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warita 2012-04-02 13:23

When japanese look western and westerners behave japanese
 
I have observed a slight shift in character design recently. Anime characters have less often crazy hair color (such as pink, blue, green or red) and more increasingly all shades of brown, black, grey and blond. Aka existing hair colors, although not all of them natural for Japan.

This is especially true, when it is a slice of life or school life series. This is a good development for me, as I always felt annoyed by the crazy hair colors.... and I still am, when they design a japanese girl with blond hair and blue eyes, but a japenese name. I mean, wth?

But then I remembered, that sometimes you get to see the odd westerner behaving in a japanese way and somehow, this feels even more out of place. A good example would be, when the westerner bows to greet people or when appologizing.... you know, the japanese way. Westerners just dont to that kind of things (and here I mean westerners that are not in Japan).

What are your thoughts on japanese characters looking western and westerners behaving japanese? Do you consider crazy hair colors part of the charm anime has, or would you be indifferent, if it completely disappeared??

Kyuu 2012-04-02 14:00

Quote:

westerners behaving japanese?
Wapanese. Or Weaboos.

Yet, there's a difference with whites who have adopted Japanese culture through means other than anime -- by oh -- living there. Those who have experienced the culture first hand... they're pretty much in the same shoes as I - an Asian - who emigrated out of an Asian country and became American. :D

However, there are those... "pretenders". We know who they are. We know how they act like. To them, everything is so freakin' "kawaii". :rolleyes:

SeijiSensei 2012-04-02 16:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by warita (Post 4087888)
sometimes you get to see the odd westerner behaving in a japanese way and somehow, this feels even more out of place.

Are you talking about in real life, which is what Kyuu is referring to, or in anime? I can't say I've seen people from Western societies behaving in a Japanese fashion in anime when the stories are set in the West. There are some great scenes in Monster when the German Inspector Lunge is watching Japanese interact at a bar and he records their gestures and manner of speech. However the Europeans in that show behave like Europeans as far as I can remember.

Occasionally you'll see an anime depiction of a Westerner in Japan, though again I don't recall them bowing or otherwise acting in a Japanese fashion. (Patty in Lucky*Star, perhaps?) Do you have any examples to share?

warita 2012-04-02 16:26

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeijiSensei (Post 4088104)
Are you talking about in real life, which is what Kyuu is referring to, or in anime? I can't say I've seen people from Western societies behaving in a Japanese fashion in anime when the stories are set in the West. There are some great scenes in Monster when the German Inspector Lunge is watching Japanese interact at a bar and he records their gestures and manner of speech. However the Europeans in that show behave like Europeans as far as I can remember.

Occasionally you'll see an anime depiction of a Westerner in Japan, though again I don't recall them bowing or otherwise acting in a Japanese fashion. (Patty in Lucky*Star, perhaps?) Do you have any examples to share?

I was referring to anime, but why not extend it to RL?

I have read a few articles about people, who admire the japanese culture to the point, they want to become truly japanese.... they stop shaking hands with people and other crazy things. I remember reading japanese people dont like this type of behaviour and I dont blame them. For them a westerner is a bit of a mystery box, they just dont know how to act around him ..... but when he is immitating what he thinks is the japanese way, it outright scares them. Mostly because as a non native he might misunderstand certain cultural nuances and sends the wrong signals.

But coming back to anime, I have seen a few times how western characters living outside japan have certain japanese mannerisms. Especially when appologizing or greeting people... well you could say courtesy behaviour. Unfortunately I cant think of any examples on the spot. I will try to remember and post it later on.

Vexx 2012-04-02 18:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by warita (Post 4088115)
I was referring to anime, but why not extend it to RL?

I have read a few articles about people, who admire the japanese culture to the point, they want to become truly japanese.... they stop shaking hands with people and other crazy things. I remember reading japanese people dont like this type of behaviour and I dont blame them. For them a westerner is a bit of a mystery box, they just dont know how to act around him ..... but when he is immitating what he thinks is the japanese way, it outright scares them. Mostly because as a non native he might misunderstand certain cultural nuances and sends the wrong signals.

But coming back to anime, I have seen a few times how western characters living outside japan have certain japanese mannerisms. Especially when appologizing or greeting people... well you could say courtesy behaviour. Unfortunately I cant think of any examples on the spot. I will try to remember and post it later on.

Probably better off leaving RL out of it - if a westerner is deeply exposed to japanese etiquette and culture they often unconsciously adopt many mannerisms --- with no "w---boo" or "wap--" pejoratives applicable. A japanese that spends a lot of time in Europe or the US will tend to unconsciously adapt those mannerisms, to the point that some students who have spent a year or more in the US/Europe will finish high school back in Japan at a "foreign students" school because they no longer fit perfectly into their old home school.

In anime... its much for the same reason that US films screw up foreign mannerisms. Its either incompetency or "localization" (choose one or both).

You might watch a series called "Sketchbook ~Full Colors~". About 2/3 into the series a transfer student named Kate arrives and its.... well, I thought it was absolutely hilarious. She was so sincere and so wrong :)

Chiibi 2012-04-02 20:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by warita (Post 4087888)
I have observed a slight shift in character design recently. Anime characters have less often crazy hair color (such as pink, blue, green or red) and more increasingly all shades of brown, black, grey and blond. Aka existing hair colors, although not all of them natural for Japan.

Honestly, the natural hair color trend has really been driving me nuts. I demand color in my anime.:heh:

Quote:

when they design a japanese girl with blond hair and blue eyes, but a japenese name. I mean, wth?
There's nothing wrong with that at all. It's the whole point of being creative. If you're doing animation, why restrict yourself to the normal appearance that applies to real people? B-O-R-I-N-G!
But bluexblonde is so damn overused, that I much prefer greenxblonde :D

Quote:

Do you consider crazy hair colors part of the charm anime has
Yes, absolutely. Because it's one of the many things that really stands out from Western animated characters' traits. If a cartoon character from America has crazy-colored hair, it normally means 1. it's not human or 2. it was influenced by Japanese anime.

And about this whole "Westerners acting Japanese" thing...I say don't go overboard with it; do it only in appropriate places at appropriate times (like cons where nobody is considered a freak!)....but keep in mind, Japanese sometimes think it's trendy to act "Western", so really, why just pick on American otaku for this? Cultures just get interested in each other. It's better than being racist!

Vexx 2012-04-02 20:10

For me it kind of depends on the plot... comedies, I'm okay with the hair colors because it just helps differentiate. Slice-of-life, romance, drama .... I actually prefer a more "realistic" look (though its certainly possible a few of the characters will have dyed hair).

I don't tend to include 'blue', 'red' or 'black' as wacky/colored hair because that's just shorthand for the various tinges one actually sees in normal japanese hair... On the other hand, green... not so much :)

Sheba 2012-04-02 20:21

As far anime hair colors goes, designs from Another or School Days shows thata more conservative hair color pattern is not so bad.

Kameruka 2012-04-02 20:27

If I draw a picture of a green-haired and purple-eyed girl wearing baju kurung, is she a Japanese try to be a Malaysian or Malaysian try to be a Japanese? Nope because it just a freaking drawing and it is not a human being to begin with. I have no idea why people take this issue too seriously.

Perhaps we should start thinking people in anime are not humans to begin with but rather completely different species to our own. No humans like us have pink hair and golden eyes.

Chiibi 2012-04-02 20:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kameruka (Post 4088464)
If I draw a picture of a green-haired and purple-eyed girl wearing baju kurung, is she a Japanese try to be a Malaysian or Malaysian try to be a Japanese? Nope because it just a freaking drawing and it is not a human being to begin with. I have no idea why people take this issue too seriously.

Thanks for this, Kameruka. Exactly my point.;)

Quote:

Perhaps we should start thinking people in anime are not humans to begin with but rather completely different species to our own. No humans like us have pink hair and golden eyes.
Contacts and hair dye?:D
But yes, I get you. Well, I think of them as humans but like you said, they're pieces of art too.

Vexx 2012-04-02 20:38

Anime characters are abstracted representations that we "suspend disbelief" for to treat them as 'real' for the purposes of the entertainment. :)

DarkyPwnz 2012-04-03 04:05

That's why I like Code Geass, only C.C had an unrealistic hair colour. And the Imperial Family's purple eyes actually possible in real life,just very rare and a lot more prone to eye-related diseases.

kuroishinigami 2012-04-03 04:32

Code geass? It seems you block the pink haired princess, light purpe haired princess, and young healthy white haired girl out of your memory :p

As for japanese looks like westerner, it seems dyeing your hair blond like a westerner is the trend for teenager in big city, and it seems it's quite common in big city like Tokyo that a seiyuu on a radio show that I listened to commented that he/she is quite surprised when he found out that girls in hokkaidou keep their hair black. So, a japanese with blond hair(and blue eyes from contacts) might not be too unbelievable

warita 2012-04-03 04:47

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kameruka (Post 4088464)
Nope because it just a freaking drawing and it is not a human being to begin with. I have no idea why people take this issue too seriously.

Now if we are going to go down that route, we should also stop discussing all the other shallow topics in this section such as: "why do anime guys push away willing girls" or from the same drawer "Why in shoujo anime girls dont like the nice guy".

While reading through those threads, it occured to me that the topic is more or less superfluous, because these things are done for plot reasons and plot only, so where is the sense of discussing it so seriously? But obviously people have fun discussing it and I dont see anything wrong with it.

We are anime fans and we like to talk about our animes.

Now the reason why I sometimes feel confused by the haircolor.... well, take Naruto as an example. His blond hair is not just character design, he is really supposed to be blond, because people call him blond. But he has a japanese name? Ehm..... now, Naruto is definately not to be taken seriously, I mean, there is a lot more other unrealisic stuff going on in that anime, but somehow, this is irritating me. Is he japanese or is he not?
And if we say that Naruto is a blond japanese XD, does that make Sakura a pink haired japanese girl? Or do ninja powers come with funky hair color?

Dhomochevsky 2012-04-03 05:59

Is Naruto even set in Japan?

Sure they are ninjas, but I can't remember any refernce to actual japanese locations or historic figures. It's only the culture and language, that is japanese.
Then Naruto lives in the woods which can be anywhere, but there is also a huge desert nearby for the sand ninjas to live in.
It looks more like a pen and paper type fantasy world, with all the interesting places right next to each other.

Anyway the point is, that crazy hair colors aren't a western atribute either.

Maybe there is a connection to the change in general drawing style, as discussed in the 80's thread. Funky hair colors don't look out of place on that old designs, but some of the newer once I just can't imagine with pink hair...

raduccio 2012-04-03 08:28

Most names in Naruto are japanese. It's not like One Piece with guys named luffy and zoro or usop it's Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchida, Sakura and Kakashi.

Random32 2012-04-03 09:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by warita (Post 4088950)
Now the reason why I sometimes feel confused by the haircolor.... well, take Naruto as an example. His blond hair is not just character design, he is really supposed to be blond, because people call him blond. But he has a japanese name? Ehm..... now, Naruto is definately not to be taken seriously, I mean, there is a lot more other unrealisic stuff going on in that anime, but somehow, this is irritating me. Is he japanese or is he not?
And if we say that Naruto is a blond japanese XD, does that make Sakura a pink haired japanese girl? Or do ninja powers come with funky hair color?

According to Wikipedia
Quote:

Kishimoto added that, as Naruto takes place in a "Japanese fantasy world,"
Quote:

The Naruto anime and manga series takes place in an unnamed fictional world with numerous countries and locations.
This tells us:
-The setting of Naruto is heavily Japanese influenced, thus Ninjas.
-The setting of Naruto is completely fictional.
-Thus Naruto isn't Japanese.

Chiibi 2012-04-03 12:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by warita (Post 4088950)
Now if we are going to go down that route, we should also stop discussing all the other shallow topics in this section such as: "why do anime guys push away willing girls" or from the same drawer "Why in shoujo anime girls dont like the nice guy".

I see nothing "shallow" about those two topics. How can such things concerning common character behavior like those be "shallow" compared to a topic on hair colors? :eyebrow:

Ermes Marana 2012-04-03 17:26

Everything I know about Japan I learned from Tsukikage Ran:

There are three people in Nippon: Ninja, samurai, geisha. Nippon is a sparkling country of gold. People with topknot are samurai. People who run around in black are ninja. The two are friends. Geisha play the shamisen guitar.

NonExstX 2012-04-03 19:47

Quote:

Originally Posted by warita (Post 4087888)
I have observed a slight shift in character design recently. Anime characters have less often crazy hair color (such as pink, blue, green or red) and more increasingly all shades of brown, black, grey and blond. Aka existing hair colors, although not all of them natural for Japan.

This is especially true, when it is a slice of life or school life series. This is a good development for me, as I always felt annoyed by the crazy hair colors.... and I still am, when they design a japanese girl with blond hair and blue eyes, but a japenese name. I mean, wth?

But then I remembered, that sometimes you get to see the odd westerner behaving in a japanese way and somehow, this feels even more out of place. A good example would be, when the westerner bows to greet people or when appologizing.... you know, the japanese way. Westerners just dont to that kind of things (and here I mean westerners that are not in Japan).

What are your thoughts on japanese characters looking western and westerners behaving japanese? Do you consider crazy hair colors part of the charm anime has, or would you be indifferent, if it completely disappeared??

As far as anime I feel it is a nice way to mix up and add spice to the plot.
Sort of like Mitsune in Love Hina. Only one I can think of right now.


The differing hair pallettes add to the fantasy element. Not many people in RL run around with multicolored hair where I live and those who do are usually of a subculture. So for me it makes me sink into the anime more. I'd hate if it went away/

Concerning the people trying to be Japanese in RL I wish I had a skill that allowed me to get a job and live in Japan. I fell in love with parts of the culture while studying martial science years ago. And then as I researched a little more it became more alluring. And I mean no offense by this bu Japanese women are some of the prettiest on the planet. Then again I'd probably feel pretty stupid because I know Americans are not really that popular with many cultures. Especially not ones of my particular ethnic mix.


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