Kai’s Philosophy on Watching Anime

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Anime had always been a favorite past time ours, in fact, a lot of us had watched them for a number of years, decades even for some. However, why do we watch anime? Have we ever ask this very fundamental, yet vague question to ourselves? Over the years, the ambiguity of this question still remains strong.

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As for me, I watch anime for several reason, and the first, and the ultimate main reason I watch is escapism. Facing reality is important, but sometimes, we just need to rest and have a brief escape some place else, somewhere we can forget about the harsh reality, at least for a while, and anime became the perfect place as a source of escapism. To me, anime is a wish-fulfillment device that possesses infinite possibilities; it is where all magic comes from. Stories of fairy tales actually do happen; unlike in real life where such unlikely scenarios are usually bounded by the law and physics of reality. Such is the beauty of anime, and is also one main reason why I usually favor anime more rather then real life dramas, after all, anime is ironically much more expressive.

Through escapism, comes immersion. Because anime is like a world of fantasy, immersing into such a world became the most pleasurable experience. It doesn’t had to literally be a fantasy genre anime, even simple slice-of-life anime like Clannad and Toradora are one of the few most beautiful fairy tales. Immersion also helps me to widen my viewpoint. Before I watched anime, I was only interested in hard-boiled action movies, and it’s only through anime’s immersion abilities that allow me to accept and enjoy the other genres that I was least likely to enjoy. Anime broaden my horizons, which is no small feat, given my stubborn self.

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Sometimes when watching anime, one can even draw inspirations from them, be it major or minor. Other then escapism, anime also helps viewers look and relate in a perspective they least expected to. Anime can help re-motivates one in life, regain one’s passion that were once forgotten, and it can perhaps even help one better his or her own lifestyles. I gained a few inspirations myself when watching anime as well, although a minor one, and one of them is related to my musical ventures.

I had been doing music for a considerable amount of time, playing piano, guitar and even the drums (almost all of them are self-taught), but due to the clutches of reality, I dropped this hobby somewhere along the line. Music isn’t something I can gain money here, it’s not something I can use to survive as a professional occupation. I admit I used to think big when I was a kid, but I get more realistically paranoid the older I grew. However, watching anime like Beck, rekindles that passion that I once had and made me dust off those cobwebs off my guitars. While it was still impossible for me to go for major goals with it, I figured I should at least play for fun anyway and tried to regain the skills and momentum I lost. Recently, Sakamichi no Apollon reinforces this thought of mine much more. Why do I only see music as a money making machine? Why not just treat music as a hobby, and just have fun playing? Just like how the rest of the Sakamichi no Apollon gang were doing, and just had fun messing around jamming. It may be a very small inspiration, it may be a tiny thing, but it helps elevating my life just a slight bit, which I regard as something precious.

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Watching anime, one can surprisingly gain a sizable amount of knowledge. Gaining all kinds of knowledge is always a good thing, and as anime sometimes tend to go for the more niche themes, it actually provided an extensive cognitive representation of certain themes. It can be anything, ranging from technical knowledge like gun or tank models, to scientific time-travel theories like the Wormhole theory, Quantum Gravity theory, and so on, to even the ambiguous philosophical ideas like the symbolism of an apple or the prospect of heroism. Some very intellectual anime instead raised questions to their own viewers, asking them for their perspectives and opinions on the ethics of a certain theme.

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Last but not least, anime is fun, and is my main source of entertainment. It’s because anime is fun, that it bestow upon me the feelings of wonders like escapism or inspirations. Anime is fun, enjoyable and even relaxing. It is the perfect media to go for when I’m stressed out or just exhausted. Anime is one of the best thing that had ever existed in life, and I’m blessed to have had the chance to experience it.

List of Participants:
Kai
Ace Railgun
Hippiefreak
Nopy
Chikorita157
Overlord-G
Lostty
Kuro
Kukogan
Hoshiko
Aizen Gamer
Canne
Battledash
Shiizumi
Leap250
Gisei

49 thoughts on “Kai’s Philosophy on Watching Anime

  1. Nicely written article Kaio-sama. It shows that anime truly has had a large influence in your life and taught you many things. While it has not had as great of an influence in mine, anime definitely had an impact in molding me into the blogger and person I am today. I’ll explain more in my own upcoming addition to this anime carnival or whatever these joint projects are called.

    • Indeed, anime is quite the influential medium. Yea, I’m sure you never even heard of yuri before anime, which is one of the main focus of your blog. Looking forward to it.

    • And also, the funny thing is I’m not quite sure about it even though it’s been more then a year I had been blogging, but I think it’s safe to say project = carnival.

  2. Nice article, Indeed anime is a great thing and in my opinion one of the best sources for entertainment, in terms of variety it surpasses western shows or even puts them to shame. Aside from mere entertaining or bishoujo characters, anime can be touching, thought provoking and yeah you can also learn some things, like mixing drinks, driving tanks or other niche knowledge.

    Thank you anime :D

    • I think that’s one reason why I rarely watch western shows or even movies. Try to say some random western show and there’s a 80% chance I didn’t watch it, lol. Time spent aside from anime are all burned up on games, visual novels and the likes instead of shows like these. Indeed, no matter what show you watch, anime always tend to give it’s viewers something, be it knowledge, a question, or just a beautiful fairy tale scene^^

  3. That was a good read, nice work Kai! ^^ I really agree with you on your points and I’m sure nearly everyone would to about how it can be a form of education but also influence someones life. Mainly a media that allows us to escape reality which can always go both ways (remember to get sunlight every now and then folks!)

    Count me in on the anime carnival ;)

    • Indeed, anime are influential and inspirational, yet, they can also give something some other mediums aren’t able to give, or not as effectively, a sense of escapism. It’s a wonderful medium^^

      Looking forward to it xD

  4. You’ve pretty much summed up the reasons why I watch anime! Especially, anime as a form of escapism. I dunno but I enjoy locking myself up inside my room and watch anime or surf the net more than going outside and interact with other people (well, aside for my close friends). I know it’s wrong in some ways but I rather find reality, if not too harsh, too boring. Well, that’s for me. XD

    And also, I agree to @wieselhead that anime surpasses those western shows with regards to the quality of its content. It’s just more entertaining. That’s the reason why I don’t watch shows on television often.

    Anyway, what’s this anime carnival thing? Mind to share?

    • I’m not the most socializing type either though I still socialize on somewhat acceptable levels. I can’t really enjoy it especially when I’m talking to people I’m not familiar with (which is most of the case recently as I haven’t been meeting most of my more familiar schoolmates much). I can’t help but even feel alert at times, so being able to sit at home and watch anime is joyful^^

      Yea, same here. I rarely even watch those shows.

      These are some sort of joint anime projects where anime bloggers come together to talk about this particular theme, sharing their own experiences and viewpoints. I joined a number of other projects too so you can click the “project” category in my blog and have a look at the others^^

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  6. I agree with your points… Like you said when you took a hobby in music, I did the same as well. I took up piano since my childhood, violin just for third grade and afterwards, Clarinet in 4th grade until my senior year of high school. I did enjoy playing music whether it’s concert band music and classical. However, I don’t really play much music these days although I still know how to read it. But yes, it seems that some of the slice of life shows remind me of past experiences I had in high school, although I dealt with a good amount of bullying compared to college.

    • Indeed, though for me, as I’m not particularly serious about it (I was quite literally at first though aforementioned), I just self-taught myself most of the time. I use guitar tabs for guitar and as for piano, I use guitar as a reference to learn a particular song. I managed to somewhat make a constant beat for drumming but I tend to get confused halfway through. As you can see, much like blogging, my music side is also kinda jack of all trades, master of none^^” I’m interested in violin though, but I just can’t seem to get used to the fretless board. Sad to hear that, and I’m not sure if you can just hit them back or something^^”

  7. There certainly are a number of reasons to watch anime. Coincidently, I had to give a speech yesterday on why I think people should read manga. I think that gave me some ideas for my post.

  8. All great reasons for liking anime =D I think “escapism” and “wish-fulfillment” are probably the most basic reasons every anime fan has that branch off into other things. For me, it’s simply the fact that anime has such a huge variety of stories and genres that even all of Western live-action shows don’t encompass. One has only to read a handful of anime story synopses to see that no Western TV show has had anything similar. And probably my other big reason for watching anime is because of how much I love the animation medium in general. The possibilities of story and design are endless with animation, and anime takes it on full force!

    • Escapism is probably the most fundamental basis behind every people who watch anime. Indeed, I think it’s because anime has such huge variety, that it is able to give it’s viewer a sense of escapism and immersion. A lot of Western shows are indefinitely similar, though not all are bad, some are good too, but a majority of them just aren’t as diverse as anime are, and even if anime are similar, they have very unique execution as well. Ohh yea, on a technical viewpoint, I guess the studio are able to get more creative with the style anime had, and they make good use of such versatility.

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  12. I didn’t think Clannad was that simple of a series, with the parallel universe theory that was present within the daily life of the main character. It was a little bit pushed back, but to some extent it gave the series a supernatural vibe.

    On topic
    It is true people seek for escapism. I started watching because I wanted something else next to all the live action series and American cartoons that were around. A tip from a friend to start up anime was the trigger for me to watch more.
    Anime was a totally different world, and the themes that were discussed were fundamentally different. At least the way it presented it to the audience. Anime made me think more of things around me. And it’s a great way to spend time haha:p

    • I think the overall theme is still simple. It is slice-of-life, and the majority of the theme talks about romance, familial relationships and drama. There was the parallel universe thing indeed, in fact, Key’s anime tend to always have a bit of magic in them together with their ordinary slice-of-life, that’s why I always like to say Key’s anime as “fairy tale romance”. In the end, there’s a bit of magic, yes, but I think it’s still simple overall.

      I think that’s exactly why people like anime so, it’s “different”, it’s an unique world, and in such uniqueness, it gives viewers the sense of escapism that other medias probably won’t have the ability to possess. At times, anime is complex, and at times simple, however, they are able to present both sides with equally high quality.

      • That is one good reply, champ:p
        That’s another good take on Clannad, it has complexity and simpleness to it. Some anime give the viewer the choice to go deeper in the material(Angel Beats did that for me) or other series that are more straightforward like Tari Tari(to take another P.A. Works show).

        • Angel Beats are one of those anime that breaks the slice-of-life drama Key always uses. There are also a few visual novels by Key that is quite different from the typical Key too, since I’m sure as far as anime watchers go, Clannad, Kanon and Air are probably the first they think of whenever they heard Key.

          • Maeda Jun indeed did a great Job with AB, as he was the original creator from Key that made AB with P.A. Works. P.A. did a really good job in portraying Jun’s philosophy. A lot of people think AB is made by KyoAni, which isn’t true. Maybe because KyoAni is known for the key adaptions, which makes it confusing:p

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  17. I learned quite a lot from manga that I thought I couldn’t learn from the our current educational facilities. I mean seriously…the things they teach is useless compared to what someone’s imagination and determination to bring them at to a visual level like anime is. I’m really happy be to able to come across your blog and I agree so much with your points. Glad to see someone shares the same feeling as me :)

    For the excapsim point, I couldn’t agree more. In addition, it seems that anime and manga has taught me how to see the world on a different view point. I can’t put enough of it into words but yes…it has changed my life.

    • I don’t think the education taught to us are useless per se, but indeed, the ones taught by anime seems more unique. There’s also the very special feeling of learning something out of your own very favorite medium. And thanks :D

      Indeed, to feel escapism is a joyous feeling. I don’t feel anything similar from when I’m watching live action movies or series (not sure if it’s because of the ones I watched) but watching anime, especially ones with quite a good setting, tends to create a good, immersively fantastical world.

      • Yes, I think it is because it’s more appealing towards us that we recon to remember the things they say than in subjects in school XD

        Another key thing is that mangkas basically start from nothing but pen and paper when releasing their series. Through blood, sweat and tears, they have to come up with original stories which can be damaged by poor rankings or a low popularity.
        Film industries or live action movies already have a standing for them such as sponsors or financial support. Though this, I guess we also subconsciously realize that :)
        And plus, live actions usually use stories created bu animes/mangas.

  18. Ahhh, one of those articles which greatly justifies and supports why anime is needed by some. Great job you have here.

    In the many years of my anime-watching, I’ve always seen it as a driving force to achieve certain goals which others deem impossible/impractical, something like an inspiration towards things. And yes, escapism is also one of them.

  19. I find myself returning to anime and manga because of the characters. I agree with you: anime is more expressive than live action. With live action, you have certain expectations since you are dealing with real people. Whereas with drawn characters, you can more easily suspend your disbelief. You can accept the characters at face value rather than saying to yourself: this is Bruce Willis or Anne Hathaway.

    Anime tends to focus on character development more than American shows (which I greatly enjoy). The medium pays careful attention to the early stages of Joseph Campbell’s hero development archetypes. American shows tend to favor heroes and characters in the late stages where they already have a personality that is stable. I like the early stages a lot more!

    That, and anime is simply fun!

    • What anime can achieve what real life couldn’t is the power of exaggeration. Facial structures of anime can get so happy his or her eyes will be completely closed, or perhaps he could get so mentally unstable that even his expression could get so distorted one would even wonder if that’s a face of a human. Unlike real life bounded by physics, anime, since it’s 2D, can go crazy, even for something as simple as facial expressions.

      Yea indeed, a majority of them makes careful study and explorations on their own characters. Some of them are really thought-provoking^^

      And indeed!

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  21. At least you come into terms about how anime can influence you and your life, but not beyond the point where it influences you to have a somewhat negative impression for yourself. But don’t be mistaken about the anime deconstruction posts. Half the time we’re only playing around and half the time we do it by accident.

    Greatly written article. Cheers.

    • I honestly can’t imagine anime effecting me in anything negative, at least, can’t think of any. Yea, I come up with some of mine like that too, lol.

  22. wow, great post and i was actually thinking about this the other day. Just trying to think about myself and anime and what i think about it and the future. It’s hard to imagine sometimes. But ill have to make a podcast of something about it later.

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