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Stephen Coney
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If you are a fan of anime, I'm sorry for the rude subject line. My purpose wasn't to insult anime, but to be clear about the point of this post. If you could explain, maybe I'd learn what I'm looking for and enjoy it more.

Besides bits of anime here and there, I've tried to watch two anime movies in my life: Steamboy and Space Pirate Captain Harlock (2013). Both are on themes that should interest me and both have good visuals, but I simply couldn't finish Harlock and Steamboy was an effort. The story lines of both moved so slowly and I just couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters or issues.

However, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, if an artistic work has captured imaginations and has genuine admirers (the real test being does anyone rewatch or reread the work), then it does have merit and those who don't like it are missing something. So I'd like to know what is the appeal of anime?
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fightcitymayor
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This gets brought up in ChitChat from time to time. I would just point out a few things:

A)"Anime" encompasses many genres & styles, and not all anime is the same. Yu-Gi-Oh is a lot different than Princess Mononoke. So there is likely some portion of "anime" that you would enjoy

B) A lot of anime comes from manga, which are serialized comics, so when you see a story drawn out over a series of dozens of episodes it is often a function of the source material being similarly episodic.

C) Being a Japanese form, there is a lot of particularly Japanese traits that some Westerners have not grown up with for decades, so it strikes them as silly or melodramatic. Plenty of searing interpersonal conflict, plenty of reaction face-takes, plenty of emotional duress being conveyed, and that can seem overwrought to Western eyes & ears accustomed to Clint Eastwood playing The Man With No Name.

IMHO, the most interesting thing about anime is the refusal to play by the rules of Western entertainment. You might get dropped into the middle of a scene involving 8 different characters and a scenario that isn't totally predictable, with the actual story playing itself out over a series of further episodes. It doesn't always have to start with the cliche' "once upon a time there was a guy" type of exposition.

p.s.
It's okay not to like it. I have watched anime since the 80's and there is plenty of anime that just isn't for me.
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Paul DeStefano
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My son was very into a ton of anime for a while.

What I could never get past were the strange conventions like everything being dead serious, super violent, hyper gritty, and then someone gets excited about something and the art style changes to Chibi style characters for a second.

What. The. Heck.
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Chris
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Anime is not my thing. I dislike 99% of it. But the 1% I do like is awesome. I have no issues watching cartoons and wish it was taken more serious as an entertainment media. I wish we had some "western style" anime. - something I think I just made up. But more serious cartoons made like how us Americans like stuff. For example I love the DC animated movies.

I think we would get some shows and movies made that might not every be made. A good example is Star Trek the animated Series made back in the 70's. They should do that again. They could incorporate things that a live action TV show just can't afford.

The big rage now is to make books into movies, well I love the Wheel of Time series. Coming in at 13 books it could never be made into a live action movie or TV show where it could be done right. But an anime series would be brilliant.
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Kurt
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fightcitymayor wrote:
So there is likely some portion of "anime" that you would enjoy

True. Generally, I don't like the episodic stuff much, but have found some really great feature films worth watching.

Stephen, what genres are you interested in? What have you watched and didn't like?

Like Western cartoons, there is more garbage than good and it can be hard to swim through it all in search of quality (or at least something you find palettable). Add in cultural differences and it can look like there isn't anything there worth watching.

Chances are, someone here can help you find something worth checking out once we know what you'd like to see.
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fightcitymayor wrote:


IMHO, the most interesting thing about anime is the refusal to play by the rules of Western entertainment. You might get dropped into the middle of a scene involving 8 different characters and a scenario that isn't totally predictable, with the actual story playing itself out over a series of further episodes. It doesn't always have to start with the cliche' "once upon a time there was a guy" type of exposition.



I'm far from an expert at all but what I have seen, this is what has struck me. The OP talks about it being slow and boring, but I think that's possibly because western expectations of animations are that they will be action packed and with clear delineations between the good guys and the bad guys. What I've enjoyed when watching bits and pieces is that there's more of an acknowledgement that things can be more complicated and that tension can exist without action as a result of that too. And also that things might not get tied up in a neat package at the end - that there are always going to be things in life that are unresolved. And that not everything needs explanation/exposition either.
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J J
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casualcasual wrote:
fightcitymayor wrote:


IMHO, the most interesting thing about anime is the refusal to play by the rules of Western entertainment. You might get dropped into the middle of a scene involving 8 different characters and a scenario that isn't totally predictable, with the actual story playing itself out over a series of further episodes. It doesn't always have to start with the cliche' "once upon a time there was a guy" type of exposition.



I'm far from an expert at all but what I have seen, this is what has struck me. The OP talks about it being slow and boring, but I think that's possibly because western expectations of animations are that they will be action packed and with clear delineations between the good guys and the bad guys. What I've enjoyed when watching bits and pieces is that there's more of an acknowledgement that things can be more complicated and that tension can exist without action as a result of that too. And also that things might not get tied up in a neat package at the end - that there are always going to be things in life that are unresolved. And that not everything needs explanation/exposition either.


QFT. Those last two are the complaints I've seen the most, and it explains so very much about the dross we get on TV and in the cinema.

Just keep away from stuff that generates extremely polarised responses such as Neon Genesis Evangelion. Yes, they really will be as bad as the detractors say, and you are almost certainly not amongst the tiny but incredibly vocal fraction who love it the things death.
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stephen
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I am no expert on the genre, but I love studio ghibli stuff, I love the more nuanced unexpected storylines you get, the plots go off on tangents and the visuals are often more sophisticated than the general Disney stuff. By comparison a lot of western animation is dull and one dimensional, it's plot lines follow well trodden paths.
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Jake
United States
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I haven't seen the second one you mentioned, but I've seen Steamboy, and you may be relieved to hear that while I also am interested in the theme (and although I like anime), I thought it was pretty boring also.

You can't go wrong with Studio Ghibli. I'd suggest My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, or Howl's Moving Castle. They have very engaging characters and portray a magical view of the world. Also, they're not boring.
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Seth Brown
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I dunno, I just watched Lilo and Stitch recently, and I found it plenty boring.

As everyone has said, it depends on the anime; not familiar with Steamboy, and Harlock was really dull. I might recommend Cowboy Bebop -- you can leap right into watching the movie, although I think the series is pretty great and a fine place to start.
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Stephen Coney
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Thanks for the ideas and input. It caused me to think back through whether or not I enjoy anything animated that isn't a Pixar or Dreamworks high-budget movie and I do. I still enjoy Batman the Animated Series from 25 years ago and all the DC universe shows that followed: Superman, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited - great stuff. In fact, the reason I was drawn to watch anime is that I really like animation - the old Rankin Bass animated LOTR stuff, Last Unicorn, Flight of Dragons, etc. This shows that it probably is a cultural thing.

The other thing that I keep in mind when I've looked for good anime is that so much of it seems to be pornographic. I do not chose to put that kind of stuff into my head.

I'll probably just drop my quest. Thanks again for the good input!

Ps. Of course, Flash Gordon (1979) is the best animated series ever https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndJmDFs3hjw The first 9 episodes in particular have extremely high-quality animation and I loved how a Saturday-morning cartoon had a continuing story line. The first season is basically the original Alex Raymond comic from the 1930s put in motion. Most of the animation is lifted straight out of the original comics. Sadly, the network told Filmation that for the second season they didn't want a story line because they want to freedom to do reruns in any order they like. They wanted to run the more popular ones more often. I remember hating that as a kid, since it meant that you always saw the same ones over and over.
 
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Adrian Hague
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I mainly just watch it for the gusset shots.
 
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J J
Australia
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Anime does not equal all animation. Anime is Japanese animation.

Anime does not equal porn, although yes, there are forms of it that feature or even revolve around sexuality. There is also a supply of anime that doesn't which is probably already too big for you to ever run out.
 
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Virginia M.P.
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Osirus wrote:
I might recommend Cowboy Bebop -- you can leap right into watching the movie, although I think the series is pretty great and a fine place to start.

I'm not into a lot of anime but some I've found some very enjoyable over the years.
In particular Cowboy Bebop is still awesome to me, almost 20 years later. Both the series and the film, though I really recommend the series.
And Studio Ghibli has produced some masterpieces.
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Matt Brown
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RenaissanceMom wrote:
And Studio Ghibli has produced some masterpieces.


Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke being favorites of what I have seen. Add in Avatar: The Last Airbender for more anime goodness. Avatar is a legit contender for best TV series I have seen.
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Michael Barlow
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It's heavily steeped in Japanese culture and has lots of schoolgirl fantasy crap in it as opposed to dumbed down American cartoons.
 
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Virginia M.P.
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Reprint wrote:
It's heavily steeped in Japanese culture and has lots of schoolgirl fantasy crap in it

Not all anime, thankfully.
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Mark Smith

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I can watch anime alone or with the daughter as we can absorb the subtitles and animation well.
Any distractions from the missus or the boy then forget about it.
I getting too old to process words ,fast animation and real life together.

BUT I have been advised to watch a dubbed ( very well too) animation called cowboy bebop and it is very well done and watchable.

My boy takes the mikey out of the daughters love of anime . Which is bizarre as we do know he watches a pirate cartoon that looks like anime called One piece. I sat and watch an episode with him and it was hilarious.

I really believe those subtitles are very off putting from a personal experience of anime.
 
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Virginia M.P.
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GitFeatures wrote:
BUT I have been advised to watch a dubbed ( very well too) animation called cowboy bebop and it is very well done and watchable.

Shinichiro Watanabe (creator/director of Cowboy Bebop) also made Samurai Champloo and Kids on the Slope, both amazing, quality anime series. All 3 heavily feature fantastic music and all 3 I recommend highly.
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Chris
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So could you guys recommend some other anime for us anime noobs?

I like:

Avatar the last air bender
Vampire Hunter D
The new Voltron on Netflix was awesome -definitely watch it if you haven't.
Ronin Warriors ( might rewatch that now that I remember it)
Dragon Ball Z was ok back in the day but it's too long and drawn out for me now

I also saw Akira, Ghost in the shell and Robotech back in the day but I don't really remember them.

I watched the first few episodes of Bleach but couldn't get into it. Too slow. If someone promises me it will get better i might give it another go.

I would probably like one off movies more than series. Sci-fi or even fantasy type stuff. Series are ok but maybe shorter stuff that wraps up at some point. I definitely like faster paced stuff.


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J J
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galad2003 wrote:
I would probably like one off movies more than series. Sci-fi or even fantasy type stuff. Series are ok but maybe shorter stuff that wraps up at some point. I definitely like faster paced stuff.


Full Metal Alchemist should work for you. Be aware though that there are two versions, the original and a re-make
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galad2003 wrote:
So could you guys recommend some other anime for us anime noobs?

I like:

Avatar the last air bender
Vampire Hunter D
The new Voltron on Netflix was awesome -definitely watch it if you haven't.
Ronin Warriors ( might rewatch that now that I remember it)
Dragon Ball Z was ok back in the day but it's too long and drawn out for me now

I also saw Akira, Ghost in the shell and Robotech back in the day but I don't really remember them.

I watched the first few episodes of Bleach but couldn't get into it. Too slow. If someone promises me it will get better i might give it another go.

I would probably like one off movies more than series. Sci-fi or even fantasy type stuff. Series are ok but maybe shorter stuff that wraps up at some point. I definitely like faster paced stuff.




If you like Akira and Ghost in the Shell (both which I need ro get around to wathing myself) in a similar vein is Psycho-Pass: dystopian future where the police can read your "crime coefficient". 22 episodes, don't bother with the sequel.

A very short short series (13 episodes) that I initially passed up on for the longest time due to it being a magical girl show is Puella Magi Madoka Magicka. It is actually a deconstruction of the magical girl genre and gets pretty dark, watch till episode 3 before deciding to drop.

For FMA I thought the non brotherhood one had a better intro and streamlined subplots if you don't care about authenticity to the manga, while brotherhood is more authentic and has a better ending.

Other popular "gateway" action/adventue shows: Attack on Titan, Bebop (already mentioned), Sword Art Online (really popular and has a great setting but terrible plot and a large amount of fan service. DO NOT watch past episode 14).

Other genres: Toradora for romcom (the best anime I don't like), Your Lie in April for a sob story, Death Note for psychological mind games
 
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Matthew Sklar
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My wife watches a lot of anime and one that I particularly enjoyed was Death Parade, mostly because the story is very different from what you'd expect to see in Western media.

(a fun side-note: on a trip to Japan last April, I heard the theme song from Death Parade being played as background music in a 7-eleven once or twice)

Also the Sailor Moon reboot was pretty good (and I hear there's even a dub now, if you prefer that sort of thing).
 
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