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What makes anime so popular?

I think a lot of people like anime for different reasons, but anime in general contain some of the most creative story lines, worlds, and characters in media. Even books related to anime are dramatic and incredible, illustrated wonderfully with every page. You just don't see that very much coming from Hollywood. In America anime makes us feel like we're learning something about another culture, despite it being only a small pocket of knowledge about a foreign country. It inspires people to be more childish and says its okay to be, even as an adult. Anime inspires imagination. It takes jokes too far, makes us fall in love with fictional characters, and does not apologize in the least when we laugh or cry--sometimes both for the same anime.

More than that, the deeper you dive into anime, the more you realize that you've joined a secret club of people who all have a similar interest. You can walk into a shoe store wearing an anime t-shirt and find yourself entrenched in an intense conversation with a complete stranger (which has happened to me). It's like having a secret key to a bunch of friends you never even knew you had. Since some of anime watchers are actually very shy people who are otherwise socially awkward, having something to talk about with any group of people is part of what makes anime so attractive.

Now, I can't forget that there is of course those who watch the more racy stuff because its like getting a free pass to watch or read porn, but those too are their own group. And I truly don't believe that they make up the majority.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are the more thought provoking animes which are usually highly complex, if not highly violent. Because of Japan's history, their tolerance for violence and unhappy endings seem to be much higher than America's when it comes to TV and movies. Anime reflects that complexity through series like Ghost In The Shell, Death Note, and .Hack//SIGN. Horror animes like Ghost Hunt stay with you. And romance animes like Fruits Basket and Maid-Sama! get watched again and again. And then, every once and a while, there comes along an anime so well made that it has a little of everything. Even some non-anime lovers sometimes can't deny their quality--like Attack on Titan.

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