It is, isn’t it?
I mean, look at the animators who are worked to the bone and aren’t paid nearly enough. If they don’t love anime, then they certainly wouldn’t be putting up with such grueling hours and pitiful pay. This is, of course, coming from someone who doesn’t know much about the industry as a whole aside from watching Shirobako, but the series seemed to have given us a somewhat realistic (and slightly simplified) sneak peek into the anime industry in real life.
Surely that’s one of the reasons why Shirobako is so consistently ranked and rated highly by many. These characters are in a merciless industry where the hours are long and the pay isn’t great, but they toil and strive because they love anime. This sort of passion is inspirational!
And then there are some anime series in which characters try to define love in their own terms. These dramatic soap operas often have morally questionable individuals partaking in long, reflective sweeping monologues about their sordid pasts, their speckled love lives, and their personal opinions in regards to what it means to love. Kuzu no Honkai, Darling in the FranXX, and Happy Sugar Life, (plus, to a lesser extent, Kiznaiver) are some examples that come to mind.
The (comparatively) more mild rom-coms fit the bill and doesn’t require further explanation, I hope.
There’s also the Girls Doing Cute Things shows which feature girls pursuing an activity they love or end up loving. It’s why so many of these shows feature absolutely hapless beginners as the protagonists. That way, viewers can learn alongside these newbies as well as grow more and more interested in the specified past time or activity – in theory, at least. Some people simply don’t like these types of shows to begin with, so the gentle indoctrination curve is consequently ineffective in such instances…
But we can’t forget about us. Yes, the viewers, the anime fans, whatever you wanna call ourselves; we obviously love anime, too. Why else would we watch it? Why else would we get picky and sift and sit through shows hoping to find a new favourite series? The artists who draw amazing fanart and doujinshi are moved by love, too. Even embittered bloggers who seem to do nothing but criticize and scrutinize have to love anime, too.
I’m painting a picture with broad strokes here, but hopefully you don’t look too closely and catch all the minor details I’ve neglected while trying to sound optimistic. I’m happy enough saying love is the heart of anime. In some ways surely that’s true. I want to believe in such a medium in spite of the silly arguments that transpire as a result of people’s differing opinions. Hopefully you do, too.
Thanks for reading.