Anime, far more popular than you think, deserves a look

The+hit+thriller+series+Attack+On+Titan+has+topped+the+popularity+charts+for+the+last+few+months+and+is+holding+a+position+as+one+of+the+most+popular+shows+in+America.+Many+people+are+shocked+by+this+anime%E2%80%99s+success%2C+considering+how+the+genre+is+rejected+by+many+in+American+society.+

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The hit thriller series Attack On Titan has topped the popularity charts for the last few months and is holding a position as one of the most popular shows in America. Many people are shocked by this anime’s success, considering how the genre is rejected by many in American society.

Brooke Scanlon, Multimedia Editor

Fans of Wandavision were stunned to realize that their beloved show was not the most popular in the nation during its peak. Despite the hype and constant advertising, Wandavision’s popularity fell just below one show — an anime.

That’s right, an anime.

The hit thriller series Attack On Titan has topped the popularity charts for the last few months and is holding a position as one of the most popular shows in America. Many people are shocked by this anime’s success, considering how the genre is rejected by many in American society. 

Animes are animated shows that recreate the content of Japanese comic books. These comic books are known as manga in Japan. 

Manga is the American equivalent of popular superhero comic books created by Marvel and DC. Whereas comic books target children as the main audience, though, manga is meant to appeal to more mature consumers.

Many animes are known for their dark and psychological content. But just as American television has different genres, animes can range in genres from romances to superhero thrillers to dark mysteries. 

Overall, anime is best known for action and thriller series such as Naruto, Black Butler, The Promised Neverland, and Bleach.

Anime grew in popularity during quarantine, while new hobbies and interests were being explored. Celebrities such as Megan Thee Stallion, John Cena, Kanye West, and Zac Efron have talked about their love for anime. 

Anime grew in popularity during quarantine, while new hobbies and interests were being explored. Celebrities such as Megan Thee Stallion, John Cena, Kanye West, and Zac Efron have talked about their love for anime. ”

Many movie stars credit watching anime as a method they use to prepare for a role, as anime is known for building impressive character depth. As for Kanye and Megan, both singers are fond of referencing their favorite anime in songs, which has become a small trend in today’s music industry. 

Having American artists incorporate anime themes into their songs assists in normalizing the differences between Japanese and American culture plainly exhibited in anime and manga.

Anime is sometimes hated on because the graphics and humor behind the shows differ drastically from mainstream American television. Comedy in anime, for instance, is demonstrated through theatrical facial expressions, which differs from standard American comedy.

This rift in entertainment can be filled with animes that appeal to more American themes.

Beginner animes are categorized as series that relate to the content shown in American mainstream shows. These animes are perfect for new viewers because they stick to familiar themes, without the added dramatics often exhibited in other shows. Well-known starter shows include Attack on Titan, Hunter x Hunter, and My Hero Academia.

The darker and more mature side of anime is a challenge for newcomers, but a favorite for fans and critics. Psychological animes are well written and provide an edge that is not featured in American shows. 

Instead of using gore and jump scares to startle the audience, these series build a connection through mind games and strong-willed characters. Top-rated animes under this genre include Death Note, Psycho-Pass, and Death Parade.

Anime is perhaps most well known for its horror and gore adaptations. In the animation world, this is an area in which American television is lacking. 

Japanese animators are able to create scenes comparable to content seen in top horror movies. Blood-C, Devilman Crybaby, and Attack on Titan showcase thrilling and detailed scenes, with complex plots, which are often not given attention in American horror series and films. 

Horror fans of shows such as The Walking Dead and American Horror Story would be drawn to this genre of anime due to the familiar graphic nature.

It is understandable why the stigma surrounding anime makes it seem daunting for newcomers.  But anime should be seen simply as a way to appreciate a different culture.

Anime is a large part of Japanese culture. Japanese cafes, restaurants, and stores are adorned with anime themes and decorations. A corner in Tokyo cannot be turned without seeing some type of manga reference for advertising. Food packaging and the large screens that decorate Tokyo’s buildings feature anime characters.

Anime has become a billion-dollar market and it is beloved not only by the Japanese but clearly by Americans, expressed through American-made animes such as Avatar: The Last Airbender.

All anime have subtitles available for viewers, and in most cases a “dub” adaptation is available. “Dub” is the term for voiceovers, which are commonly offered in English, German, and Spanish. For those who avoid anime because of the subtitles, watching an English ‘dub’ is always an option.

Interested? Popular animes can be found on streaming sites such as Netflix and Hulu for an easy introduction.