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Too Old for Anime?

By Ana Carolina Aguiar

Crunchyroll, the biggest anime streaming service in America, is now rivaled by streaming media subscriptions on-demand services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video which have begun to invest in anime, an increasingly popular genre.

Anime is a hand-drawn, computer animation that originates from Japan. The word anime is Japanese for animation, which means all forms of animated media. Outside Japan, anime refers specifically to animation from Japan often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters, and fantastical themes.

Animator creating an anime character

Most anime is manga animation adaptation — comics or graphic novels created in Japan in the late 19th century. They have a long and complex history in earlier Japanese art. Now, anime and manga target different genres and age groups and can prove entertaining for practically anyone.

In 2019, the anime industry made more than $10.9 billion. The United States is the first country outside Japan with the biggest viewership. The Philippines and France also host large anime audiences.

When it comes to adults enjoying art that has a huge appeal to children, prejudice and judgment can follow. Barry freshman marine biology student Sumayyah Malan is an anime fan and recognizes the perks.

“Being an adult watching anime has its perks because you are a part of a community that is accepting and fun,” said Malan. “I was practically born into watching anime by my brothers placing me in front of the TV to watch “Dragon Ball” and “Inuyasha.”

However, there are some consequences for Malan.

“I have been judged for watching anime because most people think it is for children or just weird,” said Malan. “But, anime, in my opinion, is much better than most shows today that play on Netflix and Hulu because not only are they dynamic, but they capture stories in a unique way.”

James Bradshaw, a sophomore English professional writing student, watches a lot of anime too. He does recognize, however, that anime may have inappropriate content such as the over-sexualization of women, a topic that is strongly debated inside the community mostly by the female audience who feel objectified and unrealistically portrayed in the stories.

“I get why most people can think weirdly of people who watch anime,” said Bradshaw. “Depending on the anime, I occasionally agree with them but if they want to put that much effort into judging me for my taste then that’s their problem, not mine.”

Nonetheless, anime is still a very popular style among Americans.

Dr. Adrian Peever, a literature and humanities professor at Barry, is a fan of Studio Ghibli animation movies, an animation film studio based in Japan and founded by the prestigious animator Hayao Miyazaki.

He said that everything can be intriguing depending on the themes.

“All movies can be for all ages. Harry Potter is ostensibly for children, but adults love it. Just like adults love Lewis Carrol’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” There’s no reason why children’s literature can’t be complex and multi-layered,” said Dr. Peever.

If interested in watching anime, students can investigate shows like “Higurashi When They Cry,” “Toradora!,” “Assassination Classroom,” and “My Hero Academia.”

The huge catalog of anime shows, and movies is there, waiting for us to waste our hours on them. You never know if a fan is asleep inside of you, waiting to awake.

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