If someone asks you, “how do you quench your weekly stress?”, you might answer: Music, TV series, photography, movies, books, or maybe even sleeping. Songs and TV series are amongst the most prevalent answers, and if you were asked which ones, you might start with some well known titles, such as “Game of Thrones, “Breaking Bad” or “FRIENDS”.
However, there is a large gamut of other, lesser-known movies/shows which falls under a category that doesn’t appeal much to the public because they are a particular form of what people call “Cartoons.” We don’t have to explain much here because from the title, you can guess what we’re talking about – ANIME!
It sucks to be degraded for what you love, right? And many people consider anime lovers to be as, and we quote, “weirdos.” There are some reasons why anime is often seen as controversial.
Since there are many sides to this topic that we could easily give you insights on, along with the issues behind the American rating structures, video games, anime genres such as “ecchi” and “
harem“. Moreover, this post’s focus represents the American double standards and the primary cause of the stigmatization of anime. Let’s discuss anime stigma, and hopefully, we’ll get to the point where the sadness stops.
What Makes Anime the “Point of Discussion?”
Truthfully speaking, there isn’t a one-line answer to this question. Like numerous other media forms, anime is a spectrum of things: containing many styles, interpretations, genres, and narratives. And when combined with other media, anime captures a wide array of audiences, children and adults alike.
Negative social pigeon-holes typically form when a group is disliked in general and this type of stigma is understandable in response to something completely unacceptable.
If, however, negativity is directed towards a group of people that are seen as abstaining from normality, we should examine if there are any legitimate reasons for this type of hate. We might just be dealing with prejudice. One of the most well-known stigmatized anime terms: Otaku, is often used in a derogatory way . Why is that?
Reasons for Anime Stigma: Social Culture
There’s a rising epidemic in Japan called “Hikikomori” – young people, who are obsessed with solitary activities and rarely leave their homes. Many of these people are have an anime addiction along with other hobbies, so they are very often associated with the anime community.
But what is the reason these people have chosen a solitary lifestyle? Many psychologists agree that the phenomenon is caused by a culture that is focused on high achievement at all cost and a simultaneous lack of opportunity to rise to prominence in a society where established people fiercely protect their high status jobs. In other words, the concept of being “better at everything” has led to pressure in every aspect of life.
Those that take action against this by retreating from society become in a way the outcasts of society and are stigmatized in the eyes of mainstream people. It is widely believed that these individuals consume manga, anime, and other ‘otaku-related’ products at a high rate.
A Common Statement: Am I Too Old to Watch Anime?
It is not possible to be too old to watch anime, since there are series out there that are targeted towards adults, and in fact have intended age restrictions when they are published. So if you are looking to start anime, it is all a matter of finding the anime that resonates with you personally.
And clearly anime is very popular among adults, but many people still ridicule them for watching it. No one should be ashamed of watching anime and cartoons, there are so many great ones out there!
Yes, anime series are often produced for children, but having those series does not rule out the existence of great anime series targeted towards adults. In fact, anime is much more than just a cartoon, we will explain why.
It Takes a Creative Smart Person To Produce Anime and Manga
Yes, everyone can agree: Walt Disney has to be the greatest cartoon-nerd ever to exist, with his Never-Stop-Dreaming vibes and memorable characters.
Once Walt Disney’s father said to him, “stop drawing those idiotic cartoons and get a real job.”
His parents never supported his career. But those heartbreaking remarks never stopped Walt Disney from pursuing his passion for creating his own company. Initially, his cartoon company was called “Laugh-O-Gram.”
It takes a smart and mature person with a great deal of imagination to design anime and manga.
So are the people who create cartoons are childish or immature? No, anime is a form of art that can be made for every generation. The “anime childish” stigma is easily broken when you consider the wide range of genres within the medium, targeted for all types of people.
Let Us Cut to the Chase: How to Overcome Anime Stigma
Aspects of Anime Stigma
There are many things an anime fan is often made to feel guilty about. Consider these questions, for example:
- Am I too old for anime?
- How will I explain if someone walks in on me watching anime?
- Do other people like anime too?
- Can I find anime friends?
- Do I have an anime addiction?
As said during the opening of this post, rattling questions like these get asked all the time, and rarely anyone even bats an eye. The answers are not always united, but rarely anyone says, “Why is this even a question?”
The motive for this is that many of us have accepted that, regardless of how much we love anime, society will never entirely approve of it.
People will even come up with false justifications for this. They might say, “It is a bit cringeworthy for a grown man to be watching a cartoon about fourth-graders.”
They might call out anime as an excellent hobby, but they might also oppose it. Nevertheless, it is time to stop thinking that way. Let’s mix the above-said questions a bit, shall we?
Flipping the Script On Anime Stigma
- Am I too old to watch Game of Thrones?
- How can one discover if other people also like Game of Thrones?
- What should be my go-to move if someone walks in on me watching Game of Thrones?
There’s a good chance these questions will never be asked, since Game of Thrones does not face a similar stigma as anime does. And yet, thee are many anime series that are as mature or even more mature than Game of thrones.
One of the issues is that a lot of the anime that reaches the public tends to be weirdest. For instance, Pokemon is one of the most popular anime series of all time, and it is so mainstream that it never goes out of style. So if one anime can become tolerable, why can’t the entire medium to the same?
The key to overcoming anime stigma is to stop worrying about what others will think. We’re not saying you should grab the second person’s shoulders and shout, “I love anime! ” but if you are chatting with somebody about the shows you like, it is good to let your thoughts out and share why you love the anime.
If more people who watch anime start to put themselves out there, the people who don’t watch anime will begin to acclimate to the idea that it’s an utterly okay thing.
For the Haters: Break the Stereotypical Cycle and Watch Anime
It was not until the 90s when anime received hype and started growing in other parts of the world. Some popularly-watched series like “Pokemon,” “Dragon Ball Z,” and “Sailor Moon” has become internationally loved and even dubbed in multiple languages.
Additionally, films like “Your Name” and “Spirited Away” became the highest-grossing anime movies of all time, both crossing more than $350 million in the box office.
So with such an audience and admiration, why would anyone consider anime to be weird and childish? Unsurprisingly, anime is often criticised for its over-dramatisation and sensationalism of character emotions. Cultural and language differences can further prevent someone from watching it.
You should know, anime is creative, has fantastic storytelling, and lightheartedness – all of which can compel you to watch it. Anime has superb comedy, thrilling fighting scenes, loads of suspense, and many genres to choose from.
The Takeaway: Watching anime isn’t a crime nor will others kill you if they find out you love anime
Our goal here was to bring the man out of you and encourage you to feel open about your choices. So what if you’re into anime, it won’t kill anyone if you express it!
So if you stop being an adult who watches anime from the side-lines, we’re pretty sure you will get over your anime stigma. After all, a single episode of any good anime would lure anyone because there are many genres; for children and adults.
The life lessons are emotional and unforgettable, and there is always something educational. On top of that, anime features fresh comedy, and most anime series contain numerous surprise elements.
It is time you step out of the anxiety-bubble and face the general public. Be passionate about what you love and soon, others will appreciate you too!