I am by no means an anime expert nor am I an anime purist. My first exposure to anime outside of the usual Dragonball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Medabots was from the Showmax channel. I never really got the feeling Showmax was trying to air highbrow anime, but I did enjoy the few shows I was able to watch.
I tried my best to get into anime, but before the time of uncapped internet and shady varsity buddies with connections, it was a bit difficult to get your hands on anime. Showmax had a limited selection of shows and an even smaller range of seasons. You normally had to Google to find out what happened after the first or second season, because Showmax did not air that many seasons. After trawling the deep web for what happened in Bleach season three after watching the end of season 2 a thousand times, I gave up.
Or did I?
I recently started watching anime again and I’m not sure if it is because I am older (and probably more jaded), but I have really been enjoying my second foray into this world, probably more so than my first. I started my reintroduction by watching anime films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle. I then moved on to Akira and started the anime series Devilman: Crybaby. Now, all I want to do is consume more anime.
I think I enjoy anime because nothing quite says ‘fuck it’ to logic and story norms like anime. I enjoy how vivid and quirky the worlds are and how original the story telling is. I watched Attack on Titan and just had to sit back and enjoy the craziness of the concept that is a bunch of large, naked giants who expel steam and enjoy attacking and eating people. On paper in writing, it doesn’t seem like it will work, but in the form of anime, it just does. It really does.
Anime takes the zaniest and most offbeat concepts and makes them work. As a writer, I can really appreciate that. Sometimes live-action movies and series can be constrained by just what we as humans are able to do (even with the help of copious CGI), but in animation we can do whatever we want. The sky isn’t your limit, because you have no limit.
I also appreciate how anime is able to tackle more serious topics and gritty issues. Sometimes in the West, we treat animation as a sub-standard genre, better for telling bright tales to children. But anime can be dark, scary and sometimes just disturbing. Just because something is not live-action, does not mean it needs to shy away from the more difficult topics surrounding human existence.
I will never be a well-versed anime watcher (I know my limits). If anything, I am sure some anime watchers will roll their eyes in disdain at my choice of shows and films. But you know what, I’m having fun.