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Old 2011-04-01, 23:21   Link #1
Sojobo
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Question The same old debate: anime vs. cartoons.

Just a bit of a forewarning, I'm a little bit of an old man.

I remember a common debate back when I was on the internet was the good old fashioned 'cartoons vs. anime' debate. In other words, do you call it anime, or cartoons? Animation? Do you hate it when someone calls the media you love cartoons? Or worse yet, comics!!! Right?

I remember the threads always erupting into fits of rage saying anime is not cartoons! Back in my day, people were passionate about it. Hell, they might be still! But I had the chance to look at this in a different light recently. And I'll give a bit of a back story to help you understand where I am coming from.

Growing up, I learned pretty quickly that just because someone is Japanese doesn't always means that they like anime. As a direct result I'm a little picky about who I talk to about anime. Admittedly, I have social disorders that prevent me from talking to ANYONE openly without doing a quick check list of personality traits, or anything Japan related really. I am pretty respectful of people in general, so when it comes to Japanese people, I typically don't discuss their culture at all because I don't know how removed they are from it.

In the last three-ish years, I've become good friends with a Japanese guy around my age (22) who works at the same place. Through my amazement we have a lot in common, and can talk about music on pretty much equal terms. However, he doesn't like anime, and I can understand that.

However, the other day we were talking, and the topic of the film Summer Wars came up, and he explained he really enjoyed it, and it made him really miss watching cartoons growing up.

"Oh?" I ask. "Cartoons? What did you watch?" I assumed the same thing that I did. Rugrats, Angry Beavers, Hey Arnold, etc, etc..
"Well, Dragon Ball, GaoGaiGar, Ultraman, stuff like that." he replies a nostalgic expression on his face.
"Eh? But you don't watch anime..?" I tilt my head, somewhat confused as I take a drag off of the cigarette he gave me.
"Well, to me, it's not anime. It's just cartoons." What..? Wait, WHAT? I stared at him for a few moments as I pondered this, exhaling the smoke through my nose. He turned my world on its head, really, some how.



Really, at the end of the day, it was a perspective that I never really took on it before. For him, it was just cartoons. Not because of the fact that he was ignorant of what anime was, but because he grew up with it, and he knew exactly what it was? Notice I put that as a question mark.

Well, our break was over at that point, so we walked back inside. He made fun of me for my continued fandom of Shiina Ringo, I took a stab at his passion for Johnny's musicians, and we separated for the day.

...

Anime vs Cartoons?
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Old 2011-04-01, 23:48   Link #2
Urzu 7
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Animation encompasses many things. Anime and cartoons are both forms of animation. But to me, anime is not cartoons, and cartoons are not anime. Anime is from Japan, cartoons are from elsewhere. It is like there is whiskey, and then there is scotch, which is only scotch if it is whiskey from Scotland. Let's be honest, Japan is the animation capital of the world, and most of the best animated works come from Japan. By and large, on the whole; anime is the king of animation to me and many other anime fans. And a lot of it is really of a higher caliber than typical cartoons. Especially since, unlike most catoons, a lot of anime can encorporate high production values, be geared towards more mature audiences (often times while being mature itself, i.e. as opposed to Family Guy being for mature audiences but being a show that thrives on immature humor), and can be more sophisticated than most anything known as a cartoon.

If you ask me, anime is a type of animation that is a class in its own. Maybe not every single anime produced is of this higher caliber than the typical cartoon, but I think enough of them are that we can put them in a class of their own.

So yeah, I think anime is in a class of its own, and just refer to it as anime. To draw perspective, if I think that some western animation is of a higher caliber than a typical western cartoon, I won't think of it as a cartoon. For example, Disney's Fantasia, along with some other Disney feature films, I don't think of as simply cartoons, but something more, and would refer to them as animated features.

That's my 2 cents. I really like anime and do find that a lot of it is at least a couple steps above cartoons made in the U.S. I don't like to associate the typical animes, much less the real fine animes, with cartoon shows such as Rug Rats, Family Guy, or Ed, Edd, and Eddy.
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Last edited by Urzu 7; 2011-04-01 at 23:58.
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Old 2011-04-02, 00:38   Link #3
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He's using naming words oddly (both the word "cartoons" and "anime" refer simply to moving drawn pictures, each word from a different culture) ... but what he's really saying is that there is a wall of separation *within* anime. Some anime has been embraced by the general japanese population (Doraemon, for example) and some has not (all that stuff on after midnight in Japan).

Acceptable anime is that which is pretty much designed FOR kids (Ultraman, Doraemon, Dragonball, etc) and one "grows out of" or remembers fondly... there's a much more restricted range of acceptable "hobbies for grownups" and anime designed for 20-somethings and up isn't acceptable yet (to stodgy mainstream Japan).

Time is irrevocably changing this as more and more Japanese refuse to set their hobbies aside, but it is a slow evolutionary process - glacial by US standards. And lets face it... quite a large percentage of the American population thinks all these "geeky hobbies" aren't for "mature adults" either. We're supposed to be wielding a golf club or having a couple of whiskies while we flirt with the waitress and all that other odious crap "men of the 1950s" did.
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Old 2011-04-02, 00:46   Link #4
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That be fine, but I find gold boring and don't drink whisky. The third part might be there in time, but with no location and no whisky, you arn't going to have a waitress around.

And certainly you won't be finding one in a maid outfit in most country clubs.


...what?
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Old 2011-04-02, 01:00   Link #5
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ithekro View Post
That be fine, but I find gold boring and don't drink whisky. The third part might be there in time, but with no location and no whisky, you arn't going to have a waitress around.

And certainly you won't be finding one in a maid outfit in most country clubs.


...what?
So you prefer a bardiche on the long drive off the tee or a large war hammer? Actually, the cart goddesses are supreme on the West Coast...
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Old 2011-04-02, 01:29   Link #6
Sojobo
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Wow. People actually replied. >_> I must say, I'm a little surprised. This internet thing is scary. ._.[/selfmockery]

Ah, anyway. I do feel like this is an interesting conversation to have because we all have a different perception on what anime is, and how we regard it in comparison to other forms of animation. Although one might argue that perception changes a little from person to person, right?

I'll use my friend as an example. Because of how he grew up with media, even Summer Wars he still views as a cartoon. Undeniably, the production values are staggeringly different from even most anime in Summer Wars. I don't think that he is necessarily at fault, or using naming words oddly necessarily. But perhaps just values it equally as entertainment?

I think maybe that is what I was trying to drive this more towards to, is the potential perception some people might have who did not encounter 'anime' as 'anime.' I'm falling a little behind in this discussion though, I'm a little tired and looking into music. So my apologies if I am indeed unclear.
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Old 2011-04-02, 01:48   Link #7
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Mark my words. Someday, an American will make anime. Then maybe, just maybe, this damned distinction between "cartoon" and "anime" will cease to exist.

Once I learned that Freezing is a manga/anime made by a pair of Koreans. Then, it is quite possible.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojobo View Post
Just a bit of a forewarning, I'm a little bit of an old man.

I remember a common debate back when I was on the internet was the good old fashioned 'cartoons vs. anime' debate. In other words, do you call it anime, or cartoons? Animation? Do you hate it when someone calls the media you love cartoons? Or worse yet, comics!!! Right?
Up to the early 1990's. The term "anime", "Japanimation", or whatever other variation was not in my lexicon. That changed when I saw a separate section dedicated to anime (but wasn't labled as such) in a Blockbuster video store. Sampling some of these, I noticed how distinctly different these were... compared to say... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and anything Warner Brothers. Such examples of "cartoons" were great though.

This is despite - having watching stuff like She-Ra, Voltron, and Voltes V in the 1980s. Even then, I considered those as cartoons - or never thought much of it. I was younger than 8 at this point. They were animated, so I didn't care.

It wasn't until around 2006, when I started to question the "meaning" behind anime. Here, I started wondering: What makes the Japanese so special, such that their own animation medium gets a distinct word attached to it? The irony. The term "anime" branched off an English word: "animation". It was a simple English word conversion to Katakana and naturally shortened. This is quite the norm as far as language goes, especially slang terms. Since then, I've been somewhat hard on the distinction between "anime" and "cartoon". And it isn't as simple as "Japanese" vs "non-Japanese".

Anime is a distinct style, in of itself. This I no doubt. And its Japanese attribute will always be there. Yet, as a style, it is possible for others to pick up on it and learn it. Naturally, the same goes for manga.

Unfortunately for Americans (or other non-Asians). They have a long long way to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojobo View Post
"Oh?" I ask. "Cartoons? What did you watch?" I assumed the same thing that I did. Rugrats, Angry Beavers, Hey Arnold, etc, etc..
"Well, Dragon Ball, GaoGaiGar, Ultraman, stuff like that." he replies a nostalgic expression on his face.
"Eh? But you don't watch anime..?" I tilt my head, somewhat confused as I take a drag off of the cigarette he gave me.
"Well, to me, it's not anime. It's just cartoons." What..? Wait, WHAT? I stared at him for a few moments as I pondered this, exhaling the smoke through my nose. He turned my world on its head, really, some how.
The bottom line here:

They're both the same "exact" medium: 2D animation - in basic principle anyways. Anime is just a sub-class to 2D animation. It just happens: the Japanese took the animation processes several steps further. It's not a matter of who or what produces the animation. It's a matter of how.

Last edited by Kyuu; 2011-04-02 at 02:04.
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Old 2011-04-02, 01:51   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuu View Post
Mark my words. Someday, an American will make anime. Then maybe, just maybe, this damned distinction between "cartoon" and "anime" will cease to exist.
Within the same regard, because of the long standing difference between 'anime' 'Japanimation' and 'cartoons' will there ever be a kosher point in which they are accepted equally?

One might argue that anime will always be used as a specification to Japanese animation.
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Old 2011-04-02, 02:13   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojobo View Post
One might argue that anime will always be used as a specification to Japanese animation.
Believe me. I've argued this point rather extensively, such that - I've taken a break from it for the past 2-3 years. As with any anime debate, it can get pretty fiery.

Here. I would often ask things like, "What if so-and-so Japanese animation studio closes up shop and moves elsewhere, like California, to continue business?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojobo View Post
Within the same regard, because of the long standing difference between 'anime' 'Japanimation' and 'cartoons' will there ever be a kosher point in which they are accepted equally?.
Naturally, the debate began after anime reached a wave after the 2000s, such that, domestic animation studios attempted to emulate anime. For this, we have things like Teen Titans, Totally Spies, and Avatar: the Last Airbender. Here, Avatar proved to the best Western attempt at anime so far.

Long have I considered Avatar to be anime; despite either not watching it, or having seen clips of it.

Now, I managed to complete this series a few months ago. After the first few episodes, I realized: "Oh, I see why this may not be anime". The impression of "anime" came away when I noticed character facial expressions and movement. It's quirky. It isn't smooth. Things like this: they're extremely noticeable in animation.

As I sit here, typing this - with Strike Witches running on my other computer. My thought now comes to: frame by frame analysis of the different animation types. I neither have the expertise nor the will to do this. But, I have to wonder what the results are.
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Old 2011-04-02, 02:20   Link #10
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There's an upcoming anime that were co-produced with a Malaysian company that most likely to be shown next Winter(2012) but yet some of Malaysian anime fans don't like it very much because its not "Japanese" enough. They said only those were produced by Japanese people worth to called as "anime" while animated shows from any other countries are cartoons. I think this is not a right thing to say here but I really hate those Japanophiles.

By the way I can't wait to see that Malaysian anime though I never don't put too many hope on it. Back off Upin & Ipin, Hang Tuah will replace you all.
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Old 2011-04-02, 02:26   Link #11
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Avatar is definitively the best attempt a Stateside studio has made at replicating the same techniques and character concepts in anime. Even the story in my mind does a respectable job at producing something that appears to multiple maturity levels.

Better question still: If a Japanese American re-creates anime for an American animation studio, what is it?

I think when it comes down to there is an undeniable difference from American animation to Japanese animation, but I don't think it necessarily should persuade us from thinking that it COULD be considered a cartoon.




How people perceive it doesn't make it any less awesome?

So tired. ;o;
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Old 2011-04-02, 02:28   Link #12
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I wonder...when did Japanese animation become so different than what it was more or less following at first...Disney. A very long time ago.
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Old 2011-04-02, 02:40   Link #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kameruka View Post
There's an upcoming anime that were co-produced with a Malaysian company that most likely to be shown next Winter(2012) but yet some of Malaysian anime fans don't like it very much because its not "Japanese" enough. They said only those were produced by Japanese people worth to called as "anime" while animated shows from any other countries are cartoons. I think this is not a right thing to say here but I really hate those Japanophiles.

By the way I can't wait to see that Malaysian anime though I never don't put too many hope on it. Back off Upin & Ipin, Hang Tuah will replace you all.
Well, at least that eliminates people like us [?] from making sweeping generalizations anymore. I am very happy that we don't have to put the blame on the USA for claiming that anime cannot be compared to a cartoon.

@Ithekro: Well, Japanese concepts have always been pretty different. I think that is hard to deny, the actual content of some of the stories and plots produced by Japan are unique to their own cultural views. I think it is wrong to say original, but unique none the less. So it probably starts there.
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Old 2011-04-02, 03:24   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuu View Post
Here. I would often ask things like, "What if so-and-so Japanese animation studio closes up shop and moves elsewhere, like California, to continue business?"
Not the same scenario but it reminded me of this:
Madhouse animated the 2nd season of the boondocks , so it's made by a Japanese company but it is considered a cartoon and not anime (won't find it listed on any anime website),despite being animated by Madhouse and having quite a few influences (the creator of the boondocks loves anime)
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Old 2011-04-02, 03:40   Link #15
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Isn't it better that way? Through the literal definition Boondocks fit 'cartoon' to the T.
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Old 2011-04-02, 04:15   Link #16
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Most Japanese call any animation anime right? We are the ones making this distinction. Same shit with manga and comics or whatever other term for this media. Manhwa too. Koreans use this term for any graphic sequential media, not only theirs. We are using this term for only Korean "comics/manga". What about Korean animation? Some French animations also like to mix together with Japanese style. Do we call French animation cartoon too?

This differentiation is done for marketing purpose as well.
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Old 2011-04-02, 05:08   Link #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddwkc View Post
Most Japanese call any animation anime right? We are the ones making this distinction


Right,when oricon releases the "anime" top dvd sales , stuff from pixar and dreamworks will be listed alongside things like summer wars.

In a recent interview,english speaking readers were confused when a former Madhouse executive stated "2D anime is dying" because there's plenty of 2D animes in japan but the exec was talking about pixar and dreamworks and still used the word "anime".
So it's not just the OP's friend who doesn't make the distinction.


Quote:
Isn't it better that way?
I really don't care

This is maybe because on french 90s television I could watch DBZ (japenese) then batman (american) and Spirou et fantasio (french) on the same day (different channels) and all of them were called the same "Dessins Animé" (word for word: animated drawings)
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Old 2011-04-02, 05:50   Link #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddwkc View Post
ome French animations also like to mix together with Japanese style. Do we call French animation cartoon too?

.
Oh you meant Totally Spies? I was myself quite surprised when I found out it was made by frenchmen. It's just so very different from what France churned out at that time period, but again not quite anime while the unfluence was quite clear.
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Old 2011-04-02, 06:10   Link #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheba View Post
Oh you meant Totally Spies? I was myself quite surprised when I found out it was made by frenchmen. It's just so very different from what France churned out at that time periods, but again not quite anime while the unfluence was quite clear.
Interesting you should say that considering I thought that one was trying to come off as an american cartoon rather than an anime,in fact most people I know think it's an american show.

I feel things like Code Lyoko and Martin Mystere are more anime influenced.
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Old 2011-04-02, 14:25   Link #20
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Ah, very satisfied with where this discussion went. >.>

Thank you everyone~

@Totoum: Don't think about my statement/question too much. I was just making a bit of a joke. ^^
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