In my last article, I ended by telling you all that my mom starting gaining interest in watching anime. (For a refresher, here is part 1: https://www.usanimedirect.com/ruined-everything-introducing-mom-anime-part-1/) Between watching cosplay on Syfy and me writing a long story for Durarara!!, I could tell my mom was eventually pushed until she finally said: Yes. (Sounds kind of like an engagement there, but, watching anime becomes a commitment, right?)
So then, I started to plan. My birthday was coming up soon and I was having a friend come over. I suggested we hook up my friend’s laptop to the TV and watch anime. It was agreed on all sides, so I had to just “patiently” wait for my birthday to arrive.
Now here comes the part where: Don’t do what I did. Please.
My first cosplay I made was Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate. So what did I put on first? You guessed it. Steins;Gate.
Don’t do this to a person who has never seen anime before. At the time, it had been about a year since I had seen it, so I couldn’t remember exactly how the show started. I love the show, and I knew my mom would love it too; but as an introduction, no.
I remember when that first episode was over, I knew things probably didn’t go as I had hoped. I was right. It was late, mom was tired, and she didn’t care for it. She thought it was stupid and ridiculous.
She then proceeded to tell me that I had one more shot. One shot, and that was it.
I was frantic. If I didn’t think or say something quickly, I may not get this chance again.
But then mom said, with aggravation in her voice, “Do you have anything funny?”
So, I took the leap. “U-Uhhh….The funniest show I’ve seen so far is Ouran High School Host Club!”
(Again: Don’t do that.)
Luckily for me, she actually did enjoy that first episode. Over the course of a few months, we eventually finished Ouran. There were things she didn’t care for, but she still really liked it. Eventually, she had even started to ask me if we could watch an episode or two. Needless to say, I was surprised.
After Ouran, we moved onto Angel Beats; where she questioned herself: “This is just a cartoon, why am I crying over this?” From that tragic comedy, we moved on to my favorite: Durarara!! Right away mom loved it.
As we were finishing up Durarara!!, we needed to begin thinking of what to watch next. That’s when mom dropped this massive question:
“Instead of watching a bunch of shows you’ve already seen, how about we watch something you haven’t seen yet?”
I stared at her in shock.
Do you not realize how bad that could be?? I thought to myself. Needless to say I tried to warn her about doing that, but she was incredibly persistent… So I gave in.
After doing a lot of research and asking a lot of friends, I finally figured out what would be our next anime I hadn’t seen yet: Clannad.
I would like to take a sidestep and say that Clannad is a good anime to show newcomers. It takes a little while to get going, but it’s lighthearted and is safe to watch with anyone.
From there, and very rapidly, my mom became obsessed with anime. As I stated previously, she started to ask to watch it, she’s dreamt about it, she has attended two conventions, and even cosplayed Sanae Furukawa from Clannad for my anime “un-birthday party” she threw for me. Lately, she has been creating magnets and purses that she now hopes to sell at conventions.
Turns out, all of my favorite anime have become hers; which is a lot of fun and a big relief. Unlike me, however, her favorite anime she has seen so far is Death Note; and a particular fascination with the shinigami, Ryuk. She loves it so much, that I bought the entire show on DVD for her birthday this year back in March. She has gotten so obsessed that she’s seen 27 anime in two years!
In my experiences with my mom becoming a major otaku, there are a few tips I would like to list that might help someone get their friends or parents into anime (In no particular order):
- Target the person’s interests. This is probably the most important point I can make. Figure out what the person loves most and find anime that matches it. Some of the things my mom enjoys are Victorian-era furniture and clothing, Jazz music, and phychological thriller stories. Therefore, she really enjoyed Ouran, Emma: A Victorian Romance, Kids on the Slope, Death Note, and ERASED.
- Do some research and make a plan. Coming off of the first point where you have to research anime based on interest, also find out what shows are good for newcomers. Just because you love an amazing anime like Steins;Gate, doesn’t mean it’s a good start for someone new to anime. In addition, when you go to show someone anime for the first time, have another list of shows for back-up. That way if they ask for a specific genre, you might have it on your list.
- Do NOT show something new to you, or something you haven’t watched for a long time. The first part might be a given to some, but it’s still worth putting down. Also, unless you can repeat every line of the first few episodes of an anime verbatim, do NOT show the person an anime you haven’t seen for a long time. I would recommend watching the first few episodes again to be sure it’s something they might enjoy.
- Start with dubs. Now, I’m not trying to start any kind of war here; I enjoy both dubs and subs. I believe from what I and my friends have experienced, that the first anime a person should watch needs to be dubbed. If I’m not mistaken, this covers the majority of you out there if you grew up watching anime. Now, it’s not a law or anything, I suggest this because it might simply be easier for the person to follow along and get used to everything before attempting to read along with subtitles.
- Play some music. Most people really enjoy listening to music and sometimes always hearing music with words can be tiring. If you get the opportunity to play some anime soundtracks around them, do it. Not only did my mom love the music before watching anime, but the intern I worked with greatly enjoyed it too. She had never watched anime before, but became interested because of the instrumental songs. My favorite soundtracks are from Durarara!!, Noragami, Free!, and Haikyuu!!.
Pro tip: One of the best times to get someone to listen to soundtracks is if you’re on a road trip with them and they let you play music!
I hope you all enjoy reading this story of my mom’s journey into anime and that the tips can help you in the future.
Do you have any stories of introducing someone you know into anime? Or any questions you would like to ask? Let me know!
Until next time! Lates Peeps!