Sunday, October 16, 2011

Introducing Anime to Non-anime Fans

As with any hobby, there is nothing like sharing your interests with other like-minded individuals. Anime, being a sort of hobby in itself, is no different. However, too many people go about introducing anime to their friends and family the wrong way.

Too many people force anime down their non-anime friend’s throats, which makes me wonder if sharing is really a good thing. Usually, by the time they’re finished, they have done more harm than good. I’m not saying this happens often, but it is a pretty big possibility. I’m fairly certain no one wants to make their best pal hate anime… unless you’re that kind of guy…

This is not a guide on how to get your friends to like anime, so if they’ve already refused you, you’re out of luck. On the other hand, if they have expressed interest in anime or if they’ve never even heard of it, this is the best way to start. These also work for other hobbies, but I’m focusing on anime.

  • Start Gradually: Being too eager and overdoing it is the easiest way to scare someone from any hobby. Try not to spaz out until later. To start out, give them a choice of one or two things, and let them finish those at their own pace. I recommend picking a short series --no more than 12 episodes-- if you can help it. They will let you know when they want to more on to bigger fish. If they respond well, give them a slightly longer series. Don’t show them FLCL (6 eps.), then try and sit them down and make them watch all of Detective Conan (600+).
  • Dubs, then subs: This is technically part of “starting gradually”, but I thought it deserved it’s own little spot. When introducing someone to anime, I think it’s better to show them stuff in their native language before bringing out the hardcore subbed stuff. This might not be true for everyone, but usually dubs are the first exposure to anime you’ll get. I think it’s easier to hear something in your native language first, then branch off. This gives the person time to acclimate to anime (the style, differences from what they are used to, etc.). This is how I got my friend into watching subs. She still enjoys watching dubs over subs, but she’s gotten a few subbed series under her belt.
  • Find the genres they like: Ask them what kind of things they like reading or watching, and find similar anime. If it is something they already like, they will probably take to it better than something completely out of their comfort zone. If they enjoy horror movies, find them horror anime. If they like girly romantic stories, find them a suitable shoujo! You get the idea. DO NOT just pick your favorite anime and give it to them unless you have the EXACT same taste.
  • No means no: If they don’t respond well, just let it go. It might be disappointing, but it’s not as disappointing as making them hate anime (or you) forever. There is no guaranteed way to get your friends and family into anime! Like the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” You can’t force anyone to do (or like) anything and the same goes for anime.