It started in junior high all of the cool smart kids who knew about computers or science started talking about anime. Well, if they thought it was cool it had to be, right? I hopped on the bandwagon. I watched and tried my best to fall in love with it, but the more bored I became. I stopped watching it. I moved on. It’s 8 years later and I’m standing on Carnegie Mellon Campus a senior talking with a friend and anime comes up.

“I hate anime.” I say. There is a dark silence at last he asks what no one has asked before when I give my knee-jerk reaction to the genre.

Why?

It took me a long time to figure it out to articulate it, but basically it come down to this. Most of the anime we see in the US is made by young men for younger boys. The characters are severely gendered, girls are girls and boys, boys. There is a lot in anime to appeal to adolescent males and sometimes it can come off as downright obnoxious. Some of the cartoons presented other stereotypes, such as dumb blonds and black girls with hulk-like rippling muscles. And it’s cartoons not high art!! but people talk about it like it is high art and it drives me up the walls.

That all said, not all anime is like this. But, like people who hate rap I have trouble getting past the biases I’ve built up against the genre. Still, I plan to start again. My friend explained to me how the Japanese invented the tradition of stories told through cartoons in the 15th century (it then spread to Europe) this fascinates me. So this weekend I’m going to give anime another chance and if I see any good in it I’ll make a How I came to love anime node.
You say "most of the anime we see in the US", so who is we? Your (obviously limited) exposure to some anime has spoiled the entire medium for you.

Anime is a medium, just like film is a medium, just like poems and photos and music and food and sculpture, to name a few, are all mediums. They are mediums for getting information or feelings or emotions across to whomever is hearing/smelling/tasting/touching/viewing them.

Your analogy of anime to rap is not a very good one. Rap is a style of music, it is a particular style belonging to a broader medium; just because someone doesn't like rap doesn't mean they hate music. The same applies to anime. There are many different styles and forms of anime, some are more prominent that others, some believe that anime ain't anime without tentacle rape others appreciate the more plot and character driven forms of anime. Some go for mecha action, others for light hearted humour.

Go watch Grave of the Fireflies or Princess Mononoke and tell me they are not as good as any other traditional movie you have seen. Or better yet, witness the spectacle that is Neon Genesis Evangelion and try not to get blown away. It drives me up the wall when people just dismiss anime as "just a cartoon". You say it isn't art, well then what is art then? If a drawing isn't art (and anime is fundamentally just a bunch of drawings) then what is?

So you had a bad experience, don't let it put you off the entire medium. Just because I disagree with one of your nodes doesn't mean I will disagree with all of them. The same goes for anime, just because you don't like some anime, that doesn't mean you should hate all anime.

Most of what you're likely to have seen, turtlebird, comes from a genre of anime (that's right: genre of anime; anime is not a genre in and of itself) known as shounen. That is, anime marketed towards young boys. And your stereotypes are largely correct, as far as that genre goes (though not always; I recommend Boys Be for an example of shounen anime which breaks the mold).

Shoujo anime, which is marketed towards young girls, tends to be very different, and would probably be more to your liking. While you'll find some "severely gendered" characters, you'll also be introduced to The Wonderful World of Bishounen, who pretty much obliterate most Western gender stereotypes out there, and then invent a few new ones so they can break those too. Indeed, there are many other character archetypes seldom seen in shounen which break the stereotypes, but I note bishounen as the most famous of these. The humor tends to be more subtle, and the characters more developed than in shounen (well, mentally developed, at any rate; they aren't as physically developed in shoujo, but I get the feeling you'd prefer this anyway). The story tends to be driven more by characters and the relationships between them, rather than the plot; this is a matter of personal taste.

Shoujo isn't for everyone, of course. But then, neither is shounen. If you don't like shounen anime for the reasons you've stated, then I'd consider at least giving some good shoujo a try. A good one to start with is Marmalade Boy, though I must warn you that it's very long.

it's sad to see someone see only one genre of a medium and mistake it for the medium itself. It happens, though; see Sailor Moon and its ilk are not anime for another example of this. But this is exactly the problem anime fans have with explaining their hobby to others; people see one genre -or worse, go off the prejudices they have about cartoons being for kids- and think all anime (or the vast majority) is like that.


OK; it's obvious that this is causing some controversy. Would the downvoters please be so kind as to say why?

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