Since around September 2012, I started getting into watching anime again. I used to watch a lot of anime when I was younger, and though my interest in it didn’t exactly wane, because of all the other things I wanted to do, I put anime on the back burner.
For the benefit of those who are not very familiar with it, anime is, basically, Japanese animation (or cartoons) based on manga (which is Japanese comic books), light novels, video games, classic literature, history, modern trends, etc.
Anime series in Japan are aired pretty much like other television series in the US or Europe. The year is divided into 4 seasons – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, where a pre-determined number of episodes of an anime series are shown. The number of episodes shown per season is typically 12 or 13.
After the season, a studio will decide to renew an anime series, and in this case, the story will continue the following season. Some series go on for 2 consecutive seasons – these are your typical 26-episode anime series, while some, more popular ones, go on and on, for years.
I won’t go into the details and complexities of anime here because I am not really an expert, and there are tons of anime sites online that can explain it better than I. Suffice it to say that for people who love interesting story lines, beautiful art, and learning about a completely different culture, anime just might be your cup of tea.
Anime combines great storytelling with beautiful art, and an extra element of surprise which draws viewers in and keeps them coming back for more.
I think this is mainly why anime is so successful. It appeals to people of all ages, simply because there’s just something for everyone – comedy, romance, romantic-comedy, music, slice of life, adventure, sci-fi, action, supernatural, mystery, thriller, horror, pornographic, historical, to name a few (tame ones).
And because it is animated, the imagination of creators aren’t limited to what real actors can do or to the potential of real, physical sets and environments.
Anime characters usually fall into certain stereotypical categories, no matter the genre. And no matter how violent or funny or strange, it is, anime reinforce positive traits and values which are very important to Japanese society, such as hard work, perfection, determination, cooperation, pride, unity, honor, loyalty, etc.
I guess I’m saying all this because I’m thinking of writing more anime / manga reviews on an anime blog I share with 2 others (please click on the My Cousin Totoro Anime Blog tab on the top of the page) starting this year (2013) – and to encourage people to venture out of their comfort zones to discover (or re-discover) a whole new different (wonderful, though oftentimes very weird) world of entertainment.
For those who are interested in watching some anime but don’t know which ones are good, this 2006 survey by TV Asahi, a Japanese network, that asked Japanese viewers to list their favorite anime series would be a good place to start:
The top 10 overall results:
1. Fullmetal Alchemist
4. Mahou Sensei Negima!
6. One Piece
8. Detective Conan
9. Heidi, Girl of the Alps
10. Slam Dunk
The complete list can be seen here. The list is a bit outdated though and doesn’t include any of the anime series which were released after the survey was published. I’ve not seen all the anime on that list – I’m not even close, but the ones I’ve seen which are on that list are among my favorites.
I recently made a list of all the anime titles I’ve watched and turns out, I’ve only seen 92 (including series, OVAs, movies) – total fail! Maybe my one New Year’s resolution should be to watch more anime!