Before some of you jump at me, I’m not saying that anything I’m about to discuss is fact or even true. I simply read a thesis that put forth a couple of theories about the rise of anime popularity and how to interpret that in a social context which I thought was interesting. It was in print and I’ve been trying to find an online version. (I read these things for work..). If I find the link I’ll update this post.First let’s get some proper context. The paper was actually discussing modern isolation and how social media and the rise of the digital work may have affected our interpersonal relationships. Anime was just briefly mentioned but since I never get to read about anime in important serious papers like this, I got super excited and it’s the only part I remember now. This is probably not a good thing.

I’ll try to sum up that part in a way that makes sense. Hopefully I won’t mangle the original premise too badly. The idea was that as parts of society start to get more and more absorbed by clearly unrealistic depictions of the world, we are slowly losing touch with what can be reasonably expected in any given situation.

anime crazy hair
nothing unusual here

The examples for those clearly unrealistic depictions of the world, were online games and anime, both of which boost impressive and very dedicated followings. Just to be clear, unrealistic depiction of the world here doesn’t mean necessarily “our” world or realistic in the sense of non-fiction. The point was more that certain people (not many but it may be increasing) spend more time with characters that aren’t even played by human actors than with other people around them. Even a very realistic and relatable slice of life anime, is populated with character designs that don’t exist in the real world. We have heard for years how television and movies give us unrealistic expectations, well crank that up to 100 for anime.

The paper wasn’t suggesting that constant and continuous anime watching will give someone body issues or make them think they can die to reincarnate in their favourite game or something of the sort. It was just putting the practice as one more tiny drop in all the elements that contribute to modern or digital isolation and whether spending so much time relating to characters that usually do not act or even look all that human, can weaken our ability to relate to average everyday people?

Again don’t boo me. There were some figures given to support the ideas that the answer is yes. Mostly in brain function differentials. But I found the data to be less than credible as the methods used were fairly flimsy (i.e. how an “average” person’s brain reacts to hearing a recording of their lover’s voice vs how a person who spends 20hrs a week or more in online games, that sort of thing. There are way too many variables to consider like what is the current status of their relationship, hormonal levels, state of arousal ect… and the sample sizes were way too small). So for now, I’m going to ignore that data, which was properly disclaimed as very preliminary and non conclusive, and simply look at the question as a purely theoretical thought experiment.

nothing ever goes wrong with experiments

I’m not the best person for this as I am probably one of the few people that anime has made more sociable and empathetic. I have very little patience for sentimentality so really the only way I could stick around listening to people discuss their feeeeelings in detail was if I had pretty pictures to look at. I have gotten much better at it now and can even enjoy a live action drama. That’s thanks to anime. But I figure that’s not the average experience. So let’s try to figure out the component of this argument.

Why would watching copious amounts of anime make it more difficult to relate to people around us. Well it’s true that anime characters (like most fictional ones) don’t necessarily act or react in ways you and I would. Anime is especially fond of tropes, and quite a few of these tropes are born of Eastern culture which doesn’t always translate so well, even as parody, in Western countries. What I mean is that is a trope is a gross exaggeration of a common habit or occurrence in one place. The the audience from that one place will in most cases take it in differently than an audience that doesn’t have the foundation for it and just sees it as a crazy or absurd element. And even when you intellectually know the basis, it’s still a different impact.

So I could see how living alongside these tropes can sort of divide your social awareness. I do occasional get surprised by how direct and blunt people can be when I never even noticed before and tend to be rather blunt myself.

And of course there is the visual element as well.

some are realistic

Now I’m tempted to say that this is nonsense. We have had paintings and just idealized representations of people for ever and somehow we still came together as a group. But I do have some anecdotal evidence and I’ll even let you in on an embarrassing personal admission.

For the anecdotal side, I am seeing more and more people say stuff like real (boys/girls) just can’t compare to 2d ones. I have even had someone in my comments explain to me that anime girls were perfect cause they stayed innocent and optimistic whereas real girls got bitter as they grew older. And yeah, I guess if you expect people to never age and only have a vague happiness as their entire emotional range, then that’s going to make it real hard to find someone to get along with.

However, for the most part I consider these statement hyperbole. I think some people might mean them at the time but those convictions usually don’t hold up when you meet someone that strikes your fancy and then it’s all about that very real person (who you’ve build up in your head into someone only slightly resembling the real thing but that’s the magic of crushes!)

pretty pink hair
I got no smart comment, just thought she was pretty

And this is where I would leave it if it weren’t for my own experience. For those of you who don’t now, I am in a steady relationship and have been for quite some time. I find my partner very attractive and wouldn’t trade them for a 2d version…I don’t think… I’m also human and in the very many years we’ve been together, I have found other people attractive. Not as in I want to redo my life and be with that other person but as in, my this is a wonderful specimen of a human being, let me stare a bit from this safe distance and maybe share this experience with my better half. Personally I think that’s healthy and so does my partner.

But that sort of thing hasn’t happened in a while. Or at least, it’s been happening a lot less often since I started this blog. I will go around enthusiastically showing off fan art of my favourite characters. or even just of anime looking character I don’t even know but like the design, but I hardly notice anyone’s looks outside my relationship. And it’s not like my hormones are too blame, if anything they are going the other way. But at some point, my visual interest gravitated towards anime aesthetics. It’s not to the point that I think real life can’t compare to 2d or anything like that. I’m the annoying sort of person who happens to think the world is breathtakingly beautiful and so are many people in it. But there has been a shift in my interests and perceptions which I simply can’t deny. And I’m pretty sure that shift would go back if I started watching tons of live action instead.

So where do I stand. Can anime contribute to alienation? Here’s my feeling but I have no proof. If a person is looking for a way to escape reality or at least a part of it, anime (and video games) provide a very efficient way to do so and really remove the person from reality more than a lot of other mediums would. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A person looking for that escape probably isn’t in a state where they are ready to properly engage with others and a little reality holiday might actually do them good. Of course everything in moderation and all that. It can get harmful but I don’t think it necessarily will. On the other hand, if a person is happy and fulfilled in their life, I doubt anime will have much impact beyond occasionally ogling drawings and that may be better than objectifying real people…

Do you have any thoughts on this? Where do you stand?

Rini 3 (9)

102 thoughts

  1. “I guess if you expect people to… only have a vague happiness as their entire emotional range”
    Well that’s disingenuous. That’s not why some guys have a strong preference for 2d characters. Though maybe the actual reason is hard to grasp for a woman.

    With 2d girls, their relationships aren’t mercantile. There’s none of the manipulation, deception, inflated self-value, moodiness, or attention-seeking. Some archetypes, like kuudere characters, have 0 resemblance to real life women.

  2. You know, this is up there with playing violent video games causes kids to run out and steal cars and shoot police. Only if they were the kind of kid to go steal cars and kill police already.

    Every time I watch the news these days, and listen to some of the hype and bullshit so-called new services are putting out here in the U.S.A., I wonder how anyone who seriously believes Fox or CNN reports reality dares to criticise the reality of anime or games. If you read Facebook or Instagram and think THAT is reality – you may as well believe Isekai anime is real, too.

    None of our media has any relationship to the real world now. May as well watch anime.

    Yeah, I’m sitting in the waiting room at the clinic with CNN running constantly as I write this. 😛

    1. Maybe. I personally don’t know. I do think it’s interesting that all the most popular media has shifted into a much more fantasy or magical realism realm (the biggest movies, the most popular shows as well as anime and games) and away from actual realism or relatability, in the past decade or so. I wonder if it means anything.

      1. We can’t stand the real world anymore? No, that can’t be true. I kind of like all the fantasy now. I remember when there was almost none – maybe some hard scifi. And if you read any scifi or fantasy you were WEIRD. I guess that hasn’t entirely changed…

  3. I’m curious about all those anthropological/sociological coronavirus studies now – if any got published, they might prove your point, because obviously the more lockdown crawls on, the more divorced from reality people might become…

    (I understand what you’re saying with this post, but just as someone who hasn’t done much anthropology or psychology (and even when I did, it was in tandem with other stuff), I don’t know if I have the words to explain what I think without the conversation spiralling out of control like it has in this comment section already or repeating what has been said already. The only idea I have is that the extent of alienation will depend on the person, society they live in and other extenuating factors.)

    1. I’m also grasping for the proper way to get my thoughts across. It is nice to get a conversation out of it in any case.

  4. I’m deep in the closet when it comes to my “thing” for 2d girls and online i’m pretty open about my interest in “ahem” “cultured stuff” and the only people irl who know i’m a total otaku and into playing Japanese games to these days listening to Anime music like Faylan and Egoist to spending money on importing stuff from Japan would have to be my parents. In fact their the only people i ever speak to in IRL because i’m really super anti social offline.
    Me i’m just not at all never have never will be for real life romance or attraction at all to anybody i’m just perfectly content with myself and i have the lack of FOMO from normie stuff and i just couldn’t be bothered at all if someone was to insult me for my hobbies.
    One of the biggest reasons why i’m so into anime and gaming is because to put it bluntly the world is an absolute fucking cancerous shithole and everyone you could meet could be the last person you’ll ever see in real life because the last emotion you could feel in life is terrifeid after that agressor does god knows what to the victim and because of how current events are so tiring,stressful and exhausting emotionally and physically i don’t bother pay attention to any current events at all because of how it doesn’t affect me.
    But overall i’m just perfectly content with my life and i wouldn’t change a single bit of it and i’ve actually done way better than any of my peers in school ever did drug junkies,alcholics and sex addicted the lot of them.

    1. If this does come off as pessimistic and cynical well thats because i’m just naturally that kind of person and couple that with a few black pills and being an anti sjw since 2014 and being involved in some pretty heated shit online with filthy western baka gaijin cancer trash sjws from Resetera thats infiltrating places like Siliconera and Gematsu i’ve been feeling realy jaded and annoyed as of late.

      1. I didn’t understand most of what you said in the last post… only because I’d need to Google the meanings of most of the acronyns and places(?) you mentioned.

        The world is a pretty scary place right now- there are so many unknowns out there, and the way many people are dealing with that is to tear each other apart.
        I think in this kind of situation, being vulnerable to other people can be terrifying.

        I’m glad that you posted as someone who genuinely does prefer manga girls, only because I haven’t met someone who truly felt that way. I’m not always that great about reading people irl and in the virtual world it can be difficult for me to read between the lines.

        So when someone says they prefer 2D girls, I am not sure if it is a joke, a pickup line or if they are serious.

        You are obviously serious about it, so I was wondering if you could elaborate more about why you like 2D girls more?

        I am kind of an oddball, or maybe I am average and just imagine myself to be so, but for the longest time, I never found anyone attractive like that except for David Bowie as the Goblin King from Labyrinth.

        I didn’t watch it until I was in my midteens, and I didn’t feel any different about it unil recent years. Which is strange, because if I met someone like him in real life, I would have the opposite feeling of attraction.
        Irl, I have gotten whiplash from the noticing guys who do things like helping elderly ladies across the street.

        Ok, yeah, he was the one-in-a-gazillion Ziggy Stardust Bowie, so I will give myself that…. and that voice…
        Hmmm, ok so maybe I would still find aspects of him attractive, but cruelty, stalking, and kidnapping?! Yeah, naw, I don’t think so.

        Annnnnd once again, I have made this all about myself. 🙄

        Ah, since I am aready talking about me, yeah I was surprised to find myself attracted to guys for the first time while studying abroad a few years back.
        Maybe it is because I watch a lot of Korean and Japanese dramas, or maybe it was because guys in Italy are so aggressive, whatever the reasons, I actually did 180 degree turns on a few occasions for guys who left me alone yet did minor things like made way for me on the street, or helped an elderly woman.

        It was so lovely not to be catcalled at or groped, I had to force myself to continue going about my way…. a totally new sensation for me. Each time they were stunning and they were Asian. I am sorry, but I honestly cannot tell you if they were Taiwanese, Chinese or Korean, etc. since I cannot even always tell the difference between Samoan and Tongan (which is a minor crime, since I am a mix of Samoan myself).
        Almost all of the Japanese guys I met were traveling in groups, so I was pretty sure not Japanese though.

        One of my friends claimed that I had a preference for Korean guys, and that is a possibility, but I am not sure if it was just that the only men who treated me with respect but at a distance happened to be gorgeous and Asian. Or if I only noticed because it was rhe other way around…

        It’s awkward discussing things like this irl, but I appreciate online forums to actually put these thoughts into words.

        OK, I’m done talking now. Hah!
        I really am curious though as to what you think about 2D girls though. Thanks!

        1. I’m with you on the guys being way too aggressive. I particularly dislike when some guy I’ve never talked to gets mad at me for not liking them back…

          1. Agreed! I am not sure why some people believe that affection can be forced or bribed. No one wants to be controlled.

            I end up avoiding because I don’t want to hurt other’s feelings and because I end up getting resentful.

            Resentful because no, I don’t think I am all that.and I am.accused of being that way when I never asked for this. Resentful because my feelings and words aren’t valued- I really meant no. I don’t enjoy tormenting people, and I have always steered clear of all mind or emotional games.

            And resentful because I am supposed to be grateful and flattered when I am groped or called things that makes me feel degraded and like I am less than human.

            I do need to learn how to be mature and graceful in my interactions, this is true, but I still say this kind of behavior on the other side is so wrong.

            It is the worst when it is someone that I thought was at least a friendly acquaintance or a friend advances like this. I dropped my guard to let them close, and it is so difficult to know how to proceed without causing any further damage.

            I end up avoiding people, which is not good and totally immature. I am not sure how to do this properly.
            Irina, how do you deal with this?

            1. Well honestly Canada is a lot better than a lot of places in this regard. People are pretty respectful and there isn’t very crowded. With time I ended up just sort of trying to be honest. You know just tell the guy you’re making me a bit uncomfortable or something and try to have a conversation. It works sometimes but not all the time…

            2. Irina,
              Thanks for this. It seems like common sense, but yet it is something that has left me angry with the other person as well as myself for not dealing with it.
              It rarely happens where I live, so I feel like a deer in headlights when I travel. XD
              I will take your advice though- but of course, read the situation first. Thanks!

        2. To answer question theres multiple reasons why me and many otakus like 2d girls over real life 3d ones.
          -Their fun to be around
          -They don’t nag and constantly hound you like 3d ones.
          -They also look cute
          -They are always friendly,kind and always happy to be around you and always in a good mood.

          So its pretty easy to see why me and many others really don’t bother at all with 3d women.

          1. Thanks for taking the time to reply!

            Heheh… you know, a lot of the things you say are the things I get self concious about too.

            Wondering if I talk too much, or am annoying…
            That fear of what if this person won’t like me anymore because I might gain weight, or start looking older, or because I am in a foul mood for no reason today…. or even just too random.

            I don’t think that all girls have these traits, but I am certainly guilty of all of these things- and this is even just in dealing with family.

            I can see your reasons why a 2D girl would be preferable, since they are like returning to a favourite book, or a safe haven that you can return to and will always be welcome.

            I know alot of girls who I think have always looked cute or drop dead gorgeous, even when they think they are less than that, and are incredibly kind.
            But I haven’t met any girl that has never experienced down days or has never been in a foul mood before.

            I was going through your list and thinking of all the girls and women I knew, many of them fit the same descriptions you gave of the ideal 2D woman, but I can’t think of any that fits the last one.

            Thanks for taking the time to write out your reasons.

          1. Hahah! Agreed!
            I wish that he and Freddy Mercury could have created more music- their voices are one of the most incredibe that has existed.

            I prefer the music he made in the 80s, because of the ranges of his voice- a lot of low tones. So lovely.

            I am also a huge fan of Muse and My Chemical Romance- they have certain elwments that reflects Queen. I am so jealous of all the people that have made it to any of these concerts.

        1. Thanks again for taking the time to hearing out my thoughts on the subject matter and giving a good response to it. Instead of labeling me. 🙂

          1. You sound a bit hurt but I bet you can get out of it. Although it’s a bit sad to hear you think so poorly of me and my gender.

            1. I’ve got female otaku friends online and i don’t think anything less of them because of their gender its because we both treat each other as equals and still get along just fine if we do have disagreements. And i hold no kind of ill will to you at all and in fact i find you to be one of the most easy going and cheerful person online.
              To be honest since covid-19 started i found myself stuck in a really deep rut where i’m really constantly annoyed and bitter all the time and these i can’t find myself enjoying my hobbies as much as i used to now because my depression and anxiety issues growing lately and i’m just feeling constantly tired and very ranty as of late. And maybe just maybe talking to you could help me improve my attitude towards the opposite gender and life in general even its just for a bit i really would would like to enjoy my hobbies again and try to pull myself out of this rut for good. Maybe i should take a break from the internet for the while and go outside for a walk having some fresh air could help ease my nerves.

            2. Overdosing on social media is never a good thing. A walk does sound nice – it’s good to clear your head

            3. I’m just going to keep on doing my best to avoid all social media so i can avoid getting unecessarily outraged and invest more time in finding self care treatments.

  5. Irina, this is such an interesting post!
    I think I wore myself out responding to all of these amazing comments, that I can’t even remember what I was going to say now. Hahah!
    I loved reading this and some of the thoughts here. It is always interesting to think of how much life affects art or art affects life… or if they are merely reflecting each other.

    On a side note, you have my upmost respect. You read all the Naruto manga???? Wow!
    I have one- only one- manga of Naruto and it is in Italian, so I really have to work at it.
    I loved watching Naruto (at least the first 3 seasons. It seems to have a lot of fillers afterwards, but I think I have only made it to season 6).
    Thanks for another incredible post!

    Ah, one more thing. I’m not sure how much the 2D woman thing is serious or as another reader commented, merely a challenge or an excuse.
    I read this article on how travelling with waifus in Russia were a real thing (like taking an actual cut out of a character and going on vacation through other countries). Again, maybe the article was merely picking on a few extreme cases… I don’t know.

    1. I did get some pretty amazing comments on this post! Lucky!
      I do think the travelling with waifus thing is still probably the extremes but it’s getting more popular. I remember when body pillows were pretty rare and it was super embarrassing to have one. Now you enter any convention and there are some at every two steps and people are happily buying them in public and openly carrying them around

      1. Ah, luck has nothing to do with it. Irina, you have a knack for coming up with some really intersting conversations and posts. It may be because you are open and interested in people and the world around you, and you actually think about these things.

        This is not empty flattery. I am often surprised and intrigued by your posts. I don’t even watch anime all that often, yet anime blogs are the mlst blogs I am subscribed to thanks to your bridging of others.

        The only other one I check out this much is Art of Manliness, which is, obviously, a totally different topic than this one.
        (I think I can wrestle a gator and survive an avalanche thanks to that website- whaaa? Haha! Just kidding).
        Yet, I never comment much on most blogs, so this is amazing not just for content but for getting conversation started- something I think we all need right now. Genuine conversation, not just rants. <3

        1. I just checked out the Art of Manliness and learned how to make a giant cookie! That’s amazing! Thank you so much

          1. Hahhah!
            Well, you never know when you can use these skills. I hadn’t seen the one on making a giant cookie, but that seems like the perfect thing to know how to do especially in a bakery. XD
            I am so glad you checked it out! I first found it because I was looking for more poems like “If” by Rudyard Kipling.
            Since then, I have loved all the tidbits of info that pops up too!

  6. As someone who watches a lot less anime then most people here, I do still notice some shifts in my preferences. Though it’s a bit more like weebish.
    I for example pep myself up in a very anime way. Ganbatte or naming my Bowling Rolls. I actually feel like that works. Some values I have are also borrowed in anime as well. While not always realistic it can help the world make a bit prettier like escapism.

    When it comes to finding a partner, I do like a certain energy level that is not completely realistic and has been borrowed from anime as well. There is a is certainly traits I admire in anime girls. One of those is hair colours! I do like white hair a lot.. and while it is becoming trendy now, it wasn’t for a long while. So I do think people can indeed gravitate and glide towards a bit of alienation.

    However I am demi-sexual and homo-romantic with very little need for an actual relation, so I do not find it harmful. If I needed a partner I could pretty easily let go of the coveted qualities and replace them with something more real. I can find Yuno and Junko attractive.. for their weirdness and insanity. I genuinely do like them! In the real world I like Fixer-uppers. But those are much less interesting to talk about. When I say I like Junko people go like.. OMG really or… Oh heck yeah sister! And that feeling can be a bit intoxicating. So I feel an encouraging environment is need to twist that sense of reality further. Common sense would still stop it.

    But when you watch something in excess, I think reality can blur further and when I say watch too much, I don’t mean a certain amount of hours a day. I mean if you hear more anime conversations than real lives (on a lifelong basis) so that anime lingo and values become your new standard.. where you have been exposed to so anime or super hero stuff that that is more real to you than the butcher’s girl helping you at the counter.
    One of my friends spends so much time online and away from real people that offline he speaks in meme lingo makes meme faces as reactions to situations all the time.. and has adopted a very meme based perspective on women..

    I think every media can do that.. but sine anime characters do inner monologueing a lot share their thoughts and are way more dramatic about their emotions someone who can not show their emotions in the real life is much more inclined to relate to an anime character than a western media character. Anime characters are very much created by introverts and in a much more introvert culture than say your cast of game of of thrones. Where the actors give so many interviews that as a fan your immersion is easily broken. A callback to reality. Anime characters don’t get that so it’s a much deeper dive. Depending on how your social life is structured it might be much harder to come back from that as well.

  7. This is a really fascinating post and I wonder if there’s some truth to it. I’m also in a fulfilling relationship IRL but I do find that more often I gravitate towards anime characters when defining what I call attractive. I don’t think real people CAN’T be attractive. I’m attracted to my boyfriend and plenty of men in film etc. I wonder if it’s not just because I watch a lot of anime but because I watched a lot of it in such an important developmental period in my life. I don’t think my life is really affected by it, but I see how someone’s could be.

      1. I think that most people are drawn to something about a person’s/character’s personality, and then something about that person resonates and they become more and more attractive.
        I definitely spend more time surrounded by people than anime, so maybe I don’t count?
        But as a single girl, I haven’t been drawn to people that reminds me of anime nor anime-looking people.
        But then again, I am not attracted to anime characters.
        Ah, but I do watch a lot of Korean dramas, and I definitely find some of the men attractive.
        Also, the personality traits of some of the characters are extremely endearing.

        Maybe it also makes a difference in gender? It may just be an old stereotype that men are attracted through their eyes. But for me, it is sound that draws me.

        Having said that, no voice, no matter how gorgeous it is, can mask a terrible personality.

        Ah, I need to learn how to say more with less words… Just saying that I think you would both have the same views even if you were still single.

          1. Heheh! Sooooo true.
            I think this may be some of the petty reasons why I have a difficult time watching subbed anime or Western made anime, like Avatar.

            I know, this is so shallow of me!
            I end up changing it to Spanish or some other language so I can at least tell myself I am learning something from it.
            I am a chronic multitasker 😛

            1. Me too!!! I love the sound of Japanese. Also, I love the voice acting. Once in a blue moon, I prefer a voice or the acting in the English version…. but that is extremely rare.

    1. ” I don’t think real people CAN’T be attractive. ”

      I love that you said that. My mum once said that she had never seen an ugly person before- ugly personality, yes. But an actual person that she thought “they’re ugly”- no.
      I had to stop and think about it, but the same is true for me. I have never seen anyone who I thought was ugly- ugly personality, Ok, yes. But otherwise, no.
      Having said that, the people I feel attracted towards is very limited. But I am thinking that is natural?

  8. Well, I believe a lot in life involves forming habits, so I wouldn’t be surprised if watching lots of anime or playing lots of video games would form their own habits, to the point where they don’t switch off “in time”, or maybe in extreme cases at all. (It’s a little like me speaking English all day, only to have someone talk to me in German suddenly, I literally don’t understand a word they’re saying, because my brain’s in total English mode, and I have to ask them to repeat.)

    I’ve often wondered about the impact of social media, for example. It’s not all that rare to sit in, say, a café and see people at a table both type away at they’re phones without talking for extended periods. I couldn’t imagine that; I’d feel uncomfortable, because my brain suggests that if there’s extended silence in face-to-face situations, people are mad at each other, even if there’s no other sign.

    So, yeah, thought habits can lead you to expect unrealistic things.

    The “no interest in 2-D girls” thing, really, is just an anime trope and you can use it in real life as both a reference and to some degree of seriousness. It’s entirely possible, for example, for someone asexual/aromantic to use it as a light hearted way to express disintrest. Or someone shy might say it, while part of him/her might think a non-verbal, pre-conscious thought to the tune of “prove me wrong”. It’s really just a meme that comes from the shows itself. (The World God Only Knows has its entire concept built around this line.)

    1. I think I misrepresented my thesis in this post a lot. Most people got that I’m talking about amount of time spend on a particular media instead of the nature of that media regardless of the time investment. Both probably have an impact. Time certainly does in any case.

      I think I already said in one of the replies but the basic idea was what if any psycho-social impact does a media increasingly divorced for practical experience have on a society.
      The answer being – I have no clue I hope one of you guys will tell me.

      I was thinking of starting The World God Only Knows tonight actually but I don’t now why I’m kind of hesitating. Any view on it?

      1. I’ve read bout kind vs. time in one of your other replies after posting and found it interesting. My immediate question would be how you solve the chicken-and-egg question, here. A correlation is much, much easier to demonstrate than causation. Which way does the arrow point? Influencing variables?

        I mean, if you see something weird, you just see something weird. If there’s no habit-building, what else could account for it? Pre-conditioning of some sort? Instant affinity? In all those cases it seems more… confluence than causation.

        I’m also wondering how this works with all those mascots that are everywhere in Japan. Disney World, come to think of it? Do people who like going to Disney World have a decreased ability to detect insincere smiles? Hm…


        @The World God Only Knows: It’s basically a harem, and you get all the tropes, but it’s self aware, and Keima is a refreshingly abrasive harem lead (without actually feeling mean – except maybe that Ellie’s the butt of many jokes). It’s been a very long time since I watched any of it, but I remember liking some arcs more than others: the library arc, for example, I liked much better than the idol arc. The second season, as far as I remember, builds on the first more and makes things more personal for our protagonist, and the third season pulls strands together and expands the supernatural worldbuilding.

        It’s not a must-see (unless you’re a fan of the harem genre, since it’s one of the defining shows of the decade, IMO). I think you’ll like at least parts of it; they do the problem-solving bits a lot (it’s in the concept), but I don’t remember them going overboard with the drama (I might have blocked it out, though). I just looked over an episode guide, and it turns out I’ve completely forgotten the existance of one arc, so not all of it is memorable. But it’s definitely entertaining on the whole.

        The first season is good stand-alone watch; seasons two and three develop a story, though, so how much you’ll like those depends on how much you click with the characters.

  9. Just like with many things, you can consume anime to an unhealthy level. We have seen the results of this in the community with stuff like death threats towards creators and the like. As long as something like anime doesn’t cause you to lose a grip on reality or cut your self off from all human interactions, you will be fine. That said for me anime and anime related content has become my go to recreational activity. I personally enjoy having a chance to meet characters that may not be realistic or go to that new setting. Because to be honest dealing with real people can suck quite a bit, I spend my work days dealing with idiots and jerks. I think anime while not true to life, hits on a lot of true to life struggles that many of us face. I have also met a bunch of cool people since becoming an anime fan and had many great experiences while in public because of anime. I think there is a hint of truth to what is being discussed here. It’s just like anything else where you have to be conscious to not go so far down the rabbit hole that you stop functioning as a human being.

    1. I completely agree.
      The question I saw is that for a long time, adult entertainment consisted of watching people in exaggerated situations or dramatized similes of real life. Sitcoms, police procedural, historical dramas and the like. More and more our escapism goes to high fantasy, animation, CG in situations that aren’t exaggerated or unrealistic but actually impossible and whether this has any impact at all on psycho social development and interaction. I don’t actually know the answer but I got some smart readers…

    1. Like I said, I’ll keep looking for it. Not sure if it’s been defended yet so that might be why it’s not online yet.

      1. Name and title would be nice (unless it’s not yet been published and you can’t reveal it). Interested parties could look up the people involved, and get a general idea of the contents from the phrasing of the title.

        1. I’ll get permission before posting. It’s a university thesis and there might be some non-disclosure issues.

          1. I thought that might be the case. I had the impression you have priviledged access. Thanks.

  10. I think obsession can warp people’s perceptions, so if any type of media is being engaged with to an obsessive degree it could certainly have a negative impact on a person. I think I agree that some stronger evidence is needed before we can conclude that consuming massive amounts of anime or video games has a significantly different impact on people then obsessively watching live-action shows or movies, though. It’s an interesting topic though, I’d be interested in checking out the original paper, if you can find an online source.

    1. when you start something new there is always obession but i dont think so that it may have negative effects because nothing stays new not long.

      1. I tend to disagree on both counts. There are plenty of people that can try something new a couple of times and not really like it. There is a rush of novelty but to call it obsession is exaggerated. And there are plenty of things that can be extremely harmful if you overdo them even for a short amount of time. Heck even just once.

        1. that effect will help you in life you will become cautious and better too, so its no big deal. Just because you obsess over something for a short time life aint goona stop for that.

          1. well I think I was 4 years old so not much. I watched some shows when it was on. The advent of streaming had a much bigger impact but I can’t say I ever missed going to work or something because of anime. In fact I tend to get bored when I watch more than a few hours of anything in a row. I need to diversify the stimulus, you know?

            1. all my anime knowlegde is sorta from like last 2 years and that it was summer vacation of those years my majority of animes lie.I think you diversity of genre not stimulus

            2. I wrote a post about this recently actually. I did the experiment with different genres, narrative styles and deliveries.

            3. What was the longest single episode of anime I watched. That’s not a movie? or what series have a watched that has the highest amount of episodes?

            4. I’m not that big on long running series so not that long. 203 episodes according to AniList

            5. Shonen isn’t necessarily my thing but I have read all of the Naruto manga.
              I actually have tons of anime I still have to watch. My watch list is pretty out of control.

            6. and if still dont get enough stimulus then you switch some weekly animes and something more interesting take for example i am a diverse guy i play football, hockey and volleyball also athletics,i draw,i learn languages and i almost completed netflix

        2. Sooo true! I watched a documentary of Mister Rogers the other day (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor”) and the concern that made him return to children’s television was when kids were jumping from high structures/buildings after watching Superman.

          Ok, I did this too (not from Superman.. but because I still have dreams where I am flying) but I think it is relatively normal to jump from the roof with a garbage bag as a parachute, right?…. or maybe not.
          Anyway, it could be a one time occurance, but it could definitely still have devastating effects.

            1. I didn’t even think of that, but you are so right.

              I have lost friends to this, not the first time of doing drugs, but the first time of taking such large amounts.

              You’re right- that only takes once, and it can never be taken back. :'(

    2. I might have not written this post well as everyone seems to think it’s about the amount of media consumed rather than the type.
      I’ll keep looking for an online or maybe I’ll just ask the author if I can scan it and post it.

        1. the actual problem is that i am getting bored of the whole net and now i have a large part of my time free and trying to fill the gap and its difficult

      1. Irina, we may have all jumped the gun here, and skim read rather than let it simmer and sit for awhile.
        Either way, this is a fantastic post! You sparked a lot of food for thought and conversation without trying to be contrary.

        Although I love reading psots about anime preferences, my favourite posts actually makes me think about my own actions and behaviours as well as opend my eyes to new perspectives. This post definitely wins on all counts!

        I think especially with eveything that is going on, alienation is more of a possibility in our society than ever before.
        However, people tend to crave what they are told they can’t have, so in a way it has also opened a lot more genuine connections (at least here in the village I live) than previous years.

        During late Spring until Halloween, my family and I run a small bakery/coffee stand. We see a lot of extremes especially now during the sunmer, when our village more than doubles due to fishing and tourism. We have less tourists than hunters and fishermen and cannery workers, so it didn’t affect us as much as it could have numbers wise.

        Anyway, the need for people to connect, have genuine conversations and establish a community irl has definitely been stronger this year.
        Often, people just want to get their food and go, so they can grab some sleep or get back to work.
        This year, there were so many visitors and locals alike that have just needed to chat and connect.

        It may be that my community is an exception since we have limited internet, and during the summer almost all work involves physical labour, whether it is outdoors or indoors… but it seems from the friends I have that keep in touch online, that more and more people are getting out- whether it is social distancing activities or virtual get togethers (like a cooking experience or Olympian workout on AirBnb experiences, virtual races and Tough Mudder events, or even doing Zumba live events, or upping the crafting).

        I look forward to reading more comments in the morning! This is interesting

        1. Thank you so much Maica. I’m very happy to see people sharing their thoughts. It was just as fun for me to read all these wonderful comments

          1. I am not sure if my comment posted, so this may post twice.
            I am so glad you liked my comment and that you started this post! 😀

  11. It’s escapism. We all need a distraction from the troubles of the real world (especially this year, ugh) now and then. But too much can give us unrealistic expectations about the world or make it harder to connect with others.

    To be honest, there is one thing about real life that I wish was more like anime. Friends. Every anime has ride or die nakamas, who always hang out together and would do anything for each other. In the real world, at least for me, making friends is really hard and keeping them is even harder. 😖

    1. Oh escapism, stories, dreaming are inherent and I think fundamental to the human experience. What the paper was trying to see is if those elements become increasingly divorced from out practical experience, does it have any anthropological impact. I think it’s an interesting questions. I don’t have an answer to it.
      I’m a person of a few but good friends myself. I’m sure you’ll find your gang soon!

    2. Mari,
      That is a great point about the friends bit- the same goes for me with my favourite Kdrama of all time (Kim Bok Joo). I love Japanese anime and dramas because of that reason- the diving into multiple relationships and friendships.

      Ditto what Irina said though- be patient, you will have your close friends with time. It is better to have a few you can rely on than a whole crowd of shallow followers. However, I don’t think k you were saying that.

      What kind of friends did you wish you had the most as a child?

      For me, I loved reading books about knights and samurai, so I always wanted that kind of fellow brothers in arms kind of relationships- people I could fight with without having to be scared about hurting them.

      I had imaginary friends too- all animals. A dragon, ravens, two horses, a black panther and a mountain lion. I had siblings as well and they along with my entire family were my closest friends. My brother and I are especially close, and I feel like we can beat up on each other, and we are all good.

      Strangely enough (for me anyway), most of my friends ended up being girls- especially after I hit puberty. I couldn’t just hang out with guy friends anymore without it getting complicated.
      But I still have coworkers that I have a similar relationship with- I would give my life for them and they have my back in a risky situation, but nothing deeper than that.

      Ummmm… yeah, I don’t need to be in a very deep relationship with anyone to want to risk my life for them, because I love doing it, and I feel like THIS is what I was made for.
      But putting aside time to “hang out” with someone is truly a sacrifice and a labour of love.

  12. Yeah there might to some extent, that is when you start watching anime yes, take for instance myself in the begin I used complete 70-100 episodes a day but slowly you will know how to watch anime sustainably. so yes it exsists but as amature problem.

    1. You watched 50 hours of anime in a day? Impressive – I’m joking. Obviously if you are doing any activity to the point where it interferes with your life it’s a problem and there are many avenues of help.
      I was approaching less from the point of view of obsession and watching too much, the same applies for people that take in less than average entertainment, and more from the perspective of if there is any impact when or media drifts further away from our experience.

          1. like 100 reduced 50 reduced 20 and gradually i ran out quality anime and then at some weekly animes and plan them out so not to interfere with my life

            1. 20 episodes a day is still like 7 1/2 hours a day even without OP and ED. I wish I had that type of spare time! It would be awesome.

  13. Yes, in fact as far as I know, animes tend to be much more realistic in terms of human relations and events when compared to general bollywood and hollywood movies. The cool thing is this “monologue” which most of the modern animes has, this leverages its impact to a much greater level. I do feel that at certain times, people might turn towards watching animes and would try to lead a life exactly like a particular anime character, and maybe they could even try to escape the reality in front of them. It majorly boils down to how the person perceives a particular anime. Anime is a medium of expression, so it will always do its best job in describing human emotions, relations, though processes etc with a strong story. That is where people mostly get confused and ignore.

    Even though some might think that someone’s life is not that great, those emotions shown in the screen do exists in real life. The only difference is that everything in an anime is described with its utmost capacity and influence. This makes it easier for the audience to easily correlate with their lives. The bitter truth about real life is that we dont get to express our emotions to the society because most of the times we are busy and want to focus on completing the task rather than argue and ponder about who will do it or why someone is not doing.

    Lastly, I would like to say that I personally think that animes had made me more aware of my intellectual and emotional capabilities, helping me to understand myself even better than before. Subconsciously I am able to interact better with people by understanding their potential, interests and desires. So we should not compare animes with real life, instead we should learn something from there, and modify or improvise our real life. The end result should always be happiness and satisfaction.

      1. yeah maybe, but the whole game is regarding the perception of the person which is based upon his/her current state. If he/she is burdened by the problems of real life too much, then it is natural for him/her to gravitate and crave for a “perfect” life as depicted in the anime. For those who are happy and content with whatever they have in thier real lives, it doesn’t even matter how good a character’s life is. This is simply what Irina wants to tell in this post too, I am just telling the same thing in a different way.

        We all crave for something or the other. When we attach it with emotions, it becomes an obsession. It is just so natural to happen and does not seem like a great deal of issue. However in very rare cases, it might cause some psychological issues, and the victims of this are mainly the people whose lives are already really very drastic due to reasons like poverty, disease, stressful life etc (Although it might happen with normal people as well). Animes are not the only thing that can cause this, it could be anything.

        However if you still think that animes are spoiling our heads, then I am not the judge, you are free to assume anything. I am just putting my thoughts here.

        1. nah dude I didnt mean it. what i meant was yeah animes are obessive but it isnt huge thing enough to cause psychological problems even if it is paired with other problems. It’s about who the person is thats why I told you to take some credit

    1. Interesting. Most highly stylized media does seem to encourage introspection rather than extrospection (?) but I can see how that could in turn be used to sharpen social skills for some. That’s a nice angle

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