Good ol Kai from Deluscar got a project running around the anime blogosphere and since I’m pretty oblivious to what’s going on around the local scene, I figured this would be a good way back into the community.
So as the title suggests, the topic this time around is a simple but deep question on Why do we watch anime?
Anime has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I’m pretty young compared to the other anime bloggers so I don’t share “too” much history with anime as much as they do. Adding experience into that, I’m not the most eloquent writer either. If I can say anything though, anime and manga have been a crucial part of my developmental years and has made me into the person I am today. Whether or not that’s a good thing from your perspective, I might as well try to prove myself up to that statement.
Let’s get the most simple reason out of the way first: Anime is my primary source of entertainment. It brings us to both the improbable and impossible to our front steps and that alone is a great reason to watch it. There are not too many relatable things present in Western media with all its celebrities, sport stars, reality tv shows, and all that other crap. Anime is the entertainment medium that has something to offer for everyone: anything ranging from the simple reason of seeing pretty girls, to the intricate fight sequences, or the beautiful thematics and plotline. It’s practically got everything you can imagine.
The “fundamental” reason why I watch anime is because of the sense of escapism I get from it. Real life, admittedly, is a bother especially when you’re still student in any sort of institution. Anime to me is where I can drop my “student” ID and escape into a bizarre world filled with wonders. Consider it a “20 minute vacation” from anything going on in the real world. Anime brings out the “what if” question about life a lot and seeing all the different enviroments and worlds is something anime is really good at expressing. That’s not to say that all anime are completely fantastical, having a sense of realism can relate us back into the real world. While the realism element might be the exact thing I’m trying to “escape” from, relating yourself to the characters might help out in the real life as well.
That’s where another factor comes in. While I can name a few cartoon and real-life drama characters off my head, none of them rarely makes me think twice about how complex they are. Anime has probably provided the most amount of inspirational characters that influenced my life. Examples of such characters include Harima from School Rumble, Onizuka from GTO, Sugisaki from Seitokai, Iskandar from Fate Zero, and the list goes on. We can clearly see and feel the experiences the character’s feel, we get to know their thoughts and characters. While one of the main “nitpicks” I have against anime, when I’m trying to introduce it to a highly western crowd, is the amount of internal monologue they have. This works like a double edged sword for me. On one point, it helps me relate to the character a lot, it shows me what they feel at that exact moment and once again puts me in their shoes(plus it usually ends up being comedic). On the flipside, it might seem very silly for any western viewer watching anime for the first time. On the small subtopic of West vs East, I can easily vouch for anime being the more “thought provoking” medium of entertainment. Of course, a large amount of anime nowadays don’t require heavy thematics and rhetoric to comprehend but one can’t deny there’s usually a hidden gem or two each season.
So as we get to know the characters, we get walk in their footsteps. We can place ourselves into a given universe. The sense of immersion becomes a humongous factor when it comes to familiarizing yourself to a certain anime. Me and my brother are HUUUGE cases of this “immersive” experience. If I’m introduced to a new game or series, I will probably spend at least a week learning everything I can about….everything there’s to know about a given topic. Examples of that being me stuffing my head full of Warhammer 40k during middle school, learning about the Metal Gear series and it’s convoluted plotline, extensive (to a fault) info on the Big 3 (Naruto, One Piece, Bleach), and recently Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (with it’s ungodly amount of characters and stands). Immersion for me, is a large factor for enjoying something.
While I’ve covered my “philosophical” points I might as well get this out here
One of the main reasons I wanted to make this site in the first place was because…well I wanted a videogame review site but my income was (and still is) fairly low so anime became the next choice. I thought that if I had my friends work together with me, it would have enhanced the experience. While my lazy-ass friends stuck around for around a month, the site basically broke apart and here I am 2 years later. The original 4 members (including me) were all good school friends and I personally started to drift apart from them after my change in schools. Although my plans for a wonderous community died in my hands, it was anime that brought back one lazy-asshole back to the site (thanks Light) and subsequently Light is the person I keep in contact the most actively compared to the other two guys. Anime has, basically, kept my friendship intact. While he’s still a lazy asshole, his friendship still means a lot to me. (plus, 99% of the guys in my current place watch/know anime, so yeah, more escapism for me to do)
Anime for me has evolved into a more…complicated part of my life than it was years ago. Anime’s quality has changed through the years, but the fundamental essence is still there and it remains a huge part of my life today…I couldn’t possibly imagine what I would be without it.