The Spoiler And How It Implicates in the Simulcast Nonsense

This post contains no spoilers, at least not on the face.

The latest about Madoka Magica from Urobuchi’s, writer, twitter, is a spoiler for the show, 3 episodes in. I am not too concerned about his sadly feeble attempt to mislead, but it does show that the intent to surprise is fully present.

As an anime guy who watches anime and talks about it on the internet, spoiler, well, I shouldn’t have to tell you if you are reading this–they’re a double-edged sword or a necessary evil. Whatever and however you think they are and feel about them, they are unavoidable to an extent. Some might even seek them out on purpose. It’s also a great way to troll, as seen in Madoka’s case, as well as countless previous instances. Probably most recently famous for the Snake Kills Dumbledore meme [wow, 2005?]. Or maybe something else newer.

But if Shinbo doesn’t want to spoil you, maybe that is the best way to enjoy the show? Maybe it is best to enjoy Madoka without reading up and speculating too much? Well, whatever floats your boat, but that seems like a sensible thing to do.

Funny enough, given my perspective and tendencies I find myself applying The Spoiler Problem on the whole directly to the simulcast situation. It isn’t really a big surprise considering time delay and exclusivity are common methods for content owners to make profit and distinguish themselves over their competitors–there’s money in it. People want their stuff now, ASAP. I am not going to point fingers at DirecTV customers and call them impatient because they can get Hollywood films over their satellite dish faster than Netflix, but you get a bunch of them calling people who watch fansubs that exactly. That makes no sense to me, especially how some (very large and pervasive) media companies encourage this behavior. Can’t we stick to calling them people who break copyright laws? Because that’s all there is to it.

I mean, put it this way, in order to enjoy Madoka fully you pretty much have to avoid a spoiler that is 3 episodes in. The surprise element is pretty much gone if you follow any of the anime episodic blogs or chatters from Japan. Heck if you read #madoka on twitter you will basically get spoiled. As someone who prizes enjoyment of his anime above all else anime related, I really sympathizes to those Madoka fans who have to get their anime first, in this specific case, just so they can keep swimming.

I guess that’s not a real problem anyone has to be concerned about, since we live in a media-rich society with instant communication and broadcasting via the internet. In other words, we struggle with this all the time. It’s no different than picking up the newspaper on Friday and read about the reviews of new films coming out. Except in that case, if I really cared, I could just go watch it in theaters that same day then read the reviews. Where as in the anime case, copyright law says  you are SOL. Sorry, can’t read twitter or blogs for the next 3 months!

But instead of griping or whatever, I think of it as a Real Life Problem and an opportunity for profit. That’s how startups are born, people! Because this applies not only to anime, but it applies to all manners of media and it applies to all forms of consumption. Like this little twitter client. Or something like Crunchyroll.

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10 responses to “The Spoiler And How It Implicates in the Simulcast Nonsense

  • TheBigN

    >>Heck if you read #madoka on twitter you will basically get spoiled.

    Or decided to look at madoka pictures on pixiv beforehand, in my case. :v

  • Michael is Low on Hit Points

    So obviously enough, I don’t like spoilers. How I dealt with them in the past was simple: avoid them. For instance, Code Geass R2 aired on Sunday, so I wouldn’t check out any anime related site on that Sunday until I had watched the episode. Easy enough.

    But then I stopped watching anime as it aired. The only thing I had to be cautious of was headlines that gave too much away (because duh, I’m not going to go read a post on an anime I haven’t seen). Spoiler headlines have been easier to avoid since I’ve switched over to Google Reader (versus AnimeNano) and now only follow blogs that mostly talk general concepts versus specific series.

    But then I join Twitter and everything gets all fucked up. Suddenly, spoilers are everywhere; nothing I can do about it. Any complaining would be missing the point of Twitter completely. But I like it as a platform for me to communicate without having to create a full-blown blog entry. And I like the way discussion happens on it. (I have some other non-spoiler issues with Twitter, but this isn’t the time for them)

    Obviously enough, I need something that can filter Twitter. The app that does so (for the iPhone and iPad, the two platforms I actually Tweet on) is not the one I prefer to use (every other aspect of the app leaves me wanting). But look at what I’m complaining about: seems like I should just deal with the apps issues in order to get what I “need”, filtering.

    It would be silly to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”, to stop reading other people’s Tweets altogether (or quit Twitter) just because I can’t get the perfect app for it (swell interface plus filtering). Yet, that’s what I’m compelled to do (maybe Twitter’s other issues just needed something trite like this to push the whole experience over the edge). What point am I even supposed to be making my way towards?

    I guess I’m just frustrated about stupid shit; isn’t this where I’m supposed to just drop the stupid shit out of my life. Goodbye Twitter? so that I can enjoy anime free of spoilers. Anime comes first, as it is the catalyst that made me join Twitter in the first place to talk about it. Actual anime before the conversation about it, thus anime is the one that must be preserved (and not Twitter), I guess.

  • Hogart

    Heh.. really? Who honestly cares that much about spoilers anymore? Only crap shows are ruined by spoilers anyway. Did knowing who Luke’s father was, or what Rosebud meant, or who died at the end of Star Trek 2 really ruin it for you? If anyone was fooled into thinking this was going to be a cute little mahou shoujo, especially after the first episode, then they deserve to be trolled.

  • Kurogane

    The so-called “Spoiler Problem” has been around since… oh, 2003-4-ish? When the Internet started up, you either buck the fuck up and follow shows as they air if you don’t want to get “spoiled” or you just avoid the fandom.

    It’s honestly impossible to have an online social life as an anime fan AND avoid spoilers the whole time. If you follow even 10% of the anime blogger’s twitters, you’re bound to get spoiled on something sooner or later.

    Frankly, people have bitched at me and I’ve lost readers and friends alike because I like to “spoil”. I understand not everyone is capable of watching shows right as they air, but I ain’t giving up my right to be able to discuss the show with the people who have already watched it.

    And really, if a mere “spoiler” ruins the show’s enjoyment for you, then there’s probably something wrong with the show or yourself before-hand. I wasn’t exactly livestreaming Madoka 03 this week either, so when I got “spoiled” on the livestream thread about the episode, I still felt it hard when i actually watched the raw appearing half an hour later.

    If a show could be just merely ruined by 140 characters, it’s not a show that you should be watching in the first place.

  • omo

    Ruined? Nobody said anything about ruined. You just can’t enjoy it as much as if you didn’t get spoiled earlier. That “enjoyment gap” vary from person to person and of course from show to show and the type of spoiler it is, but it does exist.

    And sometimes it’s a big deal. Because that difference is enough for some people to get really serious (or who just hate being spoiled) about dodging spoilers. Going so far as to not read fan blogs and twitter is, TBQH, not a bad idea; I mean nothing of value is lost there ;)

    I think it’s still pretty easy to have an online life while dodging most spoilers. I’ve basically done that and kept damage to a minimum. But I’m the kind of person that is hard to spoil anyways.

  • jpmeyer

    Heh, I remember reading about this years ago, but in the context of American TV shows taking a year or two to air overseas rather than anime.

    It doesn’t even need to be direct spoiler in terms of plot summaries either. It was also things that people don’t consider spoilers at all, like the promo materials for a new season not including the character that died at the end of the last season.

  • omo

    Hm, I vaguely remember reading about some show’s promo art that had this problem in the past couple years. But yeah, the whole region problem and how information about our fav shows don’t care for that region issue can be an irritation.

    The first time I’ve heard about this was in the late 90s in regards to mass-exported films. I suppose for international bestsellers, Titanic didn’t have much to spoil.

  • sdshamshel

    One advantage of our short attention spans and “impatient” internet culture is that people tend to have very short-term memories when it comes to most shows. So if you wait long enough after something airs, maybe even a year or two, then you hit that point where that show has likely faded out of the consciousness of the anime fans online, and you can watch it without worrying too much about spoilers, especially if you don’t invite them upon yourself by, say, talking about it on Twitter yourself before you’ve finished the whole thing.

    Perhaps if you want the best of both worlds, both the online bonding and discussion and the ability to watch shows at your own pace, then you could organize a small group to watch shows “together.” Even if you don’t all watch it at the exact same time, you could arrange to have watched each episode by a certain date, and then discuss it through whatever means, mailing lists or blogs or whatever.

  • jpmeyer

    I THINK it came up a lot with Lost. That one turned into some crazy rabbit hole where non-American fans would look for information on Lost on the internet (again, not even necessarily looking for plot information, just simple things like what date this season is premiering) and read a comment like “I can’t believe they turned so-and-so into a newt he was my favorite character” and be like wait, they did what to who? Did I click on the wrong page?

  • omo

    I kind of want to say Heroes at first but it was around when Lost was really popular, one of those.

    I guess this is also an indirect response to SDS. As for the small viewing group thing, that’s not really a good enough of a workaround IMO, since I imagine most people aren’t looking for that when they watch a show. In the sense that once you’ve seen it, you can let yourself go and spoil it to your heart’s content, so who cares who you watched it with as long as you do before you were spoiled?

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