What Does The Humble Commoner Think Of Anime?

So. Aren’t we all curious about what our fellow uneducated plebeians think of anime, even though we know the standard answer? Well, however much overused this phrase might be, reality is a bitch and anime doesn’t really attract people outside of the fandom. Guess what, I know this because I actually asked friends about their opinion. And then it was judgement time.

Something really sad was that when I told a friend that I was going to ask her some questions regarding anime, she responded with a reluctant and unwilling tone. WHY FRIEND WHY. Then as expected, she found anime “un-cool” and “un-interesting”. Ouch. Harsh, ain’t that. One thing I find interesting though, is that she had never watched anime or read manga. I was surprised that she didn’t even know what Naruto was– hey, at least quite a few random people do. Point is, this means that she has made premature assumptions and judgements about anime on an unfounded basis… although it’s only natural to have some sort of perception or impression beforehand. But why does anime have such a negative connotation attached to it? :(

Let me give an example. For a damn long period of time, i’ve always thought of the classic Pride And Prejudice as an outstanding literary romance unmatched by another other novel. It was one of the most renowned, most celebrated books and there were so many references to it in other works. Simply put, there was this elegant air around the novel and I marveled at its exceptional reputation.

Then I read the book, and it all fell apart. I mean, boy, Pride and Prejudice was no more than some random shoujo with such a male protagonist– Darcy! Rich, handsome and arrogant, yet without rhyme or reason (besides love, oh love) he completely changes just for the girl he loves, Elizabeth, whom I don’t like btw. I had totally understood his logic for his rudeness with the middle-class and low-class citizens who only cared to flatter him but then BAM. Elizabeth the self-righteous speaks and desperate Darcy changes into the perfect gentleman for her. It’s kind of sudden and hard to believe. Besides the commendable archaic and lovely style of writing that I enjoyed, I think that the plot made no sense although the characters were promising at first.

Holy shit, i’d better get back to the point. Ah. See, everyone forms a preliminary opinion of something they’ve vaguely heard of, and this opinion usually sticks. It comes around from the person’s impressions of subjects associated with that particular topic, and probably from hearsay or whatnots. And for anime, i’d say that the subject best associated with it, would be cartoons. *commence massive face palm* THIS IS WHY I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE CALL ANIME A CARTOON. Not that I care about anyone’s opinion.

So the big deal with cartoons is that only children watch cartoons. And hence it becomes a childish, immature subject, and an underrated interest. Why the hell do children watch cartoons anyway. Because of colorful visuals and exaggerated characters? Hell, why can’t grown-ups love all that too?! Why is liking K-drama or loving Twilight better (or more commonly admitted to) than watching anime? Just because the animation in anime seems resembles that of a cartoon? Anime can be serious(ly good). With a wide array of lovely characters, themes and scenarios to boot. It’s just like exploring many new worlds, experiencing and feeling so much more and then reflecting. About the term cartoon, I really feel that it’s being used with the speaker feeling that anime is simply about characters with sketchy lines and color doing useless, childishly entertaining things and that’s why I hate the term.

…Oh but my friend said that she does appreciate the manga art-style so that’s fine \o/ BUT STILL

Let me now speak of my love for anime. I admit that i’ve been too busy these days to watch anything. I tried out Vividred Operation and lasted one episode before killing myself with laughter. I cannot even.

Here are the Vividred lolis. I mean yes a story about cute young girls with magical transformation abilities and with the beautiful theme of friendship *adds sparkles* seems sweet but NO. And in fact i’ve been abstaining from manga, just for Math. Can you believe it, I ought to get a Nobel prize for that. But point is, anime has never and will never leave my life. The moment I heard this incredible piano piece by Telshter, (YES I’M A HUGE FAN!) I felt so touched and I don’t even know why. It happens, sometimes, after a period of not coming into contact with anime, and then randomly seeing or hearing something Japanese. I just felt so nostalgic and so happy. Anime songs are the best– especially a song from an anime you’ve watched– there’s just so much more depth and beauty to the song when you relate it to the characters and plot.

Why do so many people all over the world, be it children or working adults, still hold anime in their hearts? K-pop had a temporary surge in demand, a crazed craze that has already subsided. Maplestory didn’t last long, and neither did Skyrim. What is so special about anime? For me, it’s an entire collection of differing experiences and a whole new world to explore. There are so many different characters, and even the exaggerated archetypes are fun to watch– their subtle interactions, everyday worries and fears are so close to heart even in a fantasy scenario. We’re given excess to their innermost thoughts, and we come to love them. Let me share a quote from one of Japan’s most respected and talented persons ever.

Personally, I was never more passionate about manga than when preparing for my college entrance exams. It’s a period of life when young people appear to have a great deal of freedom, but are in many ways actually opressed. Just when they find themselves powerfully attracted to members of opposite sex, they have to really crack the books. To escape from this depressing situation, they often find themselves wishing they could live in a world of their own – a world they can say is truly theirs, a world unknown even to their parents. To young people, anime is something they incorporate into this private world.
I often refer to this feeling as one yearning for a lost world. It’s a sense that although you may currently be living in a world of constraints, if you were free from those constraints, you would be able to do all sorts of things. And it’s that feeling, I believe, that makes mid-teens so passionate about anime.

Yup, that’s Hayao Miyazaki! Only in anime can we observe the most absurd, the most wild, the most longed-for happenings and actions. Anime is never (ahem) boring but in the end, the characters are modeled after humans and there’s always a touch of genuineness that I love. Even those insanely powered shounen heroes inspire us with their iron-will and unyielding tirelessness for their ideals, no matter how cheesy we find them. Anime is precious to us.

…yeah, so once an anime fan, forever stuck in the dark abyss a fan! I’m glad that anime was part of my childhood. I love the unique art style. Watching anime really pumps me up sometimes, making me feel so full of life and courage and wonder at the world. Thank you anime!

Well well I think i’ve nothing left to say. Was that whole chunk of text terrible? Ah well, I really needed to say all of it! THE END, SUCKERS. And if anyone here doesn’t like anime then too bad.

MIKU DOES NOT WELCOME YOU. SHOO. We need to disinfect the world of all you commoner’s ignorance. Jk. I actually know that liking anime largely depends on a person’s childhood and it’s hard to get someone to enter the fandom after a certain age, especially after one has his/her own interests and perceptions. So I just hope that anime receives more love, and… the end. Have fun, everyone, and let me beat a hasty retreat.



10 thoughts on “What Does The Humble Commoner Think Of Anime?

  1. no name

    Ahahaha! I simply love your rants! They’re just so funny (and true)!
    Anyway, I’m also like that. I’m always trying to ask people why is it that they don’t like it and that they should try it. It never works, and after a while I think “Why do I still try?” But I always end up trying again and again :D

    1. Aleris Celt Post author

      Yo, thanks! xD I know right, I’ve realized that getting people into anime is one hell of a hard task. And it has never worked… they just brush it off or grudgingly watch one episode before proclaiming it as not suitable to their tastes. Oh well, once people have grown up, their interests lie elsewhere! I wouldn’t watch an episode of Doctor Who anytime despite friends recommending it heh.

      But yay to us anime lovers! We have privy to a whole special world, one that has been with us, supporting us and coloring our own world with such vibrance since childhood. Yay to you and me (hi-5)! :P

  2. kagami

    i tried recommend some anime to one of my friend(ex:tonari no kaibutsu n kuroko)…n yay! she did fallen for it..though people around me r majorly suck about anime…sometimes i didnt even noticed how much influenced anime gave to me..such high-spirited n gentle sometimes mischievous characteristic did swept off all my stress.. it did pump up myself..ex:sket dance..i love how the moral values shown by bossun,switch n himeko..amidst their different background melancholic story..nyway..those who being ignorant(who thinks anime is cartoon itself-,-)..back off..anime is not just for fun..it teaches lots of values..n sometimes reflecting our own feeling..as a human being..

    1. no name

      When I recommended School Days to a classmate, he came to me the next day and said he didn’t like it. After arguing with him, I realized that he only saw the last episode -.-
      Why, cruel world? Why? (why is it that such stupid people exist?)

      1. Aleris Celt Post author

        Hah, introducing them to such awesomeness just fails! I remember my friend pestering me to let her watch the video I was watching on some long bus ride. So I did, even though I was watching a vocaloid video (Dark Woods Circus!)– I was pretty hopeful that she would like it.

        Needless to say, it was an awkward 4 minutes where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to help her plug out the earphones because she really wasn’t interested, but had to remain seated and listening to be polite. …At least we tried!

    2. Aleris Celt Post author

      (This is in response to Kagami!)

      Yeah.. I’ve been inspired by anime/manga many times too! What people don’t seem to realize is that there can be value in anime; it can mirror our lives in the most unexpected ways, bring out interesting themes and ideas, or simply bring us on a great adventure with dynamic, cool characters!

      Why are movies valued more than anime? Why are novels valued more than anime? Okay, for the latter maybe it’s because we get to read and strengthen our usage of a language. And for the former, it’s because of the extremely high production costs that go into making a brilliant and well thought-out show. There are so much value in all these too. But does that mean that anime is not comparable to either?

      Just as how there are bad anime, there are many bad books too, those that aren’t worth reading (gosh have you read those cheap teenage romance books). But there are outstanding works of everything too– for anime, I think that Code Geass is probably the one of the best, and Harry Potter is, without a doubt, a timeless masterpiece. Everything has an intrinsic value, and it depends on how you watch it, how it resounds within you that really matters.

      So yup, anime is really important to us! I guess it’s because we’ve been watching anime for so long that it becomes dear to us, that the animation style becomes familiar and loved, and the type of characters and plot and seiyuu’s voices and the Japanese language just seem so close to our heart. We understand and feel them, and let them evoke our emotions. And that’s when we love them.. so let us simply continue to love anime. :)

  3. schneider

    First off, not all (Western) cartoons are made for kids. There are a lot of adult-themed cartoons, like ones you see on Adult Swim, and there are cartoons that are ostensibly for kids but have gathered quite a following among adults, like My Little Pony, Adventure Time, or even Avatar: The Last Airbender. Does this not reflect a bias among anime fans who distance what they watch from so-called “cartoons”, which are childish and unsophisticated?

    Anime *is* cartoons. In fact, a lot of it is made for kids. And there’s nothing bad about that. There will always be people who will scoff at what you like due to preconceived opinions, and you could either not listen to them, or try and educate them to what anime really is, and that it’s much more than their low opinion of it. And what some anime fans do is to blame Western cartoons because of the negative association–“people look down on anime because they think it’s just like cartoons, which are juvenile!”

    Really though, I think you shouldn’t mind those people. Not in the sense that you shouldn’t talk to them anymore (you wouldn’t have any friends if you pruned them for not liking the things you like), but you could always have a conversation about different stuff that you like in common. People’s biases are hard to change and if you try hard in doing so then you might just lose them.

    As for anime not being respected as much as books or movies, that’s simply because anime is younger than either. Cinema had a lot of creators who pushed the medium forward as an art form. Anime has had its share of visionary creators, too, but geographical and language constraints make it difficult to spread easily around the world. Give it time.

    1. Aleris Celt Post author

      (My Little Pony is for adults… really?!) Pardon my ignorance, but yeah i’ve failed to consider that adults watch cartoons too. Initially I thought that shows like Charlie the Unicorn and Happy Tree Friends had the cartoon-style to further draw out horror and atrocity that such cute objects associated with childhood could actually bring out those macabre, sick themes. And Spongebob is typically known as fun to watch because it brings back memories of everyone’s childhood, but of course adults can enjoy it to no end. I love Spongebob.

      I don’t think it’s an issue of being pedantic. We (anime fans who think this way, that anime shouldn’t be called cartoons) aren’t nitpicks, quarreling over any small issue to defend the honor and awesomeness of anime. But really, it’s that term that makes us cringe a little. What was the speaker’s intent when they said that word? What were they thinking of when they said it as such? Was it not meant to create a parallel between anime and some random cartoon from childhood that they vaguely remember now, even though they were entertained by it in the past? Was it not meant to express their shock at how we are still being engaged by something so lame?

      Yup, I definitely won’t lose a friend over this though– if I weren’t an anime fan, i’d probably act the same way. And I scoff at many things without proper reasons also. Everyone has flaws, and you don’t need to be perfect to get a friend. None of my friends in my close clique (sounds b-itchy) likes anime, but there’re many other things to talk about.

      So okay boss. Thanks for commenting (: Anime in general definitely hasn’t caught up with the rest but i’ll surely look forward to watching more good anime!

      1. schneider

        My Little Pony was made for young girls. But it quickly reached beyond its target audience, thanks to the Internet.

        Well, you were the one who talked to your friend, so you’re the only one who could judge her tone. People generally turn away from things they deem childish when they grow up. Ironically, that makes them all the more childish because they’re concerned with how they’re seen than with what they ought to like. I would say that the word “cartoon” used to refer to anime is borne out of ignorance–while it does work, it’s also misleading and sometimes disparaging.

        Although it could be used in a good way, like to remind yourself that you shouldn’t worry too much about anime, because it’s just cartoons…

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