A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Enter the Anime is a 2019 faux-documentary that's actually little more than a Netflix promotional video of available anime currently streaming on Netflix. The narrator says "f--k" several times, as well as other profanities ("s--t-ton," "apes--t"). There are many brief shots of violent content from anime, including a man whipped in the face whose eyeball shoots out, hits a wall, and slowly dangles downward. Demonic imagery. Scenes of dead bodies; some blood. Reference to pornographic animation content. Any potentially interesting discussion on the history of anime, Japanese culture, and the creative processes of anime's greatest artists is short-circuited by the obnoxious presentation and bombastic overproduction.
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What's the story?
ENTER THE ANIME is a "documentary on anime" that is really a Netflix promotional video of the anime currently available for streaming on Netflix. The video's director meets with several of anime's best-known creators, first in Los Angeles and then in Tokyo. Not really a fan of anime until asked to make this "documentary," she learns of anime's history, and how it relates to Japanese culture. Through interviews, she learns of the anime creators' creative processes and their intense work ethic. She learns more about the influence of anime culture and the numerous subcultures that have sprung from it.
Is it any good?
This is little more than a Netflix promotional video of the anime available for streaming on Netflix. If there's any doubt that this is what's happening, that doubt is erased at the closing credits of Enter the Anime, when the first caption that comes up reads, "All anime titles covered in the documentary are available and now streaming on Netflix." Those who were hoping for an "Anime Appreciation 101"-style documentary will be disappointed; fans of anime will be completely annoyed at the obnoxious production values.
Indeed, the editing is borderline seizure-inducing. No shot lasts for more than two seconds at most, and any interesting discussion of anime's history, Japanese culture, or the creative processes of anime's most famous artists is short-circuited by the constant need for split-screens, constant cutting, and the beyond heavy-handed use of text to amplify anything the interviewees are saying. It comes off as a desperate striving for "hip," a striving almost as desperate as the narrator's embarrassing attempts at introspection through a voice-over that manages to steer clear of any real insight by throwing in a few "f--ks" and "hellas" just in the nick of time. Arguably, the biggest insights gleaned from Enter the Anime is that the streets, parks, and subways of Tokyo are free of garbage, and the Japanese are known for their work ethic. What can't be argued is that this is anything else but a shameless advertisement from Netflix.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about promotional videos that claim to be documentaries. What is the difference between videos promoting an artist, a show, or content, versus a relatively-objective documentary whose primary intention is to inform and educate?
The split-second editing in this "documentary" is constant and unrelenting. Why do you think Enter the Anime's creators chose to present the content this way? Does it heighten or detract from the video's message and what the interviewees are saying?
Was the narrator's profanity necessary? Did it make her seem "cool," or did it come off as overdone?
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