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Give anime a chance — you might be surprised

Is anime for everyone or is it nothing more than Japanese animation that has too many cultural barriers from America TV?

SNN Staff Writer

Anime, literally just Japanese animation, is a medium that few people in America know much about, and even fewer watch. This has given rise to many misconceptions regarding anime, one of which is that every show is just like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Bleach or One Piece. However, this could not be further from the truth – anime has plenty of shows for any genre, not just action, and has such flexibility in terms of showcasing these genres and their plots that very few other mediums can hope to match.

If you give anime a chance, you will see how good it can be.

Anime covers practically every major genre that we are familiar with, and most have a deep library of shows to choose from, including romance (Clannad), sci-fi (Steins;Gate), action (Attack on Titan), tragedy (Puella Magi Madoka Magica), and comedy (Nichijou). A few genres, however – true horror and mystery in particular – have been neglected in anime, with only a couple (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni) filling the niche.

Unfortunately, many anime have not been released or aired in America, and so there is no English voice acting for them. The only option to watch these anime would be to watch the original Japanese version with English subtitles. Now, this isn’t necessarily bad; in fact, often the original Japanese voice actors are better than their English counterparts. However, trying to watch shows in a different language and an unfamiliar format might be too much for some, driving them away from the genre.

If you’re still interested, there are a few legal ways to watch anime. Crunchyroll is the obvious first choice, as it is a dedicated streaming site for anime. It has a wide range of shows to choose from, but only the subtitled versions. Hulu is another site that carries a decent amount of anime, some of which are dubbed; however, the site is frustrating to use, some of the series are incomplete, and not all of the shows available are listed unless you specifically search for the show. Netflix also carries some anime, with both English and Japanese audio, but its selection is much smaller than either of the other two sites. You can also buy the shows released in America, and there are plenty of sites and stores to buy DVDs.

For a good starting series, I recommend Attack on Titan, which is available on Crunchyroll and Netflix subtitled and airing on Cartoon Network at 11:30 p.m. in a dubbed version. It’s a good starting point for those of you who want an action series that has at least a little depth. Those of you who prefer something a bit slower, however, might want to watch either the excellent romance Toradora! (available on Crunchyroll), the sci-fi/time travel-based Steins;Gate (available legally on YouTube from the Funimation YouTube account), or the tragedy/psychological show Puella Magi Madoka Magica (available on Crunchyroll and Netflix).

Between these, you’re bound to find something you can really enjoy.