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Old 2004-09-25, 22:36   Link #1
wsheit
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American Cartoons that meet the Anime Standard

as far as I can tell (read: search) this thread doesn't exist. Anyway, I was just wondering whether people think there are any American cartoons that meet the standards of anime (in terms of animation, characters, music, story, etc.)

I know of only a few that can stand tall:

Action:
Batman: the animated series (the original 70 something episodes)
Samurai Jack

Comedy:
Dexter's Lab (maybe)
South Park (not sure if this counts)

I also observe that none of these (or virtually any American cartoons) are serial in nature. Occasionally Batman and Jack had/have 2-parters, but it never gets beyond that. I guess that's because the serial method of storytelling is associated more with an adult attentive audience. Batman had some dark and adult elements, but I guess it was just too groundbreaking in its time to implement a serial story as well. On second thought, Batman works best in short movie-like doses anyway.

Anyway, thoughts, anybody?
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Old 2004-09-25, 23:01   Link #2
DaShiouLong
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i find samurai jack and justice league unlimatied very amusing to watch
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Old 2004-09-25, 23:12   Link #3
Veritas
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Definitely Batman: The Animated Series. True that it was episodic whereas most anime are linear, but it dealt with more mature themes and did that well. Also, Gargoyles, even though I don't like it much myself and it went waaaaaay downhill in the last season.
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Old 2004-09-25, 23:19   Link #4
FlyByNite
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veritas
Definitely Batman: The Animated Series. True that it was episodic whereas most anime are linear, but it dealt with more mature themes and did that well. Also, Gargoyles, even though I don't like it much myself and it went waaaaaay downhill in the last season.
There's so much anime made that there's a ton of clunkers in it, plus stuff that's aimed directly at grade school kids.

The best american animation? (even though some of this may have been animated in Korea or whatever)

Batman TAS, Gargoyles (yes last season Goliath Chronicles was crap), Exo-Squad, The Simpson's, Samurai Jack, Clone Wars come to mind.

I guess South Park is animated, albeit rather crudely.
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Old 2004-09-26, 00:06   Link #5
Inuzuka
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-Seriously,you guys should read 'The Invisible Art Of Understanding Comics' by Scott McCloud.
You can't say 'American animations that match up to the Anime standard' or vice versa,because they are both different forms of art from different lands whih ultimately share the same root.
It'd be an inaccurate comparison ultimately.
On the other hand,you can compare the animation standards etc.(*How fluid is the animation...etc.*)

Last edited by Inuzuka; 2004-09-26 at 01:05.
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Old 2004-09-26, 00:20   Link #6
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Inuzuka, don't kill the topic... it can be interesting anyway to discuss. So how about putting it that way to use the right words?:

What north american animation can be compared to japan animes? or something like that.. American products that could be mixed up with animes or something.

I wish we could get more serial animations over here. In fact, that's what I want to do later, I'm aiming to be director.. Or at least assistant director in animation if I don't make it on the movie side. I want to raise Canadian animations standards :P instead of all those filler things we get on teletoon all day.. over and over again. Anyway..

I can't think of anything right now not mentionned, South Park is like a little hope of decent animation themes, direct and honest humor, not blaming but showing what's wrong around us.
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Old 2004-09-26, 00:33   Link #7
DarkCntry
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Teen Titans is decent...it has some anime-influenced elements such as a more engaging story and characters than just many other 2D superhero-style cartoons have. They tend to deal with the upper-teenage group a little better than most as well.
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Old 2004-09-26, 00:47   Link #8
babbito2k
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It's true that American TV is usually episodic in nature, but it's made to be recycled through syndication. Rerunning a show with no ongoing storyline makes it possible for casual viewers to tune in on any given episode. I don't think these series should be faulted for their episodic nature any more than anime should be faulted for having characters with violet hair...

And even though the stories in anime evolve, the characters often do not, whereas characters in American TV often evolve even though the stories lack explicit linear progression.

All that aside, there are a few cartoons I really enjoyed, regardless of whose standards they are supposed to meet - Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse, Felix the Cat, Rocky and Bullwinkle (#3 best cartoon OF ALL TIME according to TV Guide!), Underdog and last but not least The Mighty Heroes (a weird parody which only lasted one season). The 60s Spider-Man series was pretty good, but looked crummy compared to the comic books.

I have never heard of Japanese animation in 3 dimensions, but a couple of "stop-motion" animated series by Clokey Productions (Gumby and Davey and Goliath) are among my favorite all-time shows. Even better IMO is the "Supermarionation" of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson et al., of which I saw Fireball XL-5, Stingray and Thunderbirds. Of course these last hailed from the United Kingdom, but they are outstanding "non-Japanese" animation regardless.

A pair of American live-action series are also worthy of notice. One is the truly strange comedy-action Batman series of the mid-60s (which had one of the best scores of any TV show ever); the other is The Greatest American Hero, a rather ironic take on superheroes which ran in the early 1980s.
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Old 2004-09-26, 01:36   Link #9
aahhsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsheit
as far as I can tell (read: search) this thread doesn't exist. Anyway, I was just wondering whether people think there are any American cartoons that meet the standards of anime (in terms of animation, characters, music, story, etc.)

I know of only a few that can stand tall:

Action:
Batman: the animated series (the original 70 something episodes)
Samurai Jack

Comedy:
Dexter's Lab (maybe)
South Park (not sure if this counts)

I also observe that none of these (or virtually any American cartoons) are serial in nature. Occasionally Batman and Jack had/have 2-parters, but it never gets beyond that. I guess that's because the serial method of storytelling is associated more with an adult attentive audience. Batman had some dark and adult elements, but I guess it was just too groundbreaking in its time to implement a serial story as well. On second thought, Batman works best in short movie-like doses anyway.

Anyway, thoughts, anybody?
Can't believe you left out those 90's disney cartoons. Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Rescue Rangers, Tailspin.

Or X-Men, Spiderman, TMNT, Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs, and Batman Beyond (Can't believe it got canceled for being too violent....). Those ruled so much it puts anime to shame.

Especially 90's Disney Cartoon Movies. Those ruled so much. Who can say they did not like Lion King?

Well since the golden age of American Cartoons are now gone, guess that can't be helped. But there are some very promising cartoons that are still running.

there's a new Batman cartoon that I thought was pretty nifty. It's not as good as the old Batman, but it looks promising. Heck the new TMNT cartoon is ok.

Simpsons, King of the Hill (Nothing like Redneck jokes), Justice League isn't too shabby.

Hell I have a Gambit Signature. Gambit rules.
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Old 2004-09-26, 02:26   Link #10
wsheit
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I guess what I'm talking about is stuff that transcends "kiddy fare". The large majority of the anime I watch does this. Some of it- like Naruto- may be MADE for kids, but it usually embodies themes or includes violence to a degree that it reaches beyond some of the rather infantile shows we have over here.

The examples I gave all do this- Batman, Jack, SP, and even Dexter. Oh- and I forgot all the adult swim stuff- I definitely like Sealab, The Brak Show, and Harvey Birdman.

Somebody mentioned Justic League Unlimited- I'd seen some of the plain old "Limited" series and thought it was pretty good- what's new in Unlimited?

And Teen Titans is hit and miss- Some episodes are great- they make me feel like I could very well be watching an anime- the influence is that obvious. Others are much more run-of-the-mill boring and poorly animated.

Somebody else mentioned Darkwing Duck (my FAVORITE as a kid), et all- I loved that stuff as a kid, but I can't say that I'd be terribly entertained watching it now.

Oh- and Batman Beyond got CANCELED for TOO MUCH VIOLENCE??? Alright, somebody get me a gun. It's time to show the network and the FCC what a terrible person TV has made me into

Beyond wasn't anywhere NEAR Batman:TAS- but it was pretty entertaining on its own merits. And the soundtrack to the movie was FRICKIN AWESOME!

By the way- did anyone else buy the Batman:TAS volume one collection! It's so great!! It's what prompted this whole thread- although somebody pointed out that a lot of the animation for it WAS done in Asia- go figure.
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Old 2004-09-26, 03:13   Link #11
Mr_Paper
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I haven't seen it in ages but I loved Fox's Peter Pan and the Pirates. The animation was good and it dealt with many obscure topics that were of some relevance to the general Peter Pan story. For example there were a couple episodes where Peter Pan actually begins to age within Never Never Land and another couple episodes where Captain Hook's influence within the story is explored.

I'd also say Ren & Stimpy but it's best known for it's craptastic plots (albeit funny), horrid animation and cell/scene recycling and it's unique brand of abusive humor. None of these qualities can really stated as being those of a fine animated series. ^^;
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Old 2004-09-26, 03:23   Link #12
FlyByNite
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyolux
Inuzuka, don't kill the topic... it can be interesting anyway to discuss. So how about putting it that way to use the right words?:

What north american animation can be compared to japan animes? or something like that.. American products that could be mixed up with animes or something.

I wish we could get more serial animations over here. In fact, that's what I want to do later, I'm aiming to be director.. Or at least assistant director in animation if I don't make it on the movie side. I want to raise Canadian animations standards :P instead of all those filler things we get on teletoon all day.. over and over again. Anyway..

I can't think of anything right now not mentionned, South Park is like a little hope of decent animation themes, direct and honest humor, not blaming but showing what's wrong around us.
Actually that's a valid point, if you look at American TV some of the live-action shows we see would have been animes if the idea originated in Japan.

Gundam is often called the Star Trek of anime for it's sci-fi setting and for it's spin-off and reincarnations. If Star Trek originated in Japan it probably would have been as an anime. Same goes for a lot of genre shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, Angel... Charmed would be a comedy anime with witches

If you look at the magical g/f type shows like Maburaho, Oy My Goddess, Mamotte Shugogettten you can see their type of premise in old american sitcoms like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie.

So since animation has never been looked at as anything more then kids stuff in the US, there's going to be a huge disparity between american animation and japanese animation. Although there are examples which are being pointed out.
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Old 2004-09-26, 04:11   Link #13
Sokar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsheit
as far as I can tell (read: search) this thread doesn't exist. Anyway, I was just wondering whether people think there are any American cartoons that meet the standards of anime (in terms of animation, characters, music, story, etc.)

I know of only a few that can stand tall:

Action:
Batman: the animated series (the original 70 something episodes)
Samurai Jack

Comedy:
Dexter's Lab (maybe)
South Park (not sure if this counts)

I also observe that none of these (or virtually any American cartoons) are serial in nature. Occasionally Batman and Jack had/have 2-parters, but it never gets beyond that. I guess that's because the serial method of storytelling is associated more with an adult attentive audience. Batman had some dark and adult elements, but I guess it was just too groundbreaking in its time to implement a serial story as well. On second thought, Batman works best in short movie-like doses anyway.

Anyway, thoughts, anybody?
OMG, I can't believe the Simpsons is not on your list. Where have you been in the last decade, in a cave, on mars, wth your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears?
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Old 2004-09-26, 05:02   Link #14
mememe
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As told by Ginger I think is up there with anime and the reason why Gargoles got so crappy is because Disney bought it (enough said). Also x-men and x-men evolution is pretty good
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Old 2004-09-26, 05:13   Link #15
IDentity
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Seriously I think X Men and X Men Evolution are terrific!
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Old 2004-09-26, 05:26   Link #16
wsheit
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Originally Posted by IDentity
Seriously I think X Men and X Men Evolution are terrific!
X-men was pretty classic. I'm not sure that I like Evolution. I can take screwing around with the story SOME- but that seems like....
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Old 2004-09-26, 05:38   Link #17
7thMethuselah
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I think the only american cartoon I was almost daily are "The Simpsons". I've seen many other series but those always bore me after a while. I think Homer&co are the only ones that I've been watching for years now. The Simpsons have a few very funny characters and even though they've become a bit predictable by now the show still rocks.

PS Today we had the Homer joins The Rolling Stones episode
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Old 2004-09-26, 06:29   Link #18
IntegraTypeR
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EXO-SQUAD was d0pe! *goes and looks fo all his toys"

X-men is a classic.

King Arthur And The Knights Of Justice -- anyone remember this show?


G.I. Joe?
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Old 2004-09-26, 09:48   Link #19
Radd
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I really have to agree with Inuzuka, and shame for saying he's killing the topic, when he's doing the exact opposite by breathing a bit of perspective and understanding to a topic that could easily fall into ignorant misconception.

In terms of animation, for instance. There is a huce misconception that anime is somehow always better animated than anything in the west, when the opposite is often true.

I think the biggest difference between the east and the west is that in Japan animation is more accepted as something to be enjoyed by more than just children. Sure, the range is for the most part only extended to include college age young adults (who tend to be the biggest audience for anime in the west as well). In Japan more animation is made because of both this difference in cultures, and the fact that animators get paid so little over there. People don't like to pay for art, and over here where minimum standards must be met because grown adults simply cannot survive on their own on a measly $500 a month (I do a job that doesn't even require a college degree and get paid more than that every two weeks, at only 30 hours a week) studios simply stop doing animation rather than paying a livable wage.

So in the west, fewer animated programs are produced, and they are often aimed at only the 13 years and younger crowd.

However, there are western shows and movies that break this mold. As many have stated most of them, I'll mention a couple that spring to mind:

Most anything on Cartoon Network will appeal in writing to a broader audience. Many of their shows are deliberately aimed at the college age young adult crowd.

Invader Zim, though it got cancelled specifically becayse it was made to appeal to a broader audience, when Nickalodeon wanted to limit it to the lowest common denominator of the up to 11 crowd. Vasquez apparently killed the show rather than do that.

The Simpsons, Futurama, King of the Hill, and Family Guy are all aimed at the Primetime Sitcom audience, mostly adults.

The original Johnny Quest was a prime time show, believe it or not. Pulp sci-fi adventure to be sure, but with adult level content such as characters meeting violent, painful ends. The 80's Johnny Quest was dumbed down for small children, complete with token sidekick character in the form of that golem guy, who was way out of place compared to the original Quest show. The 90's 'New Adventures of Johnny Quest' was written at a level somewhere between the original and the 80's shows. Often aimed at the young teen crowd, it sometimes surprised. The show got much better when the wretched CG animation was dropped.

Mighty Orbots was a collaboration between Hannah-Barbera and a Japanese studio, extremely well animated and seemed less of episodic in the premise set forth in the episode or so I have been lucky enough to see.

Some old 80's shows also were also less episodic than many shows we get, or at least where episodic with a long running, overarching storyline. Jason and the Wheeled Warriors might have been like this, but it's far to hazy in my memory. Other shows I haven't seen in so long, I can't even remember their names, but other older members here might be able to recall what I'm talking about.
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Old 2004-09-28, 01:11   Link #20
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Exosquad, WILDCats are two off the top of my head. There was that short Invasion America thing. We can't forget about Gargoyles either.... and it wasn't Disney buying it. Disney always owned it, just Disney decided it was getting too dark for them, and thus was born Goliath Chronicles. The animated Battletech cartoon wasn't all that great, but it was decent and had an ongoing storyline. And who can forget Pirates of Dark Water? Too bad it got canceled before they could finish the story and resolve what happenned with the last Treasures of Rule. -.-
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