Thoughts on storytelling and the world of animation. Caution! SPOILERS!

Blog #10 my brushes with anime

So I thought I’d take you on a little trip down my memory, so you can see why it took me so long to get into anime.  No need to click on or fully watch any of the links, they’re just there for demonstration purposes if you’re truly bored.

My first encounter with anime was a show on Nickelodeon in the late 1980’s/early 90’s.  The name of the show was The Noozles, and it was about a little girl named Sandy Brown who acquired a stuffed koala that comes to life when she rubs noses with it.  Here’s a sample if you’re interested in seeing the quality and style.  At that age I only had a vague idea about what anime was, and only thought that the animators were taking too many shortcuts.  There would be long pans of a single frame, and even longer sections where only the mouth would open and shut as the character breathlessly yelled out long sentences.  I think the only reason I tolerated the show at all was that we had the same last name and her first name was the same as our cat.

My mother actually owned Little Women by Nippon Animation.   This one got a double whammy because it used the same style of frozen frames and long sequences of yelling, plus I disliked the story in general.

I manged to avoid future Japanese films until I began dating the nerdier sorts.  One in particular thought it was a shame that I didn’t like anime or know about manga, and tried to introduce me to Ranma 1/2.  Now, I’m a sucker for panda bears, which was probably the only reason I agreed to watch at all.  Still not overly impressed.

A while later another boyfriend took me to see Iron Monkey, which dazzled me.  Jackie Chan became in the US shortly thereafter, and then I discovered Netflix and THEIR assortment of martial arts films.  I found Zatoichi and spiraled into the awesome 1960’s Japanese TV series about a wandering blind swordsman, so I quickly learned to enjoy shows made by other cultures to fulfill my swordfight craving.  It was an acceptable substitute for the lack of random dancing in movies.

This boyfriend also thought it was a shame I didn’t like anime and invited me to anime night with a bunch of friends.  At this point I’d become a video editor at a TV station and more or less ripped into the films in critical editing mode, much to the chagrin of his friends. BF was not one to be deterred.  “I think I understand your problem.  Let’s try something better.”  And he pulled out Cowboy Bebop.  And I was pleased.  Bounty hunters in space set to awesome music?  Sold.

It took a few more months before he realized that I had never heard of Hayao Miyazaki, and I was promptly introduced to Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle, and I updated my Netflix list to include EVERY one of his films.  Soon after it was the Rurouni Kenshin series, followed by Outlaw Star, (which I actually didn’t care for) and then the Irresponsible Captain Tylor.  And then real life got in the way, so I haven’t explored too much further.  I did have the pleasure of introducing him to Firefly and the author of “Howl’s Moving Castle,” Diana Wynne Jones, so don’t think it wasn’t reciprocated!  (and then I married him.)

I think what I learned most in this progression was that I shouldn’t make assumptions about genres based on one or two examples.  Disliking one show, and deciding that all the other shows, either animated or live-action, by a certain culture, must be just as  bad and therefore not watchable, is going to make you miss out on a lot of programs that you might have liked.  I’ve since learned to form opinions based on individual merit rather than general associations, which is a good lesson for anyone regarding anything.

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6 thoughts on “Blog #10 my brushes with anime

  1. For the most part I don’t enjoy anime, but I do like Miyazaki’s stuff. I also like the much more serious “Monster”. Other than that I haven’t been able to find anime that I enjoy.

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  3. elaineziman on said:

    Try Cowboy Bebop if you haven’t already. It’s a little like Firefly.

  4. Kendra Prasad- Hist 389 on said:

    I have VERY limited knowledge of and experience with anime, so it is interesting to hear how you came into liking it. I do love Spirited Away, though. But aside from that, I don’t think I’ve really seen anything. Perhaps I should give it a chance without any preconceived notions and expectations. I agree with your point on the importance of not judging an entire genre based off a couple of experiences. As humans, I think we do this a lot, but we would all be much happier if we didn’t.

  5. The Japanese create the most…interesting? plots/shows. Although I think the older anime’s that you’ve mentioned are just an older style of animation with long panes and excruciatingly long sequences and plot, a different sensability to media, since American animation at the same time wasn’t as slow but wasn’t that much better in quality. Yet, now that I’m thinking about it it’s all relative, since there are shows that were great and had quality and some that just weren’t and both anime’s and American cartoons have both. Okay, I just stuck myself in a hole and I agree that no assumptions should be made! There’s always going to be goods and bads about any medium, you just aim for what’s interesting (hence why I like fantasy and comedy animes just like in my American films and tv series selection).
    Specifically for Ranman 1/2 though, again, I’d have to say relative to time since an anime called Inu Yasha, the manga which was created by the same person who did Ranma 1/2, was made during the early 2000’s and is much better quality even though the manga wouldn’t prove that otherwise.
    Again, though, I’d agree that assumptions about anything are never helpful. Since my best example is when I visited Ireland, I had nothing to do at 12AM so I turned on the TV and randomly found a Bollywood film called Om Shanti Om. I don’t care for Bollywood since its just a different sensability to mine and I thought I’d never care for any of their films: Entirely Proven Wrong. Even though it was a long film (over two hours), it was hilarious, enjoyable and with an interesting plot!
    I’d just have to say that all mediums and cultures have their own goods and bads, no reason to assume that one bad pizza from Papa Johns means that all of their pizzas are horrendous.

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