In the 21st century, Japanamation (or Japanese Anime), has exploded in popularity. Names like Miyazaki, Hosoda and Shinkai mean as much to animated fans as Pixar does. What is causing this? Let’s take a look!
Anime has a distinct style that allows bigger facial expressions and over the top humor that wouldn’t work with western style animation. This can lead to bigger for audiences and it can convey different story telling methods to the audience.
The Forgotton Hollywood Category, Drama.
Let’s face it, Hollywood don’t do good dramas anymore. Some independent movies can do it well, but big budget dramas are almost dead. In Anime though, it’s alive and well. You feel the pain the characters do, movies like Kiki’s Delivery Service, Your Name and Ponyo will have you in tears when they feel pain, and cheering when they are happy. Drama when it’s done right can be so rewarding.
Aren’t you tired of cynical movies? Don’t you want movies with real heart and sincere emotions? You get that a lot in anime. Wolf Children is a great example of a loving family who works to stay together and you really know that the family loves each other. It is real and the characters don’t wink at you to let you know it’s a game. This makes you more invested in the story and the characters.
When you turn on TV or go to You Tube, you can come across so much harsh reality. We all need to deal with it, but too much can bring you down. Watch a sweethearted anime movie. You can see relatable characters overcome obstacles and hardships. You’ll see lots of gentle stories like the Secret World of Arrietty. What a sweet story about a loving family who happen to be small and how they deal with it. You’ll feel so good after you watch it. Forget your problems for over 2 hours and enjoy. There are other movies like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Ponyo that will make you feel great after watching them.
Oh the things you can do with animation. Spirited Away is a great example of this. You’ll see creatures you’ve never seen before and a world that will make your sensors go wild. Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro are packed with imaginative images that will fill your mind with gorgeous colors, character designs and weird creatures which will blow your mind. You’ll feel like you are on cloud nine seeing all of these incredible images.
Anime has a lot of different sub-categories. Some are wild sci-fi, sexy, some are dark and some are wonderful family movies. You don’t get a lot of adult animation in the west (adult swim used to, but not now), anime knows there are fans who crave adult animation. Vampire Hunter D, Death Note and Akira are great adult animes that are smart, dark and edgy for older . Then you got cute and wholesome animes like The Castle in the Sky and Summer Wars that are great for the whole family.
No matter how wild the images or creatures, anime gives you very relatable characters. Taki and Mitsuha from Your Name, are typical college kids who are trying their best to get by. Working jobs, going to school and trying to balance their home life. Who can’t relate to that? Even though there is a sci-fi element, the movie never forgets to give us characters we can relate to and care about. Wolf Children is another great example of this. Hana, Yuki and Ame are a typical family. Yuki is a regular housewife who is trying her best to raise her kids on her own. This makes the drama real and we feel for them when something happens. No matter how outrageous the story.
Remember when Disney did movies like Aladdin, the Little Mermaid and the Lion King? Nearly all western animated movies are CGI now. Don’t get wrong, I love CGI, but there is something about hand drawn animation that is appealing. The colors are brighter, the textures pop and there is a quiet charm about it. Princess Mononoki, Your Name and A Silent Voice can stun you with beauty in ways CGI can’t. The gorgeous colors that will make your eyes do somersaults and the fluid movement that will cause your brain to work overtime. Hollywood has forgotten that a lot of people still prefer hand drawn animation to CGI. Anime is one of the few places where someone can get that nowadays.
For all of the reasons above, Japanese Anime is gathering a huge following in western Countries now. It isn’t just movies or tv shows either. Video games as well are showing a growing interest in anime. Games like Persona 5 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 both have sold over 2 million copies. America is taking notice. JJ Abrams is remaking Your Name, (please let it turn out to be good), and stores like Walmart are carrying more anime. This is great! If you haven’t checked out anime, do yourself a favor and check some out. There is something for everyone. Long live Anime!
Links to some of my favorite anime:
Links to Anime becoming popular:
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