When Will Indians Start Appreciating Anime / Manga ?
I live in India. Being born and brought up in a lower middle class family I used to see the world through a very narrow lens. When I was a kid things on T.V that used to entertain me were cartoons. And I remember my parents/elders switching to cartoon network channel and telling me 'Watch cartoon and don't trouble us' it was medium of engagement to the kids so that they are busy watching it and won't trouble the adults. I grew up a little and my viewing interests increased, I started watching movies, music videos, television shows etc. But I didn't give up on the cartoons, somehow it still fascinated me. Though by now some of my friends were already old enough that they had stopped watching cartoons, but I still had many friends who enjoyed watching cartoons.
Then I got old enough to join a college but still I was hooked by some of the cartoons. Now was the time when I started getting taunts like 'Are you a kid to watch a cartoon?'. I don't know some of the cartoons that I watched had such a great story line that I use to feel comparing them with our daily soaps and even Bollywood movies was like an insult to those cartoons. I could never explain it to my parents but I still continued watching those cartoons.
Now I had already completed my Graduation, had left my first job after working there for one and half year and was pursuing my post graduate diploma in Mass Media. That's when I met a friend who had a collection of my favourite show which I couldn't finish watching as cartoon network had stopped airing it after 1st season. I felt like I found a treasure, because that show had inspired and motivated me at the time when I needed the most. That show was Naruto.
I started spending day and night watching back to back Naruto episodes. It was like I was living in a different world while watching it. When I almost finished it I came to know about another show named Death Note. I finished that in few days. And so on I started carving for more and more such cartoons! I joined some Naruto fan groups and was able to interact with the people having similar interest , it was then I came across this word anime! I found out why I was still hooked up to the so called kids content i.e cartoon, because I wasn’t! I was actually unknowingly fond of Anime.
The narrow Indian lens which I had been wearing for long broke at that particular moment as I realized that animation is not just for kids. It is only in India that people have this perception about animated content. For Indians there is no difference between Doremon and Death Note or Scooby Doo and Sin City. For Indians it’s all for kids.