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-Animae-



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 22
Location: Ascending

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:08 pm    Post subject: Purpose Reply with quote

I just finished watching an anime series (Madlax). I don’t know if it was from supreme boredom or if I somehow subconsciously desire to know how retarded fiction really can be, that I watched the end. I thing I know however is that this series has it all, cliché shallow characters that seem to act according “anime psychology”, something I know almost better that the real thing*, nonsensical story, nonsensical world, deus ex machina around every corner, good and evil polarization, justification of violent acts against antagonist by nonsensical reasons** and action scenes that are so unrealistic in every imaginable and unimaginable aspect that even if the rest of series was outstanding, I would still hold a negative view towards it.
If this was a single time occurrence, I would not be complaining, but these things seem to plague most anime series. I sometimes wonder why I am drawn to watch in the first place, perhaps it is just like meeting new people, I expect things to be but a shadow of its true potential (what could have been) and expect to find something of value, then when you come to learn about it you just see it isn’t there.

Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks--those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.
Friedrich Nietzsche,
Thus Spoke Zarathustra

They aren’t even trying are they? I don’t know if it is because I am “slight” perfectionist, but I just don’t understand how you can do something, especially something creative, without caring the slightest about it. Or is it just me who failed to see something here, or am I just so much more intelligent that the average person?
I don’t know and as much as I hate uncertainty I have left this open to questioning for a long time now. But I know where the empirical evidence is pointing and that is a very lonely place.
Perhaps the worst aspect of anime is characters; I had in mind to make a tread about this earlier but I think those ideas will fit here nicely.
Characters are the life of any fiction, to offset bad characters it takes something truly great. As I understand it not everyone agrees on thins, otherwise there would be many books, films and series left inexperienced.
The question is where to begin, the flaws are so many I think I could write a book about it, but I will try to keep it short.
Sometimes it feels like I am watching half an episode in advance, because the characters are so predictable***. This is primary because of how the characters are designed; they are given a past (which is given too much importance) and a couple of traits.
There you have their psychology and it defines how they are going to act in about 90% of situations. What you have to watch out for is nonsensical behavior, it doesn’t occur often, but when it does you usually get extreme out of character situations, which are not something I think as good, for any aspect (story, character development…). I don’t know if most anime directors have failed to notice but normal people have many different behaviors, giving just one to a character makes them dull, predictable, lifeless and one-sided.
Forget about anyone wanting anything, anime characters are the most spineless and weak people that can be conceived. The only ones who want something are the antagonist, for some reason they seem to want something I can only describe as “evil for the sake of it”. That anime characters are shallow is in my opinion mostly due to the fact that there rarely is any rational thinking behind there behaviors, instead they (as I pointed out earlier) act in accordance to their character. Where are the strong and inspiring characters presenting something desirable?
All of this does obviously not apply to all anime, just the majority of it.
Another think that really bothers me is the whole nonsensical story part. In series like Madlax and Last Exile, I get the impression that the director tries to give the story depth by leaving out most parts of it, maybe its just me who is to thickheaded to understand. It’s in no way cleverly made like SAC or SEL, where most information is there, you just have to piece it together.
I don’t see the point really, the only think it does is break many potential concepts.
Realism is also something that is a problem with many series. Just as with all fiction (game included) I think it is positive if they provide originality, and I don’t see this as contradiction to the necessity of realism, because what I want is realism within the concept. So it does not matter what kind of world the fiction is played out in, it’s just important that it follow its own rules.
Worst case scenario: Madlax:
I really don’t mind action scenes where the protagonist slaughters a small army (can actually be rather satisfying if it’s done right), but having gunfights where the protagonist stands in front of an army and all their bullets miss, is just a major turnoff for me. Take a game like Farcry or Fear and play it on the highest difficulty. You get to fight armies of soldier that can kill you faster that you can kill a single one of them if you are without cover and they see you. Even though it can be difficult in series to emulate what it actually feels to be able to die (not that games can either but you are vulnerable in an entirely different way) it would be awesome if they could recreate the intensity of a fight in a difficult shooter. Where the victor is determined by skill and not that your opponents keeps missing.

Maybe I should stop wining and go on writing my book, to see if I can do any better.
Am I going to be flamed for this?

*As I have watched 1448+ (yeah I keep logs) episodes and considering my analytical nature, I consider myself to have quite some insight.

** The most typical situation seem to be (unfortunately this is seen in books as well) is that the antagonist kills people or something just “because he (why is it always a he?) wants to”

*** Worst case scenario Ah! My Goddess, Chobits, D.N. Angel, Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien, Midori no Hibi, Onegai Teacher, Onegai Twins, Gundam Seed, basically drama series.
It’s almost fun sometime to try to predict what happens next, but just gets boring as it is often too easy.
Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien has to be the easiest as I did not even have to guess.
_________________
Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks--those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.
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-Animae-



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 22
Location: Ascending

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was unexpected, I almost expected to be flamed (this is after all an anime forum) or perhaps someone telling me “you don’t get it” or something.
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Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks--those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.
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Jeni Nielsen



Joined: 27 Nov 2005
Posts: 405

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

-Animae- wrote:
That was unexpected, I almost expected to be flamed (this is after all an anime forum) or perhaps someone telling me “you don’t get it” or something.


That is if anyone reads it. :)

I feel like your aspirations for anime are a little high don't you think? I admitedly haven't been watching much anime lately for many of the reasons you list. But I think that there are a few good series out there if you know where to look.

I think that the appeal of weak characters actually is something that appeals partially to Japanese anime fans. The idea that a weak male character could have for instance a harem of women, or pilot a Gundam and save the world is appealing to those boys who feel week in the eyes of their peers and are powerless to do much about it. This is actually the typical anime otaku in Japan as far as I've been told. So I actually feel like there is a purpose for weak characters.

I also think that realism is sort of silly to ask for in anime. If you want realism try J-dramas, but I agree that a universe should be true to itself, but I don't see that as a problem in most anime that I've seen. Have you ever seen Trigun? I love that that series seems to be all about the "missing bullets" until later when you find out what Vash really is. I think that as long as you can justify where you're coming from, then it's ok.
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Epiphany



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 260
Location: South Florida

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think anime is like any other entertainment format. If someone is successful, others follow. Sometimes rushing to get to market before the development work is completed. I agree with Jeni, watch "Trigun" It is very well thought out and has so many twists and turns that your always guessing. I think GITS set such a high standard that not many will be able to reach that level. Inuyasha is also a very strong well made anime. ( It has extremely strong male and female characters ) Some good, some evil and some that seem to go either way depending on the situation.

Admittedly my exposure to anime is just beginning. I have seen some that just make no sense at all. "Cooly Fooly" is a good example. ( But I watch it for some unknown reason LOL )
Anything that is successful will breed imitations. Some will rise to the top some will not.
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-Animae-



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 22
Location: Ascending

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m sorry for the late reply; I have been gone a lot lately and been very busy.
Jeni Nielsen wrote:
That is if anyone reads it. Smile

Hmm, I don’t see why someone would not want to read it, the fact that it is well written alone make it of better quality that most of the information that can be found on the net. I would be very thankful if you could enlighten me on why no one would want to read that post of mine.
Jeni Nielsen wrote:
I feel like your aspirations for anime are a little high don't you think? I admitedly haven't been watching much anime lately for many of the reasons you list. But I think that there are a few good series out there if you know where to look.

I see your point, but it’s important for you to understand that I always consider myself as average, better to have a somewhat static notion of comparison that one that can vary a lot. I just consider that if I can think of something so can them, such a judgment is fair in my opinion; we are all but humans fazing similar limitations and abilities. Not using those abilities however is a different story…
Don’t misunderstand me because of my criticism, you make it sound like I hate anime, yet do you think I would have watched such a great deal if I disliked it so much?
I think that most series I have watched had some redeeming features, I hate to restrict myself to think in good or bad, even if I happen to admire something will not restrict me from seeing its flaws. This has confused people in the past, make me think about being more careful in the future, I simply can not grasp the notion of “worship”, falling blind from the details, because of the attraction to the thing in mind.
By doing so I think it ruins the not only the ability to see what is not perfect, but also destroy the ability to see the beauty and understand what makes it special.

Perhaps this is just me loosing my patience aging, wishing evolution to be just a bit faster. As with all matters of evolution, there is lot more of “less successful” ones that successful ones, but just because some creatures proved to be less adapted in our world did not necessarily make them less interesting. Similar parallels can also be found in our technology.

Jeni Nielsen wrote:
I think that the appeal of weak characters actually is something that appeals partially to Japanese anime fans. The idea that a weak male character could have for instance a harem of women, or pilot a Gundam and save the world is appealing to those boys who feel week in the eyes of their peers and are powerless to do much about it. This is actually the typical anime otaku in Japan as far as I've been told. So I actually feel like there is a purpose for weak characters.

I once again understand you point, even thought I have not had first hand experience of Japanese culture, and I think its safe to assume that my understanding of it is distorted. What I find to be a bit more surprising is the fact that they seem to glorify their way of being at the same time as they look down on themselves, defining themselves just as you did “those boys who feel week in the eyes of their peers and are powerless to do much about it”. I don’t know if I have missed something, but why would they “glorify their own weakness” if you understand what I mean?
Jeni Nielsen wrote:
I also think that realism is sort of silly to ask for in anime. If you want realism try J-dramas, but I agree that a universe should be true to itself, but I don't see that as a problem in most anime that I've seen. Have you ever seen Trigun? I love that that series seems to be all about the "missing bullets" until later when you find out what Vash really is. I think that as long as you can justify where you're coming from, then it's ok.

I have watched Trigun some time ago; I really liked the sci-fi themes, which I unfortunately found to be mostly left unexplored (again to my preference). There was one part which I found especially memorable, the flashback to when Knives and Vash where kids, my favorite scene being the one when Vash and Knives got to see Rem for the last time before sent out with the pod. That moment was one of those moments when it feel like every piece fell right into place at the exact right moment, that scene made the rest of the series totally bleak in comparison. I think that the best way to describe it is; flawless and amazingly beautiful it’s those kinds of defining moments that I want in my writing.
On the consistency of the realism in Trigun, I had no problem whatsoever with that, I think it was true to what it settled out to do.

Epiphany wrote:
I think anime is like any other entertainment format. If someone is successful, others follow. Sometimes rushing to get to market before the development work is completed. I agree with Jeni, watch "Trigun" It is very well thought out and has so many twists and turns that your always guessing. I think GITS set such a high standard that not many will be able to reach that level. Inuyasha is also a very strong well made anime. ( It has extremely strong male and female characters ) Some good, some evil and some that seem to go either way depending on the situation.

I suspect that the characters in Inuyasha to be quite successful due to a slightly different approach to create characters, not the one I think to be ideal but a better one that is usually used anyway. While I have only seen 12 or something episodes of Inuyasha I think that I am right to assume the characters to be similar as the characters in Ranma.
Epiphany wrote:
Admittedly my exposure to anime is just beginning. I have seen some that just make no sense at all. "Cooly Fooly" is a good example. ( But I watch it for some unknown reason LOL )
Anything that is successful will breed imitations. Some will rise to the top some will not.

Epiphany, think you underestimate the workings of evolution on yet another example, following the same old patterns. You might think that the market (people) determines what is good or bad, but it’s worth considering the people don’t know what they want, and even when they do, they don’t follow their own wishes. In the end it all plays out in this grand game, every selfish gene as a player, in a magnitude that might even make the universe look small. The little we acquire to control just ends up being a double edged sword, changing us in ways we could not previously anticipate. In this grand symphony where even god is nothing more that a pawn. We only observe part of this wonder with awe; I know I want to see.
_________________
Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks--those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.
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Purifying Flame of Justic



Joined: 03 Apr 2006
Posts: 27
Location: The Outer Plane of Xatorsika; Pondering upon my own existence, what path in life shall I embark on?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks--those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.
Friedrich Nietzsche,
Thus Spoke Zarathustra

They aren’t even trying are they? I don’t know if it is because I am “slight” perfectionist, but I just don’t understand how you can do something, especially something creative, without caring the slightest about it. Or is it just me who failed to see something here, or am I just so much more intelligent that the average person?
I don’t know and as much as I hate uncertainty I have left this open to questioning for a long time now. But I know where the empirical evidence is pointing and that is a very lonely place.


Some would perhaps point out that a comparison between most anime series and Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra is rather weird, in the way you seem to be doing it.

What role does money play in these two things? I mean, anime and their so-called artists are more or less incorporated into a capitalistic society structure, Nietzsche was not …

Sorry I can’t seem to gather my thoughts in order to make my point clear...
_________________
"It is terrible to die of thirst on the ocean.
Does your truth have to be so salty that it can no longer even - quench thirst?" Nietzsche
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