Hip Hip Anime!

Large glistening eyes, brightly coloured hair, obscure nose and exaggerated facial expression reminds me of only one thing.

Can you guess what it is?

If your answer is Anime, then BINGO, you just read an otaku’s mind!

Anime (pronounced: “Ah-nee-may”) is a type of animation usually from Japan. They have their own style and it can show that in strange and wonderful ways. Anime also has its own sense of comedy and has a unique way of thinking. It can get really deep and serious, or it can become silliest (like: “Lucky Star”, “Kill Me Baby”) and craziest (like: “Death Note”,”Gintama”) thing you have ever seen. Most Anime shows are based on popular mangas (Japanese Comics), just putting a little more life into them. Anime often covers more serious topics than typical cartoons. In America, cartoons are considered a form of entertainment meant for children. In Japan, people of all ages (no, not newborn babies!) watch anime. Most shows and movies are centred for kids, adolescent or young adults, but there are also many anime that are made for older crowd even businessmen and housewives!

The word “Anime” is the abbreviated pronunciation of “animation” in Japanese, where this term references all animation. Outside Japan, anime is used to refer specifically animation from Japan or Japanese disseminated animation style often characterized by colourful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastical themes. Japanese animation began in 20th century. Katsudo Shashin is claimed to be the earliest Japanese animation. The 1923 Great Kanto earthquake resulted in widespread destruction including demolition of earliest Anime Studios and anime works; leaving Kouchi’s Namakura Gatana as the oldest surviving animation.The first anime television series was Otogi Manga Calendar aired from 1961 to 1964.

My introduction to anime was in class four when I watched “City Hunter” in a T.V. channel, Animax. Though I saw anime (as a matter of fact the plural of anime is anime) like “Doraemon”,”Shinchan”,”Avatar-The last airbender”,”Summer Days with Coo”, “AstroBoy”,”Dragon Ball-Z”, “Naruto” way back before yet I did not realize the profound sense of anime as it was dubbed in Hindi (rather I would say “contaminated” instead of “dubbed” by old, ridiculous male voices in Hindi who would crack unnecessary, slap-stick jokes deviating viewers from the plot and land you in a hotch-potch of indianised anime). My sister ( three years younger than me though I refuse to admit she is more mature than me) took strange interest in Japanese anime like ” Tears to Tiara” and “Stigma of the Wind” aired in Animax: which I thought strange at that time as my “patriotic inertia” would prevent me from accepting anything but Indian products. I was first repelled by the fact that all the voice casts were in Japanese and to understand the story I had to take trouble of reading the English subtitles and had to correlate the speech with the video shown; for which great deal of attention was required. It was impossible for me to do both those tiring tasks at the same time, so I returned to my old T.V. channels: Cartoon Network, Nickolodeans, Hungama, Pogo, Boomerang and Jetix.

After a long hiatus, in class seven, I again started experimenting my skills in understanding anime which turned out to be a success, when I first indulged in anime like “Hayate the Combat Butler” and “Fairy Tail”. Oh! Such a sweet poison! After a whole hectic day in school, tuition, swimming classes, art and music classes, and whole other heck lot of activities; I waited only to sit back and relax to watch these anime. At that time, nothing mattered to me; not even my parents, friends and teachers. In that virtual realms of pleasure I could tackle my defeats and sufferings as easily as I had taken in successes. Nothing bothered me, except when I had to attend phone calls or to open door, if any guest comes when the anime shows were ongoing. However, anime hardly did affect my studies as after watching two hour long program, I suffered from PADS (Post Anime Depression Syndrome) for which I suffered the guilt of wasting time which was more intensified by my mother’s rebuke (I would like to describe this situation as “Kata Ghaye nuun-er Chheta”) and this guilt would propel me to study harder, concentrate and work for longer hours and this occurred as daily routine for me; so I could easily outdo most of the students be it studying or swimming or any other work.

Thus to all guardians, I would like to request to allow your kids to watch anime as it worked out for me (maybe I have strange wirings in my brain!). Watching anime would definitely help you to hone your literary, vocabulary and analytical skills. More importantly, it would serve as an immense source of entertainment, at least way beyond the league of daily Indian soaps.

Understanding the culture of origin is very important to realize the plot, be it Japanese anime, Korean Aeni webtoons, Chinese Manhua Anime or American sitcoms (which I suffered when I was novice in watching anime). If you have watched any anime, you will probably notice that the characters behave differently and things in general (like houses, transportation, eating etc.) are bit different from what you used to. Probably the most readily apparent differences between Japanese animation and others is the artwork where huge eyes (bigger than nose), brightly coloured hair, some well-endowed characters and exaggerated emotional expressions and gestures are typical of anime. Being hand-drawn, anime is separated from reality providing an ideal path for escapism into which audiences can immerse themselves with relative ease. The production of anime focusses less on the animation movement and more on the realism of settings like “The Garden of Words”.

The opening and credit sequences of most anime are accompanied by Japanese rock or pop song which maybe related with the anime series, by popular bands. “Nanairo Namida” by Tomato n’ Pine of anime “Beelzebub” and “Just Awake” of anime “Hunter X Hunter” are some of my favourite anime songs, which you can try out.

As there are several types of anime, one need to classify them in different genres, some of them are: Action, Music, Mecha, Adventure, Mystery, Bishounen, Yuri, Yaoi, Akuma, Seinen, Shoujo, Shounen, Kodomo, Slice of Life and many more. Whether you’re a die-hard anime fan (like me generally labelled as “otaku”), a casual watcher, an interested onlooker or commoner from non-anime domain: anime genres shall equip you with some basic knowledge and help you to venture the anime world with ease and delight.

I am going to share some memorable quotes of anime which etched my heart are:

• Motoko Kusanagi of “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence”

“We weep for blood of a bird but not for the blood of a fish. Blessed are those with a voice.”

• Shinchi Akiyama of “Liar Game”

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