Why I’m hooked on anime

In my ‘5 things that give me joy‘ article I mentioned that I like to watch nature documentaries on the rare occasion that I plug my consciousness into the box that displays pictures and plays sounds. I’ll tell you a secret though. I’m also a little hooked on anime series, of which there are many on Netflix. Indeed, since watching the nature documentary ‘Wild Japan’ and falling down an N-hole more than once watching episode after episode of Deathnote, Seraph of the End, The Seven Deadly Sins and Full Metal Alchemist, I’ve realised that I’m a little obsessed with Japan.

I have not visited Japan, though I would really love to. From the little I have observed via the telly-box, I have come to admire aspects of the Japanese culture. While there are certainly some aspects of Japanese culture that are barbaric towards animals, there seems to be a general theme of reverence towards nature. The blooming of the cherry blossoms, for example, is a national event of great importance where vast numbers of people will turn out to enjoy the spectacle. Not only are the cherry blossoms themselves beautiful but so is their symbolism; they have come to represent the transience of life, for our time here upon the earth is but fleeting and we must treasure every moment. All of this will come to an end. It must therefore be appreciated in the moment. Thus in witnessing the short but spectacular lives of the flowers of the cherry trees, the inhabitants of Japan pay homage to the fact that even a short life can be beautiful and meaningful when we take a moment to stop and appreciate it.

Meaning. That is something I am on an everlasting quest to find. Meaning can soothe our suffering. The ability to find meaning is what keeps us going; it can be the difference between surviving or giving up.

For me, anime is meaningful and that’s why I’m hooked. Oh and also the fact that it’s an entertaining mix of violence, sex and magick. Anyway, I digress.

In anime the main character will usually be going through some trials and tribulations, so the overriding theme is that of overcoming troubles, which I’m sure we can all relate to. You know how a good series will usually end an episode on a cliffhanger, where you are on the edge of your seat and dying to know what happens next? Anime does even better than that by regularly escalating the main character’s troubles exponentially; the storylines are epic – just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for the main character that you are rooting for, a shockingly imaginative plot-twist will be introduced that leaves you breathless. Life is like that though sometimes, right? Not that in non-anime life we find out that the creature we brought back from the dead was not out mother but rather, some kind of demonic monster but sure enough life does deliver shocking moments that shake us to the core, making us question our place on this earth and how we will move forward.

Another theme that I adore in anime is the importance of family. In anime, I have noticed a strong suggestion that family isn’t just blood relatives but also friends. The characters draw strength from the support of their friends as they seek to overcome their troubles and it is often their strong desire to protect their friends that urges them towards courageous acts that they would not otherwise carry out. In the anime that I have watched, there is a strong message that when all else is lost, there is still family/friends and that one should always take care of family/friends.

As someone who has found their family through their friends I can totally get on board with the idea of friends being the most important thing in life.

Here’s to friends.



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