Anime - Not Your Kid’s Cartoons
December 05, 2012
When you ask most Americans about animation, they immediately think about Walt Disney or the Saturday morning cartoons that they grew up on. Primetime animation has also been around for a while, going back to The Flintstones in the 1960s all the way up to The Simpsons today. And recently, there has been an upsurge in the number of animated shows geared towards adults. However, with exception, most animation has historically been focused on either comedy or action/adventure, and it hasn't really been taken too seriously.
The idea of full dramatic tales with serious themes is not something that Americans are accustomed to seeing, but in Japan, this has been occurring in animation for quite some time. This is just one part of the incredibly diverse field of Japanese anime. There has been a huge surge in recognition of this form of animation here in the U.S. recently, along with an accompanying interest in the source material for a lot of the stories- manga. If you are unfamiliar with this genre (or are under the mistaken belief that the only difference between anime and cartoons is the style of animation), it is worth checking out.
Anime can range from simple stories that deal with the everyday life of schoolchildren to full blown epics that deal with themes that would not be out of place in primetime dramas. The depth of imagination and variety is truly mind-blowing and sometimes just plain weird. From a tale of an artificial intelligence run amok (Summer Wars) to a saga about illegal street racing (Initial D), anime seems to be able to tackle any subject. Of course, the story of a samurai who achieves immortality by being turned into a coffee machine (Coffee Samurai) may be a bit much for some.
Here at the Antioch Branch, we have an Anime Movie Night for our teens, but don’t think teens are the only ones that can appreciate this genre. There is plenty of well written anime that adults can enjoy as well. If you like science fiction, then I recommend Cowboy Bebop or Code Geass. Interested in a love story? Emma, a Victorian Romance set at the turn of the last century and tells of the love between an upper class gentleman and a maid. And if you enjoy something darker, try Noir, a tale of assassination and intrigue. Then there is the heart wrenching tale of survival set in WWII called Grave of the Fireflies. I dare you not to be in tears at the end.
Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh seem to be what most grown-ups think of when they think of anime. So if this is your stereotype, make sure to check out MCPL’s large collection of Japanese animation. It will completely change your view of this tremendous art form as being simply for kids and teens.