WordPress gives you this little add-in that is supposed to help you with your SEO and it keeps telling me that my titles are too long. My Blog’s name is also too long. I’m having a lot of trouble with that concept.
Anyways, when you’re like me, as in anime is not only one of your main hobbies but you write a daily blog about it, you will make some people curious. Especially when you don’t actually spend a lot of time with other people who watch anime. So questions are bound to come up.
I have found that there are some questions that everybody seems to have if they have never watched any anime (or they don’t watch any regularly). And despite having heard these questions time and again, I still don’t have adequate answers.
5. Isn’t anime just cartoons?
I lied, I do have an answer to this one, and that answer is: yup. Anime is animated shows made in Japan. That’s all there is to it. However, I feel that people who ask that question, especially if the word “just” is in there, have a relatively narrow view of what cartoons are. They usually just remember whatever they watched as a kid and figure that’s what it amounts to. And they often didn’t really care for what they watched as a kid.
So yeah, it’s just cartoons. As in it’s storytelling through animation. That means it can be any type of story, genre, demographic and so on. And Japan happens to have a pretty rich history of it so there’s a lot to pick from.
4. Do you know insert 80s/90s popular localized show here
The thing is, I probably know of it. Although even that’s not a guarantee. But that doesn’t mean I have watched it. There are a lot of very popular shows I never got around to watching. Maybe I’m a fake fan.
I didn’t grow up here so the shows I could see on TV (if any) when I was a kid are very different from the ones people in North America watched. For some reason, I feel like there’s always a big letdown when I tell people that I only watched a little DBZ and only as an adult, that I never saw Albator (Captain Harlock) or Les Mystérieuses Cités D’or (The mysterious cities of Gold), Pokémon or even Cardcaptors when I was younger.
I feel like people get excited about sharing a bit of nostalgia and I quash their hopes. Also, it’s often the only anime people I know care about so it sort of cuts the conversation short.
But the thing is, I do know their reputation, impact on the industry and how they have inspired series that came after. Somehow though, I never manage to properly stir the conversation in that direction.
3. What anime should I watch
This is often a question I get asked with no context by people whose taste in fiction I have no idea about. And it’s super annoying. Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered. And of course, I love the fact that people would want to hear my anime recommendations. I have an entire anime review site! But I’m also a bit of an outlier with odd tastes at times. Not to mention an anime enthusiast who loves most shows. If you want my honest answer, I would say watch all of it. Or pick something with a character you think is cute on the cover and go from there! But that’s not a good answer. People want something personalized. And when I ask them what they like, they say: everything! Oh the pain!
Oh, the pressure! I once did a little survey of generic first anime recommendations. Cowboy Bebop came up A LOT. It’s a classic for a reason. I might add March Comes in Like a Lion. Maybe not for very young kids because I think they’ll get bored, but I do believe it has some universal themes and interesting production values. But all my very favourite shows are not titles that are likely to appeal to everyone.
As I write this, Spy x Family hasn’t premiered yet. I recommended the manga to pretty much everyone though so if the show is faithful in spirit to the source material, that might also become a good general anime recommendation for the future.
2. Is it true that anime has (insert weird trope here)
The answer is almost always yes. But context is once again quite important here. Yes, there are shows with tentacle monsters. But I have watched over 600 series and none of them have tentacle monsters in them. Maybe one had a joke about the trope. But it’s also a common enough concept that I know exactly what it means so…
I put this at number 2 but it’s probably the type of question I get the least from this list. I think people are a little embarrassed to ask. Lest they betray their own weird interests. But it is one of my favourite questions to get. When it’s not being asked in a super judgemental way, it can lead to very fun conversations.
Nosebleeds are a fine trope to talk about. What is it with the toast ting is a super ice breaker conversation. You just need to have a receptive conversation partner. That can be a bit of a challenge.
1. Why do you like anime / what do you like about anime
I get it. I understand why people who aren’t familiar with anime would ask this question. I’m sure I would as well. But it’s a bit like asking, why do you like movies? Again, a fair question, especially if someone has a movie blog, but it’s so difficult to answer.
Especially when you get right down to it. Now I have explained before that I like animation more than live-action. In the same way that I prefer illustrations to photographs. There are a few framed photos around my place but for the most part, you’re going to see loads of paintings and art prints. I find the exaggerated and occasionally impossible shapes and colours of illustrations more appealing. It’s an escape from the mundane. But why do I feel that way…I dunno.
If you narrow down the question to why Japanese animation instead of why animation in general, my answer becomes a little clearer. First, it’s not only Japanese animation, I actually do enjoy a lot of different animations including American. As I have mentioned before, Japan simply has a rich history with animation as a medium and has been using it to tell all sorts of stories for a long time so I find that there is more to choose from. Also, that extra experience means that they have learned a lot both on the production and storytelling front to create animations that are difficult to rival. Not impossible though.
On a practical basis, no other country is putting out so many easily accessible animated shows for general audiences each season.
When it comes right down to it though, those are all just a collection of facts about anime. Facts that make anime appealing to me but I couldn’t tell you why exactly. It’s not that I come from a long line of animators, my first love wasn’t an anime character, and I wasn’t saved from falling off a tall cliff by holding onto an unfurled reel of anime film. I just like it. And since I like it, I am slowly gathering up more and more fond memories of watching it so it’s comfortable and familiar.
That’s not a very satisfying answer either. Like I said, I don’t have good answers to any of these. That’s probably why I have convinced very few people to give anime a try. I’m a bad anime ambassador. But I’m going to keep trying!