Do You “Not Get the Anime Scene”?
Welcome readers. You’ve probably clicked on this link because (hopefully) you are one of many people in the world today who knows little, or would like to know more about anime. You may be curious as to what the vast ocean of anime is about. After all, why would there be a subculture today centered around a medium that is so hard to access unless you go out of your way to find it? There are a number of reasons. This article aims to explore what makes anime curiosity grow into anime fandom. For those who don’t know – anime is the term used to describe Japanese animation.
Most individuals are drawn to anime by its artwork and animation – cute girls, hunky guys, cool robots, pretty costumes… the list goes on. Anime’s animation ranges in quality depending on which studio and project you are addressing. Some studios well known for high quality animation are: Studio Ghibli (duh), Kyoto Animation, BONES, Sunrise and Production I.G. Like mainstream media, there are plenty of character designs and mediocre works that should be thrown in the garbage and never spoken of again; however, every season has one or two gems, which eventually find their way to stores. I hope that one day I will find a show that has high quality animation from episode 1 to finish.
That’s the most obvious point though. There are plenty who desire a good story in an anime. 90% of anime follow a plot, much like Dr. Who. Again, these vary from uninspiring sitcoms, tummy bubbling romance, to soapy drama. The varieties in genre are endless. Common ‘genres’ unique to anime are magical girl, ecchi, harem and mecha- which you may be already familiar with. How complex or stupid a story is, you may never know unless you read reviews first! Anime can be misleading in this way. Plenty of shows that have appeared on TV are 50 to 100+ episodes, which only represents about 10% of anime out there. If you base your opinion of anime on the likes of Naruto or Inuyasha, I feel sorry for you.
Apart from story and animation, creativity often comes through in Opening and Ending credit sequences, where popular Jpop artists will lend their talent to the production team. Animation is more respected in Japan, so the process of preparing an array of catchy tunes is taken seriously. Very rarely will you hear an anime theme song mention its title, the character names, or logline… and no, Digimon or Pokemon don’t count. The US versions of the songs are a lie! Soundtracks for anime can vary from improvised Garage Band style rubbish to movie quality compositions.
Still don’t get the “anime scene”? I would like to quote Pixar’s The Incredibles director Brad Bird on this one (from the DVD commentary). “People think of animation only doing things where people are dancing around and doing a lot of histrionics, but animation is not a genre. And people keep saying, “The animation genre.” It`s not a genre! A Western is a genre! Animation is an art form, and it can do any genre. You know, it can do a detective film, a cowboy film, a horror film, an R-rated film or a kids’ fairy tale. But it doesn`t do only one thing. And, next time I hear, “What`s it like working in the animation genre?” I`m going to punch that person!” It is the same with anime: the possibilities are endless, and occasionally you will find something amazing! I can 99.9% guarantee that even though you may not like the idea of anime, I bet that there is a show or movie out there you will be able to enjoy.
This is what I aim to do here as an honorary member (cough) of The Artifice – help you narrow down that show you may like, and potentially turn your curiosity into appreciation, perhaps even fandom? I leave you to be inspired by an anime music video called Fighting, made by sloken18amv. It showcases some great action moments!
What do you think? Leave a comment.