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Anime

The Giants of Anime are Coming 392

Wired is running a story about the Giants of Anime which discusses numerous things happening on the anime front, including the new Ghost in the Shell movie, and the upcoming Miyazaki release "Howl's Moving Castle". This is something of a background piece for people somewhat unfamiliar, but it also covers a lot of interesting bits that the fans might enjoy as well.
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The Giants of Anime are Coming

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  • Greatest Anime Film? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jetkust ( 596906 )
    So what is the greatest full-length anime film ever made? Ghost In the Shell? Akira? Metropolis? Spirited Away? Wings of Honneamise? Anywone Know? I always figured it was Akira, but that's just me.
    • I'd say Ghost in the Shell! A lot of people are going to say Spirited Away because on the exposure it got.
    • by Icarus1919 ( 802533 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @09:51AM (#10117581)
      Duh. Everyone knows that the greatest anime movie is Pokemon: The First Movie.
    • by DJTodd242 ( 560481 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @09:53AM (#10117599) Homepage
      I would like to whole heartedly congratulate you for this post. I'm certain that this isn't a loaded question, and we'll see insightful discourse on the subject of Anime.

      People's mothers, including thier mating, and eating habits will not be mentioned at all. :)
    • For me it was actually the Cowboy Bebop movie.

      Akira is way overhyped. Spirited Away was long and boring. Even Perfect Blue has lost it's charm for me. But any movie with the song 'Tank' in it is a good movie...
      • by mirko ( 198274 )
        I don't like anime which I consider dull and boring.
        Akira was a fantasdtic comic but didn't make it on a screen.
        I do not know the other you mention but there's ONE anime which actually carried me, it was Hotaru no haka" [imdb.com].
        Very few anime were THAT convincing.
        • by jandrese ( 485 ) * <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:24AM (#10117912) Homepage Journal
          Ah yes, Grave of the Fireflies. I've traumatized several people into never ever watching animation again with that film. It's not the sort of movie I just whip out when people ask what they should see, it's definatly something you need to get mentally prepared for first.
          • by Otik2 ( 317009 )
            You need to get mentally prepared (or unwound) after it too. I read [nausicaa.net] that when it first aired in Japan, it was a double-feature with Totoro. That seems like a very good idea to me; I watched them together too, and if I hadn't watched Totoro right after Grave, it would have been a lot tougher...
            • by iantri ( 687643 )
              Actually, they talk about this on the North American DVD release. Apparently, they tried showing it two different orders (Totoro/Fireflies and Fireflies/Totoro), and found that people absolutely HATED Fireflies when seen after Totoro.

              Guess that ties into the aforementioned psychological effect.

          • by Zak3056 ( 69287 )
            Ah yes, Grave of the Fireflies. I've traumatized several people into never ever watching animation again with that film.

            I've seen the opposite effect--utter shock that something as mundane as a "cartoon" could tell that kind of story, and an interest in more of the genre.

      • by xagon7 ( 530399 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:27AM (#10117948)
        I do agree Cowboy Bebop was one of the best Anime movie I have ever seen. I'd put it up there with Ninja Scroll.

        I don't remember "Tank" being in the movie.... just the series.

        Fo those who don't know, "Tank" is the song played at the beginning of the TV episodes....awesome, just awesome, and like Farscape, any show that has the balls to be that creative and get away with it deserves my respect.
    • Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind in my book, closely followed by Mononoke Hime. But I'm a Miyazaki Fanboy, so I'm likely biased.
    • I'm truly split between
      Ghost in the Shell
      and
      my Neighboor Totoro
      and I'm not anywhere near
      to make up my damn mind.
    • Akira. (Score:3, Interesting)

      Although I did like Spirited Away, it had a very Alice in Wonderland sort of feel. I can't stand listening to the English dubs though- that little girls voice in the English dubs is so whiney and annoying. But yeah, Akira is the best. It is just fantastic. It's like blade runner and clockwork orange all in one. The manga is much better (because there is just so much more there), but the movie is just drop dead amazing. Next I would say Vampire Hunter D, and the sequel as well. Then would come Macross
    • For me the best anime ever is Ghost in the Shell followed by Ghibli's "Hotaru no Haka" (Graveyard of the Fireflies)
    • by supun ( 613105 )
      End of Evangelion

      A great (second) ending to the Neon Genesis Evangelion series.
    • Grave of the Fireflies, a lesser known product of Studio Ghibli.

      IF you watch it I dare you not to cry.
    • by Soul-Burn666 ( 574119 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:07AM (#10117752) Journal
      Honestly, though, I think no full-length anime film can ever come close to a full-length anime series with 26~ episodes.
      Sure, the movie can be amazing and very cinematic, but 1.5-2 hours is not enough time to build a character with the sophistication some anime builds them.
      Sure, movies can build very complex ideas and characters (regardless if it's JP or US movie/series) but usually it makes you think "well, that's a character I only seen for the first time an hour ago..." instead of learning about the character from 10-20 episodes, in many different situations and mini-stories.

      Ofcourse, this applies to movies vs series regardless of their origin and ofcourse there are also stupid, shallow series and good, complex movies.
      • Exactly, because no movie can compare to the nearly 100 epesodes of Naurato, or the story in a series like Noir or Trigun. I sit each week and download the new Naurato, as if I were waiting on a new epesode of Law and Order on television. For me, some of the best tv is actually anime off of the internet.
      • Honestly, though, I think no full-length anime film can ever come close to a full-length anime series with 26~ episodes.

        More like 13 episodes. Most 26 episode series these days break it up into two major story arcs, and manage to give you two good stories in 26 episodes. But there are a lot of 13 episode series lately. And for what it's worth, Cowboy Bebop was like this, only they mixed in the episodes from the Vicious story arc (which I didn't care for) throughout the entire run.

        Recent good recent an

    • by chendo ( 678767 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:07AM (#10117753)
      ...... gotta be End of Evangelion, folks.

      Because- Hey, what are you doing? I'm using this thing!
      No! I don't wanna go back there! I WANT TO BE FREE, NOT IN REHAB! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO #@$@&(#$(*@#^# - NO CARRIER
    • by Mprx ( 82435 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:10AM (#10117777)
      Akira has the most impressive animation, but My Neighbor Totoro is the greatest. It proves you don't need violence and conflict to have a great story, only great characters. I've seen it compared to the Winnie The Pooh stories (the originals, not the Disney crap), which also show how a flawless children's story can be enjoyed by everybody.
      • I don't know what it is about Totoro, but if someone could figure it out and bottle it up, they could rule the world. For a kids story, Totoro kicks total ass. Even in the dub.
      • I agree. I bought the VHS 20th Century Fox version for my kids when they were little and we've watched it probably over 50 times. My daughter is 13 now and when we saw the DVD on the sales rack, she made me buy it, even though we're waiting for the Disney widescreen/re-dub/subtitled version next year.

        You hit the nail on the head about the violence and conflict. It amazes me that this is a kid's movie that doesn't bore them (or any adult that I have met) despite the fact that it has no (a) slapstick humo
    • It's funny this topic came up today, I just read my Wired magazine last night in bed and really enjoyed the article about the new anime coming out this year. I'm especially excited about Steam Boy.

      As someone who's seen most of the major Anime films, I would have to put my vote for story with Lensman, overall narative with Spirited Away, and animation wise I'd go with Final Fantasy (it really is a good movie, though I think they should of made it fantasy based instead of sci-fi based, but oh well).

      With

    • by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:25AM (#10117923)
      According to the IMDB... [imdb.com]

      Taking away non-animé animated animations, we come up with:

      1. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away) * ^
      2. Mononoke-hime (Princess Mononoke) * ^
      3. Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) ^
      4. Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta (Laputa: Castle in the Sky) * ^
      5. Sennen joyu (Millenium Actress) ^
      6. Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro) * ^
      7. Majo no takkyubin (Kiki's Delivery Service) * ^
      8. Shin seiki Evangelion Gekijô-ban: Air/Magokoro wo, kimi ni (Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion)
      9. Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds) * ^
      10. Mimi wo sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart) * ^
      11. Akira
      12. Kurenai no buta (Flying Pig/Porco Rosso) * ^
      13. Kôkaku kidôtai (Ghost in the Shell)
      14. Jûbei ninpûchô (Ninja Scroll)
      15. Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro (Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro) * ^
      16. Vampire Hunter D
      17. Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no tobira (Cowboy Bebop: The Movie)
      18. Jin-Rô (Jin Roh)^
      19. Perfect Blue ^

      * A Hayao Miyazaki film.
      ^ Not a film about giant robots, ninjas, or robot-ninjas fighting each other. Not a film set in a dystopian future or filled with demons.

      So, of the top 50, we've got 19 features being animé (and half of the Bottom 10 are animé). Of the top 10, 5 are animé, 4 are by Pixar, and one is Shrek.
    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:26AM (#10117933) Journal
      Should it be purely entertaining? Tell a involving story? Make you think? Is the animation important?

      Even then you aren't finished. Exactly what do you find entertaining. What does make a story involving. What stuff have you already thought about and don't need to be reminded by a movie?

      The one that made me think was "Grave of the fireflies" [imdb.com] a movie you could compare with the western "Empire of the sun" [imdb.com]. Both tell the what happens to kids in times of war. I liked one review that claimed fireflies was the best movie he ever watched and never wanted to watch again.

      Of course if you like Akira and Ghost in the shell you might find fireflies very slow moving even boring. Perhaps. Depends for what reason you like the first two.

      Another highly regarded movie you don't list is "Angels egg" [imdb.com]. One of the few movies you could watch without knowing any japanese and still be able to "understand" what is going on.

      This will probabaly get me modded down but the movies you list are the typical "hollywood approved" anime movies people in the west have heard about. Doesn't mean the movies are bad or any less then their more unknown, in the west, siblings but if you really want to find the greatest anime movie ever you need to do a little bit more watching. Akira may then still be the greatest to you but at least you will have a longer list to show you watched anime other then the ones with a western approved release.

      Oh and my favorite movie? I don't really have such a thing. There are far to many great movies I have seen that I like for different reasons. I am afraid that if I pick a single movie that "scores" best in all my catogories that I am falling into the hollywood trap of creating movies to appeal to everyone that end up appealing to no-one. Just saw a docu on Red Dwarf. American movie studie wants to cast Hugh Grant as Lister.


      • excelent post. but i will hold off on modding it to add to it.

        I havent seen this movie listed in anyones posts:
        http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0093207/

        Wings of Honneamise. its such a simple movie, with little action, but it was the first anime I had ever seen that had a "normal" plot. It told a story and did it extremely well, held my attention without resorting to giant robots and the like. much like some of the movies you listed.

        Just wanted to through that out there... since noone else has.

        still, my fa
    • As far as depth of story goes I have always prefered 'Roujin Z'. A somewhat bizarre but pointed message about the issues of an aging population.

      just my 2p

  • by slipnslidemaster ( 516759 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @09:52AM (#10117589)
    I think that one of the best things that could happen to Anime is the spotlight that Cartoon Network has put on it with Adult Swim.

    I think that they should find more quality shows and expand Adult Swim.

    • The best stuff on Adult Swim, though, isn't anime (with the exception of Cowboy Bebop) - Spaceghost, Family Guy, Sealab 2021, Harvey Birdman, the Brak Show...

      The only anime they show (once again, exclusing Cowboy Bebop) is senseless crap like Inuyasha in its cut-down, edited-for-TV format, and Trigun, which, well, let's face it - TriGun is just Dragon Ball Z +1. The animation sucks, the story sucks, the wriring sucks, the voice acting sucks... it's just there to serve as an idol for socially akward 14 year
      • Witch Hunter Robin and FLCL are pretty good. Although neither are being aired at the moment. And I'm pretty sure they're gonna be airing GitS Stand Alone Complex, which I've heard is good.
      • All anime that has ever been run in the Adult Swim block (from memory and the list here [animenewsnetwork.com] ):
        • Blue Gender
        • Cowboy Bebop
        • FLCL
        • Gundam 0083
        • Inuyasha
        • Pilot Candidate
        • Kenshin
        • Trigun
        • The Animatrix
        • With Hunter Robin
        • Yu Yu Hakusho
        • Case Closed/Detective Conan
        • Lupin the 3rd
        • Trigun

        There are a few shows I left out that were borrowed from Toonami, and some on that list migrated back to Toonami in the end. However, my point is that many of those do not suck and are not DBZ clones, and are not meant for children.

        They us

      • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @12:01PM (#10119031) Homepage Journal
        Witch Hunter Robin, Wolf's Rain and FLCL are some of the best I've ever run across. Witch Hunter Robin and Wolf's Rain both took me several episodes to get into them, but they're pretty amazing once you get to know the characters. FLCL has more of a pubescent fantasy feel to it but that's kind of the point with that one. So I don't think you're giving the anime lineup enough credit.

        Their line-up of 15 minute shows is pretty twisted. The episodes I've seen of Harvey Birdman have been very... wrong... But they're all very hit-or-miss. I guess it's hard to keep up that level of twisted humor consistently across an entire season. I like 'em though.

  • Greater influence (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @09:53AM (#10117605)
    Personally, I find it interesting to see how anime is having a greater influence in all art forms with time. It has gone from a cult-ish art form to now being featured in music videos (Linkin Park's sensational "Breaking the Habit") as well as a majestic scene in Tarantino's Kill Bill. And these are the obvious ones. As the article says, we have seen it in the Matrix, etc. This is not something that is going away anytime soon...
    • Anime has been in music videos since at least Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" [matthew-sweet.com] and that was back in 1991, already three years after Akira hit the U.S. shores.

      My litmus test for anime becoming mainstream is when people will talk about a film like Spirited Away or Perfect Blue (that is to say, no fighting robots), and not call it an anime film -- or see it because the story is good, not because it's "anime".
    • Re:Greater influence (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RsG ( 809189 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:08AM (#10117760)
      On the other hand, geeks are remarkably fickle about anything percieved as mainstream. I'm not saying that we automatically dismiss anything that is popular, but there is a strong preference for the exotic and unusual. Even when something is both normal and loved by geeks, we tend to take it to the next level (ala Star Wars/Star Trek and the flamewars fought over which is better).

      For Amine, I really can't see the genre maintaining it's geek cred as it becomes widely accepted and influential (note: I'm reffering to the west here, not Japan where Anime is obviously percieved quite differently). Ask youself: if this was Pokemon specifically, would it be featured on /.? I don't know if we can overcome this attitude that popular = bad, and unfortunately I'm not sure that this perception isn't justified in many cases; obscurity _is_ frequently good for artistic integrity. You might regret it if the genre becomes mainstream.
      • "For Amine, I really can't see the genre maintaining it's geek cred as it becomes widely accepted and influential (note: I'm reffering to the west here, not Japan where Anime is obviously percieved quite differently). ... You might regret it if the genre becomes mainstream."

        What you haven't taken into account is that there are lots of 'streams' of anime. Things like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Miyazaki (i.e. Spirited Away, Totoro, Mononoke, etc.) have been a lot more mainstream and accessible to North Ame

  • My Guess (Score:4, Funny)

    by Doesn't_Comment_Code ( 692510 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @09:53AM (#10117606)
    ...which discusses numerous things happening on the anime front...

    I'll venture a guess that the top story on the anime front is some guy hovering in the air screaming at another guy hovering in the air - with various colorbursts displayed behind them all the while. They continue this for several minutes, building up to a short, rather anti-climactic fight.

    But I could be wrong.
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @09:57AM (#10117659) Homepage Journal
    I'm not much of an Anime fan, and usually refrain from commenting on related stories. However I came across this site [uguu.org] in a comment in the IOCCC story yesterday, and thought it was pretty cool.

    Lots of ASCII-art type Anime characters there, except that all of it is source code.

  • Steamboy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @09:59AM (#10117675) Homepage
    I saw Steamboy a month ago, and wrote a small review for my friends on my blog [lucs.lu.se]. May be of interest to some here:

    [Steamboy] is a new anime by Katsuhiro Otomo (of Akira fame), set in England in 1851, around the time of the world exhibition in Londons Crystal Palace.

    Visually, the movie is stunning. The characters are expressive and individualistic, the backdrops are beautiful, and, of course, the movie is replete with larger-than-life nineteenth-century steam technology. There is enough dramatic machinery and unlikely "science" in this movie to sate even the most rabid steampunk fetishist.

    The story is complex and varied. I'm not going to detail it here - mainly because my Japanese just isn't up to the task of actually understanding all the twist and turns. I lost track about halfway through, to be honest, and Ritsuko too had trouble follwing it, in part because the speech tended to be fast and garbled. Nevertheless, they have managed to create believable characters with at least some depth, while at the same time all the clichés we know and love are well and truly fulfilled. The villain, for example, has an partial facemask and mechanical hand - I guess that adding a white cat and a monocle would have been a little over the top.

    Did I like it? Yes, with a few reservations. This is a looong movie - 2h20m to be more precise. A bathroom break before seeing it is advisable. An of course, I can't really judge the story fairly when I don't really understand it - the end seemed to me to be a little artificial (not to mention wildly contrary to any scientific intuition), but as I couldn't follow the character motivations and interactions by that time, I can't be sure I understood it correctly.

    Should you see it? If you like anime or steampunk, absolutely! And even if you don't, it has enough of an Indiana Jones kind of feel to it that I think you'll be entertained in any case.
  • Links to IMDb (Score:5, Informative)

    by CaptainCheese ( 724779 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:03AM (#10117713) Journal
    Innocence [imdb.com]
    Steamboy [imdb.com]
    Howl's Moving Castle [imdb.com]

    You'll find links onward to trailers from here...I'd paste the direct links, but I don't want to /. anyone who can't handle it...
  • by craenor ( 623901 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:06AM (#10117740) Homepage
    It happened at DragonCon in 1996 when this 260 pound, middle-aged, hairy guy walked past me dressed as Sailor Moon.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not that I didn't like some anime movies I've seen, but a lot of people seem to be really obsessed with it. And a lot of those obsessed seem to fall into the geek category.

    So here is my question:
    What is so fascinating about anime (as compared to other movie genres) and why do animes have such an geek appeal?
    • by azmodean ( 808246 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @11:04AM (#10118343)
      The primary reason I tend to enjoy anime more than I enjoy hollywood produced movies is the lack of pandering present in much of anime (much, not all, there are many anime that do pander, but I digress). The reason this is so was touched on briefly in the article. Many artists have total or near-total control of their story from the time they first think of it untill it is released, that just doesn't happen too often in hollywood (and when it does, I tend to like those movies) Many anime producers are allowed to do their work unhampered by focus groups or executives telling them what can and cannot be in their work.

      Another reason I like anime is that much of it is not watered down as most hollywood fare is, when someone dies it isn't some quick event that is glossed over; it's messy, it's gory, and it looks painful. I think one of the most unhealthy concepts I have ever seen in mass media is the "looney tunes" treatment of violence. Portraying violence as harmless and fun is much more disturbing to me than seeing more realistic violence with reprecussions attached. I could go on and on, but it would likely fall on deaf ears anyway.
  • "Howl" in the US (Score:4, Informative)

    by ll1234 ( 167894 ) * on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:16AM (#10117828) Homepage

    An acquisition and release date haven't been announced, but are basically formalities. For comparison, it took about a year for Spirited Away to make it from Japanese theaters to US theaters [nausicaa.net].

    The film is already scheduled for theatrical release in France early in 2005.

    It's also making an appearance at the Venice Film Festival. I don't expect it to win 'Best in Show' like 'Spirited Away' did at the Berlin Film Festival, but it's great to see animation put on equal footing with live-action unlike the Acadamy Awards.

  • Ninja Scroll. That movie got me started on Anime. Will always be my favorite.
    • Not for me.

      Vampire Hunter D

      which led to Akira which led to countless others.

      FYI, did anyone else who saw Blood wish that it had been much longer?
  • when is the Devilman movie [apple.com] coming out?

  • by bludstone ( 103539 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:19AM (#10117858)
    I scanned the article and saw no mention of the new ghost in the shell tv series, "Stand Alone Complex."

    If you like anime, or liked the original movie. Go buy this on dvd. Now. Its simply the most remarkable anime I have seen in more then 5 years (and ive been doing this for more then a decade)

    At a million-bucks-an-episode budget, this title is visually incredible. Almost movie-quality effects everywhere. The soundtrack is haunting and fits so well, as does all of yoko kanno's work.

    The themes of the movie are better fleshed out, and the characters more developed. (and more accurate to the manga, by many accounts)

    Oh yeah. The DTS track on the LE dvd blew my mind.

    I was shocked to see this anime. Its the best Ive seen since Cowboy Bebop.
  • by Wireless Joe ( 604314 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:23AM (#10117897) Homepage
    Coming to the Staples Center! Stare in amazement as the Giants of Anime [wired.com] take on the Monsters of Rock [asseenontvmusic.com]! Can the vixens of Sailor Moon [projectanime.com] survive in the Spiked Cage of Death for three minutes with the hellcats of L7 [smelll7.com]? Cringe in horror as the KISS Army takes a full frontal assault from the Red Ribbon Army [myfavoritegames.com]!

    As allways, we'll sell you the whole seat, but you'll only need the edge!
  • Anime geeks rejoice, your time has come!!

    ^_^

    -_-;

    >_<

    <('_'<)
    ^('_')^
    (>'_')>
  • by ChrisRijk ( 1818 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @10:49AM (#10118201)
    Gundam barely got a mention. No shoujo (girl's) anime mentioned at all. Not much mention of anime TV series...

    Lot of good anime is based on novels too, though they're rarer. I feel that most novel conversions are great (though my Japanese isn't good enough to read novels) but I often feel let down by anime based on an original manga series. Patlabor, Hellsing, Azumanga Daioh and Gunslinger Girl are good examples of manga conversions though. I'm probably picker than average though.

    Some examples of anime based on novels: Slayers (TV series a lot more slapstick than novels though), Read or Die, Scrapped Princess, Crest of the Stars (and follow-ons), The Tweleve Kingdoms.

    Crest of the Stars is one of my favourite series - battles in a 2D universe, the interesting Abh culture and language (the author made up his own language and character set), and some very interesting characters. In pretty much any western series, if you have a race of genetically engineered people, it pretty much has to be a distaster - not so in CotS. Also, democracy vs royalty - democracy has to be superior... but not in CotS. Pretty fun. Ahh... if they'd only make another series...

    The Tweleve Kingdoms is awesome too. Doesn't seem that way at the start, but it has some incredible plots and character development. More!
  • Since it's anime, shouldn't it be called "Moving Castle Howl" or something like that?
  • Yoshitoshi Abe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MEK ( 71818 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @11:08AM (#10118389)
    Wired ignores the most creative figure involved with anime today -- Yoshitoshi Abe. Abe was scarcely out of school when his character designs helped bring "Serial Experiment Lain" to life. This groundbreaking work would have been a far more arid exercise had it not been populated by Abe's characters.

    Abe (and part of the Lain team) went on to make the interesting, but not entirely successful "Niea_7". For this, Abe contributed not only character (and environmental) designs, but the basic story.

    Abe then went on to create one of the most beautiful and moving animated series ever -- "Haibane Renmei". Inspired more by the films of Angelopoulos and Kore'eda than other anime, this understated story of young people reincarnated in a bucolic limbo is not only wonderfully animated but remarkably sophisticated theologically (in a fundamentally non-denominational fashion).

    Most recently, Abe has teamed up with much of the crew from Lain to make his most visually compelling work yet -- "Texhnolyze". This dark dystopian work adapts the fragmented narrative methodology of John Brunner's greatest sf novels ("Stand on Zanzibar", "Sheep Look Up") in a thoroughly cinematic fashion.

    Any discussion of anime giants that doesn't include Abe (and his colleagues) is incomplete.
  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @11:12AM (#10118440) Homepage
    I get the impression that Hollywood is blocking Anime. Could it be that they see it as a threat? My experience is telling me that Anime is no longer a cult thing. I'm 27, and my youngest brother (11 yrs) to people my age (30s) are watching and collecting anime. It's available in mainstream stores now (Best Buy, movie stores) and video rental places offer them.

    But I don't see them in theaters. Spirited Away didn't even make it into as many theaters as Gigli! Live-action anime-like movies get even worse treatment. Granted, Kill Bill was successful, and the comic movies do well. But Shaolin Soccer was a hit in China and Japan, but it can't seem to make it over here. My younger bros wear Naruto t-shirts to school, but I hear that will never be licensed in the US.

    What's going on?
    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @01:39PM (#10120359) Journal
      Well not really wich is why it is in quotes. Rather it is the fault of the people who watch disney.

      For some reason the idea is in the west that only live action is capable of telling "real" stories. These people just like the author of this article always have to point out the turd fighting super giant robot girls. At the same time neatly forgetting that this kinda stuff appears in hollywood movies as well. Or exactly what is "Attack of the 50 foot woman" about again?

      There are other reasons to, so here is my bullet lists of reason why anime isn't being seen in the rest of the world.

      • Cartoons are for kids. Partly the reason but doesn't explain then why not more anime is shown in childerens programs.
      • Language barrier. Japanese is a very difficult language. Not just to learn but also to translate. Americans ain't good with foreign languages. The german detective series derrick is highly regarded. Do americans know it? Doubt it. So either you dub it, hard to fit english into japenese mouths, sub it, americans can't read, edit it, get pokemon and turn anime into american kid cartoon.
      • Culture flows naturally from the above. Sex is the simpest. Compare the pokemon manga as released in japan and in the west. In japan the girl got BOOBS. The american release has that edited out so they appear almost flat chested or at least showing a lot less cleavage. More then a few manga/anime I read have underaged drinking. Japan is a nation of boozers and it doesn't seem to considered a problem although it is illegal. That however is a nono in america.

        But while nudity and sexyness is more accepted in japanese anime, sex itself is far more restricted. Not at all unusual for at least one of the leads to be a virgin.

        Simply put the people in manga/anime can behave to different for western tastes. Or at least that is what tv/movie bosses think.

      All this may make it difficult to show most manga/anime in the west. Exactly how do you market an extremely popular series like Ranma? At kids? It got nudity. At adults? The main chars don't even kiss. Do you translate typical japanese things to their western equivalent even if that ruins any chance of the joke coming across? Do you explain the joke? Make up your own?

      I already see such things when I watch The Muppets on dutch tv. 2 stories for the price of one. The english audio and the dutch subs.

      Disney was a business man and story teller who really studied the art of animation. He certainly has tried to create animation that was not just for kids but sadly most people think disney == kids. There fore cartoon == kids.

      To bad those people will miss out but it is there loss not mine. Disney isn't to blame. People that dismiss intresting forms of story telling because it takes a certain form are. It is like saying casablance is slapstick because laurel & hardy is black & white.

      If you are going to blame anyone blaim the catogorirs. Who on earth would put Shindlers List in a category with Police Academy? Then why is Grave of the fireflies listed in the same category as Pokemon?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @02:14PM (#10120790)
    I like how articles like these focus on anime productions that exist outside of the mainstream. Flicks like Innocence, Howl's, and Steamboy are about as far from regular Japanese animation as you can get. Innocence and Steamboy mostly failed at the Japanese box office, but hope to do well internationally. Howl's will do as well as any Miyazaki film, but Ghibli movies have an appeal that reach far outside the anime fandom.

    Contrast those works and some of the others mentioned here (like Yoshitoshi Abe's stuff) to what we typically see in the Japanese anime mainstream: giant robot that, magical girlfriend this, harem anime that, 150-episode fighting anime this. Sturgeon's Law applies here.

    anyone else amused at how the article calls Production-IG the "Miramax of Anime"? I'm sure they meant that in a nice way...

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