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Even though anime has made its way into the mainstream over the past few years, negative notions about the medium persist.
With the exception of a few mature animated comedies (some of which are fantastic and thematically complex, like Bojack Horseman), animation in the US is still typically viewed as a medium for children. The idea that cartoons are kid sh*t, while perhaps understandable for someone who has only ever been exposed to Western media, is ignorant of the broad range of animation in other cultures.
In a similar vein, a lot of people insist that they just can't get into anime, or they stigmatize all of it because they don't like the "schoolgirl stuff." But it's important to remember that anime isn't a genre–It's a medium. Individual anime series fall into every genre under the sun, just like movies and live-action TV shows. Saying you don't like anime because of the schoolgirl stuff (which is a very valid thing to dislike) is kind of like saying you don't like movies because of slasher films. You're writing off an entire medium of art over a genre that you can easily avoid.
So let's say you are open to watching anime, but aren't quite sure where to start. Or, more likely, maybe you already love anime and you're trying to find a series to convince your SO that the $200 action figure in your room was a totally reasonable thing to buy (it was, and your life choices are perfect). Just check out any of these gateway anime series that serve as perfect entry points into the medium's diverse offerings.
Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)
Few series have ever come close to crafting a narrative as perfect as Attack on Titan. The premise is high-concept: The last surviving humans live in a walled off city surrounded by giant, humanoid, man-eating monsters called Titans. One day the walls are breached, and three surviving children—Eren, Mikasa, and Armin—set their sights on joining the military in order to fight back for the sake of humanity. But what could have been a simple, straight-forward action-horror show, turned out to be so much more. Nothing is ever as it seems in Attack on Titan, and the plot continually twists to turn everything you thought you knew on its head. Attack on Titan is thrilling, terrifying, tragic, and emotionally resonant, oftentimes all at once. It's a show about the horrors of war and the lengths humans will go to protect the things they hold dear to them. If you only watch one anime ever, make sure it's Attack on Titan.
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The song is loud and braggadocios, and as police assault innocent protestors across the country, YG once again says what's exactly on our mind.
As protests swell across the country demanding an end to police brutality and justice for the murder of George Floyd, YG once again releases a protest song in line with the current political climate.
YG - FTP (Official Audio) www.youtube.com
"Death Note" never explicitly names the American president, but he's very clearly drawn as Donald Trump.
*MILD SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE NEW DEATH NOTE ONE-SHOT*
Death Note is considered by many to be one of the best manga series ever made, with an adaptation that's often used as a "gateway anime" due to its accessibility even to people who are unfamiliar with or don't like the medium. It's a relatively short series, at only 108 chapters, with a clean narrative arc that ends definitively in every way. So a brand new one-shot chapter from the original creative team (writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata) is the best of kind of news for manga fans.
Without spoiling too much of the main plot, the One-Shot follows Ryuk the shinigami in the modern day as he, once again, uses his Death Note to create some havoc. One of the plot points involves the Death Note going up for auction and a bidding war breaking out between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China. The American president, who's never explicitly named but is very clearly drawn as Donald Trump, wins with a two trillion dollar bid and promises to never use it in order to ensure world peace.
But before giving the notebook to "Mr. President," Ryuk decides on a new rule: "A human who buys or sells the Death Note in the human world will die. The seller will die when they receive the money, and the buyer will die when they receive the Death Note." Ryuk taunts Mr. President, explaining that he "paid all that money, just to die," alongside the caveat that if Mr. President refuses to take the notebook, he'll consider the sale null. Of course, Mr. President still won't get his money back.
Just look at that weird-lipped mug.
Ryuk expands on the conundrum he's presenting Mr. President: "If you take the notebook, you'll die, but it will remain here. So someone high and mighty in this country will get it, right? You'll die, but it'll belong to your nation."
Mr. President, of course, backs out. To which Ryuk responds: "Got it. You value your life over your country." Mr. President tells Ryuk that he still plans to lie about having it, and his refusal to use it will make him "look like a saint."
"Very shrewd, Mr. President," says Ryuk.
Manga isn't known for being particularly political, even regarding Japan's own politics, so when manga artists (and other Japanese celebrities, too) use their medium to make political statements, it's a big deal. For instance, Yu-Gi-Oh creator Kazuki Takahashi later apologized after making a political post on Instagram criticizing the right-wing Abe administration and depicting the Dark Magician saying, "The future for despotic politicians is the Dark Dimension!"
"It seems I caused a commotion," said Takahashi in response to the situation, while being careful not to retract his own political views. "I've considered the various points of view, and I deeply apologize to all of the series' fans for having the characters make political statements."
So for Ohba and Obata's political commentary to pass through the Shonen Jump editorial cycle in an official capacity...Well, it goes to show that Donald Trump's overwhelming disapproval rating isn't just limited to the United States.
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