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Old 2011-12-01, 08:50   Link #201
Brimstone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bri View Post
There have been dozens of visual novel adaptions to anime. Late night anime pretty much started with adaptions like To Heart, Sentimental Journey, Kakyusei
etc.
VNs not equal RPGs -_-;


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Originally Posted by Bri View Post
I think your not quite following me. Seikai-kei is a description of a particular plot type. Whether an such anime contains moe or fanservice has no relevance. Quite unlikely you have not seen any story of this mold as some of the most popular anime are seikai-kei, for example Evangelion, Haruhi and Shana. Even Madoka is a seikai-kei although it plays with the tropes of that plot type.
That's why I added "but that's neither here nor there" when I mentioned moe/fanservice.

But you're right, I misread 'Seikai-kei' as something else my bad... But the gist is "a weak, powerless boy and a strong-willed girl with powers/talents/abilities." right?



Evangelion doesn't count because no matter how much of a wuss Shinji was, he's still fighting on the front lines... With arguably the strongest mecha -_-

This fits Haruhi perfectly.

As for Shana... I wouldn't call the male protagonist powerless. Earlier on I classified those kinds of protagonists as "Ace-in-the-hole". They're not frontline materials, but use correctly and they can turn the tide of battle. Though as the story of Shana progresses...

Last edited by Brimstone; 2011-12-01 at 09:00. Reason: My mistake
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Old 2011-12-01, 08:53   Link #202
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The studio that gave us Monster, Black Lagoon, Mouryou no Hako, Saiunkoku Monogatari, and Claymore, to name just a few, now seems rather uninterested in the contemporary market for anime on Japanese television.
Eh, they'll probably be back when conditions stabilize.
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Old 2011-12-01, 09:10   Link #203
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Originally Posted by Brimstone View Post
That sounds so much like Nanoha wouldn't you say? But for some inexplicable reason it smells more like Guilty Crown
It's...practically the majority of magical girl series, now that I think about it. And Guilty Crown

Hmm, now that I think about it, I think my description got a bit muddled back there. What I was trying to say is that recent animes seems to lack "professional" heroes (I might be using the wrong word here, so feel free to give an alternative), as in those who becomes the best at their field because of training and experience, not because of some random plot item of awesome.

For example, Noa Izumi from Patlabor--her ride is not exceptionally powerful or anything, but she's a hardworking pilot. Same with Hikaru from Macross--he spent half of the story using the same fighter as anyone else, and while he never become as good as Max he's still one of the most reliable pilot in the setting. Or maybe Isamu from Macross Plus--he gets a spiffy mech, true, but that's because he's proven his worth when using ordinary war machines in the first place. Sagara Sousuke is a borderline case due to the Lambda driver, but considering the skilful way he used a previous generation mech he qualifies.

Earned, not given.

Badass normal? Partially, I guess. When everybody else can use say, cybernetics or magic, the meaning of normal could shift. Hei from Darker than Black could use that electricity thingy, for instance, but he's already feared without it. And I forgot whether Spike for Cowboy Bebop has cybernetic augmentations (it's been a while), but that stuff is common anyway, and yet he's one of the best.

Quote:
But what I think about this is that people have always like to support the underdog ever since David vs Goliath.
David was not normal, at least not as "normal" as the ordinary student guys character types. As a whole, he's weaker compared to his enemy, yes, but he has his own slingshot skills honed from having to fend of predators from his lifestock.

But it's quite true that it is easier to support the underdog. Problem is, the current trend is less David vs Goliath and more machine-gunner David versus musketeer Goliath.

Then again...

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Originally Posted by Bri View Post
Patlabor is an example of a show where a very talented creative team twists the tropes and formulas of the genre. Occasionally anime like this show up, but they have always been rare regardless of what was popular at the time.
Maybe it's true, that those kind of anime had always been the exception, not the norm. It's just that back then anime were not as numerous as today, and maybe because the local TV for some reason aired shows like Patlabor or Macross, they were the ones I ended up choosing as parables.

But still, it's pretty hard for me to name even one "professional" as I've described before from animes 2009 and forwards. Emiya Kiritsugu counts as one I guess, but IIRC the novel was made before 2009
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Old 2011-12-01, 09:12   Link #204
Sheba
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Let's not fool ourselves here, Madhouse is not quite in a good shape, and the economic conditions are not favorable to them at all. The glorious days from Cyber City Oedo 808 to Black Lagoon in its prime are behind them now. It's not helped by the fact that, unlike Sunrise who can always count on Gundam, Madhouse never had any enduring intellectual property to safely fall back on when the need arises.
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Old 2011-12-01, 09:24   Link #205
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Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
It's...practically the majority of magical girl series, now that I think about it. And Guilty Crown
Girls don't need sweaty training arcs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
Hmm, now that I think about it, I think my description got a bit muddled back there. What I was trying to say is that recent animes seems to lack "professional" heroes (I might be using the wrong word here, so feel free to give an alternative), as in those who becomes the best at their field because of training and experience, not because of some random plot item of awesome.

For example, Noa Izumi from Patlabor--her ride is not exceptionally powerful or anything, but she's a hardworking pilot. Same with Hikaru from Macross--he spent half of the story using the same fighter as anyone else, and while he never become as good as Max he's still one of the most reliable pilot in the setting. Or maybe Isamu from Macross Plus--he gets a spiffy mech, true, but that's because he's proven his worth when using ordinary war machines in the first place. Sagara Sousuke is a borderline case due to the Lambda driver, but considering the skilful way he used a previous generation mech he qualifies.

Earned, not given.

Badass normal? Partially, I guess. When everybody else can use say, cybernetics or magic, the meaning of normal could shift. Hei from Darker than Black could use that electricity thingy, for instance, but he's already feared without it. And I forgot whether Spike for Cowboy Bebop has cybernetic augmentations (it's been a while), but that stuff is common anyway, and yet he's one of the best.

I get what you mean, but in my experience most characters that do get their powers from destiny or from luck or from blood, don't automatically make them the best of the best. It gives them an edge and makes them special, but they don't go straight to the top- there's always some training arc or something... Or they just remain at that level.

(Though mecha is probably the obvious exception)

Or that the power they get is only useful for special case and doesn't really help them in the frontline battles eg. Lelouch's Geass.
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Old 2011-12-01, 09:59   Link #206
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Originally Posted by Brimstone View Post
But you're right, I misread 'Seikai-kei' as something else my bad... But the gist is "a weak, powerless boy and a strong-willed girl with powers/talents/abilities." right?
It's hard to catch the concept in a single sentence. It's not so much physical power as a description of the characters.

What matters most is the relationship between two individuals which decides the outcome of events. Everything else comes second. The main character is weaker (emotional and/or physical), more ordinary as it were, but is pivotal to events and the "other" is the overall stronger, more proactive character but in some way is dependent on the main character.

Evangelion is the most famous example, as Shinji is a weaker person than Rei, Asuka or Misato (although they are all pretty messed up). However he is the key to the outcome of the instrumentality project and his decision on the ultimate fate of humanity has been formed in his interaction with the "other" (Rei, Asuka or Misato). In essence the interaction between ""me" and "you" determines the "world". Outside influences don't matter. The Angels, the Evas, the military, Nerv etc. are all irrelevant.

Another example is Eureka 7 where the future of coexistence between mankind and Coralians is judged solely on the relationship between Renton and Eureka. Again both characters have a mutual dependency with Eureka (for the most part) being the far more capable character.
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Old 2011-12-01, 12:58   Link #207
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Originally Posted by Marcus H. View Post
Eh, they'll probably be back when conditions stabilize.
What happens to Madhouse will be up to the new overlords at NTV. The former management (along with most of the defining directorial talent) already left the house, so it'll never be the same company again.

However, given that NTV is a TV station, I'd be surprised if Madhouse merely stuck to theatrical works. The current output reflects decisions from a couple years back, so we can expect to see the results of the buyout in another year or two.
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Old 2011-12-02, 06:39   Link #208
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Well Madhouse is producing Chihayafuru now. That series at least feels like the old Madhouse.
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Old 2011-12-02, 06:51   Link #209
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Over 5,800 Smelly Otaku Trying to Make It Big Writing Young Adult Novels


Case in point: Stories are now being written by fans of fans of fans of actual authors, who simply lack outside perspective. And the publishing industry is going along with it, because they too are fans, working as their editors! I was excited by the prospect of works such as Hasekura's Spice & Wolf, but that was just an exception. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu is worthless in today's light novel playing field.

So that's one large part of anime today. The other are original anime stories. Some have had success, but the original anime route is admittedly a last resort of sorts, because the industry is running out of GOOD stories to adapt. Think back a few paragraphs.... 5800 FUCKING ENTRIES FOR A SINGLE CONTEST. And none of them were good enough to take the place of a future light novel adaptation that looks like the next Seitokai no Ichizon? (not to say Seizon was any good)

Who's to blame? Certainly not moe anime, as they're just an expression of Japanese society. So basically it comes down to whether or not you have the patience to wait for the next Madoka to come by and weather through those 5800 seedy novels that will eventually all be made into anime (because Japan is on the brink of creative bankruptcy). This has always been the case for anime, I'm afraid.
thank you for writing your post out. this really answers a thought of mine i had a couple of months back when i got back into the world of anime. the animes and manga which truly impressed me was ano hi mita, steins;gate, Gundam 00 (first season), and shingeki no kyojin since i came back. the rest i've come across are just so generic to me at best in terms of how to write a story. i literally thought "Where are these companies hiring these writers from?! It lacks imagination or does not even attempt to make its story stand out more from the rest of the competition. I'm seeing the usual stuff over and over again." and now it all makes sense.

it is perhaps like you said of "Stories are now being written by fans of fans of fans of actual authors, who simply lack outside perspective" and these fans try to take most of the elements from the author they like and just make a few changes to the story and characters. it is like they don't even bother trying to read other literature works to get a different perspective of how to write an even better story.
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Old 2011-12-02, 10:38   Link #210
Sheba
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It's not so different from the Lord of the Rings or Eragon cheap knockoffs that regularly find their way to the shelves through self-publishing or vanity press. Not like I am defending those. Like Kuroneko in OreImo episode 8, I feel something between anger and contempt toward those authors who gets their way while I struggle to make my story stand out and maturate.
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Old 2011-12-02, 14:35   Link #211
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I'm not sure how anyone can argue that anime hasn't changed a lot over the years. However, I think that this change is more on the level of decades rather than over a few years. Other than a small shift in the kinds of shows that are popular, the changes from about 2000-present are incremental. However, compare this to the shows made in 1990 or 1980, and the amount of change becomes a huge gulf.

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Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
There currently seems to be an increase of the "ordinary student guy", the one who at the beginning is perfectly normal, maybe even bland. nothing special, no great talents, not good at making friends, some even going so far as being losers.

And then the "call" happens, something like accidentally finding an artifact of HAXX that suddenly makes him a major player in an epic war.

But...he stays normal. He joins the adventure and kicks ass, but that's because he has the HAXX power to kick ass, not because he's experienced or trained.
This archetype always been in anime - dating to Mobile Suit Gundam and earlier. The main difference nowadays is the urge to combine this kind of adventure story with the school life story. But that's more due to the fetishization of high school than anything else.

What's really key to this archetype is that it's far more prevalent now than it ever has been. And I think that's one of the key trends in the industry. The awkward everyman is a favorite of Japanese otaku, and Japanes otaku are the ones sustaining the industry. As a result, we see a lot more of him.

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I miss shows like Patlabor, where the heroes were not the ones with some uber-powerful mechs - with shows today, whenever a hero kicks ass I tend to think "that's not him being awesome, that's his mech being awesome". And the protagonists are not the Chosen One or someone who accidentally found a Plot Item of Destiny, they're people who consciously enlist for the job and become good at what they do because they constantly practice for it.
Shows like Patlabor are precisely the kind that aren't getting made any more. General audiences used to make up a large portion of the anime landscape, but there's fewer and fewer shows made for them. noitaminA used to be the key bastion against this trend, but they've announced that they're throwing in the towel.

It's a bit hard to blame them seeing how Madhouse die because they tried to do something different.

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Is this trend good or bad? Well your mileage will definitely vary on this one, but as for me, I have far more respect on those who earn their place that those who got it on a silver platter, so you can guess my opinion on the subject
It's definitely bad if you want more diversity in anime. Anime is eating itself, with more and more creators who draw solely from manga, other anime, or anime-like novels and games. And the ones who made those manga, other anime, novels and games in turn are only familiar with manga/anime, and so on.
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Old 2011-12-02, 19:27   Link #212
cyth
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Evangelion is the most famous example, as Shinji is a weaker person than Rei, Asuka or Misato (although they are all pretty messed up). However he is the key to the outcome of the instrumentality project and his decision on the ultimate fate of humanity has been formed in his interaction with the "other" (Rei, Asuka or Misato). In essence the interaction between ""me" and "you" determines the "world". Outside influences don't matter. The Angels, the Evas, the military, Nerv etc. are all irrelevant.
I want to touch up a bit on this because it bears significance for the discussion in terms of when the last big shift in trends happened.

And you guessed it, it was Evangelion with its introduction of moe-kei and sekai-kei. Evangelion was more like a proto fictional version of sekai-kei, so it's usually referenced only to illustrate that sekai-kei deals with self-reflectivity and retreats to one's own world. In other works, "she" is there only as a vessel of motherly love--someone who will unconditionally love the protagonist. This has been the biggest point of criticism of sekai-kei, that it's too self-conscious, that sekai-kei works have given up on real life and the narrative outside of "the two."

Whenever I say the word moe, I usually mean Azuma Hiroki's database definition, and I think it makes sense to discuss moe under his terms. What's broken with discussions such as this thread is that these terms are not very well known and even far less correctly understood. Sekai-kei, for example, has been pretty much ignored by western critics. All they've been touching up on were the semantics of moe-kei at best, which is like a decade behind Japan, and the west seriously needs to play catch up, because authors like Shinkai Makoto--the otaku's Major Anime Director heartthrob--have already graduated from sekai-kei (I watched Hoshi o Ou Kodomo today, brilliant meta). Madoka has also graduated from it, I don't believe it's sekai-kei at all.

I think we had this discussion far too early. Let me explain.

The last time that a major shift in anime had occured, it was when Japan was facing tough economic times and the terrorist events of Aum Shinrikyou. What kind of role plays a religious cult in all of this? Well, they had enough stock of biological weapons that they could potentially kill 4 million people. Their sole mission was to bring about the armageddon, and when those terrorist attacks happened, the terror of Aum had already been going on for some time. It was a very shocking event. Evangelion was lucky with the way it played out in all of this with its story. Japan hasn't had much groundbreaking events ever since, except if you count earthquake in Kobe.

I think Tohoku is the real deal. So we'll be seeing major, conscious content shifts in the next year or two, I think.
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Old 2011-12-02, 19:29   Link #213
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Originally Posted by Sheba View Post
It's not so different from the Lord of the Rings or Eragon cheap knockoffs that regularly find their way to the shelves through self-publishing or vanity press. Not like I am defending those. Like Kuroneko in OreImo episode 8, I feel something between anger and contempt toward those authors who gets their way while I struggle to make my story stand out and maturate.
You know, when I originally saw that episode, I thought Kirino's book getting animated was a ridiculous plot twist, but when I actually stop and think about it, there's a lot of commentary there. It's too bad the episode as a whole wasn't that enjoyable.

(There's also a certain irony in that this comes from a series that gave me one of the most annoying cases of trope driven character derailment I care to think of - the yanderification of Ayase.)
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Old 2011-12-02, 20:27   Link #214
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It's not so different from the Lord of the Rings or Eragon cheap knockoffs that regularly find their way to the shelves through self-publishing or vanity press. Not like I am defending those. Like Kuroneko in OreImo episode 8, I feel something between anger and contempt toward those authors who gets their way while I struggle to make my story stand out and maturate.
Though the counter-argument to that is, and as Kirino stated in anime and LN, are you creating your work for people (potential audience) or for yourself? It's creator's own fault if his vision and idea was not well-received by the mass as they can always choose to go with the trend.

But if they are writing to express themselves, then why get hung on with its popularity since you are not writing to appeal to the mass anyway.

Kuroneko realizes that Kirino was right and that's why she stated that her pride was shattered but later with renown focus and ultimately made the decision (at least more clearly in LN) to stick with her current, self expressive way over mass appeal.
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Old 2011-12-03, 08:11   Link #215
Sheba
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@ Undertaken

Just to clarify my position here. I attempted to get moving on my story not to appeal to the crowd but to get the story that finally get me satisfied with the result. I have in mind Kurt Vonnegut's "Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.". In the long run, I found out that "Bring/Find the MacGuffin to defeat the Evil Overlord" just did not cut it anymore with me. Maybe when I was 14, but no more when I was past 25 already. Finally, it is the history nerd inside me, with an interest for the Sengoku period, the Thirty Years War and the American Civil War, and the reading of War and Peace that gave me the "tick" and a sight of what I really wanted to do, a piece of fictional history.

My prob with those Tolkien wannabe is that they rushed to copy it without understanding what made it tick in the first place, and often did not try to find inspiration from elsewhere, it could be vanilla History, legends from places such as Egypt or Ancient Greece, or more obscure places, anything else .

I think it is the same problem that plagues the Light Novel industry as pointed out by Cyth, if I understood him right, when he said "incestuous". Those fans of fans of fans of authors just recycles tropes seen a thousand of times in many works, often taking inspiration from anime, manga and video games. While, those are not bad sources of inspiration, but they should not be the end-all be-all sources, when there are matter outside this sphere that is as rich if not more. I think that an aspiring author could gain a lot from a trip to the library or zapping to Discovery/History Channel. Which might be how I reached that "Eureka!" phase as one while I struggled to find the playstage for my characters.
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Old 2011-12-06, 23:15   Link #216
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I can agree that in this case.
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Old 2011-12-07, 10:55   Link #217
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But to answer the opening post, I'll start off with this lovely link that basically illustrates the situation.

Over 5,800 Smelly Otaku Trying to Make It Big Writing Young Adult Novels

--

From the link:
Regular novel: “There was a loud explosion behind me. Surprised, I turned around.”

Light novel: “There was a violent explosion to my rear. I figured this would be another pain in the butt, and thoughts like ‘It’s probably going to make me skip lunch.’ swirled in my head as I turned around.”
Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks light novels are way too wordy.
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Old 2011-12-07, 14:57   Link #218
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This year, Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero have set the standard very high for the rest of all anime.
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