Why is anime everywhere these days? is a question I’ve been asked before repeatedly in the past. And I’m sure everyone who likes anime more or less has been confronted with this question before by people around them.
This question is one of the main reasons why I’ve named my blog: “What is this “Culture” you speak of?” to explain the best as I can everything regarding the Japanese Culture to people who are curious to it or to people such as me who are deeply into this culture, but have yet to hear of or understand this or that part of their passion. In order to respond to this pretty large question, I’ll respond to one little inquiry at a time that relate to this question, those who have also been asked repeatedly by curious people.
Question number one! How did anime get popular overseas, aru?
I guess it’s thanks to those who were watching anime when it first showed on their screen, over twenty years ago? The more something gets known and appreciated, the more it appears you know.
Even if that’s the most obvious answer to such a question, I’ll give you my opinion on it: Yes and No. It’s true that thanks to the ever-known Dragonball anime it has become widely spread everywhere, but that isn’t the only reason. Anime such as Golderak and Akira have already made their popularity in the west before Dragonball even arrived in the little screens overseas.
But then on the other hand, Golderak and Akira who both were made for different audiences didn’t seem to attract a big number of fans compared to the success Dragonball made. Perhaps it’s for the reason that Dragonball contained bits and pieces of all the genres people liked made a lot of fans, from kids to adults. At the time when Dragonball was first aired, my older sisters used to watch it after school with my mother, for example.
- Kagura: The art didn’t have anything to do about it?
The art is a very important element, but not the most important one. Anime is very appreciated for its visual art that varies from one anime to the other, depending on the studio producing it or the original creator. The hard-to-miss details such as the large eyes and small mouth you see on most anime nowadays has become very popular and are now recognized everywhere by everyone. In brief words you could say anime made the artwork popular, but not the opposite.
- But isn’t there supposed to be a cultural barrier?
When we first watched anime in our tender ages, we had no idea it originally came from another country that spoke another language, huh? Sure, there exists a cultural barrier that keeps us from fully understanding references shown in anime, but honestly, that doesn’t keep people from enjoying them. For example, the anime/manga Gintama holds a lot of references that may or not be clear to anyone, regardless of being Japanese or not. Besides, we can always learn sooner or later what the references mean. Almost every person that watches anime knows what sensei means, right?
- I understand that anime is popular and liked, but what does it have that… I don’t know…Disney or other cartoons don’t have?
A very interesting question that I’ll cut into two different views:
From a commercial point of view, anime holds the key to making successful business by selling a lot of derived products: Soundtrack and drama CDs (audio books, if you prefer)CDs, Figurines, movies that act as spin-offs, trading cards and the list goes on and on. Disney is very triumphant in this territory, but not other cartoons.
And from a normal (and very open) point of view, anime is simply mysterious and captivating. Most anime hold deep plots, mature storylines, realistic characters; In short, it has elements that people can’t find in most animation works. Cartoons can be for kids, but anime can be for everyone.