JAPAN: Discover your inner otaku

JAPAN: Discover your inner otaku
Each series differ by genre and theme, injecting a balanced dose of adrenaline pumping action scenes that are further complemented by comic relief to draw in viewers.

Anime covers a broad range of subjects, with emphasis on human emotions while highlighting real world issues of the modern era



by

Farhana Chowdhury

Published: Sun 16 Oct 2016, 11:02 AM

Last updated: Mon 17 Oct 2016, 1:37 PM

Contesting the age-old belief that 'cartoons are just for children', Japanese animation, better known as anime, has been entertaining the masses since time immemorial with distinct art styles and engaging storylines.
Anime are often adaptations of manga (Japanese comics) that are celebrated for its innate ability to transition from lighthearted topics to dark thought-provoking concepts. Each series differ by genre and theme, injecting a balanced dose of adrenaline pumping action scenes, which are further complemented by comic relief to draw in viewers. (Would you believe there is a 69-episode series entirely dedicated to bread? It's called Yakitate!! Japan).

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Storylines tend to focus on character developments, positive outlooks, respect for seniors, patience, forgiveness and compassion regardless of the setting - be it fighting off aliens or simply living an idle life in the countryside.
Its underlying motive is to give viewers a chance to escape reality but still be able to relate to the context of the story. At times, there are real-life elements such as Japan's architecture (traditional and modern), notable landmarks, cuisine, city skylines and even public means of transportation weaved into the art to instil a sense of culture while subtly showcasing its tourism potential to foreign viewers.
While fans prefer to watch episodes in Japanese with English subtitles, popularity of anime has become so widespread that most series are now dubbed and broadcast in a variety of languages, including English and Arabic.
There are a variety of genres to suit every taste. But be warned, as the saying goes: 'Do not judge a book by its cover', not every series with cute and innocent-looking characters are meant for young viewers.
- farhana@khaleejtimes.com

New to anime? Here are few suggestions to get you started:
Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume's Book of Friends)
Genre: Fantasy, Slice of Life, Supernatural
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The slice of life series has four seasons to date, with a fifth one scheduled to air in Fall this year. The story follows the life of a 15-year-old boy, Takashi Natsume, who is able to see youkai (spirits). During his encounters, he discovers the "Book of Friends", a compilation of mythical names passed down to him by his grandmother, Reiko. With this, he embarks on a mission to set the supernatural creatures free, while experiencing heart-tugging flashbacks of their lives. Get those tissues ready!

Boku No Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)
Genre: Action, Comedy, School, Super Power

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In a world where majority of the population awaken special powers known as "quirks", a young Izuku Midoriya dreams of following in the footsteps of his hero role model, All Might, and fight for justice. However, unable to gain powers of his own, he stumbles upon an alternative method to pursue to his ambition, despite the hardships that await. The story inspires youth to chase their passion with hard work and perseverance, no matter the obstacles.

Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Starting Life in Another World)
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Thriller
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Imagine waking up in a different world, but after facing certain hurdles that lead to death, you reawaken right back where you started. Re:Zero might start off as a light-hearted comedy, but beware as the tale takes a dark turn with mysterious forces at play. Follow Natsuki Subaru on a rollercoaster of emotional turmoil.

Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars!)
Genre: School, Comedy, Drama
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Coming from a small family-owned diner in a heart of a shopping street, Souma Yukihira is seen competing with his chef father to concoct new dishes to serve to their customers. Seeing potential, his father enrols him in one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the nation, to sharpen his skills and stand tall in a world of the elite, who are geniuses in their own right.

Steins;Gate
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
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With an apartment-turned-laboratory set in Akihabara, Dr Rintarou Okabe and his team discover the ability to alter the flow of history by sending messages to the past through a contraption they had developed. The series explores the concept of time travel, alongside various scientific theories such as the Butterfly Effect, and delivers a complex but thought-provoking plot complete with quirky likeable characters, notably Dr Okabe.

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Magic
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Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric develop an interest in alchemy growing up, however, their lives take a terrible turn when an experiment to revive their dead mother goes wrong. The Law of Equivalent Exchange takes Edward's right arm and Alphonse's physical body. Determined to regain their bodies, the brothers march onward to become state alchemists. During their journey, they discover the Philosopher's Stone, a mythical relic that could hold the key to their goal, while unearthing a nationwide conspiracy.


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