Monday, May 26, 2008

Is it OK to like Anime?

Stupid question, right? Why wouldn't it be OK to like anime? Well, to certain generation of people, liking anime, or anything else from Japan, is unthinkable. Japan was the enemy of many nations during World War II, and so people alive during that time may not want anything to do with Japan.

Yukan Blog brings up an interesting point. Though the article is targeted specifically towards Australians, it really applies to the people of any nation who opposed Japan during the war. One way or another, pretty much the entirety of what we now know as anime and manga were built upon the foundation that was first laid down by Osamu Tezuka. And, as it is quite obvious from both his body of work and his personal writings, Tezuka was totally opposed to war. As times changed, the anime and manga industries produced more product that was violent and contained mature themes, Tezuka adapted his style of storytelling to keep up with those trends. But even though his work changed with the times, he was completely dedicated to creating stories with anti-war themes.

So, in my opinion, not only is it perfectly fine to watch and enjoy anime, despite being created by a country that was once an enemy, but it's a fantastic way to extend the hand of friendship and unite people in a shared love of animation in spite of history, language, and distance. Nothing can be gained by denying ourselves the potential to be entertained by the creations of a country that many of our ancestors used to fight against. Anime has done, and will continue to do, so much to build positive relationships between cultures. We should continue to learn from our pasts so that we do not repeat it, while working together towards the future. That is what Dr. Tezuka would have wanted.