As far as visual entertainment is concerned, I prefer anime far more than any other genre of television show or even movie. While anime is based off manga (which I do read, by the way!), I feel as though anime contains the most original storylines I’ve ever come across. (Studio Ghibli, anyone?) The art styles can be absolutely incredible, the characters breathtaking, the plots unbelievably fantastic, the music drop-dead gorgeous (Tokyo Ghoul’s Unravel!), and there are so many different genres within anime that can appeal to anyone’s tastes.
My favorite anime is currently Puella Magi Madoka Magica, an incredible story that turns the magical girl genre on its head. In fact, this anime is the reason why I was able to discover exactly how I want to end The Stars Trilogy. Anime has inspired a lot of storylines that are currently floating around in my head.
So what exactly is it that makes me prefer anime over other types of visual media? I think it’s this idea that anime is more often than not based off manga. Manga is very visual in itself, so you already have this template available for the anime based off it. The anime can also choose to go off in a different direction or can even incorporate filler episodes, which can add more colors to characters, if the manga is still ongoing. My two favorite ongoing manga are Black Butler and Tokyo Ghoul. I also love how limitless anime is. If an anime contains a myriad of special affects, like if it’s in the fantasy genre, producers don’t have to worry about replicating those effects with a green screen. They can draw them in and go from there. I also love how fluid the artists are with the styles of the characters based off the general tone from the manga. The colors are so vivid and each art style unique and distinct. For example, the art style of Puella Magi Modoka Magica is very cute and innocent, deceptively so, but the story is intense and dark. So you have this cuteness that makes you believe you’re going to be watching a typical magical girl show, but then by episode three, you realize it’s completely atypical. Prepare to have your heart ripped out and eaten.
What I also love about anime is that nothing is off-limits when it comes to character identities. You have transgender characters, characters who are homosexual, characters who cross-dress, gender non-conforming characters–and no one makes a huge deal out of it! In fact, when Sailor Moon was showing on cable in America, they censored a lesbian relationship between two of the scouts and made them cousins. Yet, if you watch the uncensored version, the creators treat their relationship like any other. It seems like mangaka and anime artists want to normalize these identities so that people begin to realize there is nothing wrong with identifying as these things.
Anime also forces you to suspend your disbelief since a lot of it can never happen in real life, like Naruto. Your imagination works in overdrive because of this. And even though the plots of the anime can be unrealistic (I mean, really, let’s hope we never have to deal with titans), it explores meaningful concepts all the time. These concepts often explore what it means to be human. In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a major theme is sacrifice and what you would be willing to give up for what you believe to be the greater good. It also explores how every choice we make affects the future, whether it’s for better or for worse. Friendship is also at the core of much of anime. Anime can show you how valuable friendship is and how you should never take for granted great friends.
In this way, anime is very much like novels since the possibilities of what can be explored are limitless. The best anime has deep, compelling characters and plots, so I would recommend to any writer to give anime a chance. It’s chocked full of inspiration that I wouldn’t otherwise have if it were not for anime. I’d also suggest giving manga a chance as well since the anime can sometimes veer off into a wildly different direction or not even cover everything. Plus, it’s like needing to read the book before watching the movie.