Is it crazy that I get more emotional over an anime cartoon than I do about a movie with live actors? I find myself getting all teary eyed when an anime character is hurt or sad much more often than with a human actor. Is that normal?
Why does anime pull on my heartstrings so? Even manga can make me laugh or cry at the drop of a dime. Maybe it’s the magical effect of those huge emotion-filled eyes that gets me. Or, even the psychological impact of the dark, emotionless blank stares that sets the stage for my dislike for a character. How in the world can anime cause such a stir in me?
In a live actor movie when the action gets wild or really daring, I often think, “Now that couldn’t really happen”. In anime or animation in general, it’s easier to pull off the impossible and make it seem real. There are no stunt man doubles or scenes you know are not real. None of it is real yet it all seems so real…to me.
When they’ve killed off my favorite character, I know in real life, he or she is fine. Not so with anime though. I may never see that character again and it breaks my heart or brings me pure joy, depending on if I like him or her or not.
For me, it’s easier to relate to an anime or manga character. I’m not sure why but, it is. A character that is sweating drops of blood gets my emotions flowing much easier than a human actor who is pretending to be scared. A human crying just doesn’t have the same effect on me as an anime who is.
And it’s all planned that way. Animated effects are much more dramatic. The actions and expressions are exaggerated for the purpose of making the viewer react with emotions. I mean, think of Disney movies. “Dumbo” is a great example. I grab a Kleenex each time I watch it even thought I know the plot by heart.
So is it safe to say that anime and manga have an upper edge and that they don’t have to work as hard at filling the audience with emotion? I don’t think so. I think more burden may be on them to achieve the effects. But, I think they have more resources available to them. They have the options of using manipulations like eyes that glow to indicate an intense stare or a nosebleed to convey being in love. But the trick is, they have to pull those manipulations off and have to do it in a way that works.
Oh there’s an art to anime alright. It’s not a “hands down” that the cartoons will cause the emotional response they are supposed to. When they don’t, its disaster. But when properly pulled off and it all falls into place, when mere illustrated cartoons can make you laugh, cry, or fume with anger, they have come to life. And when anime comes to life…it is pure magic.