Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Cartoons versus animes

You're under arrest Posted by Hello

My girlfriend is astounded as to why my interest lies in animes and what is so great about them as compared to more conventional cartoons say like Transformers, Scooby Doo or even the Powerpuff girls. My answers is that I’ve nothing against western borne cartoons, I grew up on them and in most cases I still enjoy a good laugh from the Loony Toons and Disney. Sitting in the room, eating a steaming plate of hot maggi mee and the latest cartoon on the idiot tube, that was life when you’re young.

Well the difference between conventional cartoons and animes is mostly in the theme. The fact that old cartoons often tell tales of good versus evil in very clear lines with morals inserted in each episode. Remember we were always rooting for the good guy and we know he will triumph over their adversary in the end and they’ll live happily ever after (no surprise there). Gargemel, always scheming to catch poor, innocent, fun loving goody two shoes smurfs; Voltron battling new fiendish foes every week to save the planet; He-man the very personification of the perfect human form, strong, courageous, never self doubting and righteous pitting himself against the sheer personification of evil, Skeletor (can’t be more obvious with a name like that). A confession, I was always rooting for the bad guy, they always seem to have more variety and better looks as compared to the monotonous heroes.

Another stark distinction was that cartoons in the past was that they subdivided to an intended audience, namely through gender basis. Cartoons like Jem, Shi-Ra and My Little Ponies were targeting girls and He-man, Thunder Cats and Transformers were mainly for guys. This target specific theme often led to the cartoon itself mirroring the target’s taste. The heroes in male cartoons were strapping muscle bound hunk of meat and often can do no wrong with stunts that defy imagination. Lots of explosions, fight scenes and man toys. Girl toons were more designer drawn with lots of emphasis on fashion, cute stuff and product placements (come on, Barbie’s accessories are meant to lure girls to buy the real stuff). Okay so there were neutral cartoons that tickle the funny bone such as Disney, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse :)

Enter animes, instead of the feel good, alls well that ends well feeling, the feel of the whole series is often a dark mixture of emotional turmoil. Things don’t always end up good for the hero (if you could even call him that). The main persona reflects us as humans, frail, prone to mistake and indeed fallible. It gives a feeling that the world the characters inhabit in could be ours and this adds a sense of reality to the whole picture. Stories do not end on an episode by episode basis but builds up with twists and turns. Good is not always good and evil is not always evil, instead the personas are often caught in a flux of grayish morality. At times it’s more of an intellectual exercise trying to figure out what the plot is and keeping up with the twists and turns. Even the more cutesy and funny ones like Love Hina and Ah! My Goddess have plots so thick that you can find more beyond what’s shown at face value if you dig deep enough. A recurring theme is always that of the modern world impinging into nature, the constant battle and struggle of a world trying to move on while reconciling both. The worlds created out of the animator’s mind are also bizarre at times, no longer the monotone fantasy worlds of Tolkenish inspiration found in most Western cartoons, the worlds range from the bizarre (Nausicaa), mixtures of modern and fantasy (Visions of Escaflowne) and other times sheer creative freshness (.hack// sign).

So if those reasons are not good enough to lure you to try an episode or two, better reserve judgment until you watch one yourself. To get people hooked, I often cite Azumanga Dioh, one peek and I’ll bet you’re hooked for life ;) Action fans would love Samurai X, the Gundam series and Evangelion. Cute thing lovers and romance series followers can opt for Boys Be, Love Hina and Fruit Basket. The intellectuals should follow Studio Ghibli’s movies like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Laputa. For sport fans; Prince of Tennis and Slam Dunk. General viewers can go for Ranma Half and You’re under arrest. There’s something for everyone! Animes are to me better than most of the current fare such as Spongebob Square pants. But I still love some of them such as Kim Possible and Mr Bean the animated series:)

11 comments:

Saffron said...

I was exposed to Helsing by a friend from Melaka, and that's possibly the best animes ever. Ghost in the Shell's pretty cool too. Give em a try if you haven't watched those yet.

Kervin said...

Yeah watched those already :) Hellsing was like artistic poetry and sends chills down your spine! Only watched the first movie for Ghost in the Shell haven't had time to catch Stand Alone Complex yet. Thanks for dropping by! :)

hyelbaine said...

Well written there my friend. I found myself nodding as i read your entire post. However I did watch some so called Japanese anime when i was growing up, Mospeda and Robotech ;)

Cheers!!! :D

ps>>SamuraiX is COOL!!!

Anonymous said...

wrong, Anime is just japanese cartoons. PERIOD. You can call the american's cartoon as American animation as well. The main differences is Japan has a bigger market for animation, is sort of like their culture. Anime targeted different group as well. for e.g: Ghost in shell series is for adults, slam dunks/dragon ball/vandreads is more to teenagers/young boys.

Hellsing for best anime? puuuuhhhhleassee....Stylish, yes. But its storyline is straight foward. I am Hellsing, I am a good vampire, I kicked everyone's ass no matter how strong they are, I will not die. derrr...

GITS:SAC and Cowboy Bebop are few of the good ones. Last EXILE is pretty cool as well. The more recent one will be Samurai Champloo. I can't tell you which one is the best, but I really really HATED WolfRains and X. @#$@#!@!$%% fucken wasted my time.

CS
http://www.sinark.com

Anonymous said...

I like Hentai best...

Anonymous said...

Yeah... hentai is good. Kervin likes hentai... not only hentai anime, but hentai games as well... Nurses and nuns and anything else in between that walks on two legs. Sometimes, he's not that choosy. Four legs will do too...

bayibhyap said...

What a lively discussion. I find that all the views expressed have their merits. The Japanese animes have been one of their biggest exports recently. Even the Americans are known to be madly addicted to them. The mere mention of animes brings a fond smile to my face. I am not an addict but yes, an ardent fan. Ahhh...

Jeremy said...

anime :)
nice to see a lot of anime fans out there. watching jap toons has made me come to this. Either the japs are really creative, or they're just plain weird at times. Just find the philosophies in their toons a bit too weird to take in at times.Anyhow, good writing :)
kudos

Kervin said...

True anime does stand for Japanese animation I agree, but the difference lies in their philosophy and thinking, namely being Japanese lends flavour into their animation. If one thing the Japanese are good in is the export of their culture. America can't get enough of them, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh is a staple for kids worldwide, games on PS2 such as Final Fantasy series garner acclaim and American even have their Cherry Blossom Festival at their capital no less. Japanese entertainment is taking the world by storm.

As for targetting adults and children, I think the lines blur a bit, I'm an adult but pokemon is too cute ;) And I know my younger cousins are taking in movies such as Spirited Away which is very adult in theme besides their daily dose of cardcaptor sakura. The only real known gender oriented anime would be Sailormoon haha but maybe I haven't watched them all. And you have to admit it's better than some of the cartoon network fare such as 'shepp in the big city??!!!', I don't get it.

P.s. knew the topic would steer to hentai sooner or later. Oh well :D Thanks for posting all, glad to meet anime fans.

Anonymous said...

Do you know one of the university in America actually teach Japanese Animation Culture? My friend took it and he only went for lecture week 6 (Topic week 6: Why hentai and how it affected the society)

:D

CS

Silencers said...

Anime fans on the loose!!

I wouldn't call myself an addict, but I'm an avid follower of enjoyable anime. And you're right about anime>>conventional cartoons. Anime plots touches the very aspects that makes us human. Cartoons, however, feature characters and plots that are simply larger than life, and pretty much [most of the time] unrelateable.