Anime and the Captive Audience

Anime and the Captive Audience

Anime characters are most known for their huge emotion filled eyes and dramatic expressions.  Have you ever wondered how that ever came to be?  I mean, whose bright idea was it to create such crazy eyes and exaggerated expressions anyway?

Anime actually started as manga years and years ago.  Manga was first and anime was adapted to put the characters into motion for an animated story just like comic books were around in America before cartoon animated shows were.  For sure there are differences between anime and manga, but the emotional basis of the anime characters are for sure an evolved form of manga.

Some people say that manga first began in the 12th century and that remnants exist of where they were drawn on scrolls.  Others stick to believing it dates back to the 18th century.  No matter when it began, it did originate in Japan and has become a big part of the culture just like cartoons are for the Western World, but even more so.

There is psychology behind the emotional illustrations.  Big eyes have been proven to make a character more likeable and easier to relate to.  Childlike features on an adult character are believed to make them more attractive and appealing.  I have actually began to pay attention to how I feel about a character with huge eyes and exaggerated features and I am finding I am more drawn to them in a loving way.

Characters with stern, harsh marks like lines across their foreheads indicate anger.  With the stroke of a pen, emotions flow.  Just the difference between large eyes and small eyes can make us like or dislike a character.

No matter who invented manga and how it evolved into anime, the fact remains…it is genius!  There is so much potential and power an artist has when creating the characters and the storylines.  I think it tugs at the artist’s heartstrings too and most likely leaves the creator spent after drawing them.  It has to.

I wonder what goes on in the mind of the artist as he or she gives the character a good personality or a bad and a life or a death?  I guess it’s just like writing a story.  I write a lot and there are times I hate killing someone off but I have to in order to fulfill the plot I am creating.  Anime and manga stories are written not only on the page or on the screen but in the illustrations as well, even more so than Western cartoons.

Anime is emotionally fast paced with each character bringing an emotion to the audience.  We hate the villain and root for the protagonist.  I wonder if huge eyes and desirable features were given to the ones we love to hate if we would hate them at all or if our psyche would tell us we liked them instead.  I am willing to bet that happens without us even being aware of it.  I think we, as the audience, would be surprised to learn the magnitude that we are swayed with manipulations and psychological effects we have no clue are taking a grip on us.

That is what makes anime so wonderful to me.  It’s the way it can take me where it wants me to go.  When I am watching, I am, in no uncertain terms, a captive audience and…I like it that way.