Sandbox Games vs. Anime: Why they have a lot in common, and why anime is a million miles ahead

I've been playing Saints Row 2 for about the past week. I know, it's the clunky little brother with snot hanging out his nose, tagging around behind Grand Theft Auto, screaming, "Look at me! You can play as a green Amazoness! Or whatever!", but I've sunk too many hours into GTA and needed something fresh.

But this is neither the time nor place for a review of SR2, because this is a site for anime/manga. And naturally, every breath I take, I compare what I'm actively doing to anime/manga. If I'm actually watching or reading it, I compare it to other anime/manga. So while playing Saints Row, I got to thinkin', which can be dangerous. I thought, this is some sort of weird release of social id. It's extremely gratifying and relaxing to do whatever the hell you want without consequences. Hop in a car, do the speed limit. Or hop in a car, drop the pedal, and cruise down the sidewalk and watch the bodies soar gracefully through the air. Neither affects the game very much, the cops don't even chase you until you run over a cop, which is pretty rare. My point is, playing this game is a release of instincts that are socially unacceptable.

Isn't anime exactly the same thing? The collective world of anime and manga is like the biggest sandbox game you could possibly imagine. Except, the wildest and most fucked-up shit you could possibly do in Grand Theft Auto is literally child's play to this world. (Literally, I could tick off a half-dozen series with killers who are kids, Black Lagoon, DeadMan Wonderland, Darker Than Black, Naruto, Shaman King, Amnesia, Jack Frost, the list goes on). There's a whole world of hentai that makes the infamous "Hot Coffee" glitch look like a particularly banal episode of the Teletubbies. The body count is innumerable, in fact, the body count has occasionally extended to complete annihilation of the entire human race. A Billion Needles, anyone? (I think that's what happened :P)

Imagine all of anime happening in the same sphere of existence. I know, this is a stretch. Play along. If all of these series represent a release of social stressors in the same way that sandbox games do, then isn't anime a wildly more effective and established release?

What do you think? Anime and manga as a release? :)

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