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 ~- Understanding Anime and Coming to Accept it -~

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Kimo Force
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PostSubject: ~- Understanding Anime and Coming to Accept it -~   Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:17 pm

This article is still a work-in-progress. Please refrain from reading completely as it is subject to change.


Who I am isn't important, but what matters is what I have to say here. I am a huge anime fan, and I've been one for a couple of years. I've watched several series, most of which I've enjoyed and loved. The one problem though is that I've been a fan in secrecy, I wouldn't take this out to my parents or real life friends. It's been difficult, too difficult, because society misunderstands anime.

The problem originated from how people viewed it. My parents from time to time would think of anime as a childish source of entertainment, and at other times a deadly source of sexual vice. They are not completely wrong nor are they completely right. In fact, I don't even follow that kind of stuff, yet they insist that what I do watch is what they believe it to be. Sometimes, my friends do believe it is childish, which is why I wouldn't dare bring it up to anyone else unless he or she is an anime head himself/herself, or if it's a close friend I can rely on to not try and blow my cover.

If you're an anime fan who's going through the same thing, I can tell that you're sick of it. If you're a parent or someone who isn't really into anime, then this article is for you. It isn't supposed to get you into anime; it's to allow you to come to terms with it, so you can understand what it truly is and respect your friend or child if he or she shows interest in it.

What is Anime?


Anime is short for animation, but it is also an urban label given to animations developed by a Japanese team. The term is defined as a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastic themes, more likely portrayed in Japanese animation. However, both Japanese anime and American cartoons differ greatly; the reason is because of how the styles of Japanese and American animations are different, each heading towards specific majority audience groups or adopting specific traits, but even that doesn't stop them from being influenced by one another in style (Astroboy and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt for American-styled anime, Ben 10 and The Last Airbender for Japanese-influenced cartoons). Anime nowadays features both hand-drawn and computer-animated visuals, which is why production is expensive.

I won't get much into the history of anime, but what I can say is that it started in the 60s in Japan, and evolved in the 70s were it was separated from the Western roots and adopted its own style. The 80s saw a series of anime booms, followed by some pretty popular anime recognized even by fans of today. The internet has also given rise to the face of anime, with fan-subbed episodes being uploaded. Anime constantly becomes more popular day by day.

Sometimes, shows don't even start off as anime. Popular shows like Bleach and Naruto first started off as mangas before getting their own anime adaptions. For other shows such as Clannad or Steins;Gate, they started off as visual novels, a type of video-game that works like a digital book. Some anime are also adapted from video-games, comic books, and so on. These include the Devil May Cry, Iron Man, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona and Final Fantasy animations.

Style


I'm not sure what puts people off when they look at anime. Maybe it's the overacting or bizarre nature of drawing the characters? Is it the art style itself? Are the graphical jokes too offensive?

Like with cartoons, anime style varies, sometimes very slightly, and sometimes very greatly. The style is often to achieve a specific goal, ranging from making the characters recognizable, giving off a specific theme to help give a general idea of anyone simply looking at the anime wallpaper or DVD cover, or giving way to portray certain parts during the show in an overdone manner to help send a strong visual message to the watcher.


Here is an animation that is dead-serious about what it does, Steins;Gate. Now to begin with, Steins;Gate is a science-fiction anime, with a serious non-exaggerated art style or depiction of specific portions during the show. It may have several quick verbal jokes, but the art style seems bold, serious, and mature.


Now here's another anime which allows for a serious art style and also gives way to comical sketches countless times, Clannad. Clannad is a comedy anime, but also a rather sad drama anime known pretty well among the fandom, and this allows it to fill its niche perfectly.

The art style may seem a little childish and a little cartoonish, and this is something anime fans come to terms with along the way, that it no longer becomes an issue for most, and instead is more likely to be welcomed than rejected after understanding anime better. For some people, when they see this awkward art style, they think of something childish and that anyone watching anything similar would be demented unless of a young age. A primary example is because of the large heads or the large eyes, which are mainly there as they express emotions and feelings better.

Genre

Anime comes in all shapes in sizes, but unlike cartoons, the major age group target is for older ages. While American cartoons do have shows such as The Simpsons and Family Guy, they are few in comparison to what anime offers.

Live-action shows in Japan normally cannot compete with those from the US, but animation sure can. The perspective of people in Japan differs, in a way that there have been reports of advertisements for products showing more emotion being more successful than ones which explain them technically, so perhaps this is why animation is pretty successful while live-action movies aren't?

Both manga and anime have common target age groups. The first is Shoujo, which is for girls aged from 12-18. Next, we have Shounen, which is for boys aged 12-18. Others include Seinen, which is for 18+ males, and Josei for 18+ females.

Due to this, anime has its own rating system. I'm not completely sure, but I believe it goes as A (All ages), Y (Youth, 10+), T (Teen, 13+), OT (Older Teen, 16+), and M (Mature, 18+).


Now an example would be My Neighbor Totoro, which I believe is an animation for all ages. I've never watched it myself, but I know that it's acceptable for even children to watch this.


While on the other hand, we have Elfen Lied, an anime made especially for adults. It has a pretty dark theme, with quite a lot of blood and gore that I would say is beyond any acceptable age under 18. It has some nudity and mild language as well.

Like TV shows, anime also comes with its own genres. We have action, adventure, comedy, horror, drama, science-fiction, and so on. There are, however, specific terms used for certain genres in anime, which are not common between genre names for American shows.

Some of these, as I have explained before, include Shoujo, Shounen, Seinen, and Josei. Still, even these have sub-categories of their own, which would rather explain what the show would contain or what it is based off rather than its own genre. These sub-categories are numerous, so I'll only discuss some of the most common ones.

A harem is an anime which involves a single male character surrounded by many female characters, while a reverse-harem is the opposite. Bishoujo involve cute animals or characters. Mecha includes giant robots. High school is for anime which is mainly high-school themed, as they are pretty common. Yaoi is for a boy-love anime, while Yuri is for a girl-love story. Ecchi involves some dirty shots or animation, all which can be denoted as fan-service. Hentai is the equivalent of anime porn. Gore is for, well, you probably know.

Before you jump to any conclusions, the reason I posted the last couple sub-categories is to highlight anime you might want to watch out for. Most other anime which do not fall in these sub-categories are generally okay or acceptable to watch, in case you wouldn't want your son or daughter to watch stuff like that. Before you do decide on whether it is or isn't reasonable, I recommend going on IMDB.com and checking under the parent advisory section to grasp a better understanding of what the anime will contain.

Why do people hate Anime?

Hate is always very broad, there could be several reasons why anyone could possibly hate an animation. It could be for the sexual content, the awkward art style, the feeling of watching a subtitled show from a foreign language, etc. Most of it comes from prejudice, where one would simply assume the worst and would neglect he requirement to do more research before deciding on how to actually look at it. I'll try to cover as many of those reasons, as much as possible.

Sexual Content


If you're a parent, and you're seeing this, please allow me to explain before you go "Oh my gosh, I knew it had that crap! I'm never letting my son watch it!" Yes, anime will have ecchi and hentai, just as much as American media will have porn and dirty videos; it's only natural, humans will give in to their natural instincts. Not all anime producers are willing to support this; in fact, some are completely against it.

The issue is that there are people who, upon being introduced to hentai, immediately theorize that all anime must be like this, so anime in itself is a vice. This is not the case; as I have explained before, anime can be varied in all sorts of ways. Like for American media, there is the good, the bad, and the ugly. Pick your shows wisely and you will not have to worry about stuff like that.

For those of you who aren't parents or are simply into this stuff, this is probably more of a blessing than a curse to you. I personally don't watch hentai for my own personal reasons (no, I'm not gay), so if you're interested in that stuff, go ahead. If you get into trouble because of it, it's your fault. Just remember that anime is much more than a couple of bust shots.

Childish Nature


I'll use an example to explain this segment of the article. This is Lucky Star. It's a slice-of-life anime about the daily life of an otaku among her friends (an otaku is someone who is dedicated to anime and might spend quite a sum on buying products). It's acceptable for all ages, but the references and jokes pulled her are aimed at adults or old otakus who have a vast knowledge of anime.

Even though it does have a simple art style, and doesn't have much mature material, it is still not completely aimed at children. In fact, most of the people who do watch it are adult males, and is very popular among otakus over the internet (most of who will be aged 15-24).

The art style is like that to distinguish the characters from most other anime, and also to attempt to draw in some of the younger views who might find it interesting even if they cannot comprehend most of the jokes.

So the next time you criticize an anime based on its art style, do a little bit of research and find out more about it. Japan is notorious for creating stuff that may seem a little too weird, since creativity is a main factor for most anime.

Subtitled Raw Anime



It's possible to be talked out of anime once you see that people watch the raw Japanese version instead of the English-dubbed one. Sometimes, the dub cannot compete with the original Japanese audio (See any anime dubbed by 4kids Entertainment except for Pokemon) due to a bad choice of actors, or inexperienced ones, that some of the characters lose a portion of them which defines them. At times, an anime may not be localized outside Japan, and will only exist in raw Japanese form. Like Gintama (see picture posted above).

Gintama is one of the most popular comedy anime in Japan. Think of it as the equivalent of The Simpsons, but for Japanese animation, but done to suit the Japanese's sense of humor better. I'll be honest, American humor isn't always funny; I've barely laughed at some episodes of How I Met Your Mother, Friends or even The Simpsons itself. When it comes to Gintama, for most episodes, there is no rest between one joke and the other.

It's hard to watch the English dub for most anime when countless mistakes are made, such as incorrect voice-mouth synching and a constant tone used for a single individual throughout the entire show. It tosses away the vibrancy in some of the characters, or makes them look more dull.


Of course, this is not always the case. Check out Hellsing for instance, an anime about Vampire Hunters, who also have two Vampires working for them, situated in the United Kingdom. The dub far exceeds the original raw Japanese audio.

Hellsing has a lot of religious reciting from the bible, which just sounds weird when the actor reads those lines in English with a Japanese accent. Not just that, but accents in Hellsing are varied for the English version, which helps distinguish characters better.

The screenshot I posted up there is most likely from Hellsing Ultimate and not the original Hellsing animation. Hellsing Ultimate is another adaption which is more popular, but is still incomplete since each episode is an hour long (unlike the standard episode time for the original Hellsing animation), and takes around a year for a new episode to see release. Due to this, Hellsing Ultimate hasn't been localized yet outside of Japan. I can't find a screenshot from the original Hellsing, so please accept my apologies.

Massive Anime Obsession


I can tell that some people wouldn't want their friends, sons, or daughters being too obsessed with anime which would sort of separate them from the real world. They believe that it is the sole reason to as why one tends to desert himself from reality, and that it is unacceptable. I am certain that there would be other factors that would have a hand in that, and that anime is only slightly involved or completely unrelated.

If you force someone who enjoys it to stop watching anime, what'll stop them from moving on to other hobbies that involve watching shows and stuff like that, or even watching it in secrecy? If you want someone to stop living in a fantasy, you should approach them carefully and try to push them to go out and socialize more. If that doesn't work, try to talk to them cautiously.

If you still don't agree with me, ask yourself this: Why is it not acceptable for someone to be willing to collect or follow anime, while it is for cars and other collections? In the end, it's a hobby to fill up free time when there's nothing else to do, or to occupy oneself with objectives when there are very few tasks that need to be done.

Cartoon similarity


Let's be clear about one thing: there is a major difference between cartoons and anime. Not being able to tell between the two is one of the reasons why people tend to associate anime with cartoons, and in turn, with children. It's an argument fans need to put up with whenever asked. I'll try to at least put most of these differences in this here table.

ComparisonAnimeCartoons
Average Target AudienceTeenagers between 12-18Children between ages 6-10
ThemeConcerns mostly on realistic issues with a possible spin of fantasyMore about comedy and amusing the audience
Plot and WritingMore likely to be consistent with each episode relevant to the one before itMore likely for episodes to not be relevant to one another
Details of animationMore details with larger focus on facial features, atmosphere, and clothesEnough detail for it to be quick, silly and funny
Type of animationSketched characters with some 3D animated visuals included, or completely sketched graphicsEither completely sketched, with a little bit of computer-generated graphic, or completely computer-generated
Common examplesNaruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, Death Note, Saint Seiya, Sailor Moon, Pokemon, etc.Adventure Time, Fairly Oddparents, Spongebob Squarepants, Ed Edd and Eddy, Dexter's Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, Ben 10, etc.

Of course, not all cartoons or anime follow these restrictions. Examples for cartoons involve the 90s animated Batman series, The Last Airbender, and The Venture Brothers. For anime, you have Lucky Star, Gintama, and K-On!. Again, the table is to compare between the two, not to belittle one side. Even if one side feels slightly inferior after looking at the points I put up, remember that it fits its niche well.

If you're still not completely sure on the differences, then here, look at this.



Overuse of young girls


Remember when I talked about sub-categories? Even when there's a lot of anime out there that has a strong emphasis on fast-paced action, there are also those which have an emphasis on cute material. It's what we call "moe", which mostly involves cute anime girls.

It's possible that people who are not familiar with anime associate it with childish natures, pedophilia or awkwardness. Most moe shows are usually comedy anime or those which involve a little bit of drama. It's not childish because there usually are themes which are normally not easy to digest by children, and it also has little to do with pedophilia given how no one is ever raped in anime of such a sub-genre, and is mostly for focusing on the ordinary lives of the characters.

Moe tends to hit the soft side of its viewers, whether male or female. Associating with pedophilia is like doing the same with cartoons. If you're not into cute comedy in general, then moe is not the genre for you, but bear in mind that people do have their reasons for watching it.



EW: also wtf does SJW stand for? Stupid Jealous Woman?
Ryuuji Takasu: looks cute. but cute sounds girly. so ill say kawaii
Lesbihonest: damn kimo you have the sexiest male voice ive ever heard o.o
Rika Furude: no, that wasnt ripped from the Bible or something, it's one of Rika Furude's poems in Higurashi. Deep ****.
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PostSubject: Re: ~- Understanding Anime and Coming to Accept it -~   Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:03 pm

The most important thing to mention about anime is that it is only the medium by which you create the entertainment product, like what a book is, or what a live action series is, or what a game is. There is a certain culture associated with it which will affect certain quality points of a high number of products, but by no means is it to even be assumed that all products using such a wide medium are universally shaped by such standards. You who do watch it can at least attest to that much.

If a person judges the content universally across a medium with no information whatsoever, that is not a view they are willing to consider. You can talk to them, you can make them read something, but the view they have adopted is illogical and impossible from the beginning and it comes from a damaged thought process. If they were willing to consider it in the first place, they would have realized the contradiction themselves without outside help, so even if you try to touch the subject, they will dismiss the words as it is not something that can be considered, it is an accepted fact instead.

And no, accepting something as a fact does not mean we logically consider it, we simply accept the result even in a dogmatic way. Even if people accept gravity as a fact, that does not mean everyone understands a concept as simple as universal gravitation, we can simply accept foundations without explaining them. Trying to change such an opinion for most people is similar to trying to change their religious views, if you want an example.


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