Perceptions of Maturity in Anime

Anime is often treated by the general population as immature and silly along with its fans. Certainly there are fans who perpetuate this image, but those types of fans exist everywhere. Many anime which carry adult themes are generally watered down (eg. Death Note is widely known to be an anime about a character who kills using a magical notebook, but the humorous aspects of the show such as L’s mannerisms are so overplayed in the community that it is still perceived as somewhat immature despite the very relevant criminological and philosophical themes it explores).

What has created this image of anime as a whole as being incapable of being maturely written, and is it an accurate assessment of the majority of anime? Has this image negatively affected anime being seen as an art form?

  • I wholly agree that anime is perceived as immature by people who do not consider themselves fans. I've introduced anime to my partner and who has come to like some shows very much but still does not identify as an anime fan and his reasons (which I agree with) as to why he still hates many animes is chibi and filler. The idea is that it's immature because it "puts things in that don't need to be there." FMA and FMA Brotherhood are a good example of shows that insert chibi-ish animations. The shows' content is generally serious and very dark things happen and yet in the light moments the animators lets the characters chibi-out and be over animated to the point of being annoying. As for filler or arcs unrelated to the main storyline (which Bleach is notorious for!), I'd say it's more of a money-grab, but the point is that they are also a waste of time. They can argue it's for "character development" but randomly throwing a bunch of warriors into a beach day situation really isn't relevant. TL;DR: Animes are perceived as immature because of chibi insertions and filler arcs. Basically "things that don't actually need to be there." For mature audiences they really don't care to have their attention averted from the story by flashy animation and useless adventures. Has it negatively affected anime being seen as an art form? I'd say yes. – Slaidey 9 years ago
  • I think since the anime market is geared wholly towards pre-teens to teenagers that people perceive even the most philosophically challenging anime to be immature and silly. However, as my critical thinking professor once told me, what is true of the whole is not true of the parts. It's unfair to call anime immature and silly just because a majority of it is doing it. Series such as Serial Experiments Lain, Ergo Proxy, Cowboy Bebop, Psycho Pass, and Mushishi among others all play out serious stories without the use of moe or chibis and seek to challenge the audiences' perceptions. Anime, like all other forms of entertainment mediums, can be written and taken seriously. It's only up to the creators to decide where they want to take it. – wmoo 9 years ago
  • Largely agree with wmoo, though as unfair as it is to refer to all anime as immature and childish, when the defining characteristics of the medium are disproportionate characters and parodies of DragonBall, there's probably an issue with the medium itself as well. In my own thoughts, cultural incompatibility plays a disproportionately large role in creating a negative image of anime in the West. Everything is geared towards the gritty, the dark, the "mature" for an 18-25 year old. Even cartoons and kid's movies have easter eggs that point to suspiciously adult things, and things that are "immature" still have universal appeal. These are markedly different than the emotional foundations of the majority of anime, which markets itself, as wmoo said, to pre-teens and teenagers, which means anything unsuitable for that age bracket is less marketable, and creators have stuck to their formula with great success."Don't fix it f it ain't broke" comes to mind. A great recent example that comes to mind is the Toonami Sword Art Online ad. In Japan, the series was marketed as an adventure in a fantasy game land. In the States, it was displayed as a series that encapsulated a desperate attempt to escape a world that many gamers thought would be their ideal. Exact same content, completely different appeals. – Austin 9 years ago

Article on this topic

Want to write about Anime or other art forms?

Create writer account