The 5 Best Reasons Everyone Should Watch Anime

There's a Lot More to Anime than You Think

There’s no denying how popular Japanese animation (also called, “anime” by fans of the genre) has become. From its niche presence in the 70s and 80s with series like Speed Racer and Astro Boy to the anime boom in the 90s with Pokemon, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, anime has impacted Western pop culture and society dramatically with its quirky characters, imaginative worlds and original storytelling style.

Yet, despite its popularity, there remains a stigma surrounding Japanese animation that's keeping many potential Western fans away. Many think anime is all about sex and perversion, others assume it's hyper-violent and bloody, while some people just think the whole Japanese animation thing is too weird for their Western sensibilities.
In truth, anime can be for anyone and there is a mountain of reasons everyone should at least give an anime series or movie a go before writing off the entire genre. Here are five of the best reasons you need to watch anime right now.

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You Don't Have to Worry About Cancellation of Your Favorite Series

KidStock / Blend Images / Getty Images

There’s nothing worse than getting really into an awesome cartoon series like Star Wars: Clone Wars, Korra or Spectacular Spider-man only to see it discontinued after a season or two. With anime, this isn’t something you really have to worry about. When an anime series is ongoing, it’s really ongoing.

Most of the popular franchises like Pokemon, One Piece and Fairy Tail have been running for years (Pokemon has been going for almost two decades!) and show no sign of stopping. Even when popular shows like Dragon Ball Z and Naruto do end they normally have several hundred episodes under their wing which is a great sign of faith for viewers. Anime fans very rarely get the rug pulled out from under them when watching a series.

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Stunning Animation and Backgrounds

Ashitaka from Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke
Ashitaka from Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke. © 1997 Nibariki - GND

A lot of anime series and movies are visually stunning. Studio Ghibli films such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke are great examples of amazing quality animation and character designs with background artwork that could be framed and hung in an art gallery. Indeed many animation cells, backgrounds, and production designs are, in fact, well respected by artists and gallery curators and it’s quite common to see touring art exhibits featuring anime artwork exclusively.

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Characters Die

The death of Optimus Prime in Transformers The Movie.
The death of Optimus Prime in Transformers The Movie.

While there are exceptions such as the death of Bambi’s mother and Simba’s father in Bambi and The Lion King respectively, for the most part characters don’t really die in Western animation and when they do it’s almost always a supporting character and never the main protagonist.

In anime, all bets are off. The original 80s Transformers animated movie was a massacre that saw the death of almost an entire generation of characters including the iconic Optimus Prime. Characters die so often in Sailor Moon that it actually became a plot point as the series progressed and more characters pass away during Neon Genesis Evangelion and Attack on Titan than during Game of Thrones' infamous Red Wedding.

No one is safe in an anime series or movie (well maybe Pikachu and Doraemon are) and this makes for a much more rewarding and involving viewing experience.

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Toe-Tapping and Heartwarming Music

Studio Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro
Studio Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro. © 1988 Nibariki • G

Anime has some of the best theme songs and background music regardless of genre. Looking for some catchy tunes for your kids? Pokemon and Sailor Moon have got you covered. Want to relax and listen to something a little more sophisticated? Any of the must-see Studio Ghibli film soundtracks will enchant and entertain. Curious about the latest modern JPop hit? Naruto and Bleach will inspire anyone to explore modern Japanese music.

Anime is a brilliant gateway into Asian music while still being a rewarding listening experience in its own right. Many fans admit to watching anime purely for the music and it’s easy to see – or rather, hear – why.

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Most Anime Series Can Be Viewed for Free!

Sure you can watch Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Naruto and One Piece on DVD or Blu-ray but did you know that you can also watch these long-running anime series (and hundreds more!) online for free?

There are numerous streaming services nowadays that allow anime fans to watch their favorite series on their computer, tablet, and smartphone or streamed to their TV for no cost at all. Not only does it make catching up on a series that much easier but it also provides a great opportunity for those who have never watched anime and are interested in giving it a go.