Anime lovers say genre engulfs fans in culture and messages of hope

Written by: 
Zeek Cheng

Anime’s worldwide appeal comes from its interesting characters and storylines that allow fans to become part of the Japanese culture and experience positive messages, said BYU-Hawaii students.

Hao Le, a junior from Vietnam studying accounting, said good storylines and illustrations are why she likes anime. “Sometimes, the way they build the story is even better than in movies. Each anime has its own different world. When I watch it, I feel like I’m a part of it. It’s something you can’t find in real life.”

Le said the worlds created in anime has given her different insights into things such as ninjas and Japan. “I respect the animation industry and the people who made it because they spend a lot of time on each animated series. This industry is growing bigger each year. It’s worth being respected.”

Sze Nga Ho, a junior from Hong Kong studying elementary education, added, “I love the stories that are encouraging. When I feel discouraged, the positive storyline helps me to feel motivated and have hope to face my own challenges. It’s energizing and helps me relax during a stressful time.”

Kelson Eliot, a freshman from Utah with an undecided major, said since being back from her mission in Japan, she uses anime as a way to remember her mission language. “I use anime to evaluate my Japanese skills and keep myself strong in the language. It’s been an extra tool to continue my Japanese studies and to keep a part of the Japanese culture with me even though I don’t live in Japan anymore.”

Le said anime has made some bonds in her friendships stronger. “I have a group of friends who have the same hobby of watching anime. When we hang out, we talk about the shows that we like. Sometimes, we quote the lines from it, and it’s entertaining because we know where those [references] came from.”

Ho said others may hold negative connotations regarding anime fans. “Anime is a really good form of entertainment, but it isn’t necessarily for everyone. Different people have different interests.”

Elliot said she knows that some people think anime is just cartoons for kids, but she believes it’s something more. “For me, it's just like another TV show in a different language. My mom told me that I’m getting too old to watch this cartoon, but there are also other cartoons such as ‘Family Guy’ and ‘The Simpsons’ that are not for children. I think it’s a personal habit rather than age-related.”

Ho encouraged anime fans to be open about their interest. “Don’t be ashamed of your habit. If you enjoy it, just enjoy it. Just don’t go beyond or be too obsessed with it.”

Eliot added, “If you understand the language even just a little bit, you will get more out of it and it will become a more enjoyable experience. Some jokes wouldn’t make sense if you don’t know the language and culture.”

Ho encouraged non-anime fans to experiment with the genre. “If someone would sit down and watch an episode, he will find out what’s great about it for himself.”

Date Published: 
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Last Edited: 
Tuesday, January 2, 2018