Anime. Love it or hate it. It’s important. Although I know that anime isn’t a widely watched form of entertainment here in the United States, I do think it’s a valuable form of animation that offers something that we don’t really get in many of the animated works that are produced in the western world.
The stories that are told in the western world today are lacking in something that was present in the stories that were written in the Romantic Period. If you think about stories like Frankenstein, Dracula, or Moby Dick the stories related something through the story itself that resonated with larger themes in society as a whole. Different aspects of the stories were symbolic to some degree and this type of writing was arguably some of the best literary work that has come out of the western world.
This type of storytelling is still alive and well in the world of anime. Something that we have lost here in the west is still practiced at a masterful level by certain people. If you watched a movie by Hayao Miyazaki it’s hard to walk away from any of his works without feeling like something greater than what was depicted on the scene was communicated during the experience of watching it.
Spirited Away might be one of the best examples of what we are talking about. I myself am not the biggest fan of anime but I am willing to recognize what makes it great and why it has an appeal to certain people. I think there could be a lot to learn from anime to anyone that is thinking about storytelling here in the western world.
Anyone that crafts a story that resonates on different levels other than what is shown on the screen, in my opinion, is the superior storyteller. This is why I think there is a significant amount of good that can come from just experiencing a great story. Something that anime does superbly.