Does anime affect our entertainment standards?

I had been continuously thinking about it for the past three weeks. It just seems like watching anime can uncover a lot of ‘you’ right in front of yourself. This implies that watching anime can seriously cause a shift in what you enjoy experiencing. Everybody has their own standards for watching anime. Some people merely watch it just for the sake of entertainment, while some may also watch it for the sake of fan-service elements.

However, the one most common thing that we can find with the majority of the people belonging to the anime community, is that they do agree that their tastes and interests have changed drastically just by starting watching animes. I personally too feel the same thing. It just seems like animes are somewhat capable of turning our heads and make us believe into certain things, which may not had been possible with other sources of entertainment. Let us look at some of the ways in which animes are changing our thought process and contributing in our lives.

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Love with the process

This is a very basic way in which animes are clearly affecting us. Watching anime series in which the protagonists are constantly trying their best to retain or gain whatever they are trying to gain, makes it feel quite generic. However, even though the concept of most of the animes are generic, one can agree that animes are doing quite a good job in gaining the viewer’s trust and time by properly executing each and every storyline points. By that I mean that animes are quite realistic in the sense of ‘process’. A process in anime’s context is the step-wise execution and improvement of a character so that he is able to reach the desired form or destination. Yes, in movies and other series, we get to see the same cliched stories again and again, out of which there is hardly any process involved, and the end goal is only given the highest priority.

Most of the animes don’t clearly focus upon the end goals. Instead, it tries to somehow depict the process and hard work as well as consistency required to reach it and how the characters are able to overcome each and every stone in their way. Characters are given ample amount of time to develop their minds, by making so many mistakes, and then finally put together the pieces of the lost puzzle one by one. And I really like that, it shows how animes respect real life ways of attaining something, shedding light on things that are out of our hands and focus on things upon which we can have our full control. For animes, it is more important to understand and feel the journey or the process. With the right amount of focus on the process, we get to know the underlying meaning and motivation about why the things should happen.

Creating ‘categories’ and ‘types’ based on personal opinions and having a judgemental thinking is fine, but it is a crime to make others think the same.

Less focus on stereotypes

Note: I am not talking about dere types.

In real life, we are surrounded by a lot of stereotypes. Its funny that we otakus and anime lovers also have a stereotype. Maybe not one, there are hundreds of them. However, the idea of stereotype is basically void and bland. Let us take some concrete examples. In real life, we tend to think that boys having a good amount of muscle and strong physique is attractive, but no one agrees with this statement. That is because countless of girls would disagree with that in the first place.

Yes everybody knows that having a good physique is nowhere a criteria that comes while judging a person as ‘good’. However, we are living in the peakest times of ‘idealism’ where we wear it as a crown. So basically you are going to see how some people can take advantage of such things just for the sake of achieving something else. Having a good body is fine, I do agree that it takes a lot of effort to build it, but using it like a weapon in your life or allowing others to do so will create a false image within the minds of the people. It is never visible in front of you, these things just happen inside your mind. So basically stereotypes are a creation of your own mind which starts and ends in your own mind.

This is how I look at typical OP shows here in India that are surprisingly popular but basically void

By watching animes, I do feel that I have clearly pulled myself out of the belief in stereotypes. It does not matter anymore how a person is walking/talking etc. Animes never promoted stereotypes, thereby displaying us a concrete reality. When we start to believe in stereotypes, we tend to back-off ourselves so many things, just because of the fact that people are going to think something about us.

Animes don’t really show or say that a type of body is idealistic. We wont see any character getting an advantage with something if he has profound communication skills, money or big biceps. This is because there is absolutely no way to predict how much capable a person or character is. We still need to learn that everyone has a certain job to do, and we should just start appreciating that instead of creating stereotypes as an excuse.

Is there a brain in my head? If there is, probably it is thinking right now

Its not only about motion

As a consumer, we are thirsty for motion. We need a good amount of visual treat in order to feel satisfied. Almost every other entertainment form is capable of doing so. However, a human being’s life is not just about motion. When we watch movies and tv shows, all we see is a scripted story, crafted with a bunch of twists and people doing something. Basically doing something is what I think motion is all about. We want to see different characters do things, make things, take advantage of things etc. However, rarely we try to look behind the scenes of these decisions.

Yes, I am talking about monologues and how characters talk to themselves in their minds. I think this is also one of the most unique things that I found in animes. Characters think a lot, and that is because they are supposed to think. We as human beings, too need to think a lot of things before doing something big. These thoughts does not only involve analytical process, but there is a lot going on. Without the use of your emotions, your brain is not supposed to take proper decisions. We are basically evolved, and we need to show it through medium like anime.

People who love action movies, when they shift towards shounen animes, they get a sudden dose of adrenaline and whatever chemicals that make you feel euphoric. This is because the mind is now fully aware of something which it was constantly deprived of for so many years. Yes the actors used to do a lot of stunts and make things happen, but what about his inner self? When you watch action movies or series, you will know that you are actually quite deprived of a lot of information that you were supposed to consume. Lack of information on-screen basically means that real life is somewhat the same, that is what your mind starts to think. Basically you will start chasing goals and end up giving up quite fast as you always believed that results are something which is the most important.

Characters do think, and they definitely should. There is not a linear process when it comes to thinking, as it may differ so much for everyone because there are basically unlimited factors behind this. Some movies and shows basically do not cover these aspects, which somehow makes us think that heroes or villains are strong and capable right from the time they were born. That is not what is supposed to happen. Transparency aids in right way of sharing information and knowledge, and animes does that quite brilliantly. Animes are transparent with their protagonists, even with those which are unimportant to the story. Taking every factor into account and displaying it to us, is what animes are good in doing.

Maybe tomorrow I will watch something light and fun. Enough of the serious shows!

Variety is important

The reason why anime lovers get bored with watching other movies and stuff, is that it is fairly too ‘narrow’. On the other hand when we talk about animes, there is plenty of variety out there. Not only that, but you can actually pick whatever you want and start loving it, even though you are not a big fan of that genre or culture. Anime excels in what I call ‘Genre Transition’. It is the ability of animes to be able to ‘guide’ or ‘welcome’ users with a new experience in such a way that the viewer basically does not even realize that he/she is watching something different. This happens so rarely with movies and tv shows.

Transition is so much important when you have a lot of dishes in front of you. And to serve different things to different customers, you just need a very strong strategy. Animes are capable of attracting every type of person on earth. The only dumb reason I heard from people not watching animes, is that they don’t like to watch something 2D or cartoon, or something which is unrealistic.

On a personal note, I have become quite cautious when it comes to watching movies and stuff. And thanks to anime, watching animes has refined my taste, which has further helped me improvise my likes and dislikes. I rarely regret watching something nowadays, because each and every thing out there which I have seen or currently I am seeing, carries a good experience. I have evolved into something better in my own eyes.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. blubbyweb says:

    Interesting! While I agree with what you are essentially trying to say – that anime has a different set of standards and tropes from western entertainment and that our preferences could change towards the more anime-isms as we watch more of it – I think that the ‘step-wise process’ is a big part of the hero’s journey in general, even if it isn’t explicit like the training arcs in anime.

    I also don’t think that anime has less stereotypes – as you pointed out, the very many deres do exist. Even the bland Shounen protagonist is a stereotype! However, I don’t see an issue with this unless a character becomes a caricature.

    Inner monologues and tonal shifts are definitely anime-isms that I generally enjoy and prefer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad that you agree!

      Liked by 1 person

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