Anime is one of the most popular forms of visual entertainment all over the globe. What was once something to be teased or even bullied over has now become something mainstream in American culture. Still, there are many who do not understand the appeal of anime. Why do people like anime? What draws people to these shows?
Anime is an animation style that originated in Japan. The word anime came from the shortened way of pronouncing “animation.” Modern anime films began to come out in the mid to late 1950s. However, the golden age of anime didn’t come until the 1970s and the 1980s. It was during this time that iconic anime shows like Space Battleship Yamato, Mobile Suit Gundam, Dragon Ball, and Doraemon came out. These shows later became popular not only in Japan but also overseas.
People essentially like anime for much the same reason as they may like other types of shows or forms of visual media. Whether you’re watching a medical drama, an investigative thriller, or a comedy series, you do so because you enjoy the show’s story and characters. Anime draws in a lot of people aesthetically with its stunning artwork and smooth animation.
The amazing art style and visually appealing animation are some of the first things that draw in viewers. Even people who mainly watch live-action films and shows won’t be able to deny the hard work, time, and talent that goes into creating detailed anime films and shows.
Anime has some trademarks or stereotypes, such as large eyes, colorful hair, and beautiful backgrounds. However, not all anime looks like Pokemon — there are a lot of different anime art styles. For instance, the dreamy yet immersive realism of Studio Ghibli’s works, like Howl’s Moving Castle, is vastly opposite to that of One Piece’s bright, cartoonish style. Even anime shows from the same genre often have different art and animation styles.
This means people with different art tastes can find anime shows that fit their preferences. Aside from different art styles, anime also has a diverse selection of genres and themes to suit people of different ages. Anime uses its amazing art to tell brilliant stories. From lighthearted romantic comedies to mature themes — anime has it all. The diversity of stories in anime may even be more than its art styles.
Many anime shows and movies that are marketed for older kids and teens actually tackle serious topics like bullying, loss, death, abandonment, morality, war, and much more. Some shows do this using fantasy and otherworldly settings but many also do so using realistic or modern-day settings.
Grave of the Fireflies, for example, tells the story of two orphaned children struggling to survive in World War II. Detective Conan, one of the longest-running anime, features kid and teen protagonists while showing a breadth of issues, such as suicide, murder, and more.
From dark twists and turns to heart-wrenching and emotional encounters, anime can cause you to feel deep emotion. The lack of live actors does not detract from the experience in any way, thanks to the well-thought storylines, worldbuilding, character creation, and excellent animation.
Another reason why people like anime is the overall experience they get from watching it. It isn’t just the aesthetics, themes, and storyline that appeal to people — music and score also play a role.
Using the right music helps set the scene, enhance the emotions portrayed, and complete the experience. Anime movies like Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away and Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi No Nawa made perfect use of the music and score to ensure viewers are immersed in the world they built.
Anime is also popular thanks to its amazing original soundtracks. Shows often cycle through several seasons or story arcs, with each one having a fitting opening and closing song. For many people who grew up watching anime, hearing the catchy opening song of their favorite show gets them more excited for the new episode.
Asking “Why is anime popular?” can be summed up into one word — escapism. Like many other forms of art and entertainment, anime serves as a form of escapism for people. The visuals, storyline, and music all together help viewers turn their minds off from their work and responsibilities. Both lighthearted and heavy shows can help people escape from the real world for a while and live vicariously through the characters they love to watch.
Thanks to the internet, anime has become even more accessible — providing hours of fun, relaxation, and escapism to viewers around the world.