I am making a new section today, and its gonna be called Reflection. In this new segment I will write about topics in anime I feel are interesting, and I am going to rant for days. It will not be about a specific anime or show, but more general ideas about anime and what not.
After going to college for a week, I have been deprived from my usual regime of daily episodes that I have been so accustomed to during the summer. With this craving for anime not being satisfied has left me a bit annoyed all week. Lucky for me the University of Texas at Austin has a cool anime club that watches anime from 7 PM til midnight on Friday nights. When there I met lots of cool people, even those who had already graduated and are still coming back to the club to watch anime. I am talking about people who graduated in the 90s or maybe even earlier. So I was inquiring, what attributes of anime truly make addicting to watch.
Anime is out there. Anime is crazy. And most of all anime is visionary. One of the largest features of anime is the fact that, it is not real. Hell, its a defining feature of almost every facet of storytelling there is, but what differentiates anime from live action movies, T.V. series, or cartoons?
In regards to the animation of every American movie or T.V. show I have ever seen, they are trying to make it more realistic, while anime takes a artistic approach. This stark contrast in styles, allows anime to get ahead through comparison. Whenever watching a live action movie, you compare the images, to what you would see in real life, because they are trying to get to the point where it looks just as vivid as looking outside. The beautiful world outside the door (the door I should go out of more often) raises the bar too high, and reduces the satisfaction of watching. Though Movies can master depicting scenes such as Super Man flying, or Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix. But a mountain view in the background will never be as stunning as seeing the real thing.
The reverse is true for cartoons. With their exaggerated artwork with funny faces, they can never become any greater in that regard. They could improve their characters wit and dialogue, but a defining element of cartoons is the plain art. Let Makoto Shinkai’s works, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and Garden of Words be an example. The backgrounds were amazing in 5 Cm Per Second, and left me in awe, but when I watched Garden of Words, I was stunned yet again. Anime will never stop improving in regard to animation, because of its unrealistic and artistic approach, causing us to always be craving for the next big thing.
Have you ever watched something, and say, ‘Wow I want to be like that.’? There are many “Perfect” characters in anime. Not perfect in the sense that they are the most entertaining to watch, and my favorite character, but “Perfect” characters from a moral standpoint. This is especially used in anime directed at younger audiences. Characters such as Tsubasa from Captain Tsubasa, Naruto, and Kamina from Gurren Lagann. These characters is what I consider morally “perfect” characters.
They never give up, always do what they think is the right thing, and care for their friends. They are unrealistic in that they never pick the wrong option, and because of that they inspire us to be like them. To never give up. To keep trying even when knocked down. But this inspiration is not only limited to how we are morally, but what we love to do. Just go to youtube and type best AMV in the search bar. All of those people that made those videos were motivated by anime they watched to create something incredible.
We have all seen that anime scene, where we watched it and went WTF, but someone somewhere enjoyed it. Unless you are one of those pricks who try to act like they hate everything, there is an anime someplace that will suit your tastes. Anime encompasses every single genre of story known to mankind, and probably many genres were made especially for anime (I am looking at you moe). This specialization allows them to target certain audiences, such as children. Children are impressionable and easy to rope in. Because of how anime has something for everyone, you can grow up just watching anime appropriate for your age or maturity level, transforming you into a die hard fan later in life.
Entertaining at Face Value with Depth
I believe this to be the strongest point of anime, and why it has such a huge fan base. Have you ever been sitting in an English class reading literature, and completely bored out of your mind? Well I have, and its not because the literature is boring. It is because the interesting content of the literature is too hard to understand, and takes too much time to get any enjoyment. True masterpieces have to delight you the first time, and every time thereafter. To be able to do this while still having many complex themes that provoke thought, you must be able to be entertained without any past knowledge. After the ecstasy that was the first watch of the series, you decide to watch it again and discover the elaborate themes of loss, separation, love, etc. and appreciate the show even more. This continues on as you find something new each time.
Tying together art, story telling, animation, music, and writing it creates its own unique formula. Appealing to 3 of the 5 senses directly and the other 2 indirectly, its easily understandable to be a preferred method of entertainment over books, and I have explained why its more addictive than movies / T.V. series. Am I an anime addict? Yes, but I blame anime for its addictive features. So my lesson to you who all just started getting into anime. If you like money, good grades, or having a life, make sure to keep it in moderation. If you do not care too much about those three then come join the club of anime addicts. Most of us are quite nice.
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