On Monday, Netflix released “Enter the Anime,” a documentary directed by Alex Burunova that follows narrator Tania Nolan as she dives into the world of anime by interviewing creators, directors, crew members and fans of popular productions in the anime industry with the hope of understanding it more.
The documentary proved interesting even for those who aren’t fans of anime, though some of the film’s writing took away from that.
By choosing a narrator like Nolan, who presented herself as someone with little knowledge of anime, the documentary became relatable to a wider audience. This allowed the film to pique the interest not only of anime fans, but of casual viewers as well.
To better understand anime, Nolan immerses herself in Japanese culture, exploring things like the country’s geography, modes of transportation, work ethic and food.
Expanding upon the subject and including parts of Japanese culture worked well for “Enter the Anime.” The documentary glimpsed into the world of Japanese comic books, or manga, that often inspire anime.
The film adequately demonstrates the wide range of genres and styles of anime. To represent a violent form of anime, an interview is conducted with the creators of “Kengan Ashura,” a series about combat through martial arts. The documentary also includes an interview with the writer and director of “Rilakkuma and Kaoru,” a stop-motion series made for children.
The interviews and short clips of the different anime series shown throughout the documentary were entertaining and easy to watch. However, the dialogue and narration between interviews often seemed over the top, cheesy, and too scripted which took away from the film as a whole.
What was most surprising about the documentary was the amount of time the anime creators expressed they put into their work. When asked what they would do if given free time, many of the creators responded by saying they would sleep. This piece of information acted as a reminder that while most careers have periodic moments of stress, the world of anime is often a relentless stream of work throughout the day.
The documentary successfully presented itself again as relatable in the interviews when the creative processes of the makers of popular anime were revealed. Despite their shows portraying incredible amounts of work and imagination, each filmmaker described him or herself doing ordinary things like walking or taking a bath when they come up with new ideas.
Near the end of the documentary, Nolan described anime as being, “made by misfits, for other misfits.” This is a perfect representation of the documentary and its message that anime is accepting and a way to connect with one another. The documentary was not perfect, but the insight provided on the genre and Japanese culture makes it a must-watch for anyone who wants to learn something new.