The Rise Of Animation And The Transition Into Japanese Anime

From incredible imaginary worlds to unique and personable characters, anime gives you anything you could ask for and more.
Caption: WallpaperAccess

When Americans think of cartoons or animated shows, they think of children's television. Shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Tom and Jerry, and Looney Tunes, are what probably come to mind. As children, we grow up watching those shows, but they slowly start to exit our lives once we enter adulthood. Why? Well, because cartoons are considered childish, yet when we look internationally, animation has a very different role.

I'm sure somewhere in your life you have heard of the term, anime. 

Anime is a Japanese style of animated film and television, based on manga, targeted more towards adults. 

In Japan, animated television is very apparent and frequently watched. Ranging from romance to horror to action and adventure. Anime gives you access to anything and everything you could ask for.

In recent years, anime has become very mainstream. The stigma of animated television has vanished. Anime is now normalized, but what changed?

I don't particularly believe anything has changed. Anime has been around for a while now. I just think that people finally gave it a chance and when they did, it surprised them enough to keep watching. 

Below are 10 reasons as to why people started clicking that, next episode button:

Image Source: Variety

1. Incredible Imaginary Worlds

The fact of anime is that it is not real. Disappointing, I know, but it's the truth. Yet, it creates an environment for artists to express their creative talent in whatever shape they deem fits. What that does is push the boundaries of what the world should be, to allow for imaginary environments that you can only dream of living inside. 

From living in a society of uniquely powered pirates, a ninja society, inside of a wall for survival, and even underground, there is no limit to what artists can and have created. This differentiates itself from "real" shows because the world is as we all know. The worlds inside of anime are so unique, crazy, and interesting that you end up picturing yourself living in the world you can only watch in front a screen.

2. Engaging Character Development 

Everyone knows about character development. Whether it's a movie, book, or television show, there is always one character that surprises you in the end. Making a decision you would've never guessed that character would make. Well, in anime it's no different. Dare I say, there's more.

It doesn't matter what anime you watch, the amount of development present in almost every character is astounding. From the coming-of-age, chasing one's dream, underdog beating the odds, and anti-hero turning villain character arcs never cease to amaze the viewers. It is a rollercoaster watching these characters change the way they think and react to their environment. 

The character development alone can carry a show. Whether the plot begins to deteriorate or the show itself was never that interesting, the character development successfully engages viewers and captivates them. Although, you would be hard-pressed to find either or both of those problems arising with anime.

I can speak for myself when I say that I have been immediately pulled into the imaginary world of anime because of a character. I remember one night I decided to start a new anime. I watched the first episode of, "Haikyuu," and 11 episodes later I dreaded the responsibility of having to go to bed. 

3. Very Real Adult Themes Present 

Again, animated television is associated with kids. That preconception is believed because that is what we know and are used to, but slowly being deconstructed as anime becomes more mainstream. The real difference between American and Japanese animation are the themes. American cartoons have silly, comedic themes that kids can enjoy. While on the other hand, Japanese anime presents very real adult themes.

With the amount of anime alive, it would be boring if they all followed similar storylines with similar themes. To differentiate themselves, manga artists incorporate real themes into their stories to captivate their fans. Themes like death, grief, survival, madness, psychological pain, freedom, and murder change the stereotype from being a kids show to keeping kids away from them at all costs. 

Not all anime has intense themes like the ones listed above. Adventure, love, relationships, friendships, overcoming fears, even studying. The list could go on forever. 

The themes present allow mature audiences to resonate with the stories on a more personal level. It doesn't matter if the stories are animated, the fact of the matter is that these imaginary characters are going through real situations. Making it very easy to relate to them, no matter the age.

4. Uniquely Exaggerated Personalities 

Exaggeration is another trope that increases the appeal of anime. Emotion and the characters themselves all portray a certain degree of exaggeration. This lets the characters be even more expressive to define their unique personalities. 

Take, for example, a hot-headed character. That character exists inside of the show, "My Hero Academia." Bakugo is a perfect example of what a hot-headed personality would look like in anime. It is no surprise that he is always screaming, angry, and itching for a fight. His character is based around that personality trope, which makes for very interesting scenes with him present.

Image Source: Youtube

5. Visually Stunning Masterpieces 

When we think of anime, the animation cannot be overlooked.

For an anime to become successful, there are three categories one has to have to meet the standards. Although it is not an exact science, all great anime have incorporated these 3 things, an exciting story, interesting characters, and great animation. Yes, the animation is included. It is that important to a story. 

What good animation does is that it makes an already incredible scene into an even better one. It makes a scene more emotional, exciting, and simply cooler. When done right, animation becomes artistic and it'll have you rewatching just for the design.

Image Source: YouTube

6. The Surprising Relatability

Although the characters are fictional, they portray real feelings and emotions. One's that we feel throughout our own lives. This makes it very easy to relate to the story and characters.

The characters are very well written and are not portrayed as perfect. They have faults. They make mistakes. They even die. Although anime characters are fictional, they portray genuine emotion.

A character grieving over a death, staking their own life over what they believe in, and accomplishing their dreams are all themes that we can relate to or at least understand.

The fictional sense of anime is immediately lost when paying attention to the storyline.  

7. Very Inspirational

Yes, anime is entertaining. I think that if it wasn't, it wouldn't be as popular. The other side of that coin is that it is just as inspirational.

The main theme of anime is to become the best. To be the #1 hero, become the pirate king, and win the national tournament are just a few examples of specific goals in anime. Let's be honest with ourselves, how can you not like that? Having a dream and doing all that you can to accomplish it. I mean, isn't that what we all strive to do? 

I find myself rooting for them before the first episode is finished. After you watch their journey, you now share their feelings and motivation. I would be lying if I told you that I have certain anime characters in mind when I hit the gym. It gives me motivation and inspires me to do what I want. Even after watching the show, the character's journeys stay with me.

8. Introduction Of Japanese Culture 

Western culture is much different from its counterpart, Eastern culture. For the ones who haven't had a chance to visit Japan yet, similar to myself, anime becomes an engine to learn and experience what that culture is like. 

Especially in the slice of life genre of anime, focused on school life, the culture of Japan is shown. The little inserts of the kids having different shoes to wear in school, the polite manner of speaking, and the various mannerisms of the characters give us a little snippet into what life would be like in Japan. 

For someone who has lived in the United States all his life, I can tell you that by watching anime I notice the differences and enjoy seeing how the Japanese culture is portrayed within the shows. 

Image Source: Mage in a Barrel

9. Gut-Wrenching Emotion

As I have already said, anime does an amazing job of getting you invested in the show, whether you like it or not. What happens after that is a roller-coaster ride of emotions. It is surprising how many different feelings can be cycled through inside of a 20-minute long episode. Speaking from experience, more emotion is felt than you would expect. Add on hundreds of more episodes and you only feel them more and more. 

The lives of the characters you watch are rich in emotion. As they feel happy, you share those feelings. After watching them, episode after episode, it gets hard not to feel the same emotion as the characters. The quality of the show makes you invested enough that emotions become a byproduct. 

10. Anime Is Fictional

Simply enough, the fact that anime isn't real becomes a popular motivation to watch. People want to get out of their own lives. Mundane reality become a burden and to avoid that, anime transitions into an escape. 

Watching someone do everything they can to be the wizard king is just more appealing than working every day. I don't care if you like magic or not, the kind that is in anime does not exist on this planet. It's entertaining and allows people to imagine themselves right beside that character. 

That imaginary world is is creative, surprising and different. For many people, that is exactly what they are seeking.

Anime is astounding. You can look back ten, even five, years and it was not as popular as it is now. It is a rapidly expanding industry that is not slowing down anytime soon. It's fun, creative, original and very entertaining. In my opinion I don't think a show needs more than that to be popular, but anime has much more to offer. If you haven't given anime a shot I think you should try it. It will have you wanting more after every episode. 

Hello everyone! My name is Ethan Oilar and I love to write. If you happen to read my articles and enjoy them I would love to hear about it!

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