There was once a time in which I, too, was an anime hater. When my closest male counterparts would talk about the Japanese cartoon like it was God’s gift to them, I cringed, rolled my eyes and wondered why my friends are such horrible weebs. Little did I know that anime would, in time, quite literally change the enigma that was my life. Anime has opened me up to new art forms, a spicy new culture, and it has exposed an entire world of new interests. It has taught me many lessons about life and it can teach you too.
Anime comes in all shapes and sizes. Like western cartoons, it has genres like action and adventure, drama, horror, etc. It also has different art styles that usually pair with different color palettes. Animes like “Your Lie in April,” a romance anime, has pastel colors, and the art style is lighter and softer. The female characters have the stereotypical high-pitched voices, their breasts are too big and their skirts are skeptically short. Other genres like action and adventure feature darker colors, more complex character development and more impactful plot elements.
In these types of anime, the dark and adventurous, is where the real juicy stuff is; the stuff I have learned from, and the content that is most interesting to me. Philosophies of life from all around the globe, from past to present, is represented in these types of animes. In the classic anime “Fullmetal Alchemist,” the entire plot is based on the premise of the main character losing his physical body, but his soul is still attached to something in this life realm. This is the philosophy of dualism, specifically the mind and body problem of this question: What makes us human? Our mind, or our bodies? This philosophical concept can be very useful when analyzing life in general.
Another example is based out of probably the most popular anime and admittedly my favorite, “Naruto” and “Naruto Shippuden.” Naruto is riddled immensely with important Buddhist philosophies regarding the importance of love and hate. The main character, Naruto Uzumaki, follows Buddhist-like morals most of the show, and there are strikingly similar parallels to Buddhism when it comes to reincarnation and the cycle of hate in the world. These are also things to consider when examining the processes in which anime can be useful both emotionally and academically to anybody.
Lastly, you cannot forget the classic, good ol’ feel-good, action-packed animes about super-heros with a goofy plot. “One Punch Man” is about a guy who can kill with just one punch, but he is bored with his life because he wins every fight. It is goofy, it is absurd and most of all, it is so, so pure. It is the palate cleanser of modern, mainstream dark animes.
Although I have seen my share of anime, I am still considered the new kid on the weeb block when it comes to the shows I have seen. In addition, there are a lot of issues that I have with anime, like their stereotype of helpless women that they just can’t seem to shake. Nonetheless, I still stand my ground that anime has played a keen role in my self-expression since my finding of it. And I encourage everyone to watch at least one series despite the surrounding stigma that it is cringey or weird. Embrace it, and you will not be disappointed.