Discover the extraordinary world of anime: a beginners guide

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My Hero Academia is an anime that continues to grow dramatically in popularity over the years, season 5 has just been released.

Alexander Rivas, Staff Writer

Anime has recently seen a rise in popularity during quarantine with an increase of streaming sites, merchandise, conventions, etc. According to Rubicon, the anime Industry has made 10.93 billion dollars in 2019 and is predicted to see an increase in growth. 

 

Anime is a print, television and television genre that originated in Japan. They’re similar to cartoons but the difference is that Anime is usually meant to be interpreted in a more serious manner than most animation and of course, presents cultural boundaries for the average western viewer. 

 

These cultural differences make it hard to comprehend where to start when wanting to begin watching anime. Anime is initially released in Japanese but can be watched by English speakers with subtitles. Fans often refer to this as watching in “sub” or “subbed.” If the anime is popular enough, it will eventually have English voice-overs. The term for these is “dub” or “dubbed.” 

 

One of the most challenging things for new viewers to understand is the genres of anime. Genres with titles like Shonen, Slice of Life, Shoujo, and Seinein, these categories may sound foreign to new viewers so here is an explanation of each with recommendations. There are many other genres of Anime, but these are some of the most interesting, yet challenging to understand.

 

Shonen: Shonen, is meant to be aimed at a demographic of young boys. The genre usually includes action, heroes, male protagonists, as well as science fiction and sports elements. Some popular titles within the genre include anime such as My Hero Academia and One Piece. 

 

My Hero Academia is a character-driven anime with relatable characters and a great plot. The story follows the protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, as he follows his dream of becoming a hero. It is a motivating anime with impressive fight scene animations, especially with the recent season. On the other hand, if you prefer plot over characters, One Piece is a perfect anime. It still manages to have well-written characters while having a great storyline. One common compliment One Piece gets is that even though it is a long anime, the arcs never seem repetitive.

Slice of Life: This genre often shows a portion of a protagonist’s life. It sometimes has open endings and is oftentimes presented in a serious or dramatic manner. Some popular titles include A Silent Voice and Kiki’s Delivery Service. 

 

A Silent Voice is a movie that follows a protagonist who is yearning for atonement years after bullying a deaf girl. The anime speaks about topics such as anxiety, guilt, bullying, outcasting, and ableism. It is a heartwarming, tear-evoking movie that many beginners should consider watching if they want a feel for what Slice of Life is capable of conveying. 

 

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a popular Studio Ghilbi film that follows a protagonist as she leaves her country home to live in the city. It is a coming-of-age fantasy anime that does a good job of showing the loneliness one may feel when being in a foreign place while also being an uplifting sweet movie.

 

Shoujo: Shoujo is similar to Shonen except it is aimed at a demographic of young girls. This genre usually focuses on personal and romantic relationships. Some popular titles include From Up On Poppy Hill and Banana Fish. 

 

From Up On Poppy Hill is a movie that follows a group of students trying to save their boarding school from being torn down. The movie is lighthearted with beautiful animation that conveys just how confusing life can be at times. 

 

Banana Fish, on the other hand, tackles controversial topics and is filled with lots of action. Banana Fish is very popular with older audiences but since it was published in a Shoujo magazine it is now considered a Shoujo. 

 

The story follows Ash Lynx, a teenage gang leader, as he tries to uncover what new drug is being distributed across the city. He journeys through New York alongside a photojournalist from Japan named Eiji Okumura. These two share a bond that could be interpreted as platonic or romantic. 

 

The anime is filled with raw emotion and characters so well-written that you can’t help but get attached to them.

 

Seinen: Seinen is an anime marketed toward young adult men. It tends to be more mature than other genres. Some popular titles include Animes such as Berserk and Jojo Bizarre Adventure. 

 

Berserk is set in a medieval Europe-inspired dark fantasy world. The protagonist is a character named Guts who is a strong mercenary that gets recognized by a man named Griffith who is the leader of a mercenary band called the “Band of the Hawk”. Guts join the band in order to fulfill his dream of having his own kingdom. 

 

The story Berserk has well-written arcs, characters, and world-building. It keeps the watcher’s interest with every episode. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is an anime about the Jostar family. Each arc follows the life of members of the Jostar family tracing their adventures through the generations. This anime is often complimented on its great fights along with bizarre events.

 

How To Watch: The most popular sites to watch anime from are Crunchyroll and Funimation. These both have an option to watch with a subscription if you do not want ads but you can also watch for free. Many find the mobile app to be easier to navigate compared to the computer site which is filled with merchandise for animes.

 

The world of anime is extensive and fascinating, though it can be intimidating for novice viewers. The best way you can acclimate to this engaging artform is to just start watching. It may take a while to immerse yourself into these worlds, but the pay-off is inventive, provocative animation and storytelling rarely found in western traditions.