The Anime/Manga Culture Runs Way Too Deep for Me

My introduction to anime and manga was a limited run TV series entitled Star Blazers. It was an American adaptation of Japan’s Space Battleship Yamato from the late 1970s. Star Blazers ran from 1979 through 1984. That was a long time ago. I was a teenager then.

These days, anime and manga are everywhere. The most popular streaming services offer tons of anime for audiences of all ages. Meanwhile, app stores are saturated with apps that get you hooked up with as much manga as you are able to handle. I don’t get it.

I understand that the anime/manga culture has its fans. I get the fact that a lot of people love Japanese art. I am fine with that. But the whole thing runs far too deep for me. It is so deep that I simply cannot keep up.

So Many New Series

Back when Star Blazers was on UHF television, there wasn’t a whole lot of anime or manga being produced for the U.S. market. In fact, Star Blazers was the only one I knew of at the time. It’s not like every TV channel (there were only four of them back then) was carrying an anime series.

I could keep up then. I cannot today. Just take a look at Netflix and all its streaming competitors. They are constantly launching new TV series. It seems like every week, something new comes out. And the strange thing is that studios cannot seem to produce it fast enough to make buyers happy.

True anime fans have their favorite websites that help them keep track of everything that is going on in the anime and manga worlds. They get their news updates every day. They sit and read the articles religiously. That’s good for them, if that’s what they want to do. I don’t have that kind of time. But if I really want to keep up with everything new, that’s how I would have to do it.

Then There’s the Merchandising

Every good pop culture phenomenon needs to be supported by merchandising. Anime and manga are no exception. I am fine with anime T-shirts and sweatshirts from Umai clothing. I am fine with a coffee mug and a few posters. But some of the anime fans I know buy so much merchandise that they don’t know what to do with it all.

And Don’t Forget the Language

I guess what really pushed me over the edge was the language. It is not foul or anything, but it is quite voluminous. The anime/manga culture has its own language consisting of legitimate Japanese words, Western adaptations of Japanese words, and completely made-up words that don’t mean a whole lot.

If you want to know just how extensive the languages are, just do an internet search on anime and manga terms for newbies. You will find an endless number of sites. Some have very short vocabulary lists covering just the basic terms. But others have long and detailed vocabulary lists extensive enough to be their own dictionaries. It’s amazing.

I have a hard enough time maintaining mastery over the English language. I cannot imagine trying to learn all the terms that anime and manga fans know. I don’t think there’s enough room in my brain for that much information.

I am okay with the fact that some people are obsessed with anime and manga. Good for them. We all need to have something to put our energies into. But for me, the anime/manga culture runs far too deep. Even if I wanted to dive in, I don’t swim well enough to stay afloat.