“How” Do You Love Anime?

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Yes. Not why, but how.

I want to pose this simple yet rather profound question: How do you gain enjoyment from anime?
 
For instance, do you look at the characters as nothing more as tools for the author to further the plot or do you look at them as genuine people whom you can establish an emotional bond with? Are your favorite characters your favorite characters because they are layered and underwent the most growth throughout the course of the story? Or are they your favorite because of how they look? How they smile? How they try hard to overcome adversity? How they react when teased? So on and so forth.
 
I ask this, because I feel that there’s no one right way to appreciate anime, nor are any of them mutually exclusive, despite many people telling you otherwise. I’m not trying to be anti-intellectual. Far from it. On the contrary, I think that by only focusing on the role of the character, we are doing them an injustice by reducing them to a mere cog in a machine. In our attempt to better understand these characters by clinically and methodically analyzing them and breaking them down, we are ironically overlooking the simple things that make them human. If jokes are like frogs, then what would explaining a character do to them? (^.^;)
 
Of course, nothing exists in a vacuum and I am generalizing. However, are we getting too cynical and jaded? Instead of dismissing and mocking the otaku, can we learn something from their love for fictional characters? Just something to think about. (^o^)

2 Responses to “How” Do You Love Anime?

  1. alexeon says:

    Interesting question, but also hard to answer. One of the ways I enjoy anime is for the stories they tell and the settings they present. I especially like well-developed science fiction settings because then I can think about the things the author didn’t specifically mention. Mobile Suit Gundam, especially the UC timeline, is great for this because the world presented in that series is so vast, all sorts of stories are implied. My favorite science fiction series, Blame!, also has a lot going on beyond what we see the main character do. Fantasy settings can be good, too, but with things like magic, its a little too easy to hand-wave explanations instead of exploring how some sort of magic might behave given the in-universe rules.

    I also enjoy watching anime for the characters and the character interactions. Seeings certain characters develop friendships and struggle to find their place can be pretty emotional. A recent example of this would be Little Witch Academia. By the end of the series, it felt like I had followed Akko along on her journey as she grew and matured (if only a little.)

    There’s tons of other ways I enjoy anime, some harder to put into words than others, but you’re right in that all these ways coexist together rather than being mutually exclusive. I guess what I mean is that I enjoy different series on different levels, some for the characters, some for the world, some for the story, some for any combination of these, and some for completely different things.

    As for whether we can learn from an anime fan’s love for anime, well, I’m sure a psychologist might get something out of it, but I don’t see how practical that knowledge might be beyond better understanding the human mind.

    Interesting post as always, Actar!

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