Whether you are talking about TV, movies, video games or books almost everyone is in agreement that spoilers are a bad thing and anyone who knowingly spoils other people is scum. This has even gotten to the point of people complaining about “spoilers” when details of a press conference (you know, basically advertising) or a console’s UI leak. I, for the longest time would fall in line with this mindset but after reflecting on a few things I realized, I’ve enjoyed things quite a bit that I’ve been spoiled on.
My top 3 anime of all time (as of writing) are 1. Anohana, 2. CLANNAD After Story, and 3. School-Live!. I was spoiled on all 3, including some major events. I’m not going to get into details but I knew exactly how both Anohana and CLANNAD After Story would end before even starting either. With School-Live! I had multiple twists (not episode 1’s) spoiled to me and enjoyed them just as much as I think I ever would have. Even now, I’m currently watching Steins;Gate for the first time although I had read the visual novel prior. Since I read the VN I knew an event that was coming up and spent 2 entire episodes prepping myself for it. I still cried.
Another thing that made me rethink how I approach spoilers is I still enjoy things on second times through. I watched the CLANNAD anime before reading the visual novel and I still love the visual novel, I’ve rewatched my favourite movies and anime and replayed my favourite games countless times. I still enjoy them and it’s not like I completely forget what had happened.
The only time I can personally relate to being spoiler free potentially affecting my effecting my experience is when watching The LEGO Movie with my friend a few days after release. The theatre was packed and the reaction of the audience during the climax was probably my fondest memory relating to any movie. I’ve watching that movie 4 times since, with people who hadn’t seen it, with people who had, and by myself. That scene is touching every time but I only get that same feeling when with people who don’t know it’s coming.
While I can see that potentially as a reason to hate spoilers how often do you play a story based video game with someone or read a book or the newest chapter of your favourite manga with someone? How often do you even watch movies or TV shows that have some kind of twist like causes such an impactful memory? School-Live! is one I can think of that I got friends to watch and trying guessing before it occurred but those are the only 2 examples I can personally think of in nearly 21 years of media exposure (to be fair, the stuff I was watching at 3 probably didn’t have any massive twists)
Like all my editorials questioning how people experience media I don’t intend this to be an attack on how anyone thinks. What I aim to do is start a discussion if you could be getting more enjoyment by doing one thing different. Maybe you read this piece and continue avoiding spoilers and that is perfectly fine. Despite saying all this I don’t go out of my way looking for spoilers. Pretty much every popular manga I read has summaries leaked online before I’m able to read to chapter and I’ve only read those once and decided reading a paragraph that recapped a chapter was a dumb way to experience such a visually intensive medium such as manga and never bothered entering one of those threads again. I have been spoiled though. I knew how an arc near the end of Nisekoi was going to go before reading because I read on a spoiler on the internet.
To wrap this up, I don’t think knowing what will happen before you make it to the reveal of said information hampers your enjoyment in anyway. It certainly isn’t the end of the world knowing character X dies in episode 1 of show Y before you watched it, otherwise why would we rewatch/read things? Games have fun gameplay at least but a book has nothing but the story. Also I’d like to end with a mini PSA. If you do decide to keep avoiding spoilers that is on you to do the work to avoid them, not on people who don’t care posting on their personal social media accounts. If you want to avoid spoilers following fans of said thing or viewing fan sites/blogs/accounts/subreddits/etc is a terrible idea.