Anime is, simply put, animation that’s made in Japan. I’ll give you some examples of anime that you might know. Speed Racer, Hello Kitty, Pokemon, RoboTech, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and a lot of the cartoons you find on Cartoon Network qualify as well, particularly Adult Swim.
Thankfully our country has gotten the rights to translate the stories from Japanese to English, because the storylines in anime are really good. Often they’re better than what Hollywood shovels into your brain.
That’s basically what anime is. Now let’s talk about what it’s not.
Anime is not a genre; it’s an art form; a medium. From now on I want you to think of anime as being equated with movies, books, music, etc; all the entertainment media. Just like you have movies for kids, movies for teens, adults, so it is with anime.
All your entertainment comes in 31 flavors, right? Comedy, horror, drama, suspense, action, etc. You file similar movies on the same shelf in the store, don’t you? But you shouldn’t be putting all anime on the same shelf because anime is not a genre. It’s a medium, like movies are a medium, like books are a medium. A medium can have any genre of entertainment in it; well so can anime. Anime is not all sex and violence as some people will tell you. When I hear someone say that anime is sex and violence, that immediately tells me that they watched probably one particular anime show that had that and then they go “Oh well that’s how it all is.”
Now granted, some anime has that. Just like some movies have that. Just like some books have that. Does that make all books bad? No. So why should it for anime? Again, anime is an art form, not a genre. Anime can have comedy, it can have horror, drama, suspense, action, hey it can even have porn or blood-and-gut, but that doesn’t mean it all has it! I’m not going to lie to you and say that anime is all happy goodness and none of it has anything you don’t want to see. There is good stuff, and there is bad stuff, and there is everything in between, just like any other form of entertainment. If somebody came up to you and said “Hey man, we should really be censoring these ‘movies’ that people are talking about. They’re all sex and violence. I mean every movie has that in it, and I don’t think we should let our kids be watching movies.” Would you believe that? No, you’d go “Excuse me, but that doesn’t apply to all movies leave me alone.”
You’ve got a rating system in the movies, right? G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17. Anyway, think about the movies. Just because Lord of the Rings was PG-13, did that mean it was necessarily bad for kids to watch? That’s opinionated. Okay, think of a movie you like but your kids don’t like it because they don’t understand it. The themes are over their heads and they don’t go for all that characterization. In our movie rating system what would we rate a movie like that? It doesn’t have anything the kids shouldn’t be seeing, it’s just that they don’t understand. What do you think MPAA would rate it?
Now with anime it’s the companies who distribute the anime who rate the anime. Their rating system is a little different from the movies: They’ll take all factors, not just sex, violence, nudity, language, etc. but also factor in if younger audiences will be able to understand it. So on the back of an anime the rating could be OT for Older Teens, but really all they did that for was because the story is difficult to understand. Now granted OT can be for the other stuff too, but you have to realize that they think of everything when they rate.
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