Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘Rise and rise’ of the anime world

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Anime has undeniably gained immense popularity over the years, especially in India. As Indian audiences have access to global media, they have become more familiar with Japanese culture and its various kinds of entertainment. However, it is not only about cultural influence! Anime has a distinct appeal as a storytelling and visual medium.
The Pioneer’s Tejal Sinha dives deep into the craze of anime culture this week for our weekly segment of FYI.
While many people consider anime to be simply a cartoon, it is much more than that. From trending on streaming platforms to selling products and staging fan gatherings, anime has become a cultural phenomenon in India.
Anime appeals to both children and adults. Furthermore, they are available in a variety of genres, such as fantasy, action, romance, humour, and sci-fi, which broadens their target demographic. When it comes to anime shows, each episode lasts only 20 to 30 minutes, making them easier to watch and less time-consuming.
Hrithik Sharma, an IT professional and an anime expert based in Hyderabad, speaking of anime culture, shares that it has become a common term in today’s society, transcending languages and cultural boundaries. “It encompasses a diverse range of themes, genres, and art styles, captivating audiences of all ages worldwide. From classics like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach to modern masterpieces like Attack on Titan and many other anime, it has evolved into a global phenomenon. It’s influence extends beyond entertainment, shaping fashion trends, inspiring art, and fostering communities of passionate fans. The appeal of anime lies in its ability to explore complex narratives into philosophical themes and evoke deep emotional responses. Whether it’s the adrenaline-pumping action sequences, heartwarming character relationships, or thought-provoking storylines, anime continues to captivate and unite people across the globe, forming a vibrant and dynamic culture that continues to thrive.”
In 2022, Bengaluru hosted India’s largest Japanese cultural celebration, ‘Atsumaru’. Indian fans flocked to the event dressed as their favourite anime characters!
The Makoto Shinkai Film Festival also began in India with anime films being released in theaters. Furthermore, filmmaker Makoto Shinkai travelled to India to promote his picture Suzume, which was favourably appreciated by the Indian audience. The anime film also grossed more than Rs 10 crore in India.

The Hyderabad Anime Club (THAC) is Hyderabad’s one and only largest anime club/community that has been recognised and collaborated with the Japan Foundation, JFF, anime clubs and groups in India. It was invited by esteemed organizations such as JNTU, EFLU, GITAM, VJIT, IIT Hyd, and other colleges to play a major role in multiple events in Anime World and is only aiming to expand. THAC is a thriving community of weebs situated in Hyderabad, a city known for its biryani and charminar but also being home to many individuals who are passionate about animega, animation, and Japanese culture.
They host a diverse array of events, including and expanding beyond anime, providing a unique platform for members to connect while immersing themselves in their favourite anime. An anime community that conducts anime events all across Hyderabad to promote Japanese culture, wow!

Anime has always been a source of entertainment and inspiration, but it has been unrecognised and underrated source of entertainment. Now, anime has evolved from being an unrecognised and underrated source of entertainment to being globally recognised by a few author works, especially a masterpiece by Akira Toriyama (who recently passed away). Akira Toriyama’s Sensei, has left a mark on countless childhoods. His imaginative storytelling, vibrant characters, and epic adventures have created memories that continue to resonate with fans around the world.
“As we reflect on our childhoods filled with the excitement of Goku’s journey, we express heartfelt gratitude to Toriyama Sensei for gifting us a treasure of unforgettable memories that will endure for a lifetime. Its appeal lies in its ability to explore diverse themes and emotions through unique storytelling, vibrant characters, and stunning visuals. Older-generation anime also paved the way, introducing audiences to the unique art style and imaginative worlds of Japanese animation. These shows not only entertained but also inspired viewers with their themes of friendship, perseverance, and overcoming adversity. As time went on, newer anime captured the hearts of younger audiences, building upon the foundation laid by earlier series while introducing fresh concepts and ideas. These shows resonated with a new generation, addressing contemporary issues and showcasing the power of teamwork, self-discovery, and personal growth,” shares Vickey, founder of The Hyderabad’s Anime Club.

India’s fascination
with anime characters
Indian viewers now have easy access to a vast selection of anime shows and merchandise, thanks to the growth of streaming services and online communities.
The relatable themes and broadcast of anime characters are among the reasons contributing to this obsession. Despite cultural differences, Indian audiences often find relevance in the relationships, conflicts, and emotions portrayed in these shows. Moreover, anime’s visually arresting styles and inventive stories transport Indian viewers to wonderful worlds teeming with romance, adventure, and bravery.
Furthermore, Japanese pop culture—including manga and anime—has a global impact that transcends national borders. Indian fans create lively groups that express their passion via fan art and conversations to create lively communities that honour their love.

Stereotypes and
The blocks of people are so scattered that their voices are unheard, and they face a lot of stigma and stereotypical behaviour that anime is ‘kids’ stuff’.
Vickey further shares, “We see that anime is sometimes subjected to stereotypes and misconceptions that it is only for children or that it lacks depth or artistic value. THAC challenges these misconceptions and showcases that anime cannot be restricted to kids’ shows and that it can never be belittled, as the values and voices an individual can receive from our heroes, sidekicks, villains, and every character that has depth speaks to us and will be a part of our lives forever. Indeed, that mindset has been prevalent in many cultures, including India. The perception that animation, including anime, is primarily for children has been a common misconception for a long time. However, as more adults discover the depth and complexity of anime storytelling, this perception is gradually changing.”
Anime often explores mature themes and complex narratives that appeal to a wide range of audiences beyond just children. As more adults in India and around the world realise this, the stigma surrounding anime being solely for kids will start  to diminish. Additionally, the accessibility of anime through online platforms and the growth of fan communities have contributed to the recognition of anime as a legitimate form of entertainment for people of all ages!

So while the misconception that anime is just for kids may have influenced perceptions in the past, the growing appreciation for its diverse content and storytelling is also there to reshape attitudes towards anime in India and elsewhere.

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