So I have been thinking about this lately. Why is anime not as popular as it should be? The only answers I could come up with is the fact that a lot of anime is geared towards children and young adults. I was like this not to long ago. I thought that anime was not worth my time because I was older and too mature to watch it. I was a fan when I was younger but could not find the interest it it anymore. However my love of Gundam started me on a journey to find everything anime that was beautiful and amazing. Before watching Gundam I had only watched about 4 or 5 anime movies, some Dragon Ball, and previously a little Gundam in japanese when I was young. Now however within the past few months I have watch 5 anime series. I’m on season 6 of Bleach now… I really love this series! I’m off topic now but my point is anime has more depth and heart than anything on TV now. Some series like Monster are so thought provoking and amazing that it should be know to everyone. Even the childish anime is not as bad as I previously thought. I mean I know tons of people that will watch animated pixar, dreamworks, etc… Movies even though they do not have children. So I guess what I’m so curious about is what makes Japanese animation so bad? Is it the Otaku label and the negativity behind it? Well I’m proud to be an Otaku. (Fun fact Koreans use the word Otaku exactly the same as the Japanese!) My wife is Korean and calls me an Otaku all the time and I love it. It feels like a badge of honor. Kind of like I know something special that most ignore. Anyways if you read this long post thanks for your time and feel free to add your two cents!
It’s a combination of people and waht you said about it being geared to children and young adults.
Anyway, I was off to bed, but I had to comment.
It’s a problem in the west. I talk to strangers on the web daily, and one question I usually get up to asking is “Do you like anime?” along with “What games do you play?” and “What movies do you enjoy?”.
I’ve had a conversations with kids just becoming teenagers from Scotland and Romania, and these guys seem to not know anime is such a subculture that it is.
They are familiar with shows like pokemon, but never ventured into it until a friend on the web told them about it.
The boy from Romania is 13 years old, but hates anime on account of it being childish. He prefers to watch the Romanian football league.
Local adults are getting into anime. I talked to a couple that come to my father for evening tuition, and they watch anime. I don’t specifically know their age, but they should be in the late 20s, as they seem to have a couple of young children.
It’s the fact that people are raised with thinking that cartoons are childish.
On sight, nobody will know the difference between anime and cartoon.
When I first gazed at anime as a child, there was this certain charm about it. Character eyes and hair? It was something, something different that made me fall in love with it. Most people don’t look at it that way, they usually see it as something animated, and as we know, everything animated is for children, or that’s how a lot of people are brought up thinking, and they carry that over to their children too.
It’s sad, but that’s what I believe is going on. It’s going to be a couple of generations before anime is recognized by a mainstream western audience.
You’re absolutely right. It’s a problem called the “Animation age Ghetto.”
I couldn’t agree more! It really is sad. I mean when I was a kid cartoons had so much more depth than they do now! That isn’t saying much but it’s a fact. I tried just watching cartoons on TV because I was trying to find something my son and I could watch together. It was ridiculous! I’m not talking about the shows specially made for learning and stuff… But the ones that are for teens. From what I saw every single thing is just spelled out for kids these days. Even anime but it seems like every single show was like that. Avatar was great. Speaking of avatar… I wonder if that brought anyone to the anime side of animation? (I am aware that it is not true Anime) I think with what there is to watch nowadays it makes sense that people would look down on anime. Still it does not explain why people seem to have no problem watching the animated cgi films. Hmmmmm I wish that a series would become so popular that it would help with the popularity of anime. Games for instance use to be such an uncool thing to do, and now look at it. Maybe it really will just take time.
WOW! (I am sorry once again for the double post) I just googled animation age ghetto! Makes complete sense and I never thought of it that way! Oh well I’m just gonna enjoy my anime. Even when I’m old and decrepit!
Shin has just hit the nail on the head.
Well it is all about earning money. Anime is widely considered appropriate for children. However, looking at Asia and Italy (concrete example), you draw the conclusion that it all depends on how people think of it
Give it time, I think Anime will get more common place, perhaps not in my time or yours, but some day. I also believe that Anime has made HUGE leaps and bounds in the last 20 years in terms of acceptance and quality, when I ask most people my age what they watched growing up, DBZ usually ends up on that list, and if I then ask them “Would you watch it again?” Most of them answer yes. Plus animation in the US has gotten MUCH better, compare shows from the 80s like Spiderman and his amazing friends to shows made in the 90s like Batman the animated Series, compared to today like Young Justice, the quality across the board is so much better, voice acting included. Also I like to believe that acceptance of Anime and video games ties closer nowadays then in the past. Voice acting in video games has gotten really good, like REALLY good(Mass Effect series anyone?) this is due to the fact that voice acting is being used far more frequently then in the past so the actors themselves get better, everything improves with practice. One other factor that plays in is access, until the onset of the internet it was VERY difficult to get your hands on anime from outside the country, at least without paying a fairly hefty price, so you were left to watch whatever the dubbing companies decided they wanted to make into your native language, or on your tv. Now we can use the internet to access many different TV shows that were previously unavailable and I think that is making a big difference as well.
Wow, I think that was my single longest post on this forum
I think a lot of people tend to lop anime into a collective pile (figuratively speaking). As you mentioned, many view it as being geared towards children, and thus not worth their time. Granted that thinking is really flawed; just because something is made for, or marketed towards children doesn’t mean it has to be crap (Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Batman the Animated Series are both fri’ken awesome).
I think a lot of it also the tropes that tend to come with some anime. You know the ones I’m talking about: fan service, general lack of positive female characters (In some cases), a little bit of sexism, those things the Japanese tend to really like but most westerners find odd/creepy, over use of angst, androgynous character designs, etc. I think the truly great anime series either don’t use as many of these tropes or are well written enough to make the viewer not care about them.
When I ask most people about anime they tend to give shows like Dragon Ball Z, Bleach, or Naruto as an example of what they know about it (and generally haven’t watched much else). I won’t fault anyone who likes either of those shows (I love me some DB and DBZ for it’s campiness), but I think shows of that sort are marketed more than what I’d consider to be a great anime like Cowboy Bebop or some of the original Gundam series. Shows like Dragon Ball Z and a lot of the Shonen Jump stuff tend to be more geared towards a younger audience, and are uber marketable (a lot of them are just a repeated formula with a creative touch), so people tend to know of it more than other anime.
I’ve met a few people that got a bad taste in their mouth for anime from shows like Dragon Ball Z, Bleach, or Naruto (again no offense to anyone who likes those), but once I got them watching a Gundam OVA, Cowboy Bebop, or even Trigun they warmed up to anime. A lot of it just has to do with perception. People associate almost all anime with some of the more negative anime tropes as well as what they view to be negative qualities of the most well known anime in the U.S.
On a personal level I’m really picky about which anime series I’ll enjoy. I don’t like most of the shows that define most of their character traits via angst. I really do respect anime though, and I really enjoy most of the ones that I can tell were carefully written and creative. I think the original Mobile Suit Gunam was what got me to look past the things I found negative about anime. Even at a younger age stuff like Dragon Ball Z kind of got on my nerves (I adore the show as an adult, but I hated it when I was younger) and a lot of the shows I felt were half hour toy commercials got on my nerves (the irony that I was buying up Gunam models as fast as I could save up for them is not lost on me by the way :p). Viewing something that was deep enough to have likable and relatable villains (Char, Ramba Ral, Dozzle, Garma, etc.) and two sides to a war being represented made me acknowledge that maybe the cartoon I was watching wasn’t so childish. I realize the MSG was kind of formulaic in that “villain of the week” sort of way, and Amuro starts off the series being way too angsty, but the show’s depth won me over to the fact that anime could be mature.
It’s natural for television companies to market shows like Dragon Ball Z or the like. They’re easy to write stories for, people can turn their brain off and enjoy them for what they are, and you can keep churning out season after season with ease. In the long run I think that’s ended up hurting anime’s reception here in the states though. Those shows can be very enjoyable, but they’re marketed above the truly great shows like Cowboy Bebop that would garner so much more critical acclaim (which in turn shows that anime can and is often for a mature audience). I don’t really view this as pandering, so much as good business practices, but I can’t help but think that if the right anime was marketed better the general public here would be more open to anime.
Again. I’m not hating on Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or Bleach. I don’t care for the latter two personally, but I do like the former. I’m in no way insulting their quality or anyone that enjoys them. If you enjoy any of them, more power to you.
Lastly I think the general public should really lose the perception that just because something is marketed or geared towards children means it will be of lesser quality. I mentioned Avatar (the cartoon) and Batman the Animated Series as two examples I would suggest people look into if they think cartoons have to be childish or stupid. Heck, at the time Batman the Animated Series was treating it’s audience more like adults than the actual Batman movies, and to this day I can still think of dozens of brilliantly written episodes of that show.
This guy, he get’s it. I give you sir, two Fonzie thumbs-ups (eeehhhhhh).