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What draws you into anime/manga?

Think hard, I’m looking for creative answers and specific reasons on this one. What is it about the medium that draws you to it? What’s the thing that keeps you coming back? What makes it enjoyable for you, compared to other mediums like live-action TV or Western comics?
I don’t award BA on these to the people I agree the most with, but to the people that explain their stance the best. Writing is good for you 😀

Lack of predictability, underlying themes and continual evolution.

First of all, I like live action TV. When I was a kid, I liked comics, like Archie or Watchmen. Unfortunately, the love grew apart when I got older. When I grew, I felt it didn’t grow with me. Each time I watch Criminal Minds, I often switch the channel. It wasn’t that I thought it was bad or anything. It’s just that I felt it was too repetitive watching the same somewhat one-dimensional characters solve murders, kidnappings and crime just like that. Sitcoms in television never attracted me, mainly because I wasn’t really into comedy. Reality shows are nice, but normally don’t have much continuity, which is a buzzkill.

Anyways, onto anime.

I just finished the film Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku (Recollection of a Certain Pilot). Before I watched the film, I wrote it off as a de facto tragic star crossed lovers story like Windaria or Romeo and Juliet. But…it wasn’t. It deviated a lot from the standard I was used to, and while the film seemed too steeped in realism (in reality, watching a plane fly for most of the film isn’t too exciting), the CGI effects seem a step above compared to similar films like Sky Crawlers. Indeed, when I thought I’d seen it all, another anime steps in as a thorn to my claim. I really have to say kudos to anime for keeping me on my toes.

Things like FLCL for example, are doted as ‘crazily random’, and they couldn’t be more right: but it’s also has a great underlying metaphor for growing up, and the ephemerality of childhood, youth and adulthood. It’s amazing how dissecting simple things in anime can totally change your view of it entirely. Even those whose meanings aren’t clearly explained (eg. Angel’s Egg), it is still fun to make up your own hypothesis on the events, and read other people’s thoughts on it. While some anime are straightforward, some force you to think about certain things, and go a step further in research. For example, after watching the events in Sky Crawler, I was confused, and yet motivated to resolve my confusion of the movie. I read a few things about the film online, and the way I thought about the film completely changed. What I thought was a complete 2 hour movie about the lives of a few pilots was now actually a film with the veiled idea “How would humans cope with a world without war?”. Anime continually intrigues me with such interesting ideas that are subtlety hinted, but absolutely mind blowing when discovered.

In terms of basic storyline and animation, continual improvements are made throughout the years, using a reliable ‘basis’ for many of the ameliorations. From what was once a pale, vague, crude and dark medium filled with ultra-gore, mechs, sci-fi and sports somewhere in the 80s and 90s, a breakthrough of slice of life and comedy anime have taken centre stage in recent years. While every year’s releases are a mixed bag, you’ll always find some with multitudes of genres as diverse as the fish in the sea. It’s no secret that the most recent anime also boast the most aesthetically pleasing visuals, but the sheer improvement a few years can make really raises the bar for anime producers. Anime went from just a somewhat uniform type of animation to a visual art form, taking on multiple identities, and now can refer to the likes of Kaiba, Tatami Galaxy and Tori no Uta, which all are unique in their own respects.

Anime. Sometimes it’s enlightening. Sometimes it’s perplexing, Sometimes it’s frustrating. It’s a medium bogged down by fanservice, advertising and filler nonsense. Like the concept of duality however, there is also the unexplainable euphoria when you’re blown away by an anime masterpiece.

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