What I love about Anime (not everything)

I’m not sure why I like animated art so much (this includes Japanese Anime, but also international animated series and movies).

This wasn’t always the case. Sure, I enjoyed cartoons as a kid, but thought it was a bit childish and annoying in my early twenties and mostly watched “normal movies”.

Currently it’s the opposite: I rarely watch movies and series with real actors, and almost exclusively watch animated stuff. I struggle with immersion when seeing paid actors, and there seems to be a bit of a dry spell when it comes to good and unique series and movies right now.

I can already see you picturing me as a nerdy “Weeaboo” (yes those people exist), but I don’t have a waifu pillow or a samurai sword, sorry.

Here’s what might surprise you, though: I don’t love the stories in most of these Anime. Some people will vehemently oppose me here, but I’ve stopped watching a lot of Anime because of the story, at some point.
Often times, the characters are written poorly, (underage) women are overly sexualized and infantilized, men are either martyr fight machines or total perverts, the filler episodes, the rigidity when it comes to following the Shōnen style anime blueprint (like Dragon Ball Z), all that is quite annoying. 

But here’s my main problem: the story usually just becomes too confusing and incongruent, at some point. I could give countless examples (spoiler alert), like the all-potent super villain monster in Hunter x Hunter starting to play chess with a blind girl instead of continuing to kill all humans in the end, or all the strongest evil people being revived from the dead by some mediocre side character in Naruto, and much much more). Maybe the way stories are told and characters are developed is different in Japan, or it’s just not that important that the characters and story make sense. But in the end I usually come back to this question: What the hell is wrong with the Japanese?:)

Animated comedy series like Futurama or Rick & Morty, but also fantasy stories like Avatar or Castlevania or notable exceptions – and they’re not made in Japan.

I feel that animated art has a lot of potential that hasn’t been tapped into. If the beautiful artwork was accompanied by more believable and skillful storytelling, I’d watch the shit out of it!

I would love if European studios would come back and create cartoons with good stories and nice art (it doesn’t have to be about fighting, as far as I’m concerned. I’d love if countries like France and Belgium would come up with great series like Tintin or Asterix again).

All that being said, I enjoy Anime, even if the story is weird.

I come up with three reasons why that might be:

  1. The visual art: I have a ton of appreciation for animators, especially after watching this impressive (and somewhat depressing) documentary of an Anime Studio in Tokyo. But most importantly, I just love the end product, the colors, the beautiful background art, and the practically unlimited creative freedom – you can make almost everything come alive in an Anime! I especially like the 90s artstyke in retro Anime like City Hunter
  2. The music: There’s a good chance I’m going to love the music. At least with Japanese Anime, it’s usually Jazz elements and 7th and 9th chords with a lot of key changes, which I coincidentally love
  3. The weirdness: In a way, the fact that many Anime stories can be so confusing and Kafka-esque can be a good thing: this way, it’s easier for me to shut my logical brain off and just enjoy the experience and emotions, which I usually struggle with watching “normal” movies (where it’s usually obvious what’s going to happen and who will win). I also love reverse engineering cultural insights from watching Anime (e.g. how social dynamics and humour might be different from ours)

Here’s what I’m trying to say: In case you’ve never watched Anime and think it’s childish and dumb, maybe you won’t regret giving it another try!

If you’re looking for recommendations, I’ve recently enjoyed Demon Slayer & Haikyu on Netflix, Jujutsu Kaisen on Crunchyroll and City Hunter on RetroCrush. The Ghibli movies are great too if you want to ease into this world.

😴 What might help you find calm

Intentional ASMR Picks:

  • Ever heard of Annura’s ASMR? I discovered her not too long ago, loved her recent video with lots of nail tapping and whispering
  • Did you watch the 3h masterpiece by ASMR Bakery video with tons of triggers? It’s excellent, creating something like this must take several days!
  • I enjoyed RaffyTaphy’s recent video with unusually slow tapping – nice!
  • This was excellent as well: Zelsche ASMR presenting nice skincare products (is that an Australian accent?)

Unintentional ASMR Picks: