Why Popular Japanese Anime Productions are Not Politically Themed
Non-Japanese fans of manga and anime may have noticed that the stories hardly touch on political issues except for those supporting the concept of nationalism.
Japanese animation has long been recognized as apolitical and has been instrumental in developing a better image of Japan. After all, the nation suffered from terrible consequences as a result of its undesirable participation in the World War II conflict. As it was, Japanese Imperial leaders supported the desire to dominate its Asian neighbors by siding with Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Japan launched surprise attacks that weakened the allowed forces, especially the US.
Anime history in Japan since the 1980s carried narratives that avoided topics of Japan’s political history as a power-hungry country. Many attributed the change to the rise of an otaku population that has grown increasingly distant from political matters.
What Does Otaku Mean in Japan?
Otaku in Japan refers to the emerging generations of young Japanese nationals whose core interests are in the development of computer technologies; or in promoting popular culture that highly recognized anime as original Japanese art.
It was in the eighties when manga stories became a widely read pastime, particularly those used in developing anime series and films. They became acceptable as media for teaching new generations about Japanese culture and real-life applications of traditional cultures in modern Japan’s way of living.
“Space Battleship Yamato” of the popular anime shows that came out during the otaku movement, condemns war and violence by depicting the Earth’s destruction at the hands of other planetary forces and inhabitants.
The story supported the concept that rather than fight to dominate each other’s territories, Earth people must work together to strengthen the planet’s barriers and weaponry against alien invaders. The popularity of “Space Battleship Yamato” was such that it inspired the creation of other popular futuristic anime concepts like Gundam, Macross and Evangelion.
However, not everyone agreed with the concepts and principles supported by otaku communities. Some anime creators still wanted to incorporate Japan’s past political and historical stances, if only to make their anime creations more realistic to be interesting.
Yet the influence of the otaku culture has evidently become stronger. This was demonstrated by the controversy sparked by “Future War 198X” a politically-themed animation film released in 1982.
The narrative of “Future War 198X” revolved around the race to build nuclear power and to harness its potential for launching devastating attacks against non-allied countries. It was released at a time when there was cold war brewing between Soviet Russia against other major world powers like the US and the UK. Yet “Future War 198X” did not garner approval of organizations supporting the cultural movement inspired by the otaku community,
The Internet’s Role in the Global Popularity of Japanese Anime
Many believe that the international popularity of Japanese anime is mainly due to the artistic and creative skills of anime creators. Actually, the international release of Japanese animations in the 80s up to the 90s were limited due to licensing issues. Things began to change only in early 2000, along with the widespread use of the Internet.
In Indonesia, the advent of anime indo platforms paved the way for nonton anime id to reach Indonesian households.The Anime ID website made it possible for Indonesian anime fans to download or watch classic and new anime shows free of charge and without hassles.