The “Ani-me too” Movement


(Nathan Breban/Peak Press)

An anime figure from the hit anime series: "Steins;Gate"

American culture is known for being as diverse as the world itself, but is that really true? Over recent years, the United States in general has been labeled the “melting pot” of the world, but certain specific cultures have had much larger influences than others.  If you look around online, there is a very likely chance that you will see something relating to “anime”, which is in general, a Japanese animated show/movie.

Anime has had a surprisingly large amount of influence on the global scale, but nowhere near as large as how it impacted Europe and even more, the United States. Within the United States, anime has become extremely popular amongst teens and young adults because most anime has teenagers and older as their target audience, which is in much contrast to American cartoons only appealing to young children and middle-schoolers. Anime has had quite the large impact on American culture because ironically enough, it encourages people to want to learn more about Japan and visit it. Japan even has a special district named Akihabara in Tokyo that is entirely dedicated to advertising and selling nearly everything related to anime, making it an extremely popular tourist hotspot.

Within Japan, anime is perhaps the largest industry in the country; and this global boom in popularity is certainly a factor. There is a very likely chance that you may see someone wearing some merchandise or even simply talking with their friends about the latest episode. Many online personalities and celebrities themselves have acknowledged that they thoroughly enjoy watching anime, which increases its popularity. Many people enjoy these types of shows because of the interesting stories and colorful art styles that are aimed towards their audience. And with the rise of mobile games, the presence of anime is more relevant than ever. Brendan Bradley, a freshman at Liberty High School, is an avid anime fan. “I think people really enjoy it because they realize that cartoons aren’t just aimed towards kids anymore,” said Brendan, “and I believe that a lot of people are drawn to some of the outlandish plots these shows have; they’re entertaining.”

As mentioned before, many people enjoy the anime art style because it is colorful, very easy on the eyes, and quite easy to replicate. Because of this, many art schools around the world have actually banned their students from submitting work that uses an anime art style due to it being deemed “unoriginal”. However, this doesn’t affect the online community that supports the industry, which is perhaps the main reason why anime is so prevalent to this day. Everyone around the world gives each other recommendations on what to watch as well as submitting fan art and self-made merchandise, not to forget the memes.

The thing is, anime is not new at all. In fact, the international community has existed for almost 20 years. Anime has had a somewhat controversial uprising and for one reason only: pirating. Pirating is a general term for taking someone’s creation and uploading it yourself for no to little monetary value. What this essentially means is that people will take anime episodes once they release in Japan and upload them to certain websites so that they can be translated and watched by everyone around the world. This had led to some controversy with people on both sides, one saying that it’s still copyright infringement, while the other claims that it helps prevent a monopoly as well as spread the show for a chance at increased popularity. This has become a very large debate because Japan has very different copyright laws compared to other countries. Either way, it is certain that anime, as well as the Japanese influences that they emit, influence not only just the culture of the United States, but the world as a whole.