I’m an introvert which means that I like spending a lot of time hanging out by myself and just enjoying my hobbies in peace. And by hobbies, I mean watching my favorite anime series and reading my favorite books and mangas. I like going to the gym as well, but it’s hard to call that a hobby, it’s somewhere between a hobby and a treat, because I always feel good after a workout. Not better than after watching anime, though.

But this doesn’t mean I don’t have any friends. Luckily, almost my friends are introverts like me, so we get each other. And they also like anime and manga, which is kinda how we met and started hanging out. We’re all grown adults with full-time jobs, so it’s not like we see each other every day, but we do keep in touch, in our own way. Mostly by sending gifs of anime scenes. Or memes. Totally like teenagers, haha.

So, I usually throw an annual anime-themed party for all my friends, and anyone else who’s interested to come, really. They’re not big bombastic bashes, but there have been moments. I bought this cocktail book two years ago to make some fun and colorful cocktails, and it proved to be very useful. I did make a mess and the first few cocktails were poison, but now I’m pretty good at it. I became the bartender in our group.

Cosplay is optional because I often invite people who’re not really into anime, like colleagues or gym buddies, but they often seem to have fun and like to learn something more about anime, or Japanese culture, or just meet some new people. They’re most amused when someone from my group of friends comes all dressed up in cosplay and gets into character.

The cuisine is definitely mixed. I have all sorts of snacks and foods, from delicious rice-cakes to nachos. I like to accommodate everyone’s taste buds, so I’m not really fussy and precise about the food. It doesn’t have to match the theme to the T.

I don’t usually dress up, but I do like to have some accessory on me to nod to a certain anime character. This year I had a pocket watch on me, akin to Sebastian Michaelis’ from Black Butler because it’s one of my favorite anime series. I do regret a little bit not wearing a full-on butler uniform – you don’t get the chance every day! But, it’s something to think about for next year!

So much cool fighting goes on in anime. Sometimes I imitate the moves, but they are physically impossible with my body. I am fairly fit and toned, but I don’t bend the way an animated character does. Too bad. It would be fun. I can see a party revolving around self-defense maneuver without the flying, of course. Everyone would dress up and do makeup to resemble their favorite beings, and of course there would be lots of posts on social media about it. Most anything would be allowed. I would have to learn some easy stuff I could teach to others. What can I do in the privacy of my own home? A lot I imagine. Here’s what I have learned.

  • Hand-to hand combat is a skill you can learn
  • Grab your attacker’s wrist and rotate your own so your thumbs meet his fingers. Create a jerking movement by sharply bending your arm at the elbow.
  • Try thrusting the sole of your foot toward your assailant’s knee which will incapacitate him. No one can successfully block your motion like the face or groin.
  • You can inflict pain and muscle spasms by hitting the vagus nerve below the ear. Just don’t do it too hard.
  • Items in your pocket make effective weapons such as a comb. Press the teeth into a mugger’s upper lip as hard as you can.
  • Knock the wind out of someone with a hit to the solar plexus. While an attacker is reeling, you can run for help.
  • Learn the “guillotine choke” in which you pull the attacker’s head down into your chest (towards the armpits). Reach around their head with one arm and slide your forearm across the exposed throat. Then lock your hands and drop your choking elbow a bit. If you pull up the opponent’s head, the air supply will be cut off. This may take considerable practice and is best for stronger men.
  • The same goes for head butts. You had better know what you are doing.
  • Yelling and screaming can disarm an attacker allowing you time to escape. It is also a signal for help that assailants want to avoid.
  • Elbow strikes can be as effective as basic punching. Ladies, if you have been doing boxing at the gym, more power to you. This is a good alternative if you do not. Remember that these strikes can cause intensive bleeding. It can be dangerous in the same way that poking an eye can be painful and debilitating. Be careful with these moves.
  • An ear slap is less damaging. Use the palm of your hand to slam the ear causing a painful blast of air pressure into the ear canal. Alternatively, you can pull aggressively on the ears.

Knowing basic self-defense techniques will help you decide what to do in the event of an assault. You can fight or take flight. Human instinct is to do the latter, but you might not be able to take off. It is best to pick and choose the moves you are most comfortable doing.

When my trainer pulls out the big red boxing gloves from the gym locker, I get exciting. Another session that is not only super fun, but that brings great tone to my arms and legs. Yes legs. I dance around in a widening circle as we spar. Faster and faster like a spinning top. When I am alone and want to practice, there is the bag awaiting my arrival, but it is more challenging to work with a pro. He keeps me guessing. He can do a round of jabs, cross body punches, upper cuts, and the like in a new order each time. It is a great mental exercise for learning to focus and pay attention. I feel like an anime character at play, building up stamina for the next big fight.

On gym day, I arise promptly looking forward to my day. Boxing packs a punch in my life. It gets me going to face the world. I don’t plan on a bout any time soon; it is just my way of feeling strong and powerful. There is nothing like it to boost the confidence and also the spirit. You feel in control while you get fit as a fiddle.

What is it about boxing anyway? Yes, it is a popular spectator sport, but not as much as others like soccer or football. It used to be in the days of Ali and Frazier. The thriller in Manila. But it has changed. Maybe it will make a comeback soon. I hope so. It is long overdue. Meanwhile I want to get good at my newfound fun. When you enjoy something, it is automatic. You improve by leaps and bounds if your heart is in it. While exercise and fitness regimens can be a bore, boxing brings it up to a whole new level.

You are reading right. I am touting boxing for everyone. It is an efficient way to work out and keep in shape. Plus, its very affordable and space efficient – a set of boxing gloves and a punching bag are cheap and don’t take up much room in your home. Trust me, it leaves an impression. Once you put on those gloves, you are in the zone! Shadow boxing isn’t bad either. You can do it at home in your hard-earned spare time. Me, I have loads of it.

It is not about hitting someone in the face as you might think. It is about developing coordination, speed, and focus. These are agility and strength. Boxing isn’t easy when done well, but it is worth the effort, believe me. You can watch great videos to get inspired. Man, those reflexes are amazing! I know when I watch people at the gym, the regulars, I know that boxing makes fighters out of average people. And the really good ones—are they ever built! Serious practitioners are hard bodies and ripped. Not an ounce of fat. It is warrior courage for me, inspired by my favorite cartoons. You feel reborn, like you could face anything.

I am getting a little carried away. Boxing is all this and more, but for most people, it is a workout par excellence.

If you don’t moan about cleaning, you are not human. No one likes it—ever. You can use scented soaps that are kind to the hands and soft sponges that foam up with zeal. You can get state-of-the-art robot vacuum cleaners and floor polishers. Who cares! When I had to move out of my apartment a while back, I had to do a thorough overhaul inside and out so it was major work—with any kind of mechanical help. I put it off until the night before. Ugh. I had nightmares about it.

In one dream, I saw a cartoon character named Tomohiro. You won’t find him in Japanese anime. He is all my own. I was taking the car to the local carwash loaded with rusted appliances, dirty pots and pans, filthy clothes. It was filled to other gills and needed a thorough douse. I intended to open the windows, drive through the washing aisle, and presto, it would all be done at once, and for cheap. How ingenious.

Suddenly, I saw a little boy named Tomohiro playing in the nearby alley. He was only five, slight of build, and cute as a button with black straight hair and a sly smile. He snuck into the carwash one morning and hid behind some fake potted plants. When no one was looking, he grabbed a portable pressure washer and turned it on full blast. It created a deluge on high, the spewing nozzle pointed sharply at the ceiling. The tyke tried to get control but it got him instead. He was flailing about frantically. Tomohiro started spinning faster and faster like a whirling dervish of water. His hair was standing straight on end, his eyes were open wide. He spun with it in hand, never letting go as it fused to his grip. He finally became the pressure washer and disappeared into its mysterious innards. The motor went off and there was no longer a sound.

I awoke with a start, sweating bullets about the lost little boy. Would he ever come out? The power washer was the same small size at the end of my dream (something like this). Whoosh. He was somewhere within. It now lay quieting on the concrete floor, asleep. I was so startled by this strange anime imagery that I dreaded going to the carwash for months afterward. I was able to tote my belongings during my relocation in a borrowed truck and I didn’t care about the cleanliness status of anything one bit. As I unpacked, I dealt individually with each item, sorting piles of wares and apparel accordingly.

I still bitch about cleaning chores to this day, but got through the move intact. I laugh now at the crazy carwash shortcut I was about to undertake in my odd dream. Tomohiro had been a warning of sorts. My efforts at tidying up and restoring things is now done the old fashioned way, when I deign to undertake the required tasks. I even do the car by hand.

They’re huge!  Anime and Manga have taken swept the world off their feet and the popularity of both are rising every day.  But what’s the difference between the two?

Anime is, by definition, Japanese animation with either computer generated or drawn-by-hand artwork.  The artwork is a style all its own with fantasy characters in vivid colors, sporting huge emotion-filled eyes and soul-filled expressions of either good or evil.  It is seen in films, theater and even in video games.

Manga, however, is the word for Japanese comics.  The cartoons, or comics, are in a vibrant style all their own that comes down from the late 19th century and are an important part of Japanese historical art.  When manga is popular enough, it too is often put into productions like movies.

Arguably, both anime and manga are only authentic when produced in Japan.  But many fans stray from that rule.  Regardless, there is a distinct style to both and no matter where it originates, the style is never compromised.

Chances are, if you are like me, if you’re a fan of one, you’re a fan of the other.  They go together like ham and eggs or peanut butter and jam.  And, likewise, when you’re hooked on one, you’re hooked on both…like me.

In general, anime is likely to be done in a higher quality than manga is because it runs many frames per second while manga relies on panels for images.  Manga is apt to have less pages and less action and movement.  Anime is strong on background details.

Both anime and manga have vivid, vibrant colours and are captivation to look at.  The also both share the emphasis on physical features like huge eyes and oversized heads.  Anime colour is oftentimes more keen but manga may have more details in the characters.

There are times when manga is actually turned in to anime.  When that happens, the manga is modified to fit into full-length films and usually the content is changed about a bit too so that it includes a wider audience as manga is even more niche-based than anime.  Some find little differences at all and get them confused but once you know what you are looking for, it’s easy to distinguish them.

Both anime and manga are wildly popular in Japan.  In fact, it would be hard to find a Japanese person who has not been exposed to one or the other, or both.  It has become part of the Japanese heritage and something the rest of the world notes them for.

The Western World has caught on to the craze too.  There has become quite a following for both anime and manga, so much so, it’s thought of as a cult by some.  Of the people who do get into one or the other, some like a broad genre and others find a niche that tickles their fancy.

So whether you are one who group anime and manga as one and the same, or feel each has a place all its own, you ‘ve got to love and respect each in their own rights.  In many ways they are as similar as can be and in other ways, they are as different as night and day.  But no matter how you slice it, anime and manga are expressive and impressive Japanese art that many, like myself, cannot get enough of.

Akira_for_download

I’ve been an avid anime fan for years.  I love anime of all genres.  There’s something about the fantasy beings with their exaggerated features and huge emotion-filled eyes that I can’t resist.  And the often senseless plots are equally as addicting, to me at least.

Choosing the best of the best anime movies and comics ever is quite a ques.  It’s kind of like asking a rock and roll guru to pick their favourite song or an artist to say which colour is tops on the pallet.  It’s for sure difficult for a devout animate fan like myself but I’m going to take a stab at it.

“Akira” is for sure on my list.  It’s full of fantastic visual content and was one of the first films to woo me in.  Set in the future with Tetsuo Shima trying to free Akira, it was a classic like Cinderella is to Disney.

“Ninja Scroll” is another favorite on mine.  Some of my friends thought it was too gross and violent but I happened to like it.  Not so sure if that is a good or bad thing on my behalf but the movie makes the cut in my book.  Kawaiiri did a great job writing it and of course, the characters were amazing.

Coming in at number two is “Princess Momonoke”.  For personal reasons, this one I found touchng.  Ashitaka gained a spot in my heart in this full length film.  If you haven’t seen this film, it’s a must see, for sure.

My all-time favourite is “Spirited Away”.   This movie was first released in 2001 but wasn’t translated to English until Disney won the right to dub it.  Knowing some history behind this story made me absolutely fall in love with it.  The writer, Hayao Miyazaki, had never dedicated a movie until this one but he did so on this one to five girls he and his family spent summers at a lake cabin with while he was growing up.  That touched me for some reason.

The anime production is about a girl named Chihiro who traveled with her family from their new home to a nearby town where they partook of some delicious and mysterious food which opened Chihiro’s eyes to the spiritual world in the town and turned her parents into pigs because they had eaten like pigs.

Chihiro then set about to save her parents from becoming food for the spirits with the help of a boy named Haku.  The two had met just before her parents had been turned into swine and he had tried to warn her to get out of the town and back home before sundown.  She had not done so which caused the misfortune in the first place.  Rather than to say, “I told you so”, Haku acted as a true friend and helped do what he could to help.

“Spirited Away” was first a box office hit.  It then sold more videos than any other anime films in America.  It also won an Academy Award.  The music is phenomenal as well.  There are a trillion reasons why this anime production is my pick of the best of the best and is tops on my list.

I suppose every culture has something to say about body parts. God knows we all talk about appearance endlessly. Some, however, should go unnamed. Feet, on the other hand, are often discussed in different countries where they require extra attention and shoeing. People may be trained in their care. In Japan, they are as important in terms of hygiene as anywhere else. Pedicures are popular. Furthermore, the size of one’s feet is a subject of distain if they happened to be large.

Footwear fashions are as important in Japan as in France or Italy. The US goes either way: sneakers and old tennis or stilettos and T-straps. It says a lot about you what surrounds your feet and remember that size matters. American women, for example, are known to sport size nine or ten—or larger. This would probably not even be available in a Tokyo department store. Men have it a little better, but not much.

So take a look at your precious tootsies and see if they are diminutive or lengthy. Are they pretty or sad? Do you have bunions or toe fungus? Are your feet presentable in public? If you are buying new shoes, you better beware of baring the evidence outright. People are known to stare at misshapen or deformed appendages. They don’t like to see corns and blisters. It says you are not high class and may be working in old moldy shoes. Your socks may be gracing the trash as I write. It might mean bad genes or worse.

The mention of someone having a case of toenail fungus brings to mind a perplexing problem. You can be clean as a whistle, bathe often, smell divine, and still get it. It comes from the gym shower or dirty socks. Some people don’t dry their feet enough causing the growth of a blackish yellow nuisance. It’s hard to get rid of and looks much worse than it is.

If this is your plague, try laser treatments, prescriptions pills, and various tonics and potions you can buy online. There are lots of web sites like this one offering reviews and information to help you overcome this ailment. Whatever you do, don’t show it! If you are at the beach or in a public shower, you will be noticed for sure. People do look at others’ feet. They assess the size, shape, and skin condition. They look at people in manicure salons, comparing their own. You think they’re just liking your polish color! They notice telltale hairs sprouting in odd places. It makes them shudder at the mere sight.

Take a tip from me, if you live in Japan or not, your feet are the hallmark of your being—not your eyes. They hold you up and carry you forward through life. They age with you, suffer with you, but also experience joy with you. They are, in a sense, sacred. While long toes are aristocratic like noses in the west, protruding feet below your skirt or pants are not. The Japanese did not bind feet in medieval times, but perhaps there was something right about that old Chinese custom.

anime

To be politically correct, anime are animation products with grassroots in Japan.  By definition, anime can be drawn by free-hand or animated via computer as long as it originates in Japan.

Anime enthusiasts, like myself, rarely follow the rules though.  To me, as well as to many other anime fans, anime is defined by the signature fantasy characters with those huge expressive eyes doing the things that only anime can do like sporting gigantic drops of sweat or sometimes even blood, brandishing a weapon from nowhere or a male figure getting a nosebleed because he is in love.  It’s those special touches that constitute anime to me.

Is Japanese anime better than American anime though?  Authentic or not, American anime is pretty impressive.  Then again, so is Japanese anime.  With the distinct lines and artistic strokes that make up the composing of the characters, the main thing that makes an excellent anime, in my book, is that the character comes to live with emotion, personality and soul.  I have witnessed that from both Japanese and Americans.

So, what’s the difference of anime in America an anime in Japan?  For one, most Americans grew up watching cartoons but not necessarily anime.  Disney films and cartoon carnival were the norm for the older generations.  Pokémon paved the way for anime in America but still, there just isn’t that strong rooting as there is in Japan.

In Japan, anime is watched by young and old alike on a regular basis.  It has become a big part of their culture and is available in mass form on video, movies, theater, comics (called manga) and video games.  While an American might go out to watch an action movie or tune in to a drama on television, the Japanese are apt to be watching these varieties as anime productions.

Story content differs too.  In America, it is the norm in cartoons and anime to have a good and evil story line.  Though the plot may twist and turn and get downright wicked, generally, good trumps evil.  But Japanese anime plots do not follow that norm.

Shinto, a disorganized religion, is prevalent in many Japanese anime productions.  Rather than promoting a good and evil overtone, it is more about legends, gods and often about subjects Americans consider taboo as well.

Anime is indeed more infiltrated in Japan, but does that mean that it’s better?  The answer is a matter of opinion, of course.  Much of how good an anime production turns out is determined by the artists behind the characters, the writers and the producers.  And…there are some greats.  Ben 10, Calamity Jane and Alien Force are American made anime hits.  Since 2007, the American Anime Awards have acknowledged the best of the best in the American anime world.

Americans are earning their places in anime, that’s for sure.  Can they reach beyond their cultural programing of the good versus evil plot to embrace the Japanese style anime productions?  Absolutely.  And, there is quite a Western World following of anime so to say that it’s not part of the American culture is another ineffective strike in my opinion.

The question still remains.  Whose anime is the best, American or Japanese?  For an avid anime fan like myself, the answer remains the same, the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and is evident in the creation rather than the creator.

hollooween

What are you be for Halloween?  Being admittedly obsessed with anime, you can probably guess what I’m going to be.  Dressing up as an anime is super fun and simple to do.  You may want to join me in my transformation from fan to fantasy in just a few easy steps.

Hum…which character to be?  If you are familiar with anime, you know the possibilities are endless.   Naruto is a popular choice for guys.  Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei and Nagi no Asukara are fun for the girls.

Lizzie from Black Butler is another great pick.  Grab a Victorian dress, dawn blonde pony tails, white knee socks and a pair of black (or white) Mary Jane shoes and you’re good to go. Kousaku Hata is easy enough to pull off too.  One black or dark blue dress suit, white or grey button-down shirt and a tie makes for the appropriate attire.  Add the signature hair-do or buy the wig and, ta-dah!

You can choose your favourite anime character or, you can do as I am, and go as the one you look the most like which is Ridoru Ichinose Haru.  I’m not so sure I see the resemblance but that’s what I’m always told so, I’ll go with it.  I love “Riddle Story of Devil” so, how can I go wrong?

If you’re like me and aren’t into making a costume totally from scratch, but don’t want to spring for the price of purchasing the whole kit and kaboodle, you can opt for buying just a piece or two.  I am ordering the wig and putting the rest together myself.  Purchasing just one piece of the costume from a cosplay shop can often make the difference of being recognizable…or not.

Double your fun by dressing up along with your boyfriend or girlfriend as a couple like Kurosaki Ichigo & Kuchiki Rukia or Uzumaki Naruto & Hyuga Hinata.  Mates can go as GetBackers or Oz and Raven in “Pandora Hearts”.  A group of girls can simply dress as anime school girls or a group of guys can be villains.

The best thing about being an anime for Halloween is that you can make your cosplay as detailed or as simple as you please.  Just like in anime itself, there are no rules or regulations.  The objective is just to have loads of fun.

If you really want to go over the top, why not throw an Anime Halloween party?  Send out invitations requesting that your guests dress in their favourite anime character.  You can even specify a certain movie or game the characters are to be from if you want to.

Decorate the party location with theme posters, action figures, backdrops and hanging paper lanterns.  Let candles and coloured twinkle lights add a mysterious air to the scene.  For activities, try masquerade cosplay where guests take turns acting out their character.  Anime film marathons are entertaining too.  Of course, Japanese snacks are in order for anime party snacks.

Anime is too much fun to leave off your Halloween list.  No matter if you dress the part or throw a full blown anime bash, be sure to include it somewhere in the festivities.  I know I am!

South Korea is known for great BBQ around the world, particularly in the US. (Have you been to Los Angeles?) How trite. That is not the only thing this venerable country does well. They make wonderful cosmetics and beauty products, and perhaps less well known, toilets. They import and export like any modern society, but provide a range of bathroom fixtures for domestic use. I don’t think they expect to compete with Kohler, American Standard, and Grohe, not to mention Japan’s TOTO. I know that toilets are not what you think right away when the word “South Korean” comes into your mind. However, there are manufacturers and supplier for this industry generating significant local revenue.

Like any country, developed or not, bathrooms, public and private, are quite various—from the primitive to the most advanced. Sometimes the situation produces culture shock. This is certainly true in parts of Africa, Russia, China, and the Middle East. In Korea, clogging is a problem that has caused attention among tourists and therefore fixture designers who are working on it and some of the best flushing toilet models in the world are coming out of Korean manufacturers. The old units can’t handle too much paper and adjacent garbage bins are sitting full to the brim. Perhaps this is why you will see plenty of janitors in public places. I know you are now thinking squatters, so just know that they are getting fewer and far between. If you don’t know what it is, don’t ask!

Rapid modernization is changing this dated picture and technology is now keeping pace. Better quality performance is assured when you renovate and replace old units. They now make electronic seats and bidets that meet changing standards and tastes. The cultural shift like this has been most welcome. The new shower toilet is a case in point. It sprays warm water due to a built-in heating system. This is considered the top of the line when it comes to personal hygiene. It can air dry and deodorize, and you can adjust the nozzle pressure. No more paper! Plus they are self-diagnostic and won’t break down.

If you are relocating and perhaps planning on residing in Seoul for family purposes or a new job, it is not out of the question to expect the new models in your home or rented condo. If you are a high roller, you can be pretty well assured. At this point, you might not have even seen this kind of self-cleaning system before, so you are in for a treat. You might even get wireless remote and a choice of aerated, pulsating, or oscillating power wash. They are like an electronic genie working at your command.

South Koreans pride themselves on keeping up with the technological revolution and given what came before, the impact has been vast. The citizenry is proud of its modernization. Urban areas are bustling and sophisticated. Western values are everywhere due to the spread of modern media. Okay, they do also make toilets for plebeians as they do elsewhere who are content with the old ways and don’t wish to pay a fortune. But if you are looking for love in South Korean places, you’ve got it.

If you don’t know what anime is, you are really behind the times for your generation. That would include the last five! If you are older, and not wiser, and are reading this blog, you must want to know more. You have heard of it but maybe haven’t a clue.

Anime has been around for a very long time (over a century) but is super popular with youth now for its free-flowing innovative spirit in the world of animation. At least, I hope you know it is a Japanese invention involving hand-drawn and computer artistry. It’s very colorful, is loaded with fun characters and is known for fantastic themes. You can’t beat it for imagination and the creative use of settings and special effects. Of course, it has changed along with new generations of artists, but it remains a staple of the Japanese film industry. There are jillions of production companies. In fact, most young animators would do nothing but anime.

Children and adults are all big fans. It is not surprising that I, a grown up, like anime-themed merchandise such as coin purses, wallets, key chains, stuffed animals, etc. There are lots of characters and stories from which to choose. I could fill a book, not just a blog. I will limit myself to describing my favorite vinyl neon-color backpack covered with some pretty delightful cartoons. The anime look is unique and any aficionado will spot it right away. I think I must tote my backpack to signal my allegiance to the art form so other fellow travelers will know they are with an avid ally, who will soon be a friend. I must be someone they would want to know, or at least talk to.

If you think you might want one of these gems, try on line, but I hate to give my secrets away. I kind of like the individuality of having something uniquely my own. Most of the cool backpacks I’ve seen are fabricated in Japan as you would expect. No rip offs or fakes. You get the real thing when it comes by oriental post. (You will know when you track your package if it is bogus or not.)

Why do I want to label myself? Why does anyone about anything? I think we are all very proud of our special interests and hobbies and want to share them with the world. It’s like wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers sweatshirt or a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap. Most people label themselves publicly, at least when in casual attire. I actually think the backpack idea is more subtle. Having a team pennant waving in the breeze from your car is a lot more in your face.

So, backpack in tow, here I come world to tell you all about the wonders of anime. Stop me and I will explain why I like it. Engage me to learn something new. Find out the inside story of those cute little faces done in the best graphic style. Get with the program whoever you are and let’s spread the word.

Anime is everywhere.  You see anime on the telly, in movies and all over the internet, those vibrant characters with huge eyes and exaggerated features that look like they stepped out of a fantasy right onto the page.  They’re adorable and addicting too (trust me).  But what exactly what is Anime anyway?

There’s no one solid answer as there are different interpretations of what anime really is.  The word ‘anime’ in Japanese simply means animation or cartoon.  In the Western world, though, it refers to hand-drawn or computer generated Japanese animation in particular, especially the kind with the distinct fantasy characters that have become so popular.  Not all anime is human either.  Some are spirits, demons, robots and animals and some are even a wild combination of things like part horse and part human.  Anything goes when it comes to Anime.  There are no rules.

Emotions are often portrayed in anime by way of dramatic expressions like big drops of sweat pouring off of them or worry lines plastered across their foreheads.  You never know what might happen next. A female anime character is likely to grab and use a weapon when prompted.   A male may sport a very bloody nose indicating a love interest.

Anime graphics are usually of excellent quality, drawn with distinct skillful lines and lots of soul.  In general, there are diverse camera angles and creative measure of film making that are widely used but not a lot of animated movement of the characters themselves.  The scenery or objects in the setting are usually very detailed and intriguing.

There are a number of styles of productions including theater, video, online and television.  It’s easy to get engulfed in the Japanese animations and many do.  There are anime productions that a broad group of viewers enjoy and then there are niches that a select few hold an interest in.

You’ll find children’s anime, much like what the Western culture calls cartoons.  There are drama anime productions with storylines that bring out the emotional and spiritual sides of the characters and often are a fine cross of fiction, fantasy and real life.  Another quite popular form of anime is porn.

Anime was made public in Japan around 1917 but didn’t really catch on in the rest of the world until the 1960’s.  It was in the 1980’s, however, that it began to take hold, steadily growing into the near-cult it is today.

Pokémon is a fine example of anime that has swooped the Western world.  Not only is there a popular cartoon television series but also video games, movies and even collectable cards.  Young and old alike love Pokémon.

Anime is sometimes categorized in genre, much like Western world movies, such as drama, action/adventure, science fiction, horror, game-based and progressive-style films.  The genres appeal to such groups as young boys, young girls, children in general, women, men and adults in general.  As far as themes, you will see such categories as “Bishoio or, beautiful girls, Bishonen which feature a feminine pretty boy, Sentai is generally about fighting and Hentaii are sexually based productions.

Whether you are looking for clip art, checking into animation programs, seeking a movie to watch or randomly surfing the net, you are going to run into anime.  Chances are that if you watch a variety of the Japanese art forms, you will find one (or more) that suits your fancy just like I did.  There is truly something for everyone when it comes to anime.