View Full Version : Is it bad to watch anime in the dark?

2008-02-16, 19:13
Not sure if this is the right forum ask in.

But is it really bad to watch anime in the dark? Many anime seems to have warnings not to do so. What do you guys think?

2008-02-16, 19:26
If you put this question into Google you'll find many sites like Yahoo! Questions and Wiki Answers, and it seems like most of the respondants are split. According to this site (http://www.parkhurstexchange.com/qa/A.php?q=/qa/Ophthalmology/1999-08-02.qa), it isn't harmful. Some people claim that it gives them headaches, though, which is likely why the warnings exist.

2008-02-16, 20:17
See I find the opposite, I'm less likely to get a headache when I watch anime in the dark vs with the light on. Also I find watching with the lights off to be less distracting.

2008-02-17, 13:12
Yeah, I also looked online. Most people do seem to be split on the issue.

Sometimes it seems like I am getting a headache when I watch in the dark. Sometimes I don't. However, it also may have the same problem when room is lit. Hard to decide which way is right.

2008-02-17, 13:34
I've been watching in the dark for years without trouble, but recently It's been straining my eyes a bit and making me somewhat dizzy (Sometimes to the point where it looks like the whole screen area is on the wobble). I find it much better to watch with a small (shaded) lamp on. My eyesight is still fine though.

2008-02-17, 17:38
I can't imagine it's any worse than watching a movie or television in the dark. Just don't press your face up against the screen (sit back a few feet), and you should be fine. If worse comes to worst, buy yourself an S-Video card and a cable, and hook your PC up to your TV to watch.

2008-02-19, 09:29
I guess the concern is to strain your eyes. Though most of this comes from the age of flickering CRT monitors and probably can't be directly applied to TFT monitors that give off a continuous light.
I guess it's probably more important to take break once in a while and not stare into the monitor for hours. But in most cases your eyes will tell you when they need a break.

The warnings at the beginning of animes server another purpose, though. I tried to find any source on this but I couldn't find any making a direct link. But I heard that those warnings where introduced after some incidents where certain scenes induced an epileptic seizure. Most notably the case from 1997 where reportedly hundred of children got an epileptic seizure from a Pokemon episode. The chance you get one is much higher if you sit in a dark room close to the screen than in a well lit room from a distance away. That's why the producers introduced those messages but that doesn't apply to all of us.

2008-02-19, 11:20
Yeah, the notice is due to the Pokemon incident.


About 20 minutes into the episode, there was a scene in which Pikachu stops some rockets with its Thunderbolt attack, resulting in a huge explosion that flashed red and blue lights. Although there were similar parts in the episode with red and blue flashes, an anime technique called "paki paki", this scene was extremely intense, for these flashes were extremely bright strobe lights, with blinks at a rate of about 12 Hz for approximately 4 seconds in almost fullscreen, and then for 2 seconds outright fullscreen. At this point, viewers started to complain of blurred vision, headaches, dizziness and nausea. A few people even had seizures, blindness, convulsions and lost consciousness. Japan's Fire Defense Agency reported that a total of 685 viewers (310 boys, 375 girls) were taken to hospitals by ambulances. Although many victims recovered during the ambulance trip, more than 150 of them were admitted to hospitals. Two people remained hospitalized for over 3 weeks. Some other people had seizures when parts of the scene were rebroadcast during news reports on the seizures. Most of them were not diagnosed with photosensitive epilepsy. Later studies showed that 5-10.4% of Pokémon viewers had mild symptoms that did not need hospital treatment. 120,000 children reported mild symptoms of illness, however their symptoms more closely resembled mass hysteria than a grand mal seizure.A study following 103 patients over three years after the event found that most of them had no further seizures.


Many Japanese television broadcasters and medical officials got together to find ways to make sure this never happened again. They established a series of guidelines for future animated programs, including:

* Flashing images, especially those with red, should not flicker faster than three times per second. If the image does not have red, it still should not flicker faster than five times per second.
* Flashing images should not be displayed for a total duration of more than two seconds.
* Stripes, whirls and concentric circles should not take up a large part of a TV screen.

Japanese broadcasters also began broadcasting an on-screen advisory at the beginning of animated programs. Some example warnings:

"When watching TV, please brighten the room and sit at a distance from the TV."
(as seen on TV Asahi broadcasts of Ichigo 100% and Steel Angel Kurumi, Steam Detectives, also during the first opening of Kamen Rider Kabuto pilot.)
"When you're watching anime on the TV, please brighten the room and don't sit too close."
(as seen on TV Tokyo's anime broadcasts from then on.)
「犬夜叉からのお願い…テレビアニメを見るときは部屋を明るくして画面からはなれてくださいね 」
"A request from Inuyasha... When you're watching anime on the TV, please brighten the room and sit away from the screen."
(as seen on Nippon Television broadcasts of InuYasha)

So basically, it is safe now that the studios pay attention to the problem.

Vegard Aune
2008-03-05, 15:54
Yeah, the notice is due to the Pokemon incident.


So basically, it is safe now that the studios pay attention to the problem.
I always wondered why they did that... It makes a bit more sense now, but it still seems kinda stupid to have that message in every single show on TV. Ah, well, it's not like it ruins the mood or anything, and at least it's not as stupid as the "Sit as far away from the TV as the cables permit you to, and play in a bright room on a small TV"-message I saw in the manual for the GAMEBOY ADVANCE.

And I can only assume that watching anime in the dark could be bad for your eyes in the long run.

2008-03-05, 16:07
I don't think that you'll get any permanent damage if you watch anime in the dark. I personally like to watch anime with my lights dimmed low. That way the light isn't distracting and I can still comfortably watch.

I've also heard that the reason why you get headaches when watching something in the dark is because your eye has to keep dilating so that it can adjust between the brightness of the screen and the darkness of the room. This eventually causes eye strain and headaches.

2008-03-06, 06:00
I think it's depend on you and the monitor you use. I think it's quite OK (once again, i think) if you watch in the dark with LCD monitor/projector, since light doesn't hit your eyes directly. It's dark in theatre isn't it? So i think it's OK.

I watch in dark too... with my PC's LCD monitor...

2008-03-18, 16:13
I`ve been told that is bad for your eyesight to watch tv/comp/whatever with lights off. especially if you are short sighted. this refers to everything, not just anime

2008-03-18, 22:00
I haven't encountered any problems with watching anime in the dark. Any times I get headaches or feel eyestrain, thats probably just because I've been watching late at night anyways.

although watching anime such as higurashi or elfen lied in the dark does add dramatically to the horror effect, so that could be negative if that stuff freaks you out.

oompa loompa
2008-03-18, 23:35
hmmm.. its perhaps not the best idea to watch anything in the dark, but the damage that it causes is really exaggerated. having said that, i dont see the harm in watching it with the lights on, unless, like the post above you want to add dramatic effect, or you really have no choice in the matter.

2008-03-19, 15:31
I never get any headaches from watching anime in the dark, I always watch Higurashi in the dark, I enjoy it. I'v never heard of getting headaches from watching anime in the dark. ^^;

2008-03-19, 22:05
probably it is much easier to have a seizure in the dark because of the greater light contrasts.

however sitting close to a tube TV will damage your eyes.

2008-03-20, 09:18
I read something in yahoo headlines that there's no scientific proof that your eyes degrade if you watch in the dark or very close to the tv all the time. So they consider it a myth.

aka Providence
2008-03-20, 09:50
mm, from personal experience i don't think watching in the dark is harmful, and i'm the only one in my family that doesn't wear glasses, yet i can even read pretty well in badly lit rooms.