Citing shows such as Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, Glucklich suggests that the mass popularity of these and other anime series are "chipping away at our collective moral fiber".
The reasoning behind such a statement is the content of the shows themselves, complaining that they lack any solid life lesson to be passed on to the kiddos. "Unless something is done to reverse this trend, we're going to be looking at millions of high school dropouts who don't see the point in going to college unless it teaches them to capture magic crystals," he says.
But if we're going to go to that extreme with anime shows, then let's also take a trip back to the days of Tom & Jerry. Was there a life lesson there? Nope, not a one. What about Popeye and Brutus? Yogi Bear? The Flintstones, Woody Woodpecker or my all-time fav, The Wacky Racers? Hmm... entertainment and comedy, yes. Moral life lessons? No.
The truth is, television has always been for the most part, an entertainment tool and not a babysitter, as Glucklich suggests. Sure, there are exceptions - Sesame Street, The Discovery Channel and Animal Planet are certainly good educational programs that come to mind, but again, they're the exception not the rule. Even today's prime time shows are willing to sacrifice education for entertainment and our own news media will focus on Brittney's latest scandal before they'll talk about Darfur. Not to say that I necessarily agree with all of it but I do have a choice: if I want to learn more about Brad and Angelina, I'll stay tuned to the major media stations. Looking for something with a bit more substance? Well, then I know where to find that information too.
Now, I know Mr. Glucklich is not alone in his assessment, just as there were those who thought all rock music was satanic and Elvis' swinging pelvis was a threat decent young girls around the world. But they were wrong and, sorry Mr. Glucklich, so are you. To follow this line of thinking is to assume that the American public (or any "public" for that matter) is devoid of any independent thinking and to put it nicely, as stupid as clams. This theory requires society to be painfully dumb and even more naive, so much so that we'll believe anything that's put in front of us, no matter how ridiculous, incredible or imaginary it might be.
And I'll admit, I know a few folks that would fit that bill but I don't think its a fair stereotype to paint broadly across the board. We have always had imaginary friends, pretend play and a good dose of daydreaming. Its called "creativity" and to be honest, I tend to encourage it in my kids. From our classic superheroes with other-worldly superpowers to Harry Potter, Star Wars and yes, even Dragon Ball Z, imagination is a wonderful, powerful thing that (like Goku's Spirit Bomb) can be used for good or for evil.
The point is that anime, like any and every other television show is not responsible for the "fiber" of our society, moral or otherwise. That responsibility falls to us, as parents, as individuals and as part of the human race and personally, if we weren't always so ready to play the victim so that we could blame our shortcomings on someone else, we might actually have to stand up and be a better "people" collectively - cartoons, anime and all.
As the anime guide, you can bet that my kids see a ton of anime. In fact, we watch it together and just like any other television show, video games and other outside stimuli, I limit and supervise everything that goes into their little brains. That's how its supposed to be and I can assure you, my kids are doing just fine. Because despite the fact that they might do it with magic crystals or hidden powers, characters in these shows remind us that its okay to be different and your strength comes from being true to yourself. The good guys always win in the end and evil is ultimately sent packing. They show us that you can't always judge a book by its cover, no matter how different that cover might be from your own and that it doesn't matter how small you think you are - you should always stand up for what's right, no matter how mean or corrupt the bully might be.
Come to think of it, those are some pretty good lessons to learn... even if they are from an anime show.