When we watch Anime, there is always has a degree of escapism depending on the show and its setting. From creative plots and nice scenery, each show invokes a different feeling. But, how do they evoke different feelings in their stories? Also, how feelings affect the person’s ability to watch certain kinds of show? (Image Source)
What Kind of Emotions are in Anime and How they are conveyed?
As humans, we are capable of expressing various kinds of emotions depending on the situation. For instance, we feel fatigued when we have to write a term paper. We laugh when someone tells a funny joke. We cry when something bad happens. We cheer when somebody wins. Anime is the same way too since the characters in the show are humans too. On the other hand, the story also sets the mood too. What ways does story writers implement emotion into their stories? I will share three ways of how the emotions in lighthearted and dark anime is conveyed
While comedies usually give a light-hearted feeling to its audience, writers have mixed drama and comedy in their stories. The reason the writers do this is because they want to take a realistic approach since life is not consistent. In my opinion, I think this kind story is believable to the point where I start feeling sympathetic towards a particular character from the troubles he or she faces. For example, in Clannad After Story, there are some comedic moments such as Fuuko wanting to take Ushio home and drama in new episodes later when Ushio’s disease comes back and Tomoya tries to save her.
However, it can be difficult to successfully streamline drama and comedy in the story without it becoming too out-of-place with the overall feeling. For instance, Chuunibyou tried to mix drama with Rikka becoming a normal girl so she can get along with her mother, but it left a bad after taste with some viewers. The same will happen if you insert comedy in shows like Fate/zero. If it actually happened, it would lose its serious and tragic feeling of the story.
On the other side of the spectrum, which I covered about two years ago, Iyasashikei is basically a healing series that is focused on the happy moments in life. These types of stories are mostly slice of life shows that have a degree of escapism through its setting and has a mostly a lighthearted premise with some to very little drama. The end result is the smoothing feeling you get after watching a particular episode. Some examples of these kinds of shows are K-ON, Aria, Ikoku Meiro No Croisee, Haibane Renmei and Tamayura.
While some people criticize these shows as “cute girls doing cute things” since most Iyasashikei shows features more female characters opposed to males, they still have substance as they focus on the little things in life such as friendship. However, this doesn’t mean that Iyasashikei is not completely devoid of drama since there are a few moments of sadness such as the flashback episode depicting the eventual separation of Camile and Jean because of their class differences in Ikoku Meiro No Croisee. Still, Iyasashikei mostly has a lighthearted feeling that can make the viewer feel better thanks to its escapism and its emphasis on characters and the setting.
Lastly, there is drama. There are different types of drama such as sadness and despair, which can be depicted in many ways, but I’m focusing on two: melodrama and tragedy. Melodrama is a very emotional kind of drama that builds up emotions to the eventual sad or happy ending. Probably a good example of this is Ano Hana, which a group of friends during their childhood drift apart as a close friend dies and years later, try to reunite to remember something. On the other hand, there is tragedy, which doesn’t have a happy ending besides a depressing one. Gen Urobutchi’s works such as Madoka, Fate/zero and Saya no Uta where most of the story is dark and edgy with lots of character deaths and deconstruction. Regardless of how sad or depressing these shows may be, I think the gloominess can make us stronger as we can deal with problems and sad moments better in real life as they happen.
Do emotions in Real Life impact one’s willingness to watch certain shows?
While any type of media allows a degree of escapism, some shows can be awkward to watch or make someone fall into a deeper depression depending on how one feels. For instance, people can feel worse if they are depressed and watch something dark or in some cases, something happy. Personally, I will watch anything regardless of how light or dark the show because I don’t want to fall behind. However, there are a few shows that I can’t marathon such as Ano Hana since the show is filled with a lot of melancholic moments. Because of this, I have to wait awhile before watching another episode compared to something happy, which I have an easier time watching through. Despite this, people’s handling of dark shows will mostly depend on their personality and one’s ability to cope with tragedy.
While there are more feelings I can touch upon, both light and dark moods can have an impact on how he/she views life and ability to cope with problems. Negative feelings can make a dark show less enjoyable for some opposed to light-hearted ones. At the same time, watching depressing shows can cheer someone up and make them stronger. Sometimes, waiting might be a good idea so one can feel ready to watch something depressing or happy. The bottom line is that media of any kind, not just Anime can leave an everlasting impression on us and allow us to have a better outlook in life based on the hardship and the cheerful moments the characters experience in a particular story.
With that, I leave some questions to discuss about: How does Anime emotionally impact you? Does it have a negative impact when you feel bad or you wait when you feel better? Lastly what shows left an emotional impression on you?