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Who Watches Anime?

Anime, one of the most peculiar and bizarre mediums of storytelling. With characters’ exaggerated features, and the improbable scenarios created within each individual series, it seems quite odd for something such as anime would become so popular amongst so many different people. With anime quickly growing in popularity it’s safe to ask who are these people who have become so invested in anime. But before any of that, we need to first learn what defines an anime.

What is anime? A question constantly brought up and fought over in the anime community. At first they thought it was solely Japanese cartoons, but this definition was soon changed after the recognition of anime such as Nuwa Chengchang Riji (Chinese) or My Beautiful Girl, Mari (Korean). With that said you can’t just call any cartoon an anime, there is a distinct difference between The Simpsons and Cowboy Bebop. Some in the anime community brought up the idea of how anime is written, because the majority of anime is written quite differently from the majority of mainstream cartoons. I would go into how anime is written differently but that’s a whole other Titan in and of itself. If that were the case though, series such as Avatar the Last Airbender or Teen Titans would be considered anime, and most of the anime community have agreed that this is not the case, and this leads to my personal definition of anime. Anime is a medium of which is derived from the original japanese animation and writing styles, but ultimately a work is not an anime until the majority of the anime community decides it is.

Now that we understand what anime is, now we can attempt to understand who watches anime, and why anime is such an important part of the lives of those who enjoy it. anime, by its definition, is an escapist media. The exaggerated eyes and hair, the odd and improbable situations, even the characters themselves have extreme personalities. This all paints the picture of a better world. A world where you can use magic with just a special circle or achieve immortality. One where all your pain and suffering is non-existent. One where your friends are practically brothers, and your brothers are even closer. A glamorized world that’s sitting right in front of us, just one screen away, and that’s really what anime is, it’s and escapist artform that feeds off of our loneliness and isolation, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Personally I found that anime in my darkest hour, came through and gave me a world that I wanted to be in. A world where I could fight to become a ninja, and I could change the past with just one text, but it’s not just that. For an otaku, anime is more than just another medium. They all have an overly obsessive love for the characters and their story, and they learn and understand, and find friendship through anime. The anime community has their rivalries, but overall they’re still a community.

Anime is in no way better than any other medium, but it does give those of us that can hate life at times a refreshing break. Because life can really suck at times, you just need Goku to fight in another tournament, or Ash to catch another Pokémon. So that you can end one more day with another,”See You Space Cowboy..”

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