The Japanese animation form, anime, is not a foreign word. Anime is a popular term, but many still don’t know much about it. People often believe that anime is for children.
I was one of those people who didn’t understand anime. There has been no turning back since then.
Contrary to popular belief anime is not a form of entertainment. Instead, it is a medium that encompasses movies and shows from drama, comedy and sci-fi. The way each show/movie tells their story, portrays their characters, creates whole worlds, or designs new species and landscapes is just some of the many differences.
Those who don’t have a proper understanding of the word, may argue that anime is only for children. However, if you keep your mind closed off to anime’s golden age, it will hinder your enjoyment. All anime are suitable for different age groups, and can all be enjoyed no matter what age. These are just a few of the many things that make anime special.
Also, contrary to popular belief, anime is not a short form of ‘animation’ but is rather the Japanese translation of ‘animated cartoon’. In Japan, anime can refer to any type of animated cartoon, regardless of origin. Animations that are not from Japan, however, are called anime.
The West has Anime
Even though it’s been around since 1950s, anime made great strides in the West towards end 20th century. Akira (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), Dragon Ball (1989-1996), Sailor Moon (1992-1997), and many others helped anime to be popularized in countries such as the UK and USA.
Later, the animation styles and themes from these movies influenced many shows, including ‘Batman Beyond,’ ‘Avatar:The Last Airbender,’ ‘Voltron: Legendary Defender,’ and ’Boondocks. Animation was a very popular medium by the turn of the 21st century.
They are relatable to many audiences, making them even more enjoyable to watch. Every scene is different depending on how invested you are in the series. You will be compelled to jump from the couch in an action scene, but you will cry when a character is lost.
Indian youth growing up in 2000s would be very familiar with anime, thanks to popular shows such as ‘Crayon Shin-chan’ or ‘Doraemon’. Many believed that these cartoon-like cartoons were cartoons because of their childish behavior. Both of these anime were actually dubbed into Hindi.
These shows are now very popular in India. They were both able to make their way onto Indian screens because many Indian channels didn’t want to invest in new Indian animated shows. Also, they did not have the funds or the means to buy rights to American cartoons. They bought the rights for reruns of the shows that ran in Japan in the 1990s and dubbed them. Because of the crazy and bizarre situations the characters were in in an episode, Shin-chan became a household name and icon for children across India.
‘Dragon Ball’ and its successor ‘Dragon Ball Z’, were also two shows which were very popular among Indian audiences in the early 2000s. The story of Son Goku, and his quest to be stronger, has likely influenced children all across the country. His endless determination and aversion to back down, as well as his constant need to improve himself, has been a source of constant entertainment and probably had many kids screaming the show’s signature catchphrase of ‘KAMEHAMEHA’ as they gestured with their hands in their houses.
Although anime was not new to India, it only became more popular after the 2020 pandemic. Better internet accessibility and free availability of anime would have contributed to the industry’s growth in India. It was a way of escaping boredom during the lockdown. Every movie and show was unique. The settings and genres varied, from a comedy about a samurai to a romantic comedy to a show about pirates to a show about ninjas. There are many options, so even those with niche interests can find something to suit them.
You can watch anime with either sub or deb. Sub is watching the original Japanese version of the show with subtitles in the language you prefer. Dub is watching the dub with subtitles removed and the original audio in your preferred language. These options make sure that no one is left out due to language barriers. The sub versions of anime are available in dub, although some may argue they are less interesting than the sub. This opens the door to those who might be reluctant to watch anime due to language barriers.
After the pandemic, shows like ‘Naruto’, ‘Attack on Titan’, ‘One Punch-Man’ and ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ among others, have become very popular and India is becoming one of the larger markets for anime in the world. According to some reports, the popularity of anime has led to an increase in Japanese interest. Many people have expressed their desire for Japan to visit.
To all those who are willing to overlook the stigmas and popular myths regarding the medium, anime will open up the door to a whole universe of entertainment, the size of which one can’t even begin to fathom.
These Popular Shows are for Anime Beginners
‘Death Note’:The most loved show for newcomers is the one about Yagami Light, a bright, bored high school student who finds a book that allows him to kill anyone by simply entering their name into it. This is a bizarre cat and mouse story that raises questions regarding right and wrong as well as about the notion of God.
‘Naruto’:This story about a young orphaned Ninja who hopes to be the Hokage (the leader), of his village is very popular due to its colorful characters and mystical world that ninjas create, as well as the story of the underdog.
‘One Punch Man’:The title literally reveals the plot of the series. It is about a man who can beat anyone with just one punch. While this might sound silly, One Punch Man’s lighthearted and original approach to the superhero genre as well as the brilliance of the main character Saitama (who has an existential crisis because of how strong he becomes) made the series beloved by all.
‘Attack on Titan’: With one of the best plots in the history of fiction across all genres, ‘Attack on Titan’ turned a simple story about fighting some large monsters into a masterpiece about politics, racism, religion and much more. Because of its meticulously planned storyline, it is often considered to be one of the most well-crafted TV shows.
‘Haikyuu!’: A show about volleyball might not seem that interesting but ‘Haikyuu’ has managed to capture the hearts of anime fans across the globe. The high stakes intensity of the matches, the humour and the relatable nature of both the plot and the characters are what make ‘Haikyuu’ such a fun watch.