There’s a reason why, after nearly 10 years, I still love anime. In fact, there are many reasons why it’s as much a part of my daily routine as eating my breakfast (a single Pop Tart every morning – yum! nutritious!) and taking a shower. But for the purpose of this post I wanna expand on just one of those reasons.
I thought it might be neat to turn this into a community-wide project of sorts, partly because I’m still trying to introduce myself to all of the new faces that have popped up during my five year absence and partly because I want to know what other people have to say about this topic! There are many bad things about anime, for example: its treatment of things like mental illness and minority groups, the industry’s tendency to play it safe and churn out the same uninspired, monotonous schlock every season, and toxic fandoms. BUT, in spite of these things, many of us continue to watch anime and have committed a sizable chunk of our lives (and finances) to this hobby. So why is that? Let’s explore this question together!
For the purpose of this challenge I would like nominees to:
- Write a post about why you love anime. It could be your favourite thing about it or one of your favourite things about it, it doesn’t matter which, but just pick one!
- You can get as personal or as impersonal as you like. You might want to write about how anime helped you through a tough time or something that it has taught you or you might want to write about just how much fun you’ve had watching it over the years. Your choice
- Nominate three bloggers to do the same
- Link back to this (the original) post. I would love to see what you’ve written and I may compile a list of my favourite entries further down the line
This is the first time I’ve started a challenge myself, so if I’ve been unclear on anything, just let me know and I’ll do my best to clear up any confusion!
OK, so one of the things I love about anime is that it exposes me to things outside of my normal, everyday life all of the time! Depending on the anime I’m watching I can come into contact with other pastimes, other perspectives, and other cultures, all from the comfort of my own home.
Confession time: I will pick up a show for the daftest of reasons, like liking one of its many voice actors or enjoying its opening sequence (which is, of course, no reflection on the actual quality of the anime). This has meant that I’ve watched anime whose subject matter I’ve not been interested in in the slightest (initially, that is)! These include: Princess Jellyfish, Silver Spoon, Chihayafuru, Hetalia, and Hibike! Euphonium. These amazing shows are about fashion, agriculture, karuta, world history, and classical music, respectively. Now, if you had asked me whether I cared about any of these things before watching any of these anime I’d have snorted in your face. But what these anime did was place you in their characters’ shoes, showing you why they loved their respective hobbies, exposed you to a subject matter you might not have even thought about giving a chance before, and attempted to engage you in its subject matter through the use of drama and/or humour. So, whilst I may not have signed myself up for agricultural college just yet, I now have a genuine interest in these things. I pay more attention to the clothes that I wear, I tune into my history major of a husband’s rants about history a bit more, and I listen to more classical music than I used to. That’s one of the magical things about anime, it can make you care about things you never thought you’d care about, giving you new hobbies and interests all of the time!
Even if you can’t afford to indulge in a new pastime, you can continue to learn about it. To demonstrate, you might have loved Welcome to the Ballroom, but not be able to afford dance lessons (believe me, I’ve lived off of enough tins of beans in my time to know what it’s like to not be able to afford anything beyond the bare minimum!), but for the low, low price of roughly $10 a month you can get yourself a Crunchyroll account and watch Yuri!!! on Ice or Hanayamata. Or you might have loved K-On!, but can’t afford an instrument (or lessons to learn how to play said instrument), but you can always watch Your Lie in April or Sound of the Sky!
And as a result of continually exposing myself to different pastimes, I’m always learning new things. It shocked my American contemporaries to learn that I, an Englishwoman with little interest in real life sports, knew all of the rules to American football. Thanks, Eyeshield 21!
Anime also exposes me to other perspectives, challenging me to consider why I think the way I do. Some of my favourite shows are those that do this. For example, Kino’s Journey prompted me to question how a world with so much suffering can still be considered beautiful, Chobits and Eve no Jikan made me consider what it means to be human, and Hell Girl and Shiki got me thinking about the thin line that separates good from evil. My family and friendship group are fairly homogenous – not through design, that’s just how it’s worked out – which is why I value anime so much for taking me outside of my little bubble and getting me to question my beliefs.
Finally, anime exposes me to a culture other than my own. Much of Western media is very Western-centric. The box office is dominated by films written by Americans, starring Americans, for Americans. Even when the odd film set in a different country/culture slips through the cracks, there are often problems with white-washing. *cough* Ghost in the Shell *cough* But anime exposes me to different ways of living, different ways of thinking, and different value systems. It broadens my horizons and reminds me that not everybody thinks and behaves in the exact same way as me. The most recent example I can think of of a show doing this is Hinamatsuri. It was so touching to watch Anzu, a child, make sacrifices and work so hard to help other people and earn her keep. I think a big part of why that affected me so was because, in my experience, us Westerners are encouraged to look out for no.1 first and foremost. Self-sacrifice is not applauded, especially when it can be avoided, any many youngsters begrudge having to pull their weight. But watching Anzu act so selflessly to help other people made me want to go against the grain of Western society and adopt those behaviours myself. In this way, it is possible to learn from other cultures’ strengths and apply what you’ve learned to your own life.
All right, that’s enough from me. If you managed to stay tuned in for all of that, I applaud you!
Without further ado, I would like to nominate the following bloggers: