Anime is mainstream, so much so that it’s rarely referred to as cartoons because of its popularity. Folk know what anime is; it’s on Netflix. Cartoons are reserved for kids, Saturday mornings and ‘nothing too serious’. Apparently. Try telling that to He-Man, and he’ll lecture your arse into next week.
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We collectively consume lots of anime and manga in my household – nothing fanatic, but watching or reading something from the Land of the Rising Sun makes up a good deal of family time. With so much time invested in numerous series and new IPs, and the crossover with gaming (currently playing One Punch Man A Hero Nobody Knows on the PS4/5), I’m considering expanding the site with more waffle: anime.
Netflix used to send surveys back in the day to ask what we viewers like and dislike about the service. What could we improve? What would you like to see more of? At the time, I waved my world cinema flag, asking for more international collections, but I also said that the anime section was lacking a little.
Anime: A Random Post On Cartoons
Fast forward a few years, and it’s fair to say that Netflix is a powerhouse for anime. Crunchyroll has the upper hand, what with my One Piece bias, but for a service provider that caters to a massive audience, that has to be what – 500 billion subscriptions now? Netflix has become a household name and revitalises the TV outside of gaming.
But now that I realise it, I’m not much of an anime fan. When it was unavailable, and you had to go to Forbidden Planet to get your fix or ‘ask a friend’ on eMule, there was a charm to it. A bit like a video nasty that only an independent video shop would stock, not reading The Sun that The Ghoulies is the scariest film ever made.
Like my art, I know little, but know what I like. Among those titles are the mandatory titles from Studio Ghibli, Akira, Ghost In The Shell, Vampire Hunter D… but I also liked the titles that mixed up history with inaccuracies – blatantly, while adding a modern flavour. Samurai Champloo, and Afro Samurai come to mind.
There’s a Netflix documentary (read promotional film) about Western and specifically Japanese animation meeting and inspiring one another, titled Enter The Anime. Included in the film were Aggretsuko, Castlevania, Cannon Busters, and Kengan Ashura, to name a few. If you haven’t seen the latter and enjoy anime, go check it out. The pattern here is they’re all on Netflix, and one of them was made by LeSean Thomas – creator of Yasuke.
Cartoons Are For Kids?
I gave Cannon Busters a try, but it wasn’t for me. I used to think that I was snobby to Westernised anime, but when the family put on Haikyu!!, Kuroko no Basuke or My Hero Academia, I find myself losing interest. The shows start well, then a third, or halfway through, morph into something wholly different and draaaaaag. An excellent example of this was Deadman Wonderland – the start was fantastic, but I found myself tuning out halfway through.
This probably kickstarted with Dragonball Z. Like Pokémon, it passed me by as I was too busy pretending to be an adult. My best friend had (almost) the complete collection on DVD and suggested I give it a go. If it weren’t for my wife’s lust for Goku, I’d probably have bailed as this is the epitome of saga’s and dragging things out.
When mentioning my frustrations with anime to my wife, she said that it’s widespread for this to happen in the manga’s – Slam Dunk would notoriously play just one basketball game in a season! This conversation cropped up after discussing Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaikba – our daughter’s current obsession. She wanted me to watch it with her, but again, I couldn’t get into it.
There is something about the world of anime that appeals to me, though. There’s a lot more you can do with these creations than perhaps with real actors or big-budget games. But why is it that I like some but not others when they follow similar patterns? Just because you like anime doesn’t mean you like them all, but hopefully, you get my sentiment on formula and the patterns that follow.
The Only Gaijin In The Village
At the moment, I’m going through Yasuke and enjoying it. Perhaps it’s because the series fuses the historical (Yasuke did exist and was around at a pivotal time in Japan’s history), but it’s also the fantastical element with the mysticism in the series, the fact that Flying Lotus is involved (big fan) or that Thundercat sings the theme (even bigger fan). Or maybe because it’s a refreshing approach at ‘foreigner in Japan’ that isn’t William Adams or a 4ft American that teaches Hiroyuki Sanada how to handle a sword?
This post is an entry point for covering stuff other than video games on this site. Whether or not I’ll start producing anything related to anime/animation reviews, news or opinions remains to be seen. However, seeing as I knocked up a Mortal Kombat post based on the film, perhaps I’ll return to my roots, which was film, and write about that as well as/instead of.