There is a saying in my country that goes “For every step you take forward, you get a little bit tired”. Actually there isn’t, I made it up. Still though, a good excuse for me to continue on living my damning lifestyle.
Seeing as all my recent posts have been about anime, I decided to keep at it. There’s nothing really interesting happening elsewhere (aside from Mad Max mixed reviews, indie platformers dying, terrible music being shoved out faster than our daily shits, complete lack of interesting books that is killing me, and, well, lots of other shit; but none of it “really” matters), and anime, as established, is an endless source of possible rant and hatred. Today, however, believe it or not, no seriously, I won’t be ranting about anything. This’ll be sort of an introductory post to those completely unfamiliar with anime that just want to learn a little bit. Whether it’s to have a good starting knowledge when entering this vast world, or simply to have some basic knowledge so that they can support their “fkin weaboo” posts in every comment section of every anime picture on the internet ever.
What is anime? Although a lot of tryhard fans will deny it, anime is a cartoon – simple. Really, only people in denial will tell you otherwise. As much as I love anime, I can’t deny the fact that it is, as the matter of fact, just a Japanese cartoon. Now, obviously, there are some big differences between western cartoons and anime, but they share that one huge thing that defines them: they’re animated. The biggest difference between the two is, probably, the art style and the sheer number of them. With western cartoons, you often see parodies and comedies being made in spades, and only a few good action, storytelling ones that pop up once in ten moons. This isn’t because we suck at making animated porn, it’s simply because most of our animation in west is focused on 3D movies rather than TV series. Even in that department, though, we’re kind of lagging behind the East. But, oh well, we can’t have the biggest ego AND the best animation. It’d just be a little too much.
Because of this discrepancy in numbers, there are a lot more quality anime than there are western cartoons. Another thing that adds to it is, because of the high number of anime being made, literally every possible demographic gets at least one or two every season. Wait, what? Not all anime is for kids? No way! Well, we can argue day and night whether animated form is the best way to tell a mature story, but without being a huge dick, yeah, not all anime are actually for kids. May it be because anime has a lot of gore, deals with heavy subject, or is overall just a psychological rape, not all anime share the kids demographic. There are a whole buttload of those, but I’ll just list the major ones:
Shounen – as we already discussed, this is for younger boys and teens, and is usually aimed at 12-17 year old boys
Shoujo – this is kind of a counter-part to shounen, as it covers the same age demographic, just instead of boys it’s aimed at girls; it mostly consist of love stories or stories about friendship between girls (or boys, hot boys that is)
Seinen – oftentimes aimed at more mature audience, it’s supposed to cover young adults (18-25), but you’ll find a whole bucketload of weird things here that just don’t belong
Josei – aimed at older women, it oftentimes depicts realistic romances of middle aged women, and is kind of a literal opposite of shoujo, despite being aimed at the same gender.
There are other demographics obviously (one aimed at kids, middle-aged men etc.), but those are the most common ones you’ll find. They have their fair share of similarities, but are quite often just too different to be put in the same spectrum (for instance, if you take One Piece and Berserk, it’s obvious one is aimed at much older audience).
TAGS MASON. WHAT DO THEY MEAN?!!
Now let’s talk tags. Tags are often used to generalize anime and put it in the specific category (kinda like movies). I won’t describe common ones like action, drama, romance etc., but those that are kind of anime-specific.
Mature – while the word does kind of give it away, note that in 95% of the cases, said anime/manga is likely to contain mild to heavy nudity
Smut – similar as above, except that the nudity will always be heavy, sometimes even full, and it’ll involve a lot of sex
Shoujo-ai/Yuri – the reason I put these two together is because they depict the same relationship (girl on girl), the main difference being is that shoujo-ai is kind of romanticized idea, while yuri involves far more actual action
Shounen-ai/Yaoi – same as above, the difference being it’s boy on boy action
Gender bender – this one is kind of difficult to explain because it has two sides; in essence, it’s basically someone changing genders for some reason. In most cases, it’s just masking the gender, but there are some where supernatural circumstances lead to a complete change of gender
Mecha – while it may not be completely unfamiliar, this tag is used to describe an anime that involves mecha – giant robots and is oftentimes action-focused
Harem – self-explanatory really, but hey, what the hell; it involves a single guy getting some love from a varied number of girls (oftentimes minimum of 3)
Reverse harem – same as above, but this time around it’s girl getting love from a varied number of hot studs
Ecchi – it’s used to describe anime that has a lot of skin show – NOTE this doesn’t mean the anime has nudity, it’s just that anime probably has some pantsy shots, lots of cleavage and stuff like that
One Shot – this is manga specific, and it’s used to describe manga that only has 1 chapter
OVA – this tag is anime specific and is used to describe a varied number of things; you only need to know really that anime didn’t run on air on weekly basis, or it has lower amount of episodes, or it’s kind of a side-thing from the actual anime, etc.; it’s also worth nothing that in a lot of cases, OVA’s have much bigger budget than TV series
2cour – while this may not be in tags, you’ll oftentimes see terms 1cour & 2cour being used; what this means, simply, is that anime either has 12 or 24/25 episodes. 1cour indicates that anime will run 1 season, while 2cour means it’ll run over the course of 2 seasons
I think that about covers it up; again, it’s possible I missed something, so feel free to point out in the comments.
DUB VS SUB. PLEASE TELL ME MASON!
This is pretty much a personal preference. For me, I pretty much can’t stand dubs, even if they’re actually decent. I exclusively watch subbed anime simply because voice acting is in 99% just flat out better, and because it was intended to be that way. If dub works for you though it’s completely fine, because out of the dubs I’ve watched, not much was ever lost in the actual translation.
DUB = English voice over
SUB = Japanese voice over with English subtitles
GOOD STARTING POINTS
For beginners, you really should start out with light anime that doesn’t have that much depth & fan service. Stuff like Naruto, Death Note, Code Geass, Detective Connan etc., is good enough to help you get used to art style, animation, voices & the style of humor you can expect to find in anime. If you’re looking for a better and bigger head start though, here are some of mine recommendations:
- Chrome Shelled Regios – a little bit dated perhaps in art style, but it offers very good action, great soundtrack, isn’t hard to follow, and a good cast of colorful characters
- The Legend of the Legendary Heroes – silly name, yeah, but it’s kind of like a bit more darker version of CSR
- Fairy Tail – the reason I picked this one over other big trio or whatever, is simply because it’s the stupidest and the flashiest one; while yes, it has huge amount of fanservice (especially later on, in the beginning it’s quite mild), it also, in my opinion, has the best action accompanied by the best soundtrack by far, and a huge variety of colorful characters
- School Rumble – slice of life comedy with some dash of romance here and there, it’s still to this day one of my favorite ones; it has little to no actual bullshit drama, so you can just sit back, relax and laugh. It’s a great entry into the genre because it’ll prepare you quite well for what kind of humor you can expect
- Daily Lives of High School Boys – probably my favorite comedy of all time, this one is episodic anime, as in it doesn’t have a continuous story, so one episode pretty much depicts 1-2 days. If it be your style, you’ll laugh your ass off episode in and out
- A Boring World Where The Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist – no, it’s not a joke, it’s an actual title; as it suggest, anime is full of dirty jokes, puns (with surprisingly little actual fanservice), and is really, really funny for those of us who appreciate good dick and pussy jokes once in awhile. While it is “censored”, it’s not hard to pick out the word that’s censored, so don’t worry about it.
Because I don’t want to jump through every fucking possible genre, like holy shit, here are some other good starting points if you were to transverse into the world of anime:
- Another – labeled psychological horror, it’s actually a gore fest; it has interesting characters, eve more interesting ways to die, and so much blood you can fill up a pool and still have leftovers for your little sister’s party
- Wolf’s Rain – probably one on the “deeper” side of things, Wolf’s Rain is a lot slower than most of the anime I mentioned, and is heavily focused on storytelling rather than action and comedy; it has a good cast, decent romance, and actually really good story that’ll keep you interested
- Spice and Wolf – this is one to relax you; extremely funny anime with amazing relationship between two characters that develops through, and is something you can turn up when your life is in deep shit because you decided to act on your loli fantasies, and just relax
- Log Horizon – better counterpart to a whole lot more popular Sword Art Online, Log Horizon does enough to establish itself as a whole another entry; it’s focused a lot more on characters and the world itself than showing off how OP the MC is, and is overall a pretty decent watch
Anyway guys, that about sums it up for this post. There might be some things I missed, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to respond as quickly as possible. Until next time.