Anime Hate it or Love it

I have been watching anime since I was a little kid. I was lucky enough to not have to differentiate between Western and Eastern animation when I grew up. One of the first cartoons I remember watching was La Abejita Maya (Maja the Honey Bee – Mitsubachi Maja no Boken) when I was probably 4 or 5. The series is very well written and always had a good message at the end of the day.

Back then I had no idea I was watching Japanese animation because to me everything was considered cartoons. Some kids experienced the same thing here with a couple of series like Astro Boy and Speed Racer, but overall Japanese animation was not really popular in the US until about 5 years ago when the market started getting saturated with some very bad anime.

Anime is a hate it or love it kind of thing for a lot of people. I don’t really see the point on totally disliking it but there are a lot of people out there that just despise it. I totally respect their point of view. Anime has been linked to the negative geek label now, but I would only put fanboys on that category. The internet makes it even worse, trying to find information about anime can leave you with a headache because most websites that follow it are poorly written and have the most obnoxious colors available in the RGB world.

There is a lot of good adult anime, that rivals in story depth with some of the best hollywood has to offer. I think Spirited Away showed anime in a different light that some people might not have expected. If you have never really experienced anime I think this is a good starting point. I would steer you away from the recommendation most anime fans give you as a start which is Akira. While the movie is excellent it is quite complicated and not in a good way.

Anime is far reaching when it comes to subjects. You can find anything from animal series that are for kids to adult geared hentai that tends to be a little too bizarre for my personal taste. Just remember that there is a lot in between. My favorite genre of anime is the post apocaliptic future Tokyo type of theme. A lot of times this series involves humanoid robots that develop a soul, in what I believe a heavy Asimov influence ala Ghost in the Shell. Or robots trying to fit into our society like the movie Armitage III of the series by the same name.

Also from growing up I hold a series dear to me, Captain Tsubasa or Supercampeones as it is knows in Spanish. This soccer fueled series falls prey of the repetitive animation and impossible physics that sometimes turns people off, but I just love it. It is a great series and there are a lot of people that still follow it today. I have most of the original series dubbed in Spanish, and have always wished that they release it here in the US. I was hoping that with the popularity of soccer in the US, they might bring the latest iteration (Road to 2002) but I was not that lucky.

The last series that I want to mention is Rurouni Kenshin, which I own the whole series on DVD. This anime has a lot of history about Japan and how the country changed when Samurai became a thing of the past. Very similar in some aspects to the recent Tom Cruise movie The Last Samurai. While it might not be actual history, it does open a window of at least interest to a time when Japan was changing from being complete feudal to become the industrialized nation it is today.

Anime has a lot of flavors and while some might be quite bitter, there are also some sweet flavors that are worth trying. I think it can be a good experience as trying ethnic food, but of course with a little guidance. I say when looking for anime try to find something that might mix something you are already interested in. My bet is that one or more of your hobbies have an anime already linked to it. Just don’t let a bad experience keep you from trying something else in the menu.

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9 comments on “Anime Hate it or Love it

  1. I used to watch Speed Racer. In fact, I wanted to marry Speed Racer when I was about 5. Try not to laugh too hard, m’kay :)

  2. At first, I couldn’t stand anime, but once I saw Neon Genesis Evangelian, Cowboy Bebop, FCLC, and In general, I tend to enjoy sci-fi anime more than anything.

  3. Well I like some anime series like Cowboy Bebop, Captain Tsubasa, YuGiOh!, .Hack or Full Metal Alchemist, but there are also series that I hate like Sailor Moon, Candy or Saibor Marionette so I think I´m just in the middle between evila and good….

  4. My first exposure to anime was “ghost in the machine”. I was thoroughly impressed. Interesting that this wasn’t in the 90’s but in the 70’s when Japaneese cartoons were unheard of in the US. I don’t know if the film in the link is the one I saw. Perhaps I saw the original, more a “Rakin Bass” production.

    10 years passed and then there was a flood of Japaneese cartoons.

    I never liked rap. Ditto for “teenaged mutant ninga turtles”. Enough already. Then there was the video game attack. Pokemon. Pacman was entertaining but when they made a cartoon series, I hurled. Smurfs were silly. As silly as the “cabbage patch dolls”. Wen yuppies began collecting “beanies” I got so sick I had my intestines surgically removed.

    This perhaps explains that now that I’m technically a tapeworm and live in the bowles of western culture, “hentai” has become my sinful obsession. I won’t nausiate anyone with the gory details of my eventful evolution except perhaps to say the Japaneese can be delightfully kinky and like myself, have a fondness for hermaphrodites. The best thus far has been “total biochem”. For your sakes I hope they never animate it.

    God save America

    Roger L. Sieloff

  5. i too started watching anime at a very young age without having to worry about it being or not eastern animation. when i was 12 i realized that the graphical quality of anime was something worthy of praise. by that time i started watchig Mahou Kishi Rayearth (Las guerreras mágicas) and got hooked on CLAM (the group that did the manga and part of the anime series). i highly recommend X-1999 and RG-Veda while they have an amazing set of drawings and a very interesting theme.
    The greatest problem with anime, as with most things, is the incredible amount of people that are ‘alienated’ by it. When i was learning japanese (for reasons different from anime in itself) i came across of many self proclaimed Otaku, whom i am not very fond of.

  6. The problem with the anime in América and specially in Colombia is about culture. The anime is a culture for the japanese people and everybody see its.
    In colombia only the geeks and the kids got the guts to watch it.

  7. Well, I have to say the big eyes, little pointy noses and weird hair really bug me, tho I have seen some stuff that did not have that. Everybody just seems sort of alike in the anime I have seen.

    I saw Akira several years ago and was not impressed, the plot was too weird, and the characterization just seemed…odd in places, I can’t remember specifics, just a feeling of dissonance, like the character was not acting/speaking in a logical manner. Largely, I avoid anime like the plague. I suppose I would be willing to give it the benefit of the doubt (I would like to see Ghost in the Shell…was there a sequel? I vaguely remember hearing about another film from the same director…).

    Pokemon and its ilk are incredibly lame. Maybe its a cultural thing. I have yet to see a live action martial arts film produced overseas that actually had a plotline or believable characters, the exception to this might be Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (I have no idea who produced this film, but it was very good). I don’t know that much about Japanese culture, but I get the idea that they approach things from a different angle than we do. The characters seem very archetypal to me and this also seems to be more of the focus rather than a coherant and believable plot line. But maybe I am just misperceiving things.

  8. Hi there! Nice blog posting about Anime Hate it or Love it. I would have to agree with you on this one. I am going to look more into adult anime. This Friday I have time.

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