By Erika Salemme
Wind blowing at the most dramatic moment, lethal injuries that do not kill, unrealistic body standards, and waking up in an alternate world surrounded by cute girls can only mean one thing: Anime. Sounds crazy, right? Anime is certainly a unique genre of entertainment but that is what makes it even more appealing. People today are delving into the world of anime, influenced by celebrity fans, like Michael B. Jordan, Keanu Reeves, and Megan Fox. With an increase in the availability of anime, the community is gaining newcomers.
With the rise of popular anime like Boku No Hero (My Hero Academia) and the childhood nostalgia of Pokémon, the majority of people can say that they have seen at least one of the more well-known shows. But why are more people watching anime? What makes this form of entertainment so appealing? Is it the bright colors, the colorful characters, the crazy fighting, or the over-the-top story line? Well, the short answer is yes, but there is more to it than just that. Personally, I have found that anime provides an escape from daily life into a fantastical and crazy world. One of the reasons why I believe it is so popular is because of how unrealistic it is. It allows the viewer to sit back and not take things too seriously.
Katy Castillo, the founder of Yatta-Tachi, a site that promotes the culture of Japan, had this to say about anime: “Personally, I watch anime as a way to relax after a stressful day and a way to peep into an adventure/story that our world wouldn’t be able to make possible”. Through viewing anime, the audience can dive into a new universe where they can be free from the struggles of daily life.
Anime has become mainstream in the American culture. Today, anime streaming sites, like Crunchyroll, open fans to thousands of different anime. As of 2019, Crunchyroll has over 2 million subscribers and over 45 million registered users (“About Crunchyroll”). This is just at Crunchyroll! Imagine how many more fans are out there using other anime streaming services like Funimation and VRV. The popularity of anime has also flowed into big-name entertainment companies such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Netflix has acquired many anime titles to stream on its platform and has more than a few Netflix original anime shows. In addition, Hulu boasts nearly 400 anime titles (Spangler). Anime movies are now being featured in cinemas more frequently across America. Making anime readily available helps to build the viewing community.
The artistic component is a huge part of the enjoyment of anime. It is much more pleasing to watch an animated film or show because it is the result of the animator’s painstaking work. Anime is mostly 2D drawings with mixtures of 3D for complex scenes. Most frames are hand drawn and requires skill and effort. Anime is also known for being far more aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching than American animation as noted by Funimation graphic designer, Michele Sontag (Kami). Animators employ the use of 3D animation, special effects, and brilliant colors to create striking images and to depict exaggerated feelings, fight scenes, and characters.
Anime is also an avenue for older teens and adults to enjoy animation that is more mature. While some anime is created for children, anime is mostly aimed toward an older audience. Takamasa Sakurai, a famous Japanese culture and anime expert, stated, “Japanese anime broke the convention that anime is something that kids watch” (Jez).
Unlike the adult cartoons of today, anime focuses on more than just brash humor and gives fans a wide range of genres to choose from. Some genres are very specific to the anime community, like shonen, shoujo, isekai, seinen, and more. For example, shonen is aimed more towards a male audience and is focused on action while shoujo is aimed towards girls and contains romance. This wide array of genres allows fans to find exactly what they are looking for in an animated show.
There are many reasons why anime has become increasingly popular. With more anime available to the American audience, people are discovering and falling in love with anime. Anime is very diverse and stretches the boundaries of the logical world with unique characters and stories. While anime is certainly not for everyone in terms of animation, it is highly likely that there is a show for everyone somewhere out there in the wide world of anime.
Header photo from omnitos.
“About Crunchyroll.”Crunchyroll, https://www.crunchyroll.com/about.
Jez. “Why is Anime so Popular?” The Japanese Shop, 2 Aug. 2018,
Nomi, Kami. “5 Reasons Why People Love Anime: Interview with Industry
Professionals.” My Anime List, 14 Feb. 2016,
Spangler, Todd. “Hulu Lands Funimation First-Look Deal for Japanese Anime Series
(EXCULSIVE).” Variety, Variety Media, 4 Dec. 2018,