About Me

Newfoundland, Canada
I've been a big anime fan for about 10 years or so now. My five all-time favorite animes at this point are, in no particular order... Puella Magi Madoka Magica, El Hazard: The Magnificent World, Love Live!: School Idol Project, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. However, there are hundreds of anime shows that I like. The main purpose of this blog is to provide meta-commentary on anime, and the anime industry - to try to cast a critical, though appreciating, eye upon this entertainment genre that I believe has tremendous potential, but can also be easily wasted. I have always been a fan of animation in general - in the 80s, I grew up on western cartoons like He-Man, She-Ra, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. Through out the 90s, I was a hardcore comic book fan, for the most part. I'm also a big fan of Star Trek. Right now in my life, though, anime is my principal entertainment passion.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Strengths of Anime


This blog, particularly in recent weeks, tends to focus more on the weaknesses of anime; particularly of modern anime. It does this not out of a love of derision, but as a labor of love.

A very large percentage of the most captivating, imaginative, enjoyable, and moving, works of fiction that I've ever read, watched, or played through, has come in anime. I thus hold its potential in very high esteem, and can't help but to critique it whenever it falls significantly short of that, in my opinion.

But, this can no doubt leave me sounding like a negative nattering nabob. ;)

So, for this blog, I will focus not on the weakness that I sometimes see in anime, but rather on the strengths that I have frequently seen in anime; strengths that caused me to hold anime's potential in very high esteem in the first place.

I will look at what, for me, are anime's seven key points of strength; particularly in comparison to modern western animation.

Please join with me, cherished reader, as I outline the seven distinctive strokes of success of anime...


1. Full Range From Comedic to Serious


From the stupendously stupefying silliness of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, to the slighty more serious but still exquisitely explosive eccentric feel of Nabeshin's Excel Saga, to the even mixture of crisp careening comedy with dark daunting drama represented by Mai Hime, to the starkly serious sentimentality of Grave of the Fireflies, anime covers every point on the sliding scale of comedy.

Having a full range of options between complete chaotic comedies to stern suspenseful stories means that anime can appeal to a large array of fans, of a wide range of sensibilities and tastes.

Beyond that, it means that if you like a balance of comedy with drama in your entertainment diet, anime is readibly able to provide that balance for you all on its own.

This is in sharp contrast to western animation, where comedies definitely dominate disproportionately.

Many champion how "cartoons" are now more "adult" and "mature". They point to the Simpsons, Family Guy, Futurama, American Dad, and South Park to demonstrate their point.

And they are right in how these cartoons are definitely intended for an adult audience (with the possible exception of early seasons of the Simpsons which were very accessible to almost all ages).

However, as adult as they are, they also speak as loudly as an excited Peter Griffin would to the modern limitations of North American cartoons. That limitation is "comedies only".

Truthfully, North American-made cartoons are less serious now than they used to be. In some ways, then, they are actually less mature and thought-provoking.

I think of cartoons like the great Canadian cartoon The Raccoons...

The Raccoons had a playfully comedic streak to it, much like the streaks that Bert Raccoon would soar through before hitting a tree. ;)

However, the Raccoons also had sincere themes of family, friendship, forgiveness, generosity, and environmental stewardship that are not presented terribly different from how they are in Clannad: After Story and Princess Mononoke, respectively.

And, along with the Raccoons, North America used to produce cartoons like Babar, Chip N' Dale's Rescue Rangers, Ducktales, Gargoyles, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. All of these tried to convey heartwarming wholesome values in a serious and sincere way. Sadly, North America doesn't really produce cartoons like these anymore. Not from what I've seen anyway.

Thankfully, however, anime now fills this vacuum with many of the Key adaptations, and also recently with animes like Kimi ni Todoke, ef: A Tale of Memories, and some of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's works.

Anime realizes that the entertainment medium of animation shouldn't be restricted to pure comedy alone. Anime also realizes that the entertainment medium of animation has just as much potential to move and stir and impact upon its viewers as any other entertainment medium does.



2. Full Range of Genres and Styles


From the badass blade-brandishing Bleach butt-kickers, to the musically masterful moe of K-On!, to the sweet sparkling shojo of Card Captora Sakura, to the eloquently elaborate epic of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, anime covers a full range of anime genres and narrative types.

It is true that the popularity of each of the anime genres have peaks and valleys, but there's usually at least a new anime title or two covering every prominent genre that there is. Once more, we see anime be far more diverse than modern North American animation.

Futuristic war narratives like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, or even the various Gundams, are not something that you really see in western animation any more. And the aesthetic flair of an anime like Card Captor Sakura, or even K-On!, has largely been missing from western animation for a very long time as well. And the dark atmospheres and moods that frequently permutate through out Bleach is equally alien to modern North American cartoons.

Anime proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the potential that the animation medium holds for telling narratives of virtually all types.

This potential for variety is helped along a great deal by the third strength of anime that I'm about to get into.



3. Not Concerned With Political Correctness


One of the characters in this DBZ image
is very politically incorrect.
Can you tell me who it is? ;)


Respect and toleration for people of different cultures, genders, ethnicities, nationalities, races, and religions is generally a wonderful thing. It can lessen boundaries between people, and encourage a greater degree of mutual understanding and sense of common humanity. I certainly do not question that.

However, political correctness, which basically serves to persuade people to hold such approaches, is of more questionable worth. The reason being that even a well-intentioned idea or law, can be enforced overly strictly, become a bit too zealous and overreach, or have unforseen negative side-effects.

I believe that this is true of political correctness, particularly in the realm of fiction.

As I've already argued in this blog entry, fiction is strengthened by variety. By having every point on the sliding scale of comedy covered. By having entries for every prominent genre, and narrative type. And, perhaps most importantly, by having true diversity in character types and personalities. Diversity is not only displayed at the physical level, as is the case with visible minorities. Diversity is also displayed, and perhaps most importantly so, with different personalities.

The problem with political correctness is that it says, to put it as simply as possible, that you can't portray certain characters in certain ways.

You can't have a female character like Kasumi Tendo (pictured above) from Ranma 1/2, who is perfectly happy and content living the life of housekeeper for her family. You can't have a soft-spoken bookwormish girl like Yuki Nagato or Kotomi Ichinose. Going by political correctness, every fictional female character should be strong, very witty, outspoken, and generally kickass in everything that she does.

There's certainly nothing wrong with a female character like that... but not every female character should be like that, just like not every female character should be like Kasumi Tendo, Yuki Nagato, or Kotomi Ichinose.

The central reason being that the more you have of the same basic type of character, the less valuable each character of that type becomes. Hitagi SenjŨgahara is an excellent character, but if every female character in Bakemonogatari was like her, it would make Hitagi (and the rest of the female cast of Bakemonogatari) seem far less special because of it.

Political correctness also can make fictional stories, and the dialogue within them, very predictable. Frankly, you can often see the heavy-handed PC theme coming from a mile away, and hence it lands with a thud like an anvil being dropped on Wile E. Coyote.

Due to its lack of concern with political correctness (not going out of its way to be politically incorrect, nor trying to be politically correct), anime avoids these pitfalls that so often plague modern western entertainment.

Its character casts are rich and diverse, and its stories are frequently unpredictable because it's altogether possible that the anime will throw ideas or themes at you that would never pass the North American PC police.

Of all of my seven points, I suspect that this is the one where I will meet with the most opposition by my fellow North American anime fans. ;)

However, keep in mind that I'm not saying that characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer are bad. Not at all. I'm just saying that a full range of characters, unconcerned with political correctness, leads to a more sincere and subtle piece of work with a greater liklihood of each of the characters shining for their own distinctive elements.



4. It's Actually 2D!

Which of the bottom two images looks the most like the top one?
Here's a hint: It's
not the one distributed by Disney. ;)


As you've no doubt guessed by now, I'm a big fan of animation in general. I loved the afforementioned He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, as well as many of the serialized 2D cartoons produced by Disney back in the 80s, and early 90s. I also liked Transformers, Captain Planet, and a whole host of cartoons, when I was a kid growing up.

Saturday mornings were once famous for their several hour cartoon blocks, and I used to look forward to it every weekend, with gung-ho giddy glee. Some kids wanted to sleep in on Saturday morning, but not me! There's no way I'd miss one of my favorite shows. ;)

Along with random video game playing, those shows were the biggest treat of the seven-day week for me, back when I was a kid. I look back very fondly on my childhood, and 2D cartoons is a big reason why.


Sadly, the era of the Saturday morning cartoons has largely gone out with pet rocks, wild 80s hairstyles, and campy sitcoms. Furthermore, the Walt Disney company has, almost exclusively, taken to fancy CGI and 3D imagery for its "cartoons", particulary in movies.

I don't mind a 3D CGI-filled show from time-to-time, but it shouldn't take the place of 2D animation. Old fashioned hand-drawn 2D animation has its own distinguishing charm and visual appeal, imo. The subtle streamlined stylings of a Kyoto Animation have a visual flavor to them that 3D CGI simply can't capture, in my view. And this is a flavor that I don't want to lose, and hence I'm glad that Kyoto Animation (along with many other Japanese animation studios) continue to be influnced by Walt Disney to this day, and arugably moreso than even the company that bears his name does.

Many perhaps don't know this, but Haruhi Suzumiya owes her big eyes to Mickey Mouse. All big-eyed anime school girls do. The big-eyed look that has come to typify anime was inspired by Mickey Mouse. While the Walt Disney company increasingly turns its back on Walt's initial style, Japan continues to revel in it. And, as a big fan of 2D animation, I love seeing that. ^_^



5. Philosophical in a Practical Way


It's been said that Japan's culture values collectivism, while America values individualism. In other words, and to use a pro sports analogy, Japan focuses on the team, while America tends to focus on the star player. This is, of course, a huge generalization, but there probably is some truth to it. A real sense of brotherhood, sisterhood, or camaraderie is present in many animes, reflecting this fact. For all of its simplicity, even an anime like K-On! conveys a sort of sweet and dependable camaraderie better than anything I've seen in western entertainment in a very long time.

Perhaps because of this, the first fictional works to truly take a thorough and in-depth look at what impact the internet would have on our lives, came in anime. Much of the Matrix movies was inspired by anime. Animes like Serial Experiments Lain, and Ghost in the Shell.

A collectivist culture is one that has a good cultural context for exploring the impact of increased interconnectivity, which is, of course, what the internet brought to us. This increased interconnectivity poses many practical modern-day philosophical questions like "Where does the cyber world end, and the real world begin? When I interact with people on the internet, are they seeing the real me, or just a part of me? What is my place, as an individual, within a wired world?"

Anime was posing (and in some cases, attempting to answer) these practical philosophical questions. When philosophy interconnects with practicality, you arrive at a point of purposeful and heightened discussion and contemplation. You arrive at points that can help you better prepare for the future, and to be more successful in finding a satisfying niche in the world.

But even older animes, like the ones starring Char Aznable, would pose pressing practical philosophical issues. These issues also related to people finding a place in an often hostile world, while simulataneously exploring the impact of hostilities themselves upon humanity.

Anime's astute ability to be thought-provoking in a practical way is definitely one of its greatest strenghts, in my opinion.



6. How it Handles Settings


The Bugrom Palace, of El Hazard, is in a region of dark ominous clouds of a purple tint. The Hive itself is very mechanical in appearance, but also very organic. It does make one think of insects... but it also makes one think of the Borg, from Star Trek. And yet, on the interior, it's crystalline corridors and chambers and throne room are luxoriously gorgeous and convey a regal beauty. It is a setting that feels both alien, yet inviting. It truly captures the imagination, as it reflects a vibrant imagination on the part of the setting designers for El Hazard.

Anime has a magnificent sense for aesthetics, and settings that jump out at you, leaving an incredibly indelible impression on your memory and mind. When anime wants to "wow" you with architechture and interior decor, it very rarely fails.

But, at the very same time, when anime wants to put into place a realistic setting that makes you feel that it is very alive and natural, it tends to succeed here as well. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a great example of this, as its settings are based strictly upon real places in the real world. The settings are basically animated copies of those places; detailed line drawings, if you will.


Good, well-designed settings can make a huge difference to the quality of a fictional work, particularly those presented in a visual medium. For a fantasy anime like El Hazard: The Magnificient World, a fantastic setting can go along way to immersing the viewer in that anime, and making him or her feel a part of a grand journey or exploration.

And for an anime like the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, a
hyper-realistic setting can prove very helpful in enabling viewers to suspend disbelief when it comes to the more surreal or extraordinary elements of the anime. I'm of the opinion that the more realistic a setting and central characters are, the more a writer can get away with when presenting elements that some may otherwise find hard to suspend disbelief for.

For example, I've never had any difficulty whatsoever when it comes to suspending disbelief while watching the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, in spite of how it contains aliens, time travelers, espers, sliders, and God-like power within a teenage girl. There's some really weirdness there that many would find hard to swallow, but I never did, and I suspect that couching all of that within hyper-realistic settings like North High helps me in that regard.

Anime as a whole is often like this, as we see with hyper-realistic roads, traffic lights, and electric line poles. The latter has practically become a staple of anime scenes.



7. Romances That Feel Real


Not all anime romances resonate with me, but many do. And the ones that do are quite possibly my favorite fictional romances of all.

The romance between Tomoya and Nagisa (of Clannad and Clannad: After Story) is a perfect example of one such romance. It develops gradually, at a believeable pace, and it never ceases to feel heartfelt and warm. Tomoya and Nagisa's caring for one another moves, after a time, to close friendship, and that in turns moves, after a time, to a deep and abiding romantic love. This love manifests itself with sincerity, as both expresses that love with clear, unambiguous words and gestures to one another.

In its own way, the romance between Hitagi and Araragi (of Bakemonogatari) has this as well. Yes, Hitagi's teasing words to Araragi can often feel overly pointed, and she is a bit prone to pushing literal points up against Araragi during moments of bad temper, but yet... Hitagi is open and honest to Araragi about her feelings for him, and Araragi reciprocates to that in a manner that's easy to accept and feels natural for him given his generally laidback but helpful to others personality.

Perhaps due, in part, to its lack of concern for political correctness, anime is able to present sweet and tender romances that move the heart, and touch the soul.

Yes, anime has tsunderes and yanderes that are occassionally overdone, but many of its romances feel very real, and they're presented with honesty and integrity. It's not hard to see why anime can inspire many people to become passionate shippers for one pairing or another.


I bolded the word "integrity" above, because I believe that integrity is the common strand that runs through all of the greatest strengths of anime. Anime is at its best when it's telling stories in a honest and forthright way, and when it's true to the genres, characters, character types, character dynamics, and ideas and themes that it decides to explore. When its not concerned with appeasing or appealing to any one group of people in particular, but is only concerned with telling a certain story, based on true human nature and fitting settings, in a certain way with characters that can both reflect upon what's real while capturing the imagination.


Well, that sums up this post on the seven key strengths of anime, as I see them. I hope that I did justice in delving into them as I did, and I welcome any and all comments from others on those seven key strengths. :)

6 comments:

  1. I'm afraid I don't recognize like, HALF of the people in that first image. Anyone willing to do a roll call on them? =P

    Anyway, to start things off, I don't particularly mind a bit of negativity every now and then, as it can often do more good than focusing solely on the good. However, it's still nice to see that sort of thing as well.

    Now, you've gone through the trouble of separating this into very specific points, and I think these need to be addressed separately as a result. So, without any further ado, onto the first point.


    1. Full Range From Comedic to Serious

    I definitely agree with you on this point. Anime is certainly a lot more diversified than western animation in terms of tone. It is very easy to find just about any type of series you'd be looking for in anime. However, I'm not quite sure if this and your following point really are strengths of anime, more than they are examples of -weaknesses- in western animation. I mean, everything else meets the full range, so animation really should be able to, as well.

    While I probably sound like a broken record with this, I feel I really have to point out the line of DC Superhero cartoons that started with Batman: The Animated Series and ended with Justice League Unlimited, affectionately referred to as either the DCAU or the "Timmverse" by its fans. Frankly, these were an excellent example of what mature animation -should- be, and I'm deeply upset that they were generally overlooked by the public simply due to the medium, as well as the fact that they featured grown men and women running around in (often brightly colored) spandex.


    2. Full Range of Genres and Styles

    I really wish I could've grouped these first two points together, as I find it rather hard to talk about one range without the other. Really, there's an anime series that covers just about anything someone could be looking for, be it fantasy, science fiction, costumed heroes, school-based comedies or romances, and that's definitely something worth talking about.

    However, as I said with the previous point, I'm not exactly sure if this should really be considered a strength for anime more than it is a weakness for today's western animation. As you've said, you really don't see this sort of thing in western -animation-. When it comes to live action, pretty much anything goes, but it's very rare for one cartoon to be more than "This show taking place here."

    I know, these two responses seem overly negative, but it really does seem to me like it's more of a weak point for the other side than anything.


    3. Not Concerned With Political Correctness

    I think it's rather obvious to anyone even remotely familiar with Dragonball who you're referring to with that caption, even if they didn't see the image. ^^;;

    Anyway, I'm afraid I really don't have much to add onto this point, as you've done quite a good job of summing things up yourself. Having a large or even decent-sized cast is pretty pointless and largely unrealistic if absolutely no one is at least a little politically incorrect.

    To be quite honest, I really don't see why there's even a need to begin with. There's little sense in it, as there actually are people who fit those basic character types that you've listed, so why should that be hidden from the public? In the long run, it can actually do more harm than good, as several people simply can't live up to the "role model" characters presented.

    I agree with you on this point, and there's really nothing else I can add for this one. You did a great job with it. =)

    (continued in next post...)

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  2. 4. It's Actually 2D!

    A little history lesson about tigermoon: When I was growing up, pretty much the only time video games were not allowed was Saturday mornings, as that was a period of time when the television absolutely -had- to be on a channel with cartoons. This is largely a "rule" that's still in effect with my nephews, but it isn't as strictly "enforced" as it once was.

    Honestly, and while this is a bit of a tangent, I have similar sentiments when it comes to video games. For some strange reason, the transition to 3D seemed to kill a lot of things for me. Now, I'm not going to deride anything that started that way, but very few things really "survived" this transition, and even fewer actually improved in the process.

    I'm not really sure what it is, but both animation and video games really lost something when the graphics went from 2D to 3D. Video games are seeing a bit of a "retro revival" in the form of things like Sonic 4, and even Disney seems to have attempted to recapture the old style they once had with The Princess and the Frog, so I really hope both mediums will try and bring 2D back into focus.


    5. Philosophical in a Practical Way

    Okay, that is an AWESOME image of Char Aznable. I know, this really doesn't have a lot to do with this, but I felt I had to say it. ^^;;

    Anyway, I'm not usually one to go into philosophical debates, as it really isn't one of my strong suits, so I'm not sure if my response will be all that great for this point.

    When it comes to things that are deeply thought-provoking, I really have to hand it to anime. A lot of what anime has accomplished in this field is truly remarkable, and it's rather painful to see that most western animation studios aren't even -trying- to keep up.

    Again, this really isn't one of my strong suits, so I'm afraid this will have to do for now. If I think of something more, I'll add to it later.


    6. How it Handles Settings

    Honestly, this is one of my favorite aspects about anything, and I'm really glad you brought it up here. Really, you could have the most interesting main character in the world, but if the world around him or her is bland, that really won't matter.

    The level of detail in that shot of the Bugrom Palace is truly impressive, and this is something that's been around since the mid '90s. Just looking at a small image of it is enough to really get a good feel of the general tone of the setting, and it actually makes me a bit scared just looking at something like that.

    And as you've said, while a fantasy setting with large semi-mechanical bug hives can be impressive, the intense attention to detail that even a high school setting gets is truly magnificent. Just looking at the video for the ending theme for the Haruhi movie really drives home how much effort KyoAni really went through to make North High.

    Of the strengths listed so far, this is probably the one I'd rank the highest out of all of them. While I probably could have gone into more detail, I should probably be wrapping this up soon.


    (continued in next post...)

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  3. 7. Romances That Feel Real

    While an interesting cast is great and a highly detailed world is impressive, you also need interactions between the cast, and that includes relationships on a more personal level than even the closest of friendships.

    With most things, you'll either get absolutely nothing at all in this regard, or something so forcibly shoved down the viewers' throats it'll make some people want to vomit. Anime tends to take the middle ground with this, and I really have to say that it's a definite plus for anime. I'll admit that romance isn't one of the first things I generally look for in something(unless I'm specifically looking for that kind of series), but it definitely adds to the overall experience, and really helps the characters seem even more detailed than mere friendships would.

    Bringing up Clannad the way you did really helps with what I'm saying. While most of the girls' stories probably could have been accomplished without the romantic aspects, it really does help to have them. Thanks for including that one.



    I was actually wanting to address how all these points add up to something greater than the sum of their parts, but I fear I'm approaching the length of a small blog post as it is. All things said though, I really enjoyed this post. You did a really great job of explaining why you made these points. Great job, RRR. =)

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  4. This is one of those rare occurrences where the reply to a blog entry is probably more impressive than the blog entry itself, lol. ^_^;;

    Well done, tigermoon! Thanks for that very detailed and FANTASTIC reply.

    You're certainly not useless like a certain guy who has "Fantastic" in his name, though. ;)

    Anyway, thanks a lot for all of your points. I think that I agree with all of them. I'm also glad you liked the Char Aznable pic, and share my love for cartoons in general. :)

    Oh, and yeah, you're right about how two or three of the strengths I listed for anime are actually, in some ways, weaknesses for modern western animation. Anime is filling a gap there that perhaps it shouldn't have to.

    However, I'm very glad that it is filling that gap, and I hope that it continues to do so unless western cartoons, similar to the ones we adored in our youth, make a welcomed come-back. ;)

    Anyway, thanks again for that great reply! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. 1 and 2. Full range from comedic to serious/Full range of styles and genres:
    I agree that this is a major strength, however, as someone who wasn’t a major animation fan prior to getting into anime (my hobbies tended more towards pen and paper RPGs and computers), I have to wonder if this strength is as relevant when you use live action TV as a reference instead of western animation. Since I wasn’t a big TV watcher before getting into anime (just a few sci-fi series, basically) I can’t really judge that.
    I will note that the “anime that got me into anime” - Moon Phase – is pretty good at switching between comedic and serious. Same with the first season of Full Metal Panic, which was another anime I really liked when I first got into the hobby.

    3. Not concerned with political correctness:
    Double edged sword in my opinion… I love Kotomi and a ton of other quiet types (my real life girlfriend is very timid around people she doesn’t know) yet at the same time dislike the fact that Key seems to feel the need to give so many of their female characters traits that make them come across as having some sort of mental illness (Air is by far the worst offender). When I write stories, I simply cannot bring myself to have Kotomi-type characters make up more than a small part of the cast. I guess you could say that I’m often glad anime isn’t concerned with political correctness though.
    Interestingly enough, one of the best fusions I’ve seen of moe potential and competence is Kaylee, the ship’s mechanic from Firefly. Part of me wonders if she isn’t kind of Whedon’s version of moe, since he apparently is a bit of an anime fan. On the flip side, Firefly predates moe becoming really big and River comes across as having a heavier anime influence than Kaylee, so…

    4. It’s actually 2D:
    Well, I do tend to like the anime art style, particularly the way girls are drawn. That said, modern anime often is not completely 2D, and in some cases the difference can be hard to spot: I think it might be possible to mistake some of the “girl from another world” scenes in Clannad for 2D at first glance.

    5. Philosophical in a practical way:
    I’m not quite sure what to make of this one, since I had trouble understanding Lain and many of the Ghost in the Shell stories. Ditto Utena and Evangelion, although reading articles about them afterwards helped. Anyway, I agree that for series that pull it off well, this is a strength. And I actually like all four shows I mentioned, I just had trouble following them.

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  6. (continued)

    6. How it handles settings
    I’m not familiar with El Hazard specifically – since I only got into anime in 2005 I have a lot of older anime left to see – but I do enjoy the imaginative settings and the like in anime. And I think attention to detail applies to more than just settings: characters like Horo in Spice and Wolf feel very well thought out and really add to the show they’re in, although of course not all character meet this standard.

    7. Romances that feel real:
    It’s probably obvious that I’m big into sappy anime romance, so of course this makes my list. I haven’t quite found anything that matches up to the best the visual novel format offers (Takashi and Tsugumi from Ever 17) yet, but Renji/Chihiro (EF) and Asaba/Iriya (Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu) are probably the main reasons why those two shows are in my top five. And yes, they do feel realistic, despite the fact that EF is quite surreal.

    Now, as to my own thoughts:
    -It’s easiest for me to understand the appeals of certain types of anime I like. You hit the nail on the head for romances. And of course I’m a big moe fan, which is kind of unique to anime. So it’s very easy for me to say why I like shows like EF and K-On.
    -Of course, such shows are hardly the only anime I watch. While I do think the factors you mentioned are important to why I like other shows, there’s more I would add: first, that anime feels kind of “quirky”. This is part of its appeal for me, especially with Shaft shows like Moon Phase, EF, and Bakemonogatari. Second, even when not outright quirky, it feels exotic: I’m trying to remember who on AS said that the Japanese setting can make even everyday high school life interesting for a foreign viewer (might have even been you), but it certainly does play a role. Third, I enjoy the serial nature of most anime – although many of the anime I like are only about twelve episodes, it still gives me time to come to love the characters. And finally, I would emphasize the role of community. I’m part of two anime clubs and I’m big into cosplay photography, so I think my love of the anime community helps bolster my love of the shows themselves.

    Anyway, that’s my thoughts for the moment. I’ll have to see when I get around to replying to your other posts, as I do have some big assignments coming up!

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