Why anime is for everyone, any age, sex, nationality, religion, sexual orientation — and why YOU should watch anime. Seriously

The surreal, supernatural series Penguindrum is just one of my many anime loves

When I became obsessed with anime just four years ago, I was already in my early 50s.

Something that immediately caused my mother to call me “childish” and ‘immature”, and to tell me I really needed to “grow up”.

Because, apparently, according to hundreds of millions of people like my mother, if you like anime and are over the age of 12, there must be something wrong with you.

Do you wonder then why I don’t bother telling her about my ever-growing anime figure collection? Because, seriously, who needs the aggravation!

So, why is it that so many people do not understand anime is not just for children. Anime is for everyone. Regardless of your age, sex, nationality, religion or sexual orientation.

If you like anime, and everyone should give it a try at least once, there is nothing wrong with that.

In fact, and yes it is FACT, if you think anime is for children and so have never really watched any, boy, are you missing out on a form of entertainment that is incredibly special.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is just one of the thousands of hit anime series

The Japanese anime industry

The combined revenue of the domestic and overseas market of the anime industry amounted to more than 2.5 trillion Japanese yen ($21.9 billion) in 2019. In the last decade, the overseas market has grown to such an extent, it is now just as large as the Japanese anime home market.

In Japan, the anime market produced almost 62 thousand minutes of television broadcast animation for adults in 2019, almost 17,000 minutes more than the animation created for children.

The same goes for the overseas anime industry, where Japanese anime is increasingly watched by more adults than children.

There are over 600 animation studios in Japan, which are creating anime series and films for a global anime market that is expected to reach $23 billion by 2025.

The recent anime film Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train is now one of the highest grossing movies of all-time, anime or otherwise, becoming the highest-grossing film in 2020 with more than $494 million in ticket sales worldwide. (Currently over $500 million worldwide, with a budget to make it of just over $15 million. Now that’s a good return on an investment!).

As you can probably see by just these few figures, the anime industry is enormous and growing in size by the day.

As you can also probably guess by now, most people watching anime are not under the age of 12 (so take that, mother!)

 

Comfy, slice-of-life anime series like Laid-Back Camp are adored by children and adults alike — especially if they want to watch something funny, cute and relaxing

Why is anime for everyone?

When I say ‘anime’, I personally mean Japanese anime as that is the only anime I watch. If you watch Chinese, Korean or American anime, good for you and, yes, it is also for everyone.

When I talk to other people about anime, however, most still seem to think it is for children. Here then are just a few reasons why I believe anime is for everyone, and why anyone that watches it will get something beneficial out of it.

 

Demon Slayer is one of the highest-grossing films of all time — anime or otherwise

Anime covers every genre

Whether you enjoy fantasy, action, adventure, drama, comedy, horror, mystery, slice-of-life, sci-fi, magic or supernatural shows, you will find every single one of them has hundreds, if not thousands, of anime series you can watch.

For sub-genres, sports, vampire, parody, martial arts, military, police and lesbian, gay and transgender shows are just some of those that fall under this heading.

Yuna from Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear

Anime can portray worlds live action cannot

Due to how anime is created from single drawings either drawn by hand on a page, or as a digital drawing on a computer, anything an artist can conceive is possible to put into an anime world.

Something that is not true in a live action film, where the cost of creating elaborate or historically-accurate sets is often far too expensive.

Whether that is a boy that melds with a mecha (giant robot) in order to fight an invading monster as in SSS. Gridman, a story about Japan and the fall of a mighty empire after the nuclear bombs were dropped as in Grave of the Fireflies, or a girl with two panda puppets on her hands that fight for her as Yuna has in Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear — any of these stories would have been much more difficult to create in a live action film or TV series.

Magic, fantasy, sci-fi and action series and films are particularly amazing in anime, as just about anything can be imagined and then drawn.

 

I was in love with the art style of Wonder Egg Priority, the second the first frame hit my computer screen

Anime artwork is gorgeous

I have yet to see an anime series or film where I didn’t fall in love with the beauty of the artwork in at least a scene or two. In some anime series, I stop the episode every few frames just to luxuriate in how gorgeous the artwork is, and how talented the artists were that created it.

That is why art books based on specific anime series and films have become so popular.

Because half of the anime made you could put every single drawing from it in a frame, hang it on your wall and have some of the most beautiful art to look at for the rest of your life.

If you love superb artwork, then anime is definitely for you.

 

Music used in anime is from every music genre

I have fallen in love with Japanese pop music since I began watching anime. If you love classical music, you will also find some of the most beautiful pieces of music ever created in anime genres from action to fantasy.

Hip hop, rap music, country western and even opera have also been used in anime series and films. Just like anime is for everyone, so is the music used in it.




One of my favorite anime songs currently is Eve’s Ao No Waltz’, the ending theme song from the recent anime film Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (listen above).

And, if you’re looking for a more orchestral piece, you cannot go wrong with the music from the heart-breaking anime Girl’s Last Tour, which features two pop theme songs sung by Inori Minase and Yuriko Kubo, and an original more orchestral soundtrack composed by Kenichiro Suehiro. (listen to that below).

 

You learn about Japanese culture

Before I started watching anime, I had never heard of most of the folk lore that appears in a slew of anime. Yes, with a rich, varied culture going back more than 3,000 years, the Japanese are probably even more superstitious than the rest of us.

I also didn’t know much about Japanese families and homes, the correct table manners if you want to be respected in Japan, or that the Japanese always express thanks for food before they eat it.

Hot springs are apparently frequented by just about everyone in Japan too.

I had never heard of a plethora of Japanese festivals, didn’t know anything about the culture that exists around shrines and temples, or that on Valentine’s Day it’s the girls that give the boys chocolate, while White Day is when they get their sweet rewards.

 

Festivals show up in many Japanese anime, this scene is from a festival the fox girls attended in Konohana Kitan

In just the five years I have been addicted to anime, I have learned so much about Japanese culture, I now can’t wait to get to Japan and experience it in real life.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid has superb voice acting, brilliant comedy writing and beautifully designed characters. The music is excellent too

Anime encompasses every art form

Whether it is the beautiful artwork, the catchy, cool, lovely or sad music used on its soundtrack, the superb voice acting, the excellent writing, the fascinating stories or the old and beautiful Japanese culture you learn about, anime encompasses every art form.

If you enjoy art in any form, anime features all of it.

Yes, anime is for everyone and, if you are new to it, you should really give it a try.

Where to watch anime

In the last few years, a slew of online sites have begun offering Japanese anime for free.

You will find thousands of anime series and movies free to watch on Crunchyroll (you just have to sit through a couple of commercials). Most of them are in Japanese with English subtitles.

If you prefer shows with an English dub, Funimation has thousands of episodes. Midnight Pulp  and Retro Crush carry older classic anime, and Tubi TV now adds more and more anime every month.

You can also learn about almost every anime series and movie ever made on MyAnimeList.

And, if you are still not convinced that anime is for everyone, YouTuber Mother’s Basement has an excellent video explaining why you should be.

 

Michelle Topham