Why I still watch cartoons…And like it!

Sometimes I get asked by friends or relatives the age old question.

Mel? They start out, hesitant and possibly just a little afraid. Why do you watch the anime? You know, them crazy cartoons? I always grin a little bit when they ask that because I know just by the question they’re a little biased already. Biased within reason too. Several years ago I was in their place, asking the very same question of the people I knew who watched anime. In fact, I thought anime was for small toddlers and freaks1. And it pretty much still is but–there’s another side to it that luckily, I was introduced to by a very classy lady who writes for Rulihe.com.

My answer for those who ask me now, however, why I watch anime is,  “Because I’ve been watching cartoons since I can remember. Why shouldn’t I watch anime?

As far back as I can recall anyway,  there has always been a cartoon series to watch. My toddler, early teen age years and early adulthood were filled with animation!  Looney tunes,

Ho, Thundercats!
Ho, Thundercats!

Voltron, G.I. Joe, He-man, She-Rah, the Flintstones, Care bears, Pirates of Dark Water, Snorks, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Gargoyles, Thunder Cats, Beetlejuice, Batman, Aristocrats, Snow White, Lady and the Tramp, X-men, Dexters Labratory….My personal list would go on and on.

So there’s the set up right up there. Yet,  I can hear the cries of Loony Tunes fans as well as anime fans alike. They’re not the same! They might shriek as they’re clutching their pikachu plushies and Bugs Bunny replicas. I dare say at their core, they are. They are both:

  • A series of stories
  • A series of character stories following a story plot for some sort of outcome be it humorous or not
  • A series of stories either hand animated or now-a-days computer animated. Animated.
  • Cartoons.

But trundle away from the core of what anime and my favorite cartoons were and we start to see the differences. Anime has license to boldly go where Bugs Bunny would never dare go. It can tackle such issues as violence, death, depression, disease, war and the human (or not human at all) condition. It can be a gore-fest or sexually explicit or it can be a bunny infested cute-pop of sugary sweetness aired early on Saturday morning where kids scream for the latest cards. It is so much more than just my Saturday morning cartoons while allowing me to be a little nostalgic and still watch ‘cartoons’ as an adult. There’s a grand, grand wonderful story hidden in a lot of anime that some are entirely missing out on due to either being poorly informed; watching horrific dubs, or being exposed to the wrong kind of anime…

let's go watch FF together <3333
let's go watch FF together <3333

What kind of anime is the wrong kind? The tentacle-small children-we-like-to-rape-everything-that-moves-sex-with-your-mom/sister/dad/brother/chicken oddness that some times goes hand in hand in dealing with anime–that’s the wrong kind.  If you’ve been exposed to that, or god forbid, Digimon and it’s various off shots? That isn’t exactly the kind of anime I am talking about here.   It is not all like that.  Also: It is my duty as a complete and total opinionated bastard to inform you that I don’t consider any of the above mentioned rape/sex/chicken stuff to be any sort of art form to waste your time with. To those that do…Well….You scare me dudes. You scare me.

Anyway, I understand however that it is just not for everyone. There were several things that kept me away from anime for the longest time (and still do in some cases):

  • Some times reading subtitles distracting. I want to focus on the action above the bottom of the screen.
  • Some of it is hard to understand, with metaphors and cultural references foriegn
  • Dubs are generally just awful to listen to, with lackluster voice acting or horric voice acting that can mentally scar.
  • Excessive sexuality or gore for no logical reason. Cute bunnies and the–BAM: BLOOD EVERYWHERE AND RAPE–wtf?
  • Too childish a story.
  • Over the top animation
  • Tentacles
  • Tentacles that have tentacles
  • Children. ‘Nuff said.
  • Way, way out there shit that I don’t even want to type here.
  • The fans are generally nuttier than I am. That takes talent. And perhaps ritual sacrifice…but talent.

I watch anime, not for the panty shots or the nose bleeds or the silly cute faces. I watch anime because inside, I’m still a kid looking at an art form that tells amazing stories. I’m an adult searching for a tale to wind myself up into and I find some of the amazing stories told through animation. To me, they’re  just as satisfying as those told on television or in a movie. Maybe this is just another phase I am going through in my quest to forever hold onto that wide-eyed sense of wonder, maybe I’m just forever doomed to be twelve. I’m surprisingly okay with either or!

If you don’t watch anime I won’t hold it against you for several of the reasons I’ve already listed as well as several more I won’t bother grossing myself out by going into. I won’t  rant and wail at you if you don’t want to try watching it either. I always thought that maybe an explanation as to while I enjoy it might finally be in order, so here it is.

I like a good story, I like something pretty to look at while I am doing it, I like to be moved.  It’s pretty simple! I just want to be entertained and anime does that a-plenty for me.

1Humor.

5 Replies to “Why I still watch cartoons…And like it!”

  1. milander says:

    Anime and manga are a cultural facet of Japan in the same way that bugs bunny etc are in the states. The crazy costumes, hair etc, the conventions and hentai (porn anime) are just the same as porn anywhere you just need to realise that the medium (cartoon/art) is different and as such has been exploited differently. America and Europe have porn comics but because using art as a medium to tell a story is musch much more ingrained in asian culture it is seen as weird… it isn’t, it’s just another form of expression which you can choose to avoid or indulge.

    From experience anime conventions are just the same as star trek conventions… or Lost/star wars/friends/etc etc conventions and all have their attendent weirdos and freaks.

  2. Heya Mik!

    Anime conventions are their own special thing, which…generally I tend to know absolutely nothing about. And I am okay with that!

    Some of them are good, some not so much. I tend to just like the cartoons!

  3. I noticed lately all down town there where people dressed in garish clothes with bright colored hair and carrying swords, most of them female. Then I remembered there is an Anime convention going on it town. Weird looking indeed.

    I still enjoy Tom & Jerry.

    Mik posted: Whatcha lookin’ at?

  4. First: Your Dad is awesome! I was telling Shawn last night before passing out forever how kick ass it must be to be 77 and still that young.

    Second: cartoons are cool, they’ve always been cool. You want to come over before I go and watch some Thundercats with me? 😀 Bring your brownies!

  5. You wrote: “I watch anime because inside, I’m still a kid looking at an art form that tells amazing stories. I’m an adult searching for a tale to wind myself up into and I find some of the amazing stories told through animation. To me, they’re just as satisfying as those told on television or in a movie.”

    I agree completely!

    I’ve never thought cartoons were just for kids, and I think this is something I learned from my dad. My dad will be 77 this July. He’s always enjoyed cartoons, and as a teenager, he took art lessons from a Disney animator. In the last ten or fifteen years, he started watching anime, and he’s explained his appreciation for it the exact same way you did.

    Eve posted: Wordless Wednesday: 04/08/2009

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