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The dark side of anime’s influence – is it real?

As of late, an article headline regarding a Japanese politician linking anime, gaming and violent tendencies among criminals has ended up in my Twitter timeline. This discussion was raised in a political discussion talk show after mention of a recent serial murder case that happened in Japan’s Kenagawa Prefecture where police have reported to have discovered dead bodies in the criminal’s apartment.

In reading these articles, I had this thought on just how much effect does anime have on individuals in the community and how do the violent aspects in some of these show motivate these people to do these horrible acts.

Before we have to get to the nit-and-grit of this topic, we have to understand who are these people that view anime shows and how do studies from experts perceive violence in media.

In the context of anime, this medium is not your child’s animated cartoon. Rather, the coverage of genres that exist in anime are vastly different and largely take on a mature tone in comparison to the usual cartoon. This is why we have categories such as shounenshoujojosei.

Shounen targets a male demographic, shoujo targets female viewers whilst josei targets a mature female audience. The odd one in the room is the kodomomuke genre, which is targeted to children. This method of categorization helps in designating showtimes for the different demographics: late evening times for mature audiences and late afternoon time slots for the children.

So now that we have cut out the possibility of anime being a factor to violent behavior in children. Now, we move on to the major audience for anime: male and mature audiences. In regards to this, we also have to understand that majority of Japan’s criminals are either working, adults or both.

“Crime in Japan is among the lowest compared to other industrialized countries,” according to the Global Study for Homicide 2013 conducted by the United Nations. Despite that low crime rate, Japan has probably the most bizarre cases for their major crimes. They along the lines of murder, death by erotic asphyxiation, killing sprees and so on.

However, these major crimes were mostly committed by individuals who had history of mental health problems, or were afflicted by similar factors. This matches up to the methods on how these crimes were committed which, if you have the heart to go through, are found in this list.

With all of this information, let us get down on debunking this idea that the public usually has, in regards to violence depicted in anime or any form of media violence.

These articles [(1) (2)] states that various researchers have commented on this matter and have found on valid connection between aggressive behavior and cartoons, video games. Their statements go along the lines of, although playing a video game or watching cartoons may stimulate you to get pumped or excited, however these are only short term affects.

We have to determine the causes of aggressive behavior which are:

  • physical and mental health
  • family structure
  • relationship with others
  • work or school environment
  • societal factors
  • individual traits
  • life experiences

Thus, we need to understand that crime and the violent, aggressive behavior that motivate the individual to commit these acts are triggered by factors which vary from person-to-person.

Granted – anime, gaming, and media violence, in general, thus instill an impression of the viewer but its interpretation largely varies on a personal level. In fact, not just violent anime, but all forms of media entertainment appeal to us because we relate to the content presented.

This is why we get a train-wreck of feels as we watch emotional shows like ClannadAngel Beats! and others. The main drive for this is our personal experiences and how we can relate to the story presented before us.

The linkage between crime, aggressive behavior to anime, gaming and media violence has no valid point and thus, debunked. People who commit crimes are motivated by their own personal intentions, be it by circumstance, by means of personal health (physical or mental) or experiences.

It is a display of ignorance to support the statement, “Anime, gaming lead to aggressive behavior.”

What are your thoughts on this article? Let me know in the comments below!

8 replies on “The dark side of anime’s influence – is it real?”

I hate the argument that violence in entertainment translates to violence in real life. Or music. Or any other form of entertainment. I really just want to know why society wants to have a single cause that they can point to, blame and ban and pretend that somehow they have ‘fixed’ the problem and that people won’t violent anymore. By all means, go and ban whatever you like and remember that long before video games, anime, TV, movies, rock music and whatever else they’d like to blame, people killed people.

Liked by 2 people

I think it’s that the whole phenomenon of more people liking anime is making people confused. Usually people tend to bash on something they do not understand at first. Maybe that’s why people like to pin blame of their woes on something that they deem as weird or not normal.

Liked by 1 person

It can be a factor if the person is severely fucked up mentally as it could work as some kind of inspiration but generally speaking it’s not a factor. It’s like when people try to connect violent behavior to hip hop, they’re reaching for something that’s just not there but they need a scapegoat because they don’t want to blame it on the person.

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I’d say it “can” be a factor, sure why not, but it isn’t a very relevant factor. There are more pressing and telling factors for a guy to kill, dismember and hide nine dead bodies in his apartment. and jesus, nine?! He’s a meticulous guy to successfully pull it off, and keep the ruse for so long. Dig deeper, and I bet the triad is present in this guy’s life.

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The article was horrible to read and you’re right, it can be a factor but generally speaking, there is no direct connection between viewing violence in anime to violent behavior. I guess it all lies down to how each person has lived and taken in the events around them.

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he’s scarily methodical, meeting up w/ the girls on a suicide pact thing, but only killing them in the end. he’s sociable, meticulous and smart. being an anime fan is a very irrelevant point here.

Liked by 1 person

Yeah, there was no mention of the individual being connected to anime. But I just wanted to dwell on the fact that the general public have a very warped perception of the medium we enjoy a lot (because you know, anime = cartoons idea) and how it is pretty much misleading.

Thanks for pointing that out though. I guess I didn’t stress out the criminal’s background. 🙂

Liked by 1 person

oh, sorry about that as well. i understand your point, but i just find the entire article fascinating. reminds me of the nice boat incident.

and there are countless research that proves there’s no link to TV violence and criminal behavior, and no precedence has been set yet. People are just fast at pointing blame at others, and it helps shed light on the actual matter, the process is still head inducing though. no one should blame anime. people think its just something easy to blame, cause they’re stupid. haha

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