Anime. At some point in time everyone has heard the word before if not actually seen one themselves. Normally associated with things like Japan, Dragon Ball Z, and Pokémon, anime is that group of shows that sits right outside the realm of mainstream.  We could all probably name one or two if we tried, but for a lot of people it would be a stretch to do any more than that. So, I’ve made it my job to inform you, the uninformed general public, about this rising star of a medium that we refer to as anime.

Anime at its very core is a Japanese cartoon style. Much to the surprise of many people, it is not a single genre any more than you would call a cartoon its own genre. Anime spans from action/adventure, to romance, sports, mystery, horror and so much more. Given its cartoon style many people new to it like to think of anime as entertainment directed toward children. Yes, there are anime made for kids, but there are just as many, if not more anime made for teens, uni students, and adults alike. For any show or movie you have seen you can bet there is an anime that matches if not exceeds that show in production value, music, and storytelling. For example: for Inception you have Paprika, for Game of Thrones you have Claymore, and for Avengers you have My Hero Academia.

Now that is not to say anime is simply taking global blockbusters and turning them into cartoons. Anime works very hard to set itself apart, and given that most anime are written and produced in Japan, anime often does a good job offering a different, if not contradictory mindset to many of the western shows that we know and love. On top of that, given that anime is drawn rather than shot, the use of a different medium gives many of the directors and artists freedom to be able to create worlds, characters, and story arcs that would be difficult, or even impossible to produce on traditional camera. Effects such as flying, talking animals, and transformations that can look terrible in CGI, have little or no issue in anime form, giving new worlds a much more natural feel.

Though the style as a whole still holds many stereotypes that have kept it from becoming a primetime source of television, critically acclaimed movies like Spirited Away, Your Name, and Ghost in the Shell have been pushing to show the world that anime is more than a cartoon side show. Anime has shown time and time again that it has the ability to stand on its own as a medium deserving not only attention, but genuine respect. I am not going to say that anime is for everyone, because I do not believe anything is for everyone; nevertheless, I will say it is something that is truly worth trying before writing it is off as just another kids cartoon.