After posting my last Watched with my Wife article, I realized that I had the kernel of a guide to introducing anime to your significant other hidden within it. I decided to extract that portion and expand upon it. This is in no way meant to be a treatise on the correct way to seduce your partner into becoming an otaku... Rather, consider this advice on how to (hopefully) get your significant other interested in watching anime with you.
So you’ve decided to try and watch anime with your significant other. The first step is to try and pick an appropriate show. Here are some tips:
- Lower the barrier to entry: Try not to pick a high-concept or exceptionally weird anime. There are going to be plenty of things that your partner can find strange: art style, cultural differences, tropes, etc. Don’t make the concept of the show a stumbling block as well. I would also recommend picking a show with a dub if your significant other doesn’t like reading subtitles.
- Know their tastes, and try to match them: My wife likes romance shows and cute animals. Fruits Basket has both, so that’s the first anime we watched together. It’s probably best to pre-screen a few episodes of the show if you are unfamiliar with it in order to make sure the show is what it claims to be. You won’t always have to pre-screen, but for your first attempt it’s probably a good idea. Also, I can’t stress this enough… make sure the show appeals to their tastes, and not just your own. You probably have a favorite show you want to share with them, but if this is their first exposure to anime… try to make it something special for them, and not just yourself reliving something that was special to you.
You’ve done your research and have a show picked out, queued up, and are ready to go. Try to make sure the first exposure to the show is a good one. Here are some tips:
- Be ready to explain: Anime has a lot of tropes and visual conventions that will be foreign to someone unversed in the genre. If your significant other has questions, take the time to stop and discuss them (if they want to). Additionally, you could benefit from explaining what the two of you are going to watch before starting. You can discuss why you like anime, why you think they will enjoy this particular show, and possibly address some of the stranger things they’ll see before beginning.
- Don’t force it! I can’t stress this enough: Watching anime together should be fun and enjoyable for both of you. Don’t push anime on your significant other if they are unwilling to try it out or not in the mood for it at the moment. I asked whether or not my wife would like to watch Fruits Basket before we tried the show. My wife and I would watch an episode or two of Fruits Basket and then return to American television. We still switch between anime and American programming when watching television together to ensure we are both getting what we want out of our shared leisure time.
Congratulations! You’ve made it through your first arc or series and want to keep the momentum going. Try to continue the good vibes you got from your first anime. Here are some tips:
- Still don’t force it! If your significant other has finished a series with you, don’t immediately push another one on them unless they ask for that. You’re likely excited to share more with them, but if they were reluctant to begin with… don’t exhaust their good graces.
- Find your rhythm: My wife still doesn’t like reading subtitles… and now we are watching shows with subtitles. Knowing this, I mete out our anime viewing. Like I stated before, my wife and I always intersperse American programming between watching anime. It’s what works for us, although your experience may be different. Try and find the optimum amount of anime for your partner, and try not to push them past that limit.
- Let them stop when they want to. This goes for series as well as the entire genre of anime altogether (although I haven’t run into that yet). If we are watching something together that doesn’t work for us, I don’t try and push through in the hopes that it grows on us or that the show suddenly gets better. You’ll notice we have a hair trigger on cutting a series off, which we do early and often. I know most people give their shows ‘the rule of 3’, but you might not want to force that rule on someone who isn’t as dedicated to anime as you are. There are plenty of shows out there to try, so there’s no reason to stick with something that isn’t working… even if it’s one of your favorites. Besides, you can always watch it on your own.
I hope these tips help you to share your anime passion with the one you love. I can’t guarantee results, or even that my tips will work for you… but it’s what has worked in my own experience. You can’t go wrong as long as you are respectful and understanding as you try and mold your significant other into an otaku like yourself. Best of luck out there!
If you are interested in how watching anime with my wife has gone, you can read our articles on Kamisama Kiss, Chaika the Coffin Princess, Humanity Has Declined, Diabolik Lovers, Inari Kon Kon, and Fruits Basket.