Okay, you must be thinking that I must be dumb when I begin to question if the anime and manga are only a work of fiction.
Why in the world am I asking such thing?
Isn’t it obvious that anime, manga, and video games are only the work of fiction? What’s there to ask?
Some people view anime as something that is purely fictional. They may be thinking that these anime don’t resemble anything in real life. So, we shouldn’t use them as a reference which reflects the real world.
Because of that, you feel that we should take anything represented in anime and manga with just a grain of salt. We shouldn’t take it seriously.
It’s just for the entertainment purposes. Those are not real.
And that’s what you’ve been telling yourself. You convince other people to do the same.
You think that the story in anime is just pure fiction, even if the anime is based on the true story.
You feel that they’re too good to be true. You seem to think that it only happens in the alternate world, not the world that we live in.
You shun people for believing such things. You accuse these people of having anime and manga to corrode their mind. You think it’s childish to use anime and manga as a reference in the argument.
You think that these people must be an idiot to believe that everything presented in anime and manga is true.
The definition of work of fiction
Okay, let’s take a look at what fiction means based on Wikipedia.
Fiction is the classification for any story, or element of a story, derived from imagination and not based strictly on history or fact.
Fair enough. But here’s another thing that people fail to understand about fiction.
however, some fictional works are claimed to be, or marketed as, historically or factually accurate, complicating the traditional distinction between fiction and non-fiction.
So, what does the quote mean?
In the case of anime and manga, it means that most anime that we watch aren’t truly the work of fiction. It does resemble the real life experience and the actual event.
In other words, most anime and manga is a blend of fact and fiction. If you have a basic understanding of the said theme and topic, it won’t be hard for you to recognize the underlying facts.
It’s much common than you think
Some authors and mangaka prefer to use a real person in their work as the main character or one of the characters in their work.
When they choose to include a real person in their work regardless of whether it’s for the main character or one of the supporting characters, then it’s obvious that they need to be as accurate as possible.
Will they add the fictional part into the story? Well, they do. For the most part, they usually will inform the readers what part of the story is a pure fiction and based on the true story.
There is also some authors and mangaka who will use fictional characters to depict the story based on the true story or the real event.
Regardless of how they choose to tell the story, they will always use a combination of fact and fiction in their story.
That’s usually the case with the historical anime. Some characters in the anime tend to be historical figures.
Even if they don’t use historical figures as the anime and manga characters, they will still try to be as accurate as possible when it comes to portraying the life in that said era.
Take Drifters for example. The characters for Drifters and The End are the actual historical figures. But the setting in the anime and manga is a fantasy setting.
But anime like Oh Edo Rocket is using a different approach. While the story takes place in Edo (that’s the old name for Tokyo), they have aliens as one of the characters in the anime. But the life depicted in anime isn’t that different in the actual life in that era.
Sure, that’s just plain ridiculous. And for the obvious part, aliens certainly didn’t exist in that era. But the life depicted in anime is based on the real life during that era.
It won’t be hard for you to tell the fact and fiction apart if you know a little bit about the Japanese history.
Why it’s hard to tell the work of fiction apart
It’s easy to brush what’s being represented in the anime as something fictional when you don’t have enough understanding of the theme, the culture (particularly the Japanese culture), the characters’ personality traits and the awareness that the anime is trying to create.
And it doesn’t help that the Japanese authors and mangaka tend to make it as vague as possible.
The reason is simple. These people just want to avoid controversy, especially if the story tends to overlap with the real life event. The last thing they want is their work can’t get published because of the backlash from the publisher.
Take Occultic;Nine for example. Anyone who sees the cult movement that caused the mass suicide in the anime may begin to recall the Aum Shinrikyo’s involvement in the sarin gas attack in Tokyo subway more than 20 years ago.
Sure, what happened in reality and the one in Occultic;Nine isn’t the same. But it’s nothing to be surprised about if what the author wants to portray is the effect of the cult agenda which can cost the life of the civilians.
Well, the author can choose to create a similar event. But it’s wise not to do that since the sarin gas attack is one of the deadliest events to occur since World War II.
Creating a scene similar to the sarin gas attack incident will only cause a backlash, especially by the sarin gas attack victims and survivors.
That’s just one part of the examples. If you want another example, just take a look at Zankyou no Terror. How the building collapsed in the first episode is similar to what happened to World Trade Center during September 11.
The only exception was no planes were crashing into the building. Well, it’s an anime about a terrorist attack. Of course, it will have a similar resemblance to 9/11.
But some anime and manga can make them obvious too
Not all anime and manga will make the events in the story as vague as possible.
That’s usually the case for anime and manga that tries to highlight the social problems in the Japanese society.
When it comes to bringing awareness to the social problems, nothing beats anime and manga. I’m not sure why, but maybe because anime and manga tend to have less restriction when it comes to something taboo.
Just take a look at this webcomic talking about the stress of Japanese work life. That sure is an honest confession.
One of the anime that highlights the dark side of Japanese society, particularly the Japanese business and work culture is ReLife. This anime is talking about the black companies and how the Japanese companies perceived job hopping people.
Job hopping is unlikely in Japan since companies tend to hire new graduates and employs them until they retire.
If you don’t understand the Japanese culture, then you find it hard to grasp why someone like Kaizaki wasn’t able to get a job despite being a university graduate.
Not all anime are focusing on the serious issues
Keep in mind that not all anime and manga have a dark theme.
Take a look at Outbreak Company. It’s an anime about a guy named Ichirou Sasaki who works with the Japanese government to bring the Japanese culture to the Holy Eldant Empire.
Sure, it’s fictional to you. Not to mention, it sounds ridiculous too.
But that was what the Japanese government did at that time through a campaign called Cool Japan. The purpose of the campaign is to spread the Japanese culture outside Japan.
It doesn’t seem surprising at all when the Japanese government chooses anime, manga, and video games as a way to spread the Japanese culture on the international scale.
Characters’ personality traits are real too
Since we’re talking about anime and manga here, then it’s obvious that the characters’ behavior will be based on how Japanese people would behave in real life.
Don’t worry, the way they behave will not be any different than how you and I would behave. The only difference is their behavior has a lot to do with their culture.
I don’t know what sort of culture you live in. But we all live in a unique culture. What seems ordinary to you may seem bizarre to other people. And what seems unforgivable, a downward embarrassment to you is normal to other people.
At the end of the day, what’s acceptable to you and other people has a lot to do with how you perceive the culture itself.
It’s funny that some people think that the characters’ behavior in anime and manga are made up. They believe that their behaviors are unusual only because they feel that people in real life will never behave in such way.
Well, guess what? Individuals with such behavior exist. The only reason why you feel that such behaviors are unreal to you is that you won’t do such things if you were in the characters’ place. Another reason is you believe that people around you won’t do such things.
Sadly, that’s just your perception. You don’t need a rocket science to have a basic understanding of the human behavior.
Humans are a complex being. What makes you think that such behaviors are unlikely to you?
Just because these characters behave in such an unusual way to you, it doesn’t mean that these people don’t exist.
When it comes to coming up with the characters’ personality traits, these are the hardest to fake. So, the reference will always be referring to the actual human being.
And it doesn’t matter if they’re the characters in anime, manga, and video games. Even the characters in dramas and movies follow the same pattern.
No matter how good or bad the characters’ personality and behavior, those are still based on the actual human being, whether you like it or not.
I prefer the realistic feeling too
As an author, I always make sure that my works are as close as to the real things.
That’s the reason why I spend so much time in researching things related to my books. I want to bring the realistic feeling in my works. Words are the only thing I can use to convey the realistic feeling.
Sure, my work is fictional. But I love to use the real event, actual facts, and real human behaviors as a reference for my fiction works. What makes it considered as fiction is only because the story is using fictional characters.
If I’m using an actual person to tell the story without any fiction element, then it’s no longer called fiction. It’s called Memoirs.
I’m not the only one who approach fiction in this way. Pretty much many authors and mangaka I know use the same approach.
We are aware that it’s only a work of fiction. But we want to make it as realistic as possible. The realistic feeling is the only way that gives our works a long lasting impact physically, mentally and emotionally.
Do you feel the same?
I’m pretty sure that you notice the same thing too. Of many anime, manga and video games, the one that gives you a lasting impact are usually the one that has many or little resemblances in real life.
In my case, it’s Zankyou no Terror. And I still remember vividly how the anime makes me feel even though I watched the anime a long time ago.
Before you accuse them of having the anime and manga to corrode their mind, think again.
Most anime, manga, and even video games have a blend of fact and fiction. They’re not entirely work of fiction.
The only way to tell them apart is for you to have a basic understanding of what the anime, manga, and video games are trying to portray.
Anime, manga, and video games don’t exist for the sake of entertainment. You can also use them as a way to expand your knowledge in certain things.
It’s just a matter of whether you want to use it or not.