Anime in the UK

Unfortunately, this is almost the only face of anime in the UK. More on that later.

You know what sucks in the UK? There’s virtually no anime on TV. If you’re an anime fan, than you have to buy DVDs or go on the Internet. The only anime on TV is the occaisional Studio Ghibli movie on Channel 4 or Film4, which you’re likely to get on DVD anyway, or stuff aimed at kids like the Pokemon, Bakugan, and Monsuno anime on CITV, which I would never dare to watch. You can sometimes hear about anime and see clips on the NHK World channel, but only if you have Sky HD. Having to buy DVDs is fine, but it can be costly, at least in my experience. The prices, depending on the DVD range from as little as £3 to as high as around £50, and a lot of the anime I find on Amazon UK are between £8-£20. Not to mention, there’s not a lot of high street stores in the UK where you can physically buy DVDs anymore, so it’s very likely your only source of DVD’s is online retailers (it should be noted that online retailers is the main contributor to the downfall of high street retailers which used to provide physical anime). There’s also the ability to watch anime online on sites like YouTube, Anime Network, and Crunchyroll.

These are dark times, my friends. Dark times.

You know what would be cool? If we in the UK had an anime channel, that way if ever you are a fan of anime and watched TV, you’d have a go to place for anime programming, including stuff you might not have seen, even potentially new programming, plus anime movies outside the Studio Ghibli line. That would actually be kinda cool. Or alternatively, an Adult Swim section for Cartoon Network UK for late night anime programming (in America, there is an Adult Swim, segment on the Cartoon Network channel, which features more mature anime programming and more adult cartoons), or possibly an Adult Swim channel for the UK.

The sad thing is, there were anime channels in the UK, like AnimeCentral, CNX, and Showcase TV, but all of them have now been defunct since years ago (AnimeCentral was defunct since 2008, Showcase TV closed in 2009, and CNX closed in 2003; incidentally, all three of them weren’t even up for a full year). The other sad thing is that lack of interest and demand and financial issues with parent companies is the main contributor, that and the Internet.

I’m just sick of the fact that, in the UK, Spirited Away and other Studio Ghibli films are pretty much the only face of anime in the UK, or at least the acceptable face of anime in this country. And that’s odd, considering the impact of the movie Akira when it was released, and back then it was the first time many outside Japan experienced anime. Some argue that anime is getting more erotic, or at least more trigger happy in terms of panty shots and fanservice, as well as more sexually suggestive female characters and even more suggestive moe content and somewhat underaged-looking characters, and that this is limiting it’s reach in Western countries including the UK, unless you’re on the Internet where this is no problem. But then, you have British censorship laws that make it very difficult to show anime on TV and the damned cultural and societal differences between the UK and Japan.

Only in Japan.

People in the UK aren’t used to any cartoon that’s not Disney, Simpsons, or anything that’s not for kids, and they stereotype anime outside Ghibli as all violent, sexual, and weird. From my point of view, this perception and stereotyping is nothing more than a popular, acceptable form of fascism (though to be fair, I tend to be very embracing of the violent and sexy side of anime that made that anime I like great), made even more a double standard by the fact that Family Guy, which tends to be very violent and vulgar, particularly in newer seasons, is mainstream in the UK, and airs on two channels here. So here’s the thing, why would we embrace Family Guy, but not anime, given both can have the same things (though expect some disappointment on the sexy side in Seth McFarlane’s cartoons)? But at least we get anime magazines like NEO and others.

The sad thing is, we probably won’t get anime on UK TV unless it was particularly popular, thanks mainly to the Internet. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I don’t think I can safely judge, but I just want an end to the bullshit attitude we have towards anime, and cartoons in general.

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6 responses to “Anime in the UK

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