But even that isn't all that outside the norm in the west. It's a fairy tale. Do you feel Sleeping Beauty falling in love with Prince Charming is forced? Or Romeo and Juliet?
Once you move off of the mass marketed stuff it becomes more important to remember the foreign element and differences in language and culture.
To a certain extent, yes, I've always felt that the love elements in those stories were forced as well. Yes, I understand that they are fairy tales (Sleeping Beauty and Princess Mononoke) or are based on historic concepts of love (R&J*) but that doesn't mean I have to LIKE said elements. And that is what I was commenting on.
Yes, I am aware that cultural differences are important to notice and respect. I had the privilege of living in Peru for two years and it was only at the end of that two years that I really started
to understand the jokes and TV shows. This, despite being conversationally fluent in Spanish at around the 6 to 8 month mark. And Peru shares more of my cultural reference points than Japan. Or perhaps better said, my cultural reference points are more similar to those of the people living in Peru compared to those living in Japan.
Nonetheless, I enjoy anime because it presents complex stories - at least the anime I like does - in a medium that happens to ignore the special effect budget**, which is nice.
To each their own, I suppose.
* And let's not forget that Shakespeare understood he had to sell tickets to keep a roof over his head, so he gave people what they wanted.
**Not technically true; however, it is much, much less than a Hollywood blockbuster.