Anime is a hand-drawn and computer-generated animation originating from Japan and has completely taken over the western hemisphere. Very quickly an art form that seemed to be made for children and nerds seems to have made its way into pop culture, with co-signs from celebrities such as Kanye West and Michael B Jordan.
I personally started watching Anime in 2017, this seems to be when the sudden rise in popularity started. Although I had always been a self proclaimed nerd and probably watched cartoons up until an age that was much later than most. I was never intrigued by Anime as a child.
Unfortunately growing up everybody I knew who watched it was just…. well weird. I would see anime fans try and ‘power up’ while screaming and shaking at school, I would see them ‘Naruto Running’ which is where you run with both arms straight behind you. It seemed that Anime watchers seemed to be shunned by society for watching it and I wanted no part.
Fast forward to present times and the discourse around Anime has completely changed. Israel Adesanya (current UFC Middleweight Champion) has often boasted about his love for Anime, Jaden Smith ( Actor, Singer and Son of Will Smith) has created his own Anime on Netflix. Anime is Popular and although celebrity endorsement has had a big impact, I believe the move to streaming platforms has also had an enormous influence. According to Parrot Analytics Netflix is responsible for contributing for more than half the growth compared to a combined 70+ other platforms.
Growing up my friends who watched Anime often had to do so on illegal websites plastered with inappropriate advertisements and scams. Now all they have to do is press the Netflix button on their remote. Netflix has allowed easy access into a genre that used to be hard to reach and this of course has boosted its popularity.
It was through Netflix that I first got into Anime, my friend recommended an Anime called ‘Deathnote’ and when I hesitated he simply told me to watch the first three episodes, after that I was hooked.
In 2017 I was extremely picky with what I would watch, I had a rule that if a movie or series had an IMDB score below a 7.0 then I would simply not watch it. When I watch something certain parameters have to be met. There has to be emotional character development, beautiful artistic styles, shocking plot twists, impactful action scenes and thought provoking philosophical theories. Now let me be very clear NO OTHER GENRE DOES THIS BETTER THAN ANIME! A live action film may have better character development and a western cartoon might have a better animation style but in combination nobody does it better than anime. In addition to this, what separates Anime from these mediocrities is that it is multi-layered, allowing the same anime to be enjoyed by all ages.
Take what I consider to be the greatest anime of all time ‘One Piece’, to a child, One piece could be seen as an adventure of the main character Luffy on his quest to become the Pirate King, you would see Luffy go from island to island fighting off the Navy and overcoming challenges. As an Adult however you would see One Piece as a story showing the largest military being nothing more than a personal guard for the billionaire class, committing genocide in order to enact this brutal hierarchy and using propaganda to justify it and thier endless wars. With our only hope being to join forces together in a working class revolution to reclaim freedom.
Quite the Distinction.
The Anime 'Kuroko No Basket’ could be seen as a competitive basketball series based in highschool, showing that hard work and perseverance pays off, or one layer further you see a clash of philosophies, of whether working together as a group is the best way to achieve our goals or if is is individual strength and power that can inspire a group to reach the top.
Anime is very much an umbrella term, Anime is just the style in which these art forms are brought to us but what makes them different to cartoons is that they provoke actual thought, they make you question your beliefs and show a different way of seeing the world. With that I would say that if you are interested in watching anime I would recommend ‘Deathnote’, ‘Attack on Titan’ and ‘FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood’’ as your starter packs. If you are already an avid watcher then I would like to present to you my top ten anime of all time (the hardest list I have ever had to make).
Sam’s Top 10.
- One Piece
- Vinland Saga
- FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood
- Attack on Titan
- Code Geass
- Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
- Demon Slayer