Anime Creates Connections Across Campus

Arts

Colorful bright characters come to life stroke by stroke on the stark white page. Sophomore Leo Putnam sits poised over the table shaping new personalities through animated drawings.

Anime is a style of animation, originated in Japan, that often contains bright colors and fanciful plots, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

However, these animations do not all contain plots of fantasy, sophomore Kyle So said.

“There are many genres of anime, from horror to sci-fi to fantasy to a slice of life,” junior Brooke Hendershott said.

Because of this vast spectrum of genres, the large anime business has been growing in America and other countries outside of Japan, So said.

“I am happy more people are watching it,” So said.

Anime has been specifically growing in popularity in Piedmont over the last few years as well, Putnam said.

“I have no idea what happened,” Putnam said.“I feel like one day I woke up, and suddenly all the popular people were like, ‘Oh yes Naruto.’”

However, Hendershott believes that rather than increasing in popularity, anime has become more accepted.

“I just think people are a little more open about it,” Hendershott said. “It’s seen as a thing to bond over rather than hide. It’s just seen as a bit more welcoming here.”

There is a stigma around watching anime, So said.

“I mean you watch TV, too,” Putnam said. “It’s just like me watching TV. It’s not that big of a deal.”

An example of a stigma-based anime phrase in America is the word weeaboo, Hendershott said.

“If you tell someone you like any anime at all, odds are you’ll be called a weeaboo,” she said. “It’s weird. I don’t get why it all has to be so judgmental.”

Weeaboo is someone who thinks Eastern, usually Japanese, culture and media is superior to that of the west, including the United States, Hendershott said. Although normally used as an endearing term, Hendershott said, it does make an incorrect assumption.

“I feel like a lot of people have already seen some anime at one point in their lives, and they just don’t know,” Putnam said.

Many anime fans start watching anime when they are younger and then continue to watch or come back to the genre because of their love for it over other American shows, So said.  

“I feel like the plots [of anime] tend to be much more complex,” Putnam said.

Longer seasons or runs allow more time for character and plot development, they said.

“It’s easier to have really good characters go through more trials and tribulations,” Putnam said.

Because she is an artist, Hendershot loves to see the different ways anime is used as an artform to represent extreme emotion and movement as well as the portrayal of characters, Hendershott said.

“I have become like best friends with somebody because we both have the same favorite character,” Putnam said.

In addition to being brought together because of their fondness for particular anime characters, many bond over their love for the genre itself, Putnam said.

“I have gotten to know some of my closest friends better because of our shared interest in anime,” Putnam said.