Cultural Exposures: Anime
December 19, 2018
Burly men with golden hair shoot energy beams. Ninjas soar through forests at unbelievable speeds. 10-year olds train to be the very best, that no one ever was. These images easily describe Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and Pokemon and what makes them the most recognizable names when it comes to anime and Japanimation. However, many people that I have met consider anime to be taboo and that they are foreign cartoons that should only watched by Asians. However, these claims are often baseless as they are solely opinionated. Anime has proven to be capable of pulling people together worldwide unlike any other form of entertainment. It is an experience that is hard to forget; thus there are many reasons as to why everyone should give it a shot.
If you ask any anime fan what element makes anime special, most would say it is the plot and characters. I am not claiming American cartoons or TV shows lack great stories and cast, but anime is able to offer a fascinating and compelling plot and cast not found anywhere else. Death Note is a famous example of such accomplishments. The basic synopsis is a god of death becomes bored, so he decides to drop a notebook that is able to kill anyone simply by writing their names. A high school student happens to pick it up, which then sparks one of the greatest mind games of all time between two geniuses. This is an anime where I have yet to meet one person who has not been hooked by the first two episodes.
“Anime, in general, has as much more emotion in its plot, script writing, and in the way that the voice actors perform,” sophomore Aakash Venumuddala claimed, “In addition, anime’s character development is on a different level compared to American cartoons and movies. In my opinion, the music, effects, art style, and the quality of animation in anime far exceed that of any cartoon to date.”
If plot and characters don’t suit your interests, anime has much more to offer to the table. For one thing, spectacular animation and sound is a fairly well-known trait of the anime industry. Although you may not be able to tell at first, many scenes in anime actually take enormous amounts of time to animate. In fact, 60-90 seconds of animation takes about 6 weeks on average to animate, while fight scenes can take up months! The award-winning series Attack on Titan portrays truly of what anime animation and music is capable of, with breathtaking fight scenes, beautiful soundtracks, and talented voice acting in every episode. (See awards for animation and sound here).
Unfortunately, many people often classify anime as not acceptable in American culture and treat it as an outcast within today’s media. However, anime has had an enormous impact on not only America’s culture but on worldwide culture. The Pokemon Company is no exception to this, as Pokemon was able to create not only an influential game series but many seasons in its own anime series and now a live-action movie in the making: Detective Pikachu. Nowadays, it’s very difficult to find anyone who has not heard of Pokemon or its yellow mascot.
Although not as big as Pokemon, another well-known anime that had its own share of influence would be Cowboy Bebop. This series from the late 1990’s really sparked a massive phenomenon in the anime community and Western media. With its amazing soundtrack, flawless hand-drawn animation, signature space western style, and talented voice cast, Cowboy Bebop was able to craft an episodic series that ended up becoming a new genre itself for both anime and media in general. Some famous celebrities have shown respect to this anime as well, such as actor Keanu Reeves who proposed to star in a live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop.
“I think anime gets a lot of hate because people have the impression that it’s just fan service and has no plot, which totally isn’t true. There are literally so many genres and different types of anime that I find it hard to believe that there’s not something for everyone. Anime basically takes any concept you can think of and makes it into a show,” sophomore Vianne Galban stated.
However, the one reason I believe why everyone should give anime a chance is that anime truly has something for everyone. If you are not fans of the Japanese art styles in anime, it is important to know that not all anime follow the same trends in art. Besides the previously mentioned Cowboy Bebop, other examples that follow in its footsteps that I would recommend would include Trigun and Baccano! Also, if you are sensitive to sexual or graphic content, there are numerous other anime options that stray from these as well. These include Studio Ghibli’s movies for all ages like the award-winner Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro.
Overall, anime is a medium that truly deserves more acknowledgement in the our society. I’m not stating that all anime is great, but there are certain gems in anime that do deserve to be recognized for the amount of effort creators put into their work. Of course, there will always be those who refuse to accept the medium, but honestly, I believe everybody should give anime a shot and create their own opinion.