I'm on a quest to understand exactly why I like the anime that I do. It's relatively easy to enumerate which ones I like more than others, MyAnimeList exists more-or-less exactly for this purpose, but that doesn't really explore what makes a show excellent beyond an attempt to pattern-match (studio, release year etc.) or to compare with others to find compatibility and recommendations.
...finding interest in the mundane or levity in the absurd.
Teasing an answer more meaningful than "I just do" means examining constituents, and for varying reasons - my continual battle to write creative fiction one - characters, specifically protagonists, stand more prominently than others. To enumerate all the different archetypes would be folly and missing the point: great protagonists - great characters - transcend the clichés imposed upon them by genre or circumstance. All too often though anime lets the archetypes rule - why else would there be the existence of shortcut words like "tsundere
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A lot of anime deal with identity, but in different ways: whether it is the all-encompassing, driving force behind the movie and series extravaganzas that are Ghost in the Shell and Evangelion or as an undercurrent to more prevalent themes like with Guts in Berserk or Faye in Cowboy Bebop, it is fair to say that many different anime use identity as at least part of their narrative thrust. Even looking at disparate, popular shows like Bleach and Naruto reveals a simplistic version of the theme with the push to become strong and protect - a topic that is an essay in itself. It's only when investigating beyond the obvious that it becomes apparent identity is prevalent in so many different genres of anime that it begins to reflect how they were conceived and upon the creators themselves.
how flippantly cyborgs view gender when the possibility of reproduction is removed
Identity is a wide and multitudinous topic that has been researched by psychologists and philosophers alike for centuries so it's no surprise it is present in a culturally reflective medium as anime. Perhaps the most subversive and comedic is gender identity and the question of what defines gender. The earliest anime I can recall that toyed with this is Ranma ½
which had the titular protagonist switch from one gender to the other with the application of cold and hot water - it is played for laughs more than as a thoughtful treatment on the subject but the enforced gender switching is in so many other series from Kashimashi
that it can hardly be ignored. This is without mentioning the less extreme sex swapping with cross-dressing which has of course birthed one of the most cherished anime cultural staples: the trap.
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