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The Benefits of Watching Anime Compared to Other Forms of Entertainment

front2backJul 13, 2019, 6:26:47 PM
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Well, I'm sure this is a take few were expecting. Anime has a different perspective from person to person. For some, it's a lifestyle and is celebrated as a significant cultural art that goes back decades. For others, it's that odd stuff the weird kid in your sophomore high school class liked. Today, instead of persuading you to become a fan of the media form outright, I'm going to present my case for why being a fan comes with some great benefits vs other forms of entertainment.

Anime has something for everyone, no matter what your tastes.

This doesn't cover all of the different genres, but it does cover the big ones.

Some folks like romantic comedies, some like to remember days of their youth through a slice of life, others only want to watch a gritty, action-filled thriller, and still others are dirty-minded and would enjoy ecchi (perverted, soft-core, and usually humorous). No matter what your taste is, anime is guaranteed to have a least a few shows which check your boxes due to its diversity of content. There's an assortment of unique shows every season, and some shows in anime combine genres, meaning you're more likely to stumble into something you like. Lastly, another benefit is that because anime is well, animated, the creativity of content isn't bounded by our material world as with live-action TV. While Western TV can be quite unique and diverse, too, many shows tend to revolve around the same themes (medical, police, and crime dramas) and thus can get stale.

Shows in anime are usually quick to get through, meaning you can watch more content in the same amount of time.

Demon Slayer's fight scenes are so beautifully intense they might merit a replay.

Your time is valuable, but it's also limited. So how you choose to spend your time on entertainment is important as it's impossible to take in all creative works of media (TV, movies, music, plays, books) this world has to offer. Luckily, anime is an efficient way to get entertainment. Typically, most anime shows are about 22-24 minutes long, with about 2-3 minutes of that being taken up by an intro and outro, which you can easily skip. That means a whole episode can be watched in ~20 minutes. You can get through 3 episodes of a season within an hour, while many Western shows take up that whole hour for a single episode. There are also some newer shows in anime that feature 11-12 minute episodes instead, too, which doubles the number of episodes you can view!

A Mage taking aim with a magically enchanted rifle, from "Saga of Tanya the Evil".

The other benefit is that most anime seasons are only 12-13 episodes long and some shows are a single season with the occasional special release or movie. What this means is that with a single hour of viewing most shows, you're already a quarter way through the whole series. For dedicated anime fans, it isn't uncommon to get through 2-4 different shows/seasons in a single weekend. However, some popular shows do have 2+ seasons or one big half-year long season with 24-26 episodes, so your mileage may vary.

"Cowboy Bebop" is OVER 20 YEARS OLD, yet is still considered a staple show of the community.

This is quite possibly the best part about being a fan of anime. There are classic movies and TV shows here in the West, sure, but not many have a widely active community that is discussing those shows, recommending them to random people to enjoy, and sharing things like fanart. Anime fandom does not discriminate on the age of its shows. There are shows which aired in the past century, such as Cowboy Bebop, Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Mobile Suit Gundam, Pokémon, etc. that are still very popular today and some people insist you watch a couple of these first before newer content because of how impactful these classics still are.

"KonoSuba" is now over 3 years old but remains as popular as ever with a highly active fanbase.

Even if classics old enough to have finished college aren't your thing, there are quite a handful of shows that originally aired within the past 5 or so years with a present and sometimes even stronger following now than in the past. What this means is that even if you're late to viewing a show, whether by a season or a year (or a generation) you can still enjoy it and interact with others about it. The drawn-out popularity of anime has many benefits, such as how I described before with watching being an efficient use of your time. Don't have time for a new show this season? That's okay, watch it later, even a year from now, and I guarantee if it was any good people will still be talking about it and you'll still be in the loop. This is sometimes a normal thing as a handful of shows in anime considered "great" today weren't popular until at least a year or more after the initial release. Can't do that with currently airing seasons of many Western TV shows. While I'll touch on it more at the end, MyAnimeList is a fantastic site for keeping track of what shows you're currently watching and want to watch, so you'll never forget to bring out those classics one day.

Now that anime has reached mainstream popularity, it's easy to find services to watch it and even with English dubbed shows.

"Violet Evergarden" is a NETFLIX series that is loved by the community. Yes, NETFLIX.

Anime used to be difficult to view in Western countries a decade and longer ago. You either had to track down a DVD copy of the series on a marketplace website such as eBay, or pirate it off a website/torrents. Within the past 5 years, there are now major streaming platforms dedicated to providing you new and old anime content. Crunchyroll is the biggest player in the game, dedicating their entire platform to anime only with many new releases and an exhaustive library of content. However, this hasn't stopped other giants such as NETFLIX and Hulu from trying to take a bite out of the ever-growing market with their own collections and even originally produced series. Some smaller competitors like Funimation may not have the latest and greatest but do have many dubbed anime shows, often with English voice actors, while most other services keep the original Japanese voices and instead add subtitles. No matter which service(s) you choose, anime is now available on your Smart TV, computer, or phone.

Lastly: The community is now gigantic and accepted, with many great aspects such as conventions, forums, memes, etc.

When Elon Musk, one of the most successful people of our day, is into anime, that says something.

Like raves and electronic dance music, anime used to be a small, fragmented, and closeted community. However, what starts small has nothing else to do but get bigger, and boy did anime explode in size. 10 years ago, the only people watching anime outside of some popular Toonami style shows were often social rejects and it was seen as a taboo/weird thing to like. Now, just about everyone under 35 at least knows what anime is and many teens to twenty somethings are dedicated fans. The community has also gained acceptance for "normal" people to watch, and thus social media is full of anime groups and forums, sharing everything from reviews to memes. Anime conventions are all but uncommon, and sometimes anime movies appear in normal movie theaters.

Megumin is surprised at how large of a fanbase Anime actually has.

While there are some deviant or undesirable people/interests within the community, most of it is full of helpful and kind people who are looking for nothing more but to connect with others about their favorite shows, giving and taking recommendations or sharing art. Sites such as MyAnimeList are a perfect spot to keep track of the anime shows you've watched or want to, read and share reviews on shows, and find out more about characters. Reddit, of course, has multiple communities such as /r/anime and /r/animememes which combine to hundreds of thousands of members. There are many inside jokes and excellent content creators within the community, making it all the more worth it to get involved.

Kay listening to her radio on "Girls Und Panzer", a show about, well, girls and tanks.

Anime may already be something you indulge, or it could be something you are apprehensive about liking. While I can't guarantee everyone exposed to the medium will be satisfied, it has now cemented itself into even Western entertainment and is here to stay for years to come. With new shows even being produced here in the USA, it won't be long before anime is considered a staple of everyday entertainment alongside crime dramas, soap operas, and funny cat videos.

Thank you for reading!