give the series afterwards. There was this one elitist wannabe who just tried too hard to trash it by having little to back himself with. Granted, I did prefer the discussion I had with my brother after watching Lain since we went pretty deep into it themes, but the discussion was fun regardless.
Another thing I saw with this same group was King of Thorn. It’s an anime movie from 2009 by studio Sunrise, and it’s about something. The story was told in a confusing manner, and what better way to experience a sloppily told story than having people talk over it. Once again, we had that one guy trying to be an elitist, and saying things aren’t making sense when he talked over dialogue explaining things he was complaining about. Like barely realizing around 20 something minutes into the movie the main character has a sister.
This viewing stands out to me all because Naruto made a brief serious remark when I said I liked a character name Katherine because she was crazy, and slapped a kid. It started with him saying “Dude, that ain’t cool”. The only response I had to that was the kid was being annoying, and that woman made him silent through that slap. It brought me great joy. However, later on in the movie when Katherine started to become more crazy I referred to her as Psycho Bitch. I jokingly kept calling her Psycho Bitch, and saying she was my favorite character in the movie for being crazy. Long story short, Naruto says “Dude, making fun of people with mental disorder ain’t cool” in a serious tone. All I could think of is “You’re taking my comment way too seriously”.
Luckily that didn’t kill the mood, and everything went back to normal. Especially me referring to Katherine as Psycho Bitch. When the movie ended everyone came to the agreement that it was a pretty mad movie, especially the clusterfuck of the climax that threw a bunch of nonsense at you. Like before, the group talked about the anime, and than simply had fun on talking about whatever came to mind. These watchalongs helped me make closer connection to these online friends I wouldn’t have otherwise. Of course it did cost me plenty of hours I could have spent sleeping, but then again I’m good enough at my job that even on a sick day I still perform better than a majority of my co-workers.
I would continue watching anime in different groups, and eventually learning more about the people who joined in. Finally receiving character development beyond one trait I recognize them for. So, where am I going with all this rambling about watching anime with other people? I really can’t say I just babbled on about random things that happened. Things at a certain point just all became a blur for me after a whilw. Maybe thinking about it in hindsight it’s anime that brought me, and other people on that Discord server together, regardless were we stand on anime.
Where did it lead me now exactly? Well, whenever possible I still chat, and check in on several people on that Discord server from time to time. Being more like a group of friends who know each other pretty well besides the fact we all like anime. My interactions in the Discord servers also led me to get invited into like over 10 Discord servers, only two of which I actually bother keeping up with. It also led me to appear in an episode of a friend’s podcast (I’m the dude with the jacket) on the Channel Gyre Media. Speaking of which, go check out his channel. He’s a pretty cool guy, with a cooler beard. He loves his My Hero Academia body pillow.
Talking, and watching anime was the introduction to meeting several of these people on Discord, and it got to a point where we can talk about anything now with each other, sometimes not even bringing up anime. It also led me to having a voice chat that went on for about 8 hours with dozens of people coming in, and leaving because of how chaotic it got. Anime, like any other form of medium, can be more than just a piece of entertainment you consume. It could be a way to make some good friends online, and offline.
Well, I guess that’s all I have to say in this series of jumble thoughts. I discarded this post three previous times because no matter what I did it didn’t come on out right to me. Felt too impersonal in a way. This post has no organization to it, but it’s more to true to how I would about talk about this with someone. I should actually end this before I go even further. So, um, keep watching anime, and talking about it. Especially that bad line of dialogue in Rainbow. Always remember that!