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Old 2011-08-19, 21:55   Link #61
Akuma Kinomoto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
And I think that you, and some others on this thread, are underrating it.

Would you want to never see something original, or truly different, ever again? Would you want to just watch nothing more than the same tired, old tropes for the rest of your life?

I know that I wouldn't. Which is why I support originality, and I don't think that it's overrated at all.
Oh no, I don't "underrate" originality; I just "rate" it, or to be more accurate, I'm rather neutral to it as a whole. I'll admit that I have been gravitating more toward works that are different from the norm, but my actual opinion on the series is simply a matter of its execution.

There are bad shows that are original and cliche shows that are good.

And Hell yeah for Time of Eve and C:AS. (b'_')b
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Originally Posted by Flower View Post
I think (and please correct me if I am wrong!) what Akito is primarily expressing dislike for is originality as an end in and of itself. That it has its place in the overall process and result of a work of art but should not be the primary focus.
Or this, more or less.
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Old 2011-08-20, 00:56   Link #62
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
Your earlier points were clear, but I can't really agree with them. While it can be good to provide customers with the unexpected, this does not apply to all genres and all works. Moreover, some of the strongest material don't offer anything new or unexpected. The aforementioned Magnificent Seven is considered one of the best Westerns ever made, and Seven Samurai is a strong candidate for one of the best films ever made. They are so because of all the strong elements that go into them: the direction, soundtrack, acting, cinematography and so on.
Oh yeah, I forgot about those elements. Well, that's the reason I'm not in the film business.

Concerning pandering, it all depends on how you pander. I personally tend to find the ones that insult your intelligence terrible. Also, I hate it when a show panders to the audience in the same manner multiple times.

As for all the originality talk, all I have to say is that there's a difference between introducing something new to the world and coming up with an idea so stupid that there's a reason no one has implemented it. There's a reason anime like School Days (I'm aware of the cult following) is mostly left to the hentai industry. Is it overrated? Maybe, but it should still exist, because as pointed out, many good things arise from it. However, while I don't believe unoriginality hurts a movie's quality, it can hurt your enjoyment. And Hell will have to unfreeze before I will like something as unoriginal and dated as "The Matrix" or "Dragonball Z".
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Old 2011-08-20, 01:49   Link #63
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post

I do find it ironic though that Rei was made and intended to be anti-otaku, and yet she became a huge otaku icon -_-.
Should not have made her attractive to begin with, tbh. It's like Sephiroth, portrayed as a total dick and monster and yet his fanboys praises him for being a nihilistic badass and his fangirls just squee over him and his yaois.
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Old 2011-08-20, 02:19   Link #64
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Originally Posted by Sheba View Post
Should not have made her attractive to begin with, tbh. It's like Sephiroth, portrayed as a total dick and monster and yet his fanboys praises him for being a nihilistic badass and his fangirls just squee over him and his yaois.
Heh, I remember Rei was my very first "love" in the anime world, since I started my "career" with NGE.
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Old 2011-08-20, 03:03   Link #65
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Re: tropes vs. pandering

I think there's an argument to be made that Infinite Stratos needed more pandering and less tropes.

No, I'm being serious about that one.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I have to disagree with you here.

If the author of the work didn't intend it to be pandering, then it's not.
You honestly expect me to believe that the director of Penguin Drum isn't playing to what people liked about Utena? Try watching it in the right group of people - it'll be a riot just because everyone will be so giddy.

Actually, from my experiences with some pretty hardcore anime fans, I'd say that one reason Madoka and Penguin Drum are such huge hits is because they hit on a lot of things otaku love that don't get captured in the typically "creepy horny fanboy" stereotype. The only question is whether the directors were pandering to their audiences or their own tastes.

Of course these shows can be enjoyed by those outside the hardcore otaku demographics (I really want to show Madoka to one of my uncles who is a sci-fi/fantasy fan who loves twisted stuff), but to be honest I could say the same thing about K-On!, especially with the airing on the Japanese Disney channel.

(One other note about K-On!: I've talked before about how I think the reason season two is better is because the staff had more leeway to get away from some of the more pandering gags... well, I get the feeling that season two is much more the kind of show the director wanted to make.)

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Originally Posted by Sheba View Post
Should not have made her attractive to begin with, tbh. It's like Sephiroth, portrayed as a total dick and monster and yet his fanboys praises him for being a nihilistic badass and his fangirls just squee over him and his yaois.
Eh, you'd have to make her outright ugly to prevent the fanboyism. I don't think she so much appealed to any specific fetish as just attracted interest for being mysterious. Let's face it, some portion of otaku will direct their sexual frustration on any half decent looking female character so it doesn't really matter whether if the way you draw their initial focus is sexual or not, they'll eventually start having dirty thoughts about her unless you take precautionary measures.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I have to disagree with you here.

If the author of the work didn't intend it to be pandering, then it's not.

For example, Rei was intended to creep out the viewer (which certainly isn't pandering). It was entirely unintentional on Anno's part for her to inspire an insanely popular character type.
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Originally Posted by Arabesque View Post
Another issue seems to be the reviewers prejudice. Some ANN reviewers seem to have a problem saying whether shows like Koi Kaze and Bunny Drop are good because they contain themes (or are meant to contain themes) that are considered creepy or disgusting to them, and so they dismiss the show as being awful from the get-go. So things like how they ''pander to be successful'' or ''fall into the same thinking as every other anime out there'' etc. start popping up whenever they are mentioned, none of them addressing if the anime they are bashing on actually treat the subjects they are addressing maturely and without any actual pandering.
I think you nailed something here... I remember ending up reading the Shelf Life review of the Gunslinger Girl season 2 OVA that said something about a (very short and not very servicey) swimsuit scene basically being a reference for doujinshi makers - in a short, sub two paragraph review. I'm very aware of GSG's lolicon doujinshi origins, but my basic reaction here was "uh, what the f$*#? did you see in that?".
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Old 2011-08-20, 03:48   Link #66
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
The very premise of Madoka is reliant on the viewer being familiar with Mahou Shoujo works. How can it not be otaku-centric? Do you somehow think that it's designed for little girls?
What does it matter what age or gender demographic its aimed at?

I could show Madoka Magica to someone who has never watched an anime before (let alone a magical girl anime specifically) and they would have no problem following the story, comprehending what's going on (SHAFT's visual style might take some getting use to, but that's true even for some hardcore anime fans), and understanding character actions and motivations.

Simply put, you don't have to be an otaku in order to "get" Madoka Magica and take enjoyment from its story. Where an otaku might see "magical girl deconstruction" in this anime, a person from a more general audience might simply see a great, gripping, thrilling story that conveys interesting ideas.

It's kind of like Clannad. A VN fan might have a deeper/different understanding of it than I did (when I first watched Clannad) but I still found Clannad and Clannad: After Story perfectly enjoyable and compelling back when my knowledge of VNs was virtually non-existent.


Furthermore, you're basically implying that simply liking magical girl anime and/or having some familiarity with it, makes one an otaku. I disagree with that. My younger sisters were huge Sailor Moon fans growing up, but they're by no means otakus (even if I myself am one, they're certainly not).


Quote:

You've got it backwards:
No, I don't. There's scenes, and perhaps even entire stories, where pandering simply does not belong. It doesn't matter how well-written or poorly written the pandering is, it simply does not belong there.

An anime like Monster, for example, is dependent upon a level of viewer immersion into its narrative and world that a significant amount of pandering would upset.

Usagi Drop is another anime like that, I would argue.


Quote:

bad writing and bad direction will lead to bad pandering. If the writing and direction were good, then the pandering would also be good.
No, there are scenes were pandering is unwelcome, regardless of the writing quality behind the pandering in question.


Quote:
Are you trying to say that the narrative behind Madoka isn't reliant on its viewers having certain preconceptions of what's going to happen to the magical girls?
Yes, that's what I'm saying. The viewer doesn't need to have preconceptions in order to recognize that the characters themselves (i.e. Madoka and Sayaka, specifically) do.

The story of a person having an overly idealized conception of a certain "dream role" or "job", but then finding out that it's not all he or she thought it would be, is a fairly universal story. You can get that out of Madoka Magica even if you've never watched a magical girl show before.


Quote:
Gurren Lagann panders like crazy.
I think that you're exaggerating it here, but I won't argue that Gurren Lagann doesn't pander at all.

However, I want to reiterate here what I wrote to Reckoner earlier - There's a difference between pandering to a specific audience, and trying to be entertaining in a general sense.

Kamina's GAR, for example, is entertaining for much the same reason that Optimus Prime is entertaining, or that The Rock (pro wrestling) is entertaining. You sure as hell don't need to be an otaku in order to get that machismo appeal (of course, some are turned off by machismo as well, but that again has nothing to do with somebody being an otaku or not).

To me, pandering to a specific group is making something entertaining in a way that only they (or those very familiar with them) will get it.


Quote:

I haven't been watching Tiger and Bunny, but Anohana panders like crazy as well. Did you think that it was a coincidence that so many of the popular anime character archetype were hit on by the cast of that show?
No, I don't. But that's pretty much it. Maybe my standards for "non-pandering" have been lowered due to having witnessed some shows with heavy pandering, but for me, simply having a few popular character archetypes in one's show is only mild pandering in and of itself.

The fact is that outside of a couple scenes, Anaru's tsundere tendencies (for example) don't have much bearing on the story (in comparison to, say, Shana's tsundere tendencies, or Taiga's in Toradora).


Quote:

Basically, if a story element only works for otaku, then that's who it panders towards.
Yes, this we agree on. And, for the purposes of this discussion, that's what I mean whenever I mention "pandering".


Quote:
I don't really think that there's any difference.
There is a difference between pandering to a specific audience, and trying to be entertaining in a generalized way. One tends to the ideas often only found in subcultures (i.e. nosebleeds resulting from sexual arousal. I don't think I've seen this anywhere else except in anime), while the other tends to take on a more universal quality to it.

When something attempts to be entertaining in a generalized way, there's often a greater emphasis put on accessibility - i.e. a work having few, if any, prerequisites (i.e. "borders of entry") to understanding it or appreciating it.

A work with a lot of these "borders of entry" is going to have a much harder time appealing to mass audiences. This is where having a work entirely centered around a particular subculture (which is what "otaku centric" means to me) can be limiting, in my view.

Ghibli's films reach a mass audience in large part because they don't pander to a specific audience, or have many (if any) borders of entry to them.


Quote:
While the "Seizon Senryaku!" sequence isn't a specific reference to anything, Penguindrum does a fair bit of pandering as well.
Penguindrum is an otaku centric work, yes.

The "Seizon Senrayku!" sequence, however, is a good example of something that's just trying to be entertaining in a general sense.


I'm not saying that otaku centric necessarily equals "bad". Of course not. You can aim a work at a specific audience, and still have it be a high quality work.

My main point is that I wouldn't want every anime to be otaku centric, because that would make it less likely to see any originality whatsoever rise out of the anime industry, and the lack of variety that would accompany this would become quickly tiresome for me.

Ironically, I find that originality often comes when a work is aimed at a general audience, because then writers can't just rely on tropes, because tropes themselves are often self-referential in nature, requiring the viewer to be a troper to fully grasp. A good example of this is how the After Story portion of Clannad likely exists precisely because Clannad is aiming for an all-ages family-esque appeal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Akito_Kinomoto View Post
Oh no, I don't "underrate" originality; I just "rate" it, or to be more accurate, I'm rather neutral to it as a whole. I'll admit that I have been gravitating more toward works that are different from the norm,
And why do you think that is?


Quote:
but my actual opinion on the series is simply a matter of its execution.
Are you sure? Does the relative originality of the work have nothing to do with its appeal to you?


Quote:
There are bad shows that are original and cliche shows that are good.
Even if this is true, that doesn't mean that originality has no value whatsoever though.

To determine the value of something, it helps to consider what things would be like if it wasn't there at all. That's why I asked you the questions that I did. Would you want nothing to be original, or different from the norm?

I'm not saying that a work has to be original in order to be good, or that originality alone guarantees greatness, but if there was nothing ever original or different from the norm, things would get boring pretty fast, imo.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Flower View Post
I know what you mean ... it IS a hard thing to articulate, but I think you have made a good stab at it here.
Thank you. And this is another reason why pandering is sometimes deserving of criticism, in my view.

There's an old blog of mine that I'm going to link to because it gets into the heart of my issue with heavy amounts of pandering (or, as I called it in that blog, "pavlovian entertainment").

Here it is.

Keep in mind that I wrote that prior to this fantastic year of anime. My view on the anime world as a whole is much more positive now than it was back when I wrote that. Still, what I wrote there helps to explain my issue with pandering, I think.


Quote:
A good clarification of things in my opinion. It is not an "either/or" situation bit rather a "primary/secondary". Both are important, but it is a question of priorities.
Agreed. Do you aim for your work to be accessible and entertaining in a general sense, while perhaps having some elements in it appealing to a specific fandom, or do you have your work simply be a veritable love letter to that specific fandom? Both are legitimate, but if you only ever do the latter, you'll never enlarge the fanbase.


Edit: Reply to 0utf0xZer0 added.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
You honestly expect me to believe that the director of Penguin Drum isn't playing to what people liked about Utena?
No, not at all. Penguin Drum is otaku centric. It's also extremely good so far.

I'm just saying that this one specific sequence (the "Survival Strategy" one) is just trying to be entertaining in a general sense.



Quote:
Actually, from my experiences with some pretty hardcore anime fans, I'd say that one reason Madoka and Penguin Drum are such huge hits is because they hit on a lot of things otaku love that don't get captured in the typically "creepy horny fanboy" stereotype.
I agree that's a factor in its success. But I think that by actively avoiding this "creepy horny fanboy" material (not even one lone panty shot or nude transformation scenes - it wouldn't surprise me if Gen had to go out of his way to get Shinbo to agree to this), Madoka Magica is loudly saying that it's not otaku centric. That it's aiming to be something that a general audience can enjoy.


Quote:
Of course these shows can be enjoyed by those outside the hardcore otaku demographics (I really want to show Madoka to one of my uncles who is a sci-fi/fantasy fan who loves twisted stuff), but to be honest I could say the same thing about K-On!, especially with the airing on the Japanese Disney channel.
K-On! is an odd case where male otaku taste overlaps quite a bit with what teenage girls might enjoy watching.


Quote:
(One other note about K-On!: I've talked before about how I think the reason season two is better is because the staff had more leeway to get away from some of the more pandering gags... well, I get the feeling that season two is much more the kind of show the director wanted to make.)
Totally agree. This helps to show that there is such a thing as harmful pandering.
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Old 2011-08-20, 11:31   Link #67
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I get the impression that there is too much subjectivity regarding "pandering" for there to be meaningful debate over its intrinsic harm or value. This is evident whenever someone says so-and-so work panders to its audience, only to have a fan pop up immediately to rubbish the opinion.

Latest example:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
You honestly expect me to believe that the director of Penguin Drum isn't playing to what people liked about Utena? Try watching it in the right group of people - it'll be a riot just because everyone will be so giddy.
Swiftly countered by:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
No, not at all. Penguin Drum is otaku centric. It's also extremely good so far. I'm just saying that this one specific sequence (the "Survival Strategy" one) is just trying to be entertaining in a general sense.
The list could go on. Try convincing me that Anohana wasn't a J-drama/K-drama in anime form, applying every single soppy sentimental trope you can think of to hook its audience — I'll never budge. It's been a long time since I watched anything that made me squirm in my seat as much as that show did. But the series worked brilliantly for people who love such stories. If that's not pandering, I don't know what is.

I suppose you could say I'm unreasonably biased against Anohana and therefore should not bother to review it. Even so, it doesn't make my opinion on its quality any less valid, as I could point out the various instances of the show I felt to be examples of sloppy, lazy writing. Naturally, if you loved those aspects of the series, you'd never agree with me. So what then? We can agree only to disagree; one man's meat is another man's poison, and so on.

========

With regard to originality, I have a different take on it, something I've been mulling over for a while. I recently told a member of this forum that I actually find writing an extremely painful process, a confession that surprised her because it often seems as though words flow very easily for me.

If only it were so. It takes far more than a great vocabulary and a strong command of language to be an effective writer. The craft of writing can be mastered with practice, but the art of writing is another matter altogether.

Writing is, to me, an extremely personal affair. An effective writer has to be able to draw upon personal experience to craft his story, and to be courageous enough to present his views on a subject, however biased, as frankly as possible. Make no mistake, a good story takes something out of its creator, exposing aspects of his character and personality — the good, bad and the ugly — for all to see.

In short, an original story is an honest story. It's an expression of the writer's soul. The story in itself may be a rehash of many popular ideas, or maybe an adaptation of an older tale — after all, there's nothing new under the sun; every idea you can think of has likely appeared before, and possibly in a better form — but the insights and feelings that are the author's own, those are unique in the same way that every person is different, filled with quirks and idiosyncrasies that are his and his alone.

Every story is a conversation between a reader and a writer. A good story, then, is one that offers a window into the writer's psyche. And that, to me, is where originality comes from.

Ironically, such a writer would be pandering to nothing else other than his own vanity.

It's got nothing to do with quality. You could write an honest tale and still have it turn out horribly mangled, for the simple lack of ability to find the words to match your intentions. That's what editors, reviewers and good friends are for: they provide the critique that helps you develop as a creator.

In the meantime, deadlines have to be met and bills have to be paid. Inevitably, every creator takes shortcuts, falling back on proven techniques and formulas to submit an acceptable, if not brilliant, draft. Is it any wonder then that "originality" is rare? It's a luxury that few writers can afford.

But that doesn't mean I should be any more forgiving in my criticism of their work. After all, I am my own worst critic — if I'm sometimes harsh on others, it's because I'm even harder on myself. Hence, the pain of writing, of creation.
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Old 2011-08-20, 11:44   Link #68
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The word "pander" has a pejorative implication in its typical usage. "Loaded meanings" as they say...
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Old 2011-08-20, 12:05   Link #69
Akuma Kinomoto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
And why do you think that is?

Are you sure? Does the relative originality of the work have nothing to do with its appeal to you?
I need to make the distinction between the appeal of originality on its own and my opinion on the work itself. Of course I want to see something different and certain shows would end up appealing to me as a result, but how well I think of it in the long run is a separate entity.
Quote:
Even if this is true, that doesn't mean that originality has no value whatsoever though.
Certainly. Although for me its worth is simply a matter of how likely it is to get me started on it instead of an actual factor for formulating my opinion.
Quote:
To determine the value of something, it helps to consider what things would be like if it wasn't there at all. That's why I asked you the questions that I did. Would you want nothing to be original, or different from the norm?
Sorry, I thought that was a rhetorical question.
Quote:
I'm not saying that a work has to be original in order to be good, or that originality alone guarantees greatness, but if there was nothing ever original or different from the norm, things would get boring pretty fast, imo.
Indeed, familiarity breeds contempt.

Japan doesn't seem to think seeing the same old thing is a problem, though.
/rimshot
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Old 2011-08-20, 13:05   Link #70
Flower
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
The word "pander" has a pejorative implication in its typical usage. "Loaded meanings" as they say...
Agreed.

I had assumed that the presupposition of the thread topic was referring to the term pandering in a negative sense as the default understanding - or maybe even the primary understanding.

Again, I don't think targeting an audience is necessarily bad in and of itself ... the problem is when it gains a more important position in the ... err ... "hierarchy of production values", I guess might be a way to describe it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I get the impression that there is too much subjectivity regarding "pandering" for there to be meaningful debate over its intrinsic harm or value. This is evident whenever someone says so-and-so work panders to its audience, only to have a fan pop up immediately to rubbish the opinion.
I certainly can see where you are coming from ... but pandering does have a common definition in the dictionary, after all - so there should be some reasonable usage of the term possible in discussions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
....With regard to originality, I have a different take on it, something I've been mulling over for a while. I recently told a member of this forum that I actually find writing an extremely painful process, a confession that surprised her because it often seems as though words flow very easily for me.

If only it were so. It takes far more than a great vocabulary and a strong command of language to be an effective writer. The craft of writing can be mastered with practice, but the art of writing is another matter altogether.

Writing is, to me, an extremely personal affair. An effective writer has to be able to draw upon personal experience to craft his story, and to be courageous enough to present his views on a subject, however biased, as frankly as possible. Make no mistake, a good story takes something out of its creator, exposing aspects of his character and personality the good, bad and the ugly for all to see.

In short, an original story is an honest story.
It's an expression of the writer's soul. The story in itself may be a rehash of many popular ideas, or maybe an adaptation of an older tale after all, there's nothing new under the sun; every idea you can think of has likely appeared before, and possibly in a better form but the insights and feelings that are the author's own, those are unique in the same way that every person is different, filled with quirks and idiosyncrasies that are his and his alone.

Every story is a conversation between a reader and a writer. A good story, then, is one that offers a window into the writer's psyche. And that, to me, is where originality comes from.

Ironically, such a writer would be pandering to nothing else other than his own vanity.

It's got nothing to do with quality. You could write an honest tale and still have it turn out horribly mangled, for the simple lack of ability to find the words to match your intentions. That's what editors, reviewers and good friends are for: they provide the critique that helps you develop as a creator.

In the meantime, deadlines have to be met and bills have to be paid. Inevitably, every creator takes shortcuts, falling back on proven techniques and formulas to submit an acceptable, if not brilliant, draft. Is it any wonder then that "originality" is rare? It's a luxury that few writers can afford.

But that doesn't mean I should be any more forgiving in my criticism of their work. After all, I am my own worst critic if I'm sometimes harsh on others, it's because I'm even harder on myself. Hence, the pain of writing, of creation.
Very well described, and I think the general outlines and ... err ... paradigms sketched here are equally applicable to many other forms of art, including anime production. I think it is helpful for those who criticize something made by another (or even another person's behavior to a certain extent) to know more about the individual circumstances involved around a result of one's effort and the like. It is far to easy to just go into "nasty gnawing mode", I think. It is also important, I feel, to have respect for those who do put forth the effort to create things for us to enjoy, be edified by, or even be instructed by at times.

That being said, I feel that those who expose themselves to the efforts of others should give feedback - and ideally honest feedback. (And I use the term honest in the same sense and context as bolded above.) Perhaps to a small degree doing so could even be considered a "responsibility"? A work of art involves the creator(s) and the audience: i.e. two "parties", after all.

Of course I am speaking of the ideal set of circumstances from both sides in cases like this.
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Old 2011-08-20, 13:35   Link #71
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I think, as viewers, it's good to give criticism on what we like and dislike.

I really dislike the attitude that some people take, when they say to you: "What have you done? You can start criticizing when you've made an Anime (or whatever)". Now I think you can perhaps level that when you're overly harsh on an amateur effort, but not when it comes to stuff done proffessionally. That rebuttal could also be justifiable if someone overly hastily says "I could make something better then that!"
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Old 2011-08-20, 14:56   Link #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
What does it matter what age or gender demographic its aimed at?
The target age and gender demographic of a show is what determines whether a show is otaku-centric.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Furthermore, you're basically implying that simply liking magical girl anime and/or having some familiarity with it, makes one an otaku.
Which is why I pointed out that Mahou Shoujo shows are targeted at otaku and little girls?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
No, I don't. There's scenes, and perhaps even entire stories, where pandering simply does not belong. It doesn't matter how well-written or poorly written the pandering is, it simply does not belong there.
And since one of the core elements to good writing and direction is that it places scenes in appropriate places, and in ways that will benefit the work, what should be the obvious conclusion?

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Usagi Drop is another anime like that, I would argue.
Usagi Drop panders as well, just not anywhere nearly as much as our other examples.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
No, there are scenes were pandering is unwelcome, regardless of the writing quality behind the pandering in question.
What do you mean by "writing quality"? And why do you think that it has nothing to do with scene composition?

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Yes, that's what I'm saying. The viewer doesn't need to have preconceptions in order to recognize that the characters themselves (i.e. Madoka and Sayaka, specifically) do.

The story of a person having an overly idealized conception of a certain "dream role" or "job", but then finding out that it's not all he or she thought it would be, is a fairly universal story. You can get that out of Madoka Magica even if you've never watched a magical girl show before.
So most viewers would automatically assume that being a Magical Girl is some sort of dream job? And that fighting monsters is going to be fun and profitable?

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I think that you're exaggerating it here, but I won't argue that Gurren Lagann doesn't pander at all.

However, I want to reiterate here what I wrote to Reckoner earlier - There's a difference between pandering to a specific audience, and trying to be entertaining in a general sense.
You don't consider all that Super Robot stuff pandering? Why not?

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
No, I don't. But that's pretty much it. Maybe my standards for "non-pandering" have been lowered due to having witnessed some shows with heavy pandering, but for me, simply having a few popular character archetypes in one's show is only mild pandering in and of itself.

The fact is that outside of a couple scenes, Anaru's tsundere tendencies (for example) don't have much bearing on the story (in comparison to, say, Shana's tsundere tendencies, or Taiga's in Toradora).
Just one form of pandering is not as that found in another show doesn't mean it isn't pandering. And it's not just Anaru - all of the main cast plays off like pandering except for Poppo.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Yes, this we agree on. And, for the purposes of this discussion, that's what I mean whenever I mention "pandering".
Since when did pandering only apply to otaku? There's plenty of pandering in Penguindrum, but almost none of it caters to otaku - there's stuff for Ikeda Riyoko fans and Ikuhara fans, and that's about it.

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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
The list could go on. Try convincing me that Anohana wasn't a J-drama/K-drama in anime form, applying every single soppy sentimental trope you can think of to hook its audience I'll never budge.
No way. There's way more otaku-bait than you'd find in a regular J-Drama.

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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
The word "pander" has a pejorative implication in its typical usage. "Loaded meanings" as they say...
True enough, but we're mostly using the term as equal "to cater to a viewer's tastes". I'd prefer a less value-based term, but then we'd just be arguing semantics.
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Old 2011-08-20, 17:44   Link #73
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Given TinyRedLeaf's post, I probably should clarify that I was agreeing with 0utf0xZer0's point that Mawaru Penguindrum was aiming to appeal to Revolutionary Girl Utena fans.

However, after reading what TinyRedLeaf quoted there, I can see where my answer could have been clearer.

0utf0xZer0 wrote "Do you honestly expect me to believe... etc...?"

I responded "No, not at all."

What I meant was "No... I do not honestly expect you to believe that."

And then I attempted to clarify my position on Mawaru Penguindrum as it pertains to the discussion on this thread.


That being said, TinyRedLeaf may have a point pertaining to subjectivity regarding "pandering".

For example, it's become clear to me that my own standard for what constitutes "pandering" is stricter than 4Tran's. I don't think that simply having a few common archetypes in your work constitutes pandering.

To me, pandering is something that can't be justified on the basis of general entertainment appeal alone. If popular character archetypes serve a narrative well, and add to its quality in a general sense, then I don't see that as pandering. For me, pandering comes into play when you're only trying to please a highly specific subsection of the audience, rather than a general audience. For example, "Easter Eggs" in superhero movies (i.e. references to the associated comic book that only knowledgeable comic book fans in the audience would get).

So, if Kamina has a superb hot-blooded action scene that just about anybody into action in general could like, then that's not pandering, in my view. "Action-Adventure" is a genre that is found in almost all entertainment forms, not just anime. General audiences tend to like to see something action-packed every now and then. This is part of the reason why the Transformers movies did so well at the box office.

However, if Ore no Imouto contains a bunch of VN references that would be completely lost on someone that's not familiar with VNs, then that is pandering, in my view. Not saying that's bad, of course, as this kind of pandering is essential for Ore no Imouto to live up to what its story is about.


But, "pandering" may mean something different to different viewers. I'm not sure if a dictionary definition will help much either, as the ones I've found for "pandering" online seem to emphasize sexual pandering, and we're discussing "pandering" outside of that narrow range alone, of course.



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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
The target age and gender demographic of a show is what determines whether a show is otaku-centric.
So what do you mean, in practical terms? That if a show is aimed at, say, an adult male audience its automatically otaku-centric? What then of a show like Monster, which I daresay has many more adult male fans than any other age/gender category? Are you seriously arguing that Monster is otaku-centric?


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And why do you think that it has nothing to do with scene composition?
I never said that it does. I just said that some scenes should not have pandering in them.


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So most viewers would automatically assume that being a Magical Girl is some sort of dream job? And that fighting monsters is going to be fun and profitable?
I'd love to be able to fly (as many magical girls can). Wouldn't you? Wouldn't it be cool to have great superpowers?

Why exactly do you think superhero comics became popular in the first place?

There's obviously an element of wish fulfillment in it. Much the same is true of Magical Girl anime, I'm sure.

Also, you can't tell me that Mami wasn't made to look very cool in the first episode of Madoka Magica. Madoka and Sayaka also seemed pretty enthused at the idea of being Puella Magis, at least during the first two episodes.


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You don't consider all that Super Robot stuff pandering? Why not?
Because cool action scenes are just cool action scenes. They're just trying to be entertaining in a general sense. Pandering is more specific than that, in my view.
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Old 2011-08-20, 18:12   Link #74
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If we're talking about western comics, I'd say the most obvious form of pandering there is the emphasis on continuity. When their continuity gets completely knotted and out of control they do something like "Infinite Crisis" to resolve it all, but the fact is only the most hardcore fans would have any awareness of all these continuity issues, so it's direct pandering to them.

A more sensible approach would be to just ignore the continuity knots, or just handwaive them (or not do so many crossovers that you end out creating so many...)
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Old 2011-08-22, 11:43   Link #75
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post


Usagi Drop panders as well, just not anywhere nearly as much as our other examples.
How the hell does Usagi Drop PANDER?!
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Old 2011-08-22, 14:05   Link #76
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How the hell does Usagi Drop PANDER?!
Panders to Parents and people who like kids. It's a different kind of pandering.
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Old 2011-08-22, 18:22   Link #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
To me, pandering is something that can't be justified on the basis of general entertainment appeal alone. If popular character archetypes serve a narrative well, and add to its quality in a general sense, then I don't see that as pandering. For me, pandering comes into play when you're only trying to please a highly specific subsection of the audience, rather than a general audience. For example, "Easter Eggs" in superhero movies (i.e. references to the associated comic book that only knowledgeable comic book fans in the audience would get).
Why would you want to use such a restrictive definition? If elements of the show are designed to cater to the viewers' tastes, then it's pandering. Maybe if you want to refer to something different, it'd be better to use a different term?

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
So what do you mean, in practical terms? That if a show is aimed at, say, an adult male audience its automatically otaku-centric? What then of a show like Monster, which I daresay has many more adult male fans than any other age/gender category? Are you seriously arguing that Monster is otaku-centric?
Are the age and gender demographics exactly the same for Monster than for otaku shows? That'd be a big surprise to me.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I never said that it does. I just said that some scenes should not have pandering in them.
And since they're there because of bad decisions in writing and direction, shouldn't that be the culprit? Think of it as a cause/effect issue: pandering in this case is the effect, rather than the cause.

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How the hell does Usagi Drop PANDER?!
It goes out of its way to show more cutesy/cute scenes. It's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you.
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Old 2011-08-22, 18:57   Link #78
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
Why would you want to use such a restrictive definition?
Because it helps to distinguish between entertainment elements that could conceivably appeal to anybody, and entertainment elements that are only going to appeal to a much more specific audience.

When people talk about a show that's "pandering", they usually mean it in a specific context involving a specific group of viewers. They don't mean something that's aiming for a mainstream entertainment appeal.

In any event, I find your (and Don's) approach to what pandering means to be overly broad and hence unwieldy. It blurs the line between pandering and non-pandering, imo.


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If elements of the show are designed to cater to the viewers' tastes, then it's pandering.
Every piece of entertainment is, to at least some degree, designed to entertain (i.e. appeal to the viewers' taste). The strong term "pandering" implies something that goes beyond that alone, imo.

So I disagree with you on what constitutes "pandering".


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Are the age and gender demographics exactly the same for Monster than for otaku shows? That'd be a big surprise to me.
You implied that simply aiming an anime show at adult males makes it otaku centric. I cited Monster to demonstrate why this is not the case. While Monster no doubt has some female viewers, and some teenage viewers, I'd hazard to guess that most of the people who have watched and enjoyed Monster are adult males.

So there you go, an anime show can be aimed at adult males without being otaku centric.


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And since they're there because of bad decisions in writing and direction, shouldn't that be the culprit?
By this rationale, everything that fails to work well within an anime is due to bad writing or direction.

However, if someone reviewing an anime simply says "the writing is poor" or "the direction is poor", that tells us precious little in and of itself. Ideally, the reviewer will cite specific elements of the story that demonstrates bad writing. This will greater enable the reader of the review to take something of real value from it.

In some cases, the specific weak elements referenced by the review may be misplaced pandering.

So it's entirely fair and reasonable for an anime reviewer to point out where an anime has pandering in it that had a harmful effect on the anime (at least in the reviewer's point of view).


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It goes out of its way to show more cutesy/cute scenes. It's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you.
Pandering is not necessarily a good thing, either.
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Old 2011-08-22, 19:02   Link #79
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For the sake of clarity btw (and correct me if I am wrong?) ... 4tran seems to often (but not always) use the word "pandering" to mean a catering/emulation/imitation in of itself without a "value judgement" associated with it, whereas many of the other posters have a default understanding of the word carrying a negative evaluation with it. That's why he can say that Usagi Drop "going out of its way to show cutesy scenes" is both pandering and not necessarily a bad thing.

He's not necessarily trying to "stir the pot" but is rather consistently using a somewhat different definition than many of the other posters have as a default.
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Old 2011-08-22, 19:08   Link #80
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Originally Posted by Flower View Post
For the sake of clarity btw (and correct me if I am wrong?) ... 4tran seems to often (but not always) use the word "pandering" to mean a catering/emulation/imitation in of itself without a "value judgement" associated with it, whereas many of the other posters have a default understanding of the word carrying a negative evaluation with it. That's why he can say that Usagi Drop "going out of its way to show cutesy scenes" is both pandering and not necessarily a bad thing.

He's not necessarily trying to "stir the pot" but is rather consistently using a somewhat different definition than many of the other posters have as a default.
No, that's not it.

I'm not saying that pandering is always bad (i.e. has a negative "value judgement" associated with it). I'm saying that its something more precise than simply trying to be entertaining in a general sense.

"Pandering" isn't done to a general audience. It's done to a very specific audience.
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