Social Question

Lightning's avatar

What is it about Japanese anime that attracts or repels people in droves?

Asked by Lightning (378points) April 5th, 2010


Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Nudity? Bondage issues? Fantasy sex with minors? With mythical furry creatures? Freakishly proportioned hermaphroditism? Combinations of all of the above?

Blackberry's avatar

What do you mean? Anime isn’t the only thing that attracts and repels people in droves. Some like it once it spreads, and others don’t like it once it spreads to them.

Kokoro's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Not all anime is like that, but I definitely see your point as Japan embraces what is strange or perverted to us. Anime can attract both children and adults, and I find them to be more serious and inspiring in a lot of ways, more so than American cartoons. My favorite ones take from spiritual stories or beliefs, very magical and creative most of the time.

My parents did not let me watch anime when I was younger because “they are drawn weird and unrealistic.” Since anime is animated, a lot of people can be confused to think that it is created for children. It is not true. There are different shows for different ages, and some are extremely dark. Not all anime is freaky or perverted.

Lightning's avatar

@Blackberry I mean the fan and anti-fan crowds. The ones that start websites and then shit on each other in the I luv anime/i really hates anime wars.

Trillian's avatar

I don’t care for Japanimation, but would not waste my time on a web site arguing with people who do like it. What would be the point?

rahm_sahriv's avatar

I like some of it. That being said, I am fascinated (by what I have seen anyway) with the ‘western’ if you will, style of eyes that most of the characters seem to have. Not saying they can’t have any style they choose, but isn’t it nature to draw what is most familiar?

Why the impulse to draw those kind of eyes instead of the more almond shaped ones? Is it similar to why it seems popular for some Asian women to get plastic surgery on their eyes to make them more western? Or should I just shut up and let art be art?

Trillian's avatar

@rahm_sahriv I noticed that too. About the eyes, I mean. I noticed that they are almost a caricature of us. A huge exaggeration, but when you look at old American cartoons, we have done the same exaggeration with their eyes. Hmmmm.

talljasperman's avatar

dreams of power and success or freedom from those who have it…how else can a 10 year old boy save the world…and get rewarded for it..

Disc2021's avatar

For me – The creativity, artistic ability, storyline, etc. Some people really get into it…

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

This happens for everything not just anime.

Draconess25's avatar

@Kokoro My parents wouldn’t stop me from watching anime, but they blamed it for my “violent tendencies”. Same with all my friends. Yeah, a lot of it is pretty dark, but look at Courage The Cowardly Dog. And Tom And Jerry; they’re always trying to off each other! Besides, Tokyo Mew Mew & things like that are all adorable.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@rahm_sahriv and @Trillian Japanese animation was inspired by early Western animation (such as early Disney animation like Steam Boat Willy), which is also characterized by large eyes. Large eyes are more expressive and more appealing to audiences; they are probably the most expressive parts of the human face. Therefore it’s quite logical to make a cartoon character have large eyes. If you compare the faces of Astro Boy, one of the first Japanese anime, and early drawings of Mickey Mouse you won’t see that many differences, even considering that one is a mouse.

The gradual change from this style of eyes to more recent styles is probably just based on what the public likes. Since the anime style tends to be very similar, the most important differentiating aspects of each character are going to be the eyes and hair, hence the huge, expressive eyes and crazy hair of unnatural colors. You’ll also find that some characters, like men and villain characters, have more normal-looking eyes that’ aren’t all that different from American comics.

This video discusses whether anime characters are “supposed” to be Asian or Caucasian. It discusses eyes, face shape, etc. It’s rather interesting.

As for the original question, I’m going to assume by “people” you mean non-Asian people, because anime is watched by the vast majority of people in Japan (as well as many other Asian countries) regardless of age and interests. Anime is very different from anything else found in the Western world, therefore it’s very intriguing to many Western people. Anime in Japan is not considered juvenile unless the theme of the show is specifically targeted to small children. With the amount of violent and sexual anime out there I would be very afraid if it was only watched by children. This of course is not true in the West, where comics and cartoons are kid’s stuff, and adults who enjoy them are considered strange. There are many types of anime, including action, mystery, comedy, romance, in addition to the anime we know best in the West (Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z, specifically). Most of the people who are adamantly opposed to anime are simply not very educated about it, because if they saw some of the amazing animated series and films out there (such as Miyazaki’s Spirited Away) they probably wouldn’t think it was so stupid.

Needless to say, the crazed fans of anime are enough to make some people hate it, I know. Having just returned from an anime convention in Boston with over 17,000 other people, I can attest to it myself. There are those who get so into anime that they think it’s the best thing on the earth and develop an obsession with anime and what they think Japan is like. These “otaku” are usually socially awkward people to begin with, and the interest in anime can make them seem even more strange. One of my first anime convention experiences was being stuck in line next to a very large, boisterous girl who kept squealing at the top of her lungs and talking about how she bought a drawing of some Naruto character laying naked on a beach. However one cannot judge anime by its fans, since there is a lot of fantastic anime and manga out there.

I could probably write a whole term paper about this, but I’ll stop here. I hope this gives you a little insight about the subject. As you can tell, I enjoy anime and Japanese cultuer quite a bit, but I pride myself on not contributing to the “weird, fat, smelly, obnoxious fan-girl/boy” stereotype of anime fans.

Draconess25's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko I’m not fat…. But I am weird & obnoxious, & I haven’t taken a shower yet! But I get your point….

I think people don’t like it because they don’t understand it. They fear what they don’t understand, & they hate what they fear.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@Draconess25 Haha, no, by the otaku stereotype I meant more like this guy.

Of course, the girls can be just as scary sometimes. o___o; Last year I was at a con dressed as Miku Hatsune when suddenly a person (couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman) came up behind me and hugged me, swaying slightly and whispering “I love you Miku”, for about 30 seconds.

But of course there are a lot of awesome anime fans out there. You just have to take the bad with the good, which is true for all things, especially anime. I tend to believe I lead a pretty normal life and just happen to enjoy anime, video games, and other Japanese stuff. The Japanese as a whole may be a bit insane, but they make some awesome stuff. :D

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’m 47 years old and cannot get enough Naruto Shippuden. I read the mangas and search out new episodes weekly on the web. The series is discontinued here in the US, but I was always a year ahead of our market anyway. I only watch them in Japanese with English subtitles and just cannot get enough of it. This is the only series show I’ve watched in five years at least.

Why? Two simple reasons.

Japanese Anime, (at least Naruto Shippuden) evolves and becomes so in depth in story line that I feel a part of a secret society knowing what I know. I cannot begin to explain the web of intersected story lines that are present at any given moment. From what I understand, American soap operas are very popular in Japan specifically because of the long and detailed story lines. Naruto Shippuden accomplishes this in spades. No lie, it might take twenty episodes just to move a single day. You might think this is boring, but just the opposite. There is an abundance of extremely detailed character development that it’s absolutely irresistible. There are flashbacks within flashbacks within dreams.

The second reason I adore this show is because it grows and matures with the viewer. My son and I watched it from the first episode together when he was around 8 years old. He’s 14 now and the show has matured right along with him. It was moved from Cartoon Network prime time and onto Adult Swim. It grew much darker and then was pulled from the US, as it grew even darker. It’s not the same show as it was. We’re not the same people we were either. It seems to have a life, and one that is confident enough to run 20 episodes without even showing the main star. Everyone in the show has become a star, and has a detailed story to expose. I find it fascinating beyond all measure.

Pandora's avatar

The art work is wonderful, the music is pretty cool and different from what we use in the states. They don’t go out of the way to make the victim seem like an idiot. And a lot of the story plots are quite fresh. We seem to run the same stories over and over. And they also are very imaginative with characters and the main character is usually someone quite normal at first who matures and becomes a hero with the help of his friends. They also aren’t worried about actually killing a favorite character. Of course having good looking characters doesn’t hurt. The only objection I have is they sometimes through in so many fillers that by the time they are back on the original story line, you’ve forgotten where they left off. Of course we do that here in the states as well.

davidbetterman's avatar

Wow, if i knew there was Nudity? Bondage issues? Fantasy sex with minors? I might have checked it out. What channel is it on, @CyanoticWasp?

YARNLADY's avatar

I know very little of anime, but the fans seem to be mostly the same type of people who follow any fad that comes along.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@davidbetterman if you google ‘anime’ or ‘manga’ or ‘hentai’ and pay attention to the specific terms used for the racier stuff then you’ll learn the ‘other’ terms to google like I did.

I’m not contributing any more to the delinquency of this thread. For now.

Pandora's avatar

@YARNLADY I wouldn’t call it a fad. More like a trend to a different type of entertainment. I don’t foresee it ending any time soon. It would be like saying, dramas, comedic movies, or romance movies , or soap operas are fads. There are many people of all ages that appreciate this new media.
@CyanoticWasp yep, Manga would be compared to our comic books. Some are racier than others. Hentai, is anime or manga that is like the comic book version of xxx rated magazines.
Anime characters have a certain style in the way they are drawn, and a lot of detail is put into their expressions to indicate feelings. Their story lines are like soap operas and can usually be the length of one season or go on for years.
@RealEyesRealizeRealLies , Try watching some of the original stories with subtitles. A lot of the words on cartoon network are changed to be kid friendly and when they kill character off, they kind of skip over it and sometimes your left wondering what happened.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

As I said, that’s all I watch, is the subtitles direct from Japan. Haven’t seen the Amero version for a while, but the last time I did, it all seemed very “kiddy” and really missed the mark.

Pandora's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Sorry misread. Its time for me to go to bed. My mind is shutting down. :(

filmfann's avatar

I just don’t see the attraction for all the tentacle sex.

davidbetterman's avatar

@CyanoticWasp WOW
And to think I used to only watch Bugs Bunny and RoaD Runner!

JackiePaper's avatar

It repels me because it looks generic….the music is annoying and the voices sound like they are trying to insult my intelligence.

Kokoro's avatar

@JackiePaper Again, I don’t think you’ve ever seen any Hayao Miyazaki films. You are speaking of the anime that are targeted to younger adults or children. Usually when they translate it to English the “annoying” voices are trying to capture the “cuteness” of the Japanese voices. However where it’s the norm for them and sounds natural, in English it may sound like they’re trying too hard.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@Kokoro Quite true. Also the cutesy voices found in anime girls is a cultural element that simply is nonexistent in the US. Cute, childish girls in sailor outfits and effeminate men with cool hair are considered very attractive in Japan, where the Western world generally focuses on busty, sexy women and beefy, square-jawed men. Translating the cute voice of Japan into English usually fails because it is so out of character for Western/American culture.

But luckily, English voice acting has improved, and although I mostly watched subbed anime I do prefer some in English, such as Cowboy Bebop and Papuwa (a random comedy anime). The advantage is dubs is that they often translate cultural and pop references to those more relevant to Western culture, whereas someone without much knowledge of Japanese pop culture would just be confused by Japanese pop references.

@JackiePaper Yeah, you have to watch Miyazaki films. Either in Japanese or English, they are absolutely fantastic. Also, try watching the first episode of Death Note and try to find some high-pitched girly voices. You won’t.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther