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Anime – animation culture from Japan

2 minutes reading time
11-17 years
Foto: unsplash.com/Tim Mossholder

Nils Holgersson, Maya the Bee, and Heidi are animated series familiar to many adults. Perhaps you are currently watching these movies and series with your children or remember them from your own childhood. But series like Naruto, One Piece, Attack on Titan or Death Note are less well known. All these formats originate from Japan and are called anime there.

What are anime?

Anime are Japanese series and movies painted in a two-dimensional style. In Germany, we call this style cartoon. Anime originated in Japan and has been part of Japanese culture for some time. Anime are often film adaptations of manga (comics). These have their own characteristic representation, of large heads with large eyes rich in emotion. Series are usually 12 or 24 episodes long and only get a second season if they have been very successful.

Japanese anime is difficult to compare with Disney’ s western cartoons. Compared to many Western animated films, musical interludes, funny animals and slapstick humor are muchless common in anime. Anime are not animated in 3D like Disney films and are not just children’s series. For anime are produced for all ages, many are not suitable for children and tell dramatic and action-packed stories.

Immersion in Japanese culture

Anime uses a variety of genres, from love stories and sports dramas to reality shows and horror films. Especially fantasy and science fiction anime can represent very well. There are anime that are designed more for boys and more for girls. Because they are produced for the Japanese audience, one finds references to Japanese culture. Often anime is about traditional Japanese arts, themes from Buddhism and Japanese history and mythology.

Since anime have been played on German television, they have been dubbed with German voices. However, many fans also watch anime in the original Japanese version with German subtitles. Here they automatically learn Japanese words and phrases.

What fascinates children and young people about it?

The anime and manga community is very large and there are many online forums and Discord groupswhere young people discuss their favorite anime, draw fanart, or arrange to meet for anime and manga conventions. On these, many fans dress up as their favorite anime characters. These are called Cosplayer . Some anime series do not respect customs and taboos of other cultures In such anime, Japan is sometimes portrayed in a very utopian way. Here it is helpful to find out about the series beforehand. If you or your child should encounter one of these series, you usually notice it in the first episode.

What can be problematic and how can parents deal with anime?

  • Anime, by and large, can be handled just like other series and movies. They have age ratings, content ratings, and there are very good series and very bad series.
  • Note that there are anime series that use clear (role) stereotypes, depict unrealistic bodies and personalities.
  • Keep an open mind with your child about their media role models and possible gender stereotypes.
  • Many sites on the net offer anime translated or with subtitles. Check which website your child watches anime on, as not all of them are legal. Rather, resort to trustworthy websites and platforms, such as: Crunchyroll, Netflix or Amazon Prime .
  • Watching anime can become a time-consuming hobby that comes with a lot of screen time. Pay attention to your child’s media time and discuss rules for dealing with audiovisual media together as a family.

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