Nigerians’ love for anime (Japanese animation) can be traced back to the late 80s and 90s when NTA 2 Channel 5 aired the cartoon Voltron: The Defender of the Universe, an English dubbed and re-edited version of the darker anime Beast King GoLion.
TV Africa followed suit in the early 2000s by airing Samurai X five days a week, thus beginning an anime sub-culture amongst Nigerians which led to a joint animation project by Japanese animation studio Tezuka Productions and the Nigerian TV network Chanel TV in 2014. The project – Robot Atom was a spinoff of the famous Tokyo Atom (Astro Boy).
Since then, the anime community in Nigeria has only gotten bigger with Kaduna holding their first Anime Convention dubbed “Anime Con” in 2019, the first Eko Anime Fest happening later in 2021, and Japanese animated series like Attack On Titan (AOT) trending regularly online.
We reached out to seven Nigerians to tell us why they love anime:
So I love anime because of the exceptional storytelling, the friendships, the emotions, the love. It makes me feel safe when I watch it because I relate so much to the characters and their stories. Their expressions are always something to look out for because they are funny and if I’m having a bad day and just watch one anime, I feel better because there is always humor or one ridiculous character that just makes me feel better.
The animation is beyond this world. The plots are always different and mind-blowing, the plot twists are always impeccable. The anime openings are always fire, the soundtracks… everything just puts you in this world where you belong. Their language and expressions make everything even better, you feel everything they are feeling. The pain, the hurt, the trauma, the breakthroughs, the joy.
One of the major reasons why I really like anime is that I usually connect to it on a really emotional level. And it’s really pleasing to my eyes like how the animation style is, how the visuals are, the coloring and everything.
The way it appeals to emotions like it makes you understand the trials, the ordeals of characters that you are watching, they go in-depth into what the characters are facing and stuff like that.
There’s a lot of substance in it that I sometimes think is missing in American animation. There is a substance within the characters. Even characters who are not serious, there’s still substance.
I guess I like anime because it resonates with different people. It has something for everyone. Whether it’s a comedy, romance, action, mystery, plus the animation work is really beautiful.
There is a lot of reasons why I love anime, but I guess the most important one is character development. Watching a character who’s just a regular person fight so hard to become a better person just because they want to reach that goal.
It kind of reminds me of myself. In my daily life and why I’m doing the things I’m doing, I’m doing them because I’m trying to reach a goal or because I’m trying to become a better version of myself.
I love anime because it’s very diverse. It’s a break from reality like the reality of everybody being normal, we all have normal strength, we can’t heal fast, we don’t have the ability to fight.
It’s relaxing, it’s fun. Also, the character development is always amazing, and it’s very, very good, the picture quality, the characters, their past, their strengths, the storyline, lessons.
I can’t really tell you exactly why I like it to be honest. It helps people discover themselves, at least it has helped me discover myself. It’s pure, it’s expressive. It helps with emotions people can’t admit to, people can’t express. It’s fantasy, mostly fantasy, at the same time its reality.
I’ve never been a fan of movies. I’ve always loved reading instead, because my imagination did all the work for me, and movies limited me to just what I was shown. When I discovered anime around the age of 11/12, I was blown by how much could really be incorporated into it. It blows my mind. There’s so much to unravel. A lot of emotions can be channeled into a few minutes. There were characters I could relate to and love. The passion every scene can hold and the creative freedom that can be given to these characters, far surpasses what you can get from non-animated movies and shows. Anime is something that brings people of all races, religions, and social spheres together. It doesn’t matter who you are, there’s an anime for you. There is immense diversity as you can find genres sci-fi, romance, mystery, adventure, all with the fun factor. Many can make you feel different emotions in a short while. Sadness, hope, laughter, and mostly fulfillment. Anime makes life a little easier for me, and all other fans.
*Some of the names have been changed, as requested by the subjects and the interview has been condensed for clarity.