Anime is a masterpiece from the eastern world


Sabrina Ngu, News Editor

In 1907, an animated short was released in Japan. It was called “Katsudo Shashin,” featuring a boy writing – in Japanese characters – “moving pictures” on a board. What was just a three-second, 50-framed clip was also the start of a form of entertainment that became popular in Japan and, eventually, across the world: anime. 
Anime is hand-drawn and computer-generated animation from Japan. While some anime are made from scratch, others are adaptations from Japanese comics or novels, known as manga and light novels respectively. Sometimes, video games get adaptations as well. 
Unfortunately, anime gets slandered frequently. Overshadowing the stories and music are the constant generalizations made by people who’ve never watched anime: anime is for kids, anime is weird, anime is hentai – the Japanese equivalent of pornography – or anime is “trash.”

“Whenever something foreign is introduced to the American culture, their first reaction is either seeing it as weird or disregarding it entirely,” senior Serena Thomas said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or provides fulfillment in people’s lives. If it doesn’t fit the American stereotype that people have deluded themselves to sticking to, then it isn’t accepted.”

These generalizations are false and offensive. Not all anime is for children. Anime isn’t weird, and neither are its fans. Anime and hentai are two different things. And anime is far from trash.
The 2013 horror and dark fantasy “Attack on Titan” is one of many anime that crushes the “anime is for kids” generalization. The anime is about the last of humankind battling against man-eating giants, and as opposed to most child-friendly cartoons, “Attack on Titan” is graphic. The anime has episodes of blood and gore and dialogue that contains foul language, which isn’t often found on children’s networks. 
Before saying something along the lines of anime being childish or immature, watch the short clip of a character from “Attack on Titan” shooting themselves with a gun to escape from their unfortunate circumstances. Nonetheless, anime catering towards people of any age only makes it more special than other animations. 
Drama? “Violet Evergarden,” is a coming-of-age story that will surely make you cry. Science fiction? Any anime from the Gundam franchise will do. Want a classic? There are plenty, including “Sailor Moon” and “Cowboy Bebop.” No matter what, anime has something for everyone. 

“Sometimes it is hard for people to understand that anime is a style of animation and not a genre,” Lanora Melillo, head of the Children’s Department at the Scotch Plains Public Library, said. “Anime does not fit into one box – there are multiple genres and subjects.” 

The themes, characters and storytelling cannot be forgotten. Japan is home to many talented writers and artists, and animation brings it to life. 

“Prior to watching Naruto, I had not seen someone who had true conviction,” senior Oluwaseun Adekunle said. “[Naruto] taught me that the world and even our close friends will always try to have us forfeit our morals. However, if we stay true to our principles, we can achieve great things.” 

While completely different from western animation, anime has a lot of charming aspects that only attract more fans, from their unique storytelling to mature tones and themes. Underneath the cosplays, chaos and toxicity is a world in which people can escape from reality. Give anime a chance, because they have a lot of great stories, loveable characters and important messages. It’s not for everyone and it’s okay to not like it. The least anyone can do is to respect anime and those who watch it.
Artwork by Sabrina Ngu