Keni says that anime is childish because it’s escapism. That is a valid argument, but there’s more to it than simply that. (He then derails the topic to discuss what anime taught him, but while the lessons anime teaches are universal and for any age group, I can’t really refute that here.)
What I disagree most with, off the bat, is that jump scares and gore are childish. Gore is certainly made to appeal to baser instincts than Keni’s example of psychological horror, but there’s a reason gore is given higher classification ratings than a vast chunk of anime without gore. (Obviously, you would have to take into account things like sexual acts and ecchi content would step up the ratings as well.)
Also, live-action can be childish as well. There’s a reason a bunch of Disney Channel and Nickelodeon movies and shows, like Hannah Montana‘s, tend to have young stars with snappy mouths – it’s the ability to sell that star that counts for things like that (like voice actor talent, but with more emphasis on their looks), while also being able to ground them in a way that doesn’t feel too out-of-place in comparison to real life experiences. Just as a former consumer of that Disney Channel and Nickelodeon stuff, those movies are just as exaggerated as anime is, if not more due to the supposed “realism” of the subjects…
because there is no way Hannah Montana is able to keep her identity secret with just a blonde wig. Just sayin’.
My grievances with how much of that stuff I’ve seen in retrospect aside, the big thing you have to keep in mind here is anime is for all ages (although exactly which group it’s aimed at can be confusing at times) but generally, the ones who have more time to consume it – give or take something like a pandemic – are the younger age brackets. There’s no specific cutoff for said age brackets, but generally it’s those who are still in school and/or not in a job so they have time to kill, but have some technological prowess so that they can use their device of choice and/or enough power over their own wallets (or their parents’) so they can move the discs, books etc.. (Also in Japan and in other places where anime is played on TV late at night on the regular, there is also an inherent need for said young people to be able to stay up late – or at least sneak out when it’s late – so they can watch their gateway anime.)
This means anime then becomes aimed at young people more often, slowly endangering adult and child protagonists over time…although, of course, there are exceptions to this where the plot demands it, such as Inuyashiki, while in more recent times, the fanbase has been growing older due to Japan’s ageing population, which is necessitating the need for more older protagonists anime watchers can relate to.
So, over to you. Is anime childish? Is there a type of protagonist/storyline we need more of in order to remove the stigma of it being childish, if that stigma exists in the first place?