Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Anime" vs "Not Anime"

There`s been this back and forth between western anime fans over what exactly qualifies as “anime” and what “isn`t anime” … I guess the general idea goes that “Any animation that is produced by Japanese people in Japan FOR Japanese people is anime … and everything else isn`t.” … So by that logic, despite Japanese artists having worked on the animation, things like the original transformers series, G.I. Joe, etc would *not* be anime … while things like “Dragonball” and “Cowboy Bebop” *would* be anime.

Before the 90`s I suppose this conversation may have been fun, and slightly valid. “Bugs bunny is American animation, Speed Racer is anime … but what is That Last Unicorn?” Japanese artists made it … but it was produced by and for the western world … so which one is it?

Now-a-days though, globalization has made this conversation completely useless.
Look, if you want to put your “The Last Unicorn” DVD on a different shelf from your “anime” collection … be my guest. Have  blast. But really getting stressed out over this, or for reddit to actually remove a page due to a non-Japanese person`s involvement in the process is complete insanity.

Let me speak directly to, and completely debunk you “this isn`t anime” clowns right now, by asking you a question:

At what level in the creation process must non-Japanese people be involved with to *disqualify it* as anime?

Is it In-between animator? If an American artist, let’s say, does a whole lot of in-between animation for an anime would it not be anime anymore? 

If so then uhh ohh! Looks like Naruto and Tokyo Ghoul aren`t anime anymore because I did in-between animation for them.

How about the next step? If an American works on secondary key animation for an anime … would *then* it stop being an anime? If so then Uhh OHH!! Looks like Naruto and Tokyo Ghoul STILL aren`t anime cause I did secondary key animation on both of those as well.

How about Key animation? If a western artist does key animation for an anime does it stop being an anime? If so then Uhh Ohh, Naruto *STILL* isn`t an anime cause I did Key animation for an episode. And “Sweetness and lightning” and “Nurse Witch Komugi-chan” aren`t anime either.

Maybe up till now your response is “Well, fine Henry. Foreigners can work on the animation process … but once they start getting higher up that’s when it stops.” …Ohh really? I personally haven`t worked as animation director, but there *have* been westerns who have. (Look it up. True story.) … are the anime they worked on *not* anime?

How about higher up? Like Director? … Uhh Ohh! Looks like Tekkon Kinkreet isn`t an anime anymore! What is it by the way? American animation? WOW! I as an American get to claim Tekkon Kinkreet as an animation made by and for my culture??? Marvelous! (Sarcasm folks. Sarcasm.)

So now (here comes the grand finale) maybe you still want to say “Well … if it`s FOR the Japanese market then it`s still anime! So even though Tekkon Kinkreet was directed by an American … it`s still Japanese anime! HA!” ………hmmmmm ……… OK. But then that would mean that both Genocyber and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, both of which were released in America first (Vampire Hunter D even created in *English* first w/ the Japanese language track added as an afterthought much later on.) both clearly produced with the west in mind over Japan, would both *NOT* be anime. To which I would again ask … so does that mean VHD:Bloodlust is an American animation? I imagine the Japanese animators at Madhouse will be very surprised to hear that.

So yea. There is no more “anime” vs “not anime” … the world, thanks to globalization, has totally merged (or at least is in the process of merging) So please stop this nonsense. LeSean Thomas is creating Cannon Busters and Children of Ether. Cruchyroll and NetFlix are producing their own series. Foreign artists are getting hired more and more in Japan. I myself am even directing a 5 minute pilot film in Japan w/ Japanese artists called “Indigo Ignited”…… sorry to disappoint all you haters, but “Anime is animation is anime is animation” … it`s all merged.

Ohh … and Reddit, for christ’s sake, seriously, don`t take down anymore posts. Ridiculous man…Completely ridiculous.


Unknown said...

I think this is one of those things where the "it's fine, just don't be a dick about it" rule of thumb easily applies.

It's fine if someone wants to keep using the term "anime" to refer pseudo-exclusively to animation that is produced within the Japanese animation industry (e.g. produced by studios based in Japan and/or by people who have made their careers in said industry) as long as that person is open-minded about the fact that isn't a perfect definition. As long as they understand that it is just their personal defintion, they aren't a dick about the corner cases, and they're open to discussing titles that don't meet their personal criteria for "anime" ... well that's fine, call it whatever you want! 99.9% of the time, we all know what they mean by "anime", and the other 0.1% of the time it'll just be a shrug and "Yeah, that's a weird one, I guess it partially is and isn't what I would call anime, but whatever it doens't really matter." If they want to call that new show they're watching from Hong Kong "donghua" instead of "anime" but they're just as open to liking and discussing the show either way... well that's fine by me, whatever floats your boat.

But on the other hand, people who think that they need to build walls around their precious definition of what is and isn't "anime" and act as if it is some sort of trascendently superior industry to any other animation which mustn't be tarnished by association with anything that doesn't meet their rigid definition... yeah those people need a reality check. Though it's fun ask them why they do/don't think The Red Turtle is anime since it was made by Ghibli, and then watching their head explode.

Cruz said...

> Genocyber and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

So yes I still think if it isn't made for a Japanese audience it isn't under what I define as anime. Why even define something if you don't have clear borders anyway? Just use cartoon, which anime would be a part of.

But we do speak of anime, because it is something foreign - something that wasn't made with us in mind. We differentiate between that because it is useful in that case.

Henry Thurlow said...

I think the "just don`T be a dick about it" comment is spot on.

Personally, (if this wasn`t clear in the post) I do still use the term "anime" when referring to Animation produced in Japan as opposed to "cartoon" or "animation" when referring to western shows.

If it`s a "kinda middle of the road" situation I just go with the flow. If the person I`m speaking with is calling it an "anime" then that`s fine, if they`re calling it "American animation" or whatever ... then I just with that as well.

"Don`t stress it ... cause in the end everyone is actually working together to produce all this stuff" is the moral I`m going for.