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Anime

Anime And The Tech Lifestyle 228

SenshiNeko writes: "This week's "Work" column on the Bay Area arts&culture Web site Metroactive explores the apparent overlap between anime fandom and the technology/computer industry/community... and why increasingly, in an American pop culture that doesn't represent them, 'geeks look to anime for their entertainment and self-images' and the portrayal of something that resembles the way they live their lives." Recently I've been watching Key the Metal Idol, Tenchi Universe, and Ranma 1/2. Very different series, but each entertaining while I wait for the next Cowboy Bebop. I've also recently begun collecting Anime cels. I feel like American television has let me down (with a few rare exceptions like South Park and That 70s Show) and while I'm not looking for media to "represent the way I live my life", I am looking for it to be interesting, original and entertaining. Sadly very little of what I see on cable is any of these.
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Anime And The Tech Lifestyle

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  • What a crock.. Anime is as mainstream pop as it gets, just not in US (yet) - but wait. Pokemon generation will make sure we all watch that.
  • Actually Pokemon is a cartoon, because it was already friendly for children, whereas the others were hacked to death from their original Japenese format. The Sailor Moon that so many little kiddies watch every morning before school (or used to, I have no idea if its still running then) is a bit more graphic in the original, showing nudity and all the stuff any parent would freak about having their six year old see.

    Anime is for adults, cartoons for kids. Anime is a genre, not a medium.

    Sorry, I get all weird when somebody says Pokemon is anime. Not that pokemon aren't amusing in their own right, its just that its a kids show. And yeah, I agree, without seeing more than just what the CN hacks to pieces, you can't make a real judgement on anime.

  • Here is a couple of good ones: >Vision of Escaflowne (I really like this one) >Record of Lodoss War (Series and OAV) >Gundam 0083 >Nadisco (This one is hilarious) >Cowboy Bebop. There are others but these are my personal favorites.
  • Go to www.bookface.com and read JMS's unproduced scripts for Crusade and realise that the Crusade story was actually a mirror of one of the B5 plots .
    Also check out Fiona Avery's scripts including one for a Crusade episode which has Bester in it...

  • 1. Akira (a real classic, score:8 of 10)
    2. Ghost in the Shell (already mentioned, score:9 of 10)
    3. Doomed Megalopolis (4 episodes total, score:6 of 10)
    4. Record of the Lodoss Wars (approx 13 episodes total, score:5 of 10)
    5. Battle Angel Alita (score: 5 of 10)
    6. The Venus Wars (score: 5 of 10)
    7. The Professional: Golgo 13 (score: 3 of 10)

    I'm kind of picky about anime. Those are the ones that I have. In general I vastly prefer things like Akira and Ghost in the Shell because they tend to be more like animated movies, rather than high-grade cartoons.

    eudas
  • by BlackDouglas ( 84997 ) on Sunday August 13, 2000 @04:13AM (#860617) Homepage

    Be careful about lumping our "community" into one way of thinking. It just ain't so; I know lots of geeks (actually, I think of myself more as a nerd) who don't like anime... be that as it may, we do watch anime, usually on tape. Thank (insert your god here) there's an anime store just a mile away from our new domicile...

    We lived for ten years without regular network/cable TV, even though we have young kids in the house. My wife and I did, however, have a VCR, and my wife has always been big on anime.

    Me? I just like cute girls in short skirts with purple or green hair... ;)

    We watch the Naussica(sp?)-like films, which have solid plots and reasonable values. Get the original Japanese, not the ruined American translations.

    Violence is fine so long as it provides something other than an excuse for splattering blood. I've no interest in the crude vulgarity so popular with many in the hacker community. I'd rather watch a Pokemon movie than South Park, thank you. And I'm no fan of Pokemon...

    As for cable TV: We have it now, because I wanted a cable modem. I can watch my NASCAR races, tape the occassional flick like King Kong or Key Largo. The kids watch way too much Scooby Doo when we don't monitor them... you know, I never knew there were that many episodes of Shaggy and the gang? ;)

    As for quality network TV: Farscape and Lexx come to mind. Well, Lexx really isn't quality so much as it is fascinating. I still haven't figured out why I watch it.

  • There were a few classics in the Batman show. The ones from the Superman show I enjoyed were Legacy and the one where Darkseid killed Turpin. Wild, crazy, and each time Superman almost triumphs, only for his humanity to show in the end.
  • My first introduction to Anime was the Overfiend series. I was hooked after that. La Blue girl was/is absolutely crazy. Well done Hentai is the absolute bleeding edge of animation, thats probably why I like it.
  • Hmm I'm surprised that the Transformers are Japanese.. the episodes were pretty simple and made sense.

    I think I've heard about the Smurfs being German.. didn't know that was true.

    Thanks for the info.
  • With respect to the posts about The Simpsons being uneven:

    The Simpsons is an evolving cartoon/series. If you have watched it, you'll have noticed the evolution it has gone through and the different artistic influence it has been under. Most people love the episodes when Conan O'Brian was producing/writing. Some of those episodes are classics, I agree. However, I will tell you right now that if it had stayed that way, you would be just as disillusioned with it as you are now. Why? Because it would be stagnent (a la Full House).

    For a couple seasons there, The Simpsons had some radical departures from the way Conan did things (the Frank Grimey episode being a good example). This perturbed many people and I, unfortunately, had just discovered The Simpsons mailing list at that time. The response was awful. People had obviously put no thought into their repsonses (it happens an awful lot, you know). They did not understand why the show was so different.

    The reason it was so different was that if the show did not evolve, it would be come tiresome and in a major way. So they started making episodes with wacked out storylines - just to explore. They could do this because their success allowed them to.

    In the past couple years, they've gone back to being really wacky. They are starting to make a lot more in references to themselves (witness this year's season finale) and making fun of the fact a show of this nature has lasted this long. Make no mistake - the producers/writers know what they're doing and they are well aware of what an episode is like before they put on the air. They spend lots of time preparing it.

    Many artists have done this sort of act before (Madonna and Metallica being a couple examples). They are aware that if they don't take new directions, they will be labelled as having lost their creative edge. The Simpsons are no different.

    Having said all that, I'm still not exactly sure what you mean by uneven. Characters? Plots? Consistency? The core characters have been the same for a long time (save for some flukes - like Principal Skinner), the plots have always been a bit crazy and for it's entire history, The Simpsons has never been consistent - especially when Conan was around. It thrives on inconsistency. It's almost a Simpsons trademark.

    Instead of saying The Simpsons is uneven, maybe you can rephrase it as "I don't like the direction they've taken". I think that would have a lot more merit (that's the way I feel about Metallica, anyway).

    Woz
  • "Roughnecks, stories of the mobile infantry" currently showing on Sci-fi network in the USA is woth mentioning. I would consider it to be an Anime rather than a cartoon. The distincion being a plot and storyline, instead of each episode being completly self contained. The plot is not new, it expands on Robert Heinleins book Starship troopers, but it tells a story that could have been part of the book but wasn't.
  • Erm to be honest at one point I did try to watch Buffy (the TV series, not the Movie which was horrid)... WB doesn't air anywhere aroudn where I live no though (even on cable) so I can't watch it anymore... Also the quality of the show would sometimes change from episode to episode...
  • Don't watch TV.

    Cancel your cable and use the money on something else. Listen to talk radio. Subscribe to a magazine or two.

    You'll find you don't miss it as much as you thought you would :-)

    -JD
  • Hey, I was looking at your posts because you replied to one of mine. Do you reccomend any Anime in particular?
    Thanks
  • Check out Battle Angel, by Yukito Kishiro. Amazing quality animation, great martial-arts sequences, and an interesting philosophical bent... although that comes through more in the Manga than in the Anime.

    I think what I like best about Battle Angel is the view that the body is just a tool; the dichotomy between machine and human; and the idea that the real human is somehow immaterial.

    That, and all the plasma-cutter kung-fu.

    //rp
  • How is the parent post a troll? That's BS, a dissenting opinion isn't neccesarily a troll nor is that post redundant when you consider how early it was posted.
  • What on earth is good about Anime? I think Anime is only good when a lot of effort is put into it like Akira or Princess Mononoke. Which by the way I could not find a date for... unlike just about any other movie. So why bother with anime unless it can help score with women?
  • While I don't work staff for of a Con I do hope to attend Nekocon this year (seeing as how I'm in PA NekoCon is by far the closest Con to me)... I've still yet to manage to get to a Con so far... College took to much time the last few years especially and before that I had no car...

    I've yet to be near a anime club, though I guess you could say I used to ehad a small unofficial aniem group... I did however have the fun of finding out another member of one of my college classes was another ranma 1/2 fan once... And anyone college roomates I had become Anime fans wheather they liked it or not (2 or more day anime marathons can do that to people ;)

    Oh yeah my point... Guess I should get to that... I think the reason anime is catching on is the diverse nature you mention within the medium that is 'anime'. I think though that I always liked Ranma 1/2 because it was so diverse in what it could do... It's a love story, it's a martial arts flic, it's a comdey, heck every so often they even get really deep into spiritualty (though it doesn't last long ;)
  • I believe at least one of the reasons I like anime is the same reason I find myself oddly attracted to foreign film; it represents a different culture, a different point of view, and is stylisticly different from American entertainment. I've spent my whole life in America, inundated with American media and I've become rather jaded with it. There are some exceptions; I do enjoy the Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, etc., but even those are distinctly American, and I enjoy a change from that. Compare Ranma 1/2 or Slayers (both comedies) to the aforementioned. They're just... different. Different cultures just have different ways of doing things. Compare Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai or Ran to say, Braveheart. I won't even start on how different they are.

    Despite the disorganized, haphazard jumble of mess there, I think I got my point across.
  • You might want to check out Princess Mononoke when it finally gets out on video/DVD. Well done animation, very well done story. Definitely not for the family crowd, even though it was released theatrically in the USA by Disney.
  • How could you make this list and exclude Beavis and Butthead?

    Considered by many as just childish or immature, I think it's the most funny, ironic, sarcastic view of modern America that exists.

    Who can forget lines such as "Hello cu-uh-stomer my name is... your name" and the equals.

    MTV wouldn't let Beavis say "Fire". (But the guy was fired, yeah! FIRED! FIRED!)

    The beard episode *Damn we're smooth*.

    Or is just me beeing immature? :-)


    Oh yeah, we also have "King of the Hill", it's... ok, I guess.

    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • Yup... Fortunately for me, Cartoon Network is ch.51 and FoodTV is ch. 50... I think they knew that Cartoon Network and FoodTV were meant for eachother... Those are two of the 4 channels I watch (I also LOVE The Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel.)
    -Derick
  • #define LOGICAL_FALLACY \
    if((I like anime && I surf) && (you do not like anime)) you should not surf

    //I've never had any desire to surf

    What has surfing got to do with anything? If I remember correctly, my original point was that anime is not stimulating, and I do not feel it represents me just because I consider trying out a new *Nix distro a good way to spend a friday evening. Would you be a irritated if I made some generalization about the intellectual capacity of surfers? If so, why is anyone who doesn't like anime a "Pseudo-intellectual?"

    Do not teach Confucius to write Characters

  • Slayers, Record of Lodoss War, Princess Mononoke are all good fantasy-themed works.

    Lots of good sci-fi, too. Battle Angel, Neon Genesis Evangelion... you can't throw a rock without hitting decent science fiction.

    Above all else, though, I definitely recommend Rail of the Star; it's kind of a Japanese Schindler's List, only animated.

    --
    These are *MY* opinions.
  • To all who would claim superiority on the grounds that their hobbies and geekhood are far more appropriate than anime:

    My happiness is not subject to your expectations. Have we all forgotten that?

    --Maradine (yeah, I went to Otakon. And my wife brought 3 women back to our suite the second night. Better than I did. :-))

  • As previos AC said Transfomers != anime.

    Recommendations:
    If you liked GITS then you _have_ to see Akira. Everyone will tell you this.
    If you liked Starbazers (old style Anime) you will probably also like: Captain Harlock (*hehe*), Galagy Express 999, Queen Emeraldas, Back to the Terra (not sure about the name here). Do a search on all of these on www.imdb.com [imdb.com] The "Terra" is feature film lenght only. The others are tv-series and films. Old style rules.. :) ..
    My personal favorite is: Waga Seishun no Arcadia (Arcadia of my youth/My youth in arcadia [Europe]) [imdb.com]

    Thank you.
    //Frisco
    --
    "No se rinde el gallo rojo, sólo cuando ya está muerto."

  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Saturday August 12, 2000 @05:58AM (#860638)
    I'm rather depressed over the thought that the so-called geek community is losing touch with its roots. It wasn't long ago that we took pride in how we were different. No geek I know will ever forget what the price of that difference was - it changed who they were. Whether it was getting in trouble with authority in high school, the law, the community, or their family, most every person I consider a geek had a trial they had to endure. It's the distinctive mark that sets them apart from other people. And they were better for it.

    But beyond that, I see little in common from geek to geek beyond creativity, a playful spirit, and a drive to create.

    Yes, maybe anime appeals to a certain type of geek, but it isn't representative of the whole. Nothing can be representative of the whole, not even alittle. We seem to have forgotten the lesson of what it was like to be labelled and compartmentalized. Comeon people, don't forget your roots - we are all unique, even from each other. Make it a point of mentioning this, and reflect it in how you say things.

  • Without a doubt..

    Neon Genesis Evangelion!!
    26 episodes + 2 movies.
    Totally great storylines and animation.
    You won't be dissappointed.

    Akira
    1 movie
    Very good movie, but its extremely deep.
    Dark animation.

    Ghost In the Shell
    1 movie
    Entertaining, somewhat deep.
    Pay very close attention to the story or
    you'll find yourself wondering whats going
    on.

    Ninja Scroll
    1 Movie (i think)
    Fun Movie, based on actual Japanese history (??)
    Very Entertaining, lots of gore. Easy to follow.

    New Dominion Tank Police
    2 Movies (or 1 movie with 2 parts)
    Somewhat funny (especially the ultimate weapon
    tank chase scene.. hahaha) but gets rather
    dull near the end.

    Macross Plus
    1 Movie (but lots of related shows/movies)
    Great movie, easy to follow, nice action
    sequences.
    You should have prior experience with the
    Robotech series to really appreciate this one.

    Cheers!
  • Why world anyone need to look at a cartoon (or anything else) to figure out their self-image?? I just don't understand...
  • You should really read that book "Samurai from outer space" - by Atonia Levi - I took a course from this lady at PSU, and I had to read the book as a result. Its at most libraries etc, but it will open your eyes past anime that are all large breasted women.
  • Serial Experiments: Lain is a weird, thoughtful, slow-moving story that deals with issues of encroaching technology and our relationship to it. It's the perfect example of what this article's talking about. See it on DVD -- the animation is digitally enhanced, and it looks great on a big screen.
  • Actually, Powerpuff Girls is way more than just a "mahou shoujo" anime parody. ;-)

    This show takes a lot of potshots at superheroes in general, and even more so, there has also been several parodies of -other- Japanese anime and Japanese monster movies, especially giant robots (I'm so glad Cartoon Network ran that seven-hour marathon of the best work).
  • Oh yeah, I also forgot:

    1. A Wind Named Amnesia (score: 6 of 10)
    2. Princess Mononoke (haven't seen it yet, score: unknown)
    3. Sol Bianca (score: 4 of 10)

    eudas
  • Yeah, really. That show was actually smarter than most people gave it credit for.

    Remember the one scene where Van Dreissen was explaining animation to Beavis and Butt-Head while they sat there motionless for a minute? That had me laughing out loud for a good while. [1]

    The thing that was great about Beavis and Butt-Head wasn't how dumb they were, but how dumb everyone else in Highland was. Watching Van Dreissen try to get through to the duo, or McVicker trying to punish them, or Stewart trying to be their friend... I dunno, maybe I read too much into it, but I think that was the brilliancy of the show.

    [1] Of course, I'm easily amused.

  • Wait i don't get it, why use your Anonymous Coward, aren't you proud to be a Christian you mubling troll?
  • by Outlyer ( 1767 ) on Saturday August 12, 2000 @06:01AM (#860647) Homepage
    It is. When you look at the best shows on TV, they're almost consistently cartoons. South Park, is consistently witty, and manages to address major issues without being preachy, or seeming like it's trying to push an agenda. Take a look at Futurama, arguably, the best written Fox show now that the Simpsons is lagging a bit. Finally, shows like the Family Guy and the Simpsons are still better than 99% of the crap on TV nowadays. (Who actually watches Everyone Loves Raymond, it's god awful)
    There are minor exceptions, in the form of shows like the West Wing, but the intelligent drama always ends up getting cancelled in favour of the 30 minute sitcoms which permeate.
    Before you moderate me as offtopic, I think all these shows owe a bit of a debt to anime. I should mention that I'm not a big fan of anime, but the anime community as a whole has maintained forever that cartoons are not just for children. And even if I don't like most of their output (mostly because they go for the epic most of the time) I can see the value of this opinion. As a former animation student, I can definitely see the value of such incredible artistic talent, though to be fair, I think South Park is brilliant just because it doesn't try to have any.

    So I'm rambling. I guess I should summarize what I'm saying for those of you who just read the first two lines and moderate -1. Anime, and American cartoons in general have one basic thing in common. They allow the writer to focus on the story, rather than the bloated egos of most television actors, and that is why those of us who have, or like to think we have, a clue tend to enjoy them more.

    "...But that's NOT why people watch TV! Clever things make people
    feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared!
    ...You see? TV audiences don't want anything original. They
    want to see the same thing they've seen 1,000 times before". - Philip J. Fry (Futurama)

  • I have to get my $0.02 in here, too.

    I watch Pokemon on a very regular basis. It's what gets me up in the mornings before I go to work. I really am not sure if it's just me, or if there's actually something there worth watching.

    Pikachu is pretty cool, but I think the real entertainment in the TV show comes from Meowth, who seems to have more of a clue than anyone else. Ash is clearly a terrible trainer. Brock seems a little bit worthless (I think that if he ever ended up with a girl he'd become terribly confused and not sure what to do next) and Misty... well, I guess we don't even have to go there.

    But enough yammering. So, erm, any opinions, folks? I'd love to know how much of a minority I'm in here.

  • I don't understand all these posts trying to justify local TV as some sort of replacement-- as if anime fans should feel compelled to cleanse themselves by excommunicating their embarassing hobby and restoring it with a good old American replacement. Who cares? Enjoy Futurama. I certainly do.

    Still, it's not on the same level, and there's nothing to compare to Evangelion, Bebop and Lain-- which are less TV and more art which just happens to be disguised as a cartoon. The stories and their aura are beautiful, poignant, unsettling, and go far beyond what anyone would think of airing here, mostly because it wouldn't be profitable.

    Engineers and other science majors, unlike others, actually have to come up against nature's limits (the closest thing to truth out there). It seems rather natural for them, more than others, to wade past the media's push-culture BS in search of new and interesting content. And even if anime is popular culture in Japan, it's a taste deliciously unfamiliar wheb projected onto the American tongue.

    And how is an engineer not going to fall in love with all the anime stories portraying the hopeless, tortued geek who somehow manages to find a spaceship, pilot a mecha, and, even more strange, have one or more gorgeous females fall head over heels for him and his cause? In the other corner, US TV doesn't often portray geeks, and even when it does, they're usually shallow stereotypes (X-Files excepted). Groenig's shows are good, but it's rather exciting to see offerings where the protagonists aren't trajically dense, eh?

    Who doesn't love Bebop's Ed or Nadesico's Ruri? Not only are these characters intelligent to ear-splitting levels, but also humble, with refreshingly unique and, at times, cheerily fanciful outlooks. Ed uses her crew to test the properties of rare psychadellic mushrooms, while Ruri calls the accountant evil for breaking privacy and broadcasting the admiral's conversation over just what they're fighting to the entire crew.

    Homer and Fry really don't compare. Maybe Mulder does, but he's a rare case.

    Four years ago it was still embarassing to claim anime fandom, and hard to get shows. It's rather refreshing to see all that change, though a bit disconcerting to see a closet hobby becoming almost popular.

    Yet it'll be a dark day if anime becomes popular enough that Japanese producers start aching over targeting it to American audiences.

    (I like the updated icon. It's a bit Mill-chan-ish, and nicely optioned-out in the kawaii department. Arigatou!)
  • You are right, Batman and Batman Beyond are fun to watch, much better than the average toon fluff. I hope the WB can keep the good stuff coming. It's a tough market.
  • Sigh, I used to love B5...One fo the only TV shows I loved to watch... Then it went to TNT & I didn't ahve cable the whole time it was one TNT, so I missed it all...

    How was crusade anyway? Never got to even see an episode....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Do you spit or swallow?
  • The thing is, none of the shows you listed had anything resembling a serious, ongoing story. There's a lot of american animation I like (most notably Powerpuff Girls, followed by Futurama and South Park) but I don't see any american animation studio coming out with something like Evangelion or Lain anytime soon. (Or, for that matter, anything close to one of Miyazaki's films...)
    --
    "HORSE."
  • I love the way you called DBZ a 'big animated WWF match' that is probably the closest thing I've ever heard to what it is... Now I know a few people that would shoot me for saying that, but it's so true...

    Btw did you know in Japan DBZ is looked upon as the black sheep of the DB series? I don't remember the names of the other series, but supposedly all of them were better in quality...
  • Not that I'd be a shoujo fan or anything, but...

    If you want something really different,try shoujo, and you think anime is just about sex and violence, there is a entire branch of anime that has
    not really been released over here. Find a hard core anime fan and ask him about these. Fushigi Yuugi (although this is really a shonen series in disguise) is a classic, although the end leaves one wanting.

    IMHO, a box set of the first 26 episodes [express.com] definitely is a release... ^_^

    Oh well, I'm nitpicking again...

    Pole - Fahren (2)


    As always under permanent deconstruction.

  • by ErikZ ( 55491 )
    "while I'm not looking for media to "represent the way I live my life", I am looking for it to be interesting, original and entertaining. Sadly very little of what I see on cable is any of these."

    I guess you work too much. That would be the only excuse for you to say a show like 'Titus' isn't interesting, original and entertaining.

    Later
    Erik Z
  • Sure, they're good, but they're a really small number of Animated series compared to decent Anime series out there. Plus, they're mostly topical. Sure, there are some series which are plagued with the same problem( Just bout anything from rumiko takahashi ), but as a whole, the story and characters usually have a broader appeal than American animation.
  • Then I started thinking about all the shows I watched as a kid - Star Blazers, Voltron, Tranzor Z, Transformers... all anime! :)

    Any suggestions as to good, modern anime? I already know about Ghost in the Shell and Dragonball Z, so other suggestions would be appreciated.

    --

  • Well I do read books... I have some 6000 or so (it covers the walls of 2 rooms for the most part)... Their isn't anything wrong with good TV, anymore than their is in a good book though... And their is something about Anime that appeals to me similiar to books in fact...

    Also you could try fanfiction as well... I love the continuiation of the Ranma 1/2 series done by Dark Knight Communications [dkcomm.net] in their Daigakusei no Ranma series... I tend to print them out and take them with me... Heck I used to be a unpublished writer (thank god for spell check under normal writing circumstances), but I never figured out a good way to get published... Now a days most people like I was simply write fan work based on existing materials or 'home brew' some stories from scratch and put them online...
  • I try my best.

    --
    Max V.
  • ... there must be some appeal in the rather large-breasted anime women. ;^)

    that, and it's great entertainment for us anti-pop-culture types too. ummm... and perhaps something in how anime has storylines, while many north american movies/tv shows have none.

    just my $0.02.
    -legolas

    i've looked at love from both sides now. from win and lose, and still somehow...

  • Now everyone at work is going to ask me if I like "Anime" god... I hate it personally. Who could watch such bad voice acting, and terrible animation? With cartoons like Action Man, I think Anime can't compete.
  • by Wildfire Darkstar ( 208356 ) on Saturday August 12, 2000 @10:02AM (#860663)
    Depends on your tastes, really. I mean, anime isn't so much a genre as a style, so its difficult to predict what everyone will enjoy. With that in mind, here's a list of what I consider the creme de la creme of what anime has to offer:
    1. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Part Hitchcock, part Twin Peaks, part Kubrick, all wrapped up in a rather deceptive tale of giant bio-robots and the end of the world. Lots of Judeo-Christian imagery, and the character interplay is fascinating. The major problem with the series might be that it tries for a little too much, and, as a result, gets a little cramped, particularly towards the end. But brilliant anyway. Also recommended is the movie Wings of Honneamise, by the same director (Anno Hideaki), which, while different in tone, is equally beautiful.
    2. Serial Experiments Lain: The ultimate nerd anime; a thinly veiled allegory about modern life and the Internet. Great opening theme, too. Its difficult to sum into words without giving too much away, but its well worth a watch.
    3. Revolutionary Girl Utena: Although only the first quarter of the series has been released in America, and the series doesn't start getting really good until about halfway through, this one takes the bill for style alone. By the creator of Sailor Moon, although that says very little about what is essentially a psychological drama with some very disturbing undertones (and some excellent music ::grin::)
    4. Saber Marionette J: What starts off as a seemingly straightfoward sci-fi adventure, about a world populated by refugees from a crashed space flight, maintained solely through cloning, since there are no women, evolves into both a touching and exciting drama which seems to owe a lot to 2001: A Space Oddesey.
    5. Cowboy Bebop: Part of a recent trend of "outer space westerns," Cowboy Bebop is one of the best. The story of two bounty hunters, Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, and a opportunistic woman named Faye Valentine. Half humor and half action, its a great watch.
    6. Trigun: Another excellent entry into the aforementioned western genre, this one is the story of the legendary "Humanoid Typhoon," Vash the Stampede. But when two insurance surveyors set out after the fiend, they find that reality seldom lives up to legend, and that Vash may not be so much a villain as a klutz....
    7. The Slayers: A humorous fantasy adventures starring ace sorceress Lina Inverse in her attempts to find fame, fortune, and a bite to eat. Fast, furious, and hilarious.
    8. Perfect Blue: Described by legendary B-movie veteran Roger Corman as what would happen if Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney had teamed up, this movie descibes the descent into madness of a Japanese pop vocalist in sometimes grusome detail.
    Just a sampling of what I like: there are other good series and movies out there and the best thing to do is to look into them, as everyone's tastes can, and do, vary.
  • Mind if I clap? While I've still yet to get all the way through the posts, I think you've come closest to describing what my view is on teh subject...

    Though I'm still tempted to abandon teh US all together and go live in some one room thing in Japan (though please remind me I need to know more than 50 or 60 japanese words before ever doign this please ^_^ )... Probably stems from the fact I'm dissatisified with what is accepted as 'american culture' these days that chooses not to create characters that in any real way represent me...
  • The Simpsons have gotten really uneven- Futurama is definately where all the real Groening focus is now. And it's great. Dini would impress me more if he hadn't gotteb sucked into the whole teenybopper market with Batman Beyond. That show's had some AWFUL episodes (like the Rat boy one, or "Terry's friend dates a Robot") which Batman and even Superman never had. He's hoping to retool it so- great stuff in the pipes like the Justice League and returning to Batman stories of the past. The straight to video Beyond movie might be good too. As for the best of Dini though- did anyone catch Superman: Legacy? Fox aired it really early in the morning after delaying it for an entire year- it wasn't quite as brutal and controversial as everyone expected, but it was an amazing two parter, with a titanic Superman/Darksied battle at the end.
  • If ANYTHING represents me and what I like, it's the Food Network (and foodtv.com). The shit I've learned about cooking there has been great! And Iron Chefs is just too hysterical/cool to miss! I like to eat good food. As for animation, well, that's what Cartoon Network is for :)
  • I think that the idea that such problems are isolated to Americans is false. Firstly, the "common" people have always been entertained by simple things (for example: Roman public executions, vaudeville, sport). Believe me when I write that not everyone enjoyed a lovely five hour political debate with a dinner intermission. Secondly, I believe that there are enough people who are capable of more. Shows like the X-Files wouldn't have lasted so long if this weren't true.

    Sure, most of the stuff played on television is crap but this is most likely true of any television network in any country. Meaning that the junk:quality ratio is probably static.

    If one wants an epic tale he will almost always be disappointed in television. Movies and books are the sources for epic tales, and television is the source of "quick" entertainment (simpsons, south park, etc).


    He who knows not, and knows he knows not is a wise man
  • I like Anime, but I have to hunt for the good titles. It's just like American television, the majority of it sucks. If by good, you mean a little action, when then maybe a lot of it is 'good', but I think most of the stories are non existant and don't make sense. How many Anime stories are consistent throughout the film? Even Princess Mononoke had some big holes in the plot and reasons for character motivation. One of my favorite series, Evangelion doesn't make all that much sense sometimes. I find most of non humorous anime over-dramatic.

    Sometimes I think they think being over-dramatic makes up for having a plot that makes sense or having to explain what's going on. I recently got some Lain DVDs. I watched the first Episode and wasn't too impressed. It seemed very formulaic; Lain has parents who don't pay attention to her, but we really don't know why. They're just some sterotypical 'apathetic parents'. It's all very one-dimentional. Lain is a sad sad girl.. why? Who knows. Overall it seemed like the characters are going through the motions of some dramatic plot, but there isn't anything there. I didn't find much originality in the first episode either. Well, I will watch the other episodes soon, I hope they're better than the first.

    I'm starting to think the tech-geek culture just likes Anime because it's different and not as popular (until recently), not because the stories are really good or the action is very original. It's cool to say you like Anime, I guess it means you're 'hip' or something. Ask someone what they like about it sometime, I rarely get a good answer. I'm actually going to an Anime convention soon. A friend of mine brought me along with him to one a few years ago, and that's where I got exposed to some.. he lead me in the right direction to find good stuff. He's a long time Anime fan, and we went through the schedule, and there were an awful lot of things he said sucked. I'm going to this next one to hopefully find more good stuff.

    Come to think of it, there's a lot of American animation that I really like. Simpsons, Futurama, Gargoyles, The Transformers, G.I. Joe, Dungeons and Dragons. Even the Smurfs had some interesting episodes. Maybe it is just a cultural thing and I don't get it.. hmm I don't think so, it's more probable that most Anime really does suck, like every other genre.
  • by quonsar ( 61695 ) on Saturday August 12, 2000 @05:39AM (#860669) Homepage

    ... there must be some appeal in the rather large-breasted anime women.

    Those are eyes, not breasts.

    "I will gladly pay you today, sir, and eat up

  • I certainly fit in the geek category, but I do not look to anime for representation, and not just because I don't have much time to watch television. Sure, I liked Robotech and Voltron when I was 10, and as a teenager, I played the Robotech RPG in several of its various forms, so maybe I could say that I used to like anime, but once we graduate high school, can't we find something a little more stiumlating to watch?

    Do not teach Confucius to write Characters
  • Hell, yes! That's what sparks the constant holy wars in the Open Source/Free Software community. Even the entire Open Source VS Free Software thing. Geek is a label encompassing an amazingly wide variety of people. Of course, not every geek will agree with that. ;-) Similarly, the label anime encompasses an incredibly wide variety of shows. Any similarities between Macross Plus and Hana Yori Dango are purely co-incidental. And the varieties are much larger than the varieties in American television. Don't believe the mecha and big-breasted-babes line fed by the American media. Given enough information, I can practically garuntee I'll find an anime show you'll like (unless you inist it have live actors ;-).


    -RickHunter
  • While I do like some Anime, Princess Mononoke was great, Akira, Dirty Pair, etc. Crap like DragonballZ really got me wondering..this article helped :) http://www.penismightier.com/fenomas/cool.html
  • I like some Anime stuff, but my major problem with it is the awful penchant for cheap physical humor the Japansese seem to have. You've got this really cool, dark "cyberpunk" world in a lot of Anime films, but it's almost always ruined by some Gleek The Space Monkey-type character.

    We won't even mention how bad the voice acting is in dubbed stuff, and how distracting THAT is.

    Anyway, the most interesting show for 'geeks' has got to be Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Can't believe no one has mentioned it yet.
  • lets see from someone's appriciation of a certain style of animation you have

    a) drawn conclusions about their social life
    b) made a critique of a very common system of ranking things by quality (used in SPIN the Olympics and billions of other places)
    c) extended these conclusions to all members of a large fan base ("just goes to show the sort of people...")

    now honestly who needs to tell who to get a life?

    now me personally i'm not a big anime fan. with the exception of the "Americanime" action toons of my 80's childhood (G.I. Joe, Voltron, Transformers) and "Akira" which is good enough to be put up next to any sci fi of any medium, it hasn't done that much for me.

    but we can be civil about this, can't we.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check out Infomania [cjas.org] for a huge list of computer references in Lain.
  • The above was an interesting post, although I'd hesitate to call what was mentioned "stuff that mainstream anime fans have never heard of."

    In terms of psychological or philosophical anime, why not give "Angel's Egg," or "Perfect Blue," or even "Vampire Princess Miyu" a try? "Angel's Egg" seems to me to be an ideal representation of what can be done in anime when one refuses to be bound by traditional ideas of plotline and meaning in film (to get pretentious a bit); "Perfect Blue" also has a very non-traditional narrative line (although it's much, much easier to understand than "Angel's Egg") and explores ideas of identity and society in a very interesting way; "Vampire Princess Miyu" is the most straightforward of these three (and there's also more of it: three hour-long OVAs and a new television series which maintains a lot of the _yuugen_ of the series!), but it still deals with very cool issues such as the question of eternal life, of the nature of beauty, etc.

    "A Wind Named Amnesia" also just occured to me as a cool film of this type. There's not much mystery in it by the end, but it's still a fun ride.

    Is _Utena_ really a shoujo anime? I've always wondered... it's hardly in the drawing style, and the plot is nothing anywhere near as severly shoujo as, say, "Brother Dear Brother."

    I think that people who haven't extensively watched "Urusei Yatsura" shouldn't be walking around calling themselves "anime fans..." It's like calling yourself an adult when you've not yet been potty trained. Learn to walk before you run, young 'uns!!!! (A Joke)

    For shoujo, why not try the afore-mentioned "Brother Dear Brother" or the like?

    Please, for the love of all that is holy, don't start your anime "career" by watching "Dual." Sure, anime like that seems cool at first, because it's from a different culture, and so seems "different" and "original," but remember this: in Japan, they play "Full House" regularly on TV, maybe because people think it's "different" and "original."

  • Funny you should mention cells.

    Animation is going through growing pains at the moment. The stress of making high quality animation that doesn't look like it came out of the 70s with ever shrinking budgets(remember unlike the US, Japan and most of Asia had a ression) is forcing studios and producers to turn to computer generated techniques to complete projects.

    Some astondingly new imagines and techiniques have come out of this drive. Consider Cowboy Bebop: lots of images where either partially computer generated or computer colored.

    One of the most time consuming and expensive parts still left in animation is trasfering the cell image to film/video. Cells could be going the way of the dodo if they can figure out how to duplicate some of the camera methods they curently used on computers.

    So hang on to those cells....they maybe become a relic. ^_^
  • On the occasions I'm able to catch the Powerpuff Girls, I've always enjoyed it. The show is well done, the narrator can be funnier than you'd expect ("The city of Townsville! But enough about that."), and I've always had a place in my heart for parodies... anyone not catch the scene in that episode with Patches the imaginary clown (I forgot the title) where Blossom is seen dressed like Cartman? :)
  • by X-Nc ( 34250 ) <nilrin@ g m a i l . com> on Sunday August 13, 2000 @09:32AM (#860679) Homepage Journal
    I'm a techie/geek/whatever and have been one all my life. At 37 I'm not an "old" geek but I'm definitely not a young one, either. I mention this because...

    It's funny that this article sould come up. I was just thinking about sending a message to CT, et. al. asking why Anime is even being mentioned on /. since it has no connection with techies in the slightest. Now I find that it does. Guess I was out sick when the memo came through.

    While I do like quite a bit of Anime I do not feel it has any connection with techdom as it relates to me. I still find more in F&SF (Gibson, Stephenson, Brust, Azimov, Card, etc.) that reaches my soul. I never would have connected Anime with techness until this post.

    Anyway, that's just one insignificent mans point of view.

    ---

  • I stopped watching it when they killed Ivanova.
    Grrr. Damn cheapass producers wouldn't give her a raise. Sheesh.
  • Reboot and the various (I think there are two or three) Beast Wars series are just great! Although I haven't been able to sit down and watch them in any organised fashion they still stand way above most of the other animation (and normal TV) programming that's out there.

    Shadow Raiders? hmmmm, I dunno, but I just saw an episode of Action Man (another Mainframe production) that looks interesting.

    And for anyone that lives in Toronto, don't forget the National Science Fiction [hobbystar.com] and Anime [hobbystar.com] Expos that are later in August!

  • I apologize in advance for the lame offtopicness of this post, but I just came home from seeing PB, and I would really like to know this:

    At the end of PB, when Mima looks into the rear mirror and says "Yep, I am" (or words to that effect), is it her voice or Rumi's? I saw the movie dubbed and the voices sounded really similar. Sorry


  • I have to disagree with some of what is written here. I run a anime club at a university, and also am on staff with one of the Major Cons [www.nkd.cc]. This article, if written two years ago, probibly would be correct.

    But the fact is that Anime is mainstreaming. It is liked just for it's plot (A lot of Anime fans also happen to like Robert Jordan, for example), character dynamics etc. That transceneded demographic groups.

    When I first joined the anime club, it was around 8 guys and 1 girl. At the last meeting of last year we had 53 people, 24 of them female. There were probibly 10 students from the school of engr, the rest either from the school of arts and parties, granduated, or from local high schools.

    Anime deals nicely with engrs, simply because engrs can keep track of complicated storylines (not to say that other don't... but the media sure thinks that their attension span is 15 seconds).

    Simply put, people enjoy good storlines, with things that make you think, things that make you wonder (anyone here seen the Escaflowne movie yet?) and things that make you laugh (Dragon Half anyone?)
  • Ahh here we go again. I will try to throw in some stuff that mainstream anime fans have never heard off.

    If you like Transformers and the Like, Macross Plus is a must. Awesome character dynamics, music, storyline and mecha. Parts of the prequel series to this, macross, was bastardizes mixed with other anime's and released as Robotcech.

    Gundam is the other establishment Mecha anime. This series is the start trek of Japan.

    For pure philosophical weirdness, Try Neon Genesis, Utena and Lain. The first is a mecha series, the second Shoujo (If any of you have just watched things like Dragon Ball, Tenchi and Ranma and have never seen Shoujo, you are missing half the story), the third is cyber-punk. All of these series will leave you with your head spinning.

    For pure wackyness, I suggest Ranma 1/2, Tenchi Muyo, Urusai Yatsura, Dragon Half etc. These are usual Shonene fare.

    If you want something really different,try shoujo, and you think anime is just about sex and violence, there is a entire branch of anime that has not really been released over here. Find a hard core anime fan and ask him about these. Fushigi Yuugi (although this is really a shonen series in disguise) is a classic, although the end leaves one wanting. Marmalade boy is the classic Shoujo series (so much your head hurts), Kodomo no Omacha is a coming of age story which oscillates between pure speed induced insanity and sudden moments of insane angst. If you watch this, watch all four of the first episodes. Ayashi no Ceres is new and excellent. I just watched the first episode of that. It is done by the creator of Fushigi Yuugi, and the animation is much better.

    Love Hina and Excel Saga are two of the best commedies that I have seen lately. Excel Saga is absoultly insane. Weird and wacky for 23 episodes, and then one mega-episode of angst. ^.^ Love Hina is brand new, soap opery, but hey... I just like it.

    If you like Tenchi, try Photon and Dual. Same guy created them, slapstick and funny.

    err. I think that is it.
  • Dragonball Z is pure crap. There are three anime that consist of what bludstone (who also usually posts on anime-related topics) calls the "armpit of anime":

    ---
    Dragonball Z
    Sailor Moon
    Pokemon
    ---

    These are ALWAYS the three shows that are mentioned when someone asks an otaku what the three worst anime that they can think of are.

    Some stuff you should watch instead (and I'm not going to put descriptions because I've had to do this too much on Slashdot and I'm tired right now):

    ---
    Ah! My Goddess
    Akira
    Appleseed
    Cowboy Bebop
    Dirty Pair
    El-Hazard
    The Vision of Escaflowne
    Neon Genesis Evangelion
    Fushigi Yuugi
    Galaxy Express 999
    Ghost in the Shell
    Grave of the Fireflies
    Irresponsible Captain Tylor
    Key the Metal Idol
    Macross
    Magic Knight Rayearth
    Maison Ikkoku
    Maze
    Martian Successor Nadesico
    Nadia
    Patlabor
    Perfect Blue
    Project A-Ko
    Ranma 1/2
    Record of Lodoss War
    Rurouni Kenshin
    Saber Marionette J/R/etc.
    Sakura Wars
    serial experiments, lain
    The Slayers
    Tenchi Muyo
    Trigun
    Urusei Yatsura
    Revolutionary Girl Utena
    Video Girl Ai
    The Wings of Honneamise
    You're Under Arrest
    ---

    Go watch some of that stuff and come back and tell me it sucks.
  • Ok, let me be a little more clear: the Simpsons writing has gone downhill. Don't get me wrong- I've always LOVED the wackiness- I love humor that's totally random and out there. But the Simpsons used to be very politically savvy and incisive and intelligent. It's just not anymore. Don't get me wrong- there has been some great stuff in there this last season, but way too many of the episodes were just awful- they didn't feel like anything but regular Fox drivel.
  • Well put.

    And I fully agree with you on the subject of Urotsukidoji and all other hentai. It's sad to know that talent is being wasted on mind-numbing crap in which people get fucked by tentacles rather being used to make another Fushigi Yuugi/Neon Genesis Evangelion/Mononoke Hime/.
  • Funny you mention Crusade in an Anime thread...

    I'm from Italy and, speaking of Crusade, I have only seen the pilot episode "A call to arms".

    Now, for the anime connection, I think (and a lot of friends of mine agreed) that the story in this pilot is a rip off of Starblazers (Uchuu Senkan Yamato).
    You have fast ships, powerful main guns (but if you use them your ship drift without energy for a while...) and at the end we have the lonely ship on a timed mission to save Earth, by means of adventuring into unexplored space.

    I was almost expecting them to display the countdown like in the first Starblazers series... ;-) "hurry up Starblazers! You have only 300 days left to save Earth!!!" [retranslation from italian...]

    Ciao,
    Rob!
  • Poster writes: "... and why increasingly, in an American pop culture that doesn't represent them, 'geeks look to anime for their entertainment and self-images' and the portrayal of something that resembles the way they live their lives." I agree with the sentiments expressed by the poster - I'd like to see a show representative of some part of the engineering/scientific community. We've got lawyer shows, doctor shows, politician shows, comedian shows, etc. The closest thing to shows about engineering/science is Star Trek. Why not a scientist show?. So what does Anime have to do with geeks? Beats me. I like animated movies and have watched some anime recently, which I like a lot. But I don't find these movies "representative" of me in any way. If anything, I would have thought them more representative of English or Philosophy types who like vague, abstract subjects. There is no such thing as a "representative geek." Technical people are as varied as, well, people in general. I'm in optical science. I like computers and video games. I've also studied Russian, enjoy traveling abroad and love childrens' literature. My roommate, another optics dude, composes music in his free time. A good friend married a History major, and has an interest in anthropology. I'm sure each of you could say much the same thing. But then CmdrTaco continues:"I feel like American television has let me down (with a few rare exceptions like South Park and That 70s Show)...I am looking for it to be interesting, original and entertaining. Sadly very little of what I see on cable is any of these. " This to me is a different issue entirely. What he's saying is that his tastes are not well served by mainstream media. Ok. That shows his tastes are not representative of the mainstream :) which includes some of us "geeks." Personally, I think "Law & Order" and "The West Wing" are excellent. I find "That 70s Show" tedious and "Family Guy" banal. But I do like "King of the Hill" and reruns of "News Radio". I've watched a bit of Digimon and Pokemon, and can barely tolerate them. They are more slide show than animation (Pokemon: The Slide Show 2000 :) This just shows that I shouldn't watch TV with CmdrTaco. What CmdrTaco is concerned about is: are there shows that we find entertaining? For some people, anime does the job. For others, "Everybody Loves Raymond" is the cat's meow. (My sys-admin, webprogrammer, friend likes that show). Others, can't hardly find anything Some peope like TV. Others don't. Are we surprised? No. :)
  • Honestly, there's just as much anime crap as there is anime non-crap, just like all other kinds of entertainment. I don't understand the concept of being an "anime fan".

    I do not like the concept of the "anime fan". I am a fan of thought-provoking storylines and well-developed characters (at least in narrative medias). I don't care if it comes from anime, American TV, British TV or whatnot.

    There are actually very few people who even claim to like all or even most genres of anime. I, for one, like primarily SF anime (like Lain, Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, etc.) and have little interest in martial-arts shows (like Ninja Scroll), and none in tentacle-porn shows (like Urotsukidoji), magical-girl shows (like Sailor Moon), kids' shows (like Pokémon) or several other genres.

    Some people go for martial-arts anime, and often also like samurai movies. Some go for shoujo anime ("girls'" anime, usually romantic fantasy), and I can only presume that they read a lot of romance novels. Some watch hardly anything but shounen-ai (gay romance) and yaoi (gay porn). All these people are 'anime fans', because they are in the rather small sector of the Western population who watch the stuff at all; but they aren't likely to share the same favorite shows.)

    (Incidentally, yes, there are adults who like Pokémon. From what I can tell, quite a few 'furry' fans are taken with it. I do not claim to understand this.)

    Since I also read a lot of SF novels and stories, I suppose you could call me an SF fan more generally than an anime fan. Trouble is, it's much easier to find anime posters for one's walls than it is to find posters based on Phil Dick, C.J. Cherryh, or Fred Pohl books. ^_^

  • ---
    Kimagure Orange Road
    ---
  • we are all unique

    I'm not.

    --
    Moderators who have not seen "Life of Brian" please ignore this message.

  • by Shaheen ( 313 ) on Saturday August 12, 2000 @06:53AM (#860760) Homepage
    I feel like American television has let me down

    Well, then, you aren't watching enough television. :P Let me go through some of the best American animation there is, and you tell me why it totally has let you down...

    The Simpsons - The best American comedy on television. Also the longest running - coming up on its 12th season on the air, The Simpsons is the longest running sitcom on television, animated or not. And who can't like the really well thought out irony with real world implications?

    Batman: The Animated Series - From the mind of Paul Dini. This is the only animation I know that has both a very dark, gothic feel to it (and even adult themes) and has made it onto network television. The story lines were perfectly done, and the animation was excellent - not too detailed, but not plain and dull like many Looney Tunes.

    Spawn - Another very gothic and dark series, although it only aired on HBO due to nudity and much more adult themes than bad guy vs. good guy.

    X-Men - X-Men was just a great Saturday morning cartoon. The story lines were great, and who doesn't like the X-Men anyway? :P If you haven't seen the X-Men at all, Fox is going to start re-airing the episodes from episode 1 starting August 21st at 4 PM weekdays.

    Futurama - Another Groening masterpiece. Many people don't like it because it's "not The Simpsons." But that's exactly what Groening wanted to do - something "not Simpsons," but still packs a punch.

    Family Guy - This is another one that seems to get dumped on a lot. But people don't seem to realize that it's just as not-PC as South Park, and it's managed to stay on network television as well. Stewie (the baby) is the absolute greatest - he's bent on killing his parents to escape his daily drudgery and he does it all with a British accent :P

    Seriously Taco, there's good stuff that comes out of America. You just have to look a little.
  • Part of the reason that "geeks" like anime is that all the best anime is the fan subbed and only found on irc.

    Sure, sometimes the picture is a little rough (ok a lot rough). But there is something that just feels right about watching anime on a computer screen in a darkenned dorm room.

    My personal favorite is "Bezerk."

    I especially like the episode towards the end (around episode 20) where Bezerk has left the others. He's staying at an old retired blacksmith's house in the woods he gets to talking about life and he asks the blacksmith, "How did you become a blacksmith."

    And the blacksmith responds, "My father was a blacksmith."

    Bezerk asks, "So do you like it?"

    The blacksmith thinks about it a while and then he says, "Yeah, I like the sparks."

    To me, that's the coolest thing. To get to the end of life and say that you had a good life. Because life is good really, in a lot of ways. To look past all the heat and unpleasantness that goes with blacksmithing and enjoy the sparks.

  • I agree that you'd be hard press to classify all geeks as anime lovers (it's a gross generalization and gross generalizations never seem to apply). However, discarding anime simply because it's pure fantasy is a bit hasty. That's like saying things like Neuromancer, Blade Runner, Matrix, X-Men, etc are all difficult to relate to simply because they are also pure fantasy. Many things that geeks like are pure fantasy, and there's nothing wrong with that.

    Now I'm not going to try to make some explaination as to why geeks like anime, but I think most people would agree that the empirical shows that there is a correlation between being a geek and watching anime (hmm, sounds like a someone should run a real study on this).

    As for Iron Giant, I watch it a few monthes ago because I remembered all the reviews saying that it was great and that even adults would be touched by it. After I watched it, I was thinking "that was a typical disney-ish ending that anyone over the age of 10 would have seen coming a mile away." (yeah, it's Warner Bros, but it's still a disney-ish ending) I admit that it's kinda touching, but by no means did it have a more meritable storyline or higher quality characters. On the other hand, watch something like My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Nausicaa, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Grave of the Fireflies (a must see for everyone), or anything else by Miyazaki. They all have excellent character development and touching stories with powerful endings all wrapped up into about a 2 hour movie.
  • Bishoju Senshi Sailor Moon is awesome. The crap DIC translation... well I like it but after viewing the original I realize how shitty dubbed anime really is. You should watch the original. It is much better and more mature. The tone is much darker than the american version(Admittedly, that isn't saying much) the later series and some of the first season episodes from time to time get as dark as the Batman cartoon. Day of Destiny... The original Japanese version was one of the best done two episode series I have ever seen. Loss, redemption, raging against the dying of the light, it was great. Still more childish than most presentations of such themes, but the seriousness of the situation was still clear. And the battle scene with Mettalia... The later series got really good. Sailor Moon S covered(in addition to lesbian sailor scouts) the concept of situational ethics in whether to kill or save Sailor Saturn. Deals with demons to save your only child. The horror of the demon taking control. Check out the movies too. Sailor Moon R was amazing. I got the Pioneer sub(uncut version) and was really impressed now that I understood the dialogue 100%. Loyalty and friendship was highlighted very well. As was fighting the temptations of evil. Not to mention Tuxedo Kamens best entrance. S was good as was Super S. Don't trust DIC to show you the true quality of any anime.
  • The original Japanese series was awesome. Watch the original three part ending sequence to the first season, the finale in Day Of Destiny, a two part episode. The drama in even half of one part of that two parter outstripped all the drama in the entire DIC dub. The original series was just so much better. Strong themes of loyalty, ends vs. the means, redemption, "be careful what you wish for", relationships(on both a silly and serious level). I would recommend picking up or borrowing Pioneers subtitled release of the uncut Sailor Moon R movie. That shows the best of the series. Mamoru/Endymion(Darien/Prince Darien) was amazing, it shed more light on his troubled past(not to mention one of the best entrances in all of anime). His all consuming devotion to Usagi is shown and even at the worst he tries to save his friends soul despite the friend having tried to kill Usagi on multiple occasions. The original unbutchered series is awesome, great to watch on the same level as the DIC dub or on higher levels.

    Hentai lovers would prefer teh original as well. Lesbian scouts, Granppa Hino being a lecherous old man, gay villians, scenes and entire episodes dropped from the dub due to skirt lifting, slutty outfits, actual full nudity... Violence for the most part wasn't edited out, with the notable exception of when Ami slaps Usagi across the face cause shes being a crybaby. Yes I mean Sailor Mercury.

    All in all the DIC version isn't horrid, its entertaining, but as with virtually all anime, the original is far better.
  • by Jamie Zawinski ( 775 ) <jwz@jwz.org> on Saturday August 12, 2000 @12:15PM (#860783) Homepage

    See, this is why I have a hard time getting in to anime. I've seen a lot of it, and there are quite a few titles that I love, but the ones that seem to get most highly recommended are, well, crap.

    Of your list:

    Cowboy Bebop
    Interplanetary bounty hunters - an ex-cop; a former mafia hit man (??); an amoral, beautiful, thieving, cheating, woman with a huge debt; and a somewhat feral uberhacker. Kicks the most ass of anything that's come out recently.
    Haven't seen this one yet.

    Macross Plus
    Two old friends, now enemies, flight-testing new transformable planes for the military. And another friend working with the first computer capable of singing. Great stuff.

    This gets consistently high ratings, but from the one episode I saw, it's just another fucking soap opera. And worse, it's a soap opera with interminable 80s-top-40-style music, not just as background noise, but central to the story!

    Escaflowne
    (This is actually coming out _soon_, though it's already on VHS) A high school girl accidently gets teleported to a hidden sister planet of Earth, called Gaia. Where she gets in the middle of a huge conflict between various countries, all of whom use mecha (they haven't generally developed electronics; they're 99% gears and flywheels) Eerily similar to Star Wars after a little while, and they always knock you flat on your ass every fifth episode.

    Haven't seen this one, but I must say, when the description says ``high school girl'' and ``mecha'' I think, wait, haven't I seen this about 50 times already?

    Castle of Cagliostro
    There's a series of French novels about Aresene Lupin, a master thief. This movie is about his grandson, Lupin III, who's not terribly serious but knows what he's doing. This is the best of the Lupin movies, and the director, Miyazaki is one of the best in Japan. People always seem to like his movies.

    The main character's an uninteresting asshole, and the animation is only slightly better than Speed Racer. Yawn.

    Patlabor 1
    In order to avoid rising sea levels and to get more land, Tokyo Bay is being dammed and reclaimed. To speed it up, construction mecha - Labors - are developed. But soon, people start using them for criminal activities (sharing mp3s perhaps ;) so the Police also get mecha - Patrol Labors. This is one of two movies after the long-running TV/OAV series. It's got a lot more mystery than action, but it's really very good. The 2nd movie, not yet released is excellent.

    I saw one episode of this series, and it was yet another soap opera about the ``new guy'' and how embarrassed he was to be working at the factory, or something like that. About half way through, there was an evil industrialist, and some robots punched each other. The animation seriously failed to impress (lots of cheap tricks like ten seconds of a still frame that looked like it was moving because of the zipping lines on the background.)

    Grave of the Fireflies
    A really sad movie involving two siblings, set in the closing days of WWII, in Japan. Excellent movie, but really depressing. Very much worth seeing.

    Haven't seen it.

    Record of Lodoss War
    This was someone's Dungeons and Dragons campaign, I'm sure. Novice warrior, grizzled dwarf, a thief, a wizard, a cleric and a cute elf girl save the world from the forces of Evil. (one of whom looks like Evil Spock ;) It's pretty good, and I understand that there's a sequel coming out in the states now.

    AAAUUGGHH! MAKE IT STOP! I think I already used the word ``interminable'' in this post, but I have to use it again here, even though that word doesn't even come close to describing how insanely boring this was! To put it in D&D terms, I think they got about five rounds into the game by episode four! If this was based on an actual game, I can't imagine how the actual game could have taken as long to go somewhere as the cartoon did! And again, shit animation with lots of cheating on the action sequences.

    Serial Experiments Lain
    Creepy series about a girl who gets email from dead people. But this seriously explores computers and what happens when we create an infosphere, and what can be done with it. Takes a couple watchings at the end to figure out what they're doing precisely. And 'Arisa's name is actually Alice, those morons.

    One of the best things I've ever seen, any genre. I absolutely loved this one. The animation was great, the sound design was incredibly cool and well integrated, and though it was a little slow paced, the mysteries were played out well, and I actually cared about finding out what was going on. Lain is absolutely brilliant.

    And in that respect, pretty completely unlike just about all other highly-ranked anime.

    Tenchi Muyo!
    I no longer even keep track of how many versions of this series are out there. I liked the original OAVs, which aren't on DVD. You might like the TV series better. Cartoon Network is showing something, who knows what. Go wild.

    Some adolescent boy fantasy about getting chased around by alternately dominating and submissive girls. YAWN. This one actually made my skin crawl.

    Other ones that I like:

    • Ghost in the Shell is definitely one of my favorite movies ever;
    • Akira is beautiful to watch and listen to, though the plot is kind of dumb (it's a lot like 2001 in more ways than one);
    • Bubblegum Crisis is pretty good;
    • I got a kick out of Dominion: Tank Police, though it was pretty typical in a lot of ways;
    • Ranma 1/2 was hilariious in the early days (the original TV series) but I find the movies and the OAV series to be fairly awful. Any episode with Shampoo or Grandpa in it sucks, and that seems to be all of them lately.
    • I remember liking Appleseed and Battle Angel, though it's been long enough since I saw them that I can't remember which was which.

    So how do I find anime that's more like Ghost in the Shell, and less like this saccharine soap opera 12-year-old-boy domination fantasy panty sniffing crap?

    I want good science fiction movies, not ``Days of Our Lives'' set in Neo-Tokyo. The fact that it's animated does not magically make it watchable.

  • 'Conform...Confooorm...'

    Christ! While I find either of the above choices about as appealing as pounding on my thumbs with a hammer until they pop, I fail to see who elected you grand high poo-bah. If you have something to contribute, do it. If you're just here to piss on people's parades, get your own fuckin' life, Poag. Really.

  • Nadisco (This one is hilarious)
    It is funny. Trouble is, Nadesico's humor is so often about anime stereotypes, it might not work for a new fan. (I mean, seriously, I don't see how the Gekigangar 3 sequences could be anything short of obnoxious if you don't grok otaku.)

    Cowboy Bebop is consistently good stuff, surging sometimes ("Ballad of Fallen Angels") to the truly excellent. Fans of hard SF will appreciate the attention paid to little things like gravity and pseudo-gravity. Plus, the music's by Yoko Kanno, who cannot go wrong. (She also did the music for Escaflowne and Macross Plus, among others.)

    If you like the kind of surreal, Gnostic SF exemplified by Philip K. Dick (or, for that matter, the Illuminatus! high-weirdness, recreational conspiracy theory kick), Serial Experiments Lain is not to be missed. If you still think X-Files is the cutting edge of weird TV ... prepare for mindfsck. ^_^;

    (Speaking of Phil Dick and anime, try Bubble Gum Crisis, which is based very loosely on the movie Blade Runner, which in turn is based very loosely on Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Precious little Dick survives the double adaptation, but BGC is quite independently amazing. The original BGC is a classic (1987); there's now been released a (somewhat controversial) remake, BGC 2040. Caution: There appears to be very little intersection between the fanbases of the original and the remake. I like the original; I can appreciate the modernization of 2040 but I just can't get into it.)

    For reasons which are not entirely mysterious, the powers that be appear to have designated Neon Genesis Evangelion as the Best Anime Show Of All Time a couple of years ago, and this designation hasn't entirely worn off yet. While by no means up to the par of Lain or Cowboy Bebop in animation quality, and possessed of one of the worst cases of slow-start in a series I've ever seen, there's distinctly something in there which keeps people (including myself) coming back.

    Like Ghostbusters? Try Blue Seed.

    Ignore the anime of Ghost in the Shell. Masamune Shirow's excellent manga (comics) appear doomed never to quite survive being adapted to anime. Read the manga, though.

    And so it goes ....

  • Has anyone caught all the geek references in Lain?

    To Be Continued (with Be in the colors of BeOS)?
    NeXT?
    Copeland OS? (from memory, that's right....right?)

    My .02
    Quux26

  • Hmm, it seems more and more to me that anyone who still thinks manga/anime isn't mainstream in America is living about eight years in the past. No offense intended, of course, but I just happen to be typing this with English-dubbed Saturday-morning Digimon annoying the hell out of me from the TV in the other room.


    DigiMon isn't a good example. It's not really anime. It's Saban's answer to the PokeMon threat.

    Saban is the producer of the Power Rangers. He was the next best thing for kids shows after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He held #1 on the kids radar for several years and produced several clones of this own show (Beetle Borgs and other bad versions).

    But then PokeMon showed up. This started taking away the kids audience from the Power Rangers. Saban immediately saw this threat and comissioned an animation studio in Japan to produce a clone show. The result was DigiMon which tries to be anime in look, but is very american in feel. Saban's show isn't nearly as successful as PokeMon either. He's lost the war of kids viewing, but he's still trying to beat a dead horse.

    If anything, Saban had an affect on the influence of Japanese culture or anime like shows. The original Power Rangers was made by purchasing a bunch of action footage from a live action super hero show from Japan. If you've ever watched the original Power Rangers, you'll see a bunch of american kids running around, then suddenly cut to wearing costumes and the video quality changes from NTSC original to PAL converted japanese film--the quality change was drastic that you could immediately tell they were entirely different shoots edited together. But it worked and millions of kids watched it.

    Even though Power Rangers was a shitty show, its Japanese influence was there. I think this really set up television viewing for anime related titles. Cartoon Network here is showing Dragonball Z, Tenchi Muyo, Gundam Wing and other anime titles. I know that anime has really started to catch on here when a national channel starts showing Tenchi. :)

    I watch Anime because I love animation, but I hate dumb downed kids based animation. My favorite anime shows are stuff like Ghost in the Shell, Tenchi, El Hazard. Of course, for shock value there's always a showing of my Urotsukidoji [Lengend of the Overfiend] Perfect Collection DVD--Definitely NOT FOR CHILDREN stamped on it.

    If anything, all this recent popularity of anime related shows just gives me more reasons to actually watch TV. I'm not sure that's a good thing. :)
  • by bludstone ( 103539 ) on Saturday August 12, 2000 @07:07AM (#860797)
    hrm.. okay..

    [Otaku Mode On]

    This has always bugged me. Anime is not a genre, it is a medium, and like in any medium, there is good anime and bad anime. Much anime is poorly scripted pure fanservice trite (ie dragonball, battle athletes, love hina, etc) but on the other end of the spectrum are the compelling stories, and intellectual and emotional challenges (ie. evangelion, lain, grave of the fireflies)

    Just as there are quality hollywood films and crap hollywood films, so to is with anime. I know several otaku fanboys that will buy any anime that comes off the shelf.. Ive become more picky in my age and have tried to thin out some of the crap.

    The previous poster called all anime "pure fantasy," which I find considerably odd due to the numbers of anime based on true stories. You go watch grave of the fireflies without tearing up, yes its based on a true story, and you can come back to me about anime being pure fantasy. (and besides, pure fantasy isnt a -bad- thing.) Correct me if im wrong, but hasnt fantasy been part of being a geek for decades? I miss those 7+ hour long dungeons and dragons binges we used to go on.

    [Otaku Mode Off]

    oh well, while im posting check out atanime.com [atanime.com], an anime mag I write for.

    oh yeah, I wonder why slashdot didnt post about george lucas being in negotiation w/ anime companies in japan? cant seem to find the link now. bah.

  • ...I can't believe no one has mentioned Babylon 5 at all -- like it or hate it.

    My fianceé and I just started watching the series over again. Sci-Fi network is set to star showing the episodes -- plus the TNT movies, yay! -- in September. And even though there are plenty of episodes that make me wince in season one (plus the occasional later one such as Grey 17 Is Missing) I love the unique --to TV, apparently -- storytelling aspect of having a beginning and an ending.

    It was well-thought out, and even though they had to adjust the story in several places for various reasons (actors leaving, for whatever reason) to keep things moving, it was highly entertaining.

    I wish Crusade had been given a chance to hit its stride.

    Jay (=
    (Waiting for the rabid "Trek R00lZ/B5 5Ux" discussuion to begin...)

  • ``Anime is popular because we all feel like outsiders!''

    The ``humor of embarrassment'' style has been around forever, and that's all this ``oh no, I don't fit in'' stuff is. In the 30s it was called ``screwball comedy'' and usually came to a climax with everyone accidentially bumbling into the same room in the last scene and all the intertwined secrets being revealed.

    I like anime (and screwball comedies, for that matter: Preston Sturges [imdb.com] is great, especially Sullivan's Travels [imdb.com] and The Palm Beach Story [imdb.com]) but claiming that there's something new here is just so much academic over-intellectualized bullshit.

    This is just another attempt to pick some random piece of media and say, ``See! See! This supports the theories I already hold about my specialness!''

    I hate that shit.

  • I watch anime on occasion (just the dubbed stuff on CN that you real anime folk scoff at :) but its just for entertainment. I usually watch it as part of what I call background vision, it's similar to background music, but just having a TV on and not really watching it, and anime makes great background vision for me. As far as anime like Serial Experiments Lain representing the technical/geek/nerd/whatever culture, possibly, but I don't think that anime as a whole represents much more than a way to make cartoons. It's a medium, not a genre.
  • Anybody who'se not afraid to admit they like hentai anime in a major newspaper can rock on IMO.
  • > The stories are, despite what was said by Taco,
    > hardly original. They feature disposable,
    > simplified plot structures and generalized characters
    > that fit extremely shallow archetypes.

    The stories, such as I've seen (my younger daughter really loves this amine/manga stuff, so I've seen a few videotapes and read a lot of comic books) are typically lame kid's fluff, some of it boring the the point of making me actively angry. If I've got to hear see or read another cliched magic-laden story about "demonic possesion" or another battle in a high-ceilinged hall where one of these damn goons throws glowing balls at the other, and they go "boom" and the other guy falls on his ass and slides a while, then he gets up and does it back, back and forth, ding-dong ad infinitum, any more of that I'm going to howl like a dog. But I'm kind of allergic to most of the stuff the mass entertainment media extrude anyway.

    But the style of that anime, the graphics and the timing, is so new-n-different, it has so little respect for the stylistic customs and traditional metaphors of U.S. animated cinema, that it's practically revolutionary, it threatens to break down the value of Hollywood's fixed aesthetic assets, so I dig anime. From a distance, that is.

    Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

  • I'll try to stick to the stuff that's been released on DVD in the states. All the anime companies are moving to DVD, though some of them are better (Bandai) than others (ADV). Also, you'll find that subtitled anime is generally a lot better than the dubs. There are very few American voice actors that can match the Japanese.

    Cowboy Bebop
    Interplanetary bounty hunters - an ex-cop; a former mafia hit man (??); an amoral, beautiful, thieving, cheating, woman with a huge debt; and a somewhat feral uberhacker. Kicks the most ass of anything that's come out recently.

    Macross Plus
    Two old friends, now enemies, flight-testing new transformable planes for the military. And another friend working with the first computer capable of singing. Great stuff.

    Escaflowne
    (This is actually coming out _soon_, though it's already on VHS) A high school girl accidently gets teleported to a hidden sister planet of Earth, called Gaia. Where she gets in the middle of a huge conflict between various countries, all of whom use mecha (they haven't generally developed electronics; they're 99% gears and flywheels) Eerily similar to Star Wars after a little while, and they always knock you flat on your ass every fifth episode.

    Castle of Cagliostro
    There's a series of French novels about Aresene Lupin, a master thief. This movie is about his grandson, Lupin III, who's not terribly serious but knows what he's doing. This is the best of the Lupin movies, and the director, Miyazaki is one of the best in Japan. People always seem to like his movies.

    Patlabor 1
    In order to avoid rising sea levels and to get more land, Tokyo Bay is being dammed and reclaimed. To speed it up, construction mecha - Labors - are developed. But soon, people start using them for criminal activities (sharing mp3s perhaps ;) so the Police also get mecha - Patrol Labors. This is one of two movies after the long-running TV/OAV series. It's got a lot more mystery than action, but it's really very good. The 2nd movie, not yet released is excellent.

    Grave of the Fireflies
    A really sad movie involving two siblings, set in the closing days of WWII, in Japan. Excellent movie, but really depressing. Very much worth seeing.

    Record of Lodoss War
    This was someone's Dungeons and Dragons campaign, I'm sure. Novice warrior, grizzled dwarf, a thief, a wizard, a cleric and a cute elf girl save the world from the forces of Evil. (one of whom looks like Evil Spock ;) It's pretty good, and I understand that there's a sequel coming out in the states now.

    Serial Experiments Lain
    Creepy series about a girl who gets email from dead people. But this seriously explores computers and what happens when we create an infosphere, and what can be done with it. Takes a couple watchings at the end to figure out what they're doing precisely. And 'Arisa's name is actually Alice, those morons.

    Tenchi Muyo!
    I no longer even keep track of how many versions of this series are out there. I liked the original OAVs, which aren't on DVD. You might like the TV series better. Cartoon Network is showing something, who knows what. Go wild.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, while I have personally observed that many of 'my kind' are into anime, I've never been able to explain the attraction. Myself, I can't stand anime. The stories are, despite what was said by Taco, hardly original. They feature disposable, simplified plot structures and generalized characters that fit extremely shallow archetypes.

    How can a 'geek' relate to anything in anime? They're pure fantasy (poorly crafted fantasy, at that).

    Now, let's not think that I dislike anime for some jingoistic reason. There are many fine artists, writers, musicians, engineers, etc. that are all from Japan -- just as there are from any country. I don't think American animation is that much better sans choice items like 'The Iron Giant', even though it was a children's film it featured much higher quality of characters and a far more meritable storyline.

    Just my two cents. I'll probably get moderated down as 'flamebait' for this... even though this was honestly not my intent.
  • Agreed. Food Network has plenty of entertainment value, and it teaches you things as well. Iron Chef is one of the few shows that I can watch along with my entire family and that we can all enjoy, and that's one of the most important things about a show to me, as most of the stuff I enjoy is not what gets watched. But as far as representing me, foodtv isn't that either, but would you really want to watch a bunch of people just like you all day on TV. I think that seeing something that you aren't really a part of, weather it be Japanese cooking or the law system, makes it all the more interesting, and you may decide to take up a profession/hobby in what you are watching. Unfortunatley, most TV these days isn't inspirational, and is boring, and does nothing but try to go for a cheap laugh.

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