How To Get Back Into Anime In 2015

Rant by Mick Joest

Last year I took the bait. The geek hype on Attack on Titan was at a fever pitch, and for the first time since Toonami, I was diving back into the world of anime. Not long after finishing, I jumped into some of the other popular titles the genre had to offer at the time, and now a year later I have a Crunchyroll subscription. 

Getting "back" into anime, especially in the year 2015, is no cakewalk. A year ago I was a casual fan whose only real experience with the genre were titles such as Death Note, Naruto, and of course Dragon Ball Z. If I knew what I was missing out on, I would've come back a lot sooner, and I encourage you to as well. Be warned though, this journey will not be completed without soul searching, understanding of cultural values, and keeping an open mind. This guide chronicles why you should get back to anime, as well as some of the struggle behind this ultimately rewarding experience.

I bet you never knew cartoons could be so serious, huh?

There Has Never Been A Better Time To Watch Anime

Otaku kids today don't know how good they have it. Back in my day if you wanted to watch an obscure anime, you had three options.

  1. Buy the anime network from your cable subscriber.
  2. Go to FYE and hope no one thinks you are looking at porn.
  3. Go to the comic shop.

None of these options were ideal, and all of them were expensive. After all was said and done, you'd have spent a lot of time and cash and may not have even liked what you ended up purchasing. It wasn't optimal, but it was the only option fans really had.

This is why streaming services (and the internet in general) have been a godsend to fans of the genre. You can pay under 10 dollars a month to several different outlets and have instant access to literal tons of content. Crunchyroll, Funimation, NicoNico, The Anime Network, and some not-so-legal sites I won't mention are all great places to test the waters of anime.

And test you shall.

Watch A Lot And Make Decisions Quickly

After you finish that really awesome show all your friends have been talking about, you're going to want to ride that satisfying high into a new series with high expectations. About half the time you're going to be disappointed. Sure, your buddy was on the mark about you loving Akame Ga Kill, but not so much when it came to Ouran High School Host Club.

With the accessibility of anime at an all-time high, the fans have risen in droves. There is nothing wrong with taking the advice of an Otaku, but just because they are super fans does not mean their opinion on anime is more valid than yours. Here are some things you'll hear from an Otaku that were always red flags for me when it comes to a new series:

  1. "You're only going to really appreciate this series if you read the manga."
  2. "This show is totally worth it for this character alone!"
  3. "It starts out really slow but it picks up about midway through and then gets really good at the end."

You'll learn rather quickly that anime is super subjective, and some of the more hardcore fans have a much higher patience for series than you will. Just know you don't have to settle, and can always just browse.

A mistake I made early on in my journey was watching a show and waiting for something to happen to make things more interesting. Sometimes that thing never comes, and you realize you just wasted eight hours of your life to a just "blah" ending (see Angel Beats). Other things you'll notice are...

  1. A lot of anime have the same types of characters.
  2. A lot of anime have the same plot twists and story lines.
  3. A lot of anime are the same anime with different art.

For this reason, you should not at all be afraid to...

Branch Out

When I first got back into anime, I was dead set on doing action anime and only action anime. Then I got bored because....

  1. A lot of anime have the same types of characters.
  2. A lot of anime have the same plot twists and story lines.
  3. A lot of anime are the same anime with different art.

There are only so many times you can watch a young man with a natural skill and unrelenting spirit succeed where so many other attractive women have failed. This is why it's good to branch out. My advice? Go for weird. The weirder it looks, the better. One of my favorite anime of 2014 was "The Devil Is A Part Timer." A show in which the devil flees from hell and tries to regain his throne through getting a job at a fast food chain is definitely not something you'll see stateside, and it's incredibly hilarious.

There's the good side of unique humor to the Western world, and then you'll encounter stuff that will make you say "ummmm...". For this reason, it's good to keep an open mind about...

Cultural Differences

Initially I thought subtitles would be the biggest drawback to watching Japanese anime again, but I was wrong. We all know Japan is weird, but you don't know weird until you go deep into the rabbit hole of this genre. Let's talk about two anime that were at the top of many sites' lists for 2014.

Now in its second season, Sword Art Online was pretty tame this year. Last year, however, featured a weird side story where the cousin of the main character had a sexual longing for him. Not in a comical way either. Did I mention she was raised as his sister? That was weird, but didn't even hold a candle to Kill La Kill.

It's actually easier to list all the things that might offend someone with a limited understanding of anime when it comes to Kill La Kill so here goes...

  • The main character is a 17 year old girl who gets naked about once an episode. She's also drawn to look younger than 17.
  • The father of the main character's best friend frequently tries to rape her early on in the series. It's meant to be comedic, but I was pretty "what the f***" about it the entire time.
  • I'm not one for spoilers, so I won't really go into detail...but the molestation doesn't stop there.
  • There's incest.

By now, if you were on the fence, you've probably "nope'd" out wondering if you'll go to jail just for reading that description. I will say there is a reason for all of that...a paper-thin one, but a reason nonetheless. It's by far the hardest hill to conquer when it comes to getting into anime, but rest assured you can kind of avoid all that if you still want to watch anime. Sex jokes are pretty ingrained into Japan's culture so I'm not going to lie to you...there will be more than a few in your quest, but Kill La Kill is one of the more extreme.

So there it is - everything I learned in a year's time, all for you to hopefully ease your way back into the world of anime! Enjoy and find what you like!

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