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Latest Topics

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Cowboy Bebop: Character Development through Episodic Storytelling

No other anime (or TV show in general) that I have seen has developed characters as perfectly as Cowboy Bebop. The most amazing part is that it does it via episodic storytelling. Most episodic shows (think most crime shows like CSI), focus on one-and-done plots as filler while maybe having a subtle arc occurring in the background. Cowboy Bebop has no filler. Every one-and-done builds connections between the characters, reveals details about pasts, and develops each character until the incredible climax. What makes Cowboy Bebop so successful at this, and why have other shows struggled to do it?

  • I have yet to see Cowboy Bebop but I have heard many great things. I want to start it soon. Two other anime's however I believe is worthy of great character development would be Naruto and One Piece. – danderson 2 months ago
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  • The difference between Cowboy Bebop and Naruto/One Piece is that Bebop is almost entirely episodic outside of a couple core episodes and it is only 24 episodes. Naruto and One Piece have hundreds of episodes to cover the journeys of their lives whereas Bebop can't, it has to cover backstory through the episodic adventures that culminate in the series question episodes in the twenties. Naruto/One Piece can have actual filler episodes as well because of how long they air for. I think it is interesting in comparing this to shows like Law and Order, since most of the stories affect the leading cast. I do think there are other shows and films that can detail a character's arc/personality and it would be important to detail how some shows succeed and others fail in this regard. – Connor 2 months ago
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Existentialism in Anime

What is living, and what does it mean to be human? Analyze themes of existentialism through various anime series; this could include series such as Evangelion, Haibane Renmei, or Ghost in the Shell.

  • I think this topic could use some narrowing down. For one thing, existentialism can mean a lot of things, so maybe one should focus on a specific field within it. Second, it'd be good to pick a select few titles to examine in detail instead of discussing the topic more generally, so that the article avoids becoming scattered or meandering. Also, it would be interesting to include some thoughts regarding existentialism particularly /in anime/. Are there approaches to the topic that can't be found in other media? Does it provide any unique explorations or perspectives? Or does it perhaps cinematically/animetically execute the topic in ways that are exclusive to its audiovisual language? Essentially: what distinguishes anime's take on existentialism as a medium? – blautoothdmand 7 months ago
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  • I agree with blautoothdmand. Perhaps you should focus efforts on Ghost in the shell and the construction of the women. Philosophically you could use Simone De Beauvoir and "The second sex" and Sarte for Existential backing on what it is to be human. You could also use Donna Harraway's Cyborg Manifesto to bridge the gap between the female and her sentience. – Lousands 6 months ago
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The Most Influential Shonen Anime

I always looked at Dragonball Z as my "gateway drug" into anime. I kind of snowballed into watching Naruto, Bleach, Fairytale, and One Piece shortly after. These are the shows that were particularly influential to me, but I’m wondering if there are other shonen anime that were influential to a wider audience. I know Quinten Tarantino is a fan of anime and he incorporates some similar styles of anime into his fills. I’m thinking of Kill Bill where the film dives into the backstory of O-Ren Ishii.

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    The dangers of Tokenism in Anime

    Analyze why certain characters from certain anime appear to exist for no other reason than a shallow perception of diversity. Specifically when an african american character appears in an anime for no other reason than to show that black people exist in this particular anime.

    • Characters of other nationalities are used in anime to use stereotypes as comedic relief, plot devices or backgrounds. Black characters in particular imply strength, speed, servitude, hipness, gangsters, poor childhood, underdog characteristics. I don't think the Japanese care about diversity in media. – katsucats 5 days ago
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    Why is stupidity considered a heroic trait in anime?

    Goku, Sailor Moon, Vash the Stampede, the examples are countless. In anime, being an idiot is a shorthand way to show that a character is all-around good or at least innocent. It’s prevalent enough to have its own trope: Lawful Stupid. It’s not limited to anime but it is most prevalent there. Why is this? Is there a cultural or literary tradition? Is it just a fun trope to play with? The dea is definitely worth examining more in-depth.

    • I think most of the time it exists to add a bit of comic relief, and also allows the characters to get into more silly situations because if the character were at a genius level, they wouldn't fall for traps and stuff that could put them in unique situations. – xFezziwig 2 years ago
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    • I agree that it is essential to the comic relief of the stories, but I think it also makes an important point. Our culture places a great deal of value on intelligence, but these animes propose that intelligence is not the most important part of being a hero. You don't have to be particularly clever to triumph over difficulties. Your values (hard work, friendship, etc.) are more important. I think this is an important message. – C8lin 2 years ago
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    • I think stupidity is also a good way to show how characters are human. At some point, we all make dumb mistakes so it's natural for anime characters to show these same traits as well. – seouljustice 2 years ago
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    • I've wondered this as well. For example in Naruto, the hero is incredibly powerful and has a good heart yet he is clearly depicted as not being the brightest bulb in the room. His struggle to be accepted and to overcome his learning disabilities portray him in an underdog light. Showing us that hard work and goodness reign the day. – lion 1 year ago
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    • I think the scarier question to ask is "do a majority of viewers relate to a protagonist's lack of intelligence?" There is a clear distinction between viewers who watch anime for immersion and those who watch it for escapism. If an author or screenwriter can place a viewer/reader in a fantastical world yet fill it with characters who are just as equally clumsy or stupid or athletic or lazy then the reader can not only flee from whatever reality they want to escape from but they can also feel accepted or at least socially safe in this new world where these character exhibit the same traits as they do or a lack of. – Pushingaterd 1 week ago
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    • I'm wondering you if you could take a look at what the hisyorical hero archetype was in Japan and contrast that against anime. You could also look at what Japan values in heroes as a culture since the Western hero is meant to only possess superlatives, and also doesn't Japanese culture highly value intelligence? Perhaps not as rigidly as other Asian cultures (please correct me if I'm wrong) but this could be a reason as to why they want a break from the status quo? Again using Naruto as an example, the story is actually heavily based on traditional Japanese legends and creation myths (e.g. Kaguya as the Moon Goddess) so I'm wondering if Naruto as a character also filed under some traditional elements – Pamela Maria 1 week ago
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    • I also agree that it is more of a comic relief. It works and seems to have been working for a long time now but I think as our idea of a hero develops, the idea becomes repetitive and a bit of a turnoff. As for tradition, I'm not sure but it sounds very interesting to dive into. – Melissa 1 week ago
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    What is the most appealing thing about anime?

    Anime as a genre and a community has far outclassed those of any other form of cartoon media. What is it about the Japanese shows, which vary through all sorts of story genres and artstyles, that come together to create such an appealing platform for all ages? Why is it as popular as it is?

    • I like the premise of this, but I'd point out that there are so many forms of Anime this may be a hard topic to tackle. Maybe try to pinpoint a particular genre or style of anime and look at it's popularity, versus anime as a whole. Yes they are all Japanese animation, but it's all so diverse it may not be possible to view it as a whole. – alexpaulsen 5 months ago
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    • I think one of the most appealing things about anime is how different and fresh it feels. I know a common argument most people will bring now is that the anime industry has been milked out and all the interesting essence to it died off in anime's golden age at the late 90s and the early 2000s, but anime still does one thing that most mainstream series or movie blockbusters fail to accomplish, it has the ability to make an audience feel and understand the emotions and feelings of a character and thus comprehend the amount of weight each one of their actions will bring not only to the furtherance of the plot but towards them, their relationships with the people around them. It allows us the viewers to not just view the story, but be a part of it. That's what makes anime so damn appealing and enjoying as an advocate anime fan. – Yao 5 months ago
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    Fat shaming in anime, manga, and comics

    Identify and critique instances of fat shaming in various stories that are present across the different categories of anime, manga, and comic books. How/why is fat shaming in these genres harmful? How can the situation be improved?

    • I'd say an interesting example of "fat" character being represented well in manga is "Cho-cho" from the Boruto series. She's a plus-size girl with pure and unshakable confidence in herself, her body, and her lifestyle. Even when people comment on her weight rudely, she either brushes it off or takes pride in it. That said, it isn't the best representation as she sometimes seen just non-stop eating and that is sometimes the butt of a joke, but her character and personality are a huge part of her weight and body size and it's pretty rare to see plus-size characters not be complete jokes and to actually have a personality behind the fact that they eat a lot. – Dimitri 1 month ago
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    • We really need more and more fat rep in literature and film. There are real people in this world and they need to be represented. Women especially could use some role models that aren't stick thin. – Jamie 1 month ago
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    • A really important topic. The cultural reasons as to why fat-shaming may be particularly evident in anime and manga would be interesting to explore. It would also be good to address how the representation and treatment of fat characters differs between genders. – Indigo 1 month ago
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    • Oh my gosh, I was thinking about this a few days ago as a potential topic, but I'm not at all familiar with anime, so I was thinking in terms of literature. Would you consider adding literature to the discussion? For instance, you may notice that a lot of J.K. Rowling's antagonists are fat, or described with flat, toad-like, or squished features. More damning evidence: Dudley Dursley didn't become sympathetic until after he lost weight. Neville Longbottom didn't become heroic until he dropped the poundage, either. – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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    • I feel like bigger franchises that appeal to all audiences should step up to plate on this one. Disney has yet to have a fat princess (unless you're under the delusion that Moana was fat) and even in Once Upon a Time they altered the physiwue of Ursula, an originally plus sized villain. Dreamworks has been better, adding heavier-set characters such as Shrek (and later Fiona), Po from Kung Fu Panda, and Fishlegs from How to Train Your Dragon, though the only (permanent) human there was Fishlegs and he wasn't as much of a major character in comparison. Additionally, half the battle is the addition of these characters, the other half is portrayal. Showing a fat character that has the stereotypes that go along with their size is like having a female protagonist that only achieves happiness when their knight in shining armor appears. A larger character must not be defined by their size, but rather by their personality like any other character would be. – alchemicalArchmage 1 month ago
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    Philosophy in Anime

    Attack on Titan seems to be heavily influenced by German culture and philosophy. Are there any real correlations to this? Do any other anime shows portray philosophical theories and are they doing it as a service or a disservice?

    • I am not a very big anime fan, but Neon Genesis Evangelion has definitely been influenced by philosophical theories, especially by Kierkegaard. It was also an outlet for the psychological battles of creator Hideaki Anno. – tanaod 2 months ago
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    • great topic! while it may be difficult to actually statistically correlate these occurrences, i think it's certainly true that many anime display influences from certain philosophical theories or debates. Naruto, for example, mirrors the tensions in philosophical discourse of the search for a true "Universal," which you can see displayed in the ethos of certain characters and their goals. – ees 2 months ago
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    Taken by Jiraiyan (PM) 2 months ago.