5. Anime Hair

In my middle school days, it seemed that everyone had spiked hair. Well, by everyone I mean many of the boys. I did know a girl with spiked hair—it was actually quite a good look—but the fashion was almost exclusive to the males of the species. I even tried spiking my hair once, a dreadful mistake that I’m still trying to block out of my memory.

It would be much more convenient to have naturally spiky hair. People have naturally wavy or curly hair. Why not naturally spiky hair? Sadly, spiky hair is not a gift God has given humankind. Perhaps spiky hair is a gift we lost when we sinned against God at the beginning of the world. Could Adam and Eve have had naturally spiky hair in the Garden of Eden?

I guess I’ll save that theological question for another time.

Spiky hair seems to be a requisite for anime, or Japanese animation. This prompts a number of questions. Do anime characters take time to style their hair, or is it naturally spiky? If it’s naturally spiky, what are the theological implications? Are characters with spiky hair holier than characters without spiky hair?

Another common tendency of anime hair is to be creatively colored. Anime characters have black, brown or blond hair like the rest of the human race. They also have blue, green or purple hair. Explanations are never given for these unusual colors. Viewers are left to assume that anime characters either dye their hair or possess highly irregular genes.

I read somewhere that the trend toward odd hair colors began with manga, or Japanese comics. These comics were printed without colored ink, restricting a character’s hair color to black, white or a shade of gray. The covers of the comics, however, were printed in color. In order to visually distinguish characters as much as possible, comic artists gave their characters vividly colored hair. This tendency toward unnatural colors passed from manga to anime, thereby accounting for the brilliant shades of pink and indigo that brighten the hair of certain characters.

The really striking thing is how natural spiky or vividly colored hair seems in Japanese anime. Viewers tend not to think twice about a character with spiky blue hair.

Of course, there are a lot of strange things in Japanese anime that viewers tend not to think twice about. Like the characters (usually females) with furry ears and whiskers who possess a vague resemblance to cats, and the innate ability of some characters to produce large hammers from thin air, and the inexplicable ubiquity of pandas.

Strong Bad was right. Japanese cartoons are weird, man.

One thought on “5. Anime Hair

  1. Have always been captured by spikey-haired cartoons. For some reason while reading this, I thought of Stu Pickles from Rugrats who had purple spikey hair for no explainable reason.

    I mean, he’s not even Japanese. What gives?

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