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Old 2012-07-13, 01:18   Link #1
Join Date: Jun 2012
Background anime

I am working on a crafting project which requires part of my attention while doing, but also involves things that are boring such as waiting for paint and glue to dry. I've taken up watching anime series "in the background." I'm looking for decent anime that doesn't require my full attention. Here are some qualities I am looking for:

1. English dubbed preferable. I enjoy good vocal performances/directing in both languages, but obviously dubbed is easier for background because it doesn't require constant eye contact. It doesn't have to be an awesome dub (e.g. Death Note), but it can't be a dub with painful weaknesses (I'm looking at you, English Dilandau). Mediocre dubs are ok because I am not looking for The Greatest Anime of All Time.
Sub suggestions are also welcome. It worked ok with a series like World God Only Knows -- it is dubbed now, but I watched it before it was dubbed. I *somehow* managed to pull off watching Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari this way, too, though it involved several instances of backtracking when I missed some dialog. Good thing I'm a fast reader. I enjoyed those series.

2. Well-written, but not uber complicated plot. Incidentally, I started watching Baccano! (dubbed on Netflix) and was not all that interested at first -- as far as setting, it's not usually "my type." But now it's sucked me in with an unusual charm, so I did a full stop in the middle of the series and am going to re-watch it with more attention (what with the bajillion characters and all). This is not necessarily a bad thing -- I enjoy plenty of great anime with my full attention, but I still need decent stuff for incomplete attention. It can't have painful dialog or dumb plots. (I recently tried Rumbling Hearts, but I absolutely HATE plots where the characters refuse to communicate with each other -- though I give School Days the Special Exception Award because of its escalating absurdity. I also hated One Outs because I felt it was SO predictable and the dialog was boring. I watched one episode of Afro Samurai, not expecting that something with a title like that would take itself completely seriously. It did. Thumbs down.)
I'm not looking for The Greatest Anime of All Time, because I would merely be forced to rewatch it with more attention. (This doesn't have to be a BAD thing, but still...) The plot doesn't have to be deep, as long as it has a little bit of its own thing going on. (e.g. Gosick) In fact, it can be downright cheesy as long as it isn't too pretentious about it. (e.g. Junjou Romantica) That being said, I do enjoy stuff that is a little different. My favorite recently watched background anime have been the dubs of B Gata H Kei and Welcome to the NHK.

3. Any genre. In fact, the more the better, because what I'm in the mood for will vary -- though I'm a little bit less in favor of full slice-of-life and sports. I am not into sports in general but I am open to new experiences. I've enjoyed slow-moving stuff such as Usagi Drop and 5 Centimeters per Second, but they didn't really grab me. Comedy SOL like Lucky Star (which I watched with a friend, not in the background) are cute but still bore me some. I haven't seen K-On, and don't plan to. I also didn't personally dig Clannad all that much, although After Story was decent. I adore Haruhi, but I feel it really goes beyond SOL.

It's tricky, because I don't want something that bores me, yet I don't want something that interests me enough that I want to pay full attention to it. On the other hand, I don't mind re-watching good stuff too much. FWIW, my favorite NON-background animes are Haruhi, Code Geass, Princess Tutu, and Hetalia. I have also seen and highly enjoyed FMA, Madoka, FMP, Trigun, Ouran High School Host Club, Black Butler, Eden of the East, and School Rumble.

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for input
arachni42 is offline  
Old 2012-07-13, 04:12   Link #2
Join Date: Mar 2007
I definitely don't have the same mindset as you, if any fictional media - be it book, live action tv, game, or anime, fails to capture my undivided attention my interest fades rapidly. Therefore, the closest criteria I can come up personally are the anime that I don't pause when my attention is diverted, but still close to the screen.

In other words, there are anime that I'm just so immersed into that I have to pause it if something takes me out of that 'zone', and there are anime that I still enjoy equally, but I can do stuff like mess with my phone while watching without harming my overall experience. My criteria is the latter.

Also, I don't have much experience with watching dubbed, so forgive me if any of these are non/poorly dubbed:

Ranma 1/2: It's episodic, and I don't quite know what your criteria for 'well-written' is, but this is probably the most memorable casual anime that I've seen. Unless you hate one or more of the main characters with a passion, I'd try this out.

The Girl Who Leaped Through Time: I might be doing this an injustice by saying you don't have to pay full attention to this brilliant piece, but you can and still enjoy it all the same.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Since you said animes like NHK and School Rumble are good choices, I'm very certain this will fit your needs. Not sure if it's dubbed though.

Martian Successor Nadesico: I don't know your opinion on mecha/sci fi, but I this one of the classics in the genre. The story can be described as being at its core comedic and fun with serious moments thrown in between. Also, it's kind of a parody of the mecha genre, yet not a parody. You'll know what I mean if you watch this.

D.N. Angel: This eternally-on-hiatus manga's anime adaptation is a very decent watch that blends supernatural elements and romance well, yet manages to keep a shounen style theme throughout. It's nothing revolutionary but it has a solid plot and likable characters, and I remember just casually sitting back and enjoying it.
Divini is offline  
Old 2012-07-13, 08:03   Link #3
AS Oji-kun
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Anatae
Age: 67
I just rewatched the first couple of episodes of Black Lagoon this morning, and I think this might be a good option. There are some extended dialogue scenes, but there's also a lot of action. It consists of 2-6 episode arcs, so you don't have to follow a single plot over the entire series. Unfortunately the show is out of print, though rumors persist that Funimation will eventually re-release it. The question is when.

There is a fansubbed rip with the English soundtrack, but it's on a site with torrents of licensed shows so I can't link to it here.
SeijiSensei is offline  
Old 2012-07-15, 00:27   Link #4
Join Date: Jun 2012
Originally Posted by Divini View Post
Therefore, the closest criteria I can come up personally are the anime that I don't pause when my attention is diverted, but still close to the screen.
Well, I appreciate it My thoughts...

Ranma 1/2 -- ZOMG I totally forgot about that one. I saw a few episodes many years ago -- it might have been the first anime I saw. I don't know if the dub is any good or not, though I'm skeptical given its age. But I could always try it, though I don't think sub would be too much to follow for this one. Good suggestion.
The Girl Who Leaped Through Time -- Already saw that one, but good thought.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei -- Right now it's only fansubbed, and I saw the original and loved it. I haven't seen Zoku or Goku or anything yet... as far as attention it's kind of the opposite, though, because I feel completed obligated to pause every other frame and read whatever's on the board (since it's different every time) and of course every time they have any sort of text flash by on a single frame (which is constantly). It's a fun series and on my list of things to watch after I'm done with my project.
Martian Successor Nadesico -- I like sci fi and some mecha, and this one is on my "want to watch list." It sounds like a good one for me to check out sooner rather than later.
D.N. Angel -- I've heard this one's name but am not familiar with it. I will check it out. It does have a dub.

Also, Black Lagoon sounds promising -- I'll take a look, thanks.
arachni42 is offline  
Old 2012-07-15, 10:31   Link #5
Cross Game - I need more
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: I've moved around the American West. I've lived in Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Oklahoma
Age: 38
I'd suggest Read or Die (the OVA) Decent dub, and good background anime I think.

Cross Game - A Story of Love, Life, Death - and Baseball. What more could you want?
Sackett is offline  
Old 2012-07-15, 13:04   Link #6
The Lost Lamb
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: in Darkness
seconding Sayonara Zetsubou Sensie, nice series to watch in background and it has a unique comedy which we don't see usually,

may be you can try Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, has great humor and the best daily life comedy

both the series do not require serious attention, and i am sorry to say but, both series do not have english dubs
mystogan is offline  
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