By Ranjabati Ray.
Every true anime fan has had to hear, “How old are you?”, “Seriously? Watching cartoons at this age?” or questions of similar nature at least once in a while when they tell someone about their love for anime. Yes, I am also one of those poor souls who has had to undergo this treatment.
Basically, everyone in my family, my cousins and my friends think that I am a freak or something for even watching “cartoons” at this age, i.e. 21 years.
But anyway, these feelings aside, my only response to these charges are that “People! It’s not ‘cartoons’, its anime” and there is a huge difference between the two.
So basically, we the pure, hardcore anime fans in India are like a minority who get belittled a lot for their choices and their affinity towards this genre. Till now I have actually come across three types of people with any kind of feelings towards anime.
Category 1 :
This is the “What-are-you-talking-about?-this-IS-LITERALLY-THE-SAME-AS-cartoon” category.
These are the people who will make your ears bleed by telling you that shows like Fruit Basket and Kamisama Kiss are mere cartoons. Also, these people will go to the extent of arguing with you that no, Beyblade, Shin Chan and Pokemon! are cartoons, as well.
When you read or draw manga they will ask you why the figures which you have drawn have such big eyes and such weird, inhuman faces.
Category 2 :
This one’s for the wannabes. These are the worst because after watching a few basic shows like DragonBall Z and Naruto, they think of themselves as the biggest anime fans and will never venture into deeper waters i.e .watching shows which are not so popular yet and are still adhering to their taste.
The only thing that I can say about this category is that “People, we anime lovers are already an endangered race. Please make it grow!”.
Category 3 :
This bracket’s for the dedicated lovers of the genre who are hardcore in their likings and fight the world, (Okay, their peers and family) about their passion, i.e. manga and anime. The only problem is that this is the smallest category of out of the three, at least in India.
Now, the basic difference between an anime and a cartoon is that the former can have a lot of genres within itself like romance, action, thrillers, mystical and even sexual (Echchi) unlike cartoons which are mainly created for comic relief and everything nice.
Anime gives you the license to roam freely with your minds, to explore feelings and emotions which you can’t by watching just cartoon or serials.
It’s a genre which gives you a look into the real life feelings and roller-coaster rides that may come in a person’s life without making it true.
The story ideas here are mature and usually make your ideas flow like in Bleach, Inu Yasha, Ouran High School Host Club, etc. The characters make you feel like you are a part of their world and during those 24 minutes of watching the show(s) and you feel like you are in another world where there are no boundaries and you can do and imagine things which are not conventional and are out of this world.
Basically, it gives you the high without having any of the side effects of any sort of drugs.
And don’t get me wrong, but this genre is not only made of Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach or Naruto. The romantic series such as Kaichou Wa Maid Sama or even My Wolf Girl can make anyone swoon if you’re slightly on the romantic side.
So, let’s break one more myth here that anime is only for those who love action or mystery.
The last thing by which I would like to end is that although in India, the scenario for anime lovers is cringe-worthy, still, enough awareness has spread and is still spreading among youngsters, usually high school kids, who are bored with the usual saas-bahu serials and want to explore newer worlds.
There are comic-cons and anime-cons being held in different cities and yes, which are making more and more people curious about anime and yes, one day, maybe not like Japan, but surely, we will have a record number of anime lovers in our country.
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