Can Americans Make Anime?

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There is a lot of discussion here.. but NO...

Many people have said it, Avatar clearly tries to emulate Japanese Animation in many ways, but it doesn't quite succeed in my books.

Japanese animators use different techniques, framing and style when animating. I'm by no means a complete expert, but I can tell from a mile away that Avatar, Ben 10, or things like Boondocks are NOT japanese productions. A lot of the animation is done in Korea, and other non japanese studios, and their output lacks the precision and is evidently different for the keen eye, even when we talk about the lowest quality anime. I personally have not seen the production feel of anime in american produced shows, ever.

Show me 5 seconds of animation from either production and I will be able to tell you instantly if it is Japanese animation or not. I suppose like some people say that diet-coke has the same taste as coke, and actual coke drinkers can tell the difference immediately.

That said, Anime is a generic term of production. Themes, styles and topics are hugely varied, even when the public eye focuses mostly on stereotypes. To me, the plot of Avatar, and TLOK, are very generic eastern inspired action fantasy stories. Not necessarily anime, but closer to 80's european narratives. Most western animation seems to consider fantasy a necessity, while the japanese animation I like, often follows absolutely realistic narratives. It has the faculty to tackle themes that may not be oriented to children.

A distinction would be Afro samurai. Or the new Thundercats or xmen anime, I'm not a big fan of any of them but you can clearly see that the production style (often linked to the framerate of the original animation) is different.

I have distanced myself a lot from anime lately, but I have to disagree with most commenters and the article: yes, you can tell the difference. And no, at least this is not anime.

Americans have been making cartoons for years.

They just don't call them Anime.

I would probably say that anime is an artstyle and that's why people don't consider it anime.

It's all animated anyway, so what's all the commotion about it? Legend of Korra is a great show fully worthy of your time and viewership, so quiet down and watch it.

Delcast:

Japanese animators use different techniques, framing and style when animating. I'm by no means a complete expert, but I can tell from a mile away that Avatar, Ben 10, or things like Boondocks are NOT japanese productions. A lot of the animation is done in Korea, and other non japanese studios, and their output lacks the precision and is evidently different for the keen eye, even when we talk about the lowest quality anime. I personally have not seen the production feel of anime in american produced shows, ever.

A strange claim considering most anime except high budget productions suffer from "Limited animation

I know most Western studios also have ways to cheat to prevent having to draw all 24 frames per second, but they have chosen more new ways to do it by for example computer manipulation of drawings

I'm not stating Anime is bad animation in any way, but a lot of people new to the medium note the apparent choppiness in a lot of the series made for television

I want to say "Yes, we can", but at the same time i dont think we really can. They over use facial expression when they arnt really needed, the art styles tend to be far from what most would consider "anime" art style itself, and the stories tend to be very Western, where as anime tends to stick to Eastern areas or Space.

I wouldnt consider Teen Titans, Avatar, The Power Puff Girls, Ben 10, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, or "Korra" as anime. They are extremely western in both art, and story. Its american animation with anime tendencies in it. You can use shading like an anime, and facial expressions like one, but that doesnt make it one. Then you have things like Megas XLR which is american animation, but very Eastern in story, comedy and inspiration. Its not "Anime", but its close to it, much like Samurai Jack was. They didnt over use comical facial expressions, they didnt try and hamfist jokes to use the facial expressions, they were just themselves, and that made them great.

I would say The Boondocks is closer to anime in art and spirit, but not in ideal. Everything in the show, from its writing, characters, plots and comedy are weastern. Its nearly there, but it stops just shy of what i would consider "Anime" and not "Western Animation". Its right on the border.

But Afro Samurai is what i would consider "Anime", if right on the border. The Art style is spot on, the characters and their backgrounds fit extremely well to the genre, the humor is very well placed, and never hamfisted in an unnecessary way, and above all, the story itself is extremely eastern in style. A style which is full of grim moments, heroic losses, comedic backdrops and deep presentation. Nothing "Good" ever happens, which is also something i hold to a far more Eastern style of Animation. In american animation, the hero will ALWAYS win, he will ALWAYS live, and he will ALWAYS be the hero. His choices will never effect anyone in a real negative way. He never has to condemn the innocent to a fate equal or worse the death. He barely has to condemn the Evil to such a fate. In Afro Samurai, he regularly has the choice of just "Stop killing". He could easily just throw away his headband, and spend the rest of his life drinking lemon-aid. He is no more a hero then a villain, arguable he IS a villain in the series with how much pain and suffering hes caused for a headband.

Can americans make anime? Yes. But we dont. We barely even put effort into it, or trying to do it. And when we try, its close, but distinctly western in story, style and character. We have done it, and we might do it again in the future, but its going to be rare.

Wado Rhyu:
i must say NO the can't and the reason is simple.

the shows that are described are cartoons marketed at ppl of the age of roughly 5 to 12.
where as the anime is marketed at students between the age of 15 to 25.

Ha ha ha... No.

Anime is still heavily geared towards "Tweens"... The Japanese (and large parts of the world) just have differing attitudes towards what level of violence and inuendo is acceptable for 12 year olds.

Seriously, you think shows like Dragon Ball Z and Girls Bravo are intended for mature audiences?[/quote]

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to bad you cant quote the entire post.but what you say only agrees with the rest of the post. also i was talking about the group of western ppl not japanse. just as a side note. might wanna watch gintama there the make fun of anime in general and the subject of what age you must be to watch something is also discussed. this might give a bit of insight in to the matter

p.s something went wrong with quoting

kouriichi:

But Afro Samurai is what i would consider "Anime", if right on the border. The Art style is spot on, the characters and their backgrounds fit extremely well to the genre, the humor is very well placed, and never hamfisted in an unnecessary way, and above all, the story itself is extremely eastern in style.

Because it was written by Japanese people, working at a Japanese anime studio, creating it for airing at Fuji TV.

SNCommand:

Delcast:

Japanese animators use different techniques, framing and style when animating. I'm by no means a complete expert, but I can tell from a mile away that Avatar, Ben 10, or things like Boondocks are NOT japanese productions. A lot of the animation is done in Korea, and other non japanese studios, and their output lacks the precision and is evidently different for the keen eye, even when we talk about the lowest quality anime. I personally have not seen the production feel of anime in american produced shows, ever.

A strange claim considering most anime except high budget productions suffer from "Limited animation

I know most Western studios also have ways to cheat to prevent having to draw all 24 frames per second, but they have chosen more new ways to do it by for example computer manipulation of drawings

I'm not stating Anime is bad animation in any way, but a lot of people new to the medium note the apparent choppiness in a lot of the series made for television

Yes, and I'm not stating that Anime is particularly good animation. They are good at using their weaknesses for them. Anime has a much lower budget, which forces animators to use their tools effectively. There is often Hybrid framerate (explosions, hair or fire at 30fps, character animation at 10) that allows for a lot of flexibility in the production process.

In fact, most anime is drawn in around 15 frames per second, which might seem odd, but can give more expression to movements and make them feel more fluid if emphasised enough... some sequences of importance can be animated fully in 30 fps, but it is often used solely for openings, and pivotal action/plot points.

The Great JT:

It's all animated anyway, so what's all the commotion about it? Legend of Korra is a great show fully worthy of your time and viewership, so quiet down and watch it.

I find these kind of derailing comments very unconstructive.

Nothing in the article made a claim about terms like "anime" or "cartoon" making a show better or worse. Few, if any commenters tried to claim anything like that. This topic is about categories of media and how we define them, not about whether or not Legend of Korra is a good show.

There were some interesting points brought up, at all sides. Some people expressed that separating anime *at all* from cartoons is a worrisome habit, and an excessive isolationism from a fandom. Others claimed that anime is an entirely separate art style even from animesque western toons. Yet others claimed that anime is already a collection of several styles, and the only thing connecting them is that they are made in Japan, so non-japanese things can't fit into it.

All of these are unique insights into the topic of how we define our communities and our fandoms. After all, since there is such a thing as the anime fandom, and the concept of anime as a type of content, we might as well try to explain and understand what it is.

To barge into a thread with such a point, and declare that you don't care about it, is like jumping into a valve business model thread to declare your love of Half life 2, or comment at a sexism-in-gaming article that you don't care whether or not Lollipop Chainsaw is sexist, but you really hated it.

It disturbs me why would you even THINK that this is relevant information.

All this discussion about style and animation practices makes it more complicated than it needs to be. Anime as the term is commonly used by English speakers refers to animation that comes out of Japan, and please don't bring up "but anime is the term for all animation in Japan" as a counter because there are plenty of words that change meaning when they cross cultures.

As it is used now it is a simple regional distinction that works, and everyone knows who's talking about what. If you're going to get into stylistic elements like visuals or even storytelling conventions and character archetypes, then that would imply that while things like Korra, and I dunno, the Teen Titans, would be "anime," that would also imply that certain things from Japan AREN'T anime, because not everything animated and comes from Japan is artsy and high brow, or gratuitously violent, or whatever other kinds of things people think when they think of anime as being when talking about how different anime is from Western cartoons. They also have their simple episodic comedy shows that are more comparable to the Simpsons or Spongebob than Cowboy Bebop. Would you say that Crayon Shin-chan isn't anime? Nichijou? Daily Lives of High School Boys?

Captch: umbrella corporation... wtf?

Edit: Also,

Alterego-X:
-snip-

Chill out, man. While the forums are a place for discussion, it's also kind of attached to an article, so people are bound to just be commenting on the article, without contributing, or even meaning to contribute, to any discussion that may be going on.

Gatx:
All this discussion about style and animation practices makes it more complicated than it needs to be. Anime as the term is commonly used by English speakers refers to animation that comes out of Japan, and please don't bring up "but anime is the term for all animation in Japan" as a counter because there are plenty of words that change meaning when they cross cultures.

As it is used now it is a simple regional distinction that works, and everyone knows who's talking about what. If you're going to get into stylistic elements like visuals or even storytelling conventions and character archetypes, then that would imply that while things like Korra, and I dunno, the Teen Titans, would be "anime," that would also imply that certain things from Japan AREN'T anime, because not everything animated and comes from Japan is artsy and high brow, or gratuitously violent, or whatever other kinds of things people think when they think of anime as being when talking about how different anime is from Western cartoons. They also have their simple episodic comedy shows that are more comparable to the Simpsons or Spongebob than Cowboy Bebop. Would you say that Crayon Shin-chan isn't anime? Nichijou? Daily Lives of High School Boys?

Captch: umbrella corporation... wtf?

Edit: Also,

Alterego-X:
-snip-

Chill out, man. While the forums are a place for discussion, it's also kind of attached to an article, so people are bound to just be commenting on the article, without contributing, or even meaning to contribute, to any discussion that may be going on.

Actually a lot of us are overlooking all the content. Korra and Teen titans try to look like generic anime (of the sorts that I have never actually really seen come from japan), but don't actually look like them on a technical level. Not better or worse, just different and less defined. It DOESN'T look like anime. Personally I feel that in most Animes, no matter the genre or target audience, there is a defined personality and tone, which is the oposite of what I feel for western anime inspired series, which take some GENERIC components of anime and put them together in a less characteristic blend.
In this sense, to me shows like Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh are not anime, since they adopt the western production focus. However, many other more "unique" series, like Invader Sim, or even sponge-bob square pants, share more of the Anime spirit with less of the formal clichès.

I agree with this article, to me if the word anime is a style. There are plenty of people on Deviant Art who live outside of Japan and make anime artwork but I don't believe I've ever seen someone leave a comment to the effect of "You are not Japanese, you can't make anime!" or saying there art is "fake".

On the flip side, who would go up to Iron Chef Italy and tell him that they are incapable of cooking Italian food because they are not Italian? If someone were to do such a thing, wouldn't they be accused of racism?

To me, the hole argument to keep some showes out is really just people being elitist. It doesn't matter how good or bad it is, that's just Sturgeon's Law. It doesn't matter that most studios/artist put there won spin on it, every good artist (from impressionist painters to jazz munitions) dose that.

Well that's my opinion anyway.

Gatx:

Chill out, man. While the forums are a place for discussion, it's also kind of attached to an article, so people are bound to just be commenting on the article, without contributing, or even meaning to contribute, to any discussion that may be going on.

I wouldn't have a problem with these type of comments if they would only be irrelevant, it's the condescending attitude implied by them, that we are all WRONG for wanting to discuss this issue, and we should all just mindlessly enjoy our cartoons instead of analyzing them and understanding their audiences.

Delcast:
Actually a lot of us are overlooking all the content. Korra and Teen titans try to look like generic anime (of the sorts that I have never actually really seen come from japan), but don't actually look like them on a technical level. Not better or worse, just different and less defined. It DOESN'T look like anime. Personally I feel that in most Animes, no matter the genre or target audience, there is a defined personality and tone, which is the oposite of what I feel for western anime inspired series, which take some GENERIC components of anime and put them together in a less characteristic blend.
In this sense, to me shows like Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh are not anime, since they adopt the western production focus. However, many other more "unique" series, like Invader Sim, or even sponge-bob square pants, share more of the Anime spirit with less of the formal clichès.

At that level you're just dividing between "good" and "bad" shows, or rather shows that have a commercial focus vs. just as entertainment or maybe "art" in some cases. Certainly there are Western shows that attempt to capitalize on the popularity of anime, like that Winx Club show that's somehow successful, but that's not really a division between anime and cartoon anymore, it's more of a commercial vs. art sort of thing, which is a really universal divide that exists in Western and Japanese animation.

Disthron:
I agree with this article, to me if the word anime is a style. There are plenty of people on Deviant Art who live outside of Japan and make anime artwork but I don't believe I've ever seen someone leave a comment to the effect of "You are not Japanese, you can't make anime!" or saying there art is "fake".

On the flip side, who would go up to Iron Chef Italy and tell him that they are incapable of cooking Italian food because they are not Italian? If someone were to do such a thing, wouldn't they be accused of racism?

To me, the hole argument to keep some showes out is really just people being elitist. It doesn't matter how good or bad it is, that's just Sturgeon's Law. It doesn't matter that most studios/artist put there won spin on it, every good artist (from impressionist painters to jazz munitions) dose that.

Well that's my opinion anyway.

Both of these analogies are flawed.

Deviant Art artwork isn't claimed to be anime too begin with, since it isn't animated. Of course no one denies that anyone can draw artwork in the style of any given anime, just as they can imitate any given cartoon, or painting, or whatever.

But these don't invoke the problem of inaccurately implying that anime is a single specific art style and genre, or that a Japanese animation that doesn't fit into that genre is not really anime either.

If a Japanese animation studio makes a show, it is automatically considered anime, but if a japanese person makes a drawing, it isn't automatically considered anime-style. Drawings are defined by their style, but animation categories are defined by their country of origin.

Referring to a western cartoon as "anime" has a lot more terminological problems than referring to a drawing as anime-style.

And cooking isn't directly analogous to art genres, because following the original Italian-made recipe isn't original creation, just making a copy of a thing. The food's italian-ness isn't defined by the hand that is makingit, but by the composition of ingredients as an italian would put them together. If a non-Italian person would write a cookbook with recipes that he made up, and call them Italian, then yes, he would be called out on it.

animehermit:

Darth_Payn:
Of course Last Airbender and Legend of Korra count as anime! I see cosplayers dressing up as those characters every year at FanimeCon. But I agree with Chris here, a work's place of origin or home platform shouldn't hamper which genre it belongs to.

First, anime literally means animation from Japan. So by this very definition Korra and Avatar are not anime.

Second, anime is not a genre, it's a medium.

First, anime literally means animation and thats it. It does not mean from Japan or from any certain country. It is simply a short form for animation. Nothing more nothing less.

Second, anybody who disagrees is deluding themselves.

Suki_:

First, anime literally means animation and thats it. It does not mean from Japan or from any certain country. It is simply a short form for animation. Nothing more nothing less.

Second, anybody who disagrees is deluding themselves.

Anime has a different meaning in the west than it does in it's country of origin. It's not the only Japanese word the fandom uses to mean something different, Otaku means something completely different to western fans.

Otaku in Japan means obsessive to the point of being a shut-in. Otaku here means a person who likes anime. Similarly anime means Japanese animation here, while in it's country of origin it simply means animation.

Gatx:

Delcast:
Actually a lot of us are overlooking all the content. Korra and Teen titans try to look like generic anime (of the sorts that I have never actually really seen come from japan), but don't actually look like them on a technical level. Not better or worse, just different and less defined. It DOESN'T look like anime. Personally I feel that in most Animes, no matter the genre or target audience, there is a defined personality and tone, which is the oposite of what I feel for western anime inspired series, which take some GENERIC components of anime and put them together in a less characteristic blend.
In this sense, to me shows like Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh are not anime, since they adopt the western production focus. However, many other more "unique" series, like Invader Sim, or even sponge-bob square pants, share more of the Anime spirit with less of the formal clichès.

At that level you're just dividing between "good" and "bad" shows, or rather shows that have a commercial focus vs. just as entertainment or maybe "art" in some cases. Certainly there are Western shows that attempt to capitalize on the popularity of anime, like that Winx Club show that's somehow successful, but that's not really a division between anime and cartoon anymore, it's more of a commercial vs. art sort of thing, which is a really universal divide that exists in Western and Japanese animation.

No, thats not quite accurate, I'm not saying one is good or bad, or saying that more commercial endeavours are worse than pure art endeavours. I'm saying that the origin, size and budget of anime explains its more independent / intimate storytelling aspects. It permeates the whole production system. Almost 100% of anime's budget wquld be considered Independent in the west, and the confined size of teams creates a noticeable perspective difference.

As a basic example, Most anime series are pre-planned as having a number of episodes and ENDING. The stories told don't depend on the rating and are determined for a set number of episodes, as its common that a series has nearly finished production by the time of airing. In the west however, most shows have the plan of running for years, and often extend the story observing how the ratings are going. Making them much harder to pace, and generally less cinematic.

But for this reasons the differences go even further: I'm saying that to an informed observer, in a visual level, this american japanese inspired animations DON'T LOOK or FEEL at all like a Japanese animation. Other western animations have a much closer absolute feel to the subtleties that compose the concept of anime, but they generally don't try to look like anime.
On the other side, Anime shows like Kenmonozume or Gankutsuou or Monster, fall far from the expected anime stereotypes graphically, but they definitely FEEL like anime in their complete structure. Anime's like Super milk chan, definitely try and approach a more neutral western graphic style. But I would say that they CAN'T avoid being anime either. More from the creation philosophy than the Look or the story (Given that actual theme isn't a defining aspect of anime).

animehermit:

Suki_:

First, anime literally means animation and thats it. It does not mean from Japan or from any certain country. It is simply a short form for animation. Nothing more nothing less.

Second, anybody who disagrees is deluding themselves.

Anime has a different meaning in the west than it does in it's country of origin. It's not the only Japanese word the fandom uses to mean something different, Otaku means something completely different to western fans.

Otaku in Japan means obsessive to the point of being a shut-in. Otaku here means a person who likes anime. Similarly anime means Japanese animation here, while in it's country of origin it simply means animation.

A better example would have been how in english "sake" means a type of Japanese drink, while in Japanese, it means alcoholic drinks in general, or how "shogun" only means "commander" in Japanese, (Japanese people they often translate english military titles like "general" as "shogun"), but to us, it specifically means "a military leader in historical Japan".

The supposed alternate meaning of otaku is mostly a myth. Japanese for shut-in is "hikkikomori". Otaku means something like "fan" or "geek", as in gun-otaku, train-otaku, or anime-otaku.

It USED TO have a heavy negative association, in the same way as "fan(atic)" or "geek" used to have in english, and it still has with some older folks, but the people who like to point that out are behind the times, in modern slang it mostly neutralized, nowadays Japanese people identifying as otaku is about as common as americans identifying as geek, about 25.5% population, and anime studios are openly talking about being in the "otaku industry".

Delcast:
No, thats not quite accurate, I'm not saying one is good or bad, or saying that more commercial endeavours are worse than pure art endeavours. I'm saying that the origin, size and budget of anime explains its more independent / intimate storytelling aspects. It permeates the whole production system. Almost 100% of anime's budget wquld be considered Independent in the west, and the confined size of teams creates a noticeable perspective difference.

As a basic example, Most anime series are pre-planned as having a number of episodes and ENDING. The stories told don't depend on the rating and are determined for a set number of episodes, as its common that a series has nearly finished production by the time of airing. In the west however, most shows have the plan of running for years, and often extend the story observing how the ratings are going. Making them much harder to pace, and generally less cinematic.

But for this reasons the differences go even further: I'm saying that to an informed observer, in a visual level, this american japanese inspired animations DON'T LOOK or FEEL at all like a Japanese animation. Other western animations have a much closer absolute feel to the subtleties that compose the concept of anime, but they generally don't try to look like anime.
On the other side, Anime shows like Kenmonozume or Gankutsuou or Monster, fall far from the expected anime stereotypes graphically, but they definitely FEEL like anime in their complete structure. Anime's like Super milk chan, definitely try and approach a more neutral western graphic style. But I would say that they CAN'T avoid being anime either. More from the creation philosophy than the Look or the story (Given that actual theme isn't a defining aspect of anime).

Well, I'm mostly taking issue with you saying that Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh aren't anime. I know that most anime series don't last more than one or two seasons, and that that would affect the way the finished product is handled, but I don't think that that quality is really important in defining "anime." Western shows are ordered by the season, and it's true that if they're popular enough then more will be made. The same thing happens in anime too, Dragonball is probably the biggest example of a series that kept getting extended.

Many anime also tend to be adaptions of existing products like manga or novels that have been out for a while, and whose stories likely extend beyond what can be adapted in a single season, leaving you with a fairly open ending or maybe just adapting one story arc, and more will be made in later season if it's popular. That could also be the reason why most anime seem more "planned" out, it's because the story and everything has existed for a while.

Well I could try and wax poetic on an issue of semantics but the fact is Avatar and Korra are called "anime" in Japan where the term originates. It is obviously inspired by the art and direction. But anyone who has ever watched anime can tell it isn't because as awful a stereotype as it is, most anime have certain tropes across all fields. Last night I tried watching some anime on Netflix (Sgt. Frog, Negima, and got my wife to try Trigun and she got me to try Fruits Basket out of curiosity) across all four shows there were intentional wipes involving moving color meshes in the background while the character posed and over-dramatic Japanese instruments making a loud TWANG when someone got all kinds of Extreme!!!!!

The thing is even with some of the manga I've read that has no cliches of the genre (Death Note outside something random like a "god of death") when put into animation falls into the same tropes. So are Avatar and Korra anime? Yep. Americanime. Same artstyle but because it was made for an English-speaking audience it has a natural cadence and flow of dialogue and plot that you can't get in a dub.

PS-"We don't generalize all of British TV or Canadian webcomics. We don't lump together all of French music or Latin American food." Don't know about Canadian Webcomics but most people I've ever known can pick out a few exceptions, but otherwise do generalize these things entirely.

Same argument as this applies to JRPGs.

The definition of Genre is rather specific. It specifically defines a set of works that share common stylistic criteria. Country of origin is NOT a stylistic criteria and therefor has NO BEARING on what can or cannot be included in a genre. If you want to refer to Anime or JRPGs as genres, you cannot limit them to only works made in Japan. If you would rather claim that those two terms are NOT genre titles, then you leave the associated works without such necessary categorization. What I consider an Anime or a JRPG is very clearly different then other animated works or RPGs, so the terms or ones like them seem useful and necessary as genre names.

What is in a name though? It does not matter that we call the genre "anime" which the original meaning literally just meant "animation", nor does it matter that we call it "Japanese role-playing game" even when it doesn't come from japan (or vice versa for a role-playing game from Japan that is not a JRPG). By any other name, we still have the same definition when we are referring to those genres. The arguments are only based on the words we choose for these names which, once defined as names, have no bearing on their definitions as used here.

I really don't agree with the argument in the article. Yes, Korra can be influenced by anime, it can have similar styles and storyline, but that doesn't make it anime. It's still a cartoon, or animated TV series. Even though the word anime originates from animation, its reverse imported into English and it's mostly used to describe Japanese made animation. Just because your whiskey taste similar to Jack Daniels, doesn't mean you can call it Jack Daniels.

Delcast:
There is a lot of discussion here.. but NO...

Many people have said it, Avatar clearly tries to emulate Japanese Animation in many ways, but it doesn't quite succeed in my books.

Japanese animators use different techniques, framing and style when animating. I'm by no means a complete expert, but I can tell from a mile away that Avatar, Ben 10, or things like Boondocks are NOT japanese productions. A lot of the animation is done in Korea, and other non japanese studios, and their output lacks the precision and is evidently different for the keen eye, even when we talk about the lowest quality anime. I personally have not seen the production feel of anime in american produced shows, ever.

Show me 5 seconds of animation from either production and I will be able to tell you instantly if it is Japanese animation or not. I suppose like some people say that diet-coke has the same taste as coke, and actual coke drinkers can tell the difference immediately.

That said, Anime is a generic term of production. Themes, styles and topics are hugely varied, even when the public eye focuses mostly on stereotypes. To me, the plot of Avatar, and TLOK, are very generic eastern inspired action fantasy stories. Not necessarily anime, but closer to 80's european narratives. Most western animation seems to consider fantasy a necessity, while the japanese animation I like, often follows absolutely realistic narratives. It has the faculty to tackle themes that may not be oriented to children.

A distinction would be Afro samurai. Or the new Thundercats or xmen anime, I'm not a big fan of any of them but you can clearly see that the production style (often linked to the framerate of the original animation) is different.

I have distanced myself a lot from anime lately, but I have to disagree with most commenters and the article: yes, you can tell the difference. And no, at least this is not anime.

This is exactly right. The idea that anime is exclusive to Japan has less to do with the region and more to do with the style. There is a feel, a quality, coloring, scale and fluidity that comes from Japanese work that cannot (so far) be emulated outside of their studios. I've seen some quality work by people influenced by anime, but those are rare exceptions. For the most part, if it's not anime, it shouldn't try to be.

The image used for the article is a perfect example of what I mean.

For better reference, when I was a kid (lo those decades ago) Some shows actually had anime intros and credit rolls (animated by Japanese artists) but the shows themselves were clearly not anime. These were released by a studio called DIC, where people from the US, France, Canada, and Japan worked together.

See the animation in this example. The opening, the mini skit, and then ending, all evidently of varying quality (where the intro is more fluid and detailed and has more consistent scale and overall quality, the skit looks choppier and inconsistent, then the credit roll resumes the higher quality more or less).

Other examples (look up episodes where you can to see the animation quality change noticeably during the show itself):




Well, because of this article I've started watching Legend of Korra.

Honestly, I'm kind of surprised. It's quite good. Well animated, VO's pretty good, interesting world...thank you article writer person. I probably would have skipped this.

i think many are overlooking one fact here: Western animation isnt a quality stamp nowadays. When someone says "western animation" youre not thinking about batman beyond, venture bros or avatar the last airbender; most are thinking about the flash-made tween-dramas with no substance or children cartoons.

But when one says "anime", nobody thinks about the shitty animation from japan. They think about the great stuff exclussively.

In short, we (in the west) use "anime" as a quality stamp for "good animated series not exclusively for children". Nomatter what "anime" means or is supposed to mean, that is what it is used for by most. So theres no wonder why avatar fans strive for it to be considered anime. If it the general agreed regarding this, that would have been a quality stamp, deeming the series good in the west.

The discussion is ludicrous at best. Setting written-in-stone labels on art is just silly. Art is subjective, and we will use words to describe what it looks like to us. If I see teen titans, its anime to me since it got chibi, exaggerated movement segments and googly eyes. For one whos much more into japanese animation than me, something else (that I dont bother about) might make him deem it cartoony. Both are correct, just subjective opinions.

Bibliotek:

The discussion is ludicrous at best. Setting written-in-stone labels on art is just silly. Art is subjective, and we will use words to describe what it looks like to us. If I see teen titans, its anime to me since it got chibi, exaggerated movement segments and googly eyes. For one whos much more into japanese animation than me, something else (that I dont bother about) might make him deem it cartoony. Both are correct, just subjective opinions.

If I see a whale, it's a fish to me, since it got fins and it's swimming in water. For one who is more into biology than me, some inner body parts (that I don't bother about) might make him call it a mammal. Both are correct, just subjective opinions.

Does that make sense?

Actually it does. Taxonomy is a subjective science, biological groups exists because we invented them. There is no tangible law of nature that says we MUST categorize animals based on their integumentary systems, breathing methods, and reproduction methods, instead of their habitat, or their body shape.

When a scientist says that you shouldn't call a whale a fish they don't say that because it's "objectively wrong", but because it goes against those established definitions that are more practical for people who do care about biological systems.

Likewise, whether or not Teen Titans is an anime might be "subjective" in a physical-philosophical sense, but that doesn't mean that your personal terminology that is admittedly based on ignorant generalizations, is on the same level as established definitions by people who know more about it.

I lived in Japan for most of my young life. You want to know what they called their animation over there? Cartoons. Animation. All the things we call our cartoons and animation, albeit with an accent. That would be the actual creators of the time, as well as the viewers. Cartoons. Animation.

I never heard the term Anime until I came to the west, and its definition was always, "What we call Eastern Cartoons/Animation" . . . so unless you're creation is wholly made in the east, I have no idea why anyone would want to call their animation or cartoons anime, other that to designate where it was made. This article seems incredibly like it is reaching for something that is not there.

objectively true answer:

no because there are too many nuances and eccentricities of the japanese culture that without deep immersion in the culture and language (for example by being from there) would be absent. perhaps a decent approximation, but i don't think anything would be (nor has been) deserving of the title. japanese coporate hack anime will always be of a greater quality than honest american artists interpretation and approximations of anime.

Well, it depends on what you would classify as anime. It hink it should be rephrased to "Can American's make Japanese-style anime," which to me is generally 'No'. Avatar was decent, but it came off as a bit stereotypical/cliched (I do like it, though.)

I think the problem is that Amercan anime strives to emulate an artistic style based off of another culture, and misses the mark because it does not have the same background as said culture. Everything about Japanese anime is a sort of culmintion of Japanese culture, and one would have to understand bits of that culture in order to understand Japanese anime.

I think that the potential is there, but why even try to make something that copies another culture? America has it's own artistic style, and it doesn't necessarily have to emulate Japan's. It comes off more as a cop out for cash, and puts me in mind of a group of executives saying "Hey, that anime stuff is prety popular with kids. Let's do that!"

EDIT: I would also like to point out that a lot of die hard anime enthusiasts do not really agree that American voice acting is good quality. Most of it completely misses the mark on emotional depth or tone. Full Metal Alchemist is an example of terrible voice acting.

Hi all.

Felt compelled to sign up and add to this.

I think Suki said it right, which is anime just means animation, regardless of country or origin. Anything else is nonsense. Adopting and changing words to suit your needs, is not always a good thing, and in terms of anime, and just creates not only confusion but a bad sphere of negative elitism, of the kind that can destroy what you love, and put fans of stuff at each others throats.

Oban Star Racers and Wakfu are still anime, though their creators are french.
And Avatar, Avatar The Legend of Korra are still anime, though conceived and created in N-America. All they need is their country of origin before the 'anime' word.

Enough with the elitism and labels. For if you are right, what does that make Ulysses 31, Jayce and the Wheel Warriors, and the Mysterious Cities of Gold? All of those are French/Japanese co productions. Does this mean they are some how less anime? No, they are Franco/Japanese anime, simple as.

Some may play the style card to differentiate animation per country (as a fan I admit I've done so in error), in truth, all animation is anime and vice versa. What we get from japan is japanese anime.

What do I use? Just anime, because the people who I'll talk to, will know exactly what I mean.
Personally, I try to appreciate all forms of animation, so long as they entertain. From Avengers EMH, to Young Justice to good japanese anime. (no harem moe, pandering crud though)

With regards to The Legend of Korra, while its obviously influenced by japanese anime, (its creators admit this much and interviews with them are worth checking out) it has done so in a positive way. I really enjoyed, Korra and its watchable by all ages. Just a shame so much (not all) recent japanese anime isn't to this high standard anymore.

I honestly think the world would be a better place when anyone was allowed to do what their dreams are without being judged, because they dreamed of doing something more commonly found in a different Place/Culture.

The first 5 episodes of TMNT were animated in Japan. Does that stop TMNT from being a cartoon? Fook no.

The Simpson's were animated in Korea, does that stop it from being a Western cartoon?

If "Anime" is a type of animated show, then any show that fits the criteria should be allowed to have the title without needing to have been made by someone born in Japan.

I have American made manga published by Tokyo Pop. It's still manga, even if it's from 'Edward Nigma" instead of "Seto Kaiba."

Fbuh:
Well, it depends on what you would classify as anime. It hink it should be rephrased to "Can American's make Japanese-style anime," which to me is generally 'No'. Avatar was decent, but it came off as a bit stereotypical/cliched (I do like it, though.)

I think the problem is that Amercan anime strives to emulate an artistic style based off of another culture, and misses the mark because it does not have the same background as said culture. Everything about Japanese anime is a sort of culmintion of Japanese culture, and one would have to understand bits of that culture in order to understand Japanese anime.

I think that the potential is there, but why even try to make something that copies another culture? America has it's own artistic style, and it doesn't necessarily have to emulate Japan's. It comes off more as a cop out for cash, and puts me in mind of a group of executives saying "Hey, that anime stuff is prety popular with kids. Let's do that!"

EDIT: I would also like to point out that a lot of die hard anime enthusiasts do not really agree that American voice acting is good quality. Most of it completely misses the mark on emotional depth or tone. Full Metal Alchemist is an example of terrible voice acting.

"Well, it depends on what you would classify as anime. It hink it should be rephrased to "Can American's make Japanese-style anime," which to me is generally 'No'. Avatar was decent, but it came off as a bit stereotypical/cliched (I do like it, though.)"

Stereotypical/cliched? Sounds like anime to me. :3

"I think the problem is that Amercan anime strives to emulate an artistic style based off of another culture, and misses the mark because it does not have the same background as said culture. Everything about Japanese anime is a sort of culmintion of Japanese culture, and one would have to understand bits of that culture in order to understand Japanese anime."

I'd disagree. There's plenty of 'anime' that emulate cultures not of Japanese descent, from Chinese, Egyptian, American and so on, while others even mix Japanese and American culture.

In fact, Japan's culture has been heavily influenced by Western culture, and that is reflected in Anime.

"I think that the potential is there, but why even try to make something that copies another culture? America has it's own artistic style, and it doesn't necessarily have to emulate Japan's. It comes off more as a cop out for cash, and puts me in mind of a group of executives saying "Hey, that anime stuff is prety popular with kids. Let's do that!"

Umm, what? That's so stupid! What if they did it because they love the art style of Anime? They're not allowed to do it because it's copying another cultures style?

Oop, better ignite all copies of Panty and Stocking on fire for copying Merica's Cartoon art style!

So what if it has its own style? Ever heard of diversity? Why should we be limited to one cultures art style when we can use the worlds to display what we love? Would God of War's 2D, Ancient Greece-ish styled cutscenes be better if they had used the art style of JLA the cartoon?

Take Yu-Gi-Oh! for instance, it has a mixture of Anime, MtG and cartoon style art.

Pokemon mixes cartoon art, with anime art.

Should Zelda Wind Waker have been in Anime style, rather then Western cartoon style? Just because the developers were Japanese?

"EDIT: I would also like to point out that a lot of die hard anime enthusiasts do not really agree that American voice acting is good quality. Most of it completely misses the mark on emotional depth or tone. Full Metal Alchemist is an example of terrible voice acting."

Honestly, here's another thing I hate. The idiotic bitching about how the dub is NEVER good, or their never showing the right emotions.

Gah, it's sooo stupid. I've watched FMA, I can honestly say that I'll never accept Ed without Vic Minogna's voice.

I see it as good voice acting. I've seen the Japanese audio for some anime where I have to ask why the hell the voices don't fit the characters.

I can't even take the Dragon Ball Z Japanese version serious. Goku sounds like he's 10, not 30.

How about we stop giving a fuck about whether or not it's anime and start giving a fuck about whether or not it's a good show?

Don't get me wrong; I obviously love anime. But I don't think the style is important. It's the story and their characters and how it's told that draw me in.

Alterego-X:

Bibliotek:

The discussion is ludicrous at best. Setting written-in-stone labels on art is just silly. Art is subjective, and we will use words to describe what it looks like to us. If I see teen titans, its anime to me since it got chibi, exaggerated movement segments and googly eyes. For one whos much more into japanese animation than me, something else (that I dont bother about) might make him deem it cartoony. Both are correct, just subjective opinions.

If I see a whale, it's a fish to me, since it got fins and it's swimming in water. For one who is more into biology than me, some inner body parts (that I don't bother about) might make him call it a mammal. Both are correct, just subjective opinions.

Does that make sense?

Actually it does. Taxonomy is a subjective science, biological groups exists because we invented them. There is no tangible law of nature that says we MUST categorize animals based on their integumentary systems, breathing methods, and reproduction methods, instead of their habitat, or their body shape.

When a scientist says that you shouldn't call a whale a fish they don't say that because it's "objectively wrong", but because it goes against those established definitions that are more practical for people who do care about biological systems.

Likewise, whether or not Teen Titans is an anime might be "subjective" in a physical-philosophical sense, but that doesn't mean that your personal terminology that is admittedly based on ignorant generalizations, is on the same level as established definitions by people who know more about it.

Taxonomy is subjective indeed, but in science its important with constants for understanding the world. So I would say a scientist is excused for currecting me when I call a whale for a fish, because my assumption would be wrong combined with other "facts".

Anime is art, and art has fleeting borders. You can have experts in art ofc, but they often come off as pretentious douches for telling others how art is supposed to make them feel :D An anime "expert" will often come off like that to "the less trained", telling them they cant enjoy/understand the medium like they do. If an artform gives me the feeling I get from watching anime, I would say it has achieved being an anime on an artistic level. I would then also say its fair to call it an anime.

*captcha: "save face". Captcha know what Im trying to do :D

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