When I interact with entertainment, I typically want as little friction between the work and me as possible. If it’s easier to stream anime somewhere than putting in a disc or fumbling with a VCR, I’ll go that route, unless that fumbling is part of the experience. When we know what we prefer, we can prioritize the experiences that best suit us, even if that means downsizing things we do like, just in suboptimal mediums.
I’m downsizing my anime tapes and some videogames.
Anime tapes once represented a highmark in entertainment as a sort of time capsule of the late 80s and early 90s. There are many experiences with movies and surrounding the movie-watching experience that I still enjoy recalling. I know now, however, that owning too many of these objects lessens their impact.
Besides, the last time I watched any of these was years ago.
For the tapes I own partially, such as a part three but not one or two, if it’s easier to stream the entire series, what’s the point of owning an incomplete copy? Out of compulsory debt toward that show? I think I’ve hoarded all these objects because I couldn’t be completely honest with myself. If I wanted to interact with these time capsules, it’d probably only be a handful, and they’d probably be my top favorites, rather than just a bunch of mediocre to good tapes.
At my collecting height, I did want diverse viewing experiences.
I also did occasionally view the tapes, but now, I find no reason to watch tapes except on special occasions. My anime watching tends to be twofold, where in the morning, while drinking coffee, I’ll watch something light with minimal thought or craziness, and in the evening or on my days off, I’ll watch the livelier shows, if I’m not playing a videogame, and that’s only after I’ve decently caught up on my publishing and errands.
I’m overthinking this topic for one main reason.
If I consider the time I spend per day interacting with entertainment, and find I prefer watching videos or playing videogames without much difficulty, then shouldn’t I remove those needless difficulties? I’ve donated all of my boardgames I never played, all but my most aesthetically pleasing records, and am mercilessly downsizing any CD I wouldn’t constantly spin in the car.
What true value do all these anime tapes have for me?
I can keep a handful until I’ve gone through all the other tapes, backing up all the home videos, and closing the books on everything else. Into the donation box went a handful of tapes I’ll never watch, even on that special day where I’d dedicate the time to recreating those early anime viewing experience, which if we’re honest here – if I could have streamed them like I did today, I would have done so. With that honesty, I now understand that recreating past memories isn’t about the anime, tapes, or recreative materials.
It’s about pretending to live twenty years younger and naïver.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I’ve been slowly downsizing everything in the apartment-mansion, in a way. I think of it as steady steps rather than sprints and falls. This essay was a bit of a breakthrough for me because it helped me realize that while I do like the idea of having VHS tapes, I don’t really care for that experience much anymore. It holds a special place in my past, sure, but that shouldn’t affect my future the way it has for years…|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photos: I thought about using the photos below, from a recent arcade visit where I played Asteroids on a cocktail table arcade unit which was a fully enriching experience compared to playing on a computer, but that sort of jarring mismatching of visual and written cues might have been confusing. — Then I decided to just go for it. I’m intending to show that this essay isn’t just about VHS tapes. It’s an analogy for anything, really, VHS tapes are just the example used here.|
|Written On: July 11th [24 minutes, mobile]|
|Last Edited: July 12nd [Minor edits when publishing to WordPress, otherwise; first draft; final draft for the Internet.]|