Can Americans Make Anime?

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Can Americans Make Anime?

Only if Canadians can play Baseball.

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Chris O'Brien:
Can Americans Make Anime?

I've watched Avatar and Legend of Korra

Short answer: Yes

Meh I don't think Anime is a label that should be strived for. In my opinion there is very little good anime.

I would say the thumbnail proves it, but in Avatar the eyes aren't big enough, the boys actually have brains, and the women aren't constantly pulling hammers out off their barely concealed asses to bash the boys' heads in for the slightest offense. Plus they don't take the time to explain their attacks while doing battle and there is less that ten minutes of split screen reaction shots per episode.

Oh well, back to the drawing board...

The funny thing is, anime was greatly inspired by characters in western animation such as Disney's Bambi and Betty Boop.

Seems like it's going full circle now with western animation inspired eastern animation inspired western animation.

Oh come on. Anyone can make anime. It's all in the presentation.

Interesting article. Yeah this is kind of why I think "Anime" should be rename as "Japanese anime" since anime does (to me) stand for animation which apply to any animation!
Still Legend of Korra is good in its own right without being need to be class as "anime".

Not meaning to be picky but I noticed in the article the mention of bourbon. Jack Daniels is technically not Bourbon as it is not from Kentucky or Bourbon St New Orleans. The manufacturers refer to it as Tennessee Whiskey. But hey I like to know where my poison comes from before I drink it.

Anyways. I personally believe anime to be an artistic genre and style. Yes it started in Japan but that doesn't mean no one else is allowed to use and certainly doesn't mean the anime they produce is any better or worse. Even if 'they' happen to be American.

Well, as long as you like something, I can't see a reason why the label is that important. I used to think pokemon was western when I was a kid,and I also thought that the power rangers series were also purely made in the west.

I think the Avatar franchise is amazing. It's intelligent, meaningful and it doesn't patronise kids. It's more than worthy of sharing the spotlight with names like Ghibli.

Also If the gaming industry wants to know how to make great female video game characters they should watch the Last Airbender and Korra.

Anime is only useful as a term when it describes animated works that come from Japan. Why? Because it doesn't mean something different than the word "animation." It's the same word. The only reason it is widely known outside of Japan is because Japanese animation became popular outside of Japan. If German cartoons had become wildly popular, we'd be using the German word for cartoon to describe animated works from that country.

Hell, it's only barely adequate to describe Japanese animations, because it's not like all anime are one genre. Your article doesn't even describe anime; it describes a subtype of anime known as shonen. Try to apply your description to a show like Grave of the Fireflies and you will see that you may not understand Japanese animation as much as you think you do. What about Shoujo? Where would Azamanga Daioh fit into your article? Do you think that all anime looks the same? Does Berserk look closer to Bleach than it does Batman: Year One?

One thing The Legend of Korra has that anime has in spades.... A lackluster/rushed ending.

*sigh

Here's hoping the second part is better!

The show is great, don't get me wrong, but overall I don't really care if it isn't considered 'anime'.

Smart. Very smart. A good question of language, perception and prejudice.

The answer is certainly yes even though it may make some people uncomfortable. If anyone has a "right" to define what anime is, it's the Japanese and they have never called it "animation from Japan". Just animation in particular styles.

Can see where the lack of Japanese cultural influence might create a sort of subconscious uncanny valley effect and auto-rejection based on Western animations history of shallow, ugly, low quality rubbish created only for children. That's just a reputation problem to be endured and possibly overcome.

I think that, in English usage, the word "anime" refers to any animation made in Japan. (As I am sure someone will be quick to point out, in Japanese "anime" refers to all animation, but in my experience this is not generally the case in English.) People keep referring to themes and stylistic choices (pointy hair, big eyes, nakama) that supposedly make a series into an "anime," but there are many shows made in Japan that are labeled "anime" even though they have none of these characteristics.

And really, why does it matter? Korra is the same show whether it is called an anime or not.

I think it all depends because the way I've always seen it, there are two definitions of the word "Anime" there's the literal meaning and the societal meaning.

The literal meaning is simple...it's the Japanese word for Cartoon. So not only can Americans make anime, shows like Dexter's Lab or even Pixar movies would fall under the literal definition of anime. But of course if you actually told your average anime fan that Futurama was your favorite anime, they'd probably wanna smack you with their kawaii desu stick or whatever they would do in that situation.

Societal definition is the trickier one. It's the one that sees anime more as a stylized choice rather than. It's what causes people to look at character designs for a video game and say something like "They have a very anime type design" and generally when it comes to this definition, the thing is...people just DON'T tend to count non-Japanese cartoons under it. Whether it's Teen Titans, or Avatar, some people will simply refuse to consider them to be anime because they aren't actually Japanese.

Short answer: Yeah, I think they can. I think it's important to at least acknowledge both sides of what anime is and isn't.

But like someone else said, I don't think it matters because anime isn't this higher level of animation that shows should strive to be called.

Captcha: How about that?

I was going to come in here and say it should defined by the style, but then you ninja'd me at the end of the article. In all honesty though, does it really matter? Labels like these are primarily used to validate people's hobbies and make them feel superior.

IMO this article is kind of all over the place in terms of where it's going in relation to the primary thesis. It's sort of confusing, because at the end it mentions that anime is not a genre (and it's not) but in itself contains sub-genres. Yet at the start we see the typical formula for a shonen action anime aimed at 14 year old boys:

Find the biggest bowl you own and inside of it, place one protagonist with powerful and unique abilities. Next, pour in an exceptionally talented team of supportive friends. Then, add a seemingly impervious villain who aims to remake the world according to his own warped ideals. Throw in a few dashes of strong themes like family, friendship, fear, and death, blend it all together with plenty of beautiful visuals and flawless voice acting.

These kind of shows are no doubt popular, but it's a great misconception I feel in the west that this encapsulates all of anime. What about K-ON!, Air, Kanon, Clannad? What about Monster? What about Haruhi which has no villain at all? Hyōka? Nichijou? There's too many, of course, to list.

Anime, to me, just means animation from Japan. It's all animation. Animation is a medium to me, Anime is animation from Japan. I consider, for example, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt to be an Anime despite the fact it looks like a Nickelodeon cartoon. Animation from America is "American Animation", from france is "French Animation"; it just so happens that Japanese Animation is the only one with a nerdcool, chic nickname.

The reason the term gained popularity is due to the proliferation of the medium in Japan. I would wager they have the largest animation industry in the world. We had the Simpsons, Family guy and Futurama all air on prime time. Those are, more or less, the three big cartoons in the west. In Japan you have a ton of new cartoons airing each year in prime time from a ton of talented studios. In the west we just don't have that.

Basically, what I'm getting at is it's just a cultural loanword that caught on and has taken on a meaning in western culture as "animation from Japan." This is not the first word to be borrowed in English and have it's meaning altered, and it won't be the last. Is this not okay? Why must Americans strive to fit in their animation to fit in common Japanese stylings? Even if it does, why does it need to be called "Anime"?

It's akin to asking "Can Americans make a Bollywood movie?" Well, was the movie made in Bollywood? If not, then no, you can't do it because that's what being a Bollywood movie is. Sure, you can have 3 acts and 6 songs in your movie. You can follow the Bollywood formula, hire Indian actors and even have the actors speak Hindu; but it still won't be a Bollywood movie even if it's indistinguishable from the real thing.

And really, isn't this okay?

i think there's a stigma around western animation that comes largely from trying to capitalize on the success of Japanese animation. For every successful show you named there are 2 crap fests that we'd all rather forget. Looking back to the late 90's after the booming success of Poke'mon that brought anime mainstream, there were several shows that tried the formula and few made cut. That was when people actually began to check where it was made. America's knockoffs were instantly dismissed and the anime purists became a thing. The term Western anime still carries a stigma from that time despite the successes since then. It's basically a waiting game.

Eventually (hopefully), we'll get past this and just look for good shows.

I think their are two very distinct aspects of Anime that I define separately when trying to describe what a show is and isn't. One being the visual and the other being the structural. I would say most American shows that visually look like anime aren't structured or written like anime so I wouldn't call them Anime as most of the time they are just simple kids shows selling on a popular artistic styling.

But then you get things like Avatar or Korra which definitely look like anime and are written like anime but I'd still specifically label them "american anime".

Ah its all a big memss these days anyway, everyone copies everyone lol.

For as long as I been watching anime I always knew it as being short for "Japanese Animation" or anime for short. So in those terms no Americans cannot make anime.

There are many types and styles, stories and characters in anime. So to say something is anime-ish style doesnt make it one.

Well, considering I and my bf both recently watched the entire series of Avatar on netflix (and we both loved it), yes. Yes of course.

In fact Avatar was better in many ways to the vast majority of anime.

Yeah I pretty much agree with you fully. Not much else I can say.

Also this

I've often heard about the hostility some have towards calling Avatar anime, but I'm not convinced it actually exists. I've never come across it. I've never seen anyone having any problems referring to Avatar as an anime, and whenever people talk about anime in general Avatar often comes up.

What kind of horrible person dislikes Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra because of where it was produced? D:

Nicolaus99:
Smart. Very smart. A good question of language, perception and prejudice.

The answer is certainly yes even though it may make some people uncomfortable. If anyone has a "right" to define what anime is, it's the Japanese and they have never called it "animation from Japan". Just animation in particular styles.

Can see where the lack of Japanese cultural influence might create a sort of subconscious uncanny valley effect and auto-rejection based on Western animations history of shallow, ugly, low quality rubbish created only for children. That's just a reputation problem to be endured and possibly overcome.

Why would they call it animation from japan? They're in Japan. They call it anime because that is their word for animation. It's not a special word. It's not animation of a specific style. What you are suggesting would be like them calling gohan "rice from Japan."

I'd put both Avatars in their own category since they're so damn good. But if you must classify I don't see why they can't be considered anime

Yes

'Can Americans make animation influenced by traditional Japanese cartoons?' The answer is a resounding yes. Anime is a style, not bound by culture, in the same way that Third Person Omniscient Narration is a style. Even in artistic terms anime is a style of drawing like Abstract or Realistic or Absurdism, none of which are culturally specific.

For an example of why the arguments against Avatar, Samurai Jack etc are ridiculous, I present Astro Boy and Osamu Tezuka.

Osamu Tezuka, the so called 'God of Anime' was heavily influenced by Western cartoons of the time, including Walt Disney and Betty Boop, and incorporated those designs into his own works. Since he was so influenctial, many people then copied him.

So to ask 'can Americans produce anime?' is really to ask 'can Americans produce animation that was directly influenced by an American?' To which the answer is.

Yes

MelasZepheos:
Yes

'Can Americans make animation influenced by traditional Japanese cartoons?' The answer is a resounding yes. Anime is a style, not bound by culture, in the same way that Third Person Omniscient Narration is a style. Even in artistic terms anime is a style of drawing like Abstract or Realistic or Absurdism, none of which are culturally specific.

For an example of why the arguments against Avatar, Samurai Jack etc are ridiculous, I present Astro Boy and Osamu Tezuka.

Osamu Tezuka, the so called 'God of Anime' was heavily influenced by Western cartoons of the time, including Walt Disney and Betty Boop, and incorporated those designs into his own works. Since he was so influenctial, many people then copied him.

So to ask 'can Americans produce anime?' is really to ask 'can Americans produce animation that was directly influenced by an American?' To which the answer is.

Yes

There are many styles of animation within Japan. Which one is the anime one?

Can Americans make Anime? Yes, because 'Anime' means cartoons. It's a word the Japanese made by shortening down the English word 'Animation', because that's what the Japanese tend to do. Persocom instead of PC, Televie instead of TV or Tele.

They're all cartoons. Now the real question is, can America, or the rest of the western civilisation, make a cartoon how the Japanese make cartoons? Yes, I'm not daft, I know that's what the writer meant with the title, but to be honest, I only use the term Anime when I want to make it clear that the cartoon I'm watching is from Japanese origin.

I watch cartoons. Most of them are from Japan. Ask a Japanese person what Anime they like, and they might just name a Disney film. It's a different word with the same meaning, but a lot of people in the western do not seem to know that fact.

I try to stop using the word anime, it's just been to common that people would choose anime over western animation based on origin alone, I could see why people would enjoy anime differently the cultural difference gives anime a unique flavor but when people are getting upset because something that is clearly influenced by those trends and occasionally even marked down for it, your taking the word much to far.

Champagne can only be named champagne if it originates from the Champagne area. Anime can only be named Anime if it originates from the Japan. HOWEVER, that still doesn't mean that others aren't allowed to make it. They're just not allowed to name it so.

"Can anyone outside of Japan make Anime?" is unequivocally "No."

Actually the answer is Unequivocally YES. Most Anime isn't even made In Japan anymore. Most anime is farmed out to Korean Sweat Shops. Heck Legend of Korra is even made by a Korean Sweat Shop run by Buster Bunny himself.

medv4380:

"Can anyone outside of Japan make Anime?" is unequivocally "No."

Actually the answer is Unequivocally YES. Most Anime isn't even made In Japan anymore. Most anime is farmed out to Korean Sweat Shops. Heck Legend of Korra is even made by a Korean Sweat Shop run by Buster Bunny himself.

Anime is a Japaneese word for animation/cartoons.. Therefor, unless you are a Japaneese outside Japan, I really doubt you would be making anime's. It would just be, well.. Animation or Cartoons.

I think the problem is that when people refer to 'anime', they refer to a school of animation that the West simply isn't nurturing, Avatar notwithstanding.

The reason I like watching anime is because it provides shows and films that combine mature storytelling, somewhat more realistic animation and proportions, and a general willingness to be more experimental. People in the West became familiar with anime through the likes of Akira, Ghost In The Shell, Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis. Sure, those shows and films are not symptomatic of all anime, and I would never suggest otherwise. But they are examples of the sort of territory that Japanese animators are willing to cover, and for many people that constitutes a big part of what anime is. I'm currently working my way through Noir, having already demolished my way through Black Lagoon, Gankutsuou, Kaiba and Kemonozume. Even though those shows are all drastically different in presentation and style, they still exhibit the same wish to be taken seriously as mature narratives, not simple throwaway rubbish.

In the West, animation still falls into two firm camps: kid's stuff and comedy stuff. While kid's animation occasionally throws up some gold, like Avatar or Batman TAS, for the most part its all pretty inconsequential and doesn't offer all that much to chew on. The comedy stuff, on the other hand, may be targeted at adults, but it's all animated in an incredibly barebones, basic way, and focuses more on cheap laughs than any kind of narrative that may appeal to mature audiences. We've let western animation become defined by the likes of Family Guy, the Simpsons and South Park: entertaining, sure, but cheaply presented and focused on throwaway gags.

If I wanted to watch a Western animation that was actually aimed at adult audiences looking for a good story, the only thing that springs to mind is the HBO adaption of Spawn, and that came out in the frikkin' Nineties. We've allowed animation to become cheap, inconsequential light entertainment, and I think that's where many people see the divide. For all that the Japanese animation industry is going through massive changes, it still provides us with stuff like Paprika and Redline.

If Western animation was to up its game and to start catering for that same demographic looking for something a little more from their shows, then we'd probably see less hostility to the idea of conflating the terms. As it is, if animation is a medium rather than a genre, then it's almost as if the Japanese are the only ones providing us with westerns, science fiction, film-noir, mystery stories, etc, while Western animation is purely focused on comedies and kid's entertainment. When one side of the industry is so willing to ignore the vast number of genres that exist out there, and the hunger for stuff other than cheap entertainment, then you can't be surprised when fans put up a fence around the other side that does recognise that demand and caters for it.

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