Anime: a rising problem

Matthew Hovelsrud, page editor

True anime is considered to be a form of Japanese film and television strictly consisting of animations, typically aimed at adults as well as children. Although anime is considered sacred by many who love it, there are many cultural, racial, and sexual flaws in this style of television. However, not all anime is bad, and it is only a small portion of the works available that displays a culture of numerous questionable ethics decisions.
The greatest pitfall of anime is its acceptance and normalization of sexual violence. Certain forms, especially those catered towards adults, can commonly depict sexual violence, typically against women. For example, it is not uncommon to witness rape, sexual assault, and unrealistic and sexist depictions of women. It has gotten so bad that the United Nations proposed banning Japanese entertainment that had sexual violence in it in 2016, according to Forbes. However, political groups in Japan continue to defend this unethical practice in anime. According to Forbes, the Japanese Women’s Institute of Contemporary Media Culture has defended the practice, citing unethical censorship that could result from the regulation of the platform. Although, this groups protection brings concern, because many producers have made a business of entertainment allowing sexual practice. The dark side of this is that it is profitable because people continually watch this form of anime. 

Apart from strictly sexual violence aperant in certain animes, the “hyper-sexualization” of women can be problomatic to how viewers later view women in the real world. Many anime films and television shows tend to depict women as people with glorified sexual features that forgoes accurate depictions of women for a stritly sex-driven character, according to Some of the most popular animes such as, “Keijo!!!,” “Prison School,” and “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” provide hyper-sexualized plots that dramatize female characters sexuality. This practice is often known as “fanservice” because it appeals to the predominantly male audiences, according to PJ Media.  Apart of sexual aspects, women’s personalities are also falsely depicted. Instead of creating characters that display realistic qualities and personalities, a generic female character that has little personality is often chosen. An important result that must be considered is that how both male and female audiences are taught to accept false stereotypes. These depictions can create unrealistic expectations for males who buy into these depictions, as well as teach female audiences that this is an “ideal” woman and they should change themselves to fit that view. Overall, anime falls short of providing respectful and accurate depiction of women.

The apparent addictiveness of anime also presents a serious concern. According to PJ Media, a small group of “superfans or otakus” have let anime take over their whole life and are now consumed and surrounded by the medium. These superfans buy such an abundance of anime and other anime-related items that producers try to cater to their interests, according to PJ Media. The likes and style of these superfans often falls into the version of anime that promotes previously stated problems present in many shows. 

Apart from their inadvertent creation of more unethical anime, their addictive relationship with the platform shows how dangerous the style of entertainment can be. Watchers can become so intertwined in the virtual world they cherish, that they lose sight of their current reality and try to further associate themselves with the distant anime world. Often times, this can lead to greater issues with living in their current world and their desire for the alternate reality grows stronger. 

Even though the portion of anime that is problematic is small, it is impactful enough to produce concerns about the medium. So much so that a growing hate towards anime has been observed as people feel threatened by certain extreme plots. Although the small portion of anime creates a bad name for the medium as a whole, it does illustrate serious flaws present in anime’s culture.