I am an avid animation fan (Simpsons, Looney Tunes, Pixar, King of the Hill, etc.), but I just don’t get anime. I think perhaps you have to have been exposed to it when younger for it to mesh.
To my eye, the characters often have happy expressions when angry, sad expressions when scared, and scared expressions when happy. The characters’ actions often defy common sense and the plot-lines seem haphazard at best.
And the animation is usually terrible, with extensive use of two-, three- and four-frame repetitions, foreground masking to avoid having to actually animate at all, having a static character with nothing but a zoom while a background scrolls for “attacks”, and other even more hackneyed cheats. And that’s without getting into the way that so much of it is just a resetting of one of a relatively small number of stock Japanese cultural tales, or assembled from what amounts to memes at this point. Some entire series seem to be nothing but an agglomeration of cliches.
Is it obvious that despite not being a fan, I’ve been exposed to more than a bit of it?
If you’re over the age of 8 and want to be inoculated against getting attracted to it, I recommend either the ancient and terrible Speed Racer series, or the venerable and awful Bubblegum Crisis.
@DrWorm@werehatrack I enjoyed it in highschool… some years ago, but this sounds about right. Can’t get into anything recent because it’s like the entire genre is a collection of references to memes at this point. I don’t think they even try anymore. And with low budgets (too too few frames).
Except for the budget, I could say the same thing almost about American movies and TV these days. It’s mostly just iterations of The Formula, content-free.
Converse-wise, if you want to find it in yourself to enjoy anime without some initiation ritual: Ghibli. Big (enough?) budget movies, unrelated to each other except in spirit and artistic style. They’re beautiful to watch. A lot of big scale folklore-style fantasy.
I think Cowboy Bebop might also be a uh… self-realized and artful enough piece of media to be worth watching, and the soundtrack helps, but then again I have a feeling it went in kind of hard on the anime tropes in places. I’m not sure how much of my affection for that isn’t 1.earliest / defining exposure to sci-fi western for me, more lived in than Star Wars (+ some noir), 2. soundtrack, 3. not terrible animation. Haven’t watched it in a long time.
Some of the anime shows do have a tendency to pace things letting the characters breathe from time to time. You’ll get these transitional scenes that are slice of life with some circadas in the background. It’s nice. I’m not sure if circadas are a meme or just a universal experience in Japan.
@DrWorm@werehatrack I heard someplace that somebody is doing a live action remake of Cowboy Bebop. I feel nothing except trepidation.
Lest it be lost, since you said you like animation as a medium, seriously check out a couple Stufio Ghibli movies. They don’t break the fourth wall, don’t deform the characters, faces look more natural… everybody loves those movies. Basically a Japanese Pixar drawn by teams led by a single auteur.
@DrWorm@InnocuousFarmer@werehatrack I feel like the people complaining about the poor animation in anime are only comparing them to theatrical animation or big-budget current shows like The Simpsons.
A lot of these are television shows with aggressive budgets and production schedules. If you compare the animation with classic Hanna-Barbera shows like “The Flintstones,” “The Jetsons,” or “Yogi-Bear” then I think it’s pretty comparable.
Anime also tends to sacrifice frame rate for more detailed models.
I tend to like anime, but also have trouble with some of the storytelling conventions, but I’ve had the same trouble with some live-action Japanese films. Neither Paprika (anime) nor The Suicide Club (live action) really tell a coherent story that makes sense, and they’re both very popular.
“Princess Mononoke” was the first one I saw. While I had seen Astro-Boy and Speed Racer as a kid, I went in without really knowing anything about anime and “got” it even less than I do now. Afterwards, I initially thought the person who suggested it had been gas-lighting me in order to trick me into seeing something that was obviously (in my mind) garbage. I was legitimately mad at her. She had raved about the “beautiful” animation, which not only did I think was crap, had an odd obsession with worms and maggots. The story-telling, at least to my sensibilities, was a mess.
Because they are so critically regarded, and I really wanted to give anime a fair chance, I saw few more Ghibli films: “Ponyo”, “Spirited Away”, “The Secret World of Arrietty”. “Arrietty” was the only one that I found even passable as entertainment. I’m honestly not trying to dump on it, just trying to explain there is something inherent in anime that conflicts with my westernized tastes.
Anime fans love the medium for the distorted and “extremized” depictions of people, which I find quite off-putting. Likewise, I regard the lack of realistic movement as cheap looking, while anime fans appreciate it as a different approach.
I think my western expectations are such that “fun” shows (classic Hanna Barbera, South Park, King of the Hill) are fine with limited animation, but serious content goes hand-and-hand with more realistic movement.
Anime also tends to sacrifice frame rate for more detailed models.
I think that’s a good point, and underlies what some like about it, but I find as a negative.
@DrWorm Wow, guess you really don’t like anime. Never heard of somebody not even liking Studio Ghibli movies, based on aesthetics. They really do stand apart from… the rest of the genre, while still being fundamentally anime.
I mean, I find anime relatively more enjoyable where the genre rot is toned down and relatively less where it’s ramped up, but your thing is different, apparently.
Of the list, Cowboy Bebop.
Record of Lodoss War and its sequel
I watched Angelic Layer with my nephews/nieces years ago and except for one mildy creepy aspect (Japan, sigh) it was pretty good.
More current stuff:
I fell out of my chair laughing more than once at Konosuba.
The Rising of the Shield Hero
Goblin Slayer (which has some extremely harsh scenes; you will truly hate goblins).
I’m sure there are more, but thats what comes to mind
@Rueki I kind of see what you mean. Seems like over the past decade or so, I’ve really loved a few new anime: Death Note, Paranoia Agent, Gurren Lagaan, Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo (not including the titles in my previous post). But others come off as too overhyped: Naruto, Bleach, Fire Force, Pop Team Epic, Sword Art Online (give me .hack//sign any day) ,Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Dr. Stone. The older stuff seems to definitely be better; I’m a big fan of the Lupin the Third series. Tenchi Muyo was pretty good; so is Dr. Slump. The original Astroboy blew me away. Many of these have very good music to boot; some shows I want to see (or have seen) just because I like the opening theme song.
Use to catch all my anime on Toonami, but haven’t watched the animation block in over a year because I’m constantly disappointed by the new content.