I Hate Anime

Dane Dorius, Weeb In Denial

I hate anime. I certainly like some, but the medium on average is trash pandering to lonely otaku and pedophiles. The industry underpays everybody within it, and even the voice actors (who’re paid a kingly sum in comparison to the animators) go through terrible abuse- some report being in the recording booth until their throat bleeds.

On the business end, the majority of the money is focused not on the actual show itself, it’s focused on the merchandise and Blu-Ray boxed sets. This often results in merch that’s pretty damned creepy things, like the scads of bikini-clad figurines of the (fourteen-year-old) cast of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The content of the anime itself varies insanely- sure, there’s certainly good and trash TV, movies, videogames, albums, and the like per season and quarter, but the merchandise focus and lower budgets found in anime result in an insanely large range of bad to good. One show last year, per one man’s analysis of an episode, contained roughly six minutes of animation in a 22-minute episode. The anime was about a tweenaged girl in (romantic) love with her oblivious brother.

I’m not opposed to shows tackling taboo and bizarre topics, but many of these aren’t pursuing these transgressive premises and themes for artistic or intellectual reasons, they’re doing it to get an audience of people who’re turned on by the premise. Without even getting into the literal softcore genre aired on television called “ecchi,” the sexualized and merchandise-focused nature of most anime is like a dark, R-rated mirror of eighties Saturday-morning cartoons; a low-budget, cynical product made to sell the attached figurines and play sets, not to make quality content.

However, despite my criticisms, I still have hope for the medium. There are legit great works there, as in any other, and the transgressive nature of the shows does mean that one could make a show tackling challenging and experimental themes and get a wide platform for release. One of the most popular ever, the aforementioned Neon Genesis Evangelion, is a show chock full of symbolism, character studies, and is a deconstruction of 90% of the genre- and this series is hailed just as much as the series it tears apart, with a reboot series continuing to this day.