Picking an anime to watch from your bottomless backlog can be stressful. Heck, the choice can even be downright paralyzing with an endless supply of series always vying for your attention. You know how it is… so much anime, definitely not enough time. Yet sometimes the best answer to your next binge session is throwing out the new for the old. Why not consider revisiting some of your tried-and-true favorites? Let me sell you on why rewatching is a rewarding experience.
First reason: rewatching is comfy. While experiencing new stories can be thrilling, sometimes nothing beats the warm embrace of the familiar. Since you already know what to expect, you can sit back and relax as the series takes you on its ride. No pressure, all pleasure. This is particularly applicable to the slice of life genre where the most important ingredient is their atmosphere. Slipping into a series’ trance-like mood can be incredibly satisfying and is even more potent when you come in acquainted with the anime. If you’re looking to turn your brain off after a long day at school or work, this one reason may be all you need to make a return trip to an oldie-but-goodie.
This isn’t to say that rewatching has to be a mindless experience. The process can also act as a way to gain new insights. Not needing to focus on following the story frees your brain up to think about themes, minutiae and broad concepts. Some series are just too dang complicated to fully grasp on an initial viewing and need the breathing room afforded by familiarity to decipher. Even if you’re not someone with a taste for the complex, knowing where the story is headed lets you pick up on all the hints about the next twist that you may have missed the first time around.
You’ll also be surprised at the easter eggs you didn’t notice the first time through. For example, did you know that Jules and Vincent from Pulp Fiction make a cameo in Kill la Kill’s fourth episode? What about the time when Light from Death Note took up residence in Death Parade’s purgatory bar? Both characters even shared a voice actor! It’s the small things like these that make you appreciate the level of detail that studios put into their work.
To take this idea more broadly, rewatching allows you to focus on specific aspects of a series. Are you a sakuga fan? By not needing to focus on subtitles you can better hone in on the animation. Or maybe the series you’re watching moves at a fast pace and you missed story details the first time through, or didn’t commit them to memory thanks to information overload. Perhaps it’s the soundtrack or the voice acting that strikes your fancy. But regardless of what you value most in anime, rewatching allows you to appreciate it more closely.
The best way to return to a series is to bring some friends along for the ride. It’s a great opportunity to expose someone to that series you know they’d love and living vicariously through their raw reactions can be rewarding in its own right. Or maybe you join up with friends also making the return trip and riff with them as you watch, Mystery Science Theater 3000 style. Having viewing companions adds new flavor to the old, turning it into a social experience. After each episode they'll want to talk about what happened and you can converse with the cool confidence of someone who knows what to expect.
Don’t have local friends on hand? That’s why we have the Internet! Seeking out other fans online to groupwatch and express your love with is a great way to meet similarly passionate peers. There are tons of anime communities to join, from Twitter to subreddits to Crunchyroll’s own forums. Rewatching this way can give you the best of both worlds, allowing you to give your full attention to watching while discussing your excitement and observations in-between episodes. The perspectives of other fans can also help you discover new ways to appreciate the anime.
Lastly, rewatching can reaffirm your love for a series. It’s easy for your memory of a series to slip with time, or to forget why you once thought it to be the best thing ever. In these cases, your second viewing could feel like the first time all over again. The rush of all the memories flooding back to you is the ultimate nostalgia trip. Alternatively, you could end up realizing that a series simply hasn’t aged well or isn’t your thing anymore. Don’t let this discourage you, though; it’s a natural part of our ever-changing tastes.
So if there are any anime that have been on your mind recently, consider giving them another look. You may be surprised at how valuable the experience can be. Let us know in the comments if there are any anime you plan on rewatching!