Is Anime for you?

A ton of 90’s babies can recall shows such as Sailor Moon, Card captors, Transformers, InuYasha, Dragon Ball and many more. But what they might not recall is that they were having their first tastes of anime.

The word “anime” is the shortened version of the Japanese word animēshon which means just as it sounds; animation. The word was shortened to anime in the 80’s and in Japan the term is used to describe all formats of animation around the world, while when used in a Western setting it is specifically tied to Japanese animation.


The first production of anime was called Instant History, also known as the Otogi Manga Calendar. The black and white series aired from 1961 – 1964 and featured 3 minute shorts that comprised of film footage, animation and stills taken from the research archives of Mainichi Shinbun. Within the same time period Astro Boy, or the Mighty Atom as the original Japanese title, was also aired and became the first widely popular anime.

However, when bringing up the idea of watching an anime series many people tend to think that anime is just cartoons for kids. But the likes of Archer and Family Guy on American television both prove that animated series can be designed for adult audiences.

With visually stunning art work, low threat of cancellation, online viewing being generally free and story lines filled to the rim with intense and emotional plots and character schemes; anime is something that can be enjoyed by anyone.

You might also vaguely remember movies too such as Princess Mononoke, Howls Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away and so many more as each are credited to Studio Ghibli.

The studio itself became an entity outside of Hollywood as an incredibly successful production company. Their biggest success was tied to the production of Spirited Away in 2001, as the feature written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki became the highest grossing film ever to be released in Japan by raking in $200 million before opening in the USA. It was also the only anime film ever to win an Academy Award for best Animated Feature, and the only non-English language film ever to win it. Just to add another tidbit of information; Miyazaki created the plot without a story line as he works without finishing any of the story lines for all of his films.

Although this method is partially unique to Studio Ghhibli, creating an interesting plot with interesting characters can be seen in nearly all anime.

Within American television and animation the story is nearly always the same; a protagonist defeats an antagonist and rescues a damsel in distress to find love by the end of the story. But within anime series such as One Punch Man, Cross Ange and Attack on Titan – that type of plot structure just doesn’t compare. Not even an American soap opera could touch the surface of the complexity tied into some of the longer running anime like Naruto.

Another misconception about anime is that everything looks the same; characters are drawn with big eyes and long limbs, and might have funky coloured hair.

But the concept of giving anime characters their large eyes has nothing to do with American beauty standards differing from Japanese ones, but more that the eyes are capable of displaying emotion much clearer than facial expression alone. Many times within the Naruto series, viewers are greeted by the interactions between Sasuke and Sakura – many times Susukes eyes will appear in shadow, which is a known method that anime characters use to conceal emotion. If the eyes weren’t so important to emotional expression, they wouldn’t hide them.

As well, on the long or short journey of watching an anime series it is very easy to become attached to the characters in an emotional way. The characters tend to live normally and do everyday things with everyday nuances whether they are heroes with super natural abilities or not. Just as enjoying a cup of coffee for Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul was satisfying just by simply knowing that ghouls too, enjoy their taste buds. To add to that, when watching anime characters it is very easy to get lost in their lives because they are as generic as they are unique.

When watching films with big Hollywood stars, it never leaves your mind that you’re aware that you’re watching a Hollywood star acting. But when watching an anime series, the characters could be anyone and thus become easier to relate to and connect with because the idea that they are acting is nonexistent. The characters become their own entities and within anime it is very easy for their stories to coincide with other characters but also be a part of the unknown.

So if you think anime might be something you’d like to check out; Some of the top favourites include: Death Note for psychological thriller fans, Sword Art Online for gamers, Vampire Knight for romance lovers, Blue Exorcist for fantasy freaks, and Blood C or Attack on Titan for R-rated gore fans for starters.

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