While many there are still many casual viewers who prefer to just sit and watch shows without much thought, a growing segment of the community is becoming more engaged in the ideas that anime are championing. This is in large part due to the growth in popularity of analytical content on YouTube, from creators like Digibro and Mother’s Basement. Because of their success, and because of the access that fans now have to information about the industry, people in the anime community are becoming more and more engaged in deeper discussion, and that’s a good thing.
Much in the same way people are encouraged to stay informed about politics, being involved with discussion about anime or art, in general, allows our deepest held beliefs to be challenged even when we do not want them to. Talking to someone about how they view the challenges that Rei faces in March Comes in Like a Lion, or analyzing the what the Titans in Attack on Titan really represent not only encourages people to think critically but gives them perspectives that they otherwise may not have heard.
Open dialogue about anime also gives it more of a claim to legitimacy. It’s no surprise that even today when the popularity of anime has seen unprecedented levels of growth that it is still seen by many as just Chinese cartoons. Serious discussion of anime as more than just kids stuff helps to show that it is an art form that people should take seriously.
Lastly, when we talk about the thing that we love, it creates a furthered sense of community. I can personally attest to how good it feels having a friend, be it online or IRL, to talk to about the shows that I am watching and have them be genuinely engaged in the conversation. Knowing that we can both talk about the last episode of whatever it is we are watching at the time, or talking about what is coming out next season that we are both hyped for, while talking about the merits and flaws of the show and what makes the show good at its core, is truly a feeling unlike any other.
This might sound like common sense to some in the community but it bears repeating. Without really thinking about what it is we are watching and analyzing what makes the shows that we watch so good, and discussing those ideas, we might not have as vibrant a community as we do.