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Old 2012-07-11, 20:15   Link #61
Triple_R
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Of course every creator should aim for greatness. If not, why the heck should he bother creating? But just because he thinks his work is great doesn't make it great — it only makes him vain, an ugly quality not becoming of any artist who sincerely wishes to create something beautiful.
Just to be clear, I don't think that Urobuchi himself ever called Madoka Magica "a masterpiece". However, he did hype up Episode 10 in a way that showed considerable confidence on his part. IIRC, he encouraged viewers to rewatch Episodes 1 through 9 after watching Episode 10 so that they would get a new appreciation for those episodes and gain a better "big picture" viewpoint on them.

I like this sort of ambition on the part of anime writers.


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No, you don't get to make a "masterpiece", simply because that's not your call. The decisive judgment comes instead from your professional peers — and your ever fickle audience.
Oh, I completely agree with you here. My point is more that masterpieces don't come about strictly through creators/writers trying to create something half-decent and then just hoping for the best and lucking out. Sometimes masterpieces are hyped beforehand, and the creators/writers behind them were in fact "swinging for the fences", so to speak.

Mind you, when a writer swings for the fences and misses, that's when you tend to get your big trainwrecks.


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Yes indeed. To be sure, I find the word "masterpiece" bandied around way too often. It cheapens the value of the word. If everything is a masterpiece, then nothing is. It becomes a meaningless label, worthless as a measure of greatness.
I strongly agree with you here, which is why "masterpiece" is one word I try to be very careful with when using. Though "masterpiece" is maybe slightly overused, I don't think it's been devalued the way that "awesome" and "epic" have, when it comes to evaluating various works. So I'm glad that the word "masterpiece" largely retains its weight, imo.


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Though it may seem like mere semantics, I find it helpful to distinguish between "milestone" or "landmark" anime and the so-called "masterpieces". Anime like Astro Boy, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Princess Mononoke and Neon Genesis Evangelion were all important "landmark" productions, because they left an indelible imprint on the minds of creators and audiences alike, significantly influencing the way all later anime were conceptualised and produced.
I definitely think its possible to be a "milestone/landwork" work without being a "masterpiece", and vice versa. It's certainly possible to be both, but being one doesn't automatically make a work the other, imo.

So I agree with you here as well.


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As for "masterpieces", let's be brutally frank: Most anime feature far too awful animation to be truly considered masterpieces on a technical level, regardless of the anime's popularity.
I think I'm with Bri here. I don't think that an anime needs to be a masterpiece of animation in order to be an "overall" masterpiece. It can help, certainly, but I don't think it's necessary.

To me, it would be like saying that for a Hollywood movie to be a masterpiece it needs to have cutting edge and top-notch graphics.
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Old 2012-07-11, 21:50   Link #62
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I know this is not a Madoka discussion thread but hey I believe this is relevant to the subject. I mean hey, if one can simply dismiss Madoka as simply "popular" and doesn't qualify as a masterpiece then I don't know what people are exactly looking for in a masterpiece. It's got tons of awards and garnered so much critical praise. What else are we looking for here? Again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masterpiece

"Masterpiece (or chef d'œuvre) in modern usage refers to a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship."
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Old 2012-07-11, 22:17   Link #63
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Originally Posted by MartianMage View Post
I know this is not a Madoka discussion thread but hey I believe this is relevant to the subject. I mean hey, if one can simply dismiss Madoka as simply "popular" and doesn't qualify as a masterpiece then I don't know what people are exactly looking for in a masterpiece. It's got tons of awards and garnered so much critical praise. What else are we looking for here? Again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masterpiece
The test of time. A masterpiece outlasts popular opinion.

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Originally Posted by Akito_Kinomoto View Post
Yet if the final call on the work's quality is largely outside the writer's control then what's the point of striving for excellence?
Professional pride. That is critical. You create because you enjoy doing it well. Good work is its own reward. I do not know of any master artist who craves external validation. He appreciates support, certainly, but he doesn't need it as a motivation to create.

He wouldn't be an artist otherwise. If he needs that validation to feel secure, then he's really no more than an attention seeker. That's somewhat immature, if not infantile.

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Originally Posted by Akito_Kinomoto View Post
Someone regarded as a great creator will probably aim high again but could end up failing while an unambitious director might suddenly be the life of the party.
Yes indeed. That's why time is an essential factor for consideration. Time will not be kind to the flash in the pan who was once the toast of the town. Conversely, time tends to be very much kinder to the undiscovered genius who died a pauper.

They do say that artists become famous only after they die...

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Originally Posted by Akito_Kinomoto View Post
It goes back to being an accident again regardless of whether or not it was the author's intention. Huh.
I think we're belabouring the point. Great art is never an accident. All artists worth their salt aim to be great. Whether they will be remembered for posterity, on the other hand, is out of their hands. In the vast majority of cases, a master artist doesn't care much if he is immortalised. He would be very concerned, though, about achieving that one piece that he can be completely proud of before he bites the dust.
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Old 2012-07-11, 22:24   Link #64
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
The test of time. A masterpiece outlasts popular opinion.
We are talking about masterpieces. You are talking about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic

They are different. We don't need 10 years to recognize an exceptionally crafted work.
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Kyubey: Perhaps the same could be said of all religions.
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Old 2012-07-11, 22:24   Link #65
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Originally Posted by MartianMage View Post
I know this is not a Madoka discussion thread but hey I believe this is relevant to the subject. I mean hey, if one can simply dismiss Madoka as simply "popular" and doesn't qualify as a masterpiece then I don't know what people are exactly looking for in a masterpiece. It's got tons of awards and garnered so much critical praise. What else are we looking for here? Again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masterpiece

"Masterpiece (or chef d'œuvre) in modern usage refers to a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship."
The argument is that Madoka Magica lacks universality.

But I disagree with that argument... at least where it actually matters.

It's true that Madoka Magica has a very specific target demographic. But when Zac Bertchsy write things like this about an anime, it's doing more than just pleasing otakus.

The fact is that Madoka Magica explores a lot of different ideas and themes. In its own distinct way, it explores the human condition, and its poses some pretty universal philosophical questions ("Is there anything truly worth risking your life for?" "Is there anything worth sacrificing for?" "When faced with a dangerous person that seems impossible to negotiate with, should you try a diplomatic route anyway, or should you try to stop that person by force of arms?")

When you combine that with the overall quality of the work, I think it comes as close to a masterpiece as any other anime that's aired in the last two or three years. To me, it's a masterpiece. Time will tell if it is an "objective masterpiece" (as Pocari Sweat puts it), but it's certainly looking good so far, imo.
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Old 2012-07-11, 22:31   Link #66
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Universality? I don't know if I'm getting this right but I don't think there's a single creation that can please everyone. I mean hey... Mona Lisa is a masterpiece but I don't see myself liking it anytime soon...
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Kyubey: It was not by my hand that I am once again given flesh. I was called here by humans who wish to pay me tribute.
Homura: Tribute? You steal girls's souls, and make them your slaves!
Kyubey: Perhaps the same could be said of all religions.
Homura: Your words are as empty as your soul! Lolis ill-needs a savior such as you!
Kyubey: What is a loli? A miserable little pile of moe! But enough talk...have at you!
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Old 2012-07-11, 22:33   Link #67
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Originally Posted by MartianMage View Post
We are talking about masterpieces. You are talking about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic

They are different. We don't need 10 years to recognize an exceptionally crafted work.
Semantics. We don't need to agree. You are welcome to your own definition of a masterpiece, which, in my opinion, is necessarily a "classic", since it does set the benchmark by which all later artists are measured.

Also, one small point about "accident" in the process of creation. Art is not a science. I can't create "art" on demand based on a standard template. I know the techniques of good writing. I have my command of the language to inform me, and my own sense of quality to guide my composition. But is that enough to make me an artist? I don't feel so. Sometimes, I know the words to use, but they just can't seem to come out right, no matter how I try. On other times, the sentences simply flow.

I don't know how it works. It's serendipity. It's the joy of discovery. Often, it really is no more than accidental. That's just the way it is.
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Old 2012-07-11, 23:01   Link #68
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Semantics. We don't need to agree. You are welcome to your own definition of a masterpiece, which, in my opinion, is necessarily a "classic", since it does set the benchmark by which all later artists are measured.
Well yes, we don't need to agree and if that's your opinion then there's not much I can do about it.

However I would like to point out that the definition I've presented is not exactly "my definition" of the word. More like it is the very definition of the word...a fact.

The problem here is that setting your own definition of the word creates arguments that cannot be resolved because even though we're talking about the same word, in the end, we are arguing about 2 different things.
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Homura: Die monster! You don't belong in this world!
Kyubey: It was not by my hand that I am once again given flesh. I was called here by humans who wish to pay me tribute.
Homura: Tribute? You steal girls's souls, and make them your slaves!
Kyubey: Perhaps the same could be said of all religions.
Homura: Your words are as empty as your soul! Lolis ill-needs a savior such as you!
Kyubey: What is a loli? A miserable little pile of moe! But enough talk...have at you!
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Old 2012-07-11, 23:11   Link #69
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Originally Posted by MartianMage View Post
Well yes, we don't need to agree and if that's your opinion then there's not much I can do about it.

However I would like to point out that the definition I've presented is not exactly "my definition" of the word. More like it is the very definition of the word...a fact.

The problem here is that setting your own definition of the word creates arguments that cannot be resolved because even though we're talking about the same word, in the end, we are arguing about 2 different things.
It's not the core definition that I quibble with, but the way it's applied. To take your approach, just because Madoka Magica wins multiple awards and is wildly popular, therefore it must be a masterpiece. Is the winning of awards necessarily an indication of a master work? Like Kaijo, I say no, because it's really just marketing.

If the winning of multiple awards were the key criteria, why, all the Oscar winners in Hollywood film history would be "masterpieces". Really? I don't think so and neither, I suspect, would many people. It's merely an indication of a lot of contemporary hype. It's only with the passage of time, after the dust has settled, that we can see more clearly if all the adulation was really justified.
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Old 2012-07-11, 23:49   Link #70
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On the subject of awards, I'll simply say that... awards are given out every year. And yes, awards are primarily a popularity contest, especially where "art" is concerned. They see what people are clamoring for, and that factors into their decision (imagine the outcry if they gave awards to something that a lot of people disliked).

So, as was said, the only real factor is time. How does it hold up years later, and against everything else that won a lot of awards?

For an interesting illustration of this, check out the rankings on a site like anime-planet.com. Gintama' is listed at #8, while Grave of the Fireflies is listed at #108. And yet, I think most of us would agree Grave of the Fireflies is a masterpiece, while the second season of Gintama wasn't so good (though it had its moments).

Thus, popularity is not a good judge.

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Originally Posted by Bri View Post
Evangelion is a different beast altogether though. While deeply flawed, it altered the very nature of the industry, revolutionized animated characterization and storytelling. It confronted creators how they went about their trade. Still controversial and discussed to this day, only one word comes to my mind to describe it: art.
Which is why I said that Evangelion and Madoka were landmark pieces, because they shifted the norm of their genre. Just because it isn't a masterpiece, doesn't mean it isn't bad. It's really okay; just because something isn't a masterpiece, doesn't make it bad. I don't call my favorite series a masterpiece, either. And Nanoha did things that, not only has nothing in the MG genre ever done before or since, but that rarely happens in anime at all.

But per dictionary definition, it is something done with the utmost skill. And something produced that has visible flaws, isn't something that was done with the utmost skill. Something with flaws can still be good and have meaning, though.

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Originally Posted by MartianMage View Post
However I would like to point out that the definition I've presented is not exactly "my definition" of the word. More like it is the very definition of the word...a fact.
Just an FYI, but wikipedia is generally a bad source to quote. It's a place to start your research, but you should be aiming for the sources that Wikipedia quotes.

And if you're going to look for a definition, then the dictionary is the best place to start.

Spoilers
Spoiler for The plot of the movie "The Sixth Sense"
Sorry; dynamic content not loaded. Reload?

Last edited by CrowKenobi; 2012-07-12 at 20:33. Reason: Too late, but spoiler tag added...
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Old 2012-07-12, 00:04   Link #71
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You say that as if it's a bad thing.

If you want to judge something objectively, no matter how you slice it, it's going to be a "popularity contest".
Otherwise it's just your own damn opinion, and holds water only to yourself and those who agree.

Also if you want to add a layer of objectivity to definition of masterpiece, "test of time" is pretty much an essential element.
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Old 2012-07-12, 01:56   Link #72
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...
This is off-topic but.........................................YOU JUST SPOILED THAT MOVIE FOR ME!!!!!
Dammit, and I was gonna see it tomorrow too. T_T
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Last edited by CrowKenobi; 2012-07-12 at 20:32. Reason: Removed the quote (now under spoiler tags), even if it is indeed, too late.
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Old 2012-07-12, 03:21   Link #73
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
It's not the core definition that I quibble with, but the way it's applied. To take your approach, just because Madoka Magica wins multiple awards and is wildly popular, therefore it must be a masterpiece. Is the winning of awards necessarily an indication of a master work? Like Kaijo, I say no, because it's really just marketing.

If the winning of multiple awards were the key criteria, why, all the Oscar winners in Hollywood film history would be "masterpieces". Really? I don't think so and neither, I suspect, would many people. It's merely an indication of a lot of contemporary hype. It's only with the passage of time, after the dust has settled, that we can see more clearly if all the adulation was really justified.
Whether you like it or not having multiple awards and critical praise will always be one of the key criteria in determining what is a masterpiece because after all it is in the very definition of the word.

And seriously it's not like said multiple awards Madoka won were MTV awards. Madoka won a lot of prestigeous awards and in multiple categories at that. These awards are far from simply just being popular. And if you're going to question the validity of these prestigeous awards then there would be no way to determine what is a masterpiece anymore. It's not like the ones who gave all these awards to Madoka didn't know how to judge.

@Kaijo

Sure wikipedia is not the most reliable source of information however that's pretty irrelevant here. It's not like the definition that was provided in the links I've posted is wrong. You can always just google the term and look up the definition and you can pretty much see they all say almost the exact same thing.
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Kyubey: It was not by my hand that I am once again given flesh. I was called here by humans who wish to pay me tribute.
Homura: Tribute? You steal girls's souls, and make them your slaves!
Kyubey: Perhaps the same could be said of all religions.
Homura: Your words are as empty as your soul! Lolis ill-needs a savior such as you!
Kyubey: What is a loli? A miserable little pile of moe! But enough talk...have at you!
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Old 2012-07-13, 16:23   Link #74
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Originally Posted by MartianMage View Post
Universality? I don't know if I'm getting this right but I don't think there's a single creation that can please everyone. I mean hey... Mona Lisa is a masterpiece but I don't see myself liking it anytime soon...
Yea I brought this up earlier. The point of writing, drawing, saying, or basically communicating anything is to transmit the idea of something to an intended audience. Obviously, the Mona Lisa couldn't have been directed to people centuries in the future. Thus works should be judged with this intent, as it is that purpose.

If a message manages to light the fires of the people it was intended to reach, does it not mean it was a complete success?

Therefore, there a number of works where I appreciate for what they do, even though it wasn't meant for me, so I personally don't care for it.

Because the nature of entertainment is at least partially an emotional experience, plus people of different times and cultures have different opinions and mindsets, it can't be quantified so easily, except we can approximate in the reaction it generated. You can't appreciate Citizen Kane fully, unless you understand the context behind it, for example.

Therefore, I would go with masterpiece to the degree of how it affected the medium overall. Mobile Suit Gundam has got to be one of the groundbreakers when it comes to anime I'd say.

Finally, it's my personal opinion that if you try to please everyone, you will please no one.
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Old 2012-07-16, 18:42   Link #75
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What about Naruto or Bleach?! They have tons of action comedy and some drama. Plus they are in Shonen Jump
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Old 2012-07-16, 19:40   Link #76
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Of course every creator should aim for greatness. If not, why the heck should he bother creating? But just because he thinks his work is great doesn't make it great — it only makes him vain, an ugly quality not becoming of any artist who sincerely wishes to create something beautiful.
I'm really proud of a story I wrote and think it's a really nice tale, is that being vain?

Also School Days is the greatest masterpiece in the anime world, topic over
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Old 2012-07-17, 10:08   Link #77
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I'm really proud of a story I wrote and think it's a really nice tale, is that being vain?
A wise woman, my mother, always tells me: "Self praise is no praise."

I always try to remember that when my head grows too big.
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Old 2012-07-17, 10:51   Link #78
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That's true, but I don't think that simply liking something you created and thinking you did a good job is arrogance.
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Old 2012-07-17, 12:22   Link #79
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That's true, but I don't think that simply liking something you created and thinking you did a good job is arrogance.
The road to perdition begins with the first step. Tread wisely.

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Old 2012-07-17, 12:57   Link #80
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What about Naruto or Bleach?! They have tons of action comedy and some drama. Plus they are in Shonen Jump
Naruto is quite entertaining though have some flaws, Bleach already had its final episode while the Manga is ongoing. Bleach had a lot of fillers, but nevertheless it was entertaining. While both are undoubtedly popular as Manga and anime, I wouldn't consider them masterpieces, close but not there. One piece is closer to a masterpiece than Bleach and Naruto, but it is not a masterpiece yet.
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