The following is a rant I did to my anime-hating friend Spain to help restore her sanity:
Okay, a few things I have to say...
1) I am 100% certain you watched it in English. You poor thing! They made you watch 4Kids dubs!!! They will suffer for that >~>
4Kids is a dubbing company that is the enemy to otakus everywhere. They translate everything to make it "kidfriendly" and Americanized. They change names, the plot, the opening, even the show itself! 4Kids is the scourge of the anime world and I feel so bad for you, having been forced to watch that filth as a child.
They turn animes into something very far from what anime really is. Did you know that in Pokemon, the main character is actually named Satoshi and he gets guns pulled on him all the time? And that girl with the skirt in the opening isn't random at all. The original theme song has the opening make sense. But 4Kids got their clutches on it and well, no one takes Pokemon seriously as an anime anymore. The same goes for Yu-Gi-Oh, One Piece, Tokyo Mew Mew and countless other animes.
2) All of those animes are two things (both of which I don't fancy all that greatly) and that would be POPULAR and SHOUNEN.
Popular is obvious. Its the mainstream stuff that "everybody who's anybody" likes. Me? Bleh. Yu-Gi-Oh was always boring unless its Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series, which is just ridiculous nonsense that's good for nothing more than a laugh. One Piece is ridiculous entirely and I plan on never watching it. Its the same for Naruto. I can't stand either of those, because they're SO over-popular and hardly deserving of it! Just because its popular doesn't mean its good. All the best animes are ones barely anyone knows. Hetalia is an exception, of course.
I have a very very mild dislike for shounen, which is basically what all anime is mistaken to be. Shounen is anime directed towards young and teenage boys. It often consists of swords, explosions, mindless violence, women with HUGE unrealistic boobs (either that, or they're just there to try and market to a female fanbase), the main character is almost always a total idiot (sometimes unbearably stupid, such as in Naruto), the plot often has a period of scattered randomness that makes no sense and contributes nothing at all to the story (Bleach is notorious for this), and sometimes they're just annoying to begin with. One Piece has always been the model of everything I hate in anime. Bad art, bad plot, obnoxious characters, and so outlandish that I can't relate to it, or even understand it, for that matter.
I've been keeping a mental record of all the animes you mention as well as the ones Emily watches. I mean no offence when I say this, of course, but she watches some TERRIBLE anime. I don't really like any of the ones she likes, to be honest. I haven't seen Code Geass yet, though, so I can't say if I like that or not. I know it has a nice opening theme, though.
3) You do not seem like the type of person to be interested in shounen. You'd probably fare far better with Slice Of Life or Comedy than you ever will with shounens like the ones you mentioned. Oh, but I don't mean to say ALL shounens are bad, please note. Some are really good, like Helling, Fullmetal Alchemist (yeah, that's a HUGE one, but its actually really good) and Kekkaishi. I don't know how you feel bout romance, but I know some really good romantic comedies that I could recommend to you. Lovely Complex is my favourite, and its REALLY funny. About as funny as Hetalia. I doubt you're into robots or sci-fi, as they're shounens, but I know a few, if you want to try them out.
Ah, I almost forgot to say. The stuff I like is called shoujo. Its the stuff made for girls and women. Yes, adult women as well as teenage girls. High school romances are especially popular in shoujos, but there are lots of other subgenres, such as magical girls. Magical girls are basically...well, magical girls. Girls with magic powers, often accompanied by cute pastel-coloured costumes, talking animals and some kind of love interest. Best examples I can give are Sailor Moon, Tokyo Mew Mew, and Cardcaptor Sakura.
There are also a lot of deep animes that can be really moving or serious. One that I really like is xxxHolic. Rest assured, its not about what the name says. I don't even understand why its named that. Its about this woman who's a fortune-teller and this guy who has to work for her because she removed his curse. It always really makes me think, but not to the point that its annoying.
Animes can basically be about anything. There's an anime about probably everything. Some are good, some are bad, some are popular, some are not, some are serious, some are funny, some are dark, some are happy, some are just weird, some are all of that combined. Anime really isn't any different than anything else on the telly. Except it comes from Japan (mostly), is animated, and it isn't as bad. I'd watch the worst anime that ever existed over Jersey Shore any day.
In the conclusion of my big rant, you have an entirely slanted, distorted view of anime that needs to be fixed. Its equivalent to hating all Germans because of that one bad Austrian or hating all vegetables because you had one bad salad.
Plus, I can guarantee that anime is better than that rubbish which is American cartoons. Not only in terms of art, plot, significance, characters, and voice-acting, but also in the fact that people who make anime don't see it as something for children and make it some dumbed-down programme teaching you your A-B-C's. There are animes with murder, drugs, sex, blood, gore, cursing, nudity, and a number of other questionable things.
On a side note, if you're ever looking for anything shounen-ai or yaoi, my friend Horror-chan is the one to go to. Apparently, she's watched all of them (which thoroughly impresses me XDD). I've only read some shounen-ai mangas, I've never actually watched it.
Basically, just find animes that cater to your personal interests and I'll do my best to help you find which you like. And I will make sure you NEVER EVER have to watch 4Kids again.
Anime isn't at all what you believe it to be. Yes, there are some that do fit that wee little margin that you're thinking of, but most of them are FAR better. Trust me on this, mate!! This I'm not dedicating my entire life to something mediocre. I'm actually quite cynical, so for me to enjoy and praise something this greatly really says something.
Oh, and you don't have to watch anime in Japanese if you really don't want to. I'd recommend that once you find one you like, if you watched it in the English dub, then try going back and watching it in the English sub later. The Japanese ones are ALWAYS better, but if you like it at all in English, you'll probably like it more in Japanese. And you can even watch some in Spanish if you want XDD
So? Will you give anime a second chance? You will have the 100% support of the Khozyain and all her resources. I know lots of people. LOTS of people. C'mon :D You know you don't really hate it in your heart. You just hate those awful ones that you saw! And by the way, those ones you mentioned aren't even good in the Japanese version XDDD So??? What do you say??? ^J^?
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