It’s a strange phenomenon to witness for most Americans, but at the same time it’s becoming all too common. Normal, suburban, home-raised, god-fearing American children are running around yelling phrases like “Gotta catch ’em all!” and “Heart of the cards!” and their parents have no idea why.
It’s obvious to almost anyone in our generation why these children are muttering indecipherable names and phrases. Anime has become a part of the general American culture, along with the other major Eastern influence of video games. From humble beginnings in the days of Speed Racer to an almost universal popularity in the heyday Pokemon, anime has firmly grafted itself in as an American sub-culture.
That being said, a dark truth needs to be brought to light. No, anime isn’t really a complex plot to destroy America like South Park says, but it still gets more than its share of bad press. If it isn’t some hysterical parent screaming on the news about how Pokemon is made by devil worshipers, or some Catholic priest denouncing his parish for spending more time building a good Yu-Gi-Oh deck than learning Bible verse, it’s your own parents or friends giving you strange looks and talking behind your back about your “weird interest.”
Well, as an anime fan, I’m tired of funny looks and whispered insults. The honest truth is that, while anime most definitely has a very noticeable style not of the “Western influence”, it still fills a huge hole in American culture in recent times with hand-drawn animation.
Disney used to hold that place in the hearts of American youth, but has since moved on to the computer-animated side of the fence.
I can still remember watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Care Bears, and X-Men as a child, but now those shows are gone, replaced by Pokemon, Naruto, and One Piece.
So parents, friends, and family, give the anime fans in your house a break. They may not make sense all of the time, and they may say things that sound like another language, and probably are, but were you all that different with your “Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo” or “Second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning?”