Viewpoint: Anime: We promise it’s not as cheesy as you might think

By James Herd

The first thing that comes to mind when the word ‘anime’ is brought up is typically ‘immature’, or ‘childish’. This is a warranted thought, because some of the first shows considered anime that western audiences are introduced to are “Yu-Gi-Oh” or “Pokémon” (the latter of which some Baylor students STILL enjoy).

The sad thing is that it goes so much farther than that. Some shows are targeted at an audience of children, yes. However, there are many shows that are targeted at a key demographic of 18 to 24-year-old viewers, and not because of explicit materials, but because of the mature storylines and questionable language that a lot of them carry within.

A prime example is one of the most intricate storylines to come out of Japan that I’ve ever had the experience of viewing.

“Baccano!!” (literally ‘Ruckus’ in Italian) is a story that started out in Japan as a series of Light Novels (40,000 – 50,000 words typically, equal to a novella in U.S terms) about bootleggers, thieves, alchemists, the Italian mafia in New York, and the events that tie them all together. The anime series only covers a fraction of the total material in the Light Novels, but as a whole is a story obviously targeted at an audience of 18 to 24-year-old viewers due to the mature story material and language.

Also, most parents would probably not like their children being exposed to mafia wars over territory or alchemists summoning demons to gain eternal life.

Besides the issue of mature storylines or language, certain anime series are based off of familiar texts. “Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo,” is of course based on the second half of the classic novel of poetic revenge, “The Count of Monte Cristo”.

Those familiar with the book will know that the book itself is directed at a high school audience, so it only makes sense that the anime series based on it would be directed at that demographic or higher. After all, both the book and series deal with vengeance, regret, betrayal, black widows and many other themes that really shouldn’t interest children in the first place.

Sure, many people don’t view anime as it doesn’t really seem like their cup of tea, and that’s entirely understandable. My only point of the matter is that it should be treated fairly as the legitimate work of art that it is, especially in this day and age when even the simplest concepts are considered an art form.

For any who are reluctant to watch anime due to some desire to watch English-language only television shows there are companies who dedicate their time and effort to translating and distributing the most popular and entertaining shows into the English language.

Some examples of such companies include “FUNimation” (located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area), “BangZOOM” (located in California), and “Sentai Filmworks” (located in Houston).

These and other similar companies are very experienced in what they do professionally. If you don’t believe me, check out some of their works by visiting their websites.

So when determining what will occupy your attention next, whether it is a live-action television show, video game, or even anime, open your mind to the limitless opportunities that present themselves.

Explore today’s broad expansion of the word ‘art’ and never stop delving into the world of imagination that is ever-present in the creation of new and exciting worlds and characters.

James Herd is a sophomore journalism major from Huffman. He is a lab reporter for The Baylor Lariat.