by Jennifer Bowman
I've been meaning to write this article for a while, but just haven't had enough anger to write up until now.
A long, long time ago, there was a cartoon introduced to American pop culture. This cartoon was called Speedracer. It was drawn differently than other cartoons, and involved short speech, adventure, and odd eyes. And thus began the reign of anime.
However, in my memory, anime started with Sailor Moon. When I was living in Cleveland, I lived outside of the city limits, and wasn't provided with cable, and satellite involved a huge umbrella type thing in the middle of your yard and was very expensive, and so I was stuck with poor receptions of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS, and occasionally UPN!
So whenever I had the chance to watch Cartoon Network, it was like a party. I was thrilled about watching shows like Scooby-Doo, Tom & Jerry, The Jetsons, and the Flinstones. However, one day, after a great episode of Fred and Wilma, I was bombarded with four incredibly tall girls with weirdly-drawn eyes and short skirts and a horrible theme song. And to top it off, the show wasn't even FUNNY. Wasn't that the purpose of cartoons? Frustrated, I vowed never to watch this horrible show known as Sailor Moon again.
A few years later, a craze so dreadful started that even my cousin caught on. Something called Pokemon. They were fantastical creatures that were kept in little balls by three people who had no job and no life other than finding more fantastical creatures to keep in little balls. I admit, the animals were cute, but it's a proven fact that this show literally caused seizures in epileptic children.
Thus the anime craze came out from its underground roots and exploded into movie theaters, television channels, playing cards, video games, computer games, and of course, lots and lots of merchandise. Shows like Dragonball-Z and Yu-Gi-Oh! have certainly had an impact on the minds of young geeks.
Honestly, this didn't bother me so much. I still had my cartoons that were actually funny, and I could turn off the channel whenever I heard the words "Pika Pika!" chirped. However, as I grew older, I realized this craze had turned into a fad and this fad had turned into a trend and it wasn't going away. Worse, now people weren't just obsessed with the shows - they were obsessed with the entire Japanese culture and those crazy, big, eyelid-less eyes. Saturday night's Adult Swim COULD be spent airing episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but instead, shows reruns of Inuyasha and Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop. The fact that my Saturday night is ruined makes me very, very bitter.
I was forced into going to an anime convention by a friend of mine. Because I'm a girl, and I liked him, I went with him. But I just couldn't take more than fifteen minutes of it. There were three rooms - the drama room, the comedy room, and the action room. That's how much anime there is nowadays. Not all of it is televised - some is only available in video stores or online or in obscure comic books.
I don't really have anything against the Japanese culture, but I do find anything that gains popularity for no reason to be irritating. There are just too many people who are spending their days downloading hentai on their mom's computer, trying to draw and sell their own anime on E-bay so they can afford a trip to Tokyo to meet that guy who does the voice of their favorite anime character, and just not being productive citizens in general.
I guess I can only assume that eventually the dreadful anime trend will die out one day. And hopefully they'll take reality television with it.