I saw a question from an online article that intrigued me. The questions was, “Does watching anime make you a better writer?” Personally, and professionally, I’d have to say YES! I watched anime as a kid, and with my own kids growing up. Today, I watch it for inspiration and, well, just because it’s totally awesome.
Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” That is most definitely true. I read books, comic books, graphic novels and manga my whole life, but I would add to that to watch movies and videos as well. We live in an age of growing technology, and anime is a popular form of vivid storytelling. All you need do is watch any of Hayao Miazaki’s movies and you’ll understand.
The stories within anime are so fanciful and cross so many genres within fantasy, from medival magical fantasy to steampunk and science fiction to time travel, you never know what you’re getting into. The thing I love about anime is not just the graphic art, the beauty of sight and sound that brings the stories to life, but also the detailed storytelling that goes into every episode.
For example, I just started watching an anime called Granblue Fantasy: The Animation. I only discovered this series because of an ad on Facebook from Animelab. The anime is a story involving magic, floating islands, primal beasts (dragons), and airships. It is a magical, steampunk adventure that enthralled me so much, I just had to watch it. I binge-watched the first five episodes last night. It has all the elements you expect from a good anime: Ruthless villains, powerful magic, steampunk technology, and light humor. Besides the fact that the anime is based on a video game makes it even more intriguing.
As a writer, I live for inspiration like this. It’s like an IV drip of imagination, slowly feeding me the inspiration for my writing. I get the same charge from watching 80’s sword and sorcery movies (Krull, The Beastmaster, Conan the Barbarian), Game of Thrones or even the original animated Thundercats for that matter.
The difference with anime is the vivid graphics. The images are so colorful, so beautiful, that they imprint on the mind of a fantasy writer like me. It allows me to see things in a whole new perspective, a different way to think about magic, magical creatures, or even how to combine them with technology. This is an inspiration that is unparalleled in many other genres.
I can name so many other anime’s that provide the same inspiration: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon, Knights & Magic, The Ancient Magus Bride, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, Lord Marksman and Vanadis, In Another World with my Smartphone, and Full Metal Alchemist to name a few. And to be honest, that’s only “a drop in the bucket” when it comes to fantasy anime. There are more choices that can fit anyone’s fancy.
The other great thing is that you can find a variety of anime, both English subbed and English dubbed, on so many apps, websites, and channels. It makes it easy for someone like me to binge on as many different anime as I want to. I know it seems silly for a 55-year-old to sit and enjoy “cartoons” (as my wife calls them) but they’re more than that to me. Anime is an essential part of my writing, and I don’t intend to stop watching anytime soon.
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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.