Okay.. So I wrote this for my World Literature class recently, and I really, really like the topic I’m writing about (obviously cuz it’s about anime..lolz). Anime are tend to be overlooked by so many people and had accumulated many false assumptions. This research paper was written to raise awareness that anime has so much more to offer to people, more than most people give it credit for.
P.S.: Hi, Mrs. Darr, if you somehow stumbled across this post online and you still remember that it’s mine, which I doubt you would, please keep in mind that I did not copy it off the internet and that I really wrote this myself.
As the world is globalizing, many different cultures are being integrated into other cultures. Japanese anime is no exception to this. Throughout the years, Japanese anime has been spreading in different parts of the world. Even though anime is popular among teenagers, many kids and adults are also attracted to it. Since anime became such a big part of most people, it surely has brought many effects on those who watch it. These effects are both negative and positive, and have become very influential in a person’s life and even to an extent of Japan as a whole country. Though there is no doubt that anime partially brings bad influences and effects on teenagers, there are also the positive effects that seem to outweigh the negative costs.
Some people still do not know exactly what anime is all about, and have accumulated many false assumptions over what it is. “Anime is a type of cartoon but rather, it is complex, mature, broader, and even the animation drawing is on a higher level than that of a mere cartoon” (“Effects of Watching Anime”). While American cartoons are mostly watched by children, Japanese anime were aimed at people in all age groups; from children to teens to even adults. To really understand what anime is, we need to know where anime came from. Anime is an animated adaptation of manga, which is in comic form. Manga started in Japan as early as 11th century in the form of scroll painting. The earliest work was Choju Giga, a famous scroll painting drawn by a painter-priest named Toba Shojo; it is even considered as Japan’s national treasure. Katsushika Hokusai, a well-known woodblock artist, also effectively contributed to the development of manga. His works included funny scenes and people making funny faces, and he was also the one who used the word “manga” to describe his works, which literally translated as “ playful sketches” (Aoki, Deb). In the 18th century, Kibyoshi, or the “Yellow Cover Books”, was a satirical art that criticized political figures. In the late Meiji Era, when Commodore Perry opened up Japan, Western style arts also influenced the manga development. Many Japanese started to mix the western style and Japanese together, thus became the evolution of modern manga. The spread of manga was even more accelerated during World War 2 when it was widely used as propaganda in Japan.
In the early 20th century, with the help of western filming techniques, manga was adapted into animation known as “anime”. After the 1970’s, Japanese anime developed to become distinctive from its Western origin. Girls with big eyes, people with wild colored hair, emotional, exaggerated facial expressions and body gestures are mostly featured in anime. Anime, just like manga, has many different varieties and genres. Different genres were aimed at certain group of audiences. “Shounen” was mostly directed to boy viewers with all the action scenes, while “shoujo” was aimed at girls. “Mecha” centered around robotic themes with characters as “a giant human-shaped robot” (umich.edu). There are also many anime that focus on the art of “samurai” as samurai warriors played a major role in the Japanese history. Besides these major genres, there are many more of them among anime.
Though some anime are entertaining to watch, some people take it a bit to the extreme. Many people tend to be overly obsessive over watching anime. Otaku, or obsessive fans, spend almost every second of their life with anime. They tend to become social outcasts because they do not interact much with other people beside among their group. This issue is a major problem for many anime lovers. Not only do people who watch anime tend to become obsessive, some anime actually have bad influences. Some anime has bad contents that is only suitable for older teens or adults. It is advised that the viewers should see the rating and genre first. Some kids do not, and this is why anime has the potential to be a bad influence in their l ives. Romance comedy is one of many popular genres of anime that are mostly aimed at teens, which kids under the age of 13 should not watch. The same thing goes for teens who should not watch anime that suits an older teen or even adult audience. However, there are people who break this unspoken rule, and thus turning anime into a bad influence.
Leaving the bad influence issue aside, anime also affect a person in other ways- issues of delusional reality. Because of all the drama and fantasies inside an anime series, anime could make a person become delusional and fantasize real life. Many characters inside anime seemed to be flawless and “perfect”. This “perfection” causes anime lovers to all make a big fuss over it. Some even claimed that they “fell in love” with anime characters, and that anime guys/girls are better than real ones. Some portions of anime fans tend to live in a very delusional and secluded life because of this. In some genres, anime tends to romanticize death and make death look more heroic than it really is. By watching this kind of thing, viewers can also get used to and influenced by this idea. Some people would argue that some cases of suicide are caused from influences of watching anime (Ashcraft, Brian). Although this accusation may sound relevant, the fact that anime tends to romanticize death is deeply connected with the Japanese culture. Japanese has a long history of kamikaze, literally translated as “Divine Wind”, in which Japanese samurais or soldiers would rather take death rather than betrayal. Since anime is a part of Japanese culture, it is natural that Japanese culture would somehow be involved. Suicides cannot be solely blamed on the effects of anime. In most cases, teenagers committed suicide because they feel like they have issues in their life and cannot solve it.
While some people tend to look at the negative side of manga and anime, there are also those who strive to view the positive side. First of all, manga and anime serve as a form of entertainment for people of all age groups. People of various ages could read manga when they feel bored and want to relax themselves, or they could watch one anime or two as their pastime. Little did some realize, they could bring effects and influences more than most people give them credit for. As a country in general, Japan is a renowned place for fashion and trend. Some people might have known this already, but many of these trends were inspired from anime or manga. Manga artists , or “mangaka”, draw a unique or new clothing designs, which have effects to some degree over the fashion trends of Japanese teens. They also influenced what is called an anime convention, which is a multi-day “event or gathering with a primary focus on anime, manga and Japanese culture” (Wiki). There are displays of anime and manga by many different authors and companies, and many other activities. One of the activities includes cosplay, in which people would dress in costumes like anime characters. It is more of a social event where fans and distributors come together. Manga and anime are forms of art that are culturally unique to Japan. They are important factors to the mass media in Japan, even spread around the world as time has passed. Anime plays an important role in Japan’s filming industry, and many soundtracks were recorded for each series. This encourages creativity within the industry, and provides many people with jobs and career professions.
Once again as mentioned earlier, manga and anime are culturally unique to Japan; this means that somewhere among many things that happen within the plot, Japanese aspects have been presented to the viewers. They help spread and preserve Japanese culture, history, and worldviews, to a certain degree depending on the genre and theme. “Since it originated in Japan, most of the anime shows the culture and hidden beauty of Japan, its technological advancement, friendship, love and student’s life, the Japanese way” (“Effects of Watching Anime”). Many viewers would learn something about the way of the Japanese from watching or reading. Things like how the Japanese likes to pack their lunch, or bento, to school and eat lunch in class or how sport festival and cultural day are high school traditions would be one or two things the viewers would learn about the Japanese culture from anime and manga. New Year Festival is also a common storyline; Japanese culture is being spread visually because as people watch, they can see the kind of customs that the Japanese perform during New Year’s Eve. Those customs include how they all go to a shrine during New Year Eve, ring the bells, and pray for fortune in next year, and many other new year celebrations. This helped bring out the Shinto customs of Japan to other people and help preserve the traditions. Many of these customs, nevertheless, were displayed to many other people from all around the world, from different cultures. through anime and manga, making the Japanese culture known to others.
Anime and manga could do more than just affecting the country and culture in general, but also to a more personal level of influences for the viewers. Many anime and manga series have a complex and thematic plot, in which it could also teach many values. They could teach about life lessons and values. Some anime have a theme on the bond of friendship and family and how they are essential to a person’s life. “Though our paths may have diverged, you must continue to live out your life with all your might, you must never consider your own life to be something insignificant, and you must never forget about your friends for as long as you live.” To put the ones you love above yourself, and never abandon them in times of trouble was one main theme a shounen manga/anime called Fairy Tail teaches. “Mistakes are not shackles that halt one from stepping forward. Rather they are that which sustain and grow one’s heart”. Furthermore, anime and manga encourage the rise of anime music videos, fan fictions and fan arts. Many fans who love some certain anime would try to make music videos or arts, either graphically or hand drawn. Some fans even try out writing side stories to the series. All of these things help bring out the artistic or writing talent of some people, thus contributing to their self discovery. Another benefit that is so small that most people would often overlook is the fact that anime is subtitled into English. For non-English speakers, watching anime can be beneficial because they learn English while still enjoying themselves.
As explained above, anime and manga have brought so much influence and effect on many people who are drawn to them. Most people would have the first impression that anime have more bad influences than the good because of all the time that people wasted on watching them and the type of genre and rating they are. The issue of spending too much time on them and becoming secluded depends on each individual who are watching them. To blame anime for someone’s irresponsibility of not managing their time wisely is not the best idea out there. Anime were made for entertainment purpose, and they were certainly not meant for people to be too obsessive over them. Each anime and manga all have rating and genre, and people should know that they should have to see what type of category it falls under first before watching them. “Because anime’s so broad-reaching in its subject matter, it’s possible to find anime aimed at just about every age group. Some titles are specifically for younger viewers or are suitable for all ages (Pokémon, My Neighbor Totoro); some are aimed at teens and up (InuYasha); some are aimed at older teens (Death Note); some are for “mature audiences” (Monster) and some are strictly for adults (Queens Blade)” (Yegulalp, Serdar). Common problems that most people find anime being a bad influence are the time-management and rating, but these issues all depend on each individual because not everyone would get the bad side out of watching them. Beside these negative sides, the positive outcomes are much more beneficial and outweigh the negative. For instant, anime and manga inspire people, both in creativity and other kinds of trends. They became one of the mainstream industries in Japan, which brought both fame and profits to the country. They are Japan’s national identity in a way because when people hear the word “anime”, they would often automatically think of Japan. Anime helps in presenting Japanese culture into the world and preserving a part of their daily lifestyle and customs. Apart from that, it helps in developing one’s self both in moral code and their self-discovery and learning.
Anime is not bad; it is the choice of the viewers whether or not to become obsessive to the extreme. Anime was intended for entertainment, just like any other books or media. Anime and manga can be more beneficial than what most people think it is. They can affect people in general like in trends and other gathering events such conventions; they can affect Japan as a country such as spreading and preserving the Japanese culture, and also more to a personal level with all the themes and individual learning. The positive effects of anime outweigh the negative because there are many more positive sides than the negative in comparison. While the negative effects only mostly affect individually, the positive effects influence in many different aspects of Japan and the rest of the world from the people in general to the country as a whole and even to each personal individuals.
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