I’ve often questioned why it is I like anime. That may seem kind of pointless. I like it because I like it. Everyone has their own preferences, and not everything needs to have a reason. You can just like something.
But anime is interesting to me for a particular reason. I don’t really like TV. Sure, I may watch a show or two that catch my fancy, but as I got older, I fell away from watching TV or movies as entertainment.
Most of the entertainment I get these days is from video games, reading, anime, and YouTube. I don’t really watch TV shows at all, and movies even less so. The last proper non-animated TV show I watched of my own volition was an episode of Myth Busters like half a year ago. And an episode of Pawn Stars every now and then. Last movie was…I can’t think of one that wasn’t anime, really.
I do not really enjoy the act of watching TV, yet I like anime enough to write about and consume it daily. I think that’s interesting, and I wanted to understand why that was. Ultimately, I think it comes down to a few different reasons that I’d like to discuss.
Firstly, I feel that anime is generally more imaginative. I grew up playing JRPGs my entire life. I’m used to grand stories about magic, slaying monsters, adventuring through distant lands. All stuff that you see much more common in anime. Hell, a lot of Isekai worlds play like a video game.
It’s something I’m already familiar with, and I enjoy it a lot. I love fantasy settings, and it’s a setting that’s explored much more in anime. The stories that anime usually tells are a lot more relatable and interesting to me than if I see another hospital show or sitcom. Oh, another point to anime, no laugh tracks. Don’t tell me anyone likes those. I have ruined many shows for people just by pointing them out.
I find the types of stories that anime tells to be far more creative than what I would normally see from shows in the west. I’ve watched a lot of TV shows in my life passively, as my parents watched them when I was younger, and a few on my own as I grew older, so it’s not like I’ve never seen them. I didn’t even get into anime until I was around 13. I just can’t think of any that I’ve watched that made me go, “wow!” Meanwhile, I can give you a few handfuls of anime that has done just that.
Part of it is just my own bias, I’m sure. This post will be riddled with that, but there is a big difference between the type of stories we see present in anime than other similar mediums. And of the two, anime is always the one that grabs me and hasn’t let go.
That’s not to say anime doesn’t do certain stories to death like hospital shows or generic sitcoms, nor am I saying western shows can’t explore similar themes. Isekai has been done to hell and back and straight back down to hell again, but even an Isekai can be spun to be interesting in some way. There’s only so much drama a hospital show can generate, while an Isekai has a seemingly infinite amount of potential.
Besides that, anime has its fair share of bland fanservice series, but trust me, other mediums aren’t shy about that either. If anything, anime goes a little wilder with it. At least their ecchi can revolve around devil aliens and monster girls, instead of some generic friends with benefits setup to get a few people to watch your shoddily thrown-together show. Of course, anime is shoddily thrown together at times too, but the point I’m making is they have more opportunities to go places.
Anime just has a natural ability to be more creative than other mediums and explore more themes. That’s not to say these other mediums can’t be. They very much can. Just on average, I would say anime has more potential to catch my interest. And that is in part because of my second reason.
Anime is animated. Wow, I’m dropping some real knowledge on you, aren’t I? I find animated shows far more appealing than anything else. There are many reasons for this, and I could really rant about it endlessly.
To add to my last point, anime being animated means it naturally has the ability to be more creative. It can tell tales that could be told with other shows, but not as well. Anime has the ability to tell a story about whatever it wants, with the only limit being the writer’s, director’s, and artist’s imagination.
Live-action shows can do this as well, but not only is it more difficult and requires a hefty budget, it’s hard to make it as believable. We’ve all stumbled across some monster in a movie that looks a little odd next to our real actors. Anime (unless they opt for large amounts of CGI) doesn’t face this problem. Anime having an art style makes everything match perfectly without anywhere near the amount of dough to bring it to life.
Anime being animated isn’t only more efficient and fitting for the stories they tell; it allows those stories to be told in the first place. My more biased reason is that I just love the animation. I’ve talked a little about it before, but any animated work even existing blows my mind. Here’s a fun article about that.
I know that any creative work takes a lot of effort (believe me, I know that now), but I’ll forever be impressed by how animation is made. It’s such a time-consuming, labor of love process that takes the hard work of so many talented people.
And let’s be honest, it’s just beautiful. Have you seen some really good-looking anime series? Like anything by Kyoto Animation, pretty much. It’s gold. We in the west also have animated shows, but, uh, I don’t like to talk about most of them. While anime likes to be beautiful, it seems these shows in the west try whatever they can do to look as unappealing as possible unless they’re targeted towards kids. Maybe, I’m shallow, but anime looks a hell of a lot better, that I know.
The fact that anime exists at all is baffling to me, let alone that some series can look as breathtaking as they do. You can make nice-looking special effects in other shows, but they can’t even come close to what anime has the ability to do. I just love the art. That’s a big part of why I love anime.
I’m able to appreciate them so much more for what they can do. And I don’t have to wait as long to do that either. Most shows in the west, unless it’s a sitcom or something, are generally an hour-long or 40 or so minutes without commercials. That’s just too long for me.
It’s the reason I don’t like movies. I just don’t enjoy being tied down to one place for multiple hours. Says the guy who does that occasionally with video games, but that’s a different thing entirely. I don’t have the attention span to just watch something for that long.
One of the biggest reasons I like anime is how short the episodes are. It only takes 20 minutes to watch a single episode. It’s such a small time investment. Because of its length, I’ll be willing to watch more. I may watch three episodes of an anime when I wouldn’t want to watch one episode of a 40-minute series.
Anime doesn’t require as much time, so I’m more willing to jump into it. Anime movies are generally shorter as well. Unless it’s The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, that movie was pretty great, though.
This means anime needs to be written very differently. It needs to be fast-paced, so it can do more with less time. Every second of it is important. It doesn’t want to waste an entire episode on a single conversation unless it’s My Hero Academia, of course. Man, I feel like I’m ragging on that series too much lately. I do like it, I swear. It’s just too easy sometimes.
It means we get to cut out a lot of padding and get right into the meat of what the story is. Anime is a bit of a perfect storm for me. It’s not that there’s any one reason I love it. It’s that every reason combines into something I love. It’s the perfect length for me, it often has the perfect subject matter for me, and its very existence constantly impresses me. And I don’t plan to stop watching it anytime soon.
Thank you very much for reading
Why do you love anime? I think it’s fun to think about why things mean what they do to us every now and then.