Can Americans Make Anime?

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Sober Thal:
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'.

Most definitely effing agreed. There's so much to bitch about the ending I don't where to begin. It blows my mind how much they dropped the ball with the ending. Korra undergoes no character development and learns bloody nothing, because hey instead of living with the consequences of having the rest of her powers taken away, the writers give her powers back in the most ass-pull deus ex machina I've ever seen. *Urgh*

Sorry for being off-topic but I love this series. Why did the ending had to suck so much? :(

trlkly:

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.

I'd say you're seeing forests that don't exist. Or rather that you see one forest where there are several. As has been mentioned by others, there are anime out there that look nothing alike. Trying to group all Japanese animation is like trying to group all American animation. What do South Park, My Little Pony and The Incredibles have in common? They are all animated. And there are Japanese shows out there with diversity far beyond those shows.

I think that page 2 of the article gets a bit elitist, that perhaps some of your examples of American anime don't really match.

there is a different style when it comes to cartoons and anime. its not that crazy to group them together when some of the basic styles are the same.

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.

Sure we do. You don't go to Red Robin or Arby's if you want a Taco, do you? I've also sat in on more than one conversation about how British Top Gear is far better than US Top Gear.

I tend to gravitate toward British and Canadian comedy- they tend to possess the quick-witted dialog I love- the sort of thing where you almost have to watch it twice to catch the jokes. My brother loves Always Sunny in Philadelphia- I don't. Pooping the bed doesn't make me laugh.

Now, do I write off all American comedy? No- if I did, I've missed Pushing Daisies, which was an amazing show, driven by that very quick wordplay I adore. Similarly, my sister has taken to the Katy Brand show- which, despite its country of origin, jumps back to the silly slapstick that I just don't find very funny.

It's the same thing for anime. I tend to watch it becuase it's more mature than Spongebob- but not all of it is. I'd never begrudge a cool looking US production like Brave- or Korra- simply becuase it's not subtitled.

Long story short: Anime is from Japan. Good TV is from anywhere.

MelasZepheos:
Anime is a style, not bound by culture, in the same way that Third Person Omniscient Narration is a style.

No.

Anime is not a style.

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

Also this

As you raised this, I've never really understood why American television doesn't more often adopt the Japanese title card model.

I can think of only one recent series that has offhand, and that is Game of Thrones. It took the core idea of overviewing the driving themes that'll be used or introduced in the given episode (ie: the characters in a character-driven plot) and continually changing the intro a little to reflect the present state of the story. Of course, the two key differences here are that it focussed on places (story is setting-driven rather than plot-driven or character-driven; each setting represents an entire family and a kingdom) and came up with its own storyboard for the shots rather than just heavily borrowing or adapting from previous works like in your example video. End result? Critical acclaim. Funny that.

I'm sort of disappointed at the writer's lack of knowledge on the subject. For starters, he chose some pretty terrible exampes of "western anime" to back his case. He could have mentioned things like Afro Samurai or Scott Pilgrim (technically manga).

My point is, while I think western anime is something that can and does exist, I'm adamant Legend of Korra is not anime.

In my experience, there is one defining feature found in 99.9% anime. This feature is relatively absent in most western media due to the massive contrast between traditional western and eastern philosophy. That feature would be the seamless bleeding of metaphoric and thematic elements into the physical reality of the narrative.

As an example, one of the principal themes of Dragon Ball is friendship. As such, Goku's ultimate attack, the Genki Dama, turns friendship into a massive energy ball. Tengen Toppa Gurren Laggann has giant mecha that are powered by willpower. Scott Pilgrim is Scott Pilgrim. Meanwhile, Monster and most works by Naoki Urasawa often feel foreign when compared to other anime. That's because for the most part, it runs on traditionally western thematic logic.

Meanwhile, Avatar has very pronounced western sensibilities. Prince Tsuko's character development is somewhat of an exception and the story arc of how he must learn to channel his energy not from his anger, but from his love of life feels distinctly anime-like. However, there are several telling moments where it is clear that the narrative of Avatar is based on western tradition:
1. When Aang unlocks his ultimate form, it isn't because of an epiphany, it isn't beacause he stayed true to his values or anything remotely thematic. He unlocked the final Avatar state because of a Deus ex Machina that otherwise had no emotional weight.
2. Similarly, when Korra masters airbending and again when she manages to become a completed Avatar, there is no thematic meaning to it. It just happens. Maybe there is an explanation for it, but there is an obvious thematic dissonance.
3. Tsuko and Azula's last fight: If anime rules applied, Tsuko would definitely win, hands down. He doesn't win though. That kind of cynical twist of events is grounded in very western sensibilities.

I've already gone on for far too long. What I'm trying to get to is that the writer of the article is valuing style over substance. His ultimate argument is that if something looks like anime, it should be considered anime and I completely disagree with that idea if only because it's implying all anime looks the same.

I feel like such an old fuck when saying this, but in my time it was simply called Japanese animation. And in conversations even now, I still don't use the term 'anime' or 'manga'. Probably because I don't want to come across as a massive geek at my age, but primarily because both terms are just the Japanese translation of the words 'animation' and 'comic'. So I'll just use those words instead.

In all honesty, I wish the term 'anime' would simply fucking vanish (atleast in the West). All it seems to do is uphold this ridgid design template of how something is supposed to look. The increase in anime-looking cartoons in America only supports this. Now, Avatar and Korra are the only two of these types of shows that have actual quality, but the way the character design seems hellbent on looking anime-ish always keeps it from being truly remarkable.

And Korra kinda sucked btw.

Defining cartoons from Japan as Anime is the only thing that makes sense. I don't see anyone disputing that cartoons from Japan are anime, the only question is whether American animation can be called anime. The thing is, we can't elaborate the definition of anime beyond animation from Japan. Doraemon is nothing like Fist of the North Star, but they are both Anime. If you want to extend the definition to fit series from other nations, you must necessarily exclude some Japanese series that are currently considered anime, unless you intend for the word anime to be completely interchangeable with the word cartoon. Excluding currently included series does a disservice to everyone involved, and homogenizing the word is a huge waste of time. What possible reason do we need to be re-purposing existing words when there is already a perfectly functional word to convey our exact meaning?

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

Things I did not expect to see made with the Source Film maker, #1.

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.

Well, they aren't animation sweat shops any more. It is still cheaper to out source, but the South Koreans now are in better conditions, since the economy has been growing hugely, and happier workers make a better product.

And Legend of Korra's animation is a VERY good product.

I know it wasn't done by a North Korean animation studio, because the only one the country had (who made state propaganda almost exclusively, such as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujtp-70zQME ) closed down in 2007 because the government ran out of money to keep funding it.

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

Also this

I laughed pretty hard at this, especially when the Ranma 1/2 stuff appeared 'cause that show's almost 25 years old.

DarkRyter:

MelasZepheos:
Anime is a style, not bound by culture, in the same way that Third Person Omniscient Narration is a style.

No.

Anime is not a style.

Would you care to elaborate?

Do you disagree that it is an artistic aesthetic developed in one country but not tied to it? Do you disagree that it is a way of telling stories that while having many influences of an Eastern culture can still be replicated by a non-Eastern storyteller?

Style in fiction is simply aspects of composition, the amalgamation of which results in a story. Which memes, which narration, which symbolism, which voice and tone all combine to create a finished whole. Whether the writer is Japanese or not, if the combination of all of the parts of the whole is indistinguishable from anime, then is it not anime?

And what about non-native Japanese who create works? So if a third generation Japanese-American who has never ever visited Japan decides to create an anime is it still an anime simply by dint of his genetic heritage? Or are you seriously suggesting that one culture cannot be understood and impact upon the storytelling of another?

It is interesting to note of Avatar the teacher of the martial arts advisor, Sifu Kisu, saw the first episode. This is Sifu Kisu's account of what happened next:

'He's always been suspect about kung fu and how it's portrayed in popular media. He watched the first three or four episodes - the boy in the iceberg - and he was teary eyed. He said, 'You did good. It represented martial arts in a very positive and beautiful light in terms of its restraint and its philosophy.'

Also, Kung Fu Panda is considered so good in China that they had official conferences about why they couldn't make movies that captured their own heritage so well.

When Western Developers make anime which is in fact better at capturing the source material than the Eastern Developers (or at least on a par with) where do you go from there?

Apparently Avatar and Korra are not 'technically anime". How this works, I have no idea, but I have consulted with several Otakus and Japanophiles on the subject and that is apparently the final ruling. Apparently they mix in some American-style animation, which according to the neckbeards who passed that verdict means that there is a slightly stronger focus on artistic realism than in "true anime".

It sure looks like anime though, so that's enough for me. Plus they're both damn good shows that you would be an idiot to not watch simply because they fall short of some technicality required to 'truly be anime'.

It even factors in American media's unrealistic depictions of girls and young women. Seriously, look at Korra and try to tell me that girl is 16.

Scars Unseen:
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?

There's also the fact that anime has an entirely different culture surrounding it than American cartoons do. There's jokes, stereotypes, storylines, character types, etc. There's things that Japan just does in their shows that we don't do, and the reverse is true as well. We can't make 'anime' because a lot of us don't know about Japanese culture and why they do certain things. It's the same as us bagging on New Jersey, or how we dislike puns. Our trend towards inserting love stories into things, or any period culture like the 80s, or 90s.

The picture used for this article was Legend of Korra, and while the animation was done for that in Korea, none of the writing was. That was all over here. There are only artistic similarities to anime, nothing more.

No, because this:

"the term "anime" refers only to animation created by a Japanese animation team, produced in Japan, and developed for a Japanese audience, then obviously the answer to the question "Can anyone outside of Japan make Anime?" is unequivocally "No."

So there you go.

Americans can make western animation. They can make it for adults, they can make it for kids, and about anything they want. They can even make it look like anime, but it won't be Anime. There is nothing wrong with that.

There are a thousand cultural references and nuances in art, plot, voice acting, and writing style that make a good anime uniquely Japanese. When you walk down a street in Japan, and immerse yourself in the culture and language, you'll start to see the connections to what's on the screen. You won't get that in an American-made clone, because it's been written by someone not from there. You'll get something American flavored (or French, or Polish, or the other places animation also comes from). Again, not a bad thing, but it's not Anime and will never be.

Take Warehouse 13, or, better yet, Firefly. Punchy and entertaining, and generally well-written and shot. Now animate it. There you go.

You want an example of particularly excellent western animation? Batman: The Animated Series, when it first started off. More recently, Avatar (both series, are pretty great) Tron; Uprising. None of these are Anime (nor should they be called so) all are excellent animations. All have distinctly western flavor (yes, even Avatar).

Well there is such a thing as CANime; which is Canadian made anime.
BUT to be disgustingly technical NO... because anime is just a label for "Japanese animation".

BTW unless it's from the Champagne region of France, it ain't Champagne!

I don't really like how they used Korra as an example instead of Avatar: The Last Airbender. If all I knew about american animation was Korra I would be disappointed because Korra is a steaming pile of dog shit.

Dastardly:

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.)

I can't help but think you kind of answered your own question. Defining anime is difficult only as long as you have something comparable to measure it against. Yet the fact that Western animation has so steadfastly refused to move outside of kids/cheap adult comedy means that there really isn't any comparison. The fact that anime has so many different shows and styles comprising it is part of what makes it anime. It is precisely the diversity of styles and themes, as opposed to the homogenous nature of Western animation, that for many people makes anime anime. The fact is that there's no upper limit on what anime can touch on. You have studios producing stuff for children. You have studios producing stuff for more mature adults. And you have studios producing stuff only for adults, and no, I'm not talking about Hentai.

In the West we've allowed our animation to become defined by two distinct camps, and neither are particularly flattering. In the East, they're willing to touch on a range of stuff, and it is precisely that range of topics that for many people is anime.

As an example, one of my favourite anime films is Sky Blue. It's not got the greatest story in the world, but it's got some good characters, a cool setting, and some of the best, trippiest visuals I've ever seen in a film. If Redline is like Crack Cocaine for your eyeballs, then Sky Blue is a tab of Acid. The thing is, it's a South Korean production. Nothing Japanese about it at all. Yet the fact that it not only has the look (ie, realistically proportioned characters, etc) but the willingness to try and tackle big ideas mean that most people wouldn't hesitate to call it 'anime'. And it's that which is lacking in our western animation studios.

People are saying that typically, Western animation is aimed towards children, and I believe that the Legend of Korra is, while more mature than its predecessor, still aimed towards children.

I do not think this is a hinderence at all, in fact I think that the wholesomness of it all from beings aimed at kids improves the series quality.

What is funny is by making this safe for kids they condemn the characters to works fates than death. Imprisoned for decades, controlled by magic, the destruction of your identity, it is a bit like in the inquisition where they were not allowed to draw blood and so game up with more devious means to torture and kill. I was surprised by how both series were dark as fuck when you look at it from a more mature perspective, but it will most likely go over a kids head.

That being said, I do find it funny that in a war against people who fling fire that only three people are seen burned and two of them are by accident.

Dastardly:
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?

This is a really good example.

Every anime from Japan has a different style to it. Each has it's own unique style because of how the animation is drawn out. Really any country can do anime just as well but what would be helpful of course is to label that anime from whom made it. So for Legend of Korra, we'd call it an American anime so people understand and not get gripes over it for whatever reason.

The Boondocks is an anime, but honestly it's an American anime. Even if an anime was to take place in Japan but was made from America, it would still be an American anime. If Europe made an anime that takes place in America, it wouldn't be an American anime it would be a European anime which makes no difference... the style resorts to anime period. People getting on others for this topic is very silly to me. It'd be like if I got on someone for saying 'Your chocolate candy bar originally came from the rain forest!' and ranted. So what if the ingredients came from the rain forest in order to make chocolate? It's chocolate sold in a country and that's what it is now.

Let me summarize this post:

Broad terminology is bullshit.

It does kinda suck that anime is literally a Japanese cartoon and can't be considered its own genre, as in "High quality animation" or the likes.

Can we just use the word Cartoon? It's a lot simpler and it doesn't come with a stigma attached to it. It also stops pretentious twerps from talking about the supposed superiority of one form of animation over another. I like anime shows, but I fucking hate the term itself.

This article for example annoys me. Legend of Korra should be considered an anime. Why should it? Because the term anime somehow means it is being held to a higher standard? No, that sounds pretty fucking stupid. It's a cartoon. Just like DBZ is a cartoon. Calling it anime is not applying some sort of gold medal to it to say "this is good enough to be different from other animation". It's just labeling it differently so that this goddamn self fulfilling idea that "cartoons are for kids" can perpetuate.

Call it what it is and stop trying to justify your enjoyment of a series.

MelasZepheos:

Would you care to elaborate?

Yes.

MelasZepheos:

Do you disagree that it is an artistic aesthetic developed in one country but not tied to it? Do you disagree that it is a way of telling stories that while having many influences of an Eastern culture can still be replicated by a non-Eastern storyteller?

Yes. And Yes.

MelasZepheos:

Style in fiction is simply aspects of composition, the amalgamation of which results in a story. Which memes, which narration, which symbolism, which voice and tone all combine to create a finished whole. Whether the writer is Japanese or not, if the combination of all of the parts of the whole is indistinguishable from anime, then is it not anime?

Anime is not a style. Similiair stylistic elements to certain anime, does not make it anime, just as a lack of such elements wouldn't make it not anime.

MelasZepheos:

And what about non-native Japanese who create works?

What about them?

MelasZepheos:
So if a third generation Japanese-American who has never ever visited Japan decides to create an anime is it still an anime simply by dint of his genetic heritage??

He is not a Japanese American. He is an American. He has created an American cartoon. Genetic heritage only matters to doctors and racists.

MelasZepheos:

Or are you seriously suggesting that one culture cannot be understood and impact upon the storytelling of another?

Nope.

MelasZepheos:

It is interesting to note ...

No, it isn't.

MelasZepheos:

Also, Kung Fu Panda is considered so good in China that they had official conferences about why they couldn't make movies that captured their own heritage so well.

Man, I knew that. I own both on blu ray. And bought the 200 dollar art book. And by bought, I mean shoplifted from the bookstore.

MelasZepheos:

When Western Developers make anime

Not anime.

MelasZepheos:
which is in fact better at capturing the source material than the Eastern Japanese Developers

Doesn't matter.

Anime is term used to describe animation from Japan. Common stylistic elements found in anime does not make it anime. If Sailor Moon was made in Germany, it would not be anime. If Family Guy was made in Japan, it WOULD be anime.

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

*sigh

so true.

I think what makes something anime is just the country of origin. If you look at house the term is colloquially used it's usually to refer to animation from japan. Also, if anyone trys to define anime by styles and themes it would be very easy to find an 'anime' that doesn't fit that mold.

Casual Shinji:
I feel like such an old fuck when saying this, but in my time it was simply called Japanese animation. And in conversations even now, I still don't use the term 'anime' or 'manga'. Probably because I don't want to come across as a massive geek at my age, but primarily because both terms are just the Japanese translation of the words 'animation' and 'comic'. So I'll just use those words instead.

In all honesty, I wish the term 'anime' would simply fucking vanish (atleast in the West). All it seems to do is uphold this ridgid design template of how something is supposed to look. The increase in anime-looking cartoons in America only supports this. Now, Avatar and Korra are the only two of these types of shows that have actual quality, but the way the character design seems hellbent on looking anime-ish always keeps it from being truly remarkable.

And Korra kinda sucked btw.

Wakfu was French and borrows some Japanese stylistic points. I highly recommend it. The villain actually had real and believable motivations, which alone was enough to make me like it. It's still a kids show, though in France they seem to be a little more open to sexual jokes and innuendo (on rare occasion) even in Wakfu.

Maybe 'What is anime?' is the wrong question and we should first ask ourselves: 'Is the word anime an adequate description of something in the first place?'.

'Anime' refers so many different series (Naruto - Akira- Death Note - Evangelion - Cowboy Bebop - Ergo Proxy - Berserk - Gundam anything) that it's useless to define it as a specific type of genre or specific type of style. Naruto can not be compared to Death Note, they are as different as Beverly Hills cop and Se7en or Harry Potter and The Pelican Brief (it's a book that's a thriller). All of those however fall under the same category of 'film' and 'book' respectively, a specific type medium that encompasses different genres and styles.

That means that if 'anime' is used in any type of context it has to refer to a type of medium. The only way it's possible to distinguish 'anime' from 'cartoon' is to use 'made in Japan' as a criterium. If we classify LOK under 'anime' we might as well classify every western cartoon as anime since the word doesn't distinguish between styles or genres when it comes to Japanese animation either. So we either use anime as a synonym for 'animated series' or we use it just to refer to Japanese animated series, there's no middle ground here.

That posses a problem however in the hypothetical scenario of an international animated series: if for example half of a team that works on the show is Japanese and the other half is American is that show an anime, a cartoon or a cartoonime? Or what if it's a show produced in America by Japanese immigrants who arrived here a year ago? What about 10 years or 20 years? What about second or third generation immigrants? Or the same scenario reversed with American immigrants in Japan. It gets a little vague because geographical location, nationality or ethnic heritage of the creators doesn't really mean anything.

So perhaps it's best if we let go of the notion that 'anime' can be used as an accurate or clearly defined term to describe anything in the first place. There's no need for any discussion whether or not Korra is 'anime' or not because the term itself is meaningless anyway.

You can call korra what ever you want to but it clearly draws alot of inspiration from a lot of popular Anime. Korra for example might as well be from a miyazaki movie.

AC10:

Casual Shinji:
I feel like such an old fuck when saying this, but in my time it was simply called Japanese animation. And in conversations even now, I still don't use the term 'anime' or 'manga'. Probably because I don't want to come across as a massive geek at my age, but primarily because both terms are just the Japanese translation of the words 'animation' and 'comic'. So I'll just use those words instead.

In all honesty, I wish the term 'anime' would simply fucking vanish (atleast in the West). All it seems to do is uphold this ridgid design template of how something is supposed to look. The increase in anime-looking cartoons in America only supports this. Now, Avatar and Korra are the only two of these types of shows that have actual quality, but the way the character design seems hellbent on looking anime-ish always keeps it from being truly remarkable.

And Korra kinda sucked btw.

Wakfu was French and borrows some Japanese stylistic points. I highly recommend it. The villain actually had real and believable motivations, which alone was enough to make me like it. It's still a kids show, though in France they seem to be a little more open to sexual jokes and innuendo (on rare occasion) even in Wakfu.

All these Western anime styled cartoons just seem to spring from the mindset of, "Hey, them teenagers today sure are into that anime, aren't they? Why not try to make our cartoons look like that?"

A bit more variety in art style and character design would be nice. The fact that Japanese animation has more or less become a "style" is rather depressing of itself.

dantoddd:

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

*sigh

so true.

I think what makes something anime is just the country of origin. If you look at house the term is colloquially used it's usually to refer to animation from japan. Also, if anyone trys to define anime by styles and themes it would be very easy to find an 'anime' that doesn't fit that mold.

so true too!

Off the top of my head, I'd say Kaiba doesn't fit the 'anime' mold, yet it most certainly is animation from Japan.

The use of 'anime' as a genre is only helpful in that it flags things as being from Japan because otherwise as a label it includes shows about 15 year old girls trying to lose their virginity (B Gata H Kei/Yamada's First Time) and movies about dying from the aftereffects of a nuclear bomb detonation (Grave of the Fireflies). If you want to broaden out the label any further, you might as well just call them cartoons - or you could argue that shounen (the genre of anime the author largely alludes to) should be broadened out to include non-Japanese works, then that's fine (although why use a Japanese word instead of an English one in this case?)

The term anime is already ridiculously broad. It covers psychological horror and pokemon, art styles from Panty and Stocking to Howl's Moving Castle, and target audiences ranging from young children to adults (or "adults" if you want to be snide). So I'd argue that Last Airbender and Korra are not anime only because the term is otherwise indistinguishable from the term cartoon.

You want them to be considered shounen, fine, they're shounen (although if you're going to include non-Japanese things in the genre, you might as well come up with a non-Japanese name for its use outside of Japan so that you don't come off as being intentionally obfuscating.

The real funny twist about this entire article is that Avatar: The Last Airbender (and likely Korra as well) are drawn, animated, and sequenced in Korea. Nickelodeon likes outsourcing projects. They come up with the story, plot, voices, and likely a storyboard or five in America, and have people in Korea do it for them. Many products made for Nick (like dvds) are made in Mexico as well, usually.

So you can't say it's an entirely American cartoon. It's more 'anime' (as in, closer to Japan) than American in terms of how it looks.

The same goes for Spongebob and PowerPuffGirls, on the by.

But hey, while we talk about Amerimes from those Animericans and their problems with titling what is and isn't Americanimes, I'm under the question of why we have to title things so strictly. First you complain about the word 'anime', then you argue over if it's a rpg or not. Why not accept that Japan has its own cultural look on things, and America is a mishmash or many ideals all bagged together. If Americans want to call them cartoons, call them cartoons. If Japan wants to call it Anime, call it anime. If the world wants to call cartoons from Japan (and China, and Korea, and Asia as a whole) anime, let them. If the world wants to call their own cartoons cartoons, let them. And if some person dressed up as a cat girl throws a hissy fit over calling Avatar: The Last Airbender anime, tell them it's from Korea. =P Then see them get confused and laugh.

Casual Shinji:

AC10:

Casual Shinji:
I feel like such an old fuck when saying this, but in my time it was simply called Japanese animation. And in conversations even now, I still don't use the term 'anime' or 'manga'. Probably because I don't want to come across as a massive geek at my age, but primarily because both terms are just the Japanese translation of the words 'animation' and 'comic'. So I'll just use those words instead.

In all honesty, I wish the term 'anime' would simply fucking vanish (atleast in the West). All it seems to do is uphold this ridgid design template of how something is supposed to look. The increase in anime-looking cartoons in America only supports this. Now, Avatar and Korra are the only two of these types of shows that have actual quality, but the way the character design seems hellbent on looking anime-ish always keeps it from being truly remarkable.

And Korra kinda sucked btw.

Wakfu was French and borrows some Japanese stylistic points. I highly recommend it. The villain actually had real and believable motivations, which alone was enough to make me like it. It's still a kids show, though in France they seem to be a little more open to sexual jokes and innuendo (on rare occasion) even in Wakfu.

All these Western anime styled cartoons just seem to spring from the mindset of, "Hey, them teenagers today sure are into that anime, aren't they? Why not try to make our cartoons look like that?"

A bit more variety in art style and character design would be nice. The fact that Japanese animation has more or less become a "style" is rather depressing of itself.

I see what you're saying. Though I feel Wakfu really is more "borrowing elements" than ripping off the style wholesale. It's actually quite unique looking, and the French have some fantastic animation studios. The show is French through and through, and I don't think anyone could mistake it for anything else.

That being said, I feel your trepidation with the proliferation of the "style" of Japanese animation. For instance, I felt Dragon Age 2 totally put in combat you'd see in a Shonen show or a JRPG as opposed to the more Tolkein pace of the first one. However, it handled it with none of the tact that those tend to have (at least, when they have them). It was just put in because they likely thought it's what teenagers want now-a-days.

Sober Thal:

dantoddd:

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

*sigh

so true.

I think what makes something anime is just the country of origin. If you look at house the term is colloquially used it's usually to refer to animation from japan. Also, if anyone trys to define anime by styles and themes it would be very easy to find an 'anime' that doesn't fit that mold.

so true too!

Off the top of my head, I'd say Kaiba doesn't fit the 'anime' mold, yet it most certainly is animation from Japan.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is also a unique style, but I still consider it anime. This is also why I consider Anime to just mean "animation from Japan"

Revolutionaryloser:
Meanwhile, Avatar has very pronounced western sensibilities. Prince Tsuko's character development is somewhat of an exception and the story arc of how he must learn to channel his energy not from his anger, but from his love of life feels distinctly anime-like. However, there are several telling moments where it is clear that the narrative of Avatar is based on western tradition:
1. When Aang unlocks his ultimate form, it isn't because of an epiphany, it isn't beacause he stayed true to his values or anything remotely thematic. He unlocked the final Avatar state because of a Deus ex Machina that otherwise had no emotional weight.
2. Similarly, when Korra masters airbending and again when she manages to become a completed Avatar, there is no thematic meaning to it. It just happens. Maybe there is an explanation for it, but there is an obvious thematic dissonance.
3. Tsuko and Azula's last fight: If anime rules applied, Tsuko would definitely win, hands down. He doesn't win though. That kind of cynical twist of events is grounded in very western sensibilities.

I felt the need to respond to this part of your post, because you seem to be implying that Deus ex Machina is a strictly American theatrical tool that does not exist inside of Japan. So just to make a point, have you ever seen Bleach? Deus ex Machina out the ass.

OT: I generally consider anime to strictly refer to "animated cartoons made inside Japan," but I still believe that it's possible to make good western cartoons with animation influenced by Japanese anime. When I discuss Avatar or The Legend of Korra, I describe it as "like an anime," because that's what it is to me. It has many anime-like qualities, but it was not made in Japan, so I don't consider it truly "anime." However, as I discuss this, it becomes increasingly apparent just how meaningless the distinction "anime" truly is.

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