AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > Anime Related Topics > General Anime

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2015-03-28, 01:45   Link #1
Guernsey
The GAP Man
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Age: 28
Send a message via AIM to Guernsey Send a message via MSN to Guernsey Send a message via Yahoo to Guernsey
Anime and Youth Culture

I am not sure if this has been discussed before but what is it with the Japanese obsession with youth? I know this isn't limited to Japan but it seems as though with any character who is either in their 20s is considered to be an old man age wise despite the fact that there are still young (sort of). I know this may answer my question but I found this on a reddit:

Quote:
That has much more to do with the Japanese idea that since one must work endlessly as an adult they should get all their adventuring out of the way as a child.
This sort of explains a lot of things in anime but still why is 20s and 30s considered to be old despite nearing only quarterlife?
__________________
Guernsey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 02:17   Link #2
Flower
In harmony with the flow
*Moderator
 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Shall the flowers bloom atop the mountain?...
Youth Culture brings something different to mind at first glance ... perhaps obsession with Youth itself? When I read "Youth Culture" I thought of things like alternative entertainment/media based lifestyles and interests, but maybe that is a decidedly "American" reading of the use of the phrase?
__________________
Flower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 03:27   Link #3
IceHism
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guernsey View Post
I am not sure if this has been discussed before but what is it with the Japanese obsession with youth? I know this isn't limited to Japan but it seems as though with any character who is either in their 20s is considered to be an old man age wise despite the fact that there are still young (sort of). I know this may answer my question but I found this on a reddit:



This sort of explains a lot of things in anime but still why is 20s and 30s considered to be old despite nearing only quarterlife?
High school experience is often equivalent in impact to a university experience in the US.

Also, cynicism. When your country had a terrible economy for the past two decades, i'm sure you would not like to work either.
IceHism is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 04:40   Link #4
Guernsey
The GAP Man
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Age: 28
Send a message via AIM to Guernsey Send a message via MSN to Guernsey Send a message via Yahoo to Guernsey
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flower View Post
Youth Culture brings something different to mind at first glance ... perhaps obsession with Youth itself? When I read "Youth Culture" I thought of things like alternative entertainment/media based lifestyles and interests, but maybe that is a decidedly "American" reading of the use of the phrase?
I am an American so I can only look it from an American perspective. Maybe youth Culture wasn't the right word as I seen mentioned before in a post about this phenomenon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceHism View Post
High school experience is often equivalent in impact to a university experience in the US.

Also, cynicism. When your country had a terrible economy for the past two decades, i'm sure you would not like to work either.
That amkes sense considering how the economy was in the 90s and just plain nostalgia.
__________________
Guernsey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 05:29   Link #5
Fizix
Nitpicking
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: From England old chaps
Age: 34
I was under the impression that the predominantly teenage cast in anime was to do with escapism from the Japanese approach to careers, so I guess you have answered your own question. Provided that assumption is correct.

As a European I thought this was going to be about how anime is represented in Japanese pop culture as that's typically how the term youth culture is used.

As an adult, its one of my pet peeves about anime and Japanese games. It would be nice to have an older cast every now and then.
Fizix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 06:25   Link #6
winhlp32
(‿)
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Boyzone
I wonder if internet forums in Japan have users constantly wondering, "what is it with the American obsession with adult/old people, it's so creepy ugh".
__________________
            |
   \  ( ^p^ )/
      ̄ ̄ /
       /
      / \|
    /
winhlp32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 08:09   Link #7
Triple_R
Here's Honny!
*Author
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Age: 34
Send a message via AIM to Triple_R
Quote:
Originally Posted by winhlp32 View Post
I wonder if internet forums in Japan have users constantly wondering, "what is it with the American obsession with adult/old people, it's so creepy ugh".
Reading this makes me wonder if there's a Japanese equivalent to Betty White.


One thing I'll add to the main discussion is that anime loves it's "coming of age" stories. There might be nothing more common in anime than coming of age stories.

Now, you can do coming of age stories with adult main characters. Psycho-Pass, Shirobako, and Usagi Drop are all coming of age stories in their own way, as they all focus on an adult lead character coming of age in a particular profession or as a new parent.

But our adolescent years are inherently about coming of age. That's much of the point of those years - Becoming adults. So it's a little bit simpler and more straightforward to tell a coming of age story with teenage characters going through their adolescent years.

That being said, I hope more anime studios take inspiration from Psycho-Pass, Shirobako, and Usagi Drop.
__________________
Triple_R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 09:14   Link #8
Nicaea
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: The well of dreams
From a western point of view you can still guess why the obsession with young characters. Depending on what kind of story you want to make, young people are better to use because they have a bigger time schedule and to them "the world they can explore" is huge in comparisson to that of an adult. Not to mention that adults can be very boring characters in the sense where they generally don't have a fluid view on the world: their beliefs don't change as fast as those of younger people. Older characters also tend to have baggage, which isn't always desired.

Also I'm pretty sure that most of us had our life drastically change after graduating High school. Some will say that they had more freedoms whilst others didn't. Some even might say that they suddenly gained more obligations. Even in western society it's the young people who characterize the era. When you look at the sixties or the eighties, what adults did was of no importance but what teens and even young adults did marked the era.
Nicaea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 11:37   Link #9
SeijiSensei
AS Oji-kun
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Riding with Chito and Kenny
Age: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
One thing I'll add to the main discussion is that anime loves it's "coming of age" stories. There might be nothing more common in anime than coming of age stories.
I'm not sure about the direction of causality, though. Isn't it just as plausible that anime is dominated by coming-of-age stories because the target market is adolescents and young adults? If Japanese adults watched more anime, you would probably see more shows about adults and their issues. noitaminA tried that route in the mid-2000s but has since reverted more to shows aimed at the younger audience with a more "artsy" feel like Your Lie in April.

There's still the occasional Bartender or Otona Joshi no Anime Time, but they've become much less common since the recession. A network like NHK can afford to make something like Hyouge Mono, but the main commercial broadcasters generally stick to shows about adolescents for adolescents.
__________________
SeijiSensei is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 12:13   Link #10
Fizix
Nitpicking
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: From England old chaps
Age: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by winhlp32 View Post
I wonder if internet forums in Japan have users constantly wondering, "what is it with the American obsession with adult/old people, it's so creepy ugh".
Lol, maybe they do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I'm not sure about the direction of causality, though. Isn't it just as plausible that anime is dominated by coming-of-age stories because the target market is adolescents and young adults? If Japanese adults watched more anime, you would probably see more shows about adults and their issues. noitaminA tried that route in the mid-2000s but has since reverted more to shows aimed at the younger audience with a more "artsy" feel like Your Lie in April.

There's still the occasional Bartender or Otona Joshi no Anime Time, but they've become much less common since the recession. A network like NHK can afford to make something like Hyouge Mono, but the main commercial broadcasters generally stick to shows about adolescents for adolescents.
But doesn't that imply that adolescents and young adults cannot relate to nor are interested in adult characters?

That's clearly not the case in the West, given how many popular shows and games have adult characters. I wouldn't have thought Japan is any different in that respect. Of course if Japan is different and they only like shows with characters of their own age group, you may have a point, but I'd be surprised.
Fizix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 13:02   Link #11
Darthtabby
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Even aside from stories with adult protagonists, something I think anime could use more of is stories about teenagers where parents and other adults play a significant role. It's kind of sad that I consider it good if a series features dead parents and has the protagonist(s) deeply affected by that, because at least it gives the absence of parents some importance.
Darthtabby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 13:19   Link #12
ChainLegacy
廉頗
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: East Boston, Massachusetts
Age: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizix View Post
But doesn't that imply that adolescents and young adults cannot relate to nor are interested in adult characters?

That's clearly not the case in the West, given how many popular shows and games have adult characters. I wouldn't have thought Japan is any different in that respect. Of course if Japan is different and they only like shows with characters of their own age group, you may have a point, but I'd be surprised.
I think Seiji is right, but you bring up an important point. Certainly, lots of teens loved watching hugely popular Breaking Bad, for instance.

Maybe it's a Japanese cultural thing; stories for kids/teens are considered by default to revolve around kids/teens. It's an illogical idea that has somehow taken hold in the anime industry - similar to the "animation is only for kids or for comedy" idea that is so prevalent in Western television.

As I've entered my 20's, I have found myself more attracted to anime with adult characters, but they are pretty rare. I don't mind watching stories with teenagers as the protagonist, but it's nice to have an adult in that role. It's rare to see a character my age as a protagonist, but it's almost unheard of for someone to be middle aged or elderly... and that's a shame because there are some really interesting stories to tell with people of all ages as protagonists.
ChainLegacy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 17:07   Link #13
GDiddy
Sisterhood of the Desu
 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: in a van by the river
I always figured it was because the majority of viewers were teens/early 20s?

I also remember reading about a year or two that high school anime is super popular because it takes the viewers back or something.
__________________
GDiddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 17:23   Link #14
Triple_R
Here's Honny!
*Author
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Age: 34
Send a message via AIM to Triple_R
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizix View Post
But doesn't that imply that adolescents and young adults cannot relate to nor are interested in adult characters?

That's clearly not the case in the West, given how many popular shows and games have adult characters.
Right, especially if we factor in superheroes. The vast majority of superheroes are in their adult years. Some, including most versions of Superman and Batman, even give me the impression of "person in his/her 30s". That never stopped millions of kids and teenagers in America and Canada and Europe and Australia and elsewhere from loving these characters.

Combine this with how many male anime fans are able to thoroughly enjoy shows where the entire cast is female, and I'm a bit skeptical of the idea that anime's focus on teenage characters is simply because much of the target audience are teenagers themselves.

In other words, I don't get much of an impression that anime fans need to have characters that are just like them, when it comes to things like age and gender/sex, in order to relate to the characters and enjoy watching them.


So while I respect SeijiSensi's casualty point, I do think there is a genuine strong fondness for coming of age stories within the anime industry (and perhaps in Japanese culture in general) that may play a role in why anime tends to go overwhelmingly for teenaged protagonists.
__________________
Triple_R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-28, 21:49   Link #15
SeijiSensei
AS Oji-kun
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Riding with Chito and Kenny
Age: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizix View Post
But doesn't that imply that adolescents and young adults cannot relate to nor are interested in adult characters?
Not necessarily. What matters is what the producers think adolescents want to watch, not what they might actually want to watch.

Most of my viewing of television and movies as an adolescent consisted of shows about adults, largely because that was most of the programming available. Advertisers have never been especially concerned with reaching adolescents either; they've always been much more interested in 18-34 year-olds, especially 18-34 women. Teens also watch less television than adults, though they do make up the bulk of the audience for films. Modern movies may star adults, but the characters have become much more cartoonish with comedies full of off-color gags and low-brow humor, or "action" films with lots of explosions but little depth of character or plot.

In contrast, each anime season rolls out at least a couple of dozen series specifically about adolescents, most of which have a high-school setting. I can't ever recall a similar amount of such programming for teens and young adults in the US, especially since the most significant audience for advertisers here has always been 18-34 women.

(I'm talking roughly about the period from 1960 to 1990. There has since been an upsurge in programming for the 12-24 demographic on networks like the CW, but that's a more recent phenomenon enabled by the expansion of the number of channels available.)

These are broad generalities, of course, and we can all think of obvious exceptions like, say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But for every Buffy there are half-a-dozen or more police procedurals like CSI.
__________________

Last edited by SeijiSensei; 2015-03-28 at 22:01.
SeijiSensei is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-29, 06:17   Link #16
Guernsey
The GAP Man
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Age: 28
Send a message via AIM to Guernsey Send a message via MSN to Guernsey Send a message via Yahoo to Guernsey
Can the reverse also be true when it comes to shows aimed at kids yet it attracts many adults? I know Pretty Cure is popular in some circles.
__________________
Guernsey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2015-03-29, 06:20   Link #17
aohige
( ಠ_ಠ)
 
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Somewhere, between the sacred silence and sleep
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guernsey View Post
I am not sure if this has been discussed before but what is it with the Japanese obsession with youth? I know this isn't limited to Japan but it seems as though with any character who is either in their 20s is considered to be an old man age wise despite the fact that there are still young (sort of). I know this may answer my question but I found this on a reddit:



This sort of explains a lot of things in anime but still why is 20s and 30s considered to be old despite nearing only quarterlife?
I think the American cultural equivalent is "college life", which often is celebrated to be full of parties and best times of your life.

A certain period of life being celebrated as iconic best era is not uncommon in many cultures. For Japan it happens to be high school.
__________________
aohige is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:41.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
We use Silk.