Anime: Not Your Typical American Cartoon

Being a 90’s kid, I grew up watching cartoons like any normal child. I watched Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows throughout the day and grew up with Spongebob Squarepants, The Rugrats, plus more.

Then there was Pokemon and Sailor Moon. To be honest, I thought these were cartoons made here in the United States. I was wrong.

It was in fact anime, which is defined as “Japanese movie and television animation, often having a science fiction theme and sometimes including violent or explicitly sexual material.”  Although in Japan, anime refers to anything that is animated. Here in the United States, we relate the word anime to a show featuring colorful characters with vibrant colors such as Pokemon and Sailor Moon.

I’ve noticed several things about anime thoughout the years of watching anime that the Japanese tend to hide underlying morals in their plot lines.  Granted, I haven’t watched all anime out there, but from the ones I have watched such as Pokemon and Sailor Moon, there is always a goal to be achieved. The main protagonist usually always has obstacles in the way of their goal.

2In Pokemon, Ash Ketchum leaves home at the age of 10 to become a Pokemon Master. It is customary for children in that world to leave their home and start their journey to catch all Pokemon in the world. Pokemon are animal-like creatures who have powers to fight Pokemon gym leaders and earn badges. Once one can defeat all 12 gym leaders, they can call themselves a Pokemon master. Ash is however forced to overcome obstacles in his journey especially from the group Team Rocket, who is the main antagonist in the story. Jesse and James with their Pokemon Meowth (this particular Pokemon is the only one in the series who speaks human words, all others can only say their name) with the sole purpose of stealing Ash’s Pikachu for their boss. The message relayed in this series can be interpreted as although obstacles stand in our way, if we fight the good fight, our dreams can become reality.

A similar situation is present in Sailor Moon. Serena (known as Usagi in the Japanese version) is a junior high student who is a regular girl to most, but when needed can change into Sailor Moon, who protects the world from 2athe evil group called the Dark Kingdom, who is the main antagonist in this series. She also has to deal her insecurities and fears while fighting as well, relaying out the message that with our challenges in life, all we have to do is believe in ourselves to overcome anything. Serena is also slowly introduced to other girls who has the same powers as her as the story goes on such as Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, and Sailor Venus. The newer series reveals more characters that follow the same names after the planets in our Solar System.

Anime can be a relief from reality for many people. It takes you into a world where you can relate to fictional people who face the same obstacles as you do while not being judged for anything, therefore, anime is not only entertainment, anime can be a major part of someone’s life. Unlike the cartoons that I watched on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, people can relate to the characters in anime, it’s almost as if they are real people who go through the similar problems. Anime, to me, has become a part of my life that I have no intentions of letting go of. It is a means of stress relief and even as a mechanism to cope with my mild depression I have sometimes. To put simply, anime can be a way of knowing that we are not alone in the reality we call life.

My question to you is why do you like anime? Does it affect you the same way?


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