Why I love anime

Because they’re almost all mini-series.

Generally you know if you’re starting something, it will finish.  It will have nice closure.  You won’t be left hanging.  If the show gets popular, it is still going to finish the story line and end.  They might add a new season, but it will also have a story line that has a crafted ending at the point in which it starts.

As a kid I HATED when the puppy never made it home or we never found out if the pirates were successful at getting rid of the evil miasma that was taking over the world.

Now at least sometimes we get some closure when they take a beloved series cancelled too soon and make it into a movie.  Though in the movie (spoiler alert!) everybody gets killed off.  Failing a movie, sometimes we get to see the last couple of unaired episodes on dvd, like with Wonderfalls.

Another reason I like anime is that it tends to focus on perseverance over innate talents.  In a series DC1 and I are currently watching, Law of Ueki, that idea is spelled out point-blank.  The main character loses “talents” as the series goes along and makes the point that that loss just means he needs to work harder, and that he can still enjoy the process of something like running even if he’s lost his innate ability to run well.

That idea that you can escape your circumstances also shows up with a recurring theme that you can create our own families, our own lives, our own destinies.  We can surround ourselves with other imperfect people and help each other grow.  As one of my favorites, Fruits Basket, says in the opening song, “I can’t be born again, but I can change a little every day.”

OTOH, #2 doesn’t like anime — most of it.  I have seen some lovely and wonderful examples, but mostly it irritates me.  I can’t stand how all the women have BIG EYES and teeny tiny mouths.  Just bat your lovely eyelashes and don’t talk, airhead.  Sigh.  Anatomically impossible women’s bodies in children’s outfits creep me out.  Yes, I know it is a cultural thing that I will not fully understand, not being steeped in that culture.  Still, ick.  IBTP.

#1 notes that #2 is talking about anime that #1 does not watch (well, maybe some harem anime…).  There’s a lot more to anime these days than male fantasy, especially with anime that is appropriate for children (a necessity when one’s child is old enough to ask awkward questions).  There are a lot of strong smart female characters who persevere for their own reasons.  Ginormous breasts are also absent from most of the anime I watch.  There’s even animes in which the girl starts doing something because of a boy, but like in Legally Blonde, through her struggles she realizes the boy isn’t worth it but she is.  Another of my favorites, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, turns the Pygmalian story on its head– 4 pretty boys are recruited to transform a goth girl into a lady, and instead she changes them.

Any other anime likers?  What do you like most about the art form?  For non-anime watchers, have you ever been annoyed by a series ending before there’s closure, or deciding to drag out a story arc way too long after the show gets popular?

53 Responses to “Why I love anime”

  1. Practical Parsimony Says:

    I don’t like anime because it is creepy looking.

  2. MutantSupermodel Says:

    Anime is awesome. There’s lots of it without the big boobs and airheads for sure.

  3. rented life Says:

    I loved Numb3rs. Loved it. Loved the math, loved looking a Rob Morrow. :) Couldn’t lose! But then CBS decided to end to show. THEN CBS decided to not give them a full season and cut out almost 8 episodes. Story lines got rushed–a show that I felt was so well written became really disappointing as people’s relationships, careers, etc moved much faster than was appropriate. It didn’t do justice to anything.
    Is the Record of Lodus Wars anime? I know the “previews” on it are anime…that’s about the most I’ve watched.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh, man, yes, I hate that. The same thing happened with Veronica Mars.

      Yes, Record of Lodoss War is an anime, but it’s a pretty old one. (And IIRC, of the large-chested variety.)

      • rented life Says:

        Yeah, we still have it on VHS. I’m pretty sure husband got it before me. It makes me giggle a great deal “Oh Parn…”

        I never did finish Veronica Mars. Frankly, I’m rather disappointed in Kristen Bell’s career since that.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        The first season of VM was so good, and then they didn’t seem to realize they’d have a second season and then the size of the season kept changing so they kept shortening/lengthening the story-line and yeah, I also never finished it. And totes agree about her career since then!

        (One of my guilty pleasure animes is Those Who Hunt Elves– very similar style. Though from the 1990s.)

      • Debbie M Says:

        We just finished season two of Veronica Mars last light. That was about 4 or 5 episodes worth of plot squished into one show. For example, they probably could have had a whole episode of that dream where you see what could have happened if Veronica’s best friend had never been killed.

        We’ve heard the rumors about the third (incomplete) season. And based on the second season, we’re not even going to try to guess who did whatever the big crime of season 3 is going to be. We’ve decided that the writers probably don’t actually know, anyway. And so we can just make up whatever we want.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Rumors were that they were hoping to have a movie like serenity. No go there. There was also a rumor they were going to reboot ahead and have her and her best friend be FBI agents,and just forget the whole college years thing. That might have been cool.

      • Rumpus Says:

        A long time ago…we used to be friends, but I…haven’t thought of you lately at all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4iUibbj-7w

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Oh geez, that’s now stuck in my head. I think we even have the soundtrack somewhere.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It’s still a good song though.

  4. Linda Says:

    I can’t say I’ve watched more that one anime movie or show. The animation style just doesn’t appeal to me. (The BIG EYES are always present and seem to infantilize every character in a way that I just do not like.)

    An example of a series ending before there’s closure is Firefly. I didn’t get to see it until it Netflix a few years ago, but I really liked it. The movie Serenity was nice, but it would have been better if another season or two was developed.

    And an example of a series that has gone on too long…well, there are many. Weeds is one. I’m not sure if it’s still on, but the first 2-3 seasons were amusing, but when I watched the last season available on Netflix I found myself getting annoyed with Nancy’s childishness.

    I don’t watch a lot of series. I don’t have pay channels, just broadcast and I have stuff to do most nights of the week. I love 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, but there still seems to be a lot of life in them. We’ll have to see where Community goes now that the original writer/idea person for the series has been pushed off the series.

  5. Debbie M Says:

    I’m a little afraid of anime and prefer it with a tour guide. Like my 18-year-old niece who just introduced us to “Eden of the East” on our last visit. (Classic amnesiac plot, plus ideas on saving worlds (well, countries, but same thing), likeable characters, and only one really big annoying plot hole.) I know I miss some things from not understanding the culture.

    Yes, I don’t like when the good series are rushed (examples already given). Or when they last too long without anyone making any progress (“Twin Peaks” was the worst, “Big Bang Theory” (though I heard the girl is getting a little more geeky), and all the ones where the two main characters should be getting together but never do. At first that made sense with “Castle,” because she wasn’t crazy. But now he’s not a bad catch and she IS crazy. They tried to do it right with “Bones,” but the two main characters are just obnoxious together–good thing there are loads of other good characters.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I actually think Big Bang theory has done a really good job progressing. They ARE turning her into a nerd. And Penny and Leonard are both growing up as they move in and out of their relationship… each time they get back together they’re a little more suited to each other and to a long-term relationship and each time they break up it really is because they weren’t ready yet. And the relationships of some other side characters have been truly progressing in ways I would never have predicted in season one but totally make sense in the most recent season. (There’s this one speech that one of the characters makes about his growth that literally made tears stream down my face.) I think they’re doing a really good job in not turning into say, Moonlighting.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what they did with the main characters’ relationship on Psych. I do hope they do a planned ending to that series though because the guys are in their mid-30s and are really going to have to grow up and become less entertaining before it becomes too pathetic. And I wish they’d done more with Shawn’s relationship with his last girlfriend because there could have been a lot of growth there enabling him to be a better person for Juliet… but that season was just scattered and bad.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Lots of my friends still like “Big Bang Theory,” too. Maybe we should try it again. I guess we stopped most of the way through season 1.

      • Rumpus Says:

        I was just thinking of Psych. It started out so strong, then wavered, but I liked the last season…or was that the season before last?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I haven’t seen the last season, but the one before last was good. The one before that kind of sucked.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      (I’m a season behind on Psych because I watch it on DVD. With BBT I sometimes cheat and watch the newest episodes out of order on Hulu, so I’ve seen some of each of the last two seasons. It’s hard to watch BBT with a curious 5 year old so I’ve gotten behind.)

    • rented life Says:

      I haven’t finished Twin Peaks because I just can’t believe how long it’s taking. I think we’ve got 13 episodes left (husband really enjoys it), but we already know who killed Laura Palmer, so really who cares after that?

      • Debbie M Says:

        I loved, loved, loved the second and third episodes of that show. I still quote from that. “[Spit.] Good coffee. Hot, though.” “Douglass fir.” I just loved that detective guy and how open minded and positive he was. (Plus I supposedly got to taste that cherry pie, so I know he’s a good actor.) But adding two or four new mysteries every time they solved an old one drove me nutso.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Psych had an AWESOME Twin Peaks parody episode.

      • Rumpus Says:

        Yeah, for me Twin Peaks was the first mystical mystery show, and I loved the first few episodes…but then it went the same way Lost did and everything got confusing instead of entertaining, and the plots had less impact.

        The Psych homage to Twin Peaks was beauty in motion.

  6. Foscavista Says:

    Madonna using anime as a backdrop for a remix of “What It Feels like for a Girl” during her Drowned World Tour. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfvWl_JEnkM


    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Interesting. I will note that that looks like it is late 1970s/early 1980s style anime. I don’t recognize which show it is, but it looks like it’s the same time period as Macross.

  7. BigLittleWolf Says:

    Do not like animé. (I tried. No Go.)
    Do not like (most) cartoons. (A sorry statement coming from a mother, but also tried. Tolerated some, at best.)

    DO love Totoro (one of those exceptions)… Not sure why, but many fond memories.

    And always, always, always have and will love books. The feel, the smell, the heft, the treasure of them. And hoping my children will feel the same.

  8. retirebyforty (@retirebyforty) Says:

    I like anime, but I don’t have time to watch them. I also don’t know what’s good these days. I like manga better overall because there are even more varieties. I can make time for Miyazaki’s films. :)

  9. Rumpus Says:

    For a younger me, I feel the need to plug X-Files and MST3K. The former lost its way, but it’s possible that regarding the latter it is I who lost my way.

    Oh, and even Kenshin wandered for a time….encountering pirates along the way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiAbTnB5Kpc

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, the crappy kenshin episodes aren’t cannon. i didn’t know they existed the first time I watched it because my dealer didn’t show them to me. It wasn’t until I got the dvds I realized there were more episodes and they sucked. Ah, Kenshin. I can’t wait until DC1 is old enough!

    • Linda Says:

      Oh, X-Files! I used to be a huge fan! As a young person in my 20s, I refused to go out on Friday nights. I missed prime dating time just to be with Mulder and Scully, and I do not regret that. :-)

      MST3K was something I could only watch at a friend’s house since I didn’t have pay channels back then, either. We used to make it into an event and have our own commentary on top of theirs. Fun times!

  10. Virginia Says:

    After your last anime post I watched the Wallflower and Princess Tutu. They were both hits. Thanks for the suggestions. I liked the Wallflower so much I read the manga and am now current with it. It is starting to get a little stale but I think it is entering its sixth year or so. Did you know they made a live action show for it?

    On my list to watch next is Tiger & Bunny and Noaki’s Monster. I haven’t watched them yet. I don’t think most of the stuff I’ve watched you would enjoy because it seems to be made for 14 year old boys. Maybe Wolf’s Rain…

    This is going to make me sound like an old person but I love how much the internet has changed anime. I’ve been watching for about 15 years or so. It used to be that I just walked into a video store (remember those!) and read the backs of the videos to find something I was interested in. I even had to go to specialized stores because blockbuster always had poor selection. Now I can find things quickly and read reviews before checking something out.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I haven’t seen either of those– I will have to check them out. I had no idea there was a live action show for the Wallflower, though I think I knew there was one for Ouran High School Host Club.

      The first time I saw real (subbed– not the cartoons are the same but everything has been changed for an American audience) anime was Ranma in high school– and those were on multiply copied VHS tapes. Now I can get anime online streaming for free and legally! And yes, once I got hooked (Kenshin in college), I had the same video store experiences. Though the Kenshin subs I watched were electronic copies of VHS fansubs complete with tv commercials! genkio sponsors de okrishamas

      And when they started being sold on dvd, you’d get 3 episodes for $20, except the first dvd or two would have 4-5 episodes. Now I can get half a season for $20.

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