Anime

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How much can one learn about Japanese customs through Studio Ghibli's films?

Studio Ghibli’s films, even in their English dub, incorporate subtleties about Japanese customs. For example, When Marine was there presents a Japanese festival scene and Spirited away and Princess Mononoke both present ideas of gods and spirits. Even though all of Ghibli’s films are fiction, to what extent are true Japanese customs presented ?

  • Maybe expand a little more on what would be the main argument in the article? Will it only focus on Japanese culture or Eastern culture (then what is Eastern culture?), etc. – L.J. 5 years ago
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  • To extend Birdienumnum17's commentary, perhaps you can selectively focus on a specific aspect of Japanese custom and culture that anime insightfully represents. For instance, select relevant animes that lend some perspective about the concept of friendship in Japanese culture. – minylee 5 years ago
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  • Also, how are these Japanese customs being represented, are they being distorted, exaggerated, etc.? And what does this say about the orientation and commentary that Studio Ghibli is trying to relate through these films, if any? – Jonathan Judd 5 years ago
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WW2 as a subject of inquiry in Japanese animation?

I’d like to hear someone explore the fan interest in World War II, but rather how it crosses over into Japanese animation and graphic novels. I have noticed that there has been a growing presence of WW2-inspired anime and manga such as Kantai Collection and Girls und Panzer. I think it would be worth discussing the Japanese view towards their own role in WW2 and how this view has led to a different handling of the subject in Japan. In many anime and manga, one can see that there is a hesitation to portray Axis-aligned countries strictly as villains. Often times, I have seen Axis-countries being portrayed from a neutral position like in Girls und Panzer and Axis Powers Hetalia, or WW2-esque settings being entirely re-written and replaced by alternate settings like in Strike Witches or Sora no Woto.

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    Is Anime Becoming More About the 'Fan Service' than the Story and Artwork?

    Now a days the new anime that come out either depict two of the following: 1) Action w/ a romantic interest who barely has any clothes on or 2) A romantic interest who’s over-sexualized. Most of the time it’s a combination of both.

    The question now becomes, does the over service of ‘fan service’ take away from the anime itself (artwork, story line, and character development)? Or does it bring to the table something that we have yet to notice? (This I doubt, but just to cover the basis and everyone’s views).

    Examples of these would be: Free!, Food Wars, Keijo!, and Okusama ga Seitokaichou! !.

    • I think the question you need to address here is the time frame. Anime is becoming more fan-service oriented compared to... when? Fanservice has been a massive presence in anime, especially that oriented towards the Otaku crowd, for well over two decades now. Even widely regarded and relatively ancient anime series like Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995) included lots of tongue-in-cheek fanservice, even advising fans to come back next episode for "more fanservice!~~" I think a great watch for researching this piece would be the 1991 anime mockumentary "Otaku no Video," which takes a comedic look at the original generation of anime nerds... as well as the origins of fanservice. You could possibly contrast the contemporary shows you mentioned with older material: Did older series have as much fan service? Did they integrate it better? What makes it seem like fanservice is always increasing in anime? Are the *premises* for these shows getting more fanservicey? (I do have to say, I couldn't imagine Keijo! coming out 10 years ago, ahhahah~) – PeterThelonious 6 years ago
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    • Fanservice has always been present like PeterThelonious said. I don't think fanservice takes away from the plot as long as it's not the central focus. There's plenty of anime that incorporates fanservice but also has good storylines. Another example would be Code Geass – seouljustice 5 years ago
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    • While an interesting topic for discussion consider looking at it from a cultural perspective. Japan does not have she same Judaeo-Christian outlook on the human body especially breasts as can be seen in many of their gag gifts, video games, and Anime itself. They merely see the human body as that, the human body that's nothing to be ashamed of. So maybe try looking at this from a different cultural perspective and see if that helps or not. Hope the advice helps! – GingerSavvy 5 years ago
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    • While an interesting topic for discussion consider looking at it from a cultural perspective. Japan does not have she same Judaeo-Christian outlook on the human body especially breasts as can be seen in many of their gag gifts, video games, and Anime itself. They merely see the human body as that, the human body that's nothing to be ashamed of. So maybe try looking at this from a different cultural perspective and see if that helps or not. Hope the advice helps! - GingerSavvy – GingerSavvy 5 years ago
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    Has the exposure to the mainstream for anime hurt or helped?

    We all know how popular shows such as "one punch man","naruto", etc. have been received here in America but how has the mainstream attention to anime effected the industry as a whole. What do you think of the working conditions for the Japanese animators as well as the quality being delivered, is anime progressing, or is it stagnating or even being degraded? What do you think?

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      Anime, America, and Adults

      Anime has always be a popular form of entertainment for teenagers and young adults, but do we think those teenagers and young adults will stick to their enjoyment of this genre? It is not uncommon for people to outgrow certain things, but I am starting to think many adults will be inclined to continue to enjoy anime and all that comes with it.

      • Anime has a much farther reaching influence and personal inspiration for people than typical cartoons do. There are certain similar aspects to both with the more comedic or simplistic animes. But I've had friends who told me that anime changed their lives, it helped make them stronger and better people when they grew up. So I feel less certain about certain people "outgrowing" it. But, realistically, even I have found myself turning away from certain things that I used to think were important to me, and yet I'm also finding where other things are still firmly cemented. The way I look at it, anime is not something so small that you can just toss it all aside because it doesn't relate to you anymore. There are so many sub-genres, styles, stories, and levels of maturity, that I treat each anime the same way I treat anything else: on a case-by-case basis. Maybe one day I'll decide to stop looking out for new animes, or watching anime tv series the same way I have (which honestly have never been all that frequent), but the shows and films that I have watched, and have greatly enjoyed in very recent years, I don't see myself ever turning a blind eye to. They are very engaging, very well crafted, and they deserve my patronage and viewership for a very long time. – Jonathan Leiter 7 years ago
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      • As someone who read/watched a lot of manga/anime when I was younger but fell out of the habit of it as I grew older the thing that brings me back to the mediums is something unique and genuine. I found myself growing increasingly impatient with agressively 'anime' tropes and genre conventions. I find myself rarely bothering to even attempt watching high-school anime because I feel like the premise has been so overdone. Likewise there have been a number of anime whose description I read and interested me until it said "in a high school". Maybe that's just my own preference but I think the main reason I've fallen out of watching anime for the most part is from what I precieve as stagnation. While I grew up and developed more sophisticated tastes the anime industry seems to be committed in large to putting out the same 'cute girls doing cute things in a school' ad naseum. – MattHotaling 7 years ago
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      • I have met many adults who have returned to anime and animation. Many adults even discover it when they are older. In Japan, at least, many animes are aimed at adults, and contain content that would certainly not be appropriate for younger viewers. Even in the US, where most animation is aimed at children, there are some animes that have gained an adult audience (most notably the classic Hayao Miyazaki movies). Perhaps it is the youth-culture aspect of anime that prompts adults to lose interest, or perhaps it is simply because the US doesn't have a good way to market adult-oriented animations? Many of the adults I know who watch and enjoy anime do so from outside the mainstream market, streaming anime from free online sites. Anime is certainly able to attract adult audiences, but perhaps its not as popular because it is a little harder to find. – sophiacatherine 7 years ago
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      • The more gritty, edgy, mature series are the ones that are hard to stumble across ("Michiko to Hatchin," "The Woman Called Fujiko Mine," "Black Lagoon," "Hellsing Ultimate," "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex," etc.). These shows are also not the ones easily streaming on any major site like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu. Whereas shows that focus on adventurous teenagers in magical lands, or slice-of-life high-school moments, are the ones that permeate the US market. – Jonathan Leiter 7 years ago
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      "Itasha" Anime Portrayal on Cars, Where did it start and why?

      The term "Itasha" 痛車 most literally translates to "painful car." It can be interpreted as "painfully embarrassing" or "painful for the wallet." It’s the act of decorating the bodies of cars with fictional characters of anime, manga, or video games. Though where did it start and why? What is its current scene or standpoint in the car scene (most notably, JDM and stance life).

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        The Value of Anime

        While essentially escapist in nature, entertainment (especially fiction) has often been defended by its writers as having further intrinsic value.

        What draws people to anime? What is Western TV doing to emulate it? What gives anime its unique value as a genre? Or is it merely entertainment and has no worth beyond the superficial distraction of fan service?

        Edit 9/8/16 for grammar

        • What I find interesting in most anime is that there is a layer of abstraction to the characters as well as the general story. Each character seems to have their own philosophy which develops and changes as the characters do, these various philosophy the characters exude are different parts of a general ideal that makes up the atmosphere of the anime. It's this trait that separates anime from other forms of entertainment, it gives people something to reflect on. Philosophy is a very abstract concept and anime helps people understand it better by breaking it down and trying to develop on it. – RadosianStar 6 years ago
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        • Most people who are interested in anime have had interest in it from a young age. While most of Western TV is childish and comic, anime comes in many forms and genres. Majority of people are introduced to anime from one of the major series, whether it was a Miyazaki movie, Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, etc. There's now an even larger anime industry to follow that which is introducing new people to the world of anime. Particularly, I like to watch anime for its story line but also the graphics. People of the western world want to meet up at conventions, do cosplays (costume play), just get together and buy merchandise from their favorite show or from someone who does something different with a similar style, see Shiroiroom, qinni, and yuumei for examples. For some it is entertainment and a way to wind down after a long day, for others it's so much more, sometimes, it can get pretty cringe-worthy. – dreamlikediana 6 years ago
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        • I think that people are drawn to anime because it's so much more genuine than American cartoons. The characters are complex, the voice acting is AMAZING, and the story lines are so special to a lot of people. For example, I know that I've felt more emotions towards animes than I have from cartoons on Cartoon Network (minus Toonami and the exception of a few others). – Breeedo 6 years ago
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        Who is the real bad guy?

        In anime, which the two that come to mind being Code Geass and Death Note, the villain is not always clear. The main characters in those two shows come off as a villain. Sometimes the villain their motives are good, it is just they are seen as a villain due to what they are doing. So is the bad guy the one causing the problems believing it is the right choice and someone is trying to stop them? Or is the bad guy the one trying to stop the problem causer despite the fact the problem causer believes they are making the right choice?

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          Anime 101

          A look at what makes great good anime, what’s the definition of "anime" and the basic history of anime. Basically, a piece for people who have heard of anime, but haven’t jumped into the genre of anime.

          • This would be a great topic to write about! One could go very in depth with the history of anime and its significance to the Japanese culture. – KarinaMarie 7 years ago
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          • I saw a piece like this recently, can't remember the title but perhaps look it up to ensure it hasn't been already done. – smartstooge 7 years ago
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          Published

          "Anime Was a Mistake"

          A quote appearing more and more thanks to influence from Hayao Miyazaki, one of the most famous, if not the most famous, director in the anime industry of Japan. In an interview, he said "Almost all Japanese animation is produced with hardly any basis taken from observing real people, you know. It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans. And that’s why the industry is full of otaku!" Otaku brings about a negative connotation in Japan and even in America. ‘Otaku,’ which translates directly to ‘house’ in Japanese, usually gives off the idea of somebody who stays home indulging themselves without ever experiencing reality. Do you think anime is problematic?

          • This seems to be an exploration at dissociation as a result of anime, an idea that could be related to video games as well. Indeed, this topic could be extended to all media in general, though I like that it focus' on anime in particular. Perhaps refer to an article by Christian Metz titled "The Imaginary Signifier" (although that is very dense reading). – 50caliburlexicon 7 years ago
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          • The main difference I see between anime and other media is the massive amount of fanservice and mass-production of single character products. Series seem to want you to pick a 'favorite', thus buying items of only that character and paying them large amounts of money. Not only this, but those favorites that are girl characters are depicted in slightly OC, sexual situations. Yet, many many people buy into it. The term 'waifu' only gained popularity through anime. It seems like these fans are focusing more and more on their favorite characters than the actual plot of the series. The reason behind all this "milking," as people have come to term it, is not just for money, but because the industry really is full of otakus, who find more interest in sexualizing characters than they do of the actual story and plot, which in turn makes the plot extremely useless and mediocre, YET people take these to genuinely have depth. A good example is Sword Art Online. I understand that women are sexualized in ALL types of media, but in terms of anime, they are sexualized in a more subtle way behind a plot with just enough depth to make fans think there is genuineness in what is, in actuality, stale material. I thought this to be problematic because it obscures the ability for 'otakus' to critically analyze a series when necessary. – psychedelicreme 7 years ago
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          • Actually, I have the opposite opinion regarding Sword Art Online. I have not seen the second season with the gun wars, so these comments are in reference to the first season. I think that anime, in particular, does a very good job of showing the “dangers” of the Otaku lifestyle and living in a world removed from actual humans. Though in SOA its focus is the gaming world, there is an artistic correlation to the anime world, particularly in representation of the female body. One thing that I appreciated is the clever hypersexualization of women seen in most anime, because I think SOA does a commentary on that by showing how the female characters are in the game (its animation is comparative to the animes we are discussing) and how the female characters look in the real life world of the anime. The female characters are overtly sexualized in the games, especially Asuka in the Fairy King arc, but she is not so in the real world. Additionally, and though I may be reading too much into it, I do think that this is an excellent commentary on the objectification of women in anime and games. SOA shows how the hypersexualization of the females in the game/anime world contributes to the degeneration of the male mind and leads to them considering females as objects, little more than property. This is shown with Asuka’s father’s assistant who is obsessed with her beauty and her body, but has no interest in her mind, since he is quite content with her vegetative state. He basically wants to own her. He orchestrates her kidnapping and sexual abuse in the virtual world and attempts to physical rape her in the real world, because he sees her as a thing rather than a person of value. Even the premise of the show could be considered a commentary on the otaku. The game creator cares so much more for the worlds and people that he has created that he has no scruples entrapping people and stealing them (and their lives) from the real world, because he has more value for fantasy than he does for reality. I think anime is problematic when people cannot dissociate it from the real world. However, I think that is true of all media. If I only watched Soap Operas and rarely interacted with people, I would begin to believe that poor (heck middle-class) people do not exist, everyone is related at least through marriage, half of the people I know have a different father than who they think it is, and that it is perfectly acceptable to turn away from a conversation to have a soliloquy. I think it is easy to get obsessed with anime and that could skew one’s version of reality in dangerous ways. – Nocturngirl49 7 years ago
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          • Because of what the majority of anime is, I think it can be problematic to indulge in it too much, depending on your state of mind or your mental health. Anime is a very idealized view of the world and the people in it. It's a fantasy fulfillment in many aspects, not the least of which is relationships. And if you are a young kid going through puberty and adolescence, and experiencing harem or romance animes, it CAN often be an encouraging thing to ease your mind if you are depressed, as it did for me. But it could also warp your mind into believing that it is the perfect world, whereas real life will eventually not match up to that idealization you have built in your imagination. I don't necessarily think it can cause disasociation with regards to human worth (specifically in men when they think about women), but this could occur in extreme cases. Just to be clear, though, I love anime. I don't love it as many others do, because I don't ever find myself watching it endlessly. But I own a decent amount, and I love quite a few dozen specific shows. So I totally get the appeal. However, the concept of "otaku" is a real thing, especially in Japan, and films/documentaries like "Otaku No Video" talk about it's extremes and how it can affect one's life and personal/social interactions. Therefore, anime exploration should be taken with a certain amount of caution. I also think the anime industry itself would do well to pull back on some of their most prevalent stereotypes and stylistic choices, because since the year 2000, the most popular anime series have become excessively one-note, and very pandering to the needs and desires of the 15 year old viewing market, which I think could be doing them more harm than good, including the fact that they're not getting as good television in general as they would have in the past. – Jonathan Leiter 7 years ago
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          • What about anime like Hyouka, Durarara, and Tanaka-Kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge? – Santafox 6 years ago
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