Animation Saturation or how I learned to Tune in, turn on, drop out.
First off, I’m a fan of Anime. If you don’t like that, tough. I’m not gonna start ranting about what anime is best like, or proudly shake a series above my head and follow it religiously.
Today, I’m here to explain how many Animes have good ideas, and strong stories, but get spit up and chewed out in the media machine. Look at Naruto (of aforementioned tard-fan status). It has an okay story (In my book) but it’s way too drawn out, commercialized, merchandized, and basically retooled to be aimed at younger audiences.
More after the jump
Really, I’ve never seen ANY medium able to be so ruined by localization. Sure, games can be a victim of poor translation, but it’s really REALLY hard to ruin a game for it (At least it was in the old days, it has gotten substantially easier for people to call errors like that out). Even if you botch the translation, there’s still untouched game mechanics.
Compare that to, say, the 4kids debacle of OnePiece (Of which I held a passing interest) where they ripped out everything that wasn’t PG-13, such as drugs and alcohol references, a lot of mature themes, etc; Gave characters goofy voices (I’m looking at you, Usopp), replaced a lot of music with more “Youth Oriented” crap, and generally shat all over the series.
See, when most people mock Anime fans, they point to some of the previous entries in that genre. The kind that people hear about. They like to shake it up by mixing a vocal and enthusiastic fanbase in. The stereotypical mixture here is what coined phrases like “Animutard” and “Weaboo” (Though that one really is a kind of jabberwocky word that was given meaning later). And while it seems like a compliment on the western side of the lake, the phrase “Otaku” is comparable to “Nerd” in the insulting sense in Eastern countries.
Now, it’s hard to deny that Anime is seeping into a lot of western media. Pick a children’s cartoon made in the last eight years and I’ll bet that ninety percent of the time, it will have anime influence in it. Of course, this only gives people who don’t like it more ammo to use against people who do.
The truth is, and I know this one’s been said before, it’s a serious medium in the East. They use because it’s cheap, easy, and you can get it out to people that much quicker. If an artist and a writer want to get their story out to as many people as popular, do you think they’re going to go with the highest budget they can afford and cram it full of special effects in a humongous gamble? No, they’re going to pick a sensible option that can give them a few chances to get it right. Only the ones who really have a good track record can start pushing up the production values.
This doesn’t apply over here in the west nearly as much. Over here, our production studios like to churn out stuff that they know will be watched by their target audience. Mostly the target audience is children. When they bring over a series that is for a slightly older audience, say teenage boys, they have every reason to believe that younger kids here will love it. But they can’t show it in its current form, since kids won’t
- Read subtitles
- Get some of the darker subjects like death, betrayal, or greed
- Understand many of the conversational topics
And their parents definitely won’t think that a show made for 16-18 year old teenage boys will have appropriate material for 12-15 year old boys. So they have to cut everything like
- Mature themes and situations
- Any exposed nudity
- Gratuitous violence
And on top of that, they have to fit this into American time slots and seasonal allocations. So they have to cut episodes, too. The episodes dealing with hard topics will probably be the first to go.
Now I’m not saying that Japan doesn’t produce its share of crap. I don’t think any TV station doesn’t. So you do end up getting your stereotypical sparkly anime magic girls, and your bloody, gory, limbs-flying-through-the-air-spurting-blood ninja shows, your 18+ porn shows, and your harem comedies. But really, compared to our reality TV focusing on how “Hard” the lives of really rich people are, or how bitchy a family can be to one another, I think we fall on the same level and depths of crap. They’re just a little loosened up over there.
All in all, it’s really a matter of tastes. If you prefer seeing things that aren’t quite as easily filmed in real life, then you might find anime to be a little more interesting. Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it, friends; Just do a little research so you don’t end up with utter crap in your DVD player for your first anime.
And I’ll keep trying to swallow shows like “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and “Celebrity Survivor” (If that’s even still on) while I flip through channels.
See you, Space Cowboy.