I’ve made it no secret about my hatred for anime in the past, but over the years I’ve softened on my stance considerably. I’ve learned to appreciate the genre and medium quite radically. While I would never label myself an anime fan, I definitely have a ton of love for the art form and have fallen in love with Studio Ghibli, and films like “Akira,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Vampire Hunter D” and the like. When I was offered a chance to review “Anime Impact,” jumped at the opportunity since I wanted to learn more about anime. I also am a big fan of Chris Stuckmann who is easily one of my top ten movie critics on Youtube.
“Anime Impact” is an impressive tome, a compendium of movie reviews and retrospectives of some of the most influential and controversial anime films of all time. Chris Stuckmann doesn’t handle the duties alone, as he allows a lot of other critical voices to contribute to the book. However Stuckmann’s influence can be felt immensely, as he pens the introduction and keeps the book a personal project. Stuckmann is well known for his love for anime, and it was refreshing to read. “Anime Impact” covers a humongous span of anime TV and movies, from “Astro Boy” right down to the 2018 “Violet Evergarden.” One the things that hinders “Anime Impact” is one of the elements that makes it such a fascinating read is that the book goes all the way down to the aughts.
I’m not saying it’s not possible for a film to have an immense impact on you when it’s so recent, but the idea that the book is about anime that impacted its authors and was made this year, kind of undermines the whole nostalgia effect of the book. I had an easier time swallowing the concept when Stuckmann thought back to his childhood days watching “Speed Racer,” or Jeffrey Timbrell fondly recalling his days in the eighties watching “Astro Boy.” That said what might alienate readers is the fact that “Anime Impact” is more about how the anime personally affected the authors and less about how they influenced a whole generation, or continued to.
I think “Anime Impact” excels for that because Stuckmann clearly intends the book to be something more of a personal love letter to the genre, and he brings along some unique voices to echo his sentiment. Stuckmann even brings in Ernest Cline, author of “Ready Player One” to contribute his thoughts on the very fun “Roujin Z” from 1991. “Anime Impact” is a breezy and interesting read and while a few of the writers tend to babble on a bit, everyone in the book offers some very personal accounts of how these titles changed their lives, and we get a proper sense of how important Anime continues to be.