Learning a little bit about Japanese culture and history can go a long way towards helping your enjoyment and understanding of anime.

Attitudes of Youth as Depicted in Anime   The Spiritual Side of Anime
Explore the the differences in attitudes of young people in anime, and how this is reflected in the attitudes of Japanese youth.   Religion has shaped the culture of Japan. Find out about the spiritual roots of anime transformation sequences, invocations, and more.
History of Japan   Marriage and Courtship in Japan
A good reference to cross-check some of the facts on this site, and see where they happened in Japan's history.   Anime anecdotes, and their roots in the customs of Japanese courtship and marriage customs.
The Pacific War in Anime    
The Pacific theatre of World War II and post-war occupation affected many aspects of anime and Japanese culture in general. See how two anime address this in different ways.    
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