How Easily Can Anime Influence People?


Andy Nguyen

Anime has been around for decades and there are some pretty gruesome and thought provoking shows that people watch. Recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in the United States have started to watch more anime. Popular choices include One Punch Man, Attack on Titan, Tokyo Ghoul, Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, Dr Stone and many more. In other places, though, anime that we are able to watch in the United States is banned because they are believed to encourage people to do some pretty crazy things. 


On June 12, 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Culture banned 38 anime and manga (a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels) titles, one of them being Tokyo Ghoul and another being Attack on Titan. Tokyo Ghoul has a fair amount of violence and gore which you can tell about half way through the first episode. It was banned in China because some people believed that watching this show can encourage a trend of teens sewing threads and embroidery into their skin. Another reason it was banned was because the show revealed several scenes of extensive violence and crimes that went against public morality. Attack on Titan was banned because of a similar reason to Tokyo Ghoul, the amount of violence and gore it portrayed, but instead of another reason being skin embroidery it was because the anime featured a strong theme of opposing authority. 


But can shows like this really influence people to act out? Julia Feldman, a Junior, states, “For the most part I’d say no, watching violent things doesn’t make you a violent person, same with video games and stuff, killing someone in a video game doesn’t make you a murderer, BUT violent shows can attract violent people I suppose, and kids shouldn’t be allowed to watch stuff like that till they’re more mature.” How easily a person can be influenced by what they watch or play can be determined from their childhood. If a person is taught when young the difference between right from wrong, then those lessons would become a part of that person’s core beliefs. Some people believe that violent shows/movies and games can influence teens to grow up violent even if taught the difference between right from wrong, others think that after a certain age very few things can affect their core beliefs. 


For decades kids would grow up with their own views on what a hero should be and what a villain would be. Some anime portray a hero as a symbol of justice that would use violence to beat some sense into the villains, but that doesn’t mean that the kids would grow up believing that they should beat up some random kid they disagree with. Villains would threaten to blow up buildings or hold citizens as hostages, but that doesn’t mean kids would want to do those things. An example of this could be Batman. Batman isn’t an anime but he is a fictional hero who has a strong sense of justice that would sometimes use excessive violence to interrogate his suspects. People all across the world, kids and adults alike,  know who Batman is and they know what he can do, but you don’t see people jumping around and violently interrogating people right? 


Whether you believe that anime can influence people easily or not, it’s cool to hear from different perspectives and to acknowledge the different points one side makes from the other. So how easily do you think anime can influence people?