Although I shared my reasons why I blog about Anime almost two years ago, I never wrote about why I still watch Anime. Since Kai shared his thoughts about why he continues to watch Anime, I became interested in writing about it since it’s a rather diverse medium. (Image Source)
For a long time, I watched Anime since my childhood even though I didn’t watch it consistently until 2009. The first one that I actually watch was one of Hayao Miyazaki’s films titled My Neighbor Totoro. While I don’t realize the serious aspect when I watched it for the first time as a child, this film in particular shows some serious moments with two girls realizing that their mother is ill with the slight possibility of her dying. Eventually, want to go out their way to give an ear of corn with the help of Totoro.
Of course with the example I shared above, this shows that Japanese Anime tends to be deeper compared to cartoons in the west. If you watch any cartoons in America for example, it tends to focus on educational stuff (teaching people not to bully each other), children having a fun time or super heroes beating up bad guys. The problem is that it’s simplistic in nature since companies usually want kids to have parents buy their merchandise. Sure, there are adult cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy, but they suffer from the same problem of simplicity and overused slapstick comedy.
In comparison, Anime not only incorporates several aspects of Japanese culture, but often times have a deeper story that appeal to a wide demographic, not just children. This means that shows that have action will have a lot of uncensored violence. Because of this reason, some shows geared to an older audience might focus on issues that currently exist in society along with some darker moments. For example, Hourou Musuko focuses difficulties of a boy and a girl who wants to be the opposite sex along with societal acceptance of transgendered people. Because of this, I usually find that Anime can handle such a controversial issue in an immersive manner as you can relate to these characters along with the difficulties they face. This is also why drama such as Clannad tends to have more an emotional impact compared to soap opera dramas aired on television.
To me, Anime can relate to past experiences in one’s life. This is because most slice-of-life shows are set around a typical high school student’s life. It allows us to gain a perspective of our past experiences or remember the fond memories. For me, I used to play piano since my childhood and took up Clarinet during 4th grade. I enjoy playing music, although I never majored in it since there is no money in it unless you are really talented. In particular, shows like K-ON, Tari Tari and The Idolmaster (to a certain extent) tends to resonate with me as perfecting a particular piece of music takes a good amount of practice and skill (although I do a wing-job at times and manage to do good). For that reason, I can relate to Wakana when she gets over her unresolved feelings for her mother and deciding to pick up music again because of the effort it takes to perfect it. While I don’t play music on an active basis anymore, deep inside, I still have an interest in it.
Lastly, Anime has an artistic aspect that impresses me compared to Western Animation. While the quality is highly dependent on the studios, the amount of work they put in each frame and the setting is rather impressive. If you watch any shows from Shaft, Kyoto Animation, PA Works, etc, it’s hard not to be captivated by how well they capture the setting. For that reason, this adds to the immersion and escapism aspect and makes it feel that you are actually there, the kind of quality that most western cartoons lack.
Overall, I find Anime as a rich medium because it can focus on serious issues, give different perspectives of life and evoke emotions. Not only that, it’s very diverse as there are many shows that focuses on different genres and topics with endless possibilities not bounded by the laws of physics. While all those reasons make Anime a unique medium, we cannot forget that it’s fun. Just like video games, I want to sit back and enjoy myself after working on schoolwork or studying endlessly. This is why I won’t stop watching or blogging about it anytime soon. ¶