Life sucks. We know this. We live through it everyday. There are those fortunate enough not to experience it in one form or another. And there are people who do have depression.
As you can imagine, you can guess what group I fall in. Earlier, I was reading an article posted by Moe Sucks’s E Minor where he wonders where all the Gene Starwinds went off to. He mentioned a bit of Japan’s economic history and why he was probably created in the first place. And on top of that, reading Willy’s post about how anime is escapism and how someone like me, who usually likes to talk about certain issues in the anime, could take the fun out of it.
Entertainment has always been used to help cope with a crisis, be national or global. For example, when September 11th happened, the famous sketch show Saturday Night Live had a choice to put on a funny show or not. After all, they were in the very city that was attacked that infamous day. However, they had decided to go on with the show because that’s all you can do. As much as it was awful and horrible, life goes on.
So is it any different to view anime the same way? Is it any different to see anime as an escapism? Of course not. Anime, at its core, is entertainment made to entertain the viewer.
But it doesn’t exist in a cultural vacuum. In fact, nothing in entertainment is. Just because it’s an escape doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its issues with whatever the production has.
I am politically active in the United States. I read the (online) news, I vote, I sign petitions, and I have discussions with people on the Internet about the statistics between bathtub-related deaths vs gun-related deaths. I care about my country’s future as much as I also care about my welfare. And because of it, I’ve noticed several things in, not even just politics, but the media I consume that’s wrong and extremely problematic. And it’s not even the media I consume here in America, but the media I consume from Japan and Korea (because I enjoy the music).
And let’s face, there’s a lot of problems.
Could I forgive the media for having sexism and homophobia, for example? To a certain extent, I’d say. In an ideal world, I wish there to be no sexism, homophobia, racism, and other isms which makes it harder to live. But we don’t live in such a world.
Am I going to stop liking things because they have sexism and homophobia? Of course not. In fact, it’ll make me use the issues I have with it as a diving board for discussion. And I love to discuss things, in case that wasn’t already clear.
Obviously, there are those that are just so offensive that I will never touch it with a 10ft pole (two posts in a row, Boku wa Pico).
As Willy pointed out in one of our discussions, that talking about the issues in an anime can really take the fun out of it. Some anime are meant to be mindless fun and there’s a lot that aren’t.
Where’s the borderline? Does it make you any happier to analyze things or to just enjoy a piece of crappy anime fail with its stupidity? Where does it end? Where does it start? Perhaps it boils down to what type of person you are.