How to fake your way through conversations about anime!

Wow fam desu

[Honestly I hate everyone else’s opinions on anime here. With Blondbass’ help, I can have better conversations without having to actually watch Gundam! ~Strider]

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve made the mistakes of making a few friends who are way too much into Japanese animation, or you’ve joined a community that’s just way too much into Japanese animated dreck. You want a way to not feel left during conversations, without having to watch any of it. Well, today’s your lucky day, pal. I’ve cooked up a guide in multiple tier levels that will allow you to participate in any anime conversation!

Basic Bitch strategy: Honesty

You can stick around the group and listen absent-mindedly. When you’re asked a question about a show they’re discussing, you can just tell them that you don’t really have a lot of interest in anime in general. This doesn’t solve the problem at all, of course, and you’ll feel increasingly out of place in the group. A temporary solution is to talk about western shows, books or games that the conversation reminds you of, but you need to constantly think of new parallels if you don’t want to sound like a broken record.

Honestly, screw honesty.

Easy strategy: Feign interest

For this strategy, you’ll have to decide your fake anime tastes. You can pretend to be more of a fan of action, slice of life (shows about nothing), tragedy, mecha, etc. This basically gives you a reason to avoid talking about shows you know nothing about with a simple statement like “this doesn’t sound like the kind of show I’d be into… but keep going. Who knows, maybe I’ll check it out” when it’s outside of that genre.

When people are talking about a genre that you decided your character would be interested in, that’s when this strategy gets tricky. Basically, this means it’s time to listen to what they’re talking about. Until you really get a grasp of what the show is like, you can use blanket statements like “Yeah, I heard about that one, I was wondering if it as any good” or “Didn’t get around to it yet, but it could be something I’d be into.” You are still free to dismiss a show that sounds like something your character wouldn’t enjoy, just make sure to remember to be consistent with time. If you’re in two subsequent conversations about a show and you say it seems like shit once and that you’re interested another, the gig is up!

If the series does pass the early taste test, then you can start questioning them to show your interest in the show. What is the main character like, what’s the villain’s objective, how’s the animation and art style, how’s the soundtrack, any fine girls in there? It’s a good way to keep the conversation flowing without providing anything yourself, and if your conversation partners are excited then they’ll be all too happy to give you answers to your questions.

To be better prepared, you should check out the summary of at least one show from the genre you picked so that you have a point of comparison and something to talk about when you’re asked about your favorite show. Replying “Boku no Pico” is a get out of jail free card, but it works only once.

Medium strategy: Read CliffNotes summaries

This is the stuff when it comes to efficiency. You should know that television seasons are Winter, from January to March, Spring, from April to June, Summer, from July to September, and Autumn from October to December. What you want to do is check out summaries of shows that could have interested your fictional character, and either are timeless classics or ended in the previous season. Your objective here is to be able to memorize essential snippets of information for each show you look up, like so:

[Warning, light spoilers for two shows]

Example 1: Evangelion

  • Main concept: It’s a show about disturbed children who fight huge monsters called Angels while riding humanoid robots.
  • Important names: Shinji, Makoto, Rei, Asuka, Dad, Nerv.
  • Genre: Mecha, Psychological.
  • How to blend in: “Get in the damn robot, Shinji!,” “Shinji’s such a wimp,” “I hate Shinji,” “Worst protagonist ever,” “I hate you dad,” “What the fuck was that ending,” “I’m so fucked up,” “More like Evangelion 3.0+1.0 you can (not) release,” “Yeah that show’s fucking deep,” “Misato’s best girl.”
  • (To push my luck, I can say “the low budget made the series better.”)

Example 2: Your Name

  • Main concept: It’s about a guy and a girl that don’t know each other who swap bodies when they go to sleep, and try their best not to fuck their respective lives up. They eventually grow feelings for each other, the phenomenon stops, and then they try to find each other.
  • Important names: Taki, Mitsuha, Tiki, Tokyo, Nowhereville. The rest’s a bunch of Japanese shit I can’t be bothered to remember.
  • Genre: Romance, Drama.
  • How to blend in: “The animation was sooo pretty,” “I can see why it’s so popular,” “Miki’s cute, Tiki should have hooked up with her,” “I cried, not gonna lie” [heh], “Do you think they banged during the credits.” “I wish this would happen to me tbh,” “Are Makoto Shinkai’s other movies this good?”

With this, you’ll be perfectly armed to deal with any topic without staying up to date with everything that comes out or watching any series at all. At least, as long as you gather data about enough different shows.

As for what anime are considered classics, the answer will depend on the person. A good idea would be to approach someone in your group in private and ask them for must-sees in every genre. You can give yourself a bullshit reason like “just starting out anime and not knowing what to watch first.” Looking up those shows’ summaries should be your #1 priority when you’ll get online later.

Hard strategy: Actually watch a couple anime

I know this seems counter-productive. Hear me out. You can still listen to the shows ironically. So long as you watch a series with your smuggest expression, it doesn’t count. And watching some anime not only allows you to have concrete knowledge when talking about them in particular, but also give you some reference points for all the others in their genres.

Here are a couple tricks to get you started:

  • A lot of people pirate their shows but the creators don’t see any profit that way, so be the better person and watch them on a streaming service like Netflix. Having anime show up in your recommendations on those services will help you keep your fake anime fan appearance too!
  • Try to watch anime with someone else as much as possible. This lets the person with you validate your status as an anime watcher, and you can react out loud with them to make time go faster. Just make sure your comments align with the opinion of people watching with you!

This strategy can be pushed as far as you want it to go! Trust me, there’s no better way to fake anime conversations than being knowledgeable about every single series out there.

Hardcore strategy: Research

Bro, we all know anime’s boring. But what isn’t boring, however, is reading opinion pieces on the internet. For this strategy, you should spend 30 minutes to an hour researching the public opinion for every twenty-something minute episode, to make sure you’re able to follow the herd’s opinion but not too much. Some good places are MyAnimeList reviews, and comment sections on YouTube for videos related to the series.

This advanced strategy allows you to skip having to watch anime at all, and you’ll be able to impress your conversational groups with your broad but entirely fictional expertise!

Congratulations, you who followed this guide at any tier level! You’re now able to blend in with the best! Don’t worry, they’re probably doing this too. Who has time for watching TV or movies these days anyway?