I was looking through my queue on Crunchyroll recently and noticed that there’s an awful lot of unfinished anime. I’d gone through with the intention of cleaning things up, but I was suddenly inspired to finish off all those forgotten series and blog about it in the process. But as I went about formulating a plan of attack, it became less about the fact that I’d stopped watching and more about the reasons why.
That these shows were still on my watchlist at all proves I must have liked them well enough. So how come they’d been abandoned? The most obvious answer is that I simply fell behind. It’s easily done with everything else life has to throw at you. This year alone, my daughter turned one, I moved house, got married, was involved in a car accident and had my appendix removed. Trying to find enough to time to catch up whilst also staying on top of seasonal series was tough to say the least.
A lack of time feeds into perhaps the second biggest reason why I’ve not been able to finish certain shows. That’s the sheer number of episodes that can accrue when you’re taking time out. I started watching My Hero Academia and Mob Psycho 100 back when they both started airing in 2016, but with extended breaks, I’ve now got tens of episodes of both to catch up on. And that’s just two examples, there are plenty of others. So it becomes an issue of time economics, of where best to invest my energies.
After coming back from breaks before, I’ve focussed entirely on catching up, but that’s only made me burn out rather than rejuvenate. Now I try and focus on the shows that really connect with me and home in on a few select simulcasts. With a young kid on my hands, my viewing time has dwindled, so I’m even more inclined to prioritise certain shows over others. With some series, though, I just try and hedge my bets. Most simulcasts are eventually released on DVD and/or Blu-ray here in the UK, and because we try and review all the latest releases, that means we’ll inevitably end up watching a lot of shows we missed the first time around. So rather than trying to catch up, I sometimes just wait and see.
Though those are some of the biggest reasons, they’re not the only ones. Looking through my watch list, I realised there were quite a few tearjerkers. These are series which have become infamous for their emotional punch. It doesn’t take much to get my waterworks flowing and so I really need to be in the right headspace to bear my emotions open to a series I know will almost certainly make me cry. A good example is Your Lie in April, the first half of which I reviewed for a magazine years ago (and you can read Elisabeth’s review here). I’d added the second half to my watch list with the intention of continuing the story… only I never did. Whenever selecting which show to watch, I’d bypass that series because I didn’t want to get all emotional there and then. Sometimes I need a good cry, but sometimes I don’t. Unfortunately, that meant I never did finish Your Lie in April and it’s hardly a unique case.
Lastly, there’s the issue of guilt. I’d twist myself into knots over whether I should start a new series when I’ve got so many left unfinished. Those new shows themselves become forgotten on the watch-list and so this vicious little circle rolls on. I’ve had Chihayafuru! queued for a while now with every intention of starting it. But every time, I felt I should instead be finishing off a series I was further into or catching up with simulcasts. Now if I want to watch the third season as it airs, I’ve got fifty odd episodes to get aquatinted with.
So whether it’s life getting in the way, running out of time, not wanting to cry, or from guilt, there’s a lot of reasons why my watch-list is clogged up with half finished anime and shows I’ve been meaning to start for years. Now that I understand the reasons why they’ve been left behind, perhaps I’ll even stand a better chance of working my way through them.
But that’s just me. If you’ve got a load of half-finished anime of your watch list, I’d love to know your reasons why in the comments below.