Can Americans Make Anime?

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Sis:
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.

Well to be fair, there is nothing that says that you can't call a non-Japanese animation "anime," but it's a bit silly to borrow a loan word that was derived from the word you're trying to avoid.

Anime is anything animated, what we call anime is not what they call anime. Now can we make mainstream animated series for teens and adults. Not really.

Carlos Storm:

Chris O'Brien:
Can Americans Make Anime?

I've watched Avatar and Legend of Korra

Short answer: Yes

QFT.

I liked both of them, and they both also felt very mature for being cartoons. Something you dont see to often.

Oddly enough in the groups of anime fans that I hang out with we use the qualifying term OEL (Original English Language) when we talk about animated shows made in the United States that have themes and animation styles similar to those made in Japan.

I think a bigger question we might ask is how well can a non-Japanese production team truly understand a foreign culture well enough to replicate its art forms with any sense of perfection. I am not saying that animators from other countries are not skilled, but I am saying that each culture has its own ascetics and ideals and iconography that are unique to that culture. When you watch an anime made in another country, the culture of that country will rub off on it without a doubt. Even if a dedicated team sets out to copy the culture of another nation their own ideals and such cannot help but seep into their art.

I think this is the reason most anime fans argue about what is anime and what is not anime. Personally I think it is a silly argument based wholly on semantics.

Chris O'Brien:
It wouldn't seem correct to treat the entirety of any medium from any other culture with similar prejudice. We don't generalize all of British TV or Canadian webcomics. We don't lump together all of French music or Latin American food.

Er, yes we do. I, for instance, am not a big fan of British TV. Some stands out enough to hook me (anything by Steven Moffat, some Monty Python), but everything seems just a little off, just a little awkward in its style. Every so often, there will be an American show/movie with the same kind of style (Surrogates) that I will similarly dislike.

As far as food, we definitely lump that together, and often in incorrect ways. Chinese food to mean all Asian food. Mexican food, which is often more accurately described as Tex-Mex (but then most Americans consider all Latin American food to be "Mexican").

Right or wrong, we generalize everything from a culture. And this is useful (one word: Bollywood). It tells us the general style and themes to expect. Sure, more information is often needed (British comedy, German police procedural, action anime), but in the same way all genres need additional qualifiers (action comedy, romantic comedy, dramedy).

But there's nothing explicitly preventing Americans from making a British-style comedy, just like there's nothing preventing city dwellers from writing spaghetti westerns. The importance, as you point out, is whether it's in the style, not where it was produced (although, Americans have botched a lot of "American remakes" of popular entertainment from elsewhere).

Nikolaz72:

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.

Incorrect.
Per a Dictionary
Anime is a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes See here.

Anime is a STYLE that originated in Japan but isn't done exclusively in Japan.

If I make an Edo Style Wood Block print it is a ukiyo-e? Yes it is because it is a particular Style and as long as I follow that style then there is no problem.

American Cartoons as an mature medium died long ago and because of that have a childish tone to them. American Cartoons are themselves a Style.

Scars Unseen:

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."

Mm, not quite so. It's more about the quality, story telling narrative and assumed age/intelligence of the target audience.

Take Looney Toons or Tom & Jerry. They both have admirable qualities and are "animation" but could anyone really call them "anime" with a straight face? Unless we're going to plunge into Urban Dictionary terrain, let's see what Merriam Webster has to say:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anime

I can understand comparing Avatar to anime, what with the art style and overarching story, but your other examples seemed a bit like a big jump to me, probably because I've never heard them argued before.

HMV puts Avatar in anime, but puts Ben 10 in kids cartoons. Despite Ben 10 Alien Force having Yuri Lowenthal as Ben, it never occured to me as a thought. Teen Titans might've considering it even has a Japanese song in the Mad Mod episode.
Then again I've seen Pokemon in kids cartoons before, and yet the new Beyblade series is in the anime seciton, and I'm pretty sure Yu-Gi-Oh keeps jumping the fence to either side. Maybe it's the curse of 4Kids, ruining any maturity the show has. (That is NOT me saying anime is all mature, just that any mature anime would never be put in the cartoons section).

The argument stating anime being made in other Asian countries works better for me.

I don't see anime as a label of quality, just a style I enjoy. I consider myself an anime fan, and I don't consider Avatar an anime. Doesn't stop me from enjoying it, or buying it. If so, it mostly affects my buying choice since finding it on DVD is far easier than the somewhat limited supply of anime that goes completely undergorund if you look for it a year or two after release. I actually liked The Legend of Aang quite a lot, but it certainly has a lot of humour in it, which is usually the marketing position of western animation, but that's not me making a point against it being anime, since it's a stupid one since quite a lot of anime has lots of comedy, just an observation I felt liek saying...I'm not sure why.

As a side note: It suprises me the amount of comments here that claim better quality than "most anime". Yeah...I'm totally going to believe you watch most anime. I don't even watch very much.

Next question: Can Americans make British television shows? (they certainly try!) Foreign films?

Nicolaus99:

Scars Unseen:

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."

Mm, not quite so. It's more about the quality, story telling narrative and assumed age/intelligence of the target audience.

Take Looney Toons or Tom & Jerry. They both have admirable qualities and are "animation" but could anyone really call them "anime" with a straight face? Unless we're going to plunge into Urban Dictionary terrain, let's see what Merriam Webster has to say:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anime

Okay. So what is the assumed age/intelligence of the target audience of anime? (Hint: There is none)

What kind of quality can one expect from anime? (Hint: It's all over the place)

What sort of narrative does anime use? (Hint: It depends on what you're watching)

If you consider anime to be a style of animation, yes.

If you think anime only refers to any Japanese animated show, then no.

For me personally, I follow the former's train of thought.

Zeriah:
If you consider anime to be a style of animation, yes.

If you think anime only refers to any Japanese animated show, then no.

For me personally, I follow the former's train of thought.

As I asked someone before, which style of Japanese animation is anime? There are several.

Anime is a MEDIUM not a genre. Can't even believe I or anyone would have to explain that. From crime anime to harem girl anime.

whoever decides on making animes they just dont make those like Wolfs Rain,Berserk,Cowboy Bebop or Gungrave anymore, every year is worse, only decent i saw lately was Steins Gate.

Pretty much every is lame these day, "dozen studet girls and a boy" themes, maybe Japs could take a break.

not enough panty shots and boob jiggling, but a good start.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Snip-

Damn, you ninja'd my whole thought prossess.
Can they make anime? Yes but right now they only have kids as their demographic.
Though it's something new so people will most likely shun it, which is stupid but so are people.
I think Korra is an anime, not something I really watch it's still an anime altogether.

Captcha: rough diamond, perfectly describes Avatar.

Velimirius:
whoever decides on making animes they just dont make those like Wolfs Rain,Berserk,Cowboy Bebop or Gungrave anymore, every year is worse, only decent i saw lately was Steins Gate.

Pretty much every is lame these day, "dozen studet girls and a boy" themes, maybe Japs could take a break.

That's because the Japanese animation industry is in shambles due in large part to the severely decreased birth rate making it far less profitable than it once was.

Chris O'Brien:
Can Americans Make Anime?

Only if Canadians can play Baseball.

Read Full Article

The question itself isn't nearly as hard as all the questions surrounding the question.

Despite the fact that nearly everyone seems to instantly think they know what you're talking about when you say "anime," and even despite the fact that most people think about the same group of things, we still are nowhere near agreement on what is anime and why.

Really, the only common defining feature for people is the fact that it comes from Japan... but they'll put the same label on American-made stuff that models the style. So we have to talk elements of visual style... but Dragonball Z looks nothing like Cowboy Bebop, when you get right down to it, so what defines this style?

Is it the subject matter? Not really... plenty of it is more maturely-oriented, but there's tons of kid stuff, too. Story structure? Nope. Not all of the stuff we'll readily label "anime" has the same structure. We say "anime just means animation," but I don't know many folks that call Batman: The Animated Series or Titan A.E. anime.

Asking whether Americans can make anime is like asking whether Norwegians can make flubber -- it's entirely possible... if any of us can figure out what the hell flubber is in the first place.

(Of course, we could make a list of the common visual elements, themes, and story/charater tropes that are truly unique to anime. While it's unlikely any given example would contain all of them, we could attempt to set some kind of minimum number of elements... but it always ends up an arbitrary distinction to me.)

It's all cartoons to me.
Toy story is a cartoon, Wolf's Rain is a cartoon and Lion King is a cartoon. Doesn't matter where it came from or how much money you put into it - it's a cartoon.

Calling anime a cartoon can really wind people up for some reason. I used to know a girl who would rant at me whenever I called Death Note a cartoon. It's deep? It's clever? So - it's still drawn. It's still a cartoon.

You're forgetting one very important part of anime--the Japanese worldview. And, yes, even the Japanese voice actors. Yes, indeed I have looked at a box of anime to see if it were made in Japan, because I checked to see if it had seiyu. And that's from someone who hates subs.

The thing about these American series is that they aren't at all like anime. They don't feel like anime, they don't sound like anime. When there's an American production that people can't tell what it is, then maybe we can have this conversation.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
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.

I had typed a long and unfocused response to the Article, said fuck it, refreshed the page and saw this...

This is exactly what I wanted to say and even clearer then my post.

To get to the heart of my point:

It's not the exclusion of western animation in Anime classification that is an issue. It's the exclusion of Anime-ish conventions by western Studios. Western Cartoons are considered Kids stuff and vehicles for irreverent, off-the-wall comedy. Not sweeping emotional epics or thematically mature series.

It is also a cultural issue, since most adults/parents view cartoons as something their kids watch (to their detriment when their Kid finds Bible Black or reads Battle Royal).

Avatar is quite exceptional, but it is not exempted from the issue. It deals with heavier themes then conventional "cartoons", but it is still primarily marketed at kids and young teens. Same as all the other western shows mentioned in the article.

EDIT: I should mention that this is somewhat tragic, since most of the early western animation was geared towards adults (Loony Toons/Tunes, The Flintstones, Betty Boop etc.)

Dwarfman:
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.

You realize that his point in mentioning Jack Daniels is the same point he made about animes. You yourself reinforce it. If Anime can come from America then Bourbon can come from Tennessee.

Never seen it, but willing to bet it lacks fanservice, which I consider an essential part of the genere. Then again I haven't watched much (which should not be mistaken for 'any') anime in the past ... ten years or so, and as such my viewpoint may be outdated. I did, however, watch all of the original Naruto, Gundam SEED, suffer through a couple seasons of Shippuden, etc, and as far as I can tell it's still a part of the genere.

Captcha: meddling kids

I'd put my money on meddling adults, not kids.

Looks like anime to me, and I've been watching anime since the early 90's when it was just a handful of shows on the sci-fi channel. Hell even back then there was the Powerpuff Girls which I'm 95% sure was inspired by anime.

As someone already pointed out a lot of current animes are a collaboration of work between Korean, Chinese, and Southeast Asian animation studios.

Dastardly:

Chris O'Brien:
Can Americans Make Anime?

Only if Canadians can play Baseball.

Read Full Article

The question itself isn't nearly as hard as all the questions surrounding the question.

Despite the fact that nearly everyone seems to instantly think they know what you're talking about when you say "anime," and even despite the fact that most people think about the same group of things, we still are nowhere near agreement on what is anime and why.

Really, the only common defining feature for people is the fact that it comes from Japan... but they'll put the same label on American-made stuff that models the style. So we have to talk elements of visual style... but Dragonball Z looks nothing like Cowboy Bebop, when you get right down to it, so what defines this style?

Is it the subject matter? Not really... plenty of it is more maturely-oriented, but there's tons of kid stuff, too. Story structure? Nope. Not all of the stuff we'll readily label "anime" has the same structure. We say "anime just means animation," but I don't know many folks that call Batman: The Animated Series or Titan A.E. anime.

Asking whether Americans can make anime is like asking whether Norwegians can make flubber -- it's entirely possible... if any of us can figure out what the hell flubber is in the first place.

(Of course, we could make a list of the common visual elements, themes, and story/charater tropes that are truly unique to anime. While it's unlikely any given example would contain all of them, we could attempt to set some kind of minimum number of elements... but it always ends up an arbitrary distinction to me.)

This reminds me of the Supreme Court describing porn, "I know it when I see it". Even if you can't really describe it, you definitely know when it comes along.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
snip

Brilliant post sir.

Scars Unseen:

As I asked someone before, which style of Japanese animation is anime? There are several.

And yet they all are distinct from anything western. You're missing the forest for the trees.

Let's see: either the characters will be chibi or realistic--never cartoony, except when realistic people suddenly change. Nothing will look like it's made in Flash, even if it is. There will be anime tropes, like sweat drops and red noses. Despite being Asian, they will not look Asian. The mouth animation will use flaps so that they can be synchronized with other languages. I could go on and on.

And, yes, most of this stuff is being aped by the American counterparts, but the problem is that the feel is just off. American culture and Japanese culture is just so different, and people don't think the same way.

...Uh, I've just always used anime to differentiate when I'm talking about a japanese animated series versus an animated american series.

Anime isn't a word I use for quality classification and purely for origin reasoning, because I watch enough animated series to merit that need for a separation.

So yeah, I don't think this debate makes much sense to me. It's a subjective thing IMHO. I watched a couple episodes of Korra and it was pretty dece. I'd put it on par with japanese animation.

The whole purpose of labels to to help communication, not hinder it. Realistically speaking, if I was telling someone about Legend of Korra, and I said it was an anime, the other person would understand the thematic comparison but probably be confused as to the origin. So, in that sense, calling it "American anime" would be really helpful. On the other hand, the value of that descriptor will be dependent on who you're speaking with. So, should we be able to call shows like Legend of Korra anime? Sure, but only in so much as it remains helpful to do so. What's pointless is arguing about the definition of the word for the sake of arguing about the definition of the word. There is no council that determines what a word should or does truly mean. Either the community as a whole has shifted its understanding of a term, or it hasn't. Right now, I'd say we're at the point where reasonable people would, at the very least, understand why you called a Western anime such, as long as you attached a few caveats. Maybe someday, when there are more mainstream, quality shows in the mix, the term will become ubiquitous.

No not the same, not even close.

Jack Daniel is Jack Daniels because of it's process and the materials used in it's production. Soil PH, humidity, rain fall, re-use of barrels give the bourbon a distinct character. Just about anyone who "knows" bourbon would be able to tell you the differences, the brands, and most of the relevant information in a blind taste test.

A Ducati motorcycle is the same way... it's a Ducati because it's a Ducati. No matter how many components or stylistic copies the Japanese make of Italian art it does not make a Japanese product Italian art.

Anime is a fairly "loose" term and has often farmed out it's work to other studios outside of Japan... effectively this makes the term subject to some interpretation. That being said that anime is still under much of the direction of a Japanese staff which are en-cultured to Japanese theme and narrative, there will be a decided "Japanese"-ness to the end product. It's quite easy to spot what country most of the work was accomplished in, just by the subtleties of the product.

Western animation in a Japanese inspired style is just that... western animation in a Japanese inspired style. I would think that many people who are enthusiast of the Japanese mediums could easily point out which was which without knowing anything about the product before a "sampling".

Face it... no matter how hard one tries... always a gaijin, no matter how much corn one mashes, it isn't Tennessee's finest. It has nothing to do with how well one copies, and everything to do with how a culture of a region treats/handles/approaches a product.

Can't copy love, at best maybe rent it for awhile.

Look at Korra's face, you know the answer is yes.

And this, boys and girls, is how etymology works.

People assign meaning to a foreign word that is different from what it means in the original language, etc etc etc, confusion abounds.

It's doubly funny in this case, because "Anime" was borrowed from our language, then we just borrowed it back.

No one else finds etymology amusing? Ah, whatever.

medv4380:

Nikolaz72:

medv4380:

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.

Incorrect.
Per a Dictionary
Anime is a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes See here.

Anime is a STYLE that originated in Japan but isn't done exclusively in Japan.

If I make an Edo Style Wood Block print it is a ukiyo-e? Yes it is because it is a particular Style and as long as I follow that style then there is no problem.

American Cartoons as an mature medium died long ago and because of that have a childish tone to them. American Cartoons are themselves a Style.

Your Dictionary is incorrect. Anime isnt a style. . . Saying its a style would mean that its a certain way of drawing, but there are tons of ways to draw and as far as I recall they are all named something different.

The term is up for interpretation, one of the interpretations (A huge generalization) being in an american dictionary doesnt prove much of anything.

Avatar is a western cartoon, made as if it was a Japaneese cartoon.

That being said this is pointless to be drawn into an arguement over. So im quitting before it gets further.

I've never seen Avatar or Korra, so I'm going to exempt it from any kind of statement I make in the following.

I've only ever used Anime to describe animation out of Japan and anything American made that imitates it is just that, an imitation. Most of the stuff that imitates anime is shit to me, because it doesn't really understand the culture that it's trying to imitate and it may get the outward appearance right, but it misses the fine details by leaps and bounds.
That's primarily the reason I haven't seen Avatar. It came around at a time when companies were trying to imitate anime and doing a shitty job. So I saw Avatar's animation and dismissed it as just another attempt to imitate anime. Of course, later I keep hearing people who agree with me about the quality of anime imitators actually saying Avatar was good, so I wonder what I missed, but not enough to actually go look up the show, because I really don't care for TV in general anymore, anime or otherwise.

But really, I wish animators would stop trying to imitate anime. I can understand being influenced by it and maybe even wanting to pay homage to it, but to imitate it like the format itself is automatically going to make your work better, or popular is a flawed kind of logic that can limit artistic creativity and originality. Anime has its high points, but its style and tropes aren't what make it good when it's good and, in fact, are sometimes what make it bad when it's bad. It isn't the perfect expression of the animated medium and should not be treated as such. I would much rather animators develop their own style and look to their projects.

The term "anime" is meant as a classification for cartoons made in japan. The art style, plot tropes, and other surface similarities aren't what identify cartoons as Anime or not.

There is one thing trait that is much more predominant in Anime than in US cartoons. This also goes for the difference in American comics from Japanese Comics (Manga). That is complete series plot arc with definitive endings and beginnings. This is the reason I find anime so much interesting than most American Cartoons and TV shows.

Largely, American TV programs (live action and animated) are written to be endless. Countless mini-arcs to keep the series alive until the viewership drops below profitable. In comparison, very few Anime or Manga series are written that way. Most have a definitive over-arcing plot that will lead to the series finale within a set time frame. Then, if a series is popular, the series may either receive a reboot series, spin-off series, sequel series, stand-alone movies or any combination of the afformentioned. Also, tons of merchandising works in to promote and perpetuate franchise profits well beyond a series conclusion.

Examples: Ruroni Kenshin/Samurai X, Ghost in the Shell, Dragon Ball.

Despite being long over, they still linger in fans minds and are still finding new audiences today.

I don't know how cultural differences play into these contrasting trends, or whether Anime series are more profitable than some of the most popular American shows that have ended.

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

You are entitled to your opinion. Granted, this isn't about striving for the label, it's for clarifying, as it doesn't really make sense. Though I suppose it'd be like how some people say fighting or sport video games aren't real video games. They are, and it's silly to say they're not.

Also, you need to look outside the mainstream anime for the jewels. Like the recent 'Fate/Zero' series that got very little attention despite it's amazing production, direction and art styles. Not to mention a more-than-decent storyline.

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