Anime has become so popular that an entire subculture has grown up around it. This can be frightening to non-fans, especially those who assume that anime is for children and adult geeks who never make it out of the house. Common misconceptions have probably prevented some of your friends from even considering anime. Is there a way you can change that?
We recommend introducing anime to your friends in a safe and neutral sort of way. In other words, don't go all fanboy on them or you may scare them away before you even get started. Instead, go slowly. Be gentle. Let them warm up to anime little by little. If you let your friends get into the anime pool at their own pace, more of them are likely to go all-in at some point.
Buy an Anime T-Shirt
Our first tip for introducing a friend to Japanese animation is to buy them an anime T-shirt. Now, before you assume this is just a marketing ploy, there is a very valid reason for doing so. An anime T-shirt is a non-threatening way to propose the idea to your friend. It is a lot safer to your friend than sitting down in front of the TV to watch something that is completely foreign.
A T-shirt is a way to open the conversation. And if it is a Umai T-shirt, you can open the conversation by discussing original anime artwork. You can explain how anime is not limited just to streaming services. It reaches across all segments of society.
Learn Your Friend's Interests
As an anime veteran, you know that there are literally hundreds of series to choose from. They collectively cover all sorts of interests from fantasy to sports and politics. You would be wise to learn your friend's interests before you choose a first series to watch.
We also recommend not going too intense too quickly. Regardless of your friend's interests, pick a series that will allow them to ease into it. Remember that some anime series can be quite shocking. They are the types of series you want to avoid with a newbie.
Start with a Short Series
We also think that very first series should be a short series with an easy-to-follow story. If the first series is too complicated or drags on for too long, you might lose your friend's interest after seven or eight episodes. Sticking with something short and sweet is like offering a snack rather than a full meal. How your friend responds to anime snacking will help you better understand where to go after the first series.
Be the Anime Guide
Finally, we recommend being an anime guide of sorts. When your friend sits down to watch that first series, do not let them watch it alone. You watch it too. Furthermore, be available to answer questions and offer explanations. Your friend is likely going to want to talk about it. As an anime guide, your goal is to steer the discussions in a positive direction.
Those of us that love anime know just how big the anime world is. We know it is a world that can seem intimidating to people who have either no experience with it or have walked away after having a single bad experience. However, it does not have to be intimidating.
You can introduce your friends to anime in a way that is chill and non-threatening. Just take your time and go slowly. Meet them where they are with a series that appeals to their personalities. That is the best way to go.