About half a year ago, I was surfing Netflix for a new series. I can’t recall how I ended up in the anime section, but fuck, I’m so glad I did. Believe it or not, anime has changed my life. Before I started watching anime, I was ignorant about what animation, as a medium, is capable of. There are infinite possibilities. And an expansive spectrum of storytelling, which makes this genre truly unique.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people who were never exposed to Japanese cartoons as a kid become opposed to the idea of anime as adults. In the public consciousness, anime is often characterized as being too childish, somewhat over-dramatic, and sometimes even weird. I was turned off by anime for the longest time. In high school, one of my good friends lent me part 1 of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga so I could try it out. It sat on my bookshelf for months and I never even opened it. I gave it back and told her that I wasn’t into it. This is so ironic because Fullmetal was what I settled on when I was Netflix browsing. This series got me hooked.
I’m addicted to this genre. The really good shows can make you feel like you are right there with the characters. Their emotions pierce through the screen and come straight for you. Despite the fact that its stories are told through illustrations, anime can easily move the viewer’s heart or leave them breathless and gasping for air. Unlike American media, anime isn’t limited by the confines of the nature of this world so it can explore dark themes that other genres rarely touch. Anime crosses boundaries. It challenges your tolerance for the unordinary. Most shows are based off of crazy ass concepts, take place in alternate universes, and do not adhere to realism. Because of the enormous creative breath of this genre, many shows or movies in anime also set themselves apart from each other.
My favorite series, Attack on Titan, takes place in a world where gigantic humanoid creatures called Titans drive humanity to the brink of extinction by devouring them for no reason. The situation makes no sense. My first instinct was to literally say what the fuck. But once I fired up my imagination, I started to really enjoy this show. Its intensity triggered a lot of deep emotions that I would never have had the opportunity to experience in real life i.e. watching my mom get eaten alive by an indestructible monster (phew!).