Why I got into Anime (not just fangirl-ing, promise.)

I wrote my last post on Sunday, and the blog site says it was Monday, my sister asked if I learned time travel…

Yeah, no, maybe it’s a zoning thing?

I think maybe a more lighthearted post after all the serious stuff would be nice, so I thought I’d talk about why I got into anime.

Contrary to the norm, I only got into anime in the last year, and the last 6 months or so of that year is when I got into watching more than a select few.

I have friends who like it who encouraged me to check out more after I got into RWBY, and my sister eventually talked me into watching My Hero Academia, and since that blew my mind, I tried Cells at Work, The Great Passage, The Quintessential Quintuplets, Toradora, Kaguya-Sama: Love is War, Konosuba (not recommending that one), Tsuredure Children (cute one), The Rising of the Shield Hero (really good), Naruto, and now Fairy Tail, I’m still working on the last two. I prefer Fairy Tail, but both are good in a different way.

I also finally watched Avatar on my other sister’s persuasion, and enjoyed that, though I liked RWBY more, but avatar is really well-paced.

My absolute favorite is still MHA, I don’t think that will change unless the unthinkable horror of the show drastically changing its tone happens in the future. I mean, I know season 4 will be dark, but I know plenty of light and funny things that are also going to happen. And best boy Bakugo will be part of them.

Don’t fight me if you watch it and prefer Todoroki, he’s my second favorite. And really, I almost couldn’t choose. If you asked me which I’d rather see in an arc, I’d quote that vine where the girl says in Spanish “Why can’t I have both?”

And best girl Momo too, still waiting for the three of them to all work together, and if you think it’d be boring, watch the Jump-fest OVA, and it’ll blow your mind.

But, hey, if you don’t watch anime, that’s fine. I refused– well to be accurate, I just didn’t know it was a big thing–for years.

I watched Ponyo back in gradeschool, and one episode of Dragon Ball (Z, I think) without really getting it. Maybe Yugio once too. I’m not sure what it was.

See, my mom wouldn’t let me watch TV unless it was at someone else’s house, or unless it was the wholesome kids channels. I don’t have any hate for that, since if I had watched anime as a kid it would have been way too intense for me. I think now is the perfect time in my life to appreciate it.

Anyone who thinks anime is for kids has not watched any of the popular ones, Naruto is supposedly a kid’s show, though maybe the fans wouldn’t say so, and I’m two seasons in, I would not show this to a kid under 12 at least.

I’m not going to shame people for not liking anime, the format is weird. I find it charmingly weird, now that I’m used to it, but it took at least the first season of mha for me to get used to it. And MHA is a little lighter on the tropes than other ones, because it’s supposed to appeal to more people, I think.

Also the pacing in many anime is strange, even if you’re fine with the yelling. The humor is just as much visual as verbal. I have never liked visual humor all that much. In all honesty, I don’t laugh a lot at most of it. And sometimes an arc can take, no joke, 8-10 episodes to set up, and 2 episodes to finish. The movies are better for that.

All this is reason enough to frustrate some people, I couldn’t blame them.

But I also understand why it’s such a huge craze now.

I’ve spent most of my life frustrated by the messages TV and movies in America send to kids and adults alike.

I don’t like how idiocy is portrayed as funny, cruelty is portrayed as funny, and often as not, a show has no real point besides cheap gags, and character stereotypes that the writers seem to assume are funny to the masses.

I guess it works. From what I hear with the people around me, they pick which shows they will ignore the bad stuff with, and which shoes they will criticize, based on a few superficial differences.

You like vampires? Then you ignore how stupid the movies and shows are. You like zombies? Ditto. You like both, then sure, but if the same problems show up on a show with normal teenagers, then you can hate on that.

Anime still has its problems with stereotypes. People who have been watching it for years find it more annoying than me because it’s all still a novelty to me, I’m already sick of harems, the pervy characters, the fan service, and…well dragging out romances and never just letting it happen.

But to the accusation that all anime is light porn, or hentai, if you’re into the lingo, I would respond that shows in america show people having sex on camera, stabbing each other, and being creepy, and it’s not animated, it’s real people, and often teenagers.

The amount of anime that actually show sex or anything coming of the innuendos are very few compared to the ones that just tease it.

I don’t mean that I think it’s right, but I at least don’t get as bothered by it as I do by seeing real people do it like it’s nothing.

You have to pick and choose too.

What outweighs the negative stuff, in my opinion, is that anime do not hesitate to tackle moral issues, and often heavy ones.

Contrary to America, the favorite message, form rom-com anime to shonen (action) anime is that hatred is bad for you, and that you have to be willing to forgive, and to forgive yourself.

Anime combines this with an holy respect for sometimes needing to deal severely with the person who hurt you. Or to have your friends help you deal with it.

And the message usually concludes with the need to move forward, and letting love back into your life.

Anime is as full of lonely characters as most media is, and they are often  stereotypes. But the stereotype includes good qualities. Cold characters learn to care, rougher characters can have a heart of gold, meek characters learn courage, and the protagonists are often extremely noble and kind.

The villains are quite awful, even in the non-shonen type ones, but often they are redeemed even so.

Friendship and love are often the answer, the overwhelming power, even on the lighthearted shows.

And no matter how lighthearted it is, I’ve yet to see an anime that did not tackle the deep things in life.

You can’t go 4 episodes into most of them without it, you can go whole seasons of our shows without any significant change in tone or characters.

Say what you will about people just watching it for the action, action without conviction is empty and boring and wouldn’t be any different form watching sports. People get hyped over the anime battles where the hero confronts their demons and wins.

Basically, it’s the kind of stuff I’ve always wished existed, and I only just now found out it did.

Admittedly, I watch it probably more than I should—said every fan ever–yet, I actually don’t feel guilty, because it’s just that good. It encourages me to face the real world bravely.

Not because I think it’s real, but because I think it’s right. Real or no, the messages of overcoming your problems and not letting the darkness get to you and helping your friends, those are important things. No matter who’s saying it.

In fact, Fairy Tail goes even further with that idea, by making slightly pervy, crazy, or dumb characters often be the ones to spout the deepest truths. The idea being that even with our besetting sins, we are still capable of understand profound things, and everyone has something to offer, even if most of the time they are a jerk.

(Sadly, that means I can’t count Mineta out yet, MHA fans, sorry, but with this writer…you know it’ll happen.)

Anyway, so that’s, in a nutshell, why I’ve come to appreciate this genre. and why I’ve turned into a weeabo, or maybe an otaku, or maybe both…whatever I am, learning all the Japanese words is fun for a language buff like me, so

Arigato, until next time–Natasha.

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