I often find myself being asked to give a recommendation, be it for anime or manga. Sometimes I just simply answer, “go browse yourself,” and then response would be, “aren’t you a librarian?”

But from time to time, I started to enjoy this kind of conversation. A few friends of mine sometimes come back to ask for more recommendations or to give me their review of the things I recommended. I think it’s interesting and I feel great that they enjoy the recommendation, even though not all people are like that.

When giving recommendations, I think about the person who will watch or read it. Like, how will they enjoy it? Does this title suit them? In this occasion, I’d like to put down what I usually do when giving a recommendation.

Observing the User

When asked for recommendation, observing the background of the person who will use it helps you to give a brief and simple recommendation. Consider to question these to yourself.

  • How old are they?
  • What is their gender?
  • Are they a student or working adult?
  • What kind of major or field are they into?
  • What are their characteristics that you know?

This could help to identify their frame of knowledge and preference. Their age and gender will also help to identify their behaviour. Further observation can help you to narrow down the choices through knowing their interests and experience in anime or manga.

  • How long have they watched/read anime/manga?
  • What kind of anime have they watched before?
  • What kind of manga have they read before?
  • What genre do they like?
  • Do they ask you out of curiosity or just for “breaking the silence”?

Based on “how long they’ve watched/read anime or manga,” we can decide whether to give them an old or new title. As for genre, to play it safe you can recommend something that is acceptable to everyone like comedy or drama. As for “what kind of manga they’ve read before,” it helps you to decide their reading level too. You may find a work is easy to read for Friend A and it is difficult for Friend B.

Whether some people like to read what is easy for them or to read something more difficult, it’s all based on their taste. Personally, I always recommend Grand Blue and Anohana to people who are new to anime. How about you? Do you have titles that you’d recommend to anyone regardless of anything?

© Kenji Inoue ・Kimiyoshi Yoshioka・Kodansha / Grand Blue Production Committee

Ask the User

If the observation is not enough, try questioning them.

  • What kind of anime or manga you’d like to watch or read?
  • What’s your purpose to consume them?
  • Do you want to challenge yourself by getting into a new genre? Or…
  • Do you want a genre that suits your taste?

In this stage, you may find the user complaining that you’re being complicated (better not to ask them). But instead of giving someone the “safe” recommendation, these questions help to narrow down the choices further. So that you can recommend as they’re expecting.

You can also try to ask them how they feel recently, or what’s happening in their life. Put their mind at ease by giving a title that’s best for relaxing. Give them something that can motivate them or even something that suits their mood. You might also give a contrary recommendation to their condition and what they want to do with their situation. Anime or manga as a reflective media can be a distraction from daily life, which could lead to affective bibliotherapy.

Giving recommendation does not come easy. First of all, of course one needs to be knowledgeable about anime and manga. How can someone recommend something if they just watch the popular anime? Second, it’s also necessary to know where and how to search. Knowing database site or streaming site will become handy for giving recommendation to someone who isn’t familiar with anime. 

However, we can’t guess someone’s taste about something. Try asking their reaction from watching or reading the title you recommend, because it helps to evaluate your recommendation. The steps are something I learned in my daily life, so I’m not certain if it’s the right way to do it, but I hope this will help.

The Indonesian Anime Times | Written by Vina Nurziani | The author is a student of Library and Information Science. | This opinion is the personal views of the author and does not represent the views and editorial policy of The Indonesian Times or KAORI Nusantara

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