I’m a huge anime fan and you probably are too if you’re reading this. But perhaps your best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or parents aren’t so keen on the genre. They probably ask you the same questions we all face for being an anime fan: “Why do you watch cartoons? Aren’t you too old for them?”
While our anime watching behaviour piques their interest, non-anime fans are constantly asking us why we watch… and after a while, it can be maddening! Here are some of the most common misconceptions about anime that we, as fans, hear all too often.
Yeah, anime is just for kids. In fact, there are many series out there that discuss issues affecting our society, such as death, rape, the environment and other mature social themes. I really don’t think that kids can handle such topics, showing that anime is a diverse genre that provides for many different audiences. Take Death Note, for example. Would you really show this to your kids?
Fans boil inside when they hear this. We just want to shout, “THEY ARE NOT ALL THE SAME!” There’s anime for everyone out there. Just because one series is mainstream doesn’t mean it represents the hugely diverse genre and all of its shows… which can vary from Cowboy Bebop to Sailor Moon!
There are so many kinds of anime fans out there that even this statement is a little too broad. There are anime fans that watch an episode every now and then, and there are fans who want to cosplay and head to conventions. Either way, the fandom shouldn’t be referred to as “weird” just because it may seem unusual to the casual viewer. And, hey… a little bit of weirdness in your life isn’t all that bad, is it?
There is some truth in the fact that a lot of mainstream anime over-sexualizes women, making their breasts unrealistically ginormous or animating little girls wearing skimpy school uniforms. However, anime fans don’t simply watch the show for a character’s boobs. So, if you want to entertain yourself with a little bit of animated action, who are we to judge?
Just like many ’90s movies, the dynamic of a school can be divided into cool kids, nerds, geeks, goth and so on… often based on your interests. The stereotype can often be that it’s “nerdy” to watch anime. Fortunately, if you already passed that awkward moment in your life, you know that it doesn’t really matter what others think. You just do what makes you happy. And anime always makes us happy.
The difference between cartoons and anime is similar to the difference between the definitions of affect and effect. Although different, at the end of the day they both have characters that are animated. The major difference is that one originated in Japan and is influenced by Japanese culture. This can be seen throughout an entire series and makes anime unique from cartoons, and vice versa.
At the end of the day, if your anime-watching isn’t hurting anyone, who cares what others think? We know that anime is awesome for so many reasons, and these prejudices are simply misunderstandings. As the popularity of anime grows, we will see more and more fans who realize that these misconceptions aren’t true at all!