What Makes Anime So Captivating?

Growing up through the ‘90s and early 2000s, I loved cartoons like Courage the Cowardly Dog, Arthur, Animaniacs, and the like. However, when I discovered anime, I was immediately hooked. My first anime wasn’t Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh, or Pokemon like most people in the west. But it was a movie called Birdy the Mighty that I saw on the Action Channel of DirectTV late at night. 

As a young 10-year-old boy, I was instantly captivated by the amazing story, beautiful animations, and– ahem– the *adult* themes. That’s what’s got me here today writing this article and asking/answering the question: what makes anime so captivating? And why is it so addictive?

These are 8 reasons why we love anime!

1) The Visuals Are AMAZING

There isn’t a medium that matches the visual fidelity of anime. The animation and artwork on the screen make it completely unique and recognizable. Of course, some anime look better than others. And before the story or character development, the visuals will be the first thing you see.

Sure, it’s not always a one-to-one recreation of life with the big eyes, triangle faces, and over-expressions. But it still does well at making its environments and people feel real and appropriate for the world they inhabit. Everything is smooth and flashy, making it a fantastic middle point between live-action shows and cartoons we see in the west.

2) The Great Stories With Real Lessons to Learn

Every medium from movies and TV shows to comics and books can tell a great story, but there’s something particularly special about anime. And anime has the ability to make any story it tells amazing. 

How about the Devil coming to Earth to get a part-time job? Or an orphaned child who’s hated because of an evil spirit trapped in his belly becoming loved and respected by everyone in his Village? Yep, those are real and fantastic anime that I love. Regardless of how mundane or out there the premise is, anime creators have a way of delving deep into the themes that really speak to human nature and draw lessons anyone can benefit from.

3) There’s An Anime for Everyone

Not only are the stories great, but there’s at least one anime that anyone could fall in love with. Whether you’re looking for a romance story, some badass action, adventures through space, or simple day-to-day life excursions, there’s an anime about it. Really, the amount of concepts and themes explored in anime are endless. If you can’t find an anime that you like, move on to the next one because we can guarantee that you’ll come across something that resonates with your taste. And on that same note, anime crosses generational and cultural gaps. For example, people all over the world are fans of Dragon Ball Z and Naruto– from Asia to Latin America. 

4) Unrivaled Music

Nothing hits like an opening OST for an anime or the score that plays when the main character goes beast mode to beat the big bad. Case in point– check out the scene in Dragon Ball Z when Gohan transforms into Super Saiyan 2 in his bout with the cell. Both the Japanese version and the American version have some of the best musical compositions ever. The music in anime takes everything to a completely different level and makes it so much more hype. It can also underscore emotional scenes and make it seem like someone is cutting onions in the room. It’s especially cool when you get the Japanese spin on music from other cultures like hip hop.

5) Top-Notch Action

Probably the biggest selling point of anime is the amazing action in the shows. Sometimes it’s just flashy and really conveys the power of the characters. I can name a ton of excellent badass fights from anime. If action is your thing, one of my favorite newer anime is Jujutsu Kaisen. The fight scenes are well-choreographed and beautifully animated. And any time Sukuna shows his face, you know you’re in for a good time. Action and fights are the cornerstones of anime, and it’s one of the many reasons that anime has exploded in global popularity over the years.

6) It’s Ridiculously Creative

Anime doesn’t have the budget of Hollywood, so it forces them to be more creative in their approach and the stories they tell. And it really shows! Take Attack on Titan, for example. It’s a world where people live in a walled city that is terrorized by huge humanoid monsters that eat people. And then there are shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL, Samurai Champloo, and so many more that are insanely creative in their storytelling, characters, plots, worldbuilding, and mechanics.

7) There’s A Thriving Community

If you’re an anime fan, you instantly become part of a community filled with friendly and incredible people. The biggest perk is that you get to go to anime conventions dressed as your favorite character and meet people who love the same things you do. It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of being an anime fan. And the diversity of anime means you’ll get to meet people and become friends with people from all different walks of life and instantly have something that connects you all together.

8) It’s A Gateway Into Japanese Culture

Sure, not all anime comes from Japan– Korean, Chinese, and even American anime exists. But Japan is where it all started with early shows like Astro Boy. For many Westerners, anime sparked an interest in learning everything about Japanese culture and even visiting the country. Japan has a long and storied history, and it’s had a huge impact on popular culture around the world– not only anime but video games as well. Of course, Japan is so much more but anime is definitely a driving force behind the reason why so many fall in love with the country and its culture.


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