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.

Funny Story, the script actually said “No”

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.

I do remember Rose of Versailles

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.

confused anime girl is probably the most frequently used pic on this blog

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!

12 thoughts

  1. I’d definitely say I see #5 and #3 a lot. For #5 I admit when I get the question straight up I just say yes and duck out of the convo. So in that sense I’m doing really bad as an anime ambassador but I always feel like that’s going to be a super long conversation that I usually don’t have time for.

    For #3 I always go with a super safe pick. I figure that for someone who hasn’t watched anime before I need to pick something with virtually 0 fanservice or “odd” elements like Yu-gi-oh hair that could take the immersion out for someone who usually watched more classic shows on TV. I try to pick something that’s fairly new too so if they want they can find other people who watch anime and talk to them. As a result I update this every season but right now the two anime I recommend to people are:

    1. Spy X Family -Pretty accessible and very recent
    2. Saint Seiya -Works as an older one to recommend that taps into those old Rocky vibes which I figure should be relatable for most viewers

  2. I don’t know anyone in RL who is into anime the same way I am. Sure, they have heard of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki, they might even have heard of some of anime’s more famous franchises, like Cowboy Bebop or Ghost in the Shell…but they aren’t “into” anime the way I am, they don’t watch it regularly or appreciate it as a medium.

    The result is that I get less questions and more puzzlement. People don’t understand why I like and respond to anime. And when they do ask why, it’s usually predicated on some assumption about anime (weird/perverted tropes) or a view about the demographic (“just for kids”, “house-bound nerds who don’t have a life”, etc).

    But then, for the life of me, I can’t understand why people watch “reality” TV, etc. So I tend to respond with some version of “Think about the reasons why you like/watch X and apply that to me and anime.” Which means they usually respond, “Yeah, but anime’s so…(insert stereotype)”

    *Sigh*

    Anyhoo…you know all those 80s/90s anime you didn’t watch? Neither did I! 🤣

  3. I can answer these!…

    5- “Yes! Anime in Japanese means Animation! Yay! You get a cookie!… Well? I said you get a cookie. Go buy some cokies. I want Mint Chocolate…. Now.”

    4- “Yes! Do you want to sit down while I traumatize you with all my knowledge of said series, or are you going to buy me cookies now?”

    3- Performs Vulcan Mind Meld on person until they run away screaming… Or sits down and tells me what they love to watch, upon which I try to match their habits to what Animes they might like.

    2- “All entertainment has x or y or z fetish! Now do you want me to perform the Vulcan Death Grip on you so you forget you even wanted to know that answer?”

    1- “…why do you watch (whatever it is you watch)? Eww!! Icky!! No I don’t want to know why. Get away from me!! Unclean!!”

    The end. Bye.

  4. I don’t get people “Isn’t anime just cartoons?” I get “Why do you watch that crap?” At which point I treat them as much disdain as possible. After all, I don’t tell them that their choices of entertainment are crap.

    Despite my blindness, I generally prefer animation over live-action as well. I can’t pin the reason why, but I think better stories can be told through animation as opposed to live-action.

    Why do I like anime? Yeah, I don’t have an answer to this one either, at least not something which makes sense.

  5. Well yes i also get asked these especially the cartoon one because not many of my friend or relative understand anime nor do they want to know about it.

    1. Maybe they’ll change their minds eventually. I remember when no one wanted to know abut Marvel

  6. Yeah, getting questions about anime is tough! In general, I don’t talk about anime with people in real life unless they bring it up first, meaning they are already a fan. Once in a blue moon I let it slip that I watch anime to a non fan, and I can usually tell what they think of the medium just by their tone. “Oh! You like anime!” sounds a lot different from “Oh . . . you like . . . anime?” I think the most common question I get asked is, “Aren’t you kind of old for that?” FIY, I’m not a senior citizen. After spending all of my teens and twenties looking like a 12 year old (short people problems) I finally look like an adult now. Yay! And a lot of people honestly think anime is just pokemon.

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