Saturday, 20 April 2013

Entertainment from Overseas: The Anime Phenomenon

Globalisation is a word that often connotes boring images of high school geography classes. But in truth we have a lot to thank for the international focus the world has taken, particularly with regards to entertainment. How else would we get our weekly installments of American Idol or Game of Thrones if entertainment was not a global industry? But in recent times it is not only the dramas and reality TV shows that have reached our shores. A certain popularity has sparked for a type of television show termed 'anime' that we import from Japan.

I'm sure many of us now can remember growing up with 'cartoon' shows like Dragon Ball Z (pictured above), Pokemon, Card Captors and even Digimon on the infamously popular  Cheese TV. But these early tastes of anime, the Japanese art style common across these childhood favourites, is becoming steadily popular in Australia among older 'kids', with darker and more in-depth shows available in the popular genre. Late night television has become inundated with this new medium of entertainment, and the recent rumours regarding a new season of Dragon Ball Z have 'nerdy' fans cheering. So for those behind on their anime, we thought we'd offer up a few choice selections to check out that have been a massive hit with those familiar with the genre.

Death Note
In this anime, a Shinigami (Japanese for God of Death) named Ryuk drops his notebook into the human world. This notebook is nothing innocent, but rather is a potential weapon of mass murder. The book comes with instructions for whatever human picks it up, the first describing its primary function: "The person whose name is written in this note shall die." This book is called a Death Note, and a twisted plot ensures when Light, a young student in Tokyo with a strong sense of justice, picks up the book. The anime follows Light, and the mysterious elite detective L, as they enter a bloody battle of wits to see who will kill who first. The anime questions much about life, death, and where to draw the line with regards to morality.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
After their mother dies, brothers Edward and Alphonze try to bring their mother back to life using a science-based magic called alchemy. However the transmutation goes tragically wrong, and the two boys - misunderstanding the laws of equivalent exchange - end up losing a lot more. Horribly disfigured by the tragedy, the brothers set out into the world to find a way to restore their bodies back to normal, and perhaps bring their mother back again. The world is similar to our own around the turn of the first world war, but of course with added alchemists who are skilled in the magical science of alchemy. This anime has a lot of action, but it is the heart-warming story of brotherhood and loss that makes this anime truly popular.

Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon was largely popular in Australia during the 90s and early in 2000s. But sadly the Western version of the show was largely downplayed and censored for the benefit of audiences. In the original version, all of the planets have a Sailor Scout assigned to them, including Mini Sailor Moon, coming to a grand total of nine Scouts plus the Princess, Sailor Moon. The original version ran for much longer, with a more intense and mature plotline. Of particular note is the homosexual relationship between Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus (shown on the right of the above image as the dark green and dark blue Scouts). The original version is also a lot more gory, and we advise you don't grow too attached to any of the Sailor Scouts. Any of them.

~ Written by Jessica Sheridan

Image Sources: fanpop.comsquadmemberritsureviews,,

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