Anime: good not great

There seem to be two varities of people when the subject of Anime comes up. Either they say it’s wonderful or it’s terrible, no in between. Okay, in fairness I, just moments ago, made a similar blanket statement, but if a blanket statement is to be made, I choose to say ‘good’. I have seen both wonderful and terrible anime shows so to say anime on the whole is one or the other is inaccurate at best. There is such a variety of genres and styles that it is impossible to make such a statement. That’s like saying all of today’s music is wonderful or terrible… and guess what!? I know what the next post is going to be!!! Which will likely be a near exact copy of this one so buckle up, wE’rE gOiNg ReDuNdAnT!

But I digress. If I, gun to my head, had to choose between wonderful and terrible I would choose terrible. I want to be perfectly clear, I absolutely adore Naruto, Death Note, and Attack on Titan… BUT I can understand the ‘terrible’ side more than the ‘wonderful.’ I speak English, ‘bUt JaMeS, nO sHiT.’ Believe it or not, not being fluent in Japanese affects your experience watching Japanese cartoons. WHAT A SHOCK!

Most English speaking people want to watch their media in… ENGLISH! Crazy right? Well, most of it is available in English, but good luck finding good actors for voice overs. The Japanese versions could have just as bad actors but it’s near impossible to tell because, again, I don’t speak Japanese. Even with good actors, Japanese sentence structure, characterization, and overall story telling is so different than in American culture that even when viewed in Japanese with subtitles it can be difficult not to notice something’s off. There is a lot you have to put up with and look past as an American watching Japanese cartoons.

For context SPOILER ALERT near the end of the first season, I think it’s within the last two episodes, protagonist Eren is crushed, nearly to death, by a cave in caused by one of his ex classmates. You see, their world is attacked by giant creatures known as titans. These titans are not unlike giant zombies; big, stupid, and focused on eating humans. We learn that Eren can turn into a titan early on and that there is a human titan among the enemy. In order to turn, Eren needs to cause self harm (though almost any harm that draws blood seems to work) and have a clear goal in mind. After learning that his classmate is the enemy titan he finds it difficult to make himself turn. When he finally is able, he is impaled on a wood plank (impaled into him when the enemy titan crushed him under rubble) and he forces his body up the plank in a rage. SPOILERS OVER. In the Japanese it is an intense inner battle, in the English dub it is rather dull, leaving something to be desired especially if you’ve seen the Japanese version.

If you intend to give anime a real chance, watch it in Japanese with subtitles. There are still some things you’ll have to look past because of the language barrier, but it isn’t close to as bad as the dubbed version.

If you still don’t think anime is worth your time that’s fine too. It isn’t fair to get angry over someone not liking your thing inasmuch as it’s not fair to think less of someone for liking anime.

Anime is just another stream of content. Through the good and the bad it’s just more media to be taken in while not being taken seriously. Like those media outlets clouding snapchat that update people when a celebrity goes shopping. Those exist for a reason. If you’re one of those people who follows celebrities lives and genuinely care what they do on their day to day, maybe I’m not the idiot here after all.

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