Recommending Anime to Others Is Hard

There is little that makes me worry more than being asked for anime recommendations.

Because I know my lane. I am aware that my tastes are peculiar and niche.

Not everyone is into watching anime-girls-do-certain-sport-or-pastime series. Apparently some look upon comedy series with hesitation and disdain. A few of my readers have told me that yuri isn’t really their thing (but they still drop by and read my content because they’re very nice people. Not that I publish enough content on yuri. Trying to fix that, sorry).

So that leads me to the question about the question. Say someone asks you, “Are there any good anime this season? Give me some recommendations.” How do you feel and react?

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If, for some reason, someone trusts my opinion enough to ask for it, then I would proceed to ask if they have any genres in mind. Then I’ll proceed to ask if they have any deal-breakers. Following that, however, is the hard part.

By asking you for recommendations, they are implicitly asking for a little peek into your tastes and preferences. Of course, you can attempt to accommodate to their tastes by adhering to their demands for series which fall within their own specific inclinations. If they want to watch some action romcom series, there’s a plethora of that every season. They’re also spoiled for choice if they are craving an isekai series (whether or not any of the many isekai series that pop out every season is any good, however, is another issue altogether).

But when they’re asking for recommendations within genres you attempt to keep up with, it’s a bit more difficult in my opinion. You have to keep in mind that your own personal preferences might lead you to lead to like Series A more than Series B even though Series B could be considered a better series overall. You have to struggle with subjectivity, in other words. You also have to consider their own tastes which you may or may not be familiar with. Under such circumstances you might want to ask for other series they have enjoyed to have an idea of what would they might enjoy. Otherwise, you’re just shooting in the dark.

What I dread most of all is recommending a series to someone only for them to declare that it’s not good or claim that it’s not to their tastes or insist that they can’t enjoy the series because of ___________________________________________. I just feel like I’ve disappointed them whenever that happens. And to me, that’s just a terrible feeling I have to live with.

So that’s why I dread recommending anime series to others.

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Maybe you all feel the same? Maybe not since I did get a bit melodramatic there. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments section down below.

EDIT: Still, if you ever want recommendations I’d be happy to help ;__;

58 thoughts on “Recommending Anime to Others Is Hard

  1. Lol funny enough I have the same anxiety when I get asked to recommend anime, but at the same time it’s like an adrenaline rush and I get really excited in a strange get way lol. Kinda curious though based on your writing it sounds like we have similar interests so I’d love if you could recommend me any anime that you really enjoyed :3 Any genre works (if you’re okay with that no worries if not lol)

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  2. Hi there!

    I actually love, love, love giving other people recommendations! Nothing gives me more of a thrill than sharing something that I love with another person – I’d never recommend something that I didn’t enjoy myself. And if they don’t like it as much as I did, I know that it’s not something to take personally, different strokes for different folks and all that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When people ask for recommendations for anime; I ask about things they’ve watched in cartoons/movies/etc or books they’ve read first. It’s much easier to find out someone likes sci-fi (at least recently) and tailoring it to that then just listing off my favorites/personal preference. But I understand you, recommending series to other’s is hard.

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  4. I just recommend anime they’ve never heard of. Makes it difficult to make up reasons they don’t like your choice. Besides, they asked a favor and it is rude – not to mention passive aggressive – to object to the fruits of your effort. Kind of like looking a gift horse in the mouth.

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  5. If somebody asks me to recommend something, my first question is usually, “What other anime have you enjoyed?” And if they can’t give me titles, my second question is “What genres do you like to watch?” (even outside anime). If the answer to the second question is “Everything” (i.e. not helpful) then I usually just default to suggesting several of the most accessible anime I’ve enjoyed, stuff like FMA and Trigun. If they can give me at least some specifics, then I’ll try to make a few recs based on similar titles or on my genre favorites.

    Now one thing I almost always avoid recommending is comedies, unless it’s someone where I already know their taste really well. It’s just too hard to guess what someone might or might not enjoy when comedy is so subjective to begin with, and foreign comedy especially so.

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      1. Well keep in mind that since I’m a librarian, I always have customers asking me for book or movie recommendations, for themselves or just as often for a family member (usually their kids). In the business, we call that “reader’s advisory,” and what I outlined is basically my standard approach to that question, just adapted for anime (or manga – sometimes customers ask me about that too). Now sometimes I can suggest specific titles that I liked, but even if a customer is looking for books in a genre I don’t read, like contemporary women’s fiction, I generally know who the popular authors are, just like I know the “big” anime titles if someone’s into shonen or magical girl or harem. I always preface with letting people know if I’m about to suggest a popular title or author that I haven’t consumed myself, though.

        And frankly, I lost any self-consciousness about making recommendations a long time ago. I do it so often for work that it’s just second nature at this point. And I’ll tell you something else – in the decade-plus I’ve been doing this job, I’ve had many customers come back later to thank me for a suggestion that they or their kids liked, and I’ve had a few who admitted that they didn’t care for something I recommended when I followed up with them later (and I’m often interested to know why, since the feedback can help me with recommendations for them or someone else in the future), but I’ve never once had a customer blame me or act unhappy over a recommendation that didn’t pan out; if anything, they usually give me a, “Thanks for trying anyway.”

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        1. Ahhh, I am also a bit hesitant to recommend mainstream titles I haven’t seen yet, but it should in theory be a safe approach. I see.

          Mmmm this was a very helpful and moral-boosting response. Thank you.

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  6. I find the “random” button on crunchyroll’s browser to be helpful if I just want to try something out of my comfort zone and am looking for something new.

    It can be difficult to recommend to others because clearly I have specific tastes too. So, if anything I’ll do what someone else said in your comment section, and recommend one of the mainstream popular ones. ❤

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  7. I am the same, if i recommend a anime..i want the person to enjoy it as much as i did.. so I’m usually a little scared that they won’t feel the same way as i did. I find its worse when someone who never watched anime asks for a recommendation, I really don’t want to put them off for life by giving a recommendation they don’t enjoy.. but i do it anyway. 😑

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  8. I take the easy way out and think about mainstream shows to recommend. If the person asks what kinds of anime I like I may tell them depending on their worldview. If not I just say “whatever interests me”.

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  9. ah yes, the infamous recommendation question, this bothers me both with anime and any other kind of media. why? because whenever someone wants to know a good show, there’s too many to choose and I can’t choose which one is good for them. =/

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    1. Yeah, it’s kind of a bummer. I know there’s a super comprehensive anime flowchart out there that’s a bit outdated but we can’t all rely on that, can we? Recommending shows is still pretty hard!

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  10. Since by recommending it is subjected to our personal preferences and the pool of anime we watched, I personally give a disclaimer before I make any kind of recommendations like
    “This is what I liked/disliked about X because of Y (no spoilers, conceptual/philosophy), in the genre of G. Most people, from what I know, thinks X is Z (good/bad) because of W (if spoilers is unavoidable, I just say ‘due to plot progression’).”
    So even if I end up ranting or gushing over it, it sounds kind of balance still for them, if they are listening right haha. I don’t want to tone down my personal opinions towards the series however. Plus, it is a buffer for myself to not get too disappointed if they do not feel the same as my opiniated standpoint.

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  11. If someone specifically asks me for a recommendation, I usually try to base it on what I know their preferences are. Or, if I don’t really know the person well enough I’ll point out that while I’m not sure what they like, this is what I’m enjoying. Recommending entertainment is always hard because it is so subjective.

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    1. Right, the subjective membrane is what makes it difficult. Taste is so interesting because of that, though. People with similar yet diverging tastes can have very different opinions on the series, which makes sense but is still a bit wild to me.

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  12. When it comes to what to recommend ‘this season’ … I struggle every time because I rarely get the time to watch stuff when it’s new. There are exceptions that I try to make time for, but a lot of shows pass me by for a long time. I don’t dread someone not liking a recommendation so much these days though. It’s a strong possibility as far as outcomes go, ya know? So many people, so many different tastes.

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    1. There’s so many new shows every season! I totally understanding not having enough time for every show that grabs your interest.

      It’s just something that happens, you’re right. People not liking recommendations, that is. Thanks for reminding me.

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  13. You know…I don’t think you can ever go wrong with this. That might sound weird: but let me explain. If someone asks for a recommendation, you tell them about it, because you enjoyed it. There is nothing wrong with that, because hey: you are entitled to enjoy it: it’s your opinion on the show. If someone doesn’t end up liking it? Hey that happens as well…and it’s okay too, because hey that’s THEIR opinion. I have had shows recommended to me too, but never have I blamed the person who recommended it to me. That would just be totally wrong 😊😊

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  14. I only ever make sweeping recommendations (e.g. “this show would work best for this group, this subset of the audience”, etc.). Individual tastes vary, people like different things, and it is not my job description to tell people what they think they’ll like. That being said, if I am asked, I’ll always be thorough and fair – “you MAY like” is a lot better than “I think you’ll like”.

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  15. I find it rare to ever actually watch recommendations, but I’ll put them on the “to watch” list and most likely never look at them again! It’s not that I do it deliberately but I find that watching a show is a lot easier and better if you look it up yourself and find yourself interested in it rather than the other way around. The guy recommending would have to do a lot of work to create that interest where I myself find it easier to create that interest myself. This probably isn’t true for most people though!

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