I am Not an Anime Fan – Does That Make Me Old?
Give me a flat-screen TV and a remote control and I promise I will find something to watch. There is one exception: anime. I will watch anything else before anime. I will watch nature shows, junk sports, and weather forecasts that get recycled every five minutes. I will even watch the shopping channel before I submit to anime.
I admit that I am not an anime fan. I harbor no hostile feelings against it, I just don’t like it as an entertainment option. Does that make me old? The reason I ask is because I know that anime is all the rage among younger audiences. Therefore, I am forced to consider that my dislike of the medium has to do with my age.
1. Looney Tunes and Disney
I have done some research into anime and discovered that it was Japan’s answer to Disney. Way back when Walt Disney began making animated films, Japanese animators wanted to compete. But they wanted something distinctly different. They did not want to copy Western animation.
It turns out they did create something completely unique. Anime is Japanese through-and-through. Best of all, people love it to the tune of billions of dollars annually.
As for me, I didn’t even know anime existed until the late 1970s. Prior to that, I grew up with Looney Tunes and Disney animation. My favorite characters were Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck. Looney Tunes and Disney cartoons were so embedded in my psyche that my first exposure to anime barely had an impact.
Why watch Star Blazers when Tom and Jerry are on another channel? That was my thinking. For the record, me and my brothers did watch Star Blazers very briefly in 1979. It didn’t last long, though. None of us were impressed with the animation style. A few weeks into it and we went back to the Western animation we loved so much.
2.Happily Ever After
Looking back on it now, I am forced to face the fact that the Western animation of my youth was all ‘happily ever after’ stuff. The guy always got the girl and grandma recovered from her sickbed. Elmer Fudd never managed to beat Bugs. Meanwhile, Wile E. Coyote never seemed to run out of lives despite constantly blowing himself up, falling off cliffs, and being crushed under the weight of very heavy objects.
The happily ever after nature of Western animation is something else Japanese animators tried to avoid. According to the creative minds behind the Umai anime clothing brand, anime creators have always been willing to write unhappy endings. They have always been willing to tackle difficult subjects in ways that don’t always get positive reviews.
Maybe that’s part of the appeal. Perhaps modern audiences are over the sugary sweetness of happily ever after stories. You can see it in other media forms. From grunge music to slasher flicks, today’s pop culture is a lot more aggressive, shocking, and violent than what I experienced in my youth.
3.Times Keep Changing
I am more than willing to admit that Bob Dylan got it right. The times keep changing. At the current time, anime is extremely hot. Young people love it. But 30 years from now, maybe today’s millennials will dislike whatever their kids and grandkids are into. It’s the way it goes.
Perhaps my dislike for anime is only proof that I’m old. And if that’s the case, I am okay with it. Let the young people have anime. The internet and streaming services still allow me to enjoy my Looney Tunes and Disney cartoons. I’m okay with that, too.