Why is Anime so Popular in India?

Why is Anime so Popular in India?

Why is Anime so Popular in India?

By Sneha Goswami

You must have heard of the term ‘Anime’- there is at least that one kid in class who makes Japanese reference in the context of being an anime fan. But it is actually shocking that many people of the 90s are not even aware that most of their childhood favourites were animes- Pokemon, Detective Conan, Digimon, Ninja Hattori, Doraemon, Shinchan, Kiteretsu and a horde of others. Just to ensure that everybody is on the same page, ‘anime’ is not the same as animated cartoon series that it is so popularly and glaringly confused with. Anime are Japanese animated stories or series which generally target teenagers and young adults as opposed to other animations or cartoons, especially in India, which generally target kids. Recently, there has been a shift in the broadcast of these kids' entertainment, and again kids slowly forget the anime series.

Have you noticed this that the kids' channels like Hungama, Cartoon Network and Disney have switched onto Indian produced cartoon series like Chhota Bheem, Motu Patlu and Mighty Raju? If you are one of those who haven't noticed the shift, then it is for your information that throughout the 90s and 2000s the anime series ruled the Indian kids' entertainment. One of the first anime to air in India was Robotech on Star TV, after which various TV channels juggled through with the idea of airing anime. But it is nowhere to be seen in the Indian television today. Why?

One of the most popular and most understandable reasons was that there was a lot, which might count in lakhs, of complaints by parents against the animes. The main difference between anime and general Indian or Western cartoons shows were that anime was meant for a deeper understanding of the society and personal relationships or a comment on it while the Indian and Western cartoon shows were aptly targeted towards kids, with just a lot of product marketing and plain morals at the end of the episodes. Anime has a tendency to be explicit in its contents, not just in violence and but also in interpersonal contacts and sexual feelings- all of which are true and relatable considering the targeted audience of teenagers and young adults. This newness in anime startled the parents, who petitioned against the ban on airing of several anime shows, including Sinchan.

In spite of all such allegations, there is no dearth of anime fans in India due to the richness of their content and their courage to give its audience novel and untested ideas which although have a chance of becoming unpopular, it has taught anime fans always to remain open-minded and critical of the plot.