Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why Adults Enjoy Anime

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Referred to as adult children, Anime fans are the only nerds still treated with true disdain. Republican strategist Rick Wilson claimed that Trump's supporters were Anime fans and described them as, "not people who matter in the overall course of humanity."

However, I would like to defend the adult enjoyment of this story medium. I touched briefly on the strengths of Anime when I discussed Legend of Korra, but I'd like to expand them here.

Themes of friendship and loyalty, as well as thought-provoking
questions are typical of Anime like Sword Art Online
Themes of Friendship and Loyalty

Most Anime, from fantasy to School Anime, feature themes of friendship and loyalty.

Unlike other television dramas, Anime promotes positive group dynamics. When something occurs to threaten group unity, it is portrayed as negative and the plot tends to revolve around re-establishing harmony.

The take-away is positive. The shows emphasize the individual's importance to the group and the importance of the group to the individual. The theme's message is that relationships are important and worth fighting for (often literally). 

As a result, viewers feel better about their own relationships and more willing to work at them.

Big Picture Questions

Psycho-Pass is a dark Anime that deals with difficult questions. 
But Anime isn't always friendship and schooldays. Some shows consider darker themes about life, death, and morality. 

Once again, Anime approaches these themes differently than other mediums do. 

Whereas modern television becomes preachy when a complex theme is introduced, the emphasis in the Anime shows is proposing questions for the viewer to think critically about.

The characters struggle with the issues, occasionally coming to conclusions that contradict the viewer's own, prompting more discussion.

Characters

Anime character archetypes, courtesy of Mahou Tofo
Anime is full of archetype characters. On the surface level, these seem simple in the extreme, and the female characters often seem stereotyped negatively for fan service. 

However, the presence of archetype characters in the genre allows for the quick introduction of characters to begin the show. Less time is spent of exposition and back story at the beginning.

Instead, the characters are deepened over the course of a show. The viewer knows what to expect from a character initially and learns more about them, growing with them, as the show progresses.

This accomplishes the creation of a deep attachment to characters.

Setting

The Japanese setting of most Anime incorporates mountains, busy cities, rural villages, and the sea. The history of the feudal system provides fodder for interesting commentary on class and politics.

Setting of my favorite dystopian Anime Coppelion 
The sci-fi/fantasy genre is brought to a much more successful realization in Anime art than CGI has yet to accomplish.

Finally, Anime still exhibits a range of colors and color symbolism that has been neglected in other mediums since films were boiled down to blue and orange or made dark to look cool.

Tone

In fact, Anime doesn't care much about "looking cool"  at all. 

The shows in general do not take themselves too seriously, resulting in a range of humor types, art styles, and goofy faces within a single episode.

Conclusion

Anime is entertaining in a way that is more positive than other tv shows available in English. Anime is doing things differently, and young adults especially have been drawn to it as a result. 

Sure, there are more bouncing boobs than in American television, but the messages are more constructive.

Are you an Anime fan? Do this article line up with your own experiences? What Anime shows would you recommend to those interested in trying it out for the first time?


Note: I do not own any of the images here; they are used as examples of my arguments.

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