It’s Only Anime!
For those who don’t watch anime, it is difficult to understand the emotions that an anime watcher can go through watching a show. I find it bewildering that this is the case as that’s like saying to an avid football fan who’s team has lost the Super Bowl “Hey, its only a game.” It is not only anime. Though the characters aren’t real, a well-crafted anime will have you forgetting that these are animations. The voice actors/actresses behind the characters, the artistry of the anime, breathe life into characters. I have found myself holding my breath in excitement when watching an anime more than I have in watching a live action film. I have cried from watching an anime; (see Grave of the Fireflies). My tears for an anime have been from sadness and joy. I don’t think in my real life have I cried from joy. I have hated a character as if they were a real person, laughed hysterically, yelled at the television screen or the computer screen from frustration at a character or group of characters.
It’s not only anime. It is an art form. An art form that can evoke a wide range of emotions and I would say it is more difficult to provide a quality good anime than it is for a live action film. Creators have to make believable facial expressions, voice actors must be found that can truly convey an emotion. Voice acting is a huge component of an anime. For me to get any emotions from an anime, I have to hear it in the voice of the seiyuu. Pretty pictures are nice but if the seiyuu cannot make me feel as if the character is the alive; then the show is no good.
For many anime fans, the characters are real to us. No, I have not had a crush on a male character, I must admit that is a line I have not crossed. But I have rooted and cared for a character. For example, I am watching Mirai Nikki, in the most recent episode we have been led to believe that a serious situation has occurred. I was shocked and saddened; I find myself wishing that it is not true and that in the next episode we will be shown something different to ease my aching heart. Even though the main characters, Yuki and Yuno annoy me, I care about Yuki. I want him to survive. He is another example of having a good seiyuu, his seiyuu is able to make his voice whiny and petulant. It matches perfectly to the character being portrayed.
For those who cannot understand why we get so attached, compare it to their attachment to their reality shows. The term “reality” is really just a misnomer but that’s besides the point. Compare it to their attachment to shows like “Glee”, “Lost” or “24” (the latter two having both ended). It’s just a show but they still care about the characters, they care about what will happen in the next episode, they talk about the shows for days on Twitter, Facebook, and in their personal lives. Anime is no different besides the fact that it is animated. The characters are still alive to us.