I've been in love with anime ever since I got my first taste with Pokémon. I can distinctly remember being baffled by the animation style. In a good way, mind you. From there it only got better thanks to blocks like Toonami and Adult Swim airing more anime on TV in the 90s and 2000s. As cool as it was, anime was still fairly hard to come by. I bought an occasional DVD too, but they got pretty expensive. They're still kind of pricey today, but not as much as they used to be which is a point I'll dive deeper into later. The main point is anime is more readily available today than ever before. I'm jealous of the kids that can turn on the TV, or some various streaming app like Netflix and just marathon the heck out of shows.
That seems like my adolescent dream! I mean I can take advantage of this too, but it's less special now that I am an adult with less time. So I am jealous in part, but also happy for today's youth. Anyway, as available as anime is, I still like to think it has this bad rep. There's a lot of clichés that get thrown around, which I think hurt the general perception. Who would think that anime, in the year 2018, would be lower on the totem pole than video games? Certainly not me. So I delved into a lot of the stereotypes and tried to explain away the hate. Hopefully, this article will make an anime fan out of you non-believers yet.
21 There’s More Out There Than Dragon Ball Z And Naruto
If you asked a random passerby on the street to name an anime chances are you'll get one of these responses. Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or I don't know what anime is, would typically be the top three replies. The actual two shows are in the cultural zeitgeist the same way Mario and Fortnite represent the video game market right now. The point is there's more out there than just those two shows and on a bigger scale, they're not all violent either.
20 Anime Has No Set Definition
What even is anime? Well, there's really no strict definition. The easy answer is animation from Japan, but it's more than that. It's one of those things you could say anime is hard to describe, but when you see it you know what it is. That also isn't always the case either though. Korean animation, for example, looks similar but follows different guidelines. The same goes for their comics. In Japan, it's called Manga, but a Korean book is Manhwa. Get it? That's okay if you don't because, again, there's no set definition.
19 Avatar: The Last Airbender Is Good, But Not An Anime
Avatar: The Last Airbender is a fantastic show. It just came out on Blu-ray, finally, so if you haven't seen it now is as good a time as any. That said, I kind of get miffed when people call it an anime. It's a Western cartoon drawn in the style of Japan, but it's not an anime. That kind of contradicts what I said before about anime not having a definition, right? Sure, I guess. This may be just a pet peeve of mine.
18 Not All Gamers Like Anime
Do anime fans like games? Do game fans like anime? What's the cross-section of favoritism here? In my mind, I think anime fans like games, but not all gamers like anime. I'm someone who enjoys both, but I can see why other gamers don't. It's kind of hard to explain. That's just my opinion too. What I will say definitively is that it may be common to like both, but it's definitely not a catchall. Are we all on the same page?
17 Not Everything Has Subtitles
It gets incredibly frustrating every time I talk to someone about trying anime, or sharing an anecdote with my experience to get these replies. "Don't you have to read subtitles?" "I hate reading." That drives me insane.
Bring me the dubs, baby.
Yes, anime comes from Japan and so every anime that crosses over here has Japanese audio with English subtitles. However, a lot of anime also has a dub option. I would say that's 80% of the time, so enough where these comments drive me wild.
16 Anime Is Crazy Cheap Nowadays
When anime was first coming out on VHS tapes in North America, anime was crazy expensive. We're talking $60-80 for two episodes of, like, Neon Genesis Evangelion. It was insane. It got better in the 2000s when it started to be one more widespread, which was when I was getting into anime. That said it was still spendy. It still kind of is now if you want to buy shows. However, with streaming on Netflix and Crunchyroll, there's never been a better and cheaper time to jump in.
15 Anime Is For Everyone
This next entry falls in line with what I mentioned before regarding more violent shows like Naruto. Not all shows are like that. Anime is also not just for kids. I know it may be hard to believe that a cartoon is not just for children, but it's true. Anime is for everyone to enjoy. It's like The Simpsons. Sure, kids love that show, but it's also a cartoon everyone can enjoy. So stop with the judgment already. Cartoons rule no matter how old you are.
14 There’s Literally Anime For Every Hobby Out There
To go along with my comment that everyone can enjoy anime and that it's not just for kids, I have this to add. There is literally a show out there for every subject imaginable. So maybe you're not into violent shows like Naruto. That's okay.
Take your time and look around.
Do you perhaps like Ping Pong? Yep, there's an anime for that. Have you ever wondered what life would be like if horses were girls that raced in high school? That's very specific, but that does indeed exist. Point is there's an anime out there for everyone.
13 Anime Fans Aren’t Shut-Ins
Stereotypes are hard to break, but we're slowly tearing down the negative auras surrounding nerd culture. I mean, the biggest movies out there are for comics, which is something I never thought I'd see. Anime is like a sub-genre of nerd culture below that. It's even more snubbed than video games. Part of that is probably due to the belief that there are tentacles like I mentioned earlier. Well we, anime fans, are not basement-dwelling nerds. Did you see the Dragon Ball Z tribute the Cleveland Browns performed? If successful sports stars like anime then that's proof enough for me.
12 Manga And Anime Are Different
Here's something I feel I should clarify more. Manga is the Japanese form of comics. The blanket statement for anime then is that its Japanese animation. Now, a lot of anime is based on Manga. That said, both forms are very different.
Manga is not anime and anime is not Manga.
That is to say, Manga and anime have very different flows to them. For example, action scenes are elongated and sometimes dragged out in anime. They need to fill out time, you see. This fact may be obvious, but again I thought it was wise to point out.
11 Anime Is Everywhere In Japan, But It Isn’t For Everyone
This might be the biggest misconception about anime Westerners might think. Yes, anime is everywhere in Japan. However, that doesn't mean it's more popular over there. It's still kind of a niche thing. Crazy, right? Video games are actually more popular over there. Why? Public transportation and phone games are mixed as well. Those two things go hand and hand with each other. On a whole, though, console stuff is also niche. So Japan isn't that different from us after all, see?
10 The Big Eyes Are Actually Influenced By Disney
Another thing that may turn off Westerners from checking out anime, or at least things I've heard, is in regards to the big eyes. I guess that's weird for some people. That said did you know Disney influences this style?
I bet you never even put two and two together when you watched something like Snow White as a kid. I certainly didn't, but it makes so much more sense now. In case you wish to know more, check this out.
9 Not Everything Is As Daunting And Long As One Piece
Anime like Dragon Ball Z and Naruto are popular for a reason. They're actually both really good, duh. There is one thing that may be daunting to outsiders though. When they look at how many episodes there are. Naruto is up there with 720 episodes! That's nothing compared to One Piece that has 855 episodes! That's a lot to take in, but not all episodes are canon to the original Manga source. Anyway, these two are outliers. A lot of shows fall somewhere between 13 and 26 on average, like a "normal" TV show.
8 Not All Anime Are Created Equal
One thing that should be obvious is that not all shows are created equal. That is to say, the quality of the animation can be lacking. When you watch as much anime as I do there are certain studios you get to be wary of, or certain ones that you know is going to put out beautiful animation at the very least. Bones and Studio Trigger are on the good side. Gonzo can be good, but it dips more often than it impresses. The same can be said for Western animation too.
7 They Are Not Health Hazards
This is probably a trope that has been forgotten, but it was a fear in the late 90s and early 2000s. That is the belief that anime is harmful to children. The biggest case of this fear happened when Pokémon aired the episode about Porygon. In Japan it caused children to have seizures so it was pulled from airing in the West
While this does occasionally happen, it wasn't on purpose. It's good to be cautious, but another to be blatantly against anime for this reason.
6 Anime Stories Are Not All The Same
It's easy to dismiss anime as one rehash of another. Naruto is like Dragon Ball Z. Digimon is like Pokémon. The list goes on. While tropes and clichés are widespread like the creepy old guy type, or the quiet girl with a fire inside type, that persists in all media. Don't tell me that CSI, Law and Order, and ten thousand other cop shows don't reuse storylines. It's the same thing. So get off of that high horse of yours.
5 Anime Is Not Just A Fad
Anime could be said to have started back in the 1960s in Japan at least in the form and style we recognize it as today. For other parts of the world, you could point to the 80s and 90s, but I don't think it became as widespread until the early 2000s and beyond.
Anime is here to stay.
Anyway, if you go to the 80s and span up to today, anime has been available in North America for almost four decades. Basically, it's not a fad like POGs, or Beanie Babies like some want it to be.
4 The Music Is Actually Really Good
I know it might be easy to dismiss Japanese pop as noise, but it's not. It's actually really good. Not all of it of course. There is that bubblegum like sound found throughout Japan, but again a lot of it is decent. No, you don't need to understand the words in order to enjoy the music either. I think the first band that I realized this was The Pillows. They made the soundtrack to Fooly Cooly so iconic. Even as a teenager I knew it was special.
3 Anime Is Not Just For Nerds
This point can easily be looped in with not all fans are basement dwelling shut-ins, but it's one that I think bears repeating. Let's look at video games as another example. I would venture that 99% of North America plays games in some form now. Why? Phones make it so much easier to get into games. Whether those games are substantial is another discussion. You could make the same argument for anime. If you like one show and that's all you watch, that's okay. You're not a nerd for liking it so let's get rid of labels people.
2 It Actually Takes Effort To Find A Good Show
There's a lot of anime out there both new and old and finding the good stuff is tricky. There are four seasons of anime. New shows typically premiere in the fall, winter, spring, and summer and the volume varies, but it's usually in the line of about a dozen shows.
So much anime, so little time.
Some are continued seasons of old stuff and others are brand new. It takes time, just like "normal" TV, to sift through the crud in order to find the unique content.
1 In Japan Voice Actors Are A Huge Deal
Voice actors are kind of treated like C talent in the West if not lower. They are important to a niche crowd, but Brad Pitt they are not. In Japan that is not the case. They are actually on that A level and are both beloved and paid well. Let's look at a recent demise. Megumi Hayashibara was widely known actress and appeared in anime like Cowboy Bebop for decades. After her passing she was immortalized in Pokémon with a bunch of fun costume changes via Jesse from Team Rocket. It was a touching tribute.