Knowing the Manga Source Material When Watching a Simulcast: Blessing or Curse?

If you’ve been following my weekly write-ups for the third season of Attack on Titan, you’ve likely noticed that I’ve commented that it can be hard to write these up because I know what’s coming and don’t want to inadvertently provide spoilers to anime viewers who haven’t read past this point in the manga.

For a regular viewer, having the foreknowledge of events to come isn’t bad at all, because it helps to provide the context for what they’re seeing on the screen. But for anibloggers who write about the episodes after they air every week, this becomes problematic. While it’s nice to have the context, I also have to be very careful not to accidentally let something slip. It’s a fine line sometimes, and it’s one I’m always having to tread carefully.

Of course, the problem is compounded by the fact that Attack on Titan is such a popular title, so there’s the potential for more eyeballs to read what I have to say. Obviously, anibloggers want to avoid potentially providing spoilers, no matter what the series, but it’s extremely crucial when it comes to a popular title such as Attack on Titan.

Unfortunately, having the foreknowledge that I do has an effect on my weekly write-ups. They’re going to have a different feel from someone who only knows the anime at this point, because I can’t convey any true surprise at any major revelation… because I already knew it was coming. In some respects, with the third season of Attack on Titan, I do miss being able to be shocked and surprised by what I’m seeing, because those reactions add flavor to the weekly write-ups.

This is the first time I’ve truly had this kind of experience when watching and writing about a weekly simulcast. It’s definitely made covering this season of Attack on Titan a bit awkward, but I feel confident I’ll be able to do OK in the long run.

Have any of my fellow anibloggers run into this kind of situation before? If you have, what did you think and how did you cope?

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  1. Karandi · August 19, 2018

    The only anime I’ve watched where I’ve read the source prior was Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody and it was an interesting experience. That said, I ended up fairly disappointed with the adaptation in general because while it faithfully followed events in the book, it made them as dull as possible in anime form. It did also mean that I was watching events from the perspective of knowing what they were leading to which does change how you view things and what you look for.
    Next season I’m likely to experience this again providing I have access to Goblin Slayer. Knowing what happens in the books will definitely change my viewing experience compared to going in cold. That said, I’m hoping to still enjoy it.

  2. In Asian Spaces · October 2, 2018

    I think it’s a bit hard sometimes as you’ve mentioned. For instance, I was really into (and still am) Aku no Hana (The Flowers of Evil) so I read the manga in english when it was ongoing, brought the manga in Japanese and then knew what would happen in the rotoscoped anime and because of that knowledge, was disappointed. I’ve spoiled myself with SnK and TG:Re but I usually don’t actually “read” the manga until after the anime series ends to see what was different. (like Boku dake ga inai machi/erased).

    People like you are very valuable because as you already mentioned, you can add context to inside jokes on the show only manga readers would understand, or skipped/rushed arcs that leave show-only watchers scratching their heads.

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