Most will agree that the visuals and the animation “date” an anime series. Something more subtle and more easily overlooked achieves a similar effect, however.
I’m talking about cellphones. To be more specific, I’m talking about smartphones.
These days, many anime characters can be seen extensively using smartphones one way or another. In a world where many people, including yours truly, are glued to their modern technological miracles, watching characters act in the same way can really resonate with viewers. I know I feel like I can sort of relate, at least.
The use of smartphones are usually not crucial to the plot, admittedly, but the way they are used can provide some insight into a character or enable events to unfold. In other words, they’re typically not the main picture, but perhaps they’re the frame which allows for said picture to shine.
Let’s look at some of the ways smartphones are used in anime series, shall we?
This obviously isn’t something new. Back when anime characters were walking around with flip phones, they were exchanging text messages back and forth. But seeing them use LINE and similar apps shows that the series is taking place in a more modern setting.
Such conversations can indicate closeness. After all, having a private talk with someone when they’re not even there through the use of technology shows that they wanted to converse with you. It can get a little romantic if we keep being abstract about this, to be honest.
But it can also introduce a sense of loneliness. These textual messages are being sent and received and read and seen and exchanged precisely because they are not or can not be there in-person to talk with one another.
We’re all aware of how scary stories are usually told in anime. A group sits around in the dark and someone holds a flashlight under his or her chin while recounting spooky tales.
These days, however, anime characters can use smartphones in lieu of bulky and inconvenient flashlights as pointed out by infinitezenith. Such is the power of flashlight apps or cranking up the brightness setting up to max! This can be seen in Slow Start episode 6 as the girls try to scare each other during a study session sleepover.
On an unrelated note, I almost always keep my brightness setting at the highest possible level. It sure does kill my phone battery quickly, but actually being able to see what’s on the screen is well worth it.
Taking & Sharing Pictures
The backgrounds in anime sure can be pretty. Many anime viewers will take screenshots of such beautiful landscape shots. It turns out anime characters share similar thoughts. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say.
Nadeshiko and Rin exchange such pictures in Yuru Camp episode 5 and get closer as friends as a result despite the fact that they’re nowhere close to one another in terms of location and physical presence.
Online Job Offers
Look no further than “Shadyjob.com.”
It’s basically like craigslist from what I can tell.
Looking Things Up
A long time ago, you had to ask other people if you wanted to know the answer to questions. Or you had to look things up in a book. But nowadays you can just consult an online search engine as you look up how to properly prepare ginkgo nuts!
Aww, Yui’s clothes matches with that of her phone.
Last but not least, sometimes anime characters use smartphones to call others. Not that smartphones are all that good at that, I feel. The fact that your bare skin is up against the screen is kind of weird to me. But I digress.
Wow, his phone is at 96%?! I guess Eriol-kun doesn’t play mobile games.
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination since there are so many shows in which characters use smartphones and so many ways smartphones can be used, but I’ll stop here.
What do you think of the portrayal of smartphones in anime? Questions, comments, and concerns are always welcome!
Thanks for reading!