Saturday, October 07, 2006

THOUGHTS ABOUT ANIME

You don't need a crystal ball to see that anime is poised to make a big impact on the American market, even bigger than it's made so far. Somewhere down the line someone will make the breakthrough anime that'll push Disney and Pixar off the map. It's only a matter of time.

Me, I'm not an anime fan. I know there's been some good stuff done in that medium but there's also an awful, awful lot of kitch. I mean big, hulking mountains of it! All the cute girls with gigantic, cute Bambi eyes, cute and oh so precious hairstyles, and cute little outfits with cute little boots... Cute! Cute! Cute! Even the guys are cute! Man, I'm getting a sugar overdose here!
And how do you like anime plots ? "Ganzu, the cute princess of cutania must get the power ring back that was stolen by Power lad and his Power Pals. A fight ensues with Power Lad shooting power beams at the cute girls and their cute, fuzzy little animal friends. Eventually Power Lad and his Power Pals realize the've been manipulated by the evil Ganzuni. Another power beam fight ensues with the cute forces in beautiful outfits joining with the powerful Power Pals (also in cute outfits and hairstyles) against Ganzuni. The good guys win. " Aaaaarggghh!!!!!

BTW, I didn't draw the picture of power Lad and his Powerful Beams of Power above.

82 comments:

cartooncrank said...

Here is an excerpt from my blog, dated Nov. 4, 2004, concerning anime:

Japanese Animation was once referred to as JapAnimation, a term that has given way to the confusing moniker, "Anime" which is pronounced "Anna May." This is a tribute to Anna May Wong (1905 - 1961) an actress of Asian extraction whose acting credits extend back to the silent era. What this has to do with anything is beyond me - I told you it was confusing.

Americans first became aware of the Japanese animation industry when the TV shows ATOM BOY and SAMBI THE TIGER were first imported back in the early 'sixties. The slavish imitation of the worst aspects of the later-period Fleischer Studios cartoons made them instantly appealing to the US audience. That, and the excellent voice work!

Now-a-days, the anime shows have become so confusing that despite their popularity, no one likes them. They abound in skinny, sailor-suit-wearing schoolgirls who look like they are smuggling tennis balls in their blouses and non-existant animal hybrids. There is much shouting and sweating done by the characters. Planets are destroyed. The one constant from the early ATOM BOY shows is the excellent voice acting.

My advice is these sort of shows should be avoided at all costs. That is until the industry comes to its senses and starts hiring seasoned animation history experts as highly paid consultants. (I could learn to like Saki, I suppose!)

JohnK said...

I hope Katie responds to this one, because she showed me actual positive and funny aspects of anime acting and graphic ways to show emotions-and funny story conventions.

I can't watch the stuff either, but I like that she finds cool things to interpret in an American style.

Anonymous said...

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Charlie J. said...

hey Uncle Eddie!

dont like anime, huh? Well neither do I! But check this out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyGvGMa2RFg

Steve Schnier said...

My kids watch that stuff. The only way I can tolerate it is when I make up dialogue to piss them off.

"I am Doktor Marko and YOU cannot stop me!"

Notice how all the characters talk as though they're accusing each other of something?

Ryan G. said...

Oh God..Anime..The word itself implies animation but has the least animation of all! And talk about limited expressions..There are seriously only like 5 expressions the characters will ever make! There are alot of students at my school that always turn in anime influenced projects. I just cringe..

The Lar said...

I'v Always said ya seen one ya seen em all-Stories are boring-Characters are boring-The only thing positive I can say is they are fun to mock-Thats the only time I think funny.
I still call them Japanimaton.
Anime makes me think when the term Alternative poped up for music
Dumb Dumb Dumb
The younger kids seem to love it
but the younger generation has pretty weird taste in alot of things
-Matt

Max Ward said...

When I saw the anime pictures, I thought I had the wrong blog.

Pete Emslie said...

I think this sums up the situation pretty well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOejYrQ5P0s

mike f. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I respectfully but firmy disagree: I don't think "anime"--in the hardcore, traditional sense that is envinced by your selection of illustrations there--is ever, ever going to make any substantial impact at all on the american film scene. Not if it hasn't already(and it hasn't); it's more of a niche genre or style than many niches that also haven't taken over or made big impacts on our film production here.

Japan and its culture as far as these little graphic narratives are concerned is just so wildy different...even the breakout genius of Miyazaki--which one would think would have a chance if anything from Japan did, and should for that matter--has more or less gone unremarked here except for the larger cities and again, a niche fan base of animators and artists. I'm not saying that's how it should be, but I definitely believe that's how it will be.

I've enjoyed some of weirder cartoon things I've glimpsed from Japan--and man, there's plenty of inspirational weirdness there, but after 10 minutes I lose interest. The mainstream Bubblegum Crisis or whatever--no way. By our standards it simply IS too expressionless and odd and frankly dull, no matter how well done the explosions are. Just my humble opinion.

Kali Fontecchio said...

Hahaha! That's too funny! Power beams.
Ya, the anime market is saturated with young school girls with powers etc. but there are exceptions every so often.

Eric Dotseth said...

If anime has made a great impact across American culture, I haven't seen it. It seems limited to a small niche of the community who will probably grow out of it.

Anime is a style. Like all other art styles it will have a big impact for a few years. Over time, people will (hopefully) incorporate the best elements from Anime and discard the rest.

Anonymous said...

This site is precisely what I have been searching for ! This is precisely a small-scale library having full of books which I necessitate. - bad breath

Craig D said...

Here's an observation that neither proves nor disproves anything...

If I go to the local Best Buy, there's nearly a whole aisle of
"Anime" in it's own, labelled section.

If I want classic cartoon DVDs, I have to pick through the family/children shelves.

(Yep, the Looney Tunes are there all right. Mixed in with Thomas & Friends, The Wiggles, Baby Einstein, Clifford, Beethoven 7, Barney, etc. etc. etc.)

FWIW

S.G.A said...

Ha,Thanks for the laughs, beam fights!

You can't fool me I know you did that drawing , keep practicing , you closet anime lover.

Thanks , Uncle Eddie.

S.G.A said...

Anime is like most of the arts , alot of mediocre stuff and a few stand out things.

Ryan Kramer said...

it bugs me that its called "anime" that's the abbreviation we should be using for American animated cartoons..."Japanimation" fits so much better. All in favor to switch out these words?!

Soos said...

Whenever it comes to criticizing anime, it seems that there's rarely ever any actual critique but more a discussion about this stereotype that's discussed by people who've generally never even seen any of it firsthand.

Props for mentioning GTO, although it's just another terribly animated comic adaptation.

But what about Satoshi Kon?

http://www.eiga.dk/billeder/0304.jpg

What about Studio 4'C?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mindgame_yakuza.png

These aren't no-name guys who are able to make one movie before they're beaten down by the system, they're big and popular studios! Studio 4'C is on their second movie, and Satoshi Kon is on his 4th!

Which is to say nothing of the hugely varied comic industry which can sustain artists as bizarre as Hirohiko Araki.

http://www.acsolo.com/image/acimage/2005710193838976.jpg

The bug-eyed cute princess emo hero magic hole mouth crap is just the commercial aspect of the industry - it's their Cartoon Network. But saying it's the epitome of anime is like saying The Fairly Odd Parents are the epitome of American cartoon - even moreso with all the fantastically creative work that's actually popular over there. For a while, the kitsch was being beaten by One Piece of all things!

http://www.gumgum.org/spreads/spread%20(9).jpg

It always seems to me that this "most of it is really bad" mentality is just an excuse not to look into the works of another culture. The "breakthrough anime" you're talking about has already been made - there's a ton of them! And they would push Disney and Pixar off the map if America were receptive to foreign films - especially when they're butchered in the localization process.

Anonymous said...

Hey Eddie,
Thanks so much for Blogging away. Between your and John's Blogs, my morning reading is always fun and informative.
Now if we could just get Mike and maybe J.J. H.
to start their's I could get even less work done!
Vincent

golb said...

The average anime, in many respects, is still better than the average american "cartoon" today. And it's still not as pervasive so as to not be worth looking into even if only for the differences.

Soos said...

>>golb

No.

The average anime is a collection of poorly drawn stills that occasionally animate very poorly on 3s. And lip sync? Forget about it.

Even Butch Hartman's crap moves quickly and is lip synced properly.

Anonymous said...

When you said "You don't need a crystal ball to see that anime is poised to make a big impact on the American market, even bigger than it's made so far. Somewhere down the line someone will make the breakthrough anime that'll push Disney and Pixar off the map. It's only a matter of time."

The first thing that came to my mind was "Howl's Moving Castle". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0347149/
The movie was Nominated for a Oscar,
I haven't seen it yet but I hear it's beautifully animated. This could be probably the breakthrough you were referring to. It'll definitely influence alot of future anime-animators, and probably alot of American styled animators too.

Although it's a masterpiece in anime, it also looks like it suffers from some of the drawbacks you discussed in your blog, unfortunately. Not the laser beam fighting (I don't know though, I haven't seen it) but the generic, and limited facial expressions, that almost all Japan-animations seems to suffer from.

Jorge Garrido said...

That's Gogeta! Don't judge all anime alike. Akira Toriyama's later work is different than his earlier work which is different than Osamu Tezuka, which is different than Toriyama. I agree there's alot of crap but there''s tons of different genres of anime, romanitc comedy,. horror, cyberpunk, etc. Dragon Ball Z rules, Dragonball is even better. It's even cartoony!t

Modern anime is WAY better than the CRAP America pushing these days. You shouldn't judge an entire country's output by some bad examples. It's not all cute, Eddie.

And don't use the term Japanimation, anyone, you sound like a jackass.

Compare the early days of Dragonball to the laster days. I'll find some youtube clips. If I find the clips, will you watch them objectively?

Gabriel said...

I like some anime, I thought Mind Game was really cool. But i hate so much more stuff than i like that if someone asks me if i like anime I usually go the short route and answer that I can't stand it.

I don't really care said...

IS the PowerPals out on DVD?

Personally I like Japanese animation, if I can state that "Anime" is a sub-genre that I hate, aimed purely at non-analytical kids. Pokemon, Dragonball and Inuyashu and their ilk I can live without. Hayao Miyazaki I find a lot more watchable. As for Hentai, I'd rather watch real porn.

Most easily-located Japanese animation may be annoying and can be discarded, but what remains has at least moments of greatness. Although the greatness is seldom found in funny characters doing american-style cartoony things, or in great character work, they will usually attempt some gratifying eye-candy, of a sort that you don't see elsewhere, even if the whole film doesn't hold up. I wish some of what they are doing was being done here by somebody.

What I've always wanted to know is why don't any of the characters look Japanese? They all look like Anglos.

Jorge Garrido said...

>Personally I like Japanese animation, if I can state that "Anime" is a sub-genre that I hate, aimed purely at non-analytical kids. Pokemon, Dragonball and Inuyashu and their ilk I can live without. Hayao Miyazaki I find a lot more watchable. As for Hentai, I'd rather watch real porn.

WRONG. Anime is WHAT. IT'S. CALLED. There can be NO debate on what Japenese animation is referred to. That's like saying you like cartoons but hate animation. It's like saying you like Coffee but hate Java. Secondaly, what do you mean by "non-analytical?" You mean ENTERTAINMENT isn't good enough, if has to be "arty" like Miyazaki? Please...

What I like about Dragonball is the character of Goku. He started off as a good-natured naive stupid kid with a huge appetite, and ended as the greatest fighter in the universe, immensely powerful, capabale of blowing up planets, yet he STILL retained the same personality! He even stayed stupid He's Superman, Moses, and the Chinese legend of The Monkey King, the boy who turned into an ape at teh sight of a full moon and rode a cloud and had a never ending extendable pole, rolled into one. The way Toriyama melded those three things to form the mythology is astounding! And the way it was gradually revealed was awesome!

I also like Toyirama's Dragonball World, where wonky round sci-fi cars, Dinosaurs, civilian animals, aliens, and other razy crazy things all lived together. I liked the perverted Pig chractaer, Oolong, oh, and the crazy puns the characters had in their names!

Dragonball was divided into three series, Deragonball, a comedic cartoonier series which introduced a little boy named Goku, Dragonball Z, in which he grew up into the greatest fighter in the universe and it became a full on action/sci-fi series, and Dragon Ball GT, which was made without creator Akira Toriyama, who only designed the characters

In Dragonball GT, Goku was magically turned into a kid again. This is where you can see the evolution of Toriyamas' style, and where you can see how anime is much more diverse than you think.

Here's what Kid Goku looked like, plus some other pics that showcases Toriyama's earlier style:

>http://club.telepolis.com/srapaquito/miticos2/images/goku%20y%20crilin.jpg

http://www.lambiek.net/artists/t/toriyama_a/toriyama_dragonb.gif

http://www.lambiek.net/artists/t/toriyama_a/toriyama_akira_arale.jpg

http://www.paipai.net/manga/toriyama/dragonball/goku31.jpg

Toriyama excleed at non-reaistic wonky spaceship futuristc mechanical things!

http://www.paipai.net/manga/drslump/toriart/catship.jpg

http://www.mediameeting.it/dragonball/images/DBGR1.jpg

http://www.comic.de/manga/mangamuseum/dragonball.jpg

In Dragonball Z everything became angular (gradually) until the rule became that the ONLY curves allowed to be drawn on the characters were on their pupils. This is the most common Dragonball Z which was very different from his earlier, cartoonier work. It's not a good comparison to the earlier stlye becasue Goku was an adult. In GT when Goku was a kid again you can clearly see how much changed. Just for show you, here's Goku in Super Sayain 3 form in Z:

http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/m/e/mes329/wallpaper/dbz-goku_ssj3.jpg

GT kid Goku:

http://members.fortunecity.com/anime_strike/dbgtcardgoku1.jpg

Note the lack of curves, hwo Goku lost his baby fat even though he was presumably the same age as when DB started, and how much uglier he is in general.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/38/Gtgoku.jpg/200px-Gtgoku.jpg


http://www.dragonballworld.it/download/sfondi/Dragonball%20GT.jpg

http://www.regnodelleanime.com/Videosigle/sigla_dragonballgt.jpg

http://www.fujitv.co.jp/b_hp/dragonball-gt/photo/photo2.jpg

See? There's more than one style, even among the same show.

It should be noted that DBA doesn't use stock anime eyes. Eyes in DBZ are usually a one colour pupil in a triaggle shaped quadrialteral with the eyebrow attached (except for Piccollo or SSJ 3 form)

http://www.desktopexchange.com/gallery/albums/Dragonball-Z-wallpaper/Dragon_Ballz_12.jpg

Most anime eyes look like this:

http://pcwallpapers.pc.funpic.org/anime/6.jpg

For more info check out these handy wirrten articles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son_Goku_%28Dragonball%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Ball_Z

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Ball

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Ball_%28TV_series%29

I don't really care said...

WRONG. Anime is WHAT. IT'S. CALLED. There can be NO debate on what Japenese animation is referred to.

Oh, Lord...

It was a rhetorical device to clarify what I like and don't like. Don't get your shorts in a bunch.

Secondaly, what do you mean by "non-analytical?" You mean ENTERTAINMENT isn't good enough, if has to be "arty" like Miyazaki? Please...

I mean that upon analysis, it's crap, but the kids that watch it don't care. I don't find "Anime" as I have defined it for myself to be entertaining. I find it annoying. Myazaki is entertaining not because it's "arty", but because it has actual entertaining things in it.

BUT, if Myazaki is "Arty" in contrast to Dragonball, then is Dragonball "non-arty"? I prefer cartoons with art in them, and preferably art that does entertaining things in time. This will not become the arguing about Dragonball thread.

Danne8a said...

Here Here!!!!!

The Lar said...

Oh geez the humor has gone way out the window..how sad.
All you screaming Japanimation lovers do know this is Uncle Eddie's blog right?
For Crimminy sake
-Matt

Jorge Garrido said...

>It was a rhetorical device to clarify what I like and don't like. Don't get your shorts in a bunch.

But you're just making it up. "Anime" refers to all Japanese animation, not a certain kind you personally dislike. It doesn't make sense.

> I don't find "Anime" as I have defined it for myself to be entertaining.

Since when are definitions of words up to personal interpretation?

>BUT, if Myazaki is "Arty" in contrast to Dragonball, then is Dragonball "non-arty"? I like cartoons with art in them.

It has art in it but it's not arty. It's either comedy or straight action/drama. Miyazaki is arty, and I like his stuff, but I thought you meant that Dragonball or other shows like it are "non-analyitical" in that they only try to entertain, as opposed to Miyazaki who tries to put artsy messages and stuff into his movies.

Jorge Garrido said...

>All you screaming Japanimation lovers do know this is Uncle Eddie's blog right?

That's such a stupid term. It's like the word 'Toon. "Let's watch some AWESOME Toons, dudes!"

I don't really care said...

Since when are definitions of words up to personal interpretation?

Eddie was talking about Anime, but his comments appeared to be directed at a sub-group of woefully under-animated TV Japanese action cartoons, and there is more out there. So I called Eddie's implied sub-grouping Anime, and others something else, because for Eddie the word Anime is already tainted.

PCUnfunny said...

They are some cartoony anime,like Lupin III,the only one I currently watch.You should try and find the Lupin III manga Eddie,the drawings are very cartoony and lively.

junior said...

haha, Jorge is pissed.
Yeah, most anime is a bore. Miyazaki is great, though. Dragon Ball is pile of steaming shit except for the first episodes, when Goku was still a kid and it was full of visual gags and funny fights. Then it went to nonstop fighting and screaming and everybody can blow up planets with a sneeze and they punch repeatedly so fast that I'd fall asleep if they stopped yelling.

The Lar said...

geez I'm just bein silly
sorry

Drew said...

I think Miyazaki is beyond you'r average girly girl heart power saturday morning kiddy hour show. He puts heart and soul in his shows AND ACTUALLY DRAWS EVERY PICTURE IN THE WHOLE MOVIE SO IT LOOKS GOOD!

Eddie, Have you seen Grave of the Firflies yet so I can have your theory on it?

I don't really care said...

As if you really wanted to know:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anime#Genres

Pete Emslie said...

The problem with your average TV anime, especially stuff like "DragonBall Z" and its ilk, is that it is largely incomprehensible. The actual drawing and painting abilities of the artists involved may be competent, but there is a total lack of characterization, limited to a great degree by the mind-numbing sameness of the designs. The two gals pictured at the top of Eddie's post are indistinguishable from the "Sailor Moon" gals or any other female characters from the dozens of shows out there these days. Likewise, every young male character is a variation on the same thing too, only they have a permanent scowl etched into their brows on the more action-oriented crap. If the Japanese would offer up more uniqueness and individuality in their character designs, then maybe their efforts would grab my interest. Though they'd also have to present some coherent plotlines to keep it. Inane David and Goliath-type battles in the desert show after show after show, ad nauseum, just don't cut it! (Sorry Jorge!)

Again, take a look at this and have a good laugh:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOejYrQ5P0s

Well blow me down - midgekits!! Gyack-ack-ack-ack....

PCUnfunny said...

Anime like Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakashu, One Piece, and Inuyasha are the bottom of the barrel. Really great anime is out there but it's just that crap like I mentioned gets way too much attention, hence the negative preconceived notions of anime in the US.

s.g.a said...

Its good to set a higher bar for animation, and funny cartoons actually being "cartoony" , but cartoons can tell stories that would probably never get told if they weren't done in animation.

I like the dragonball series, I like Evangelion , theres alot of stories that animation can tell.

There's room for everyones likes and dislikes. I like all this back and forth.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Holy Cow! People really get passionate about this subject! I'll definitely look up the names and links that were published here. Thanks for putting them up!

Vincent: Thanks for the cpmpliment!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Katie: If you're reading this, I didn't mean you when I talked about purveyers of cute! When cute is done as well as you do it then I have no problem with it!

J. J. Hunsecker said...

(Regarding blogs) Now if we could just get Mike and maybe J.J. H. to start their's I could get even less work done!
Vincent


Hi Vincent,

I already have a blog. It's here:

http://www.eyesofbroadway.blogspot.com/

But I warn you, you won't like it. I know I don't.

I also don't like anime (or whatever people want to call it).

Anonymous said...

Anime can be good. Cowboy Bebop rocks the party that rocks the house.

golb said...

>>soos

Butch Hartman's stuff looks like crap.

I'll take solidly constructed illustrations over ugly animation any day.

American animation tries to make it look as if the drawings were done by retarded 2 year olds.

Gabriel said...

Eddie, if you're really going to check out the links, check this one. It's from that one I mentioned, Mind Game. It's really different than most anime, which seem to be happy to conform to a stereotype. In this scene the main character meets God, who keeps changing shapes all the time, some of them are very cartoony!

Jorge Garrido said...

>Anime like Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakashu, One Piece, and Inuyasha are the bottom of the barrel. Really great anime is out there but it's just that crap like I mentioned gets way too much attention, hence the negative preconceived notions of anime in the US.

Yu Yu Hakusho, The Spirirt Detective is great! I love it! It's the supernatural ghost world plus with detective and mystery elements! Also: Rurouni Kenhin, Gundam, etc... anything Toonami aired was usually quite good, as long as it wasn't too too cut. Anime get censored to bits overseas!

>Eddie was talking about Anime, but his comments appeared to be directed at a sub-group of woefully under-animated TV Japanese action cartoons, and there is more out there. So I called Eddie's implied sub-grouping Anime, and others something else, because for Eddie the word Anime is already tainted.

No, Eddie was categorizing all japanese animation AKA Anime under the Sailor Moon style. Since he graciouslly said he'd check out some links, maybe his horizons will broaden! Could it be there's an Anime fan in Eddie waiting to come out?

I agree that alot of anime is under-animated, but ther's always exceptions, like Yamchya's Tencaichi Boudukai fight in the original
Dragonball. It was so fluid, I was amazed! I couldn't find it on youtube, though.

> haha, Jorge is pissed.
Yeah, most anime is a bore. Miyazaki is great, though. Dragon Ball is pile of steaming shit except for the first episodes, when Goku was still a kid and it was full of visual gags and funny fights. Then it went to nonstop fighting and screaming and everybody can blow up planets with a sneeze and they punch repeatedly so fast that I'd fall asleep if they stopped yelling.

Not pissed, but indignant on account of rampant generizations that were going on. Dragonball was the one where he was a kid (except near the end) and Dragonball Z is the one with nonstop fighting. It wans't just "the first few episodes", it was a full series and it WASalot more cartoony. It turned into just talking and talking and talking and non-stop fighting with Z, but even Z had tons of great drama and ingenious character devices and mythology.

Superheroes are the Greek and Roman Gods of our times. They're our mythology! Thank God for men like Akira Toriyama and Miyazaki who create entire mythological worlds of good and evil and everything in between for our wonder and amazement! It could just be my nostalgia talking but I love the idea of an alien race rocketing a kid to earth and when he grows up he becomes a great hero with incredible powers! What a great retreat from the boredom of reality that we have to face everyday!

>Inane David and Goliath-type battles in the desert show after show after show, ad nauseum, just don't cut it! (Sorry Jorge!)

I agree, which is why I'm glad DB & DBZ had alot more to it than that, despite what people think. It really is an unerrated series, it could have been so good. Little ingenious character devices INBETWEEN some admitably boring and padded fighting sequences were what people loved about that show. They're diamonds in the rough. The problem was the cartoon was being written while Toriyama was writing the manga, so the manga had to have tons of padding because Toriyama was still writing the comic (the retarded Goku vs. Freeza fight on Namek springs readily to mind, as well as anything involving Garlic Jr.)

>but there is a total lack of characterization, limited to a great degree by the mind-numbing sameness of the designs.

Goku and Vegeta are complete exceptions to the rule. Goku was ingenious because instead of making the main hero a stern heroic type, Toriyama made Goku have the EXACT same personality throughout the entire span of both series. He was stupid, naive, immature, moralistic, goody-goody, and easily tricked but he wasn't afraid to kill when he needed to. Really, compare Goku's behaviour in the comedic episodes from the early days with the comedic episodes from later on, and you'll see he remained exactly the same, bucking the trend of unneccesary "character development" that wouldn't have meant anything because his character was perfect the way it was. Back in the 80's every character was the "anti-hero" with a 5 o'clock shadow and a bad attitude. Goku, as both a kid and an adult, was a refreshing change. What other show made it's main protagonist so stupid and childlike and yet so endearing?

Vegeta was the opposite. His character was so rich, full of pathos, jealousy of Goku, he was refined, evil, boastful, arrogant, insecure, and overall one of the most complicated characters of all time. But you have to have the paitience to go BETWEEN fight scenes to see it. He started off as a villian and then turned somewhat good, yet he was never 100% good or bad. It makes me nostalgic just thinking about it! Holy Crap! When he turned evil again (or some would argue he became who he really was the entire time) and killed all those people in that stadium, it was one of most chilling scenes in all of anime. Holy crap!

> I like the dragonball series, I like Evangelion , theres alot of stories that animation can tell.

Oh man, I tried to watch Evangelion once and I had nightmares. That show was so disturbing, I swear to god, I was depressed for weeks! Religion really touches a nerve with people! The show as fearless but it was, I don't know, somehow...unpleasant? I loved the designs of the robots, though. Very organic!

>Butch Hartman's stuff looks like crap.

I'll take solidly constructed illustrations over ugly animation any day.

American animation tries to make it look as if the drawings were done by retarded 2 year olds.

I'll assume you mean modern, in which case I agree completely, except for Ren & Stimpy, Aaron Springer and a few other exceptions. Anime is PRETTY solidly constructed, except as John once said, the Anime mouth. Butch Hartman's FOP is the worst cartoon of all time.

>I'll definitely look up the names and links that were published here. Thanks for putting them up!

I hope you enjoy them, Eddie! That clip Gabriel put up blew me away!

PCUnfunny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PCUnfunny said...

"Yu Yu Hakusho, The Spirirt Detective is great! I love it! It's the supernatural ghost world plus with detective and mystery elements!"

Yu Yu Hakashu is juts another Dragon Ball Z type show. There was hardly any detective and mystery in that show,it was mostly fighting and yelling. You are looking in the wrong directon of anime Jorge, focusing on only the one dimensional fighting stuff.

"Also: Rurouni Kenhin, Gundam, etc... anything Toonami aired was usually quite good, as long as it wasn't too too cut. Anime get censored to bits overseas!"

Most Toonami anime is garbage, all the shows with the bad sterotypes of anime. Adult Swim actually shows the good anime,with some exceptions.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Gabriel: I watched the Mind Game clips. They were interesting but curiously uninvolving. I'll watch them again after a couple of days.

Jorge Garrido said...

>You are looking in the wrong directon of anime Jorge, focusing on only the one dimensional fighting stuff.

Sure me if I want action cartoons to have action instead of existentional philosophy.

PCUnfunny said...

"Sure me if I want action cartoons to have action instead of existentional philosophy."


You entirely missed my point,I am not saying action cartoons can't have action. The problem I have with Dragon Ball Z and other simualr crap is the characters are as flat as pancake,the acting is bad, and the stories are poorly done and predictable.You got to have more then the action up to snuff for good action anime. This a problem of not just in anime today but live-action films as well, they only have action but nothing else to make it truely compelling, all the same song.

I used to like Yu Yu Hakashu, Dragon Ball Z, and Inuyasha but then I realized how flat they were. I moved on to anime pandering more to adults and not just teenagers with short attention spans,I am not saying you do Jorge but that is the target audience for the shows you like. I am pretty sure you will go on to better things in anime just like I did.

I don't really care said...

Gabriel: I watched the Mind Game clips. They were interesting but curiously uninvolving.

I thought the same. Try The Second Rennaisance. If nothings hooks you in that, maybe you can stop looking. The story and the execution are pretty compelling to me. Furi Kuri, which I think you've commented on, had some nice work in it. Spriggan had some nice action in it. Akira I liked. Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke have some good work.

I don't really care said...

One more thought-- It's usually better in Japanese with subtitles.

Jorge Garrido said...

AHHHH, the Aniamatrix was one of the WORST things I've ever seen! Detective Story had its moments but the rest was a barrage of unpleaseant non-linear images and horrid "industrial" design. Kill me now!

queefy said...

http://atomictoy.org/comics/buttlordgt/

Anonymous said...

I always thought the bad side of anime works in its favor as well-- that is, if you can draw one cookie cutter character, you can draw them all. It gives a lot of kids drawing confidence.

I think what keeps them fans as they grow older is that the stories, and the myth behind them, actually come from a separate culture. One they feel safer messing about in, one that seems a bit more open.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anonymous: Interesting!

Billy Bob said...

Uncle Eddie,
Let me first to say that this is a great blog (like many others by seasoned veterans). I'm a young whippersnapper who was reared with classical american shorts on the airwaves and later got into anime. I still hold regard to both of them. It is true a lot of anime is wierd, and a good portion of it bad, due to the volume of it being produced. Both good and bad things draw people for unique (but not always quality stories). Same with the artwork. Some of the best anime goes into places most major mainstream American companies wouldn't DARE tread (and for those who would, wouldn't be funded). Because of budgetary constrants few anime works will approach Disney or classic shorts (most animators are mainly glorified comic artists). But there ARE animators who actually ANIMATE (just far and few between), a keen eyed bloke (think he's a Brit) named Ben Ettinger hosts a blog at http://www.pelleas.net/aniTOP/
called Anipages, where he keeps a look out for cool animation in anime and the people that create it. Worth a look.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to judge japanese animation on sailor moon and dragon ball Z I think it's fair if I judge american animation on Totally spies and birdman, or whatever you're showing now.

This is obviously not the best these two cultures have made. Like most people here I also suggest you watch mind game. And not just clips, watch it from beginning till end. You want some more? How about watching FLCL, they surely have everything John.K talked about in his blog, (a diversity of expressions, creativity etc.) Or how about some Gunbuster2?(aka Top wo Nerae 2). Ghost in the shell 1(movie), All ghibli movies( but just some off the top of my head:" My neighbour totoro, The cat returns, Grave of the fireflies, Laputa castle in the sky, Porco rosso(!!). Just to name a few.

I think most stories are better in japanese animation( Monster, Death note ). I'm sick of seeing red riding hood and snowwhite being shoveled around with new characters and the same storyline all the time.

In all fairness aren't you showing us the best of american animation? then I think you should at least try some of these before you judge.
I'm certainly not picking a side but I'm just showing you some good japanese animation as you showed us some good american animation.

PS. Did you notice that all the good japanese animation is fairly new and all the good american animation is old? Just a fun fact.

Anonymous said...

I think anime, much the same way as NA animation, is only good if you stop watching the mind numbing crap that makes it to your television screen thanks to giant cable companies. If you think it's all super cute stuff and fanciful illogical stories it's because you're so put off the the perpetuated stereotypes to actually go watch some fandubs.

This is a huge switch from all the posts telling young artists "anime is a bad influence, JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH". I don't mind if you genuinely don't like it, I only want proof that it's a well informed opinion.

Anonymous said...

The things you have to keep in mind about anime are:

(1) There's a heck of a lot more of it than there is Western animation.

(2) Most of it is made by large corporations who play it safe by copying everything else that's out there (imagine that!).

(3) The stuff that gets popular over here becomes popular on the strength of anime fandom, most of whom think "quality animation" means "on model more than 50% of the time, moving or not." Plus, it being a basically comic-book-based art form, they're really more interested in the graphics and story than the motion, and they aren't necessarily the best judges of graphics and story. That's why Inu Yasha is readily available in the US, while you have to blow $45 on a direct-from-Japan region 2 DVD to see "Mind Game."

(4) The TV anime production process is a strange and baffling conglomeration of production units, independent contractors (many of whom work out of their houses), and overseas outsourcing. The result is that the quality of work can vary wildly from one episode to the next, or even within the same episode. There are Sailor Moon episodes (especially in the SuperS season) with cartoony action and draftsmanship that would knock your socks off, often back to back with episodes where they can't get the head sizes right.

The two anime series that I'd recommend an animation artist to check out are, oddly, the same ones that John K took the majority of his anime post illustrations from: Maho Tsukai Tai (English title: Magic User's Club) and FLCL (a/k/a "Fooly-Cooly"). The former is rather dripping in cute doe-eyed teenagers, so you might wish to steer clear, Uncle Eddie, but it's the same production team that seems to come up most often on the credits of the "good" Sailor Moons. The latter is a wonderously bizarre and creative coming-of-age story, a brief and pointless switch to "South Park" style at one point notwithstanding. ("Because the animators asked me if they could" explains the director in the commentary track.)

I second the strong recommendation for "Mind Game" -- you have to see those clips in context to really get what's going on (subtitles help as well). Ask Steve at the Archive about it. ;-)

And of course, Satoshi Kon and Studio Ghibli, but you already know that . . .

Oliver said...

anime is not pronounced "anna may" you stupid american clods, nor is it a tribute to anna may wong (whomever that is!!!)

it is pronounced "ah ni meh"

ask any self respecting japanese person...

cyh said...

you guys might complain about the lack of lip-synching in anime but Steamboy had it. There are exceptions to the stereotypes that you guys have mentioned. I too didn't like anime at first because of the overly stylized characters and lack of movement but then i discovered other stuff.

Anonymous said...

Most anime is derived from the comic books/manga. Cheap corporate guys will take advantage of the popularity of the comic and make into a low budget TV series. Best thing of all for corporations, the storyboards, script, and design is already made. Hence, you get mostly shit out there. I'm not a huge anime fan as I was before. It's too saturated and sugary right now. My stomach or appetite for it has gotten bad from it. Like in any medium or artform, the whole concept gets stretched out thin until it finally snaps. Then, it'll re-solidated over the years for the next boom. Anime is just annoying hot trend now. I'm sure western cartoons will get back at it's feet.

Jack said...

95% of anime is shit.
95% of american animation is also shit.
The only thing that is different is exacly WHAT it is that is bad.
In anime it is, as stated, the often stale expressions and the underanimation. the storylines are not too hot most of the times either.
In american animation it is mainly the lousy storylines. (hey, take a bunch of CG animated animals, have them bounce around for 1 1/2 hours and add some "jokes" -instant fucking hit!)

Kevin said...

Being that I'm an anime fan, I felt the need to put in my own two cents.

Don't worry, I'm not the stereotypical fanboy (sweating, typing half 1337/half typo's, utilizing numerous argumentative fallacies, etc...).

For me, Anime is the perfect type of show. It combines the impossibilities of animation (making the scifi/fantasy genre just that much cooler), with adult stories/plots (note: not to be confused with hentai, or other forms of pornography).

Think of every animated show aimed for a “more mature audience”. What do these all have in common?
Family Guy
Simpsons
South Park
Robot Chicken
Harvey Birdman

Though a limited list, you’ll notice they’re all classified under one label: comedy. No real, serious stories. After all, if Stewie, or Kenny, started spouting off the philosophical aspects of genocide, or the facets of a timeless coming-of-age-story, would you take him seriously? Probably not.

This is not, of course, to say that all anime is good.
Far from it.
Unfortunately, most Anime that's readily available to America is the same.
It's the “cookie-cutter” theory; if Poke'Mon does good, then introduce Digi'Mon. Essentially, the same thing, right? The kids’ll eat it up.

After all, trying to market a new product is a risk...and risks are bad, right?

So, before you slam on Anime, try to look outside of the norm.
Ignore Dragon Ball Z, and go for Paranoia Agent.
Drop FLCL, and enjoy Beck.

If you want to label an entire style, with no regard towards genre or popularity, go ahead.

You won’t be the first.

Iguanaray said...

First of all, note that I haven't slept in ages, so expect some minor gramatical mistakes. Also, English isn't my first language, but that's a really cheap excuse.

"So, before you slam on Anime, try to look outside of the norm.
Ignore Dragon Ball Z, and go for Paranoia Agent.
Drop FLCL, and enjoy Beck."

From what I've seen, Beck seems like something about some unoriginally designed Japanese teens forming a rock band; while it might be entertaining and worth a watch, it doesn't seem like much of a FLCL killer. Especially since it's a completely different genre.

FLCL was, in my opinion, truly a masterpiece. What made it famous was the way it appealed to pretty much all audiences. It was filled with random, 4th wall-breaking humour, giant robot battles and shiny stuff; things that mostly appeal to the mainstream 'teenager with a short attention span' audience. On the other hand, if you DID look past all the shiny stuff and idiot humour, you could find some pretty deep messages. The animation was also really fun to watch and well done, something really rare in anime.

"Anime like Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakashu, One Piece, and Inuyasha are the bottom of the barrel. Really great anime is out there but it's just that crap like I mentioned gets way too much attention, hence the negative preconceived notions of anime in the US."

I'll give you DBZ, Inuyasha and YYH, but definitely not One Piece. At least the original, non-butchered version. While it's obviously aimed at a younger audience, it's still a fantastic show that truly stands out from all the other mainstream childrens' anime. First of all, it has its own style, with only slight influences from Akira Toriyama's works. (whom the artist is a huge fan of)

The cast of characters and the whole series' world seem like they had tons of effort and creativity put into them. It's also fairly deep and sentimental at times without becoming too emo (like Naruto) or overly preachy (like Paranoia Agent).

I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's ever doubted 'mainstream' anime/manga. A few Youtube clips won't really help either; just watch the first few subtitled episodes, untill some of the main characters are introduced.

"Most anime is derived from the comic books/manga. Cheap corporate guys will take advantage of the popularity of the comic and make into a low budget TV series. Best thing of all for corporations, the storyboards, script, and design is already made. Hence, you get mostly shit out there."

Not quite; while most adaptations are terribly cheap, watching an animated adaptation of the comic is often a more entertaining experience. Take One Piece for instance. Toei did a really crappy job with the animation, but the voice acting and music makes up for it. I just take these adaptations as an alternative to the Manga; if I want high-quality animation I often turn to obscure stuff like Mind Game.

As for recommendations, I think One Piece and Shinobuden are worth a look. The latter DOES star some cute, Bambi-eyed main characters, but the animation style is very lively with some really cartoony facial expressions. It's also pretty much a parody of modern anime, and it makes fun of most of the cliches you mentioned. It's not meant to be "arty"; it's like the Japanese equivalent of shows like Ed Edd n' Eddy.

Just note that mainstream things aren't always bad if you approach them with an open mind. All this coming from someone who used to hate anime more than anything when it came to animation.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with it so very much. I'm not an anime fan, but I think they have good ideas and their style suits me. On the other hand, you probably have only scratched the surface of anime. Maybe onli 30% of anime is the cute-magic-scoolgirl stuff. Most of it is very different and the gathegorys vary from Shonen(for boys) to Yaoi(man on man love)and are directed to 5-80 year old people. And also I think they are not dull or motionless. These cartoons are full of emotions and feelings and if you are the kind who looks for stoopid hit-em-in-the-face-with-a-cake jokes (there's nothing wrong with that, coz thats how the cartoons originally were meant to be)then anime just isn't your cup of tea. But there is a lot of good stuff out there and in my opinion it is getting better by the minute.

ryan hughes said...

well eddie ,
in the case of dbz it started as manga or an uncut japaneese comic book and i hope you realize the original dragon ball comics were more refressing than what they would do at disnies and more like clampett's in a sense that Toriyana sensei's works were cute and demented at the same time ex.bulma or just dirty like kame sennin! as time went on however toriyama began to draw more serious fighting stories moving away from journey to the west! Toriyama is more like us americian artists in the sense that he rarely threw anything out , but when he got tired of humor he moved to action, in the anime (which sucks) the humor originally intended fails to come across because the Toei animation censors wouldnt animate the obscene nudity ect. in the manga which they used as their storyboard anime of dragon ball sucks but the creator driven uncut manga rules! read shonen jump graphic novels! Oh yeah make more ren and stimpies !

Anonymous said...

if you are going to diss it at least pronouce it prperly a-ni-me. just like it has been spelt. it has nothing to do with the chinese american actress anna may wong. also the shwo was called astro boy. not atom boy.

iguanaray said...

jesus effing christ, my past recommendations were horrible. Shinobuden? Anyone who harbors a dislike for anime should stay the hell away from that

iguanaray said...

Also I can't believe I called One Piece "deep". What the hell was wrong with me?

Alvaro said...

"Ganzu, the cute princess of cutania must get the power ring back that was stolen by Power lad and his Power Pals. A fight ensues with Power Lad shooting power beams at the cute girls and their cute, fuzzy little animal friends. "
You knoow, I´ve seen a lot of anime, and I could say that there are worse storylines, like by example:
"Sinichi, the angry and vengenful suprestrong hero have to save his big-breasts girlfriend that gets naked and raped for no apparent reason, of a gang of evil punks that rape her and torture innocent people. Finally the hero kills all the villains in a very violent way and everyone happy"
Examples: Fist of the North Star, Violence Jack (yawn)
But I agree taht some are good, as those made by Satoshi Kon and Mind Game.

Mattieshoe said...

If you look around ,there are actually some really Cartoony and Fun Animes out there.

of course, you have to look past the stereotypes. (And the realities)



Anime really can't be bunched up as a single genre. sure they might all have the same basic Character proportions and "Style", but that's really where the similarities can end.

Some Anime is really talky, and doesn't do anything at all cartoony or animated. Even if it's well drawn, it's not very exaggerated.


Some is everything a cartoon should be. sometimes you have to wait for the cartoony stuff to come along, but when it comes, it comes in heaps.

the Anime you're thinking of it mostly ether the Kids stuff or just the bad stuff (in the "Fantasy" Genre that's become the only identity of Anime)

Manu said...

I recomend you, to watch, FLCL, SErial Experiments lain, ergo proxy, and samurai champloo, This are very beautiful anime series; here in Mexico anime has caused a big impact, but the greatest series are a litte undergound.

Anonymous said...

hmmm the examples you showed are pretty teeth clenching. i'm not generally an anime fan either, but i use to be.

back before every second teenager didn't ramp and rave about like they were the ones to have discovered it, and that they wish they were born japanese.

but i still watch some japanese animations and appreciate them. I'm a big fan of Tezuka, Miyazaki and FLCL is okay. to put it short, not all japanese animation sucks.

and i agree with you, kitsch (you could probably even describe it as camp) is pretty affluent in anime. like from tezuka. "so bad it's good"

Anonymous said...

I'd like to show you an online encyclopedia article about a character from "Bleach" with a super-crazy design:

http://bleach.wikia.com/wiki/Mayuri_Kurotsuchi

If you click "Image Gallery" at the top of the page, you will see more images of this pile of scare.

sugarrush said...

If anyone's read all the way down here, here's an intro of an anime that is, i think, truly original and cartoony--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EBZS5DesKQ

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Sugarrush: Wow! Nice! Thanks for the link!

sugarrush said...

Sure thing! There's also some funny frame grabs from the show on this blog
http://aalong64.blogspot.com/2012/07/pink-jacket-lupin-8.html

and lots of information about the artists on the anipages website.

http://www.pelleas.net/aniTOP/index.php/lupin-iii-part-3