Let’s say you’re importing some desired item: a Blu-ray, figure, or whatever you’d like to imagine. You have two options: get the fast EMS shipping that will arrive in a few days, or get slow SAL shipping that could take 6 weeks. Which will bring you more pleasure? Of course, you’d think EMS…people are willing to pay more for it, because they want it more. But what people are driven to want isn’t always what’s best for their own pleasure.
Participants in one study said they’d enjoy a gift more if it was delivered today than three months later. But the feelings we have in the future are no less intense than in the present; this error is called future anhedonia. In fact, getting things now leads to less overall pleasure. When we get something later, we experience all the pleasure of getting it, plus the bonus pleasure of anticipation. And anticipation is nothing to scoff at: research has shown that anticipation is much more potent than reminiscence2. We get more from thinking about future events than past events.
Waiting for anime to get licensed follows the same principles. Of course, in this era of the simulcast majority, they’re irrelevant to most anime. But there are still plenty of hold-overs. For example, I would so, sooo love to watch the new Strike Witches movie. I fangasm just think thinking about it. I could download some camripped fansubs as soon as they’re available. But in the final sum, that won’t bring me as much pleasure as watching it licensed. I know Funi’s sales for the TV anime were really good, and they have a good relationship with Kadokawa, so however long it takes, I can simmer in a rich, delicious broth of anticipation.
Some would say they really won’t get as much pleasure if they miss the TV broadcast of, say, Hit Anime X (that could be real title, actually…). They want to be part of the shared discussion as it airs, the hustle and bustle of online community. By the time it’s licensed, they’ll have missed out on that. But how good can an anime be if, shortly after airing, it’s completely forgotten? By that perspective, the wait for licensing is a good “Crappy Anime Filter.” I’ll be addressing shared community in my third and final post on this series, “Participation.”