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Old 2012-07-31, 15:49   Link #1
Kinyonbi
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Valid argument about anime and cartoons?

Recently read a humorous article about the old time debate about anime vs. cartoons. I'm usually with the anime camp, but this guy has some good points.

http://www.hyottokoproductions.com/2...apanese-anime/

What does everyone else think?
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Old 2012-07-31, 16:07   Link #2
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Lol, well, to me, anime is just Japanese animation, or Japanese cartoons; I don't really draw the difference, and just notes it comes from Japan. It doesn't need to be in another category, besides being noted as media by Japan.

The fact that the Japanese label all animation as anime is pretty obvious why-- because anime literally means animation; it's just an abbreviation.

For this reason, I feel distinguishing anime as separate is somewhat unnecessary, and comes off more as marketing. It's foreign to many of us, so that tends to make it more exotic in a sense to label it "anime". I'd assume it also provided something that media over in our own places didn't.

I mean , certainly, there was/is animation in my own country that could easily match Japanese animation for entertainment value and there sometimes still is, but it seems much less common these days.
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Old 2012-07-31, 20:40   Link #3
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Well, to speak logically, there’s no difference between anime and other animation/cartoon from the rest of the world in general. Just like the article writer said, it’s just difference in terms used for anything animated. For example, here in my country, the equivalent for anime is called “animasi”.

Still, my “otaku-ish” side recognize anime as: any animation series/movies which story/script made by Japanese writers .
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Old 2012-07-31, 21:18   Link #4
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Anime is a form of animation, but it is a unique form of animation and is its own thing. Animation could be like fruit, and American animation is oranges and Japanese animation is peaches and 3D animated features (think Pixar) is apples, and so forth.

I still believe that Japan is the animation capital of the world. Large quantity of good and entertaining animation, with some great gems of animated feature films, too (like Miyazaki works). And I like that anime has everything from the edgy and the gar animations to the moe, fanservice, and ecchi animations.
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Old 2012-07-31, 23:32   Link #5
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Personally, I'm fascinated by many non-Japanese cartoons like Secret of Kells, the Pixar works, and a good number of French productions.

I'm also tired of how self-referential and otaku-driven anime is getting. Seriously, Steins Gate definitely has a good story to tell, but it wastes half of its time otaku pandering.

As for definitions, my personal one is that anime is cartoons designed for a Japanese audience, and all anime is cartoons. By that definition, Big O 2 is admittedly cutting it, but really, it's just a classification of convenience.


As for the article, it spends all its time on standards dissonance and the definition of anime... Not all that informative. It also fails to mention that American cartoons in general are far more lax in terms of certain kinds of sexual content. Japan gets away with far more in anatomy and questionable attire, but it's common to see characters kiss in American cartoons, which, if you pay attention, rarely happens in anime, and only a small portion of anime ever goes as far to include sex in the story. Whereas, it's common (if off screen) in American cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy.

Beyond that, it also blanketedly describes anime as more liberal, when that really is not the case. Beyond the sex and violence issues, American cartoons are very commonly extremely critical of the government and more open to exploring significant cultural issues, like in South Park. If anime tries to be critical of the government in any way, it's always through the cypher of a fantasy world. Not anywhere in anime will you find someone taking a critical stance on the current prime minister. Also, I would never call the attitude towards women in most anime to be anywhere near liberal. The proliferation of the "moeblob" who must be "protected" by males is downright misogynistic and far far away from anything that I would describe as liberal.
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Old 2012-08-01, 02:50   Link #6
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Japanese animation, or Japanese cartoons, are distinct enough from the animation/cartoons of the rest of the world that I think they do deserve their own unique classification.

For non-Japanese people, the term "anime" itself serves this unique classification purpose nicely.

With precious few exceptions, North American-made animation is either adult comedies, or for kids. I can't think of any recent North American equivalent to shows like Madoka Magica, Steins;Gate, Mawaru Penguin Drum, or Sword Art Online. In other words, shows clearly aimed at a young adult audience that isn't a comedy.

That's not to say that North America isn't capable of making animated stories like this. They certainly are. They just choose not to. Until they do, it shows a pronounced difference between anime, and the other animated offerings of the world.


That being said, if the word "Cartoon" doesn't exist in Japan (and the linked-to article claimed), then the Japanese are naturally going to call something like Spongebob Squarepants "anime". What else can they call it?

So if a Japanese person called a North American-made cartoon "anime", I'd let it slide. From their perspective, it makes sense.

But I think from a non-Japanese perspective, there's some value in having a specific term for animation designed for a Japanese audience.

"Cartoons" is a widely-used catch-all term. I'd like to see the term "cartoon" gain a bit more respectability, really, and I think that anime could help get it there. So saying something like "Gundam is not a cartoon, it's anime!" actually hurts the cause of animation-lovers like myself, really. It feeds into the perception that "cartoons" represent an entertainment medium (animation) that can't be taken seriously by adults, but with the added argument that only Japan can provide exceptions to this perception.

I think that argument will come off as absurd to most everyday people that are non-anime fans. And like it or not, the term "cartoon" isn't going away anytime soon. It's too popularized, accepted, and well-known.


So long story short, all anime are cartoons, but not all cartoons are anime... unless you're Japanese. That sums up my personal approach to it, anyway.
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Old 2012-08-01, 03:04   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R
That being said, if the word "Cartoon" doesn't exist in Japan (and the linked-to article claimed), then the Japanese are naturally going to call something like Spongebob Squarepants "anime". What else can they call it?

So if a Japanese person called a North American-made cartoon "anime", I'd let it slide. From their perspective, it makes sense.

But I think from a non-Japanese perspective, there's some value in having a specific term for animation designed for a Japanese audience.

"Cartoons" is a widely-used catch-all term. I'd like to see the term "cartoon" gain a bit more respectability, really, and I think that anime could help get it there. So saying something like "Gundam is not a cartoon, it's anime!" actually hurts the cause of animation-lovers like myself, really. It feeds into the perception that "cartoons" represent an entertainment medium (animation) that can't be taken seriously by adults, but with the added argument that only Japan can provide exceptions to this perception.
I still have that habit, even up to now

And what part hurts? Anime is unaffected by that one.
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Old 2012-08-01, 03:19   Link #8
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I'd like to ask the TC, what aspect of anime and cartoons is the argument you are making in this topic? From what I read in the article, it is mostly just about naming the medium, anime and cartoons all fall under the medium of animation.

It is true that somehow non-Japanese otaku always hate it when anime is referred to as cartoons, it is understandable. But things only go wrong when anime fans think that anime should not be called cartoons because they think anime is better than cartoons. Which is not true because Western cartoons are technically superior in most aspects except for style which is subjective and is what anime fans like. This is where the bulk of the argument between anime and cartoons is at.

But if the argument here is the name of the medium, then the most respectful way to call any form of animated media is to call it an animation. Anime, cartoons, animated films, 2D, 3D, stop-motion, all of them fall under the medium of animation.
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Old 2012-08-01, 03:26   Link #9
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---On whether anime and cartoons are the same thing. ---
No.
アニメ (anime), abbreviated from borrowed word "animation" by Japanese, is animation, regardless of where its produced. Anime however, is the word that we borrowed back from Japanese, to refer to animated works produced by Japanese creators.

So アニメ and Animation are the same thing, but Anime is a subset of Animation made by Japan.

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---On the topic of liberalism and anime---
I would say anime otakus tend to lean right more than left (as evidenced by 2ch and moe anime themed 2ch aggregators), but most anime isn't political at all, and if it is, it tends to be leftist (anti-war, etc). Though a major thing that people point out is that misogynism tends to stand out right away in a lot of otaku anime, which is generally a pretty right wing idea. I don't think that important though. Nearly every male dominated subculture or gathering place, even those that trend towards libertarian/liberal ideals (reddit, 4chan, etc), have a lot of misogynism.

---The differences between Western cartoons and Japanese anime---
Lets first start by breaking up anime into two categories. Normal person anime (Naruto, etc) intended for children and families, and otaku anime (CLANNAD, Madoka) intended for a small subset of late teens to and male adults. Those two groups tend to be very distinct with very few exceptions (Evangelion, and more recently K-On!! and Nichijou).

The primary difference between normal person anime and cartoons is that one is full of moon speak and moon runes, and the other isn't. There are several cultural differences between Japan and the West that have to be taken into account, but the two are more similar to each other than either is to otaku anime.

Moving on to otaku anime. It is aimed at a very different group of people than normal person anime and cartoons, otaku. They share little in common with their Western cartoon counterparts (South Park, etc) other than the same target demographic. Any animation aimed at adults in the west tends to be comedies and are often political in nature, otaku anime encompasses a wide variety of genres and themes and only rarely make points about politics or social issues. Otaku anime is pretty much the only animated works aimed at adults that aren't comedies.
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Old 2012-08-01, 03:33   Link #10
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It's strange. I'm not particularly fond of western cartoons to the point where I'm extremely selective of them compared to my liberal choice of anime watching. However, I've never been disappointed in a cartoon I was fully invested in precisely because of my own bias and apprehension towards it whereas anime has let me down on more than a few occasions.

Skimming through that article there isn't much I haven't already learned about. And I'd still make the distinction between anime and cartoons anyway. I mean, Killer Whales are actually Dolphins but nobody refers to them as Dolphins now do they?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
---The differences between Western cartoons and Japanese anime---
Lets first start by breaking up anime into two categories. Normal person anime (Naruto, etc) intended for children and families, and otaku anime (CLANNAD, Madoka) intended for a small subset of late teens to and male adults.
......... I'd sooner call them "mainstream" and "otaku" and give a chance for anything in between to exist. Give the fans who watch anything but mainstream anime some credit here.
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The primary difference between normal person anime and cartoons is that one is full of moon speak and moon runes, and the other isn't.
The main difference between cartoons and anime is that one is made in Japan and the other isn't. Everything else is secondary especially when English dubs of anime or Japanese dubs of cartoons are taken into account.
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Old 2012-08-01, 04:23   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R
That's not to say that North America isn't capable of making animated stories like this. They certainly are. They just choose not to. Until they do, it shows a pronounced difference between anime, and the other animated offerings of the world.Until they do, it shows a pronounced difference between anime, and the other animated offerings of the world.
The world is bigger than north america


Are we talking just TV here or are you including movies too?I admit that I can't think of any TV shows but I can think of a few movies.
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Old 2012-08-01, 04:57   Link #12
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The Otaku friend of that blogger should realize that "anime" in Japan is just a generic term that equates to the english "cartoon". At the same time "manga" is just a generic term that translates into "comics".

So there's absolutely nothing strange if Japanese consider "the boondocks" an anime and if you show them an X-men comic they'd still call it "manga".

But it's not like they think they're the same thing, it's just that they do not consider those terms to be specific of Japanese productions.

For example, what if I'd tell you that in my country "comic" is a word strictly used for american comics? If I were to show you a "comic" produced in my country you'd probably still call it "comic" because "comic" to an english speaker is an umbrella term. Even manga are comics by strict definition.
That still doesn't mean you won't be able to see the difference in style and philosophy or that you don't think there's any difference.


At any rate the main reason of the distinction between manga-comics and anime-cartoons is a matter of country of origin. The terms "manga" and "anime" were adopted into english to allow people to distinguish about the different products in a simplier manner than saying everytime "Japanese cartoons" and "Japanese comics".

By extension the terms were later used to identify a particular style that was proper of "manga" and "anime" and that was significantly discernible from the style seen in american productions.

Now let's be honest here: the styles are different. While there surely are some borderline cases, everyone, even someone who isn't an "otaku" or that cares about cartoons and anime at all would be able to tell the difference between a typical japanese cartoon and a typical american cartoon at first sight.

But as with every definition of a particular "style" when you start to break it apart and overanalyze it, you'll end up finding so many borderline cases and exceptions that they'll make you think whether a distinction should be made at all.

But that's the same thing it could be said about music. Is this rock, glam rock, grunge, progressive rock, hard rock, metal, heavy metal, power metal, nu metal?!

There are probably thousands of debates like that. It's probably better to consider the definitions of styles general ideals and the products themselves something that can be more or less be identified as one or the other but never with absolute precision.
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Old 2012-08-01, 05:21   Link #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsilver View Post

Beyond that, it also blanketedly describes anime as more liberal, when that really is not the case. Beyond the sex and violence issues, American cartoons are very commonly extremely critical of the government and more open to exploring significant cultural issues, like in South Park. If anime tries to be critical of the government in any way, it's always through the cypher of a fantasy world. Not anywhere in anime will you find someone taking a critical stance on the current prime minister. Also, I would never call the attitude towards women in most anime to be anywhere near liberal. The proliferation of the "moeblob" who must be "protected" by males is downright misogynistic and far far away from anything that I would describe as liberal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Random32 View Post

---On the topic of liberalism and anime---
I would say anime otakus tend to lean right more than left (as evidenced by 2ch and moe anime themed 2ch aggregators), but most anime isn't political at all, and if it is, it tends to be leftist (anti-war, etc). Though a major thing that people point out is that misogynism tends to stand out right away in a lot of otaku anime, which is generally a pretty right wing idea. I don't think that important though. Nearly every male dominated subculture or gathering place, even those that trend towards libertarian/liberal ideals (reddit, 4chan, etc), have a lot of misogynism.
From what I read on the article, the writer only uses the word liberal on the Japanese television rating system. I don't believe the person intended to use it beyond that, i.e., politics or social behavior. And based on his comparison between their system and ours, I kind of agree that their system is a little more liberal, or maybe a better word would be radical compared to ours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsilver View Post

As for the article, it spends all its time on standards dissonance and the definition of anime... Not all that informative. It also fails to mention that American cartoons in general are far more lax in terms of certain kinds of sexual content. Japan gets away with far more in anatomy and questionable attire, but it's common to see characters kiss in American cartoons, which, if you pay attention, rarely happens in anime, and only a small portion of anime ever goes as far to include sex in the story. Whereas, it's common (if off screen) in American cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy.
Are you sure about kissing being rare in anime? Kissxsis, Mysterious Girlfriend X, Outlaw Star, Afro Samurai, Amagami SS, Fushigi Yuugi, Kare Kano, Neon Genesis Evangelion, etc. From the classics to the more recent, the anime I just mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg of which I can clearly remember kissing.

I do agree that there are sex scenes of The Simpsons and in particular, Family Guy, like the Star Trek sex scene clip in one episode of Family Guy, but those episodes were always rated TV-14, not PG.

Last edited by Kinyonbi; 2012-08-01 at 05:32.
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Old 2012-08-01, 08:39   Link #14
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I'm not sure I'm getting the point of that blog post, but distinguishing clearly different forms of animation is nothing to be worried about.

Japanese animation is clearly different to N.A animation, and clearly different to Russian animation, and clearly different to a lot of indie animation shorts which don't need to be identified as being from a particular country.

This difference starts even at the way these countries' animation studios approach the animation process, and ends at the cultural differences that make for distinct philosophies of art and life, resulting in completely different stories which are represented differently.

I'm not sure why it is not okay to make a distinction between, for example, animation coming from the USA and animation coming from Japan. If you want to call one 'cartoon' and the other 'anime', well that's semantics, but these categorizing terms didn't appear just because. There are good reasons for it.
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Old 2012-08-01, 10:52   Link #15
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I'm not sure why it is not okay to make a distinction between, for example, animation coming from the USA and animation coming from Japan. If you want to call one 'cartoon' and the other 'anime', well that's semantics, but these categorizing terms didn't appear just because. There are good reasons for it.
The distinction is not even semantic, its just a translation of language.

The Japanese themselves call all animation as anime, even 3D, stop motion, all the way back since the days of great Japanese stop motion master Kawamoto Kihachiro.

Its just like animation is called 'dong hua' in Mandarin and anime is called Japanese dong hua, Western animation is called Western dong hua.

To the Japanese, Chinese animation is Chinese anime and Western animation is Western anime, simple as that.

If there are any good reasons behind such, its only to call the animation based on its language.
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Old 2012-08-01, 11:38   Link #16
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This is one topic I'm honestly tired of seeing, but I can't help but share a few thoughts on the matter.

First of all, I don't understand why there would be such a strictly defined dichotomy between "cartoons" and "anime". They are simply alternative labels for the animation medium, which no single culture has a monopoly on. Any other noticeable differences that might exist are the result of differences in the application of the medium. As such, while the medium takes many forms, there is still a significant overlap between trends in various cultures. In other words, this issue is not much a question of defining terms as it is a question of statistics.

In that respect, Japanese animation is better received than its Western equivalent because of its wider demographic reach. In Japan, animation is a well-established entertainment medium that is accessible to people of all ages. As a result, their animation covers a myriad of different genres thanks to the medium's general appeal. In contrast, Western animation is targeted towards a more specific demographic within the younger age groups, with a more niche market for adult audiences. Just from this, it's pretty easy to see how "cartoons" are often perceived to be for children. In terms of sheer diversity and variety, Japanese animation tends to win over Western animation.

Of course, one can always argue that recent hits like Avatar: The Last Airbender put the West on par with Japan's animation, but these are often few and far in between. Until the West can can treat animation as a medium in itself rather than as a mere genre, I'm not sure it can maximize the use of its animation.
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Old 2012-08-01, 12:35   Link #17
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I don't see what the problem is. Instead of us trying to create a universal naming system, if the Japanese people don't understand what we mean by "anime", can't we just, I dunno, explain?

Every person reads every word differently after all.
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Old 2012-08-01, 15:25   Link #18
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Oh man. Don't even get me started. I've been at this topic for a few years (on and off).

And from what I gather, it's a ridiculous argument, of which I fall on the currently "minority" side.

Quote:
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if the Japanese people don't understand what we mean by "anime", can't we just, I dunno, explain?
But don't be surprised if they look at you funny.
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Old 2012-08-01, 18:38   Link #19
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But don't be surprised if they look at you funny.
You don't have to start a conversation with something obscure. Bringing up something mainstream then going further in would be natural.
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Old 2012-08-01, 21:33   Link #20
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Anime vs cartoons? That's like saying "black Americans vs humans" or "apples vs fruits".
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