Is there something in anime that overrides one’s appreciation of other media (most especially literature)?

That personal blog of mine certainly helped to alleviate the growing disappointment within me. For those who have visited it, thank you very much. In the quest for writing more cognitive posts I have tried to undertake an entry that even I myself have a difficulty of congealing. I ask forgiveness for the solipsism I may have shown these past few days: such is the extent of my disappointment.

Happy Camper
See, I’m a happy camper now.

To proceed, then.

When I was back in my hometown I didn’t have an Internet connection in my home, and I also didn’t have the resources to watch the anime I am currently following. Within that span of twelve days I had been able to read five novels. These novels were in no way light, however, as most of them save for A Time to Speak (because this was the only chink in the armor of good literature I’ve read; I’m sorry for repeating its title) dealt with more or less universal issues that pervade humanity and human nature. And although A Time to Speak was sheer propaganda for the most part its use of words was not for the beginner or even intermediate reader (not that I’m saying I’m an expert reader) because of the vocabulary and the verbiage that the author used in its writing. If one asks me, I’d say that it was an informal dissertation because the novel really digs deep into the annals of English vocabulary. It was verbose and long-winded (perhaps among the reasons why my previous posts in both this and my personal blog seemed to be paragons of verbal diarrhea), not a child’s cup of tea.

After I was re-introduced to the world of anime, however, I lost this said drive to read and to explore literature to the extent that although I was reading an extremely light novel (one serialized monthly) on the adventures of a Ramboesque Mack Bolan, it still took me four days to finish the novel (entitled Hellbinder, in case you’d like to know). Of course, the reasons could be attributable to many factors, among which is stress. Indeed, though I may have been stressed and saturated with disappointment these past few days, it wasn’t enough to stop me from reading. I know myself to read when I am in stress to dissipate it, so it wasn’t the sole reason or the primary one at that.

This guy is just like John Rambo. He just doesn’t f*cking die. After getting hit with a poison-tipped bullet, he only gets a fever. He goes into war a day after and *still* fights on afterwards, and gets hit with a 50 caliber bullet on his left arm. As if this wasn’t enough, he engages on hand-to-hand combat with the villain of the novel immediately after.

I’d like to think that this lack of interest stems from the fact that I’ve been exposed to anime once more. I haven’t done anything much lately than enroll myself for the new semester or stay at home and surf the Internet or watch anime. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t stop reading books because I had to enroll myself (in fact, I read some pages while waiting in the lines) and I’m pretty sure that surfing the Internet was just the same as watching anime because the only three sites I’ve browsed in these past few days were the AnimeSuki Forums, TokyoTosho, and AnimeSuki. 😛

This leads to the question: what does anime have that supersedes other media (most especially literature) in terms of grabbing one’s attention and interest?

  • Anime is an easier medium to appreciate than most other media.

    It certainly is a much easier medium to appreciate than literature, for example, because one doesn’t really have to exert much thinking to view motion and the action of the characters. Aside from this, compared to literature, it doesn’t really tap much into one’s imagination because one’s imagination itself is portrayed before one’s very eyes. Most of its dialogue are simple yet easily appreciable, and can even be sometimes intellectual (especially postmodern sci-fi anime). It often does not sink in pretension, because most often it deals with simple matters, to which a lot of literature are often accused of. To some extent, it’s even more of a caricature than movie characters are, because the characters in anime exist in a totally new world created by a cerebrating mind; characters in movies only act or be simulacra of real life, and so they are closer to reality, and this makes the anime characters simpler and still easy to believe.

  • Anime is much less a waste of time to enjoy than other media.

    An episode of anime often runs between 22 to 26 minutes – this is a small number compared to watching a live-action movie that runs between an hour and a half and three hours (normally). (Anime movies often run at a noticeably lesser time than most live-action movies – anime movies only rarely surpass two hours.) This is also a small amount of time compared to reading a good novel – a light novel can take a day to read, where as novels by Faulkner or Joyce take months to even dig through the surface.

  • Anime is a conglomeration of media, and more.

Television shows and movies are also conglomerations of media. But (for me) anime is the simplest mixture of art, sound or music, and animation. It’s the most basic and the most simple among the three. And, from an interpretation of Occam’s razor, the simplest is often the best. Of course, I leave it up to you. 😉

* * *

So far, that’s only three reasons that have popped up into my head. I am quite sure there are a lot more. Would you like to share them? What are your reasons in believing that anime supersedes other media in terms of obtaining one’s attention and interest? Or do you even believe in this at all? Discuss.

22 Responses to “Is there something in anime that overrides one’s appreciation of other media (most especially literature)?”

  1. Ryan A Says:

    Reason 🙂 You probably knew I’d comment.
    Animation, Japanese. For myself I find it to dominate my attention over other media for two main reasons. The first is the Japan-complex. Anime is like a little peep-show into the culture of Japan. Its not quite significant, but being interested in Japan it grabs the attention quickly. This is an exotic affinity I suppose; many may consider Japan an exotic place, and anime is definitely exotic in some respects (mainly the art). For reference see Ten-Ten manga.
    Secondly, is the feelings that come across when experiencing a good anime. Animation, being non-live-action, has a way to take bypass the viewers defenses, leaving them entirely open to raw action and emotion. On top of this, the style of Japanese Animation easily conveys emotion through expressions very well. It is like being connected to the characters. This can happen in other media forms of course, but it occurs easily in animation. One flaw of this reason seems to be that there needs to be an underlying interest in the viewer to experience it. Someone crying at a moment might not mean much, but knowing circumstances deepens the effects, yet it is difficult unless focused on the media.

    Dunno what else to point at. Anime Rocks My Socks!

  2. Michael Says:

    I seriously didn’t know you were going to comment.

    But I did like to know if it was only with me or if it was true with other people as well. See, when anime intruded once more into my life, its takeover was just so esemplastic, so total that I wondered if people had the same override towards other media. I did. 😐

  3. uhsieh Says:

    Hi, I’m new here. 🙂 Saw this entry on AnimeNano, and just wanted to comment.

    I’ve found myself doing the same thing, that I have a tendency to rather watch anime than TV or read during the weekdays after work. Sure, I still read and watch TV, but I leave that to the weekends. For me, watching anime allows me to relax, and yep, it’s only about 20 minutes long, which I could fit into any time slot.

    I like anime that are more light hearted or unreal. After a day of work, I don’t think I’d want to watch an episode of Hataraki Man (It’s not a bad show, though). And as you said, a lot of anime are easier to appreciate (of course, some series could tie your brain into a knot *cough*Evangelion*cough*GhostintheShell*cough*). It, to me, condenses all the stuff I want to see on TV and presents it in an obvilous format. It is for the same reason that I like Manga over American comics. When I want to turn off my brain, I don’t want something that’s complex.

    It’s really simple, because the format is simple.

  4. Michael Says:

    Welcome. Youkoso to my blog! 🙂

    Aside from this fact, you can also obtain it freely through the Internet. You can download TV shows from the net as well, but they take up at least as much space as an episode or even more.

    But even in the weekends, I still have a tendency to watch anime rather than read especially if they are available near me. The only times in the year I spend reading are when there’s a semestral break or a vacation.

  5. cebukitty Says:


    i love anime for the same reasons i rave about salmon and uni sashimi :p~~~ — simply because its wonderfully different from other stuff out there.

    anime is colorful, cute, hilarious, romantic, rivetting, and makes one ruminate deeper about reality. anime is also more uhm liberated than other forms of popular media. i mean most other t.v. serials don’t regularly delve into ‘sensitive’ issues like transvestism (ouran, i my me strawberry eggs, otome wa boku ni koishiteru) incest (kaze, angel sanctuary) yaoi (loveless, yami no matsuei) yuri (kannazuki no miko, maria sama ga mitteiru) psychological trauma (elfen lied, higurashi, night head genesis, NHK?) and the nature of evil (death note, monster, soultaker, full metal alchemist)

    additionally the OST soundtrack in most animes is simply awesome! the soundtrack integrates seamlessly and beautifully with the animation that it gives you total viewing and auditory pleasure! *sigh* i just love yokko kanno…

  6. Skav Says:

    I live exactly the same situation, and here is my little theory about it :
    There is no definitive rational reason to watch anime, don’t waste time looking for it. Or more accurately, all these reasons are a posteriori. You do it mostly out of habit. Different situations, different habits, no reasoning. Just the luck of the moment that made you mostly an anime watcher rather than a book reader.
    One day, a long time ago, I was pretty bored, and instead of opening a book like before, I watched that anime Lodoss a friend of mine just recommended in a LAN party. It was cool, therefore anime became one of my main entertainments since them. It was a pretty bad series actually, doesn’t matter, all I needed at the moment was watching something entertaining.

  7. omo Says:

    It’s hard to say for me. I think for a long time I was fairly devoid of exposure to popular media. Anime filled that niche for me. It is still doing that for me today, but I also found myself reading more non-ficiton and less fiction, and overally reading more.

    I think multimedia/audiovisual work has the power to “poison” your mind and imagination in the way that conventional media like books and radio can’t. Interactive feedback, tactile response, the viceral nature of it all… Anime channels a bit of that.

    But yeah, it also has to do with what anime is to you. If it’s just yet another pulp entertainment form, it is just that. I just happen to get more out of it.

  8. Anime/Reading/TV/Video Game: how would you choose? « いつもバカばかし Says:

    […] I found this today on AnimeNano, and could not help but agree with the author. […]

  9. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » Sometimes I wish I was Nagato Yuki … Says:

    […] anime|otaku hopefully incisive and intellectual disquisitions on anime « Is there something in anime that overrides one’s appreciation of other media (most especially literature)? […]

  10. meganeshounen Says:

    Well, anime basically has the capacity to cater every-single-niche a person can think of. Have you ever seen a novel or literature piece that recounts the life and adventures of a genius baker/cook/tennis player/photographer in such vivid and exciting detail?

    Then again, there’s also the fanservice factor. There’s no helping it; hormones usually override a male’s priorities faster than you say “ecchi”. Anime also has every single male fantasy in check, and even has gotten through stereotyping of the most famous and often-used ones like the “meganekko”, the “tsundere” and the “loli”.

    So, just to keep this post short… Anime caters to every fantasy a person can handle. And possibly, ones that a person WON’T even confess of having.

    (BTW Mike, congrats.. seems like your blog’s getting the fame it deserves. Gambarou~)

  11. Michael Says:

    You are a genius. For that you must die, meganeshounen.

    And WTH … fame? What fame? 😐

  12. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » An introspection, a reply and maybe a challenge: why do most anime bloggers write episode summaries and anime reviews? Says:

    […] I’m highly grateful to Cory of Renegade Anime Blog for recognizing what I wrote to be something decent and cogent. It’s always good to be read by other people and for them to be content with what you write at the same time write what you want and what you desire. His most recent article deals with his problem regarding the fact that quite a few of the bloggers (perhaps even me included) are going ‘the easy way’ out by writing episode summaries and recaps. He has qualms on the stagnation and the lack of the imagination of a multitude of the anime bloggers. He calls for many of the bloggers to write more varied content and be more creative. I’ll try to address this as logically as possible as to why this is so (as I observe, similar to what he does, the proliferation of blogs whose main focus are episode summaries); if by any means I have written something that opposes your perspective, kindly comment and show forth yours. To make the article easier to read, I have divided (maybe) significant factors as, again, why this occurrence is prevalent. […]

  13. Retsgip Says:

    I just thought I’d add a small bit of my thoughts. The three reasons you stated in your entry are pretty common I’d think, to a lot of the anime viewing community. I think they’re good reasons as well, but like you said, there are many reasons why people watch anime.

    My anime high comes from character development and character interactions. Nicely drawn characters and whatnot may be soothing to the eyes, but I can get that sort of thing by watching Disney, Pixar, or any of those other big name companies. Although, it does add a sort of hidden validity to an anime (“omg it’s so pretty it must be good!”), so even if it isn’t a major goal to find pretty anime, it helps in some way to keep an eye out for good artwork.

    Being from America, I often have a hard time finding quality television. Basically everything sucks aside from a few rare occurrences here and there. Anime, on the other hand, provides me with cheap(essentially free since internet is basically required) and easy access to well developed characters and interactions. Since most artwork is relatively similar across the board, writers strive to make their characters, and the interactions they’re involved in, unique.

    I can honestly say that I’ve never shed a tear while watching American Television, but I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve cried watching anime. I’m also not one to cry, so the fact that anime compelled me to cry where most American movies/television failed might say something. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic and am easily swayed by shitty romantic type plots, or maybe I’m turning gay, who knows. The fact that anime tickles me the right way is all that matters to me at the moment.

    I can’t really say I’ve ever dropped a book to watch anime though. I find reading much more fulfilling, but my biggest problem is finding a book I truly enjoy. There are SOOOOOO many books that I sometimes feel lost when looking for the good ones. Its a lot easier for me to find decent anime since we’ve got this nice little community and people aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. More importantly, and EASILY ACCESSED community. I find it hard to find editorials and the like about books because there’s no real community. The reason for this is most likely due to the three reasons you stated above.

    I think I got lost in thought somewhere after my first sentence. Hope that helped.

  14. Michael Says:

    Thanks. I never cried while watching Philippine television as well. Yet I could barely hold my tears while watching the culminating episode of Cowboy Bebop, or not cry as the fireworks exploded when Takemoto finally confessed to Hagu.

    I’m terribly a hopeless romantic as well, but that only applies to well made romantic anime. Who knows, I may be turning gay as well with the existence of such inviting trap-chans in this season.

    I never drop a book to watch anime – I was just having problems BECAUSE I couldn’t read that history book at all, despite how hard I tried. Something hindered me from doing so, and anime was just an aggravating factor. (I read quite a few books in our short break, so I don’t forget my reading even in the presence of great anime – it just is that one needs a really conducive place to be able to read with an esemplastic and total concentration, and I can’t find it here in the dormitory. One, I have a dormmate who I am quite fond of, but his existence somewhat degrades the reading experience, I’m not quite sure why. Two, the lack of a proper aeration (I have to deal with the sweltering heat of Manila and have to read on my bed [uncomfortably, I might add]) just really makes you want to quit reading, no matter how good the matter is. I’m going to try once more with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus of Wittgenstein, arguably among the greatest treatises about philosophy in the 20th century.

  15. Aloe Dream » Blog Archive » RAWr, here my call Says:

    […] Am I doing this just because it is anime? Definitely not, in fact, I’ve commented (link) that one major pull, for myself, into anime is Japan. And lately there has been a serious-type question of “If you could live in Japan permanently, would you trade your anime/manga experiencing rights?” Now, for some that’s just a no brainer, but … I love Japan, and its tough. So my reasoning for raws is not entirely anime-based, it is more language/culture based. Subtitles are nice, but the training wheels need to come off sometimes. Sadly, there are very few places which I can take courses on Japanese in Central Florida, USA (there is even a petition about it), but I do like to take time to study and hopefully meet proficiency requirements one day. The kicker is that raw anime (or movies/tv) can help in the listening and introduction to less common but still popular vocab and phrases. Attempting to link these together with subs is just something I cannot do; romaji is hard enough to bypass when listening. […]

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