In many ways, I don’t feel the best qualified to discuss this topic.
I’ve only been watching anime regularly for about three years. I have by no means watched as many shows each season as many other anime watchers. I don’t have the knowledge of the long history of anime and some of the most famous shows in the genre. With that out of the way, I can honestly say that the anime really should be considered for Emmy’s Animated Program competition.
With all the talk of how animation does new and exciting things, anime has already done so much and more. Anime series have tackled topics of loss, abuse, romance, action, and larger emotional growth. Take Ao Haru Walk, which is about two old friends who lost touch and now reconnect in high school, but peer pressure and bad history create barriers. Or code geass, an action spectacle with huge robot fights that also deals with individuals within a conquered society reduced to a number and not a person. It offers the complexity of fighting back while seeing the truly horrible things people will do to keep people enslaved and set them free. Plus, if you just want a good laugh, shows like Kaguya-sama: Love is warfeaturing two teenagers determined to get the other to confess their love first so they have the upper hand, has been one of the funniest (and heartfelt) shows of the past three years.
Beyond that, the animation itself is beautiful to watch. The way water is drawn in the anime is a work of art. Watching the rain hit the ground in these shows is extremely realistic in a way I’ve never seen captured in any other animation. In stark contrast, the way the violence and gore are shown can be incredibly terrifying, so you feel the pain of the characters as they go through this experience. Then, on the more ridiculous side of things, the expression of a goofy boy getting hit by a girl and stealing is still extremely funny, no matter how many times it happens.
I know one thing that will cause problems is the amount of anime that comes out every year. With the Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons each releasing new and returning shows, there’s a lot of content that can be hard to skip. Plus, with so many genres of anime, it can also cause big debates about what really is great anime. I prefer slice of life and romance rather than myself, more action or horror oriented. Granted, there are plenty of bad and good elements: fan service (slightly drawn women or worse), repurposed old storylines, bad jokes, and over the top violence. Anime is like everything else in media; it takes work to find what’s great.
While it was once hard to find cartoons, that’s no longer a factor. With Netflix and Disney+ starting to stream new anime and Sony acquiring longtime anime streamer Crunchyroll, there may be more push to get these big TV shows into the Emmy race. There may be too many to consider, or the style and type of stories may not work. And we all know that the Television Academy often takes the easy option of renaming the same shows. However, the Emmys should try to expand their network of animated programs because many animated series deserve to be in the conversation.