tmtonji

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Articles

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    Humour in Cartoons and Anime

    As an avid watcher of cartoons and anime one thing I have noticed it that in the west if a movie or a tv show is animated it has to be driven by humour. Regardless if it’s a cartoon directed to an older audience like Bojack Horseman, Archer or something like Bobs Burger these shows have to be laugh out loud funny. While as with Anime, it’s easy to find series where humour is barely present yet that is directed to an adult audience like Death Note, Erase, Spychopass and many more. It’s as if the west think that for something to be seen as serious it has to be live action, which would explain why someone would go out of their way to make a live action remake of Your Name, which is completely useless since is animated form is already perfection. Japan and anime has already proven that animated material doesn’t need to have humour to be successful, why do you think the west is set on always linking cartoons with humour? Is it because of the word "cartoon" itself or is it because the medium will never be as respected as something live action, and why is that. Can an image or a voice actor not convey the same kind of emotions than a traditional actor? Will we ever see a mainstream tv show or movie that is animated that isn’t a comedy but that gets the same kind of respect than a live action movie. Or do you think some animes are able to avoid the comedy title because of the different types of animes that exist (shonen, seinen, shojo, josei and kdomomuke). Should the west possibly follow these different types of categories in order to have more variety in the cartoon world?

    • You have an interesting topic suggestion here, but I would suggest more research is done into western animated storytelling, so as to avoid the generalisation that it is driven by humour. There are some very fine examples of non-humorous animated tales that could be considered, such as: Fantastic Planet (1973), Watership Down (1978), When the Wind Blows (1986), Flatland (2007), The Illusionist (2010), April et Le Monde Extraordinaire (2015), Ethel and Ernest (2016)...the list is practically endless. – Amyus 3 months ago
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    • I guess I should have added more of an emphasis on mainstream cartoons targetted to adults. Never meant to make the claim that everything produced by the west in driven by humour, like I said I love anime and cartoons so I watch a lot of a variety of things and I know we have some serious animated movies on our end too, but mostly the popular cartoons that are known about by the general public are almost always comedies which isn't always the case in Japan. – tmtonji 3 months ago
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    • I get what you're saying. Mainstream cartoons in western society are almost always humour based. I think a large part of that is because of Disney and Nickelodeon's corner on the market. I really do think it's how we've been fed cartoons culturally. In western society, cartoons and animation have been marketed to us almost exclusively as either for children or for light-hearted humour and nothing more. In regards to Japan and anime, it seems that it is more respected as an art form and seems to focus on the characters and their development as opposed to the typically plot driven western productions. Seeing how anime so popular, I think if the west followed in the footsteps of Japan in taking part in more serious animation, they would find a large market for it here. – Melissa 2 months ago
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    The conflict between heroism and villainy within My Hero Academia

    The anime has characters such as Endeavor who is known as the number 2 hero despite having villainous qualities such as abusing his wife and children. On the flipside, they have Stain, a villain who ruthlessly kills people yet values true heroism. In a show promoting the idea of becoming the best hero in the world, what does it mean when characters hold opposing traits from their roles in society? Additionally, can characters such as Bakugo, Deku, and Todoroki be considered as true heroes considering their reasons for becoming heroes?

    • Interesting take on the show, I also want to add the route the show is currently going in - reminds me a lot of naruto and how sasuke was taken by orchimaru's "henchmen" but in that case he made his decision, bakugo did not but sasuke and bakugo share similar qualities so I'm very curious to see what happens there. To compare that idea to your own, I think over time (as I feel like this show will last YEARS to come) that your questions will be answered with more validity and less convoluted heroism and villains: the ways of attributing to becoming a hero and how someone walks the path of evil. - Jeet – jeet 4 months ago
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    Latest Comments

    I actually believe that the binary between good and evil is one of the things I hate the most about fantasy stories. I much prefer a morally grey area because the world isn’t black and white. The best slnarratices in my opinion are those where the antogknist isn’t only evil for the sake of being evil but is someone that we can see and agree with their opinions to a certain extent

    Medieval Fantasy: A Success and an Impasse

    Just out of curiosity, why is Shireen death considered a gendered base violence?The reason why she died wasn’t because she was a girl but because she was the child of a king. Had she been a boy I’m pretty sure she would have still died, especially if the kid has Stannis as a father. Or maybe I’m just not understanding exactly what is gendered base violence.
    Also about Shireen’s death although it hasn’t happened in the book yet, there is at 98% chance that her death will be executed in the same manner in the book based off of the last few scenes we see with Stannis. So in regards to Shireen dying, yes shock value definitely contributed, but I also think the show runners knowing that she will die is the main reason they included the scene since its around at that moment that the book left off with Stannis’ storyline.

    As for Sansa although showing the rape scene was unnecessary it isn’t surprising that Ramsay would rape Sansa considering how much of a creep he is. As a book reader I was piste at that scene and with Sansa’s storyline in the show. They didn’t need to show the rape scene even if it is within Ramsay’s character. I feel like they should have found a way to imply that Ramsay rape Sansa in passing maybe during a dinner or breakfast scene or something of the sorts.

    Why do the Women of Game of Thrones Suffer So Much?

    Thank you for suggesting YA novels where the love story isn’t a consuming part of the narrative. One thing I can never get behind YA novels is the need for a love story and the eventual love triangle simply because at 16 years old, the age of most of these protagonist, not all girls will have a romantic interest in anyone yet YA and social media in general makes it seem as if you have to had experience romance and everything that comes along with it by the time you’ve graduated high school, which is completely ridiculous cause that’s not everyone’s story.

    As for the topic of racial diversity for a long time I had given up since a lot of stories with a minority at the centre is precisely about the fact that they are minorities as if someone’s race is the one and only thing that defines them. Which always annoyed me. Authors and publishers for that matter need to find a balance where they can tell a story of a protagonist who is a minority and whose race does affect them without it being the only thing their story is about, if that makes any sense.

    YA Novels and their Modern Leading Ladies

    Is it weird that my young self always new that Neptune and Uranus where 100% in love with each other. They were always my favourite couple even back when I was 8. I guess censorship didn’t work that well, or maybe it was different for Canada, not sure.

    Another show that has somewhat of a good queer representation is the Nanoha series where Fate and Nanoha basically end up having a kid together by the third series. But much like Uranus and Neptune’s story, them being an official couple is never truly made explicit which is unfortunate. This was a really cool article, here’s hoping that more queer representation will be present in both anime and cartoons.

    Queer Representation in Anime

    One of the great things about Sailor Moon is that all there girls are so different to each other to the point that almost any young girl watching this show could relate to at least one of the sailor soldiers, this is including Saturn, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune as well. The show presented girls with diverse personality, who where clearly flawed or insecure in some way but who still surmounted to any and every challenge thrown at time while depending on their friendship. Like some other commenters have mentioned I think it’s beautiful that the show depicted badass heroes without making them reject their femininity. Like you can be badass or feminine all at the same time, or you can be like Makoto and be a tomboy, badass and have moments of femininity. All the main girls where fully developed and we truly got a sense of their growth. If this show as a whole doesn’t get points for female empowered that would only be because of negatives tropes associated with the Maho genre.

    Is Sailor Moon a feminist icon?

    I think an origin story can be necessary for lesser known heroes, like Doctor Strange or even Captain America before the movies made him popular. It was important so that the audience could get a good feel for the character and be introduced to this new face. However, there are some characters who are iconic to the point that even noncomic fans know something about their origin stories of heroes like Superman, Batman, and Spider-man. These heroes are some of the most loved heroes referenced throughout pop-culture. That’s why Marvel deciding to skip over Spidey’s origin story for homecoming was a brilliant move because we seriously did not need to see Uncle Ben die for the third time. Now in regards to some heroes like Fantastic Four who are fairly well known I do feel like some kind of origin movie for them can be necessary, people would especially want to know how Ben became the thing because he is so apparently different. I feel like people would appreciate seeing how he copes with his physic since he can’t turn into a human form. Fantastic Four’s problem comes down to not having the right people to execute their story.

    When I think of F4 ii can’t help but compare them to the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians to the general public, where essentially a random Marvel group who so many people would flop. Yet, the first guardians’ movies, who was a form of origin story in its own right, was great and entertaining in every way. The story itself was pretty basic but the characters, the dialogue, music and the overall feel of the movie won people over. That’s something that none of the Fantastic Four movies have been able to do possibly because they aren’t utilizing the family aspect of F4. What F4 needs to do is instead focusing so much on plot and getting people approval they should focus on the characters and their relationship with one another. Guardians did it, and it was excellent. They can do it too, the question at this time is when? How much time would be necessary before a reboot? Knowing Marvel at this point they won’t be in a hurry I just hope that when they do they are smart about it.

    The Superhero Origin... Again?

    Like many people have mentioned there are some shows that I only watch either dubbed or subbed. The older gateway anime of the 90’s and early 2000 that actually showed on TV like Naruto, Inuyasha, Zatch/Gash Bell, Bleach, Full Metal and all those I tend to prefer watching them in English because I was introduced to the show in English. However, I’m not sure if it’s just me but at some point, it’s as if anime, not including Pokémon, almost like disappeared from, in my case, Canadian television. So I basically had to start watching subbed anime online or not find any at all. So some shows that I already mentioned like Naruto Shippuden, Gash Bell and Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood were only accessible to me via subbed work since finding the dubbed became hard for some reason. Eventually, I started watching exclusively subbed anime because I refused to watch anime that weren’t on Crunchyroll since I wanted to financially support the industry. I found that it was easier watching a bigger variety of anime who weren’t popular enough to have dubs so I’ve just become accustomed to sub only. With all that said, I’m ashamed to admit that at some point I was one of those puritans who claimed that subbed where superior. I have since grown from that illogical belief. Anime is anime, regardless of which language it is watched in, as long as those watching show an actual appreciation for the art and are enjoying their time watching the show/movie it’s stupid to judge one other for different linguistic preferences.

    Also a side PS, some English dubbed anime have their own awesome soundtracks that subbed only fans are missing out of. The 4kids TV One Piece opening will forever be iconic.

    With all that said, this was a super fun and intriguing article and brought back upon me a dose of nostalgia, thanks for that.

    Are you a Sub or a Dub?

    One thing I noticed about your article and a lot of other articles about Black Panther is the importance of the movie for people of colour and/or African-Americans. Like how you said that Black Panther was the movie that allows “millions of African-Americans to see themselves reflected on the big screen.” As someone born in an African country but who immigrated to Canada at a young age my relationship with the representation of black people in media was always complex because of the different histories between African-Americans and Congo, the country I was born in. Like you’ve mentioned, shows like “Black Lightning” and “Luke Cage” reflect the realities of African-Americans. It’s a reality that I have never experience, not to the same extent at least, possibly because I’m Canadian, an immigrant, female or because of the neighbourhoods I grew up in. Regardless, as you and many have noted, the lives of the black people in those shows are meant to represent black reality. Although I love that diversity is finally becoming important when it comes to black people on screen we normally get the narrative of African-Americans. Which isn’t a problem, but it does make me question the idea of black culture. The lives of African Americans are still very much affected by slavery. Although my ancestors weren’t forced into chattel slavery, slavery affects me because I’m black and living in North America, not because I’m African American. However, the colonization of Congo does not affect the African-Americans nor other black people who aren’t African-American. The reason why I’m pointing this out is that when discussing black people the image of slavery is always there, as it should be. However, it influences people to believe that the ancestors of all black people where slaves, while that’s just not true.

    With all that said, what Black Panther does is show the effects that colonisations had on African countries as seen in the opening scene when Nakia was helping the kidnapped girls. That scene stroke a cord to me because it showed a different kind of black woman, not one in chains but one in veils an image that is rarely seen. Essentially, Black Panther not only presented a black hero (or African-American) but an African hero. Someone who still wears traditional clothes and dances to traditional music, the kind that I grew up listening to at home. Those small pieces of African culture have always made my experience as a black person different in some aspects than that of African-Americans. This different kind of visual and narrative representation in Black Panther is what makes it so impact in my eyes. The fact that the movie is set in “Mother Africa” gives me the impression that it is all calling out to all black people, not only African-Americans, who are scattered across the globe living different realities yet are still able to relate to the same struggle. This movie is for all of them because it touches on more than one black narrative.

    Black Panther: Not the First Black Superhero Film but the Most Impactful