What is Anime?

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eledoremassis02
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What is Anime?

Post by eledoremassis02 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:00 pm

This is a question I've been asking myself on and off for a little over a decade and I feel as time passes everything kinda blurs.

FUNimation's acquisitions direction mentioned how the industry has changed and now they look storyboards and work/talk with directors and show creators what American audiences are looking for. This is something I think really reflected in the tonal changes between Battle of Gods and Revival of F (not to mention Buu Kai). There are also media made directly for the west (or a deep creative coalition) with Vampire Hunter D, Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the shell, etc.

Then, of course, we have anime-inspired shows "becoming" Anime, such as Batman: Gotham Knights, Avatar, Teen Titans Etc. and China and Koreas anime-inspired creations that are slowly creeping in.

Now, of course, you have the opposite with things like Power Puff girls and Ninja Turtles getting their own animated adaptations in Japan (which isn't much different than say the lost Animated/Live Action Sailor Moon show or maybe to a certain extent Power Rangers).

What is Anime to you?

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by Planetnamek » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:16 pm

Mr Enter actually raised a good point in one of his videos this year-Anime shouldn't be considered a separate medium or art-form from western animation when all that's really different is their country of origin.
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Re: What is Anime?

Post by Robo4900 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:19 pm

Anime ultimately is a fairly abitrary category, but it's conversationally very useful.

It refers to animation that comes from Japan. Japanese cartoons.
That doesn't mean western animation that was outsourced to Japan, it has to have actually been produced there, since the reason we have the "Anime" categorisation is because of the different way animation is approached and treated in Japan compared to the west.

Western animation can be very anime-inspired, but I honestly find it kinda grating when people refer to shows like Avatar The Last Airbender as anime just because it is anime-inspired and tells a story over its run, and it has a lot of appeal among adults... To me, this feels less like "i call it anime because i consider anime a genre and i think it fits in that genre" and more like "i don't want this to be associated with dumb kids' stuff". In other words, to me, it reflects a certain immaturity regarding the fact that cartoons aren't inherently a childrens' medium, it's just that a lot of western animation ends up being primarily for kids. So some people find the easy way out of being someone who likes cartoons, by saying "No no, I like anime. It's different. It has boobs and violence and it's for adults." Much like how "Graphic novels" was invented as a term to let people talk about liking comics without being judged as childish for liking something that many would consider dumb kids' stuff, a lot of people are trying to use anime as a way of referring to "grown-up cartoons", but it's a bit of a "round peg in square hole" issue for me, because basically you're taking one useful term for one thing, and trying to use it for something entirely different, for entirely different reasons.

One comparison to make is "Video games"; what exactly is a video game? Well, probably we could discuss the definition of it for hours on end and get no where. We know Super Mario Bros is a game, but is Bandersnatch a game? Is Dear Esther a game? Certainly they're more like movies than a "game", in the sense that pool or tennis is a game, but they are interactive, and you do "Play" them, so arguably they are video games, because they're interactive media you "play" on a computer.
You could argue about it for hours, but ultimately, it's not a category that it's worth anyone's time to really define, because it mostly just exists as a useful conversational shorthand, and generally people know what you mean when you use it, even if it's hard to actually define what it means, in concrete terms (and I'll say this now -- I outright refuse to debate the definition of "Video games" in this thread, so don't be offended if I completely ignore any replies in that vein. This is just an example I'm bringing up to illustrate my point).
And of course, "Anime" can be useful in other contexts, like as a descriptor for "Anime style", "Problematic anime tropes", and other such useful things to discuss about other media, particularly media that comes from Japan; my brother is often a little cautious about RPGs that come from Japan, because they can often be very "Anime", in a way that puts him off. (Grating fanservice, horrendous pacing, a lack of emotional subtlety, particualrly in the dialogue, etc. Naturally these aren't factors that are universal across anime, but when he says "This game is fun, but it's very anime, and that annoys me." I know exactly what he means)

Anime are Japanese cartoons, produced in Japan, and primarily done for a Japanese audience. It's a wooly, arbitrary category, but it is quite a useful one, because of how the different culture and attitudes in Japan affect the animation from that country, compared to western animation.
You say "Anime", and we all know what you mean. We all have seen Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Death Note, etc., so we all understand each-other when we want to talk about anime.
You apply "Anime" to something that isn't traditionally anime, and you're just being obtuse and confusing for no good reason, in my view.
Last edited by Robo4900 on Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What is Anime?

Post by Zestanor » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:42 pm

Robo4900 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:19 pm
Anime ultimately is a fairly abitrary category,
Another thing that would bolster your argument: before the mid-2000s or so, without all the confusing cases OP mentioned Anime was not an arbitrary category. Cartoons from Japan were anime because they looked a certain way and western animation looked nothing like them, and anime looked a certain way because it was from Japan. It was a logical category especially up through the 90s. Although the category is now arbitrary, since Japan often replicates very western looking animation, and vice versa, the definition still has value because of its origin.

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by Hellspawn28 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:50 pm

Anime is just cartoons from Japan to me. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Re: What is Anime?

Post by eledoremassis02 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:04 pm

I can see that, and I think that's a great way at looking at it but I think the old man me can't help but see it as a sperate art-form that is distinctive in its style. Art none-the-less but style, interpretation, cultural difference, etc. result in very different final products and I think that sort of shines in one aspect of what makes anime popular. Japan (or at least the broader Asian culture) and, one reason, why products like Teen Titans and Batman: Gotham Knight tried to copy Anime tropes and on the other end projects like Avatar really go deep into Asian culture. But I think that does highlight one way where the world is coming together
I agree on a lot with what you say here and it used to annoy me to no end when people talked about Avatar that way or the (what I felt) try hard anime tropes that took me out of Teen Titans. But I still feel a lot of that is what could be applied to Anime pre-mid-2000's. There began this limbo with Japanese produced or animated materials such as the "anime" batman movies and materials that produced specifically or heavily with the western audience in mind and I think the visual appearance of Anime just makes it harder.

Essentially art is art. The west had a very distinct way of expressing themselves, and so did the east and in-between. But over time, we see Japanese artists start taking a western approach to painting and vise versa and I think thats what we're seeing with Animation, for good or bad, but I feel it just blurs the line, especially when it comes to economic aspect of it.

Essentially, you're right. At the end of the day its entertainment but I don't know if it's because I'm and artist or interested in sociological and cultural topics or all of the above. I just keep coming back to this question when Castlevania's or Vampire Hunter D's come out.

Id also like to note, I watched anime before Dragon Ball Z. And when I first saw Dragon Ball Z my first thought was "wow our animation has gotten good!"

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by Lord Beerus » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:04 pm

"Anime" is a blanket term used to specify hand drawn or computer animated material that originates from Japan. I don't really know why there needs to be the specification for animation coming directly from one country. But... yeah... it is what it is.

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by eledoremassis02 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:14 pm

Lord Beerus wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:04 pm
"Anime" is a blanket term used to specify hand drawn or computer animated material that originates from Japan. I don't really know why there needs to be the specification for animation coming directly from one country. But... yeah... it is what it is.
There doesnt really, at the end of the day it's entertainment. But these are questions I've had for years that I never really thought I could find the answers for and figured it my be an interesting topic to discuss.

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by Robo4900 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:22 pm

eledoremassis02 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:04 pm
I agree on a lot with what you say here and it used to annoy me to no end when people talked about Avatar that way or the (what I felt) try hard anime tropes that took me out of Teen Titans. But I still feel a lot of that is what could be applied to Anime pre-mid-2000's. There began this limbo with Japanese produced or animated materials such as the "anime" batman movies and materials that produced specifically or heavily with the western audience in mind and I think the visual appearance of Anime just makes it harder.

Essentially art is art. The west had a very distinct way of expressing themselves, and so did the east and in-between. But over time, we see Japanese artists start taking a western approach to painting and vise versa and I think thats what we're seeing with Animation, for good or bad, but I feel it just blurs the line, especially when it comes to economic aspect of it.
I don't think this is blurring the line between anime and western cartoons, I think it's just the two taking more influence from each-other. Doesn't change what either thing is, just means both are diversifying, and learning from one-another... Anime and western cartoons are still pretty different, there's still very different philosophies, ideas, and cultures going into it.
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Re: What is Anime?

Post by eledoremassis02 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:37 pm

Robo4900 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:22 pm
eledoremassis02 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:04 pm
I agree on a lot with what you say here and it used to annoy me to no end when people talked about Avatar that way or the (what I felt) try hard anime tropes that took me out of Teen Titans. But I still feel a lot of that is what could be applied to Anime pre-mid-2000's. There began this limbo with Japanese produced or animated materials such as the "anime" batman movies and materials that produced specifically or heavily with the western audience in mind and I think the visual appearance of Anime just makes it harder.

Essentially art is art. The west had a very distinct way of expressing themselves, and so did the east and in-between. But over time, we see Japanese artists start taking a western approach to painting and vise versa and I think thats what we're seeing with Animation, for good or bad, but I feel it just blurs the line, especially when it comes to economic aspect of it.
I don't think this is blurring the line between anime and western cartoons, I think it's just the two taking more influence from each-other. Doesn't change what either thing is, just means both are diversifying, and learning from one-another... Anime and western cartoons are still pretty different, there's still very different philosophies, ideas, and cultures going into it.
Thats very true, I see it in a similar vane of martial arts films. The west has tried to copy them from a technical aspect but lack some of the ritchness in meaning. Anime and the given nature of animation can mask that a little better

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by KBABZ » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:56 pm

For me anime is an art/writing style that originates from and is associated with Japan and other parts of asia, but is in no way exclusive to it. Ultimately anime is created using the exact same methods as cartoons in any other part of the world, and asia for some reason is the only region with a term just for how it makes cartoons (you don't hear about "Russiame", for example). In particular shows like The Legend of Aang prove that anime is not exclusive to being made in asia and can be made in the West as well, similar to how the reverse happens in Japan for cartoons.

I have similar feelings about the distinction between OVA and movies, actually. To me the only difference is that one is on TV and the other is in a theater. But otherwise they're VERY similar: they're big-budget stories that have some "special distinction" with the story like it's a super-big villain or we learn the origins of somebody, and the feature will have a bigger budget and thus much better animation than usual and pre-2000, widescreen!). The also tend to have insert songs made just for them as well and unique credit sequences.
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Re: What is Anime?

Post by DBZAOTA482 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:00 pm

Animation, or commonly referred to as Japanese animation.
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Re: What is Anime?

Post by eledoremassis02 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:06 pm

DBZAOTA482 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:00 pm
Animation, or commonly referred to as Japanese animation.
Somedays I wish we just stuck with Japanimation 😂

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by Shaddy » Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:15 pm

In so far as there is even a point to delineating between anime and other cartoons - which, let's be clear, there really isn't - there is no comprehensive or reliable definition other than "cartoons made in Japan". Other factors would disallow stuff that is undeniably anime, and include things that probably shouldn't fit under the umbrella. There shouldn't be an umbrella in the first place, but moving it sideways is never going to be better than expanding it, and rarely does anything do that without a solid starting point.

Personally, I don't ever call myself an anime fan - I just like cartoons. I spend as much time talking about and going over the themes and ideas in Adventure Time, Steven Universe or Bojack Horseman (especially Bojack, holy shit S6E15) and I'm looking forward to getting around to stuff like Hilda and Infinity Train, as well as the release of JG Quintel's new adult show Close Enough, Pen Ward's The Midnight Gospel, and whenever the FUCK they make a Homestuck show. At this point there are quite a lot of shows from various places that are inspired by the things westerners liked about anime so it's kind of doing yourself a disservice to only limit yourself to Japanese stuff.
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Re: What is Anime?

Post by JulieYBM » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:32 am

アニメ (Anime) is merely a short-hand for アニメーション (Animation). Animated works are often called 'cartoons' in the United States. Dragon Ball is a cartoon from Japan!
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Re: What is Anime?

Post by XanatosVanBadass » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:00 pm

https://youtu.be/bTCArH4s-W8

This always made it clear to me.

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by MasenkoHA » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:24 pm

eledoremassis02 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:06 pm
DBZAOTA482 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:00 pm
Animation, or commonly referred to as Japanese animation.
Somedays I wish we just stuck with Japanimation 😂
It would have made more sense since anime really isn’t Japanese animation specific despite being used as a colloquialism for it.

Plus Japanimation is fun to say.

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by Metalwario64 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:40 pm

This thread title brings back memories of the old Anime Network's promotional spot asking the same question.
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Re: What is Anime?

Post by Drepanosaurus » Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:08 am

Anime may be cartoons, but anime itself still feels like a different breed of animation. In Japan, you have more different styles of animation and stuff that is more grown up compare to the US. Japan gets with way more than America because America lives in the stone age where blood, sex, and guts is still a no no. You could say that Bleach is more hardcore than Batman: TAS.

Not to mention, animated Japanese shows have better looking animation than America. Trying see an American cartoon show with animation like this

Image

Image

Just look flat and boring American cartoons are

Image

Image

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Re: What is Anime?

Post by XanatosVanBadass » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:20 am

Thundercats Roar isn’t a cartoon. It’s a crime against humanity designed to make TTG look like AKIRA by comparison. :lol:

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