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Old 2009-11-13, 03:03   Link #21
blanc
the dad from Totoro
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Also I'd like to thank everyone for your feedback!!!! You've given me so much faith in... the internet? no that's not right (its late)

But I appreciate this so much, my thesis process has been pretty disappointing and you guys have definitely reenergized this pursuit of mine. I'm so happy to see it triggered this level of discussion!!!!
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:05   Link #22
QED
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Actually, to help with the creative process, would you mind clarifying what this thesis is actually for (could you sum up very concisely what this project is supposed to accomplish in relation to your academic career?)? You said you're a design and animation graduate student, but this project seems to lean towards a more sociological/anthropological theme.
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:12   Link #23
blanc
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Oh god, that's the problem - I am a design and animation graduate student, yes, BUT we can't just go animate or create interface designs or installations willy-nilly, they have to have substance and purpose....

The audience must be identified and the contribution to said audience must be established and executed in a thoughtful, logical way...

so in other words, in order to do an animation, which is inspired by slice of life, which is what I want to do, I must give it a purpose.

and I've decided this purpose should be to provide western anime fans a presence in the media they love...

by doing an anime-style piece with a western protagonist who gets to live within a japanese realm, if only temporarily...

i like to think this image sums things up nicely
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:18   Link #24
Ricky Controversy
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I have one question as well. When you say 'short' piece, how much time are you describing? That will affect what commentary I have to offer going forward.
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:19   Link #25
blanc
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I'm thinking between 5 and 10 minutes... so really short, since I'm doing all the animation solo
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:22   Link #26
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QED View Post


Do you really feel this is that fundamental of a difference? Yes, the Japanese are willing to put a lot more stuff in anime than Americans are probably willing to put in their TV shows (this is actually something I constantly point out to friends), but in what way does this in any special way show that the Japanese are unique?
Well, the very fact that they like it in their entertainment is fairly telling in and of itself, don't you think?

The fact that American TV show romances (if you can even call them that) are, to be frank, typically very very shallow compared to anime romances... I mean, like it or not, it really does say something about the two cultures, imo. Like Ricky said, the Japanese simply don't seem to have this same emphasis on instant gratification that has come to typify modern western culture.

And that's a huge difference, in my mind. It really is.


Quote:

I think that my point is that these differences arise from cultural idiosyncrasies that are more deliberately developed aspects of Japanese life rather than some basic difference in the character of the Japanese people.
You're walking on very nebulous ground here.

Some would say that gender identity, for example, is entirely rooted in sociological factors; that they are cultural constructs with out any basis in actual genetics.

I don't agree with that, but a fair number of people do.


And so, when you raise questions like "is it just artificial cultural constructs, or is it something more inherent?" you get into very sticky sociological debates that there's not necessarily a definitive answer to.


I am inclined to believe that the considerable difference between how anime handles romances, and how the west currently handles romance, is rooted in more than mere cultural idiosyncrasies.

But, that's just my opinion.


Quote:
When we watch anime, perhaps it's the superficially unfamiliar elements that hook us - the political incorrectness and treatment of harem themes are good examples - but it's ultimately the familiar motifs that keep us watching. For example, if they set a harem romance in, say, Tokugawa Japan, before the more modern *Western* ideals of dating and marrying for love inundated the Japanese consciousness
Well, there's enough within the Japanese culture for us in the west to have a certain familiarity comfort level in watching it, yes. But those "hooks" don't cease to be a factors after "hooking" you in... they're a big reason, at least in my case, for why I keep watching.
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:24   Link #27
QED
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blanc View Post
Oh god, that's the problem - I am a design and animation graduate student, yes, BUT we can't just go animate or create interface designs or installations willy-nilly, they have to have substance and purpose....

The audience must be identified and the contribution to said audience must be established and executed in a thoughtful, logical way...

so in other words, in order to do an animation, which is inspired by slice of life, which is what I want to do, I must give it a purpose.

and I've decided this purpose should be to provide western anime fans a presence in the media they love...

by doing an anime-style piece with a western protagonist who gets to live within a japanese realm, if only temporarily...

i like to think this image sums things up nicely
So, what do you hope to accomplish by allowing this Western presence in this piece, apart from fulfilling an alleged Western craving? I think you mentioned something about a dissatisfaction or disillusionment before...

I think I have a fair idea of what's going on, but it would help if you could state it concisely.
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:25   Link #28
blanc
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you guys are awesome, btw.

Triple R
Quote:
Well, there's enough within the Japanese culture for us in the west to have a certain familiarity comfort level in watching it, yes. But those "hooks" don't cease to be a factors after "hooking" you in... they're a big reason, at least in my case, for why I keep watching.
I like the way you put that...
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:25   Link #29
HayashiTakara
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As a japanese american who visited relatives often overseas as a kid, I can say that the main reason why I started watching anime and continue to for the last 20+ years is because slap stick comedy can only go so far. Besides I just like meat on the bones, many american viewers like jerry springer type of romance/drama, because people are secretly sadist.
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:28   Link #30
blanc
the dad from Totoro
 
 
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Quote:
I think I have a fair idea of what's going on, but it would help if you could state it concisely.
Hmmm, concisely...

So by creating a narrative with a western presence within a Japanese SoL realm, I hope to realize, in a visual form, the fantasy or the "something missing" for anime fans who relate to and appreciate SoL themes - school life for example - and always wish they could have this life or participate with it somehow...
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:37   Link #31
blanc
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Guys, I want your feedback - but its 3:30 in the morning here for me, don't know about you guys, I really want all of your input though!

This has been so helpful!! I'm still really curious about what you think, so if you've got ideas, post um!

THANKS AGAIN TO EVERYONE WHO POSTED!!!

Night!
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:40   Link #32
QED
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Well, the very fact that they like it in their entertainment is fairly telling in and of itself, don't you think?

The fact that American TV show romances (if you can even call them that) are, to be frank, typically very very shallow compared to anime romances... I mean, like it or not, it really does say something about the two cultures, imo. Like Ricky said, the Japanese simply don't seem to have this same emphasis on instant gratification that has come to typify modern western culture.

And that's a huge difference, in my mind. It really is.
I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding here between a "big" difference and a "real" difference. I was never really trying to belittle any of the cultural differences here, but I was attempting to question whether they actually have any sociological value.


Quote:
You're walking on very nebulous ground here.

Some would say that gender identity, for example, is entirely rooted in sociological factors; that they are cultural constructs with out any basis in actual genetics.

I don't agree with that, but a fair number of people do.

And so, when you raise questions like "is it just artificial cultural constructs, or is it something more inherent?" you get into very sticky sociological debates that there's not necessarily a definitive answer to.


I am inclined to believe that the considerable difference between how anime handles romances, and how the west currently handles romance, is rooted in more than mere cultural idiosyncrasies.

But, that's just my opinion.

I'm not sure whether the gender identity point is a good analogy here, since there you have a debate between two different disciplines (sociology and science), whereas here the debate is self-contained within the realm of sociology. This debate is *really* different from this type of nature v. nurture issue you're suggesting.

And of course there isn't a definitive answer to this (or this debate would have ended ages ago). Still, you'll have to elucidate a bit what these fundamental differences are (past cultural idiosyncracies). At the moment, I still find pretty it pretty compelling to believe that how the West and Japan treats the romance genre arises from a more trivial cultural source (especially given what I've learned of Japanese history).

Quote:
Well, there's enough within the Japanese culture for us in the west to have a certain familiarity comfort level in watching it, yes. But those "hooks" don't cease to be a factors after "hooking" you in... they're a big reason, at least in my case, for why I keep watching.
My point is that without the familiarity you would stop watching - of course you still notice the differences 500 episodes in, but you wouldn't still be watching if the series did not resonate with you to begin with.

(3:40AM here, going to bed)
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Old 2009-11-13, 03:47   Link #33
Ricky Controversy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blanc View Post
Hmmm, concisely...

So by creating a narrative with a western presence within a Japanese SoL realm, I hope to realize, in a visual form, the fantasy or the "something missing" for anime fans who relate to and appreciate SoL themes - school life for example - and always wish they could have this life or participate with it somehow...
And you want to do this in 5 to 10 minutes? Okay. Now that the picture is coming into focus--see, you're chugging along with the prep work already!--here are my thoughts.

Your central theme, when you strip away context and look at the raw idea, is expectation. However you choose to play this short out, that is the idea you should be examining every step of the way. How you do that depends on your view of what's most true and what's most important. Let's go item by item and see what angles you can approach this from.

1. The otaku has accurate expectations of Japan, but upon experience it feels a disconnect.

Here, we're basically dealing with a case of 'the grass is always greener'. Our otaku protagonist has very much wanted to go to Japan and may even have a pretty good grasp on their culture in a purely academic sense, but outside of the role of anime in his life, he hasn't lived Japanese culture at all, so when he gets there, this place he thought would be so familiar is in fact alien. This would be presented with overtones of humor and excitement, but undertones of creeping disappointment and confusion. Perhaps he grows impatient with the pace of life in that suburb. If Michiko is a fable-styled morality agent, she's here to help him see that he shouldn't be so quick to assume other cultures are superior to his own just because he sees something he likes from a distance.

2. The otaku has inaccurate expectations of Japan, getting down the obvious ideas and messing up on the finer points.

This is that whole 'similar core, different idiom' thing I was describing before. Here, our protagonist knows and eagerly anticipates the obvious elements of Japanese culture, but feels uncomfortable with the behavioral and dialectic differences that pop up all around him. He realizes that, despite his fervor for anime, he really is at a greater distance from Japanese culture than he thought before. Maybe he decides to live and learn, maybe he decides to go home. Which is the 'good' ending? You decide.


3. The otaku is getting along just fine in Japan, but in direct interaction with some people, he is made to feel uncomfortable due to expectations they have of him.

So, taking a different tack, our otaku could get along famously in Japan with Michiko's help, but perhaps runs into some instances of unusual treatment because he's obviously a foreigner. It doesn't need to necessarily be negative discrimination, but somehow he realizes that the culture he loves and connects with so well isn't quite accepting him.

4. The otaku realizes it's not the Japanese culture he craves so much as it is the fantasy fulfillment of anime

In this case, the otaku somehow hopes that Japanese culture will somehow restore color to his world. Perhaps he thinks in Japan he'd have a new start and better social relationships, but instead of obtaining a magical yandere girlfriend or whatever it is he has in mind, he finds that the main differences are cultural, not...shall we say 'heroic'. It's not that he totally has his head in the clouds, just that a sense of fantasy, regardless of what form it takes, drew him to Japan rather than a sense of Japan itself.

Those are the four main avenues that seem the most interesting to me without touching on the 'baka gaijin' approach.
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