Anime makes a home in the hearts of UF students

By Desiree Smith and Pulse Staff

The rise of anime has reached University of Findlay with booming interest from students all around campus.  Growing up with shows like Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z, and Avatar: The Last Airbender and even getting the chance to view anime in theatres, this generation has given leeway to a genre that wasn’t always as openly expressed or appreciated.  From Pre-Veterinary majors to aspiring teachers, many students have expressed that anime has become somewhat of a new hot topic for this generation.

The Anime News Network describes anime as a “Japanese word for cartoon and animation. In Japan, “anime” refers to any and all animation or cartoon – regardless of the genre, style, or nation of origin. Outside of Japan the word “anime” has come to refer specifically to animation of Japanese origins, or animation of a particular style.”

Simon Meyer, an Animal Science and Pre-Vet major, spoke about how a major action-packed fight from Naruto, a series on Netflix, led him to his love for anime.  Meyer even keeps a Pokémon card in his phone case to show some of his admiration for it. 

“Anime has a lot of flashy and cool graphics,” Meyer said.  “I think it has a domino effect [when] certain people started watching it.  Then it just started getting more and more and more popular.  I think, like, social media and everybody talking, [is] making it easier to talk about it.” 

Video streaming giant Netflix has also cashed in on the popularity according to an April article in the Hollywood Reporter. It said Netflix revealed that it would launch 40 new anime titles, spanning a growing range of genres, in 2022 alone.  It also reported that “half of its (Netflix) estimated 222 million subscribers watched some anime on its service in 2021. Globally, the company also saw a 20 percent increase in the total hours users spent watching anime last year.”

With the influence of large social figures being comfortable with their hobbies and interests, students are exposed to something culturally different and accepted.

Takashi Kitade, a junior Animal Science major, explained how anime was able to help him socialize with other students due to its new found popularity amongst Americans. 

“[The] culture connections,” he said, “that is the one easy way to make friends.”  Finding these connections from one topic has helped find a common ground among peers not only within the campus setting but also across social media.”

“Especially in an anti-social setting, … [being] online has given people a lot more freedom to try things,” said Meyer.

Nora Zirm, a sophomore Early Childhood Education major, says she knows about anime even though she has not seen a lot of it. 

“I kinda like the concept of it,” she said. “If I tried different ones maybe I could get into it.” 

The flexibility that anime brings may have opened up new doors to others. 

“It’s like a different type of section of shows and movies,” Zirm said. “They can be sad, but they can be dramatized, they can be horror, they can be fun.  There’s a lot within that that I think a lot of people like.”

Language and Culture Administrative Assistant Jennifer Kinn, says anime popularity has grown over the years. 

“I used to work at a bookstore… and we went from one bookshelf [of anime and manga] that was top to bottom to it being a whole half of a wall,” Kinn said. She thinks Pokemon or even Power Rangers showing on television gave way to this large boom in popularity.