There was a long time after I first starting watching anime (and fansubs) where I’d pretty much rewatch almost every title I saw, unless I totally disliked it the first time round. Then again, even some of the most generic fanservice anime had some rewatch value. This activity kinda fell off over the timescale of months after I started watching series as they aired, and these days its a rarity for me to bother watching something a second time. I think it has something to do with the fact that, almost inevitably, when I started watching anime as they aired, I was spending more time discussing the latest anime on forums and whatnot, which is probably time I would have spent rewatching anime in the old days. That, and going onto a faster internet connection probably killed off the need to resort to watching stuff I’d already seen to keep myself entertained. These days, I really don’t need to rewatch most things, since being active in the online discussion about anime usually fills in the holes I might have missed first time round (and anyway, I’m generally of the philosophy that, in most cases, because I take the effort to pay attention while watching anime, if I’ve missed something, it’s probably due to poor storytelling than anything I could be responsible for.)
But there are a few series that I really regret not rewatching. Bokura ga Ita and Mushishi immediately come to mind. A friend of mine is very low level weeaboo, but has a penchant for things like Mushishi and Bartender and is completely smitten over live action Nodame Cantabile (but, for some reason, he can’t bring himself to watch the anime). We were showing a mutual acquaintance a few random scenes from random episodes of Mushishi under the guise of “this is what anime is like when it’s awesome”, but with each new click on the MPC playbar, I kept finding myself saying “I don’t remember this scene” or “which episode was this one again”. Under any other circumstance, it wouldn’t terribly surprise me that I don’t have a crystal clear memory of an anime I saw almost two and a half years ago, but this is Mushishi we’re talking about, which is almost universally described with one of the greatest appraisals an anime critic can afford to an anime: “memorable”. The other series that I really want to rewatch is Monster, since I daresay it’s probably the third best anime I’ve ever seen (and as close as I’ve ever come to awarding an anime an “As Good As It Gets” rating in a review).
I also have trouble finding time to watch series from prior seasons. I still haven’t watched Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann. And there’s also a crapton of other series that I’m sure I should have watched, but haven’t. I guess it’s worth posing this spiel in terms of question/answer. If the question were “does watching anime as they air constrict the amount of time one can use to rewatch other series or watch series from previous seasons”, then the answer would be “in my experience, yes.” So, what does one do? One makes time. When I first watched the 74 episodes of Monster, it was an intimidating task (especially since I did it during the Honours year of my undergrad), so I basically watched an episode per day. I plan on repeating that task, and have started doing so yesterday. When I finish I might take the opportunity to post a re-review on this blog. It’s only been one episode, but it’s already struck me how different Monster is from the standard show that’s airing these days, which is quite incredibly considering the anime is only 3-4 years old. Granted, this is a calibre of series that only comes along very rarely.