A lot of Western viewers find anime shows cringy or cheesy, depending on which word you prefer. Now, since cringe is quite subjective and there are no rules as to what is or is not considered cringy when it comes to anime but in this article, we are going to explore the possible reasons why anime is so cheesy and cringy.
Anime is neither cheesy nor cringy. The Western perception and mindset are simply different, demanding more realism from something that is inherently meant to be fiction. Situations that are most often considered to be cringy are either completely normal plot-wise or are just a consequence of different cultural norms.
The remainder of this article is going to elaborate on why anime is not cheesy and why Westerners might find anime cheesy. We’re also going to refer to some of the situations that are most commonly described as cringy and try to explain why they actually shouldn’t be because most of them aren’t.
Anime is a different culture, like Japan itself, and in order to understand it, you need to approach them from a different point of view.
Why Is Anime So Cheesy?
A lot of anime watchers will, at one point, label an anime series as being cheesy or cringy. And while that might be somewhat correct (see below), in most cases, this label is overblown, to say the least.
In fact, anime is rarely cringy, despite the opinions you’ll find online. In this section, we are going to explain why anime is not cringy before we continue with why Western viewers are wrong when they label anime as such.
The first and most important thing you need to know – although you do, it’s often overlooked – is that anime is a Japanese product. Japan has a rich history and culture, but both are very much different from the Western culture we’re used to.
In fact, there are some essential, if not irreconcilable differences in these two cultures which might seem strange to them and vice versa. This is a very important fact if you want to understand why anime isn’t cringy at all. Unless it’s intentionally cringy.
Now, as a Japanese genre, anime is a reflection of Japanese culture and within it, Japanese cultural and societal norms are represented. The degree depends on the genre and plot, of course, but whichever anime you actually pick, you’ll find at least some Japan in it. Now, for Westerners, this might be strange as we’re not used to a lot of that, but more on that later.
Another important fact that you simply cannot ignore is the fact that anime is fiction, possibly even more than Western animation is.
Namely, Japanese culture has a somewhat different approach to all forms of fiction than the West, an approach which relies on fantasy and imagination much more, and fiction is almost always a form of alternative reality where things don’t have to be like they are in the real world. This is why some anime elements are structured as they are and they simply have to be.
So, as you can see, anime are not cheesy nor cringy. Not at all. They’re just a reflection of Japan and Japanese culture, and anyone who tells you differently hasn’t really understood the point of anime.
Their people approach anime from a Western point of view, a point of view that is used to different types of animation with different meanings behind them, which is absolutely wrong. This is why we hope that our explanations will help you better understand anime as a whole and to approach it in the correct way.
Also, people who “accuse” anime of being cringy are more often just casual viewers who watch it because it’s a fad than actual die-hard fans.
Why Do People Think Anime Is So Cheesy?
Now, Westerners are probably the only people that think anime is cheesy and we have already said that most of them are just casual watchers and not actual fans.
Such people tend to pick the wrong shows, opting for the more popular ones without actually knowing anything about Japanese animation and how it translates onto the screen. In this section, we are going to explain some of the more common misconceptions related to anime being cringy.
People often complain that anime is not realistic. Guess what? It’s not and it shouldn’t be. Sure, there are a lot of motivational talks and there are weak characters that suddenly gain new powers to defeat a visibly stronger opponent, but that is the whole point of a heroic twist and turn, and it’s practically nothing extraordinary since it’s present in Western animation as well.
The fact that you think that someone couldn’t beat someone else is irrelevant, simply because it’s meant to be that way.
Such an argument seems even more ridiculous when you consider the fact that Western animation has given us the likes of The Addams Family, Scooby-Doo, and Powerpuff Girls, all shows where the impossible seemingly becomes possible.
Another often-quoted issue is the specific grimaces and quirks present in anime. The yelling, the angry faces that include sharp teeth, the eye gestures and expressions – all of this is an essential part of anime animation, but only if you don’t know where to look.
This is present in anime and it might bother some of you, but this is present in a relatively small(er) group of anime subgenres, so you just have to know what to pick.
Are Some Anime Cheesy?
Absolutely, some anime are cheesy and cringy. This is mostly due to the fact that they’re actually fan-service shows or adaptations of fan-service manga or video games.
The Seven Deadly Sins is a perfect example of a cringy anime, as well as some parts of My Hero Academia. A lot of these works fit into the shōnen genre, while seinen and other groups don’t really have too many such examples.
Anime are not cringy nor cheesy, that much you need to know and we honestly hope this article has helped you realize that.