It was summer 2011 and a friend introduced me to Bleach. I was hooked on anime since then. It was spectacular, it was fresh and an adventure. But how has my view on anime changed over those two years?
Of course like many anime watchers I watched Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon as a kid, but as an adult my worldview has changed and my tastes have developed. That’s why I see summer 2011 as my starting point in discovering anime.
I’ve seen a decent amount of anime(movies), ova’s, series and what not since then. I follow other blogs, discovered Anime/Japan ambassadors such as Danny Choo. Although I must admit that before I discovered anime, I had a fascination for Asian culture and Japan in particular. But anime has broadened my perspective and view on media.
As a teenager you’re tolerance or acceptance level of other opinions is as low as the Grand Canyon, depending on the clique you are in. I knew what animated pornography was, or Hentai, and I found it downright weird or plain. “Why would somebody watch it?” I thought at the time.
On the other hand, anime itself knows a lot of diversity. Personally I prefer series within in a slice of life genre, and when it features cute girls doing cute stuff, the series gets awarded bonus points. The preference for cuteness isn’t anything new as I could appreciate cute before I watched anime to begin with.
I realized that it didn’t matter what your interests were, as long as you didn’t cause anybody harm whilst doing so. Because of the diversity in anime, I learned that there is a lot to appreciate in everything and what doesn’t fancy me, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.If you’re a fan of Mecha, which I’m not, good for you. If you enjoy it, have fun. I detest the notion that something is superior to the other, those who claim to know better, probably don’t know better. Critique is justified, opinions are justified from your side and so are other opinions. Maybe it’s a natural development, but I credit anime a lot for the change of heart.
Back to hentai. At first I found it awkward, but after seeing a lot of anime and some having a rather complex story, I wasn’t surprised you wanted to see characters interact on another level with each other. Just like in mature games, I don’t see the problem for more sexual material. Those games are targeted to mature audiences, just like hentai anime, manga and games. And admittedly the artwork from some erogé or hentai manga is really top notch, almost indistinguishable from other professionals in the ‘PG-13’ realm of media.
Frequent readers will know I’m a fan of Angel Beats. Some may disagree that this was the best series ever made, but well that’s how I feel as of this moment.
While Angel Beats! had its flaws it still did something not many series could do, it made me think about certain dilemmas. It made think about what death means, how it impacts our lives and is a younger person dying more tragic than an older person dying? Somewhat ethical debates, but you catch my drift.
Anime such as Angel Beats, Clannad and AnoHana, series which are in my top five, triggered me to start thinking. They made me learn to accept more things, accept others and realizing that certain values are crucial to exist properly in this space and time. These series made me open my eyes which other media couldn’t do.
As ‘cartoons’ such as anime seem childish, and some not very profound, a lot of them pack some underlying message. A deeper understanding of the themes discussed. Yes, some series tend to go overboard in world building complexity, and some bend the rules along the way to suit the story. But, I still enjoy anime very much. I still watch shows such as Top Gear, Family Guy and the likes next to anime. Yet anime seems special, more than animation. There is a lot to come and to be discovered. Let’s see where this journey will take us.