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Unless you have been away from the Earth for a long time, chances are that you have heard of the term Anime, either on the internet or from your friends. So what are these cartoonish things, which probably seem to be pretty childish, and you consider that you have left that zone years ago. To put it simply it is an ART.
Yep, anime is nothing short of an art. For most of us, the earliest memories of anime will probably date back to Pokemon, or may be Doraemon or Shinchan. Then came Dragonball, and Naruto on Cartoon Network, and some of us might have watched them then. For me it was in 2006 that I was watching a certain episode of Detective Conan on Hungama, and unfortunately (perhaps fortunately) Hungama didn’t stream the episodes in chronological order, and hence for me it remained unresolved. I simply started watching all the episodes from ep 1 of Detective Conan, 400+ episodes at that time, and then on there was no stopping.
As of now, I have watched over 300+ anime and I doubt I will stop anytime soon. The reason anime suits my taste is astonishingly simple, it’s just that Anime has no boundaries. All TV shows, are limited by the visual effects, acting, tv sets, etc but there is no such thing for anime. From planetary busters in Dragon Ball Z to simple school settings like K-ON, from western style Cowboy Beebop to post-cyberpunk society of Ghost in the Shell, from over the top basketball in Kuroko’s Basket to entirely grounded mystery of Detective Conan, there are just no limits.
A few words about the culture in insti. Well I personally have met some people who have watched quite a few anime. There is a Facebook page on IIT Bombay Anime and Manga Club, and yes, we have started some small informal activities, but it is still a far cry from the established clubs. Most newcomers to anime usually start out by Death Note, and perhaps Code Geass, which have quite intelligent plots, though some prefer to go for shounen anime like Naruto or One Piece. Quite a few guys still catch up with the new Dragon Ball Super.
Well if you read this far, then congratulations, but (un)fortunately I don’t get a chance to write so much, so I will go on for a bit more about some Anime knowledge which I have dug up through my past experiences.
First is definition of Otaku. After you get into any anime and visit some anime forums, chances are that you will encounter this word. It basically refers to someone who likes to watch anime a lot, though in Japan it is slightly more extreme in the sense those who can’t differentiate the 2D from the 3D. I (and probably most people) usually hate being called an Otaku, and prefer the term anime enthusiasts.
Second is the source of Anime. If you have heard or read that Anime comes from Manga, then please know that you are only half correct. Well Manga are analogous to Comics. They are different from comics in the sense that more often than not they are black and white as opposed to the colored comics and have more detailed drawing and in most cases capture the emotions of the characters being portrayed very well. Well as a general rule, about 35-40 new anime are produced each season. There are four seasons every year, Winter from Jan to March, spring from April to June, summer from July to September and Fall from October to December. Among the 40 new anime being produced every season half of them have their origin in Manga, the other usually comprise of Light Novels (which are basically novels, with just a few illustrations here and there) and Visual Novels (which are something like RPG). Nowadays (at least for the past 5 seasons) there are also game adaptations happening every season, and this also includes those which haven’t been even released. TL;DR: Anime has its source in Manga, Light Novels and Visual Novels.
Well, if you are seriously interested in this, I would recommend watching the anime Bakuman (split into three seasons) totalling 75 eps, which shows the story of two boys who wish to become mangaka (a person who writes manga) and their struggles along the way. This is an absolute must watch to know what goes on in the life of a mangaka. Also make sure to watch the anime Shirobako (26 episodes), which follows the story of 5 girls chasing their dream of contributing to the anime industry. I cannot think of any better representation of the hard work, planning behind each and every episode of an anime. After watching this, my respect for the people working in anime industry just quadrupled.
Anime. Yet another phenomenon from the land of the Rising Sun which has caught some serious air. It’s surprising how something which is generally frowned upon as nerdy and geeky in its country of origin has gone viral all over the world, giving rise to an entire industry unto itself. With anime and manga both being consumed by the millions and new ones being churned at an equally breakneck pace, the outbreak is claiming more and more victims, leading to the evolution of humans to a new species, The Otaku. With such a diverse range of anime, it’s no big surprise that if two Otakus meet, they might not have watched even a single anime in common! With genre inbreeding like never before, anime has something for every person ever, ranging from action, comedy, adventure, drama, horror, military, suspense, thriller, romcoms, harems, adult humour, police procedurals, slice of life (the feels), sports, sci-fi, fanservice and ecchi (for nosebleeds and guys who want to flex their wrists), mystery, superpowers, aliens, high school life, mecha (big robots), shoujo (Mills & Boon type droopy romance), fantasy, vampires, zombies and even battleships with the spirits of semi-naked girls (if you’re into that kind of thing). Make no mistake, anime isn’t just for little kids. The seinen (mature) genre is specifically for more mature audiences. The violent, dark, fanservice-y and gory anime definitely aren’t for your pre-pubescent cousin. There’s something for everyone. And I mean EVERYONE. Community reference aside, besides the diversity, what anime has going for them is the time commitment. With each episode generally being around 20 minutes (without the recap, next episode preview and the opening and ending credits, commonly referred to as OP and ED) compared to the hour long episodes of Arrow. The number of episodes in an anime are also short, ranging from 11-13 or 20-25 or clustered around 50-ish, with Death Note, considered the best way to lose your anime virginity, consisting of 37 episodes. Sure there are super mainstream, so-long-they-put-Grey’s Anatomy-to-shame, never-ending, filler-infested sagas like Pokémon (yes, it is an anime), Naruto, Bleach, One Piece (The manga which started in 1997, crossed halfway point in 2010), Fairy Tail and the more recent Kuroko No Basket, which are widely considered as initiation for non anime junta. With more anime being dubbed into English by Funimation, the target audience only grows wider since it expands beyond the Japanese audio subtitle purists. Another phenomenon which anime has given legs to, is Cosplay. If you know Jessica Nigri, you pretty much know what cosplay is. Every year, all over the world, The Otakus come out of their closets and dress up for ComicCons as their favourite anime characters. Sure, some people dress up as a walker from the Walking Dead too, but the term cosplay, derived from costume roleplay is specific to Japanese culture. Mumbai ComicCon has two professional Cosplayers come down from Japan for the same and their versatility in cosplaying is jaw-dropping and commendable. I still have a hard time believing that Sasuke cosplayer from 2014 was a girl.