Relating to anime mostly, but this also applies to any TV show where I reach the end of one particular season and then a new season is released. But this question has been all over my mind ever since this anime cour started, because there are quite a few high-profile second seasons in play, or at least, to my mind, quite a lot of the shows on AniChart, none of which I’ve picked up yet (bar AoT), a lot seem to simply say ‘the second season of Boku no Highschool’, at least more than I expect, and I’m seeing announcements for second seasons of shows I like as well, so it seems to me like there’s a lot of them at the moment. And the thing is, with second seasons, I often leave them in the dust for ages, forgetting about them, not wanting to touch them, looking for new shows instead, even for shows I like. This is why I’m not always that guy who goes ‘I need a new season now’ the second a show finishes and indeed for shows that I didn’t love, almost hope there’s nothing more because then I’ll feel under a slight, slight obligation to watch it at some point.
It’s not quite as clear-cut as it being a huge problem this season. But it’s got me thinking about it, because for most of the second seasons on offer I haven’t even seen the first season, and the one which I have, Attack On Titan, I’m already steamrolling ahead with it taking up my weekly as-airing review slot, which last cour was with Konosuba, also a second season. That’s because I was a huge fan of the first season of Attack On Titan, I want to see what happens, and the huge hype and the momentous occasion of something that has been so long in the making means that I will follow along as it comes out even as that goes against what I normally do, same with Konosuba. Shows I do follow along weekly as they come out do tend to be second+ seasons because they need a reason for why I’m following along weekly and bar hype out the gate with something of the size of Re:Zero, I won’t have one for a new show. But the amount of new second seasons I’m seeing on the release charts and my recent experience with other second seasons that I didn’t follow as they came out got me thinking about my tendency to rarely pick up second seasons after I finish bingeing the first one of an old show. If Attack On Titan season 2 existed when I first watched Attack On Titan, I probably would have waited some months before tackling it, even though I finished season 1 in some really quite record time.
The show that really got me thinking about this, and you can see exactly what I mean with this example, is Shokugeki no Souma. Even though the second season finished a couple of cours ago, so fulfilling my rule of not wanting to watch any show I’m not 100% hyped on as it airs, I only started watching the second season last night. The reason this seems so strange to me is that when I watched the full first season of Shokugeki last year, I couldn’t get enough of it. Each episode was over-the-top and ridiculous and that kept pulling me through the episodes with ease, I finished off the last episodes of the first season in record time, I definitely watched a whole bunch of the curry tournament episodes one after the other. They’re addictive. And I love the show. The second season was already airing when I finished Season 1. So why didn’t I go straight on to it? Sure, not ALL of the second season was out, so I might have had a residual fear that I’d forget to catch up each week and so better to wait. But why did it take me almost six months to start it? What’s worse is that I’m immediately falling in love with the show again. Some might say that’s good, I didn’t get burned out on it, but I had such a hard time starting the second season, I’d have watched it far sooner had I just gone straight on. A similar question can probably be asked for Psycho Pass, I finished the first season there, and though I’ve heard the second season isn’t as good as the first, I’ll still want to watch it at some point. So why is it still sitting in my plan to watch list?
I suspect part of the reason is the investment factor. These were both 2-cour series, a reasonably-sized chunk of time to sink in, especially if your watching pace is slow, like mine often is. And though their second seasons were shorter, I didn’t know this at first and now I’ve confirmed that they are shorter, I’m viewing them more accessible, an easy way to get back to some characters I really liked, so it’s easier for me now I mentally know there are less episodes. Rather than it being that I couldn’t take any more of the show and just wanted to get to an arbitrary finishing point, I just needed a break while I went on to other things.
However this is something that reaches beyond anime. I couldn’t begin to list the complete list of TV shows I’ve given up partway through, mostly at a season gap point, because I felt I finished one part of the story and never felt motivated enough to spend time watching the next one. And though this goes against my completionist feelings, that’s ultimately okay, at its heart, television and anime is entertainment and so you are under no obligation to watch if it’s not entertaining you anymore. The reason this question has come up for me is because sometimes it isn’t because it’s not entertaining me, I’m still perfectly enjoying the show, but I still leave it for months and it becomes a show I just never finish. I didn’t want that to happen with Shokugeki, so I finally swung back, but it’s rare that I’ll do so at all.
And with the amount of second seasons coming out, if I do say, pick up Boku No Hero Academia, to take a high profile example currently airing, who’s to say I won’t just go through the first season, find a convenient place to stop, and never pick up the second season, even if I am enjoying it, I might just want to look at other things. Perhaps I prefer short, cleanly accessible shows that pack a lot into a short running time. I mean I do rate Angel Beats and Charlotte far higher than a lot of people do, I immensely enjoyed both of them even though they did pack a lot into a short space of time. But at the same time, I would also not be opposed to spending more time with those characters.
I don’t really have a conclusive answer for myself right now, but this is something I probably haven’t said the last word on and I’ll come back to it when I have another point to add. In the meantime, I don’t normally cry out for discussion because that’s not really my style (although I always welcome any comments on my stuff I’m unlikely to specifically ask for them) but this time I am quite interested, if you think there a reason why it’s sometimes so hard to pick up later seasons of a show then do share your thoughts.