In Praise Of Anime
As a young child in Japan, I remember mornings spent staring out at my grandparents’ Zen garden as I drank miso soup and ate white rice with wooden chopsticks. I’d turn on the TV in the background; watching my favourite shows such as Doraemon or Nintama Rantarō as I got ready for school. It wasn’t until I was much older that I fully understood the impact anime would have on my life.
Anime, a form of animation that originated in Japan, comes in many forms: manga comics, young adult novels, films, TV shows and video games. Over 40% of the world’s population watches some form of anime, estimates show. The global anime market is growing by 9.8% per year, set to be worth over USD $43billion by 2027.
It’s a modern phenomenon, but its roots can be traced back to the popular magic lantern shows of the early 1900s. These shows typically featured colourfully painted, illuminated figures moving on a projector. Astro Boy, a TV show created in the 1950s, was the first to embody the characteristics of anime as we know it today. In the 1980s and 1990s, the production company Toei Animation created Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Digimon and One Piece – which are still some of the genre’s most popular TV shows of all time.
One of my favourite anime films is Howl’s Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of the award-winning Studio Ghibli production company. Miyazaki once said that whenever someone creates something with all their heart, that creation is given a soul. Visiting the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan earlier this year with my mom reminded me how deeply anime has shaped and impacted the woman I’ve become. From when Mirko mercilessly battled the powerful Nomus in My Hero Academia to Tanjiro’s brutal but successful training to become a demon slayer in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, these are the heroic messages that have given me courage during important times of growth.
Yumi Tamura, a Japanese manga artist, says it best when she says: “Have strength in yourself always. Think and remember not just what you should do, but what you want to do.”
5 Shows To Help You Discover The Magical World Of Anime:
- Cowboy Bebop by Hajime Yatate – a ragtag group of bounty hunters chase criminals across the galaxy.
- Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya – a high-school student meets a family possessed by the 13 animals of the Chinese zodiac.
- Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa – two brothers pursue alchemy in the hopes of finding a way to bring their deceased mother back to life.
- Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto – a young ninja dreams of becoming the leader of his village.
- Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori – a female high school student joins an elite male host club to pay back a debt.
Aaliyah Cotton is a Hawaii-based fiction writer with a passion for young-adult, fantasy, and sci-fi novels