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Anime

NY Times on Anime 182

An anonymous reader submitted a NY Times story (you know what that means: annoying free registration required) about anime as Japanese Film's 2nd Golden Age. It covers a lot of ground, as well as a lot of really amazing films including (obviously) Miyazaki's work, but also stuff like Ranma 1/2, Perfect Blue, Cowboy Bebop and Evangelion to pick a handful of my favorites. In short, it's a good piece with its share of criticisms and commentary, but it's cool to see a mainstream source talk up something that was so much subculture just a few years ago.
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NY Times on Anime

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  • by PoiBoy ( 525770 )
    Whenever you try and get an article from the NYT and are presented with that pesky registration screen, just replace the "www" in the URL window at the top of your browser with "archives" and hit return. Works every time.
  • http://antiani.tripod.com/
    • Re:A counterpoint: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lothar+0 ( 444996 )
      A counterpoint [barnesandnoble.com] to the counterpoint, especially in the Appendix on American anime culture. Susan Napier's bias in favor of anime fan subculture is much more academic and lacks the axe to grind that the anti-anime webmaster seems intent to wield.
    • This page compares anime to Disney movie animation, and attempts to say that Disney animation is far superior, with both superior characters and plot.
      If that is the case, why did Disney feel it necessary to rip off from Kimba the White Lion?


      Also ignored is the fact that Disney recycles the same "Princess" and "Prince" characters over and over again in their movies.


      Just an observation.
      This guy is going out of his way to say that if you watch anime, you'll end up like the Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons. Sure, there are those people
      who have their whole life revolve around anime.
      Then again, there are also hard core Disney fanatics out there who are the same way.

  • by instinctdesign ( 534196 ) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @12:25PM (#2872163) Homepage
    Hayao Miyazaki's "Princess Mononoke" was released by Miramax in 1999 in a dubbed version, featuring the voices of Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson and Minnie Driver...
    I'm not a huge anime fan, but if you want a good introduction to the genre, see Princess Mononoke. However, what the NYTimes article fails to mention is the issue with dubbing (unless I missed it), stay away if you can. Even the well known cast that Disney was able to get for Princess Mononoke pales in comparison to the original Japanese with English subtitles. It took a significant effort on the part of the fans for Disney to finally decide to include the original dialog, and it was well worth their effort.
    • I thought the new dialogue was excellent -- it was written by Neil Gaiman [neilgaiman.com].

      But I can't judge between the two, as I've not (yet?) gotten the chance to see the film with the original dialogue.
    • Agreed 100% (about dubbing)

      I recently ordered the Yamato DVD release from Amazon to find out when it arrived that the media included only the English voices!

      Horror! I had opened the box set already and Amazon wouldn't accept it back. I had to sell it on eBay at lost to someone who didn't care so much (yes there are people like that...)

      What baffles me is that the 3 box sets are already in Japan for 1 year now, so getting the voices added to the US release wasn't a problem at all. Skip the subtitles, I don't care.

      Sometimes the subtitles are even too intrusive in the video itself (See Lain, where they have superimposed roman chars ON TOP of kanjis.) Idiots! They ruined it.

      What's more to say than the problem with US of censoring parts of movies because they judge that the audience for anime should be kids only. So you get less blood in the momonoke no hime than the Japanese counter-part. I checked both releases running head to head. The US one arrives 4 mins earlier to the end stop. Disney did it again! Fascists!

      So now I buy Japanese anime from Japan only. And I love my APEX 600A. MPAA! Bastards!

      PPA, the girl next door.
    • Princess Mononoke was a very good movie. You can't forget the ever classic Akira though. It may be a bit much for some people well rooted in reality, but it's a must see. With the newly re-mastered versions, its breath taking. Also another highly praised "mecca" based series is Neon Genesis Evangelion. Anyone of these are very good movies for people who are not big anime fans, but would like to watch a good animated movie/series.
    • Anime is a medium, not a genre.
  • by ShaniaTwain ( 197446 ) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @12:27PM (#2872170) Homepage
    ..it's cool to see a mainstream source talk up something that was so much subculture just a few years ago.

    Is it? I hate to be elitist or something, no wait, I do like to be elitist. Why can't the mainstream get its own subculture? It seems to me that OFTEN when a subculture goes mainstream it becomes BORING..

    Ah well, the Counter Culture always seems to become the Over-the-counter Culture.
    • The problem is that you care.

      Why can't it get its own subculture? Why do you care if it likes what you like or not? Why is it you like something merely to be different? The thing is, ideally, you should merely go on living your life. Like what you like. If others happen to share your interests, great. If only a few do, then great. But you should not care about 'mainstream'. That's insane.
    • by pohl ( 872 )
      The greatest honor for any subculture is that it is propagated. It's true that when this happens that it loses something. Eventually it is replaced by a pale imitation of itself as more people ape it without understanding it. But that's memes for you. What the hell are you going to do? You could try to fake everybody out by being passionate about stuff you don't care about, thereby propagating everything but your beloved subculture. But would that really suck less?
    • I don't know if I would consider liking anime being "elitist". Quite the opposite end of the spectrum, actually (nerd, sitting alone in his apartment, getting off to cartoon breasts).

      Still, I think the problem with subculture is that it somehow think it's not only better, but *different* from the rest of the culture. It's really the same thing. Just because you're doing something in your apartment alone, doesn't mean others aren't doing the exact same thing.

      Kind of like that whole "everybody is alternative" thing in the 90s.

    • Personally I don't see any purpose for mainstreaming of anime in our half of the world -- only dangers. The only possible reason I could cite would be for increased availability (which I'd say with official and, ahem, unofficial channels is quite sufficient at this moment) or increased quality. I see no reason to believe increased American involvement or notice will significantly raise the quality of Japanese product, only lower it as it is catered to our perceived tastes. The Japanese already had the largest animation industry in the world before this most recent 'anime going mainstream' prediction (anybody else here remember the talk that anime would go mainstream after Macross : DYRL and Nausicaa?) The only remaining reason that I can think of would be the psychological factors, the "hey, my hobby's cool/ahead of its time rather than fanboyish so now you can understand me" factor. I don't care if it's 'understood' or whatever here in the states, only that the Japanese keep doing what they've been doing.
    • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <glandauer@charter.net> on Sunday January 20, 2002 @02:51PM (#2872781) Homepage

      It seems to me that there's much less risk of anime becoming boring than other things that go mainstream. After all, anime already is fairly mainstream- in Japan. That means that even if anime becomes modestly popular in the U.S., the Japanese market is still going to be the thing that drives the industry, which should help to keep it from getting sucked down.

      If anything, I'm very happy that anime is becoming more popular. I find that the movies show up much better on the big screen than on video, so increasing popularity means that I get more chances to see the stuff as it was meant to be seen. Next Friday, for instance, I'll get the chance to pick between two anime that are being released that day: Metropolis (the movie that triggered the article) and Escaflowne: A Girl in Gaia. Last year I was able to see a bunch of anime on the big screen, and its increased popularity obviously had a lot to do with that. That sounds like something to celebrate, not to complain about.

    • I do have to agree wirh you there on the how things can become boring once it hits mainstream. You also have to look at it with the business perspective. If there is money to be made, bigger and better things will come out. If there was no money to be made, all your great anime favorites would not be fancied up and made on the DVD format. I personally have been very excites to upgrade my anime collection to DVD. Also more obscure and unusual movies/series may come to the US because of the larger market. Even if anime get to be a big pop culture thing in the US, it will only be good for th edie-hard anime fans, and the bandwagon junkies as well.
    • Why can't the mainstream get its own subculture?

      The mainstream DOES have it's own subculture. It's called 'Nsync.

      -
  • ...but there is an anime showing today here in Vancouver BC, Canada at the main Douglas College campus (a block away from New Westminster Skytrain) at 2:00 pm. Admission is $3 and the following are playing:

    1. Neia Under 7 #1, 2
    2. Inu-yasha #1,2
    3. Big-O #1,2
    4. Hand Maid May #1,2,3
    break (30 min)
    5. Initial D #1,2,3
    6. G-Savior

    /end of off-topic.

    A while back Roger Ebert did an article on various anime and it seems that he actually likes it after all (considering he seems a bit hard to please from my view-point). As well, an article in my local paper depicted that "Astro-boy," our atomic little friend from the 60s, is returning to DVD.
  • by Brightest Light ( 552357 ) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @12:35PM (#2872200) Journal

    Where Western animators struggle to create a convincing illusion of life, Japanese animators are more interested in capturing single expressive gestures, or in evoking a particular mood through the careful use of color.

    I think this is the real difference between anime and western animation. While disney spends millions of dollars on computer animation, going for the "almost lifelike" feeling, anime such as "Graveyard of the Fireflies" spends far more time conveying the overall feeling of sadness (and no annoying musical numbers either).
    I think that anime in general can be far more emotional than western animation will ever be.

    • I'd also dispute the truth of the statement that anime spends less time on good animation. It may be true that it sometimes focuses on static images instead of animation, it's also true that the best anime has stunningly good animation. The detail in Mononoke is amazing- look at Ashitaka shooting his bow, sometime, and look at the fine detail of the mechanics- and so are all of the best anime feature films. Even the good TV stuff is very good. Some of the most disturbing sequences in Evangelion (especially the graphic fights against some of the later angels), for instance, get a lot of their power from the quality of the animation.

      • The problem is that comparisons between anime and US animation tend to take average Japanese TV series and compare them to a Disney movie. Sure, the Disney movie looks better... it probably had fifty times the budget to make an hour and a half of movie, whereas the anime is probably 26 episodes long. At a certain level, money has to come in.
    • Where Western animators struggle to create a convincing illusion of life, Japanese animators are more interested in capturing single expressive gestures, or in evoking a particular mood through the careful use of color.

      Isn't it interesting how this is reversed in the CG world? Square Pictures was the one going for "convincing illusion of life" and ending up with lifeless characters, whereas Pixar and PDI use heavy stylization and do a better job of, "capturing single expressive gestures, or evoking a particular mood through the careful use of color."

      Also, getting back to cel animation, it's interesting how far Disney Animation Studios has fallen behind Japanese studios since The Lion King (yes, TLK is still the highest grossing animated film ever, but no one would disagree that Mononoke looks better/is a better film). The stuff they're doing now looks much worse than the Anime of the late 80s.

  • Unless you consider only "quality" anime. In fact, japanese animated series such as Pokemon and Digimon and Dragonball have been #1, at least in Spain, for a very long time. IN fact, that has brought over many manga, which have almost completely eliminated more classical comics, such as the ones published by DC and Marvel. Maybe many comics in fact deserved to be eliminated, but not all...

    In fact, "quality" anime are only available for die-hard otakus here. Mangas, however, have no distribution problems.
  • by tb3 ( 313150 ) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @12:53PM (#2872263) Homepage
    Also in this morning's Times, an article [nytimes.com] about how "Cardcaptor Sakura" was changed to "Cardcaptors" for the American audience. Interesting article, it reads like it was written by an otaku,
    • Although purists cast disdain upon the 'disposable' series *Sailor Moon*, I am nevertheless a fan and found it actually quite fascinating to see how the show had been edited to be suitable for the Western teenybopper demographic.

      There's a lot of latent sexual subtext (homoerotic or otherwise) which is glossed over in the NA dubbing. For example one of the villains, Zoesite (sic), who is actually an effeminate male in the Japanese version, is presented (and dubbed correspondingly) as a female, in the NA dubbing. Similarly, when in civilian clothes, Sailor Uranus seems to be an effeminate man in love with Sailor Neptune. In costume she's female. The ambiguity isn't really dealt with.

      As well, there are occasional violent scenes which are cut out or slightly abbreviated. Presumably this is not judged suitable for the desired NA demographic.

      But you can still catch the odd scene or bit of dialog that's left in where you say to yourself, "what?!" That is, the sexuality of the characters is somewhat ambiguous.

      While I'm on the topic of ambiguous sexuality in anime, this site [fortunecity.com] has some brief overviews of homosexuality and transgenderism (don't know if that's a word, but you know what I mean) in anime.
    • Is it not interesting though just how much editing had to be done to alter what was originally a shojou anime, directed solely at girls, into a cartoon which was meant to appeal to both boys and girls? The timeline of the story had to be changed radically, including skipping to episode #8 of the original to start the "Cardcaptors" series, where the strongest male character enters the show. This changed the focus of the series, but they opened up massive plot holes, as well as causing mystification on the faces of most people who watched the series, feeling that they were dumped straight into the middle of the series, rather than at the beginning.

      The rationale for this change was given by WB Kids! as that the demographic for cartoon watchers is 75% male. The question can be asked, that if they orient all these stories towards boys, what will be there to entice girls to watch the series? And is political correctness going too far, when a series HAS to be modified to try and appeal to both sexes?

      Sigh. Anyway I'm buying the Pioneer set of DVDs of "Cardcaptor Sakura" - subtitled with the original story and dialogue. I've enjoyed the Nelvana version of Cardcaptors, but now I want to see all the episodes and stories I missed, and see the story without glaring loopholes.
  • the stuff that i get on my cable tv are mostly very poor. No plots, bad animation, no caracthers they translate it very poorly. Can you give me some hints about really good movies i could get on dvd?

    I'm a long time fan of the European "bande dessinee", cartoons, and they are very hard to see on the states or even found anyone to talk about it.
    • Cowboy bebop, evangelion, Ghost in The shell, Princess Monoke, FuriKuri (a.k.a FLCL), Serial Experiments Lain
    • robotech yeah, you know you remember brave rick hunter and that hottie minmei. robotech was the anime series that hit us television-weaned north american kids in the sweet spot back in the 80's. now that it's out on dvd, we can enjoy the massive nostalgia rush that comes with it. it's not the best out there by any means (kind of cheesy and overwrought at times, with washed out audio) but it sure seemed epic when i was nine... neon genesis evangelion mix equal parts x-files, enders' game, and big badass robots with guns. serve on a bed of broiled angst. eva is a truly great piece of anime marred by a bizarre conclusion. earth is under siege by hellaciously destructive critters called angels. secret government agencies and international strike forces mobilize to stop them, but the only real hope lies in the Evanglion Units: twenty-story tall robots piloted by a bunch of screwed up fourteen year olds. The series starts out as solid action, grows a healthy head of intrigue and character-driven angst, then -- around episode 19 or 20 -- veers into the world of the truly bizarre. By the time the conclusion rolls around, one of the best series around has turned into a bad acid trip. watch it for the art, watch it for the deep characterization. watch it for the great action sequences, and the sharp plot twists. don't watch it if you want a satisfying tie-up to the series. cowboy bebop ooh lah lah. this, in my opinion, is what solid dramatic anime should be. the art is exquisite, the writing is tight and witty without being too cute, and the jazz/blues/bebop soundtrack is a pleasure. spike and jet are odd-couple bounty hunters slogging through space trying to make a living and listening to charlie parker. as with all good pulp heroes, their pasts come back to haunt them. the series never gives in to cheesy cliches (save one episode that's a throway joke for fans) and it develops strong, solid characters. unlike eva, it avoids gratuitous melodrama and emotional manipulation in favor of a subplot plot that builds slowly over the entire series, then explodes in the last few episodes. spike, the grumpy twenty-something loner who favors martial arts and rumpled blue suits over guns and leather, is one of the cooler protagonists around. run, don't walk, to a video shop or a suncoast. get this series. trust me. trigun it's zany, over-the-top, and shrouded in a haze of smoke from all the gunfire. trigun is a space-opera scifi western series that follows vash, the humanoid typhoon: a gunman so dangerous that a $$60,000,000,000 price is on his head. The other regular characters are two insurance agents hired to follow him, keeping track of the cataclysmic destruction that Just Seems To Happen whenever he's around. See Vash take on hundreds of bandits with a handgun and a trash can lid! See him dodge bullets! Laugh as he steals donuts! It's a good action romp, and the last 10 episodes or so deliver some solid dramatic material.
    • Most anime shown in American Cable is extremely bad. This is because most anime is even worse, just like most movie production in the US is bad-cable-night material.

      But the good anime is worth tolerating everything else. Just remember that the tastes in anime are as varied as in mainstream film, and that they also have their low standards. If you see something you don't like, don't think it's representative of everything you'll find. Just don't follow the recommendations from that person anymore.

      That said, here are some recommendations of what "serious anime" I like (as opposed to comedies, which would make a very different list) :

      1. Serial Experiment Lain: great science fiction centered on the future Internet. If you have read Philip K. Dick books (Ubik, Man in the High Castle, etc) you'll see a lot of that here. THIS is "The Matrix" of Anime, although I liked it more than said movie.

      2. Ghost in the Shell: someone said this was "The Matrix" of anime, but I think it has more to do with "Blade Runner", topic and style-wise.

      3. Monokoke Hime: a very good fantasy film done in Anime. This is fantasy anime properly done.

      4. Graveyard of Fireflies: the best dramatic movie I have ever seen (and I normally hate them), it just happens to be Anime. Be warned: this will make you cry.

      5. Neon Genesis Evangelion: science fiction mixed with Kabbalah mixed with Jungian psychology mixed with Freudian psychology mixed with Gnostic Mythology mixed with a bit of fan-service. Surprisingly good and addictive.

      6. Vision of Escaflowne: a very good fantasy tale with great character development, if a little bit corny at times.

      7. Revolutionary Girl Utena: think a fairy-tale, with LOTS OF LSD thrown in, and some very interesting symbology. Really weird, and really good.

      9. Akira: It had to appear somewhere. If you can't see beyond the action and violence (as in follow the plot and the implications), it's a good violent action sci-fi movie. If you can, it's much, much, much better.

      10. Perfect Blue: a thriller in the style of old Albert, set in the weirdness of contemporary pop-idol culture in Japan. Very, very well done.
    • The ultimate link site for all anime, praise be its name, is the animation turnpike,
      Anime Turnpike [anipike.com]
      where you can graze and explore for days.

      If you want some comments and suggestions there's a number of good anime review pages. Here's a page with links to a couple
      Anime Meta review sources page [rmit.edu.au]
      There's a link there to Anime on DVD, which is your best source for finding out what's commercially available.

      As for the article, looked like a bunch of factoids compressed into a rambling article. But at least it was relatively fair on both sides.
  • old article? (Score:3, Informative)

    by garyrich ( 30652 ) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @12:59PM (#2872293) Homepage Journal
    Actually a pretty good article, but it reads like it has been sitting on the the shelf for ~18 months. Mentions Mononoke as Miyazaki's newest work (no mention of Sen to Chiro) and the comments on Astro Boy reflect that he must have recently seen the (semi) restored original pilot episode. Actually sounds like he was in the room at the Long Beach, CA film fest in ... late 1999?
  • by Sodakar ( 205398 ) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @01:01PM (#2872301)
    I must agree with CmdrTaco that it's great to see Japanese Anime get some major press. However, it's going to take more than that to get people to understand what's so great about Anime. It's going to take all of us to continue sharing the art with our friends, and for studios to put up more money/risk to promote it.

    Roger Ebert can talk all day about how Miyazaki has awesome films and give 2 thumbs up to "Princess Mononoke," but if Disney/Miramax think that a "blockbuster opening weekend" can be realized from opening "Mononoke" in 8 theatres US-wide, they are highly mistaken. (as you can imagine, it only made $144k in its opening week) At its height, "Mononoke" was showing in 129 screens -- a far cry from the 3000+ screens that a major movie like "Harry Potter." While "Mononoke" made over 100 million in Japan, its final US gross was under 3 million (both US dollars)

    What went wrong? Well, first off, the art of Anime is definitely not as well accepted or understood in the U.S. due to historical differences in culture. In Japan, mature themes of politics, war, and tales of the human experience are spoken and told of through comics and anime. In the U.S., "animated feature" = "Bambi" Hrm...

    If the studios who push Japanese Anime want to make it worth their time/money, they're going to have an uphill battle, as they're going to have to convince everyone in the US to go see the film on opening night, and promote the hell out of the film... (eg, money) Ultimately, they have to try to change the culture of a nation, and it's probably not going to happen overnight.

    Solution? Keep making money off of $30 DVD's with 4 episodes of "Cowboy Bebop" and "Evangelion" -- one day, the sales will reach a high enough point that statistically -- it'll be worth bringing to the theatres... Until then... the safest thing is to keep selling those pricey DVD's... And... keep sharing them with your friends who have no idea what anime is...
    • "In Japan, mature themes of politics, war, and tales of the human experience are spoken and told of through comics and anime. In the U.S., "animated feature" = "Bambi" Hrm... "


      You mean death, love and environmentalism, spoken through the art instead of the characters talking about the art, aren't mature themes?

    • Keep in mind that most anime is not theatrical in nature. TV series are much more common; heck, even the straight-to-video market in Japan has more titles even now than the few movies that are produced.

      Also, most of the movies that ARE produced are not standalone... they're related to a TV anime series. The Evangelion movies, no matter how brilliantly weird, are totally impenetrable unless you watched the show.

      So, yes, please keep buying the DVDs (we're trying to do something about the pricey bit) and showing your friends. And for those of you who say "why would I give money to an evil media company", keep in mind that we're not MPAA members and most of our discs aren't even CSS-coded. Play 'em in Linux! ^_^
      • Avatar: from your name, you suggest that you work for ADVision.

        My question: what are you going to do with All-Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku?

        Last year, The Right Stuf blew out their remaining copies of Nuku Nuku OAV on VHS. I grabbed a set, thanking the gods of Anime that I got them before they were gone. Nuku Nuku OAV does not show up on the list of what you currently are working on bringing to DVD.

        There are two other Nuku Nuku series that have yet to make it to America in anything other than very incomplete fansubs. They are Nuku Nuku TV, which from the two episodes I have seen is absolutely hilarious, and Nuku Nuku DASH! which is more serious and not as interesting to me as the former.

        I know that "comedy" anime isn't as popular as space anime or shoujo or Giant Robot anime, but some of us enjoy the funny stuff. Nuku Nuku TV is to anime what Police Squad! was to American cop shows.

        If you still have an in with King Music, please see what you can do about Nuku Nuku. If you put the TV series out as DVD (hell, if you put the first OAV out as DVD!) I will be very happy to buy it.

        Take care,
        Ms. Geek
      • >we're trying to do something about the pricey bit)

        ADV is one of the best studios as far as providing anime at a fair cost. Of course, I'm all in favor of even lower costs :). Are you refering to Princess Nine? (A great series, BTW).

        -asb
    • I love anime because... because it's really good at giving me "happy spasms" (no hentai jokes); and I need this "mood fix" like a drug.

      More so than in any other type of artform, I just feel overjoyed by the overall mood of most anime... hard to explain... Cowboy Bebop is probably the best current example...

      You know the feeling that a great piece of architecture gives you? It's kind of like that.

      --

  • by TargetBoy ( 322020 ) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @01:15PM (#2872357)
    It seems like everytime a "mainstream" source picks up on something that was a "sub-culture", all that anyone who enjoyed the subject of the "sub-culture" has to look forward to is the dumbing down and commercialization of what they previously enjoyed.
  • by fishboy ( 81833 ) <{ac.rekkolb} {ta} {reteip}> on Sunday January 20, 2002 @01:17PM (#2872361) Homepage
    if i could speak out on the constant repetition and yimmer-yammering on the need for free registration at the ny times site:

    first, it is stated here so often that all but the most infrequent users must be, as i am, sick to death of hearing that the nyt requires free registration. we are grown-ups and can handle it if our browser directs us to something that we might have to give a fake email address to. "dammit, those bastards at /. didn't warn me about this!" i vote to drop the warning.

    second, if the free registration bothers everyone so much that it must be stated, why is it that so many stories here are referenced from there? i mean, the stories come from us. does this not imply that the nyt is a valuable tool? so why do we complain about the free reg if so many of us use it?

    third, why can't we get around the idea that the new york times isn't going to just give away its hard work for nothing? the feeling that i get when i read that free registration is required is that it shouldn't be, that it should all be free free free. i, for one, can handle a meaningless free registration for the excellent content they provide. it is not as if they come knocking on my door when i hit the submit button.

    drop the free registration warning!

    my peace.
    • third, why can't we get around the idea that the new york times isn't going to just give away its hard work for nothing? the feeling that i get when i read that free registration is required is that it shouldn't be, that it should all be free free free. i, for one, can handle a meaningless free registration for the excellent content they provide. it is not as if they come knocking on my door when i hit the submit button.

      You mean they don't have banner ads making them money on the other side of the free reg door?

      I wouldn't know; I've never considered the NYT worthwhile enough to even bother with faking an email address. Someone always inevitably mirrors it anyway.

  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @01:18PM (#2872365)
    I think anime has finally become mainstream because we are getting a deluge of releases here in the USA that are either officially licensed (CPM, ADV Films, AnimEigo) or brought over by the production company themselves (Bandai).

    Because of these official releases, we're getting most importantly uncut anime, which reveals some truly astonishing storytelling, to say the least. Who would have thought that Saber Marionette J would be way better than anyone anticipated? Or the groundbreaking Neon Genesis Evangelion? Or be beautifully-animated The Vision of Escaflowne? Or the much-liked Gundam Wing? Or the serio-comic adventures of the three Slayers series?

    Even Sailor Moon can be surprisingly good storytelling if you can get the uncut versions. We're very fortunate that Pioneer is bringing over the third season (Sailor Moon S(uper)), perhaps the best season of the series with very top-notch storytelling.

    In short, Americans are discovering why anime can be quite good--they use superior storytelling to compensate for somewhat subpar animation.
    • > Or the groundbreaking Neon Genesis Evangelion?

      the 'groundbreaking evangelion'? hah, while it was a good series for the first 3/4 of it, for some reason the series completely loses it's focus, or appears to, and moves from an interesting (and good) mech-like anime, to a really really crappy treatise on existence and the human condition. It would also have been nice if it would have had an ending.

      On the whole though, I find that it's nice to be able to walk into more video/dvd stores now and be able to find some anime that at least might pique my interest, and even if none of it piques my interest, it's just kind of nice to see it there.
  • I was reading along the article whne I come upon the words "...released "The Spirits Within," an elaborate computer- animated episode of the long-running "Final Fantasy" series..."
    Now while the much older animated final fantasy "movie," final fantasy legends, might have actually been considered an anime for it's plot and graphics, I, as an anime fanatic, have troubles picturing this great technologically advanced picture as true anime. It seems that anything that comes out of japan that's animated immediatly gets but down as anime. However I believe that the concentration on plot and characters as opposed to the true "animation" part of anime is where anime gets it's tremendous backing and I think it's a shame that FF: The Spirits Within, has been catagoriezed in that genre...
  • I've been waiting and waiting for large amounts of anime to hit DVD...

    If all the Ramna seasons came out on DVD I'd pick them up...
    • You kidding?

      There's easily over a thousand titles on dvd, many are series with 6-8 DVDs each.

      www.animeondvd.com has a list of just about ALL anime DVDs currently out.

      And they're not letting up in their release rate.
    • Yep, I love Ranma 1/2 too. As someone mentioned previously they are available on DVD with both Subtitles and Dubbing now! Finally anime companies are getting DVD right. No more arguments about subbing/dubbing. But who could imagine Ranma in English???
      If you like Ranma you should also check out Rumiko Takahashi's other works, especially Urusei Yatsura. If you thought Ranma was funny you have never met Lum yet. Search the web, and for the DVDs check out Animeigo [animeigo.com].
  • Maybe just so they can get the email addresses of people who are too stupid to give them a fake one, and sell their email to spammers? What the heck else can free registration accomplish?

    Just remember: Whenever any registration asks for personal info, just lie for the sake of screwing up the bastards' database. Like the mp3 by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. here [mp3.com] Oh, dammit, there's free registration required. Just tell them your name is Homer Simpson and your email is nospam@FuckSpammers.com
  • Dammit...The dude left out Lain...what was he thinking...It is The Matrix on crack!
  • Since it recently was part of a Slashdot article, is StarBallz [starballz.com] considered anime because it is an American production, with original dialogue apparently in English, or does anime, by definition, have to be Japanese?

    (In a way, SB is almost a derivative of a derivative, since Lucas borrowed some ideas from Akiro Kurosawa movies, but that's another message thread...)

    • I don't know if production is Japan is a requirement, but originally spoken in Japanese is not. For instance, the movie Vampire Hunter D, Bloodlust is considered anime and the dialog was done in English (even for the Japanese release). FWIW, WHD: B is a decent flick, and worth the price of a movie ticket. It's not of the calibre of the greats, but still pretty good.
      BlackGriffen
    • Yes, for something to be called Anime, it has to be Japanese. Otherwise it might just be 'anime style' or just plain animation or a cartoon.
  • It would have been nice for the artice to mention how much censorship anime is subject to in the US, but otherwise it was very good.
  • I am not a huge anime fan. I've seen Akira, Ghost in the Shell, but thats about it. Over the past couple years I've been getting into it more because, in the bay area, KTEH pbs channel 54 (broadcast, dunno for cable) shows pretty good anime on Sunday nights at 9 or 9:30pm. All unedited, they've shown Evangelion, some Dirty Pair series and another one I can't remember.
    Anyways, if you are in the Bay Area and want to get into Anime this is a pretty cool place to start.

    -Sean
    • I am not a huge anime fan. I've seen Akira, Ghost in the Shell, but thats about it. Over the past couple years I've been getting into it more because, in the bay area, KTEH pbs channel 54 (broadcast, dunno for cable) shows pretty good anime on Sunday nights at 9 or 9:30pm. All unedited, they've shown Evangelion, some Dirty Pair series and another one I can't remember. Anyways, if you are in the Bay Area and want to get into Anime this is a pretty cool place to start.

      They were also the first and only US station to present Lain, they've shown Ruin Hunters (even though that's more fantasy and it's Sci-Fi night) Please Save My Earth! (If I correctly remember that title), all of Macross (yes, NOT robotech) and a whole lot more. They actually take suggestions and requests from viewers and try to get what's been suggested.

      And that's all just part of Sci Fi nights on Sunday. They'll also usually show other Sci-Fi including Dr. Who.

      I just hope that KTEH, based in San Jose, will continue to show anime. I suspect it started because of the many silicon valley geeks supporting the anime with pledges, but there might not be as much as that spare money as there used to be. They've hinted that anime is more expensive to get than ancient Dr. Who episodes, and they get absolutely NO government help when acquiring programming that isn't directly educational...

  • Are any of the Anime shows dubbed in English without altering the dialog and content? I would rather listen to the English voices on Cowboy Bebop (Cartoon Network), but get the dialog and action of the unedited episodes. This might be my own American bias, but the Japanese voices don't sound as distinctive as the American voices.
    • I don't know; I saw a fan subbed version of Cowboy Bebop before I saw the american. I felt that the vocal expressions of Spike and Ed had a lot more depth than the english voice actors. Not to say the english voice actors were not good. The japanese language seems just a little more emotionally expressive than english.

      I do not always watch the japanese version first, because you need to concentrate to watch it and it is easy to miss certain subtle details. Sometimes the english voice acting is so hollow that I have no choice but to watch it in japanese.

      Maybe I should just learn japanese and watch anime in its raw form! :>
  • The piece was interesting, not for it's insights in to anime (it had none for an anime fan), but for it's insights in to the author's own cultural biases. For instance, the author claims that the main character in Ghost in the Shell questions whether she is "man, woman or even human." The major never questioned her gender, only her status as human. Basically, I'm saying that you shouldn't put too much stock in this article (other than the overall message that anime can be good, too), because the author was heavily influenced by his/her biases.

    I've always aid that great art is great not because a person can read it, but because it can read a person. You can tell a lot about a person and his/her basic assumptions by how they interpret a work of art. It just goes to show that anime can be great art, too.

    BlackGriffen
  • I'm not a fan of anime, but I've never thought it was a good thing for the Mainstream Press to pick up on *anytyhing* that is 'sub-culture'. Next thing we know there will be U.S. style anime with million dollar actors doing the voice-overs...

    Originality will be lost...
  • The reason I watch anime in the first place is because it is different than the mainstream. The stories range from amazing to extremely strange and unbelieveable.

    Once you "mainstream" Anime you loose those qualities that make it such a great artform. Just look at the pokemon phenomenon. You take one unique anime and then market it to death. Now all you have are clones of pokemon-like garbage, because that is only thing that can be funded. It kills the artform.

    In the USA parent groups like censoring everything, so that will be a problem as well. Watching the Japanese version of Dragon Ball Z and the funimation/cartoon network version is like watching two different shows.

    Will shows like Cowboy Bebop, BoogiePop phantom, Serial Experiments Lain be funded in the new world of mainstream Anime. I think not.
  • I'd rather it stay a subculture. So what if mainstream admires it, I hope they dont corrupt it like everything else.
  • Well, ignoring for the moment all the anime-culture discussion, all I have to say is that the new Rin Taro movie Metropolis [metropolis-movie.com] looks quite tantalizing.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday January 20, 2002 @03:23PM (#2872914) Homepage Journal

    In their quest to (briefly) examine the cultural significance of anime, they completely failed to note the "cultural training" aspect of anime, perhaps culturally one of those most significant things that anime has to show us - As anthropologists, of course. Any anime otaku knows that the most significant thing it has to show us is shower scenes.

    What I find most interesting about anime, on an intellectual level, is what children's shows especially (like Ranma 1/2) but really a great deal of anime has to say about Japanese cultural roles. While re-re-rewatching Ranma 1/2 OVA I could only laugh about the characters attempting to pigeonhole each other into their respective gender roles, especially in the case of Akane and her cooking. There is a great contrast between Akane's character actually in her element, where she is a strong fighter, and the kitchen, where they keep putting her. That's fine in the sense of comedic relief, but both she and the other characters (including her father) treat her as if she's useless simply because she can't cook.

    It's also quite interesting (and also unexplored in the article) what's in kids' anime in Japan - Shower scenes, gratuitous breast shots, et cetera. While I agree that it's not such a big deal, it would be less questionable if the naked girls in question didn't universally posess pornstar figures. How many girls in Japan have a willow-thin body and DD-cup breasts? Especially at the age of 16 or so? Not too bloody many.

    This is just a typical fluff piece by the NY times. It's good to see someone so mainstream doing a piece on the cultural significance of anime, but they're several years too late (This would have been timely three years ago when anime was just starting to gain massive cultural acceptance with the rapidly flowering social and economic maturity of the so-called "Generation X") and they aren't examining enough of the things which really make anime special. Someone in charge over at NYT basically just said "Give me a couple thousand words on the significance of Anime and we'll tuck it in here to make more slashdotters complain about required registration."

  • I saw this cool show hosted by Samuel L Jackson the other day: "Art of Action: Martial Arts in the Movies".
    One part had Ang Lee(Crouching Tiger) talking about how he would have never believed a few years ago that a chinese language martial arts film could be so popular in america and win an Oscar(the way he said Oscar was pretty incredulous/funny, :)
    Americans have come a long way since the times of wanting Carradine over Bruce Lee
    As Americans become less bigoted we will seee more and more foreign things gain popularity.
    The world will be a bit nicer place as this happens too, since one of the primary complaints America-haters have is that our culture is swamping theirs.
    • Americans have come a long way since the times of wanting Carradine over Bruce Lee

      You are comparing apples and oranges.

      Bruce Lee was in some great martial-arts films, but the films were just vehicles for showing Lee's amazing fight scenes. Plot? Character development? No budget for that.

      The Kung Fu TV series didn't have any great fight scenes. It did have real actors, plots with some depth, and good production values. So what if Carradine was not a martial-arts expert, that wasn't the point of the series, despite the title.

      What made "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" so successful, is that it was not the stereotypical chop-socky film. Most martial-arts films remind me of Western opera. The plot is secondary to the music and singing.

  • It is definitly NOT cool that a mainstream source pick up on anime. Anime is great, anime is fascinating, anime is cool, and it would be a tragedy for it to be picked up and homogenized into American culture. And so while it may be selfish, I hope that anime never succeeds in mainstream America... I hope that is limited to fringe comic shops and fserv-packed IRC channels.

    Anime provides a unique view of Japanese culture and language. Once you sub it into English, warp the characters, and merchandise the hell out of it, anime ceases to be an encounter with a foreign culture and starts to become yet another tribute to ourselves.

    • You sir (or madam) are an elitist bastard. Don't pull that bullshit. You can keep your crappy subs and everything, it's not like we're going to change the stuidos over there. At worst stations show dubs and make their own anime wannabe, whoop de do. You're part of the same people who love ultra-obscure anime just for the sake of it. Oh and about you want anime to be only in "fringe comic shops and fserv-packed IRC channels"? Wow. Incredible. So you want it to stay small and a obscure. Hey, what's your favorite indie band? Does it have less than 1000 fans? What if it gets more? Ohhh ya you're going to find a different band. You're no different than those people. Of course, there's nothing to sell out of compared to bands. The anime will stay the same as long as you get your subtitles. Sheesh. Shut the hell up and get a f'n clue.

      I'll be grabbing my fansubs happily off of alt.binaries.anime/alt.binaries.multimedia.anime happily even after it becomes mainstream. Just because people know wtf anime is now doesn't make it crap.

      I'd be more nice and all, but this is one of my pet peeves. You've just rubbed me the wrong way, sorry.
  • After reading the article, I downloaded La Blue Girl off the local collage LAN. But what I have doesn't seem to match the description on the site at all, which described the film as a high quality thriller about a child actress becoming an actor. What I got was a retarded tentacle rape Hentai.

    Does anyone know what show the author actually meant?
    • Ok, so I'm a moron. I missread 'perfict blue'. Which isn't on the lan for me to pirate either :(
  • from the nyt article :

    At times, anime figures look strikingly like the sexualized children created by the Chicago outsider artist Henry Darger.

    not having heard of henry darger i went and did a quick google search

    some info from here [saraayers.com]

    His landlord was cleaning out his room after his death and came across a startling discovery: alone in his room, Darger had created a beautiful and violent fantasy world, primarily embodied in a 15,000 page epic narrative, "The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion."

    several illustrations from this huge work shown on this site [tripod.com]

    after viewing these images i would question th nyt's use of th word sexualised - and on another matter, th nyt article suggests anime is a corruption of th english word animation - i had always understood it to be from th french word animé

  • Don't get me wrong, I like Ranma, but the animated version is kinda crappy.

try again

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