Anime

Why Do I Love Anime?

What's This About?

I was pleasantly surprised when Tony Ueberfluss (RailGunFan75) tagged me for the "Why Do I Love Anime" blogger event! You can see how RailGunFan75 answered the question in this post. While you're there, please do check out the site, RailGunFan75's Geek Blog. There's a ton of interesting content there!

Here're the rules for this event (pretty much copying directly from RailGunFan75's post!):

  1. Write a post about anime, naming your favorite thing(s) about it. Be as personal or impersonal as you’d like to be; maybe write about how it helped you through a tough time, or taught you something, or just how much fun you’ve had with it.
  2. Nominate 3 bloggers for the challenge. I nominate:
    1. nesha from #moe404.
    2. Rose from Wretched and Divine
    3. GabH from Lumi Reviews Things
  3. Link to the post that started this event, which was from Watashi wa bucho!!

Note: Please be aware that there are likely spoilers for the shows mentioned below!

In the Beginning...

My relationship with anime goes back quite a ways... Do you remember Speed Racer (that I just learned was also known as Mach GoGoGo!)? No, not the 2008 movie of the same title. I'm talking about the original anime series. From 1967. Yep, that one! That's the first anime I remember watching. I don't remember exactly when I watched it; it had to have been several years after it debuted in Japan, as there was no Crunchyroll back then! Or internet. Or even generally affordable computers... My most clear memory is Speed (who I just learned was actually named Gou Mifune!) having fallen on a roller coaster track. He was just sitting there, looking terrified, and making strange gasping noises, as the coaster got closer and closer.

I couldn't understand why he just didn't roll off the tracks!

My second anime was Battle of the Planets, which was relatively more recent: the late 1970s. I just remember bits and pieces like the phrase "Center Neptune," which sounded so dramatic to me back then! The only competition for fantastic fiction back then was science fiction, and special effects were still relatively primitive, at least in terms of portraying wide-ranging vistas like Battle of the Planets showed. 

I drifted away from anime for a brief time, since science fiction and fantasy books, as well as mundane things like high school and college, demanded my attention. But I didn't stay away for too long. Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex pulled me back into the genre, and I've been there ever since!

What? Bored Already?

Yeah, sorry about that. Get me reminiscing, and if I'm not careful, I cure insomnia! Which I guess is a plus in some circles!

But rather than tell you why I love anime, how about I show you (though, in the spirit of full disclosure, there will be some words; please try to enjoy anyway!)? That might be more interesting! 

Why Do I Love Anime?

In no particular order...

Beautiful Moments

Julis-Alexia von Riessfeld from The Asterisk War. Strong and determined with a noble mission. A princess, too! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

When I watched the first episode of The Asterisk War, I wasn't sure if I'd drop it or not. Until we got to the end of the first episode. Seeing Julis, wreathed in flames, confronting not only Lester MacPhail but her own frustrations, struck me as profoundly beautiful. I almost felt like Ayato Amagiri had the same reaction as I did as he watched the scene unfold. I know the prevailing feeling is that The Asterisk War wasn't anything special, but moments like this made it one of my favorites.

Moments of Blank Despair

You know how I can tell a scene's powerful? When I have a hard time even getting a screen capture without my vision blurring... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

There's a problem with getting to like characters, especially in a series like Re:Zero - Starting Life in Another World: You start feeling for them. By the time episode 15 rolled around, Subaru and Rem (and everyone else, truth be told!) had already been through a lot. And then episode 15 happened. Even getting this screen capture reminded me of the same feelings I had when I first watched it. "Sleep, along with my daughter," a gigantic and dreadful Pack said, as he sliced off Subaru's head. I've rarely seen a narrative push its main character as far as Re:Zero pushed Subaru. I almost feel guilty saying I loved it!

Sexy Moments

There are some things that anime does particularly well... Capture from the Funimation stream.

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but we live in a rough world. Sometimes it's just pleasant to watch something like the first episode of the second season of High School DxD New when Akeno helps the ridiculously lucky Issei control his dragon power. I doubt any of us need it, but if you run into someone who needs an argument that anime is not for kids (at least some titles like this one!), this episode -- okay, this whole series! -- is it!

Moments of Growth

Land of the Lustrous had way more than its share of amazing moments! Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Phosphophyllite (Phos) spent most of their life not knowing exactly what they wanted to do. The mission to create an encyclopedia didn't work out well; being a warrior didn't seem within reach. Phos wanted to find their calling, but was constantly frustrated. While on patron with Antarcticite (when the other gems were hibernating for the winter), Phos tried to replace their arms but seemed to attract gold instead of gemstone. That turned out to Phos' benefit, because their enemies the Lunarians attacked and captured Antarcticite. In that moment, faced with seeing their friend taken back to the moon as they could only stand by and watch, Phos did what Phos had never done before: decided to put the safety of their friend first. It was an amazing moment that had me literally holding my breath the first time I saw it.

Frolicsome Moments 

I wonder if Ryuuji knew that by visiting Taiga while he was dressed as Santa (in bear form!), he had just fulfilled one of her dreams? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream. 

Toradora is going to end up Caw of Fame. It's just a matter of time, and it'll be because of scenes like this one. Ryuuji knew Taiga was at home alone, so he dressed up like a Christmas bear and visited her. After giving her little Christmas tree a thumbs up, he just spun her around in the air until he got dizzy, then he fell down with her on top of him. Her laugh was so infectious and carefree! Just as the scene with Subaru takes me to a very dark place, this scene takes me to a calm and happy place.

Last Second Saves

In Chrome Shelled Regios, Nina is certain she's about to die -- before Layfon shows up and saves her. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Where else but in anime can you watch one character save another from creatures called Contaminoids? Maybe in some B-grade horror or science fiction film, but I'm convinced anime pulls it off more dramatically! I just love this scene from episode 5, in no small part because the narrative carefully timed the rescue so it was plausible. And it also gave Nina the first full glimpse of Layfon's power as a past wielder of a Heaven's Blade. The scene gets even more credit because Nina fought well -- better than the other "normal" humans around her -- until the sheer number of Contaminoids overwhelmed her. She wasn't any shrinking violet or damsel in distress!

Amazing Battles

Saga of Tanya the Evil took airborne combat in a new direction! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Speaking of "Where else but in anime..," where else can you find airborne mage combat taking place in an alternate timeline World War I? A capricious god sent a Japanese salaryman to that world and placed him in the body of a young girl named Tanya. She ended up commanding an airborne wing of mages for that world's version of Germany. The battles were fantastic! This screen cap from near the end of episode 10 is after a particularly punishing fight -- just before Tanya meets her most dangerous foe yet.

Touching Confessions of Love

Senjougahara isn't the first character I think of when I think of romance. But she's probably the most profound! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

When you've seen and read as much as I have, a confession of love has to be something really special to stick out. Leave it to Bakemonogatari to pull it off! As they lay looking up at the stars, Senjougahara lays out everything she has to give to Araragi. She lists some of the summer stars like Deneb, Altair, and Vega. When she says, "That's everything," he's confused. She explains, "That's everything I have. The ability to help you with your studies. My beloved underclassman. And my gruff father. And this starry sky. What I have is no more than this. What I can give you, Araragi, is no more than this. No more than this... and everything." That might be my favorite confession right there!

Really Amazing Battles

To be honest, I could almost have picked a random Attack on Titan episode, but I chose "Ruler of the Walls." Talk about an amazing battle... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Amazing battles? Check. Really amazing battles? Check again! Attack on Titan showed me some of the most thrilling battles I've ever seen. I think they topped even themselves with the battle from "Ruler of the Walls," where a gigantic (even for a titan!) abnormal titan, face scraped away because it had to push itself across miles of terrain to get to the city, faces off (see what I did there?) against Eren in his titan form. How astoundingly cool was it that he stuffed hundreds of pounds of explosives into the abnormal's mouth? And much more even more astoundingly cool was it when the Scouts had to track down each chunk of exploded titan to find the human inside? Only in anime... And if not only in anime, I'll say it's best accomplished in anime!

Summary

This site's tagline is "A blog to celebrate anime. Reviews of anime series with interesting characters and moments of beauty." The nine moments I just shared with you are some of the reasons I started this site, and they also represent some of the reasons I love anime. I could add things like the ani-blogging community and the amazing posts they write, but I think I've already gone over-long. So if you're still reading, thank you -- and I hope that this blog helps you celebrate the reasons you love anime, too!

12 thoughts on “Why Do I Love Anime?

  1. I’ve recently found out the showed Speed Racer on German TV in the early 70ies, so I might have seen some of it. I wasn’t really interested in cars, though, as a child so maybe not. My own introduction to anime was the World Masterpiece Theatre stuff of the early 70ies. Here I am in Austria, Switzerland is a neighbouring country, but the only image of Heidi I’d accept as real comes all the way from Japan. (Imagine later learning that my two favourite childhood shows were both from Takahata; the guy basically formed my taste – I was between four and five.)

    For me, there are two things anime does exceedingly well: understated absurdity and heightened banality. This translates to my two favourite anime genres: absurdist comedies and slice of life.

    This was an interesting read.

    1. “Here I am in Austria, Switzerland is a neighbouring country, but the only image of Heidi I’d accept as real comes all the way from Japan. ”

      That’s cool! It’s amazing how our early experience set our expectations, isn’t it?

      I just looked up Takahata in Wikipedia — he had an amazing career! I have Grave of the Fireflies sitting on a shelf here. I’ve got to make time to watch it!

      “absurdist comedies and slice of life.”

      What are your favorites in those genres, if you don’t mind me asking?

      1. Slice of Life: Usagi Drop, Ichigo Marshmallow, Yuyushiki, Non Non Biyori, Tamayura, Flying Witch, Kimi to Boku, Hakumei to Mikochi

        Absurdist Comedy: Humanity Has Declined, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, World Conquest Zvezda Plot, Hare x Guu, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

        I’m sure, I’m forgetting some. My favourite anime ever is probably The Eccentric Family, which isn’t really either but has elements of both. A lot of anime I like fall into that category (not really qualifying, but having elements): Denpa Onna, for example.

        1. I’ve seen Non Non Biyori (at least much of it), Flying Witch (which I loved), and World Conquest Zvezda Plot. Looks like I have some catching up to do!

          Thanks for the list! I’ve had my eye on Yuyushiki, and it looks like Crunchyroll has it. Maybe I’ll start there!

  2. One amazing battle that I always go back to is from Arpeggio of Blue Steel episode 4 – “Assault on Yokosuka”. It has great pacing for a naval battle (the usual slow and deliberate nature but with moments of frenetic action), and brings that element of fantastic that anime + scifi can give you. And it brings great character development for two of the main characters, while providing a satisfying reason why the underdog protagonist wins the fight.

    1. Dang it! Now I want to rewrite the post!

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rewatched Arpeggio of Blue Steel! The battle you referenced was everything you said it was.

      My only disappointment with the series? Kirishima was a teddy bear for most of it!

      Well, there’s always Takao…

      But back to the battles, the Fog technology, especially the super gravity cannon, looked fantastic!

      1. There were a lot of people in my circles who complained about Arpeggio of Blue Steel being all-CG, mainly because of the standing around bits, but the all-CG style totally allowed for amazing art, movement, and action in the battles without any style breaks, and I think overall it was a good style for the show.

        1. “but the all-CG style totally allowed for amazing art, movement, and action in the battles without any style breaks, and I think overall it was a good style for the show.”

          Absolutely!

          Just thinking about the last battle with Kongo gives me chills! I think the CG gave it more punch!

  3. That was a great read. Moments such as the ones you described really sum up the wonder of anime perfectly. I think that anime at its best makes you feel more than many other forms of entertainment do. I can say that I remember more such moments from anime than I do most films or tv shows. The creators also do an amazing job in freshening up tired ideas. War stories are a common thing but the twists that The Saga of Tanya the Evil adds are just genius. Great post and it was great to read why you love anime.

    1. “I think that anime at its best makes you feel more than many other forms of entertainment do.”

      You know, thinking about it, even in my favorite movies or television (live action) series, I can only think of a few moments that jump out. Like Luke shouting “No!” when Ben falls in the first Star Wars.

      But I had a heck of time picking only 9 for this post! There were so many to choose from…

      Glad you liked the post — I felt a bit of pressure to not make you regret nominating me!

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