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anime

The Objections to Anime as an Art Form

Japanese animation gets a lot of flak from traditional Western culture. Words like "immature," "titillating," and "weird" get thrown around a lot by pundits. To be fair, like most art forms there is Japanese animation that is remarkably good and Japanese animation that is remarkably bad-and there is a lot more bad out there than good. However, if anime exists as an art form, then it should follow that anime artworks could potentially exist. If that is the case, then anime should be taken seriously as a school of art, even if not all that it produces is truly serious.

Heidegger states that an artwork must resist rationalization; that is, the impression that the artistic piece gives must requiring a mental or emotional unpacking. It cannot be two-dimensional. If it does not do these things, it moves from being an artwork to an art piece.

Using this definition of art, this article is the first of a series that attempts to pinpoint what makes anime an art form, how anime can achieve artistic purpose, and current animated television shows that can be classified as artwork. In this first part, objections to anime as an art form are defined and explored. In particular, the objections that anime is immature, weird, titillating, shallow, or just plain off are all examined. As these arguments are based in traditional Western beliefs, all of them fall suspect to cultural bias. Furthermore, all of them lack a nuanced understanding of what makes anime-and to a larger extent, all animation-a medium of art. While specific counters are not made to these objections, the article sets the stage for later counter-arguments in the form of specific anime television shows.

  • Whilst I personally really cannot stand Anime at all, I think it's a little immature (as you say) and escapist, I do agree that it is an art form like any other. It has it's strengths and weaknesses but so do the cubist, surrealist etc pieces. – Matteo Veglia 5 years ago
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  • Matteo, I would be interested to know if you have read the articles on The Artifice about this particular topic. There's one I wrote called "Anime for Mature Audiences" and someone else recently published one about "Perceptions of Maturity in Anime"? – Jordan 5 years ago
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