On this episode of The Game of Nerds Podcast, we are talking to our very own Arganise Campbell about Anime. We start our conversation out with the WandaVision debate and how much I freaking hated it. Arganise covered a few of the WandaVision episodes on The Game of Nerds and loves to poke Mama Dragon about it. But I really have a bone pick with her. She is the reason we now own the Umbrella Academy Funko pops. She states our Funko article about downsizing and organizing her collection has really helped her out.
But this episode isn’t about Funko pops. It’s about Anime. Due to the pandemic, Arganise has recently been rewatching and writing about the anime series she has loved as a child and through the years. Therefore, I thought she would be the perfect person to break down what anime is for our fans. Anime is short for animation or Japanese animation. Anime is known for a specific type of animation that is usually different than normal Saturday cartoons we are used to here in the US. But the US has tried to take anime and make it western, which has resulted in a tear in the anime community. Some are trying to preserve the authenticity and style of original Japanese animation. Manga and Anime, while similar, are two different things. Manga refers to the written book form of animation. While anime usually refers to the television or movie version. Most traditional anime starts as Manga and then is adapted. Manga is traditionally how most get into anime since they are easy to obtain at any library. These books are usually brightly colored and engaging, but be aware if you are a parent. Anime can be very graphic, gruesome, and violent, which may not be appropriate for all children. But at the end of the day, if your kid is actually reading and engaged in it, you may want to pick your battles, especially if your child has issues with reading.
There are some great children’s options for anime like Pokemon and Rilakkuma, and Kaoru on Netflix. The fact that Pokemon is considered anime blows my mind. I grew up when Pokemon was a huge deal. My brother was, in fact, on his way to being the ToysRus Pokemon Master. I remember watching and being entertained by the Pokemon show and movie. When the second round of resurgence a couple of years ago, I was the coolest nanny ever because I spoke Pokemon. Arganise says many people just don’t give anime a try, and it’s simply because they haven’t found the right anime for you. She’s a firm believer that you have to be “Dating Anime.” You need to be always finding new ones and trying series.
Netflix and Hulu are great places to start if you are looking to dip your toes into anime without subscribing to more platforms. If you are deep into anime already, there are Crunchyroll and Funimation apps for you to subscribe and watch from. If you are looking for Studio Ghibli films, those are all located on HBOMax. These movies are a great way for you and your children to jump into anime without having to watch multiple seasons. Arganise does warn that there are two different kinds of anime: subbed and dubbed. Subbed is when nothing has been translated in English but the subtitles. This usually requires the viewer to pay more attention. Dubbed means the series has been translated and edited for English viewers. These series are easier to watch and require less attention because you aren’t reading subtitles. Dragon Ball Z and My Hero Academia are huge favorites in the anime community, but they aren’t Arganise favorites. She’s more of a dark and twisty anime watcher, and those are “too fluffy” for her liking.
We do jump back onto the subject of Funko’s, but that’s only because most of my anime knowledge comes from Funko. Funko Anime Pops are usually the ones with the most exclusives or rarest forms. This has caused Anime pops to soar in pricing. Arganise first pop was Sailor Jupiter when we sent her to Motor City Comic Con for her first convention with The Game of Nerds. Now she blames all her Funko problems on Andy, just like I do. Arganise really got into anime through Manga, Sailor Moon, and Pokemon. Her anime choice really depends on her mood and if she is interested in watching the series.
Arganise believes that there has been a huge resurgence in Anime due to the pandemic. During a recent panel on anime, a panelist stated that Anime really is anti-Disney and fills the holes that Disney has left. Anime is really a rabbit hole to go down with so many different series and seasons to check out. With so much time on our hands, it was no wonder why Anime would be the choice to go after all other avenues were exhausted. Animation has been one of the few industries surviving the pandemic. We’ve seen series likes Bob’s Burgers continue to record and create episodes from home. Animated series are created much differently than a regular sitcom. At the end of the day, we need more artists and animators. We shouldn’t be gatekeeping anime. If you are good at what you do, then it shouldn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or where you live. Your talent should speak for itself.
Suppose you are looking to jump into anime for the first time. Arganise says to choose something that looks interesting to you. But choose something that has no more than 4 seasons. Some of these shows can get into so many seasons that it can be overwhelming. Choose something easy. Also, remember that romantic comedy in sitcoms may be different than romantic comedy in anime. You may have to play around with different genres of anime and “date” some until you find the right one. Once conventions start coming back, anime will not be left in the dust. Anime conventions are as abundant as regular comic cons. The most prominent ones are Crunchyroll, Funimation, or Fanime Con. You can check your local anime groups to see if they are hosting any functions as well.