why do we fall in love with anime characters?

Published by Alice C on 2021-06-03 in Nerd
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Has it ever happened to you to like so much a character in an anime that you thought : "I wish he/she was a real person". Since I started watching this kind of films and series I think more and more often that you don't find those kind of people in real life. I'm pretty sure that my capability of love and get attached have being compromised exactly because my standards are extremely high. So, why do our crushes on anime characters feel often more real and are stronger than characters in non-animated films?

Well, the reason is in our brain. We get attached to people in general because of a little part of our brain dedicated to empathy. When we see someone crying in the metro station we feel bad for him/her because we try to put ourselves in that situation to understand better the pain. Almost everyone is able to empathise to some level (unless you're a sociopath) and the less we know about a person, the more we try to fill in the gaps on why he or she's feeling that way. Don't get me wrong, empathy isn't just for bad feelings, we can feel it also for joy, happiness and love. If we're in front of an anime character this mechanism is amplified.
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In the contrary with films, we don't have actors on which project our feelings. Sometimes (to me all the time lol) an actor plays a character I suddenly become obsessed with the actor in general, start learning by heart his/her Wikipedia's page and watching the entire filmography. Sadly with anime it gets more complicated. From an aesthetic point of view, with anime characters everything's legit. Hair can be naturally purple combed in the most artistic way and they would still look awesome. They usually have super huge and sparkly eyes where we can see every single emotion the character feels and sometimes even personal features like being naïve or being a badass are exaggerate to the point where it's impossible not to love them. Moreover, many of them have superpowers. Come on, real people don't have even a chance.

We get so attached to anime characters because we develop a kind of love and empathy which cannot be put somewhere else. We fangirl, we create fiction and we wonder and wonder about their life outside of the anime. To our eyes they don't have any flaw, they can't "do a bad acting" or ruin their reputation in any way. So yes, we are doomed to endlessly love characters that don't exist.

Illustrations by Claudia