[oh-tah-koo] - n. Often has a negative meaning in Japanese, but is recognized in English as a term for anime fans and those obsessed with Japan.
Got a question about anime, Japanese language, or Japanese culture?
Just want to talk to someone whose been watching anime for over 20 years?
Well, here's your chance.
A lot of the staff here at Ubisoft are avid anime fans and love chatting about anime in general (and are obviously excited to be working on Naruto). We're even considering a series of official posts to entertain everyone in the community with fun facts/trivia on anime, Japanese language, and Japanese culture.
Feel free to post your questions/comments/etc. in this thread -- who knows, maybe your question or discussion point will be featured in an official post!
Hiya I have a question
Would you say that anime and animation in general is not taken as seriously as an art form in the West as it is in Japan and East Asia? And what do you think can be done to change this view?
To use Naruto as an example for its English-speaking release the dubebd voices were much more 'cartoony' in nature and also on some networks the anime was stripped or censored of its more mature elements such as blood and death thus making it more 'child friendly'.
Now whilst Naruto is not aimed at an adult audience to be sure there seems to be a prevailing attitude that anime is the same as a cartoon and thus suitable only for young children.
Similary the only teen/adult animations that come to mind in the West are all primarily comedy shows such as South Park or Family Guy.
Attempts at using animation to tell a 'serious' story with mature themes and concepts are few and far betweeen here and rarely make it to the mainstream. It is an area that I feel is much neglected in the West.
Wheras if one looks at Japan there are animes such as Death Note, Blood +, Elfen Lied and films such as Grave of the Fireflies that are animated but are aimed at a more mature audience and deal with adult issues without resorting to fart jokes or other tired 'cartoon' humour.
They also are taken seriously as works of art and pride is taken into their artistic feel and presentation. Most Western animations imo are amimated for function rather than presentation.
What do you think?
"Would you say that anime and animation in general is not taken as seriously as an art form in the West as it is in Japan and East Asia? And what do you think can be done to change this view?"
I will restrict myself to only the United States , since I have the most experience with the history and culture of that country. I would say that anime is taken seriously as an art form in the US among those who have been exposed to it in its various genres. Let me explain...
Animation in the US developed very differently from animation in Japan. The majority of animation here has been cartoons' comedy targeted toward children. In my opinion (similar to yours, Cantanatrix), this has led to a general perception in America that
animation = cartoons for children, not art
... and the content available has evolved accordingly. Don't get me wrong, animation is a serious business in this country, but the fine differences between art styles and genres that exist in Japan aren't mainstream yet in American culture.
Therefore, if children's cartoons are what work' in the United States, you won't find much anime on TV or in movie theatres, right? And if someone has never seen more than a few isolated examples of anime, how can they have an informed opinion on it as an art form?
Fortunately for you, this is changing...
Anime is already getting more recognition here than ever before. Obviously, Naruto is getting a lot of attention; I remember Cowboy Bebop also created tons of buzz when it first came to Cartoon Network (even with the inevitable localization changes). Another great example of rising interest and recognition for Japanese animators and animation as an art form is Hayao Miyazaki, whose films have been both nominated for and won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature.
Based on my own experience, people in the US who see anime for the first time are amazed by the production quality, plot, music, etc. and can understand why its popularity is rising. The effort needed to hand draw anime's complex facial expressions is especially impressive to them.
I would say that simply exposing your friends and family to anime is very effective at changing opinions and raising awareness; but, just like any other new experience, be sure to judge your audience correctly and match up the person with the 'right' anime. He or she will be more open to the experience if you take some extra time to think about what would be most appealing to him/her.
Most of all, just keep being a fan, and spread the word!
Theres been some really excellent points made in this post.
You really "hit the nail on the head", when it comes to anime most people pass it off as kids cartoons. I've tried and tried to get people to watch Naruto but always hear the same response "it's for kids"
i have managed to get people to watch some studio ghibli movies, which is a good start.
I see some of what you say being agreeable, such as it's getting better. You used naruto as an example but the english version is just more childish sounding(voicing and wording) and that gives it the a label as a cartoon. Shows like cowboy bebop which i loved and dragon ball z had some good voicing so they would be take more serious. For naruto, that show is pretty much about people trying to kill each other and death yet it gets the cartoon tag.
It's not only anime that gets tagged with cartoon, I have heard from friends I know refer to a CG movie like advent children(i am not a ff fan but movie was good) to ice age which had a lot of jokes adults would only understand.
@ NexusV1: Keep in mind, I've been on the anime scene for many years. Awareness of and acceptance of anime may not seem very widespread to you, but it's come a long way since I saw my first anime ("Akira") in the theatres 20 years ago.
Both anime and videogaming are finally moving away from the stereotyping they've suffered from in popular US culture. The changes are slow, but noticeable to someone with the long view.
I've often been told that it takes an entire generation to change a social attitude even slightly; the generally accepted increment for a 'generation' is 20-25 years, so I think anime in the US is about due.
I would definately have to disagree with those of you claiming that the English Naruto is childish.Heck you must not of seen the Japanese version of the show in the first place if you're saying that. =/ I don't wish start an arguement though,so I'll just move on.
Anyway,I do think anime certainly is getting more popular,and very few dubs now in days aren't heavily edited or given innacurate translations and stereotypical voices,and 'Americanization'.
But still,I can only communicate with real anime fans via the internet most of the time unless you got to an event or something.If I talk about it at school for instance I'd be made fun of.
But I guess they're all hiding out there somewhere.
lol The Naruto movie premier sold out tonight and me and my freinds got to see it.
Most of the people there watched the Japanese version of the show,when I half expected to see a bunch of little kids.Anyway,all I really want is for anime to be respected at the least,and not thought of as just a 'kids show' or a 'nerdy cartoon'.If it were just as popular in Japan then that'd be great. =D
I actually found the American voiced Naruto an insult to the original, it took away all of its charm and the emotion, and purpose in the various characters voices, making it childish and also making me not want to watch it.
When it comes to animation, the Japanese are leagues ahead of their western counterparts, while we in the west make our child orientated, poorly thought out works, the Japanese turn out amazingly well produced, well thought out, well scripted masterpieces.
If you have never seen the subbed versions of naruto, you are missing out in a BIG way, I advise you go watch some !!
I recently introduced my friend to naruto, he was also someone who labeled it as a cartoon and for kids, but I told him to give the first 20 episodes a chance, which he did...and then proceded to watch up to episode 80 in around a week, admitting he was so wrong about it.
I think the problem is that people have preconceptions about it, and they have already made up their mind before even giving it a chance.
They are the ones missing out IMHO
Thanks for your very informative reply Acheval
Yeah I was first drawn into anime by Studio Ghibli and have moved onto anime tv series.
I was introduced to Naruto by a friend and since then I have earned the badge of watching all the episodes (so...much..filler...)
I agree that anime is getting greater popularity and acceptance in the West, and that can only be a good thing!
Lol... Even tho its Embarrasing, im still proud to say that pokemon started my fondness of anime many years ago, but I do agree that dubbing has ruined some animes but on the other hand has made some animes easier to watch for example, I find studio Ghibli films easier to understand without having to focus on the tiny words at the bottom of the screen, especially since there are so many wierd ideas floating around the screen distracting me. But I hate what dubbing has done for naruto "believe it"... To give characters catchphrases immediatly turns something serious into a slapstick or childish cartoon. But Acheval, is it true that you can choose to have the japanese voice actors in the game, and if so will they be subititled and also will they have the stupid catchphrase?