What's the Deal with Anime and Manga?

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Cassandra B. ('25)

Anime is something people around the world can love (or hate). This could be due to various factors such as the art, storyline, as well as the underlying meanings. People decide whether they like anime depending on their personal background, including nationality, age group, gender, and moral values. But what exactly makes it so appealing? Are there any pros and cons to watching anime?


Anime first made its debut in 1983 with an adaptation of a soccer manga, which became the first successful sports anime in the world. On the other hand, manga comes from Japanese scrolls dating back to the 12th century. The word ‘manga’ was introduced in the 18th century and can be translated to the English word ‘comic’. While most anime are of Japanese origin, there are also some from China (e.g. Ling Qi) and Korea (e.g. Yobi, the Nine-Tailed Fox). According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, anime is “a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes.” Manga is similar to anime in terms of the art style but shares a few different features. In addition to being in a black-white comic book format, manga incorporates more action scenes to increase the fluency of the story, making it an easy read for many anime lovers. Unfortunately, most mangas are never made into anime because it requires a lot of effort to create animations or designs to produce the show even if the manga already serves as a foundation for the storylines. It is especially difficult for the producers to animate all the characters accurately to fit the style of the manga. Therefore, only the most successful mangas with large market values become animes. 


Despite not many mangas being developed into anime, the animes produced are perfected with intricate designs and appeal well to the audience. A blogger named Angel Qinglan Li made the argument, “Anime at its best is a genuine, richly fascinating contemporary Japanese art form with an exceptionally appealing visual style…young people brought up in a world of computers and video games are particularly open to its distinctive aesthetic.” Since anime has this unique aesthetic appeal, it leaves viewers feeling more positive, especially when the animation features bright and energetic colors. In addition, innovative and diverse plots are a big reason why this art is popular. For instance, Linah K. (8) said that anime allows her to “experience diverse worlds in often more condensed formats, as anime and manga are often more fast-paced than general western media.” She also added,  “I can get a glimpse into trends in Japanese media since my attendance at an international school often distances me to the media of my home country.” 


Apart from the unique characteristics of these art forms, Anime has several benefits and drawbacks that strengthen or possibly decrease its appeal. Some anime teach viewers lessons about relationships with others and include a lot of inspirational and inspiring themes. One anime named Haikyuu, for example, has taught me more about volleyball and that it is important to work hard in order to achieve your dream. Anime also teaches us the value of friendship. For example, this can be seen in an anime called One Piece, one of the longest-running anime series in Japan. Throughout all of their adventures in the anime, the characters always look out for each other and have each other’s backs. Through these lessons, anime makes people feel comfortable with themselves, instead of being pressured with the idea that we always have to fit in. 


However, a drawback is that some of the humor and themes can be found offensive to many people. For instance, in My Hero Academia, a character named Minoru makes a lot of inappropriate remarks regarding women’s bodies. When he talks about a girl in his class, he always refers to their figure or looks in general. It is upsetting because it shows that he doesn’t care about how girls feel or even respect them as a person. Secondly, Anime can be addictive (like much other western media) When watching an anime series, one can easily lose track of time because they keep telling themselves that they can watch just “one more episode” but end up watching five more. Lastly, some dark themes may not be suitable for younger audiences. An example of this is an anime called Death Note where a boy uses a notebook to kill many people just by writing their name and seeing their faces. Another example is Attack on Titan where many people are eaten or killed by large humanoid figures called Titans. However, this is specific to one type of genre and is also found in other types of media as well. 


In conclusion, anime has many great and not so great things about it. It has bright lively colors and inspiring themes that appeal to most age groups. On the other hand, anime can be distracting and inappropriate for many people. Considering how great anime sounds, maybe it’s time to watch “just one more episode”.


Serdar Yegulalp. "What Is Anime? An Introduction to Japanese Animation." LiveAbout. n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2020. <https://www.liveabout.com/what-is-anime-144982>

YouTube. "The Benefits of Watching Anime." YouTube. 24 May 2018. Web. 16 Oct. 2020. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_8s5T8i4z4>

Kayla Matthews. "10 Reasons Why Anime Nerds are Highly Satisfied in Life." Lifehack. 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Oct. 2020. <https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-reasons-why-anime-nerds-are-highly-satisfied-life.html>

Posted Thelegendarymiko. "The Pros and Cons to Anime/Manga." Simply Miko. 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2020. <https://thelegendarymiko.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/the-pros-and-cons-to-animemanga/>

Ryan Fan. "Why Is Anime So Universally Appealing?." Medium. 10 Nov. 2019. Web. 16 Oct. 2020. <https://ryanfan.medium.com/why-is-anime-so-universally-appealing-e6417527de8c>

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