Whether or not we want to admit it or not, all of us nerds have a soft spot for anime. It’s a guilty pleasure for us all. Most anime fans will admit they are a little out there and I’d believe majority of the nerd community would agree that anime tends to be a subculture of the geek universe. Perhaps it’s the oddity of watching a foreign cartoon (which typically is out-of-date by the time it arrives stateside) that causes anime fans to be viewed as a bit strange or “out there.” Personally, I have tons of friends that are die-hard anime/manga fans and sometimes I’ll take a look at what particular show/manga is catching their interest only to find myself scratching my head and pondering what the hell is possibly going on? Why is there a talking goat with light sabers for hands and why is this talking goat always surrounded by half-naked, possibly underage females?
My point here is no matter how strange and odd anime/magna can be it still captivates even us non-diehard fans. You’ll become fixated on a particular show/character and find yourself watching/reading with uncharted levels of fan-ship and dedication. Such a rapid increase of interest can make you understand why the anime fan base may seem a bit extreme at times, but heck, when you find a good anime there’s nothing quite else like it. Besides, let’s face the facts when you get hooked on an anime/magna you never quite stop on one. Instead finding yourself on an anime kick for a prolonged period of time.
When I find myself on such an anime kick, I prefer to lock myself in my room with a case of Sapporo, a handle of Sake, and dive into my own personalized version of hikikomori. That’s just what I’ve found the most suitable way to watch, however what is it that draws us into anime? When I was younger the action side of Dragon Ball Z, Ronin Warriors, and Voltron locked me into viewership, but when I watch them now I find myself just reflecting on the nostalgia of a show I loved as a child rather than re-connecting with the stories I use to love.
Recently, a friend of mine, told me to check out Darker Than Black a more recent anime series (recent by American anime standards) and found myself hooked. Not just by the action, but by the story-line and development of characters. Darker Than Black reminded me why anime is so addicting in the first place and why anime fans are so passionate.
Only way to truly define an anime series is to call it an animated soap opera. It’s tough to explain to the average bear who hasn’t ever watched before, but if you get passed the cultural differences, anime is just a Japanese version of soap operas. The level of writing in top tier anime series is bar none. It’s captivating to witness a cartoon capture so many levels of emotion and extremely hard not to become a fan of the animation style that perfectly complements the complexity of a show’s dialogue. The combination is what completely submerges a viewer to a level of near addiction.
Granted some will focus on less character development and more action/shock value like Samurai Champloo and Afro Samurai, but doesn’t reality TV do the same thing? I find anime to be that guilty pleasure because when you find a good series like Cowboy Bebop, InuYasha, or Outlaw Star you just become completely submersed in that said series and the show’s universe. I suppose the only thing I can liken it to is a housewife’s addiction to midday soaps like General Hospital. Once you begin watching you can’t go back. Once you start talking about it you quickly realize you have initiated yourself into a small fraternity where only a handful of fans like yourself will openly talk about it (outside of the internet, of course). It’s this same idea that creates this subculture of anime fans. Anime and Magna fans may be a less-talked about faction of the geek universe, but it’s the gem of the geek universe-so odd, so weird, but so pure and fanatically awesome.
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