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I thought of writing a complicated long post about this. This is my most frustrating hobby because it’s a lonely one. It’s about as nerdy as you can get, I’ve out-nerded anyone out the gate with this one. I’ve watched so few shows as either I’m reading a lot of books or watching a lot of anime. I’m so into this that I‘ve even written about anime when I was in grad-school before, using it to illustrate Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and Edward Hall’s ideas of high context vs low context cultures!
It’s a lonely hobby because it’s impossible to talk about without guaranteed visible or inner eye rolls. But it’s the one genre that I can find just the perfect thing for any mood or for any vibe. Yes there is a lot of weird, odd stuff, but there’s also a lot of weird, odd “real” stuff on Netflix and regular TV too!
Just please, my only request is stop calling it “cartoons!”, that really winds me up.
This post will have a lot of showing. What many people don’t know about anime is that Anime _______________________
_____literally inspires hollywood….
Matrix? Inspired by Ghost in Shell. Black Swan? Inspired by Perfect Blue. etc.
…it does romance really well
I go emo and sentimental off of anime a lot.
Like when scientists Okabe and Kurisu in the series Steins Gate share their first kiss like relatable, real people. It’s not even a romance show, but it does it well. I cannot watch normal romance movies or do romance music, but I eat up stuff like this:
…it can be a real mindfuck
Like in Death Note when you think you have a handle on the characters and what’s going on, and they turn all preconceived notions of protagonist and antagonist on it’s head. Death Note is a story about someone given the power to kill by writing the persons name in a specific notebook. He decides to start killing criminals…
…it is often surprisingly emotional
Like in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (FMA, available on Netflix), a journey that’s every bit as epic as Game of Thrones.
…it can be intellectually challenging
It’s frustrating to be an anime fan because people think “cartoons”, but really sometimes it gets deep into philosophy, psychology and sociology. Like Psycho Pass, which is about a society with the technology to predict criminal behavior before it happens.
…it teaches you about the real world
Like in The Wind Rises, a story based on the life of the Japanese architect that designed the planes that ominously became part of Japan’s war fleet during the World Wars. Other shows teach you what it’s really like to live on a farm (Silver Spoon) or principles of microeconomics through amazingly witty banter (Spice and Wolf) or even how blood cells work (Cells at Work).
…it deconstructs fiction genres
Never ever ever judge an anime by how it looks. If ever appearances were deceiving. It gives you the other side of how you think things are Dark Mirror style. Deconstruction takes established tropes of a genre, and portrays them in a very, very real way. Like Madoka Girls Magica, which takes the common idea of superpower girls (think Sailor Moon) and turns it upside down. Or Made in the Abyss that takes the idea of your old-school type RPGs, where “levels” get tougher and actually shows what it would be like to live in such a world.
…it has incredible action sequences
…it has memorable soundtracks
Often in anime, real bands will be brought in for rock ballads. The music is often a big part of the mood in terms of story, or the budget in terms of production. You will have an actual actual composer paying meticulous attention to the soundtracks, sometimes actual orchestras are brought in. Some of the best orchestra and classical is from anime.
…it can be a Beautiful Visual Treat
Lush, colorful natural or urban landscapes
…it can be Soul Food
Slice of life. Good for your soul. It is just so heartwarming sometimes, best way to go to bed.
Like how it often has shows of people just doing mundane, ordinary things. There’s no overarching villain or plot as such. Just chill vibes.