Time to fill that anime-podcast-shaped hole in your life by joining us in conversation with fearless leader of Anime Limited, czar of Scotland Loves Anime and all-round top bloke Andrew Partridge. Nakama Britannica XII: Interviewcast! Andrew Partridge Edition iTunes iVailable … Continue reading
Recently recovered from the wilds of darkest Edinburgh, it’s…
In a special bonus episode, we forgo social pleasantries such as research and preparation to bring you the low-down on SLA Edinburgh – a report so fresh, it was partially recorded in the Filmhouse bar! Sadly this lead to me not saying much in the first part, as I was convinced the middle-aged hard-man at the next table was about to tell us to shut up, but never mind. Stagger on.
01.45 Tokyo Marble Chocolate and Phoenix Wright. Contains no actual confectionary, nor objectionable content.
07.55 From Up On Poppy Hill and Mass Effect. Goro rides again, Production I.G. Lose their paragons.
15.35 After School Midnighters. SCIENCE!
23.45 Berserk and Berserk II: Berserk Harder. “I like swords!”
38.20 Nerawareta Gakuen. We attend a world premiere! Sadly, the world is not impressed.
55.40 The Anime Mirai Project. Juju the Weightless Spider Girl Who Pretended Not to See Buuta.
65.06 Wolf Children Ame and Yuki. In which I find out what the word “nadir” actually means.
83.46 Closing – Aria (Susumu Hirasawa)
[This article is my reply to Alex's excellent 'For the anime fan in 2008, is it essential to watch online anime?']
I came across this recent news article at ANN, ‘Dennou Coil Wins Award from Japanese Sci-Fi Writers‘ and more than anything else, it annoyed me. Here’s why.
‘Dennou Coil‘ was amongst the most acclaimed anime TV series of 2007, a beautifully animated, whimsical science fiction story with broad appeal and notable production values, often likened to the adventurous mainstream story-telling of ‘Studio Ghibli’. Naturally, it wasn’t a particularly big hit with the hardcore anime fans, or at least, not on the same level as something like ‘Haruhi’, but it is capable of capturing of the imagination of someone (or some kid) not usually swept away by the conventional tropes of Japanese animation.
I’ll say at the start of this blog that I’m not the most knowledgeable anime fan around. I like what I like, but I don’t have an exhaustive knowledge of series, directors, studios, voice actors, and the industry as a whole. Nor am I the sort of person who has to watch things as soon as they come out – I’m happy to wait a while, and if there’s something I want, I know I’ll get it eventually. The good stuff will always filter through, given time. So this isn’t going to be an in-depth analysis of the anime industry – that’s beyond my knowledge at this stage.
I like buying anime and manga. I like the feeling of ‘owning’ something, of building up a little library of releases, however modest mine may be compared to others. I’m also in the lucky and privileged position of being a reviewer for AUKN, meaning I get review copies of DVDs and manga volumes. Aside from that, I always try to watch anime when it’s on television. I saw Cowboy Bebop for the first time on the ill-fated Anime Central channel. And this winter period, I’m looking forward to Channel 4/Film 4 hopefully showing some Studio Ghibli films, as they often do.
But there’s one medium that’s always escaped me. I have never got into watching anime online. I’ve been thinking about this lately. I think there’s a few reasons why this is.
One thing that’s caught my attention lately is how, in terms of genre and target audience, categorising an anime or manga series is surprisingly complicated. Many titles are marketed along the lines of age and gender of the target audience or readership: namely shounen (young, male), shoujo (young, female), seinen (older, male) and josei (older, female). In fairness, it makes a lot of sense to divide things up like this when looking for a recommendation that is in line with you and your time of life. It goes without saying that Japanese writers don’t usually have overseas audiences and their differing expectations in mind so it’s possible that a title finds favour abroad in a completely different demographic to that was intended which leads to some interesting and unexpected results.
Bear in mind that for the sake of clarity I’m making some generalisations of my own here. I’m not knocking shounen shows by calling them unsophisticated and generic, nor am I implying that you should be put off by a title that “isn’t aimed at people like me.” There seem to be some differences in culture that dictate target audience between fans in different countries and because of these cultural differences, not to mention preconceptions among international fans and the differing ways in marketing, the genre boundaries seem to be all over the place. It’s a confusing issue but I think it’s worth thinking over because I honestly believe that trying to be aware of it helps in your appreciation of the medium.
Having just reviewed the Trinity Blood series, the creativity, or lack of it, in the anime industry – something I often think about, and which my thoughts have been trying to give shape to in the back of my mind recently – seems like an appropriate subject for this article.
It struck me, when the point was made, that anime is, on first impressions, very different from what some might see as the stale, or long established, genres played out here in the West (even if, to the native audience, the same is true in reverse). Growing up, I didn’t notice it, but anime must have appealed to me, on one level, because it was different from everything else, and although I might have put it in different words at the time, the essential thrust is that it was imaginative, creative, different. Many qualities could be singled out that I liked, but it was the creativity of Japanese studios, owing at least something to Japanese culture and psychology, that made it desirable to approach.
I read The Anime Almanac‘s recent essay with a great interest. Effectively titled “Greg Ayres and the Fight Against Fansubs”, it presents an industry-biased perspective on the massive proliferation of anime fansubs, via the enthusiasm of Greg Ayres, a “hardcore otaku” turned professional English dub actor. Basically, this colourful-looking chap travels to conventions dotted all over North America to preach the ills of downloading anime. According to the essay, one fan of his (called ‘Steve’) even goes so far as to admit that “I just wanted to say that because of your blog on MySpace, I have sworn off of fansubs as my New Years resolution for this year” which is impressive, though a more cynical person would point to the fact that this Steve is already enough of a fan of Ayres to be reading the man’s blog in the first place.
I don’t think he’s preaching to the choir, but at the same time, there doesn’t seem to be enough dialogue with the “hated minority”, as the Anime Almanac hyperbolically puts it. Viewing jpmeyer‘s video of the panel, one senses that there is some intimidation at work, as if Ayres (and by extension, the majority of the crowd) isn’t willing to listen to the speaker’s argument. Instead, as is usually the case with the fansubbing debate online, there is no grey area and no discussion, just white noise. A line is drawn between fans, who then proceed to shout at each other until blue in the face. Ayres is quoted as saying “the biggest wussies will always draw their swords on the internet”, but looking at jpmeyer‘s above video and considering that Ayres‘ insult was itself intended for an online publication, it’s a shame that the opportunity for a potentially important debate is lost within such double standards.