The Opportunity Cost: Fun VS. furthering yourself? [Plus! The AUDIT – Anime Use Disorders Identification Test]

Fate Zero Gilgamesh golden throne anime stay night

It’s a pretty obvious concept really, but I don’t often hear people talking about it. Every time you choose to do something you enjoy (assuming it’s non-productive – come on guys, it’s called The Geek Clinic for a reason) you are giving up the opportunity to better your life in some way. Whether it’s studying for High School or University or learning to play an instrument, that episode of anime has cost you something. In economics this is referred to as an Opportunity Cost (surprise, surprise), where choosing to do one thing immediately has the cost of every other activity you could have chosen.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a medical student. Without trying to whine about it, it’s a pretty tough course, and when I get home every night the last thing I want to do is study. Instead, I make dinner and then relax for the evening. My textbooks and guitar (which I can’t play at all) sit unloved in the corner of the room while I unwind with an anime, video game or visual novel, or spend time with my girlfriend. And sometimes I can’t help but wonder: If I had never gotten into the things I love today, what would I have accomplished?

Admittedly, this stuff isn’t particularly fun to think about, but believe me when I say I’m working up to a point.

Guitar angel beats anime iwasawa

If you take a look around at all of the people who are really talented, really good at one particular thing, they all have something in common: They are passionate about what they have chosen to do. Maybe it’s only because they enjoy the attention or the achievement itself, but they love what they are good at. And you know what? I am passionate about the stuff I love. I play video games and I watch anime because it gives me a sense of fulfilment, because it’s what I enjoy doing. Without any sort of reward for doing so, I fully embrace my desire to do these things. For many the things I love are meaningless distractions, like sports and other things are to me, while I adore them, like other people do those sports and other things.

It’s all about perspective. After thinking about it, I don’t think I’m missing out on anything by doing the things I love. The fact that I don’t really get anything out of what I do (which is debateable, but for the purposes of this editorial I’m going to gloss over that) doesn’t make what I’m passionate about any less significant. I don’t need anything tangible from my anime, video games or visual novels, because in the end I’m spending my time how I want to spend it, and I am enjoying my life. And to me, that’s really all I can ask for.

Talent wonder anime

Now, just to stick with the health theme (because again, this is The Geek Clinic), I should really mention that, just like with any activity, anime viewing (among other things I enjoy) can become a problem. I’ve included this helpful questionnaire to determine whether you might be suffering from Anime Abuse Disorder (AAD).

The Geek Clinic Official Anime Abuse Disorder Questionnaire

(Which has definitely not been directly copied from the Alcohol Abuse Disorder Questionnaire)

Doctor Sebastian black butler

[Quick Note: This quiz is just for fun, it was not designed for any actual diagnosis of anime abuse or dependence, so don’t pay too much attention to your score.]

1. How often do you watch anime?

A)    Never (0 Points)

B)    Less than monthly (1 Point)

C)    2-4 Times a month (2 Point)

D)    2-3 Times a week (3 Points)

E)     4 or more times a week (4 Points)

2. How many episodes do you watch during a typical anime-watching session?

A)    1-2 (0 Points)

B)    3-4 (1 Point)

C)    5-6 (2 Points)

D)    7-9 (3 Points)

E)     10+ (4 Points)

3. How often do you watch 6 or more episodes in one session?

A)    Never (0 Points)

B)    Less than monthly (1 Point)

C)    Monthly (2 Point)

D)    Weekly (3 Points)

E)     Daily or almost daily (4 Points)

4. How often during the last year have you found that you were not able to stop watching once you had started?

A)    Never (0 Points)

B)    Less than monthly (1 Point)

C)    Monthly (2 Point)

D)    Weekly (3 Points)

E)     Daily or almost daily (4 Points)

5. How often in the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected from you because of watching anime?

A)    Never (0 Points)

B)    Less than monthly (1 Point)

C)    Monthly (2 Point)

D)    Weekly (3 Points)

E)     Daily or almost daily (4 Points)

6. How often in the last year have you needed an episode of anime to get yourself going after a heavy anime-watching session?

A)    Never (0 Points)

B)    Less than monthly (1 Point)

C)    Monthly (2 Point)

D)    Weekly (3 Points)

E)     Daily or almost daily (4 Points)

7. How often in the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after watching anime?

A)    Never (0 Points)

B)    Less than monthly (1 Point)

C)    Monthly (2 Point)

D)    Weekly (3 Points)

E)     Daily or almost daily (4 Points)

8. How often in the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been watching anime?

A)    Never (0 Points)

B)    Less than monthly (1 Point)

C)    Monthly (2 Point)

D)    Weekly (3 Points)

E)     Daily or almost daily (4 Points)

9. Have you or someone else been injured as a result of your anime watching? (Yeah, this one’s a long-shot)

A)    No (0 Points)

B)    Yes, but not in the last year (2 Points)

C)    Yes, during the last year (4 Points)

10. Has a relative, friend or doctor, or other health worker been concerned about your anime watching or suggested that you should cut down?

A)    No (0 Points)

B)    Yes, but not in the last year (2 Points)

C)    Yes, during the last year (4 Points)

Now add up your points and see what you get!

0-7 – Your anime watching is not likely to cause you problems if it stays at this level.

8-15 – Your anime watching is putting you at risk of developing problems.

16-19 – Your anime watching will cause you or has already caused you problems. You probably have Anime Abuse Disorder.

20+ – Okay, so I couldn’t find a neat little blurb for this one, but you’re probably suffering from Anime Dependence Disorder.

So? How did you go? I’m personally a 7, but that’s just because I’m an anime lightweight. Are any of you folks abusing anime? Or maybe you’re dependent on it? Let us know!

Doctor

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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13 Responses to The Opportunity Cost: Fun VS. furthering yourself? [Plus! The AUDIT – Anime Use Disorders Identification Test]

  1. Annalyn says:

    I’m a 19 now, maybe less. Two and a half years ago, I would have been about a 27. It wasn’t uncommon for me to go through a 12 or 13 episode season in a single day, even during the school week. I remember looking up after 4:00 am on a school day, as the sky was beginning to lighten, and thinking, “oh snap. I have to get up in three hours.” I was abusing anime as an escape from reality. So when I look at myself now, I think my anime viewing habits are pretty healthy.

    • Silvachief says:

      I think that one of the reasons my score is so low is that i’m completely intolerant to any kind of sleep deprivation XD Staying up till 4 AM is a blue moon phenomenon for me >.>

      • Annalyn says:

        I never stay up until 4 am on purpose. It’s only happened a couple times; usually with anime my senior year of high school. Once I started watching anime, I’d keep clicking the next episode, again and again until what little was left of my good sense regained control. The next day at school would be awful. Anime abuse/dependence Disorder would definitely have applied to me. Nowadays, I have a little more self control, although I have a lot of room to improve. 😛

  2. I scored a 12, at risk but not there. *whew* I watch a fair amount of anime, but I budget my time and do parse work and recreation.

    The idea of opportunity cost is interesting, and also applies to knowing when to drop anime. It’s less “Is this series any fun?” and more “Could I be doing something better with my time?”

    • Silvachief says:

      The “Could I be doing something better with my time?” question is a tricky one for me. Not so much with Anime but with Video Games, where if i’ve put a certain amount of time into one I just have to finish it to find out what happens, even if i’m not really enjoying the ride (case and point: Final Fantasy XIII). Yes, there’s an opportunity cost that would undoubtedly have been more entertaining, but I like the sense of achievement I get when I have the willpower to finish things like that. Maybe i’m just a masochist XD

  3. froggykun says:

    This is an interesting post. I’m a 14. I watch a lot of anime, but I balance this out with other activities, so while my interests remain fairly narrow on the geek spectrum, I get what I want done and that’s good enough for me. Anime (and related fandom) is probably the only “non-productive” hobby I indulge in.

    • Silvachief says:

      Sounds like you’re very much on the healthy end of the spectrum. As long as you’re doing what you enjoy and not letting it interfere with your responsibilities you have nothing to worry about 😉 Sadly my hobbies aren’t particularly productive at all, though there are a few things i’m going to look into doing once my schedule clears up a bit.

  4. Yumeka says:

    Interesting test here XD I only got 5 points (just from questions #1 and #3) but not because I’m a casual anime viewer. Anime is my biggest hobby (as you can tell if you take a glance at my blog =P) and I typically keep up with 10-13 airing anime at once. But I guess what makes my score low is that I rarely watch anime outside my designated “anime time,” which is 1-2 hours before I go to bed every night. With that, I rarely fall more than a day or two behind my seasonal shows, and since it’s late at night, there’s rarely anything else I have to do at that time, so it works out. But if there was, I still wouldn’t put things like my job, medical emergencies, or social engagements behind anime. If something important came up, I’d just watch another day.

    • Silvachief says:

      I probably end up watching one or two episodes of anime per day with occasional longer sessions, so i’m never going to be able to keep up with airing anime…i’m still trying to work through the stuff that’s already come out. My score is slightly higher because i’ve been told I should watch less by my parents who only see me during the end-of-year break, when I watch ever so slight more XD I’ve said it in a couple of comments already, but as long as you keep in mind that real life responsibilities are always more important then you’re on the healthy side of the hobby, as it sounds like you definitely are =)

  5. joshspeagle says:

    Just a 12 here. Although I tend to be more obsessive if I allow myself to, I generally try and keep my binges confined to weekends where I know I won’t have much work. I have a lot of other things (like blogging about anime! :P) to worry about. At one point during high school I think I was in the 16-19 range, but nowadays I have a nice and balanced anime diet 😉

    • Silvachief says:

      Unfortunately my weekends have just as much work as my weeks at the moment >.< Even so i've never been one to binge on anime – I just can't sit still for that long XD My score probably ramps right up when i'm sick though.

  6. “Time enjoyed wasting was not wasted.”
    Haha, great questionnaire! I got 16 points, so I guess I’m an anime abuser x) It may be because I still have summer vacation and there isn’t much else I have to do. I guess once I move out, start working, and tv shows begin airing again, my frequency of watching anime will likely (and sadly) decrease.

    Still, I don’t really feel guilty after long anime sessions. I love anime with all my heart and it’s given me something to be passionate about. I can’t even remember what I did with my life before I discovered anime, and now I have goals and things I want to accomplish (both related and not related to anime). To me, anime is something I can use as an outlet for my redundant feelings, giving me something to think about and talk about with other fans. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    • Silvachief says:

      I think 16 points in the anime questionnaire is a whole lot better than 16 points in the alcohol one XD It’s all in fun, so you have absolutely nothing to worry about. I like that quote by the way.

      I’m not entirely sure what I would do with myself if I didn’t have my anime/video games/visual novels etc. I would most likely actually get things done…and we can’t have that!

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