Teens share common passion for anime

Emily Johnson, Reporter

Since the release of “Astro Boy” in 1964, anime, Japanese cartoons, has grown tremendously in popularity, style, marketing and cultural value.

However, in America, anime has always carried a soft popularity just below everyone’s pop culture radar, but for some people, anime is a respected art form and part of daily life.

Aadric Dowdy, sophomore, has been watching anime since he was a little kid.

“Right now I’m watching ‘One Piece,’ ‘Death Note’ and ‘Attack on Titan,’” Dowdy said. Those titles typically fall into the action/adventure genre, but there are dozens of other genres of anime to explore.

Anime can be about anything from little girls battling in tanks competitively to the typical high-school love triangle. There’s comedy, demons, drama, fantasy, harem, historical, horror, kids, romance and many more.

Besides big eyes and magical themes, anime watchers are drawn to the art by complex characters and plots, along with the stellar improvement in animation since the late 1990s.

Before, the bodies were unporportional and exaggerated, but now everything looks better for the most part.”

— Niles Davis, senior

“It’s much cleaner, and there’s a more general use of color. Before, the bodies were un-proportional and exaggerated, but now everything looks better for the most part,” Niles Davis, senior, said.

Davis watches just about every kind of anime and spends a lot of time checking out new releases although he has only been enjoying the art since last year.

“I’ll watch anything my friends suggest,” Kolton Lehman, junior, said. “I also can’t watch bad animation and the story has to make sense, it has to have a definite ending.”

Lehman watches “Full Metal Alchemist” and “Death Note.” He has been watching anime since the summer before his freshman year.

Merchandise is arguably an integral part of anime culture. Kaeli Whitener, sophomore, owns items such as shirts, wristbands, plush animals and key-chains that are designed with the characters and logos of her favorite anime and has been enjoying the art for three years.

“If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve spent around $300 on merch,” Whitener said.

Whitener enjoys “Full Metal Alchemist,” “Death Note” and “Attack on Titan.” She typically spends at least an hour a day watching anime.

Another hot topic of discussion is whether to watch dubbed or subbed anime. Dubbed anime is anime with the original audio recorded over with English-speaking voice actors while subbed anime is the original audio and animation with subtitles at the bottom, translating from Japanese to English.

Dowdy, Whitener and Davis all prefer subbed anime, but Noah Harvey, sophomore, prefers dubbed anime.

“It’s easier for me to understand what’s going on in English. I don’t have to read subtitles and try to watch what’s going on at the same time,” Harvey said.

Noah watches “Death Note,” “Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” “Cowboy Bebop,”and “Blue Exorcist.”

Anime has grown from humble beginnings to a cultural phenomenon.