Why I Hate Anime but Still Watch It

My tastes have always leaned toward things that fall into the “geek culture” category; comics, video games, fantasy and science fiction. But anime is one area that has never clicked with me. I have wanted to enjoy it, but most times, I end up feeling the same, annoyed and underwhelmed.

There have been exceptions. I enjoy the movies from Studio Ghibli, and I remember being hooked on some samurai anime in the mornings before school. But overall, there are too many things about anime that turn me off. The facial expressions are a huge issue for me. Every time I see a face contort into something larger than life or held in a dumb exaggerated pose, I want to jump out of the closest window. On top of that, the pacing of anime I have seen bores me to tears. I do not want to see a fight last for multiple episodes. Move on and get to the point. If those are not enough to permanently turn me away, many of the shows I attempted over the years seem downright indecipherable. The concept starts out cool, but in the end, I walk away wondering what the hell I just bombarded my neurons with. Akira is a prime example. Cool tech and action is not enough to make something good.

Still, there is a part of me that feels like I am missing out. Western television does not contain a lot of variation. On the other hand, anime offers shows in a wide array of subjects and themes. Cooking, tennis, westerns, swimming, post-apocalyptic wastelands, biking, fishing, temp jobs and virtual worlds; the variety is astounding. I want those options in my life.

Over the last couple months I have been forcing myself to watch anime. So far, the experience has been positive. Not everything I watch is overwhelmingly great, not even the most popular shows. But I have found myself enjoying the stories and characters in general. I will post further thoughts on specific shows at another time. For now, I am glad that I force myself to revisit things that have not worked for me in the past. I recommend the practice to everyone.

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