1. Some of my favorite stories have been told in the form of anime.
I am first and foremost a lover of stories. I think that stories are the meaning of life. I love stories whatever form they come in: songs, books, plays, movies, poems, comics, manga, live-action TV shows, verbal storytelling, and yes, animated TV shows. There are several stories that I experienced in anime form which I deeply connected with or which influenced my life and my way of thinking. Examples are Wolf’s Rain, Shinsekai Yori, Parasyte/Kiseijuu, and Naoki Urusawa’s Monster.
2. Some of my favorite characters in fiction are from anime.
Haruhi of Ouran Highschool. Satsuki Kiryuuin from Kill la Kill. Homura Akemi of Madoka Magica. Suzaku from Code Geass. Shion Sonozaki of Higurashi no naku koro ni. Kurapika from Hunter x Hunter. Kino of the 2003 version of Kino’s Journey. Shun from Shinsekai Yori. Akane Tsunemori of Psycho-Pass. These are only a few examples randomly taken from my list of 25 favorite anime characters. These fictional “people” are ones that I deeply connected with, or ones that helped shape who I am today. They are easily as powerful and significant to me as my favorite characters from books.
3. Anime helps my mental health.
I’ve got issues, people. I mean, I know everyone does. But my issues are the kind where I have to be on 6 prescription medicines and be very careful with my mental health. If I’m having an intense mood swing or an intrusive, distressing emotion or thought, my go-to distraction is anime. Sometimes I feel completely dead inside and empty, and the only thing that jerks me back to life is an intense thriller or creepy psychological tale. Then, when I’m calmer, I can work things out with the skills and good thinking habits I’ve learned from therapy.
In Dialectical Behavior Therapy, there is a skill called Opposite Emotion, which involves identifying what you are feeling and then doing something to produce an opposite emotion. If I’m extremely depressed about life and unmotivated to even take a shower, I put on some absurd comedy anime like Arakawa Under the Bridge. If I’m feeling bitter, I watch shows about healing and growth, like The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. Feeling suicidal? I watch shows like Angel Beats, which make me squirm from the shame of even thinking about doing something so selfish. Feeling useless? I watch shows about girls, or small characters, who become empowered warriors and assassins.
4. I was never allowed to watch anime when I was a kid.
Unlike most anime otakus in their mid to late twenties, I did not grow up watching anime. Contrary to what some might think, you don’t have to be exposed to anime from an early age to love it as an adult. I was raised in a community of fundamentalist Christians following the Quiverfull Movement. That being the case, I was not allowed to do anything that most normal kids enjoyed. As the family rebel, In 2010, I bought my first laptop and had free access to high speed internet for the first time. I was 17 when I watched my first anime all the way through. Then I became a real otaku after college.
Anyway, because I wasn’t allowed to watch as a kid, I kind of “went crazy” with anime starting six years ago, watching everything I could, spending whole nights and days watching hours and hours nonstop. Fortunately for my vision, I calmed down on the watching and now keep it reasonable. Still, I feel like I’m making up for so much that I’ve missed out on. The more someone tells me I shouldn’t do x, or that x is bad, the more I want to do x. So now that I’ve got so much freedom, and I stay inside on computer whenever I can, of course I became an otaku. No regrets!
(Don’t worry, though. I did go back and watch at least a few arcs of some of those classic shounen shows you guys all watched… Yuu Yuu Hakushou, Hunter x Hunter, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, FMA, etc.)
5. Visually, anime can be absolutely gorgeous and is always full of art.
Do I even need to say anything here? Everyone probably has at least a few shows that come to mind when they think “Good Visuals” or “Good Art.” Fate franchise. Kara no Kyoukai. Guilty Crown. Kyoukai no Kanata. Akagami no Shirayuki. Mushishi. Violet Evergarden. This should be a reason that everyone should try out anime. I don’t really understand people who don’t like to look at visual artwork.
That wraps it up for my five reasons I love anime. Of course, there are many other reasons. For example, anime is highly diverse in content, style, story, genre, and everything else. Unlike with movies and sometimes with books, the author or creator of a manga or an anime has a lot of power over the content they want to produce, and room for their individual visions and decisions. Finally, anime is like the “underdog” of media forms, and I always root for the underdog. I enjoy things that extraverted society thinks are weird or pointless, like becoming an anime otaku. 🙂
I hope you liked this anime rant!!
Edit: Thank you to Merlin for giving me the idea for this post! Their blog is here!