Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Richard Roark

Japanese Anime

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Here is the Anime thread that I said I would begin in my Nobeo Uemetsu thread. I think it would be good to discuss Anime, describing its history, what Anime's you have seen, and give recommadations of good Anime's for other's to see.

I will start the following is a list of Anime I have seen and watched:

TV Series:

Trigun

Helsing

Lain

Dragonball Z

Rurouni Kenshin

Neon Genesis Evanlion (sp?)

Berserker

Movies:

Akira

Spirited Away

Princess Mononoke

Unfortunately that is all, due to the high price of Anime DVD's it is really hard to watch Anime, and as true fan of Anime I must watch it in Japanese.

Also in relation to Objectivism, I would highly recommend to anybody to see Spirited Away, this is truly an amazing story about an young girl who by the end of the story has matured greatly.

Edited by Richard Roark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I discovered anime in 1985. But I didn't know that I was watching anime at that time. What I was turned on to, by a relative, was a show called "Robotech". At the time, I was fundamentally disinterested in 'cartoons', but after three tries, I gave in and watched a few minutes of it. I remember thinking, "now this is different from what I conceived cartoons to be". Within 3 days, I was hooked and watched the whole series.

A year later, the series was cancelled, and I wrote letters to the TV station. I learned who the syndicator was and wrote them a letter. Then one day I was in a supermarket and discovered a rack of comic books. One of them was "Robotech". I bought it and read it. I purchased a subscription and this became my first comic book experience (I am living my live backwards, going from adulthood to childhood. :) ) In the back of the comic book was a pen pals address exchange. I submitted my address and in a few months, I received letters from other fans. One of the fans was from Hawaii, and he introduced me to the 'hard core' stuff.

Simultaneously, there was an anime convention in New York City that year (now 1987) and I went. I purchased a 12" LP record of the Macross TV soundtrack, not knowing what it was going to be like. I also had unknowingly purchased the Macross movie soundtrack. I bought each because a familiar character likeness was on the cover of both). I bought a VHS tape of the Macross movie there too.

When I got home, I watched the movie that night. Talk about a 'context shift'! Here I was, seeing all the familiar characters from Robotech, but with Japanese names, in their original roles!

I listened to the LP recordings, not knowing what I was to expect. The music was not what I expected. It had a feel like the "Easy Listening" instrumental music from the late 1950s/early 1960s. But it was different. And it was beautiful.

And I was hooked.

My pen pal in Hawaii was prolific in sharing many original Japanese anime titles. Many were tenth generation VHS copies that gave me a headache to watch, but I watched intently. I was fascinated.

Time went by, and my penpals eventually went their separate ways, but anime stuck with me.

One day, through a fan club that myself and a HAM radio friend of mine started, we came into contact with a tape trader. He had an admirable list of anime soundtracks on tape and if we sent him blank cassettes and a list, he'd tape it for us. I discovered a lot of wonderful music that way.

I discovered the music of Joe Hisaishi, composer of most of Hayao Miyazaki's film soundtracks. I heard the hauntingly-beautiful soundtrack to Nausicäa and I was in nirvana. I thought that this had to be the closest experience to being under the influence of psychotropic drugs, and I coined the term "sonic narcotic", which I reserved for music that put me in a trance-like state.

I watched many anime films over the years. The 1980s were the "golden years" of anime.

My favorites:

Kaze no tani no Nausicäa (Nausicäa of the Valley of Wind)

...about a young princess who's valley is beseiged by war, in a time where the earth had already been destroyed by the "Daikaisho" (Seven Days of Fire) war some thousand years earlier. Readers of Ayn Rand's Anthem will see a parallelism in the world of Nausicäa's valley, where only ancient remnants of the modern world remain, buried beneath the ground. Nausicäa uses her cognitive abilities to discover the process by which to restore the ecology of the planet and she studies the forbidden plants of the Toxic Jungle and makes discoveries that no one else is willing to bother with. She alone finds the answer to why the world is dying and she must stop three warring nations before they bring about the total destruction of the planet.

Laputa: Legend of the Sky Castle

...this is loosely based on Gulliver's Travels. A story about a mythical 'flying castle' and the quest of a young boy and girl to find this legendary castle.

Kiki's Delivery Service

... a story about young "majos" (women of magic, literal translation) or witches and their coming of age. Kiki turns 13 and it is time for her to go into the world and find her trade as a witch. It is about growing up, leaning to cope with setbacks, understanding one's self, overcoming hardships and making a life for one's self.

Omohide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday)

... this film is a high fidelity anime. It's so realistic. The beauty of the scenery and the glimpse into Japanese common life is splendid. They say that this was the first animated film to convey the nuances that up til then, only live actors could convey. The story is just an ordinary love story, but the visuals and the nostalgia (it flashbacks to 1966 frequently) make it a very enjoyable film for older viewers.

Whisper of the Heart

...this is a film about a young girl who discovers her calling in life. She has a ironic love/hate relationship with her image of a boy that she is infatuated with--by the books he reads (she finds his name on all the cards of the books she takes out at the school library) and she is frequently annoyed by a certain boy who's grandfather just happens to own the antique shop that she frequents.. could it be that her dream boy and this boy are one and the same? This is a story about growing up, maturing and setting goals and following through. A wonderfully-inspiring story.

Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies)

....the saddest animated film (actually of any genre) that I have ever seen. Ten times more saddening than Gone with the Wind, and told in retrospect, a powerful way of setting the stage for impending doom of a young boy and his little sister, caught in the fires of WWII. Sad, hopeless, with a message that war is hell.

(Incidentally, I worked for the import distributor at the time this film was licensed in USA, and I designed the packaging for the original VHS release.)

Rumic World: Fire Tripper

...this is a love story that takes place in two time periods: present day, and 15th centrury Feudal Japan. Suzuko is 16 years old. Most of her life is normal, but she remembers little about her past. But a gas explosion triggers a shift in time for her, and she finds herself on a battlefield in the 15th century. The boy who rescues her from bandits will have a strange attraction for her... a beautiful love story, if a bit confusing due to the several shifts in time and the question of who's whom.

I have more, but I'll post this for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cowboy Bebop

Slayers

Lodoss Wars

Initial D

Ninja Scroll (Episodic Series)

If you like the TV series Firefly, you'll probably like Cowboy Bebop. Slayers is a comical fantasy adventure series, Lodoss Wars is a non-comical fantasy adventure series.

Initial D is probably my favorite of these; it is about cars, actually, drift racing if anyone knows what that is. The racing scenes are done in CGI.

If you're looking for something really surreal, Excel Saga isn't bad (the art is good) but it's really, really bizarre . . . you can tell that it was MEANT to be funny, but really it is so bizarre that it's really not funny. At least, it wasn't to me.

Movie-wise: Ghost in the Shell, Vampire Hunter D (the whole series), Ninja Scroll

One of the things I like best about anime is that it tends to get BETTER as it extends into multiple sequels, unlike American animation which, oddly, tends to get WORSE. Possibly because the Japanese companies that make anime start out operating on a shoestring, once they start making money they can improve their technique, whereas American animated films are big-budget deals, and the sequels are largely made by smaller groups to cash in on the popularity of the original.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How did I get introduced to Anime? Well I introduced myself to it by having a love of comic books and while reading Wizard Magazine seeing scenes from Anime. I was blown away by the artwork that I saw in these pictures. A friend of mine in high school was into Anime and I asked him about it, but didn't get much of anywhere with him till later. What got me into Anime in serious way was Dragon Ball Z, I was hooked the moment I watched it. This made me want to explore Anime even more and thus began my puruit of Anime. I want to see Grave of the Fireflies and the Lodoss War series. I have seen both Vampire Hunter D movies as well as Ninja Scroll, forgot about those movies. No body has seen Spirited Away :) I absolutely love this movie and its soundtrack. My favorite track from it is the piano music that is being played while Chiaro is on the train. It is absolutely a beautiful piece of music. Also, the Animatrix has a very good feature about the History of Anime. This is where I got my first glimpse of the Grave of the Fireflies and after seeing the animation for this movie I am like I got to see this movie. Speaking of the Matrix, I don't think many people realize that the Matrix is an Anime done in real life and I think this is the reason many people don't like the the last two movies.

Edited by Richard Roark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen both Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away; I didn't think there was much point in mentioning Anime that had already been discussed.

By what standard do you claim that The Matrix is Anime done in real life? It is immediately disqualified simply because it IS in "real life" . . . there are so many different types of Anime (from the pornographic, hentai, to bubbly children's shows like Pokemon) that the only thing holding it together as a genre is the fact that it is animated and in a particular style, sometimes referred to as "Big Eyes Small Mouth".

If you mean simply that it is exaggerated and highly stylized, well, that doesn't make it Anime, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like scifi-ish anime with a lot of humor thrown in. I don't like fantasy or soap operas, and I can't stand dubbed translations.

I've tried everything, but the only series I've really enjoyed so far are Cowboy Beebop and Outlaw Star. Ghost In the Shell (standalone) had cool effects, but hardly worth purchasing the entire series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am with you, I won't listen to dubbed voices because the voice actors for the most part are horrendeous. Are you talking about Ghost in the Shell the Movie or the series? If you like Sci-Fi I suggest Trigun, the story is wild-west tale set on a desert planet about a man called Vash. Even though Vash's views are irrational to say the least, I still like the series and at the end of the series you see Vash reach an understanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you like Sci-Fi I suggest Trigun, the story is wild-west tale set on a desert planet about a man called Vash.

I saw it on the cartoon network. Maybe the series suffered in the translation, but the idiotic dialogue and the glorification of incompetency was more than I could handle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently enjoyed Samurai Champloo, created by at least two of the Cowboy Bebop writers.

When Japan is no longer in civil war, there are few masters worth serving and so one samurai sets off to live only for himself. He meets up with a thuggish character with a similar philosophy and the two are arrested for dueling each other, wrecking a business, and injuring a government official's corrupt son in the process. A young girl saves the two from execution in exchange for a promise to put off their duel and help her find her father -- "a samurai who smells like sunflowers."

Although the story is set in Japan of long ago, it borrows some artistic styling and lots of musical styling from hip hop culture. Described, that's a bit of a turn off for me, but in execution it works just as well as Bebop's Sci-Fi/Jazz fusion. There are 26 episodes, and only two were wasted on actual hip hop story themes. The remaining 24 are fun and touching.

There's nothing intellectually challenging here, but there is some depth to the story that unfolds as the characters make their journey. The characters are better developed than in most anime, and you'll become attached to all three of the main characters as well as many of the side characters who share their world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I saw it on the cartoon network. Maybe the series suffered in the translation, but the idiotic dialogue and the glorification of incompetency was more than I could handle.
First off, how many episodes did you see? Also what do you mean by "the glorification of incompetency?" You must be talking about Vash in the early episodes when he is acting like a goof ball trying to hide the fact that he is Vash the Stampede, though this is part of the charm of Vash I think. This changes by the fourth or fifth episode. Also, as I said I don't watch Anime in English, I enjoy the Japanese subtitled version so I have no comments about the dubbed version.

Although the story is set in Japan of long ago

Have you seen Kenshin? Rurouni Kenshin takes place during the Meiji era of Japan, when Japan gets westernized and the Samurai are outlawed. A Rurouni is a swordsman with out a Master and is somtimes called a wandering swordsman. This is a massive series, 94, episodes I believe, that has incredible art, moving and gripping stories, and some wonderful humor.

Edited by Richard Roark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've enjoyed watching Inuyasha, Ranma 1/2, Rurouni Kenshin, The Wanderers, .hack//sign, Fushigi Yuugi, Witch Hunter Robin, Record of Lodoss War, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Never really got into Trigun or Cowboy Bebop.

I prefer epic stories with plenty of comic relief, though I'll take either one at times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The Japanese are very aware that animation isn't just for kids to the point of making pornography." - Robin Williams ;)

I have an interesting like of anime. On one hand, the Japs treat it as a serious medium of entertainment (as opposed to the american stereotype that cartoons are for kids) and therefor create some very stylized animation.

On the otherhand, there are a lot of stereotypes that I don't like. I'm not a real big fan of giant mecha anime because it militarily doesn't make sense to me. I also don't like that male figures are typically effeminate and full of angst (which in my eyes turns the protagonist from hero to whiny teenager.)

I prefer masculine heroes, so there are few animes that pique my interest. I liked Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and Ninja Scroll. In particular I liked Princess Mononoke, it was a refreshing change to see man and nature as competing elements, not as an exploiter/victim dictomy that modern art loves to paint up as man in relation to nature.

I sort of liked Evangelion, but the main character (Shinji) absolutely drove me up a wall. I liked FLCL for the same reason I like british humor; because Japanese humor tends to be just as arbitrary and random.

In the end, it's just like anything else: it has it's legends, it's great ones, it's semi-decent ones, and of course, an extra serving of crap. So I take it as it is.

Edited by the tortured one

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just watched the anime "Millenium Actress" last night. I have to say, I was blown away by the philosophy. The movie showed one woman of incredible integrity seeking, for the majority of her life, one man whom she loves/loved. I highly recommend it. It is one of the "legends"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MILLENIUM ACTRESS is my favorite anime. For those who haven't seen it the following is a spoiler free mini review. I can also recommend the PARANOIA AGENT tv series made by the same director (Satoshi Kon) available on DVD now.

MILLENIUM ACTRESS

A documentary filmmaker & his cameraman are assigned to interview a legendary, but reclusive actress (Chiyoko) - who dropped out of the limelight 30 years ago. Now in her 70's, the actress details her life and cinematic career through the turbulent decades of early to mid 20th century Japan.

Without a doubt, one of the best movies I've seen in recent memory, certainly one of the best anime ever made - rivaling anything done by Miyazaki. I actually prefer this over Miyazaki's films - as they are sometimes too cute for me. The story of MILLENIUM ACTRESS is simple but told in a visually stunning way. Every scene transitions beautifully from one to the next as the line between Chiyoko's past and the present reality of the documentary intertwines and inevitably blurs into one seamless story. This is also a great homage with nods to Kurasawa, Zatoichi, Godzilla, and other staples of Japanese cinema. At once funny, sad, and emotionally uplifting, MILLENIUM ACTRESS is a timeless tale which any fan of good movies (anime or otherwise) should not miss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maison Ikkoku is an absolutely wonderful love story. And on that note, I can say with all honesty that the heroine Kyoko Otonashi is one of the most positively heroic women to ever come out of the anime world. It's truly elating to see Kyoko live her life the way she is happy living it when all of society disapproves of her independence and integrity - she doesn't give in, and this is what makes her admirable.

Ranma 1/2 is a hilarious, memorable action-comedy that I adore.

I've seen a large variety of anime, but I only really have a serious liking of the stuff by Rumiko Takahashi. She is very honest with her own work.

She also wrote the only horror manga series that I enjoy, "Mermaid Saga."

Edited by Michael_R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like "InuYasha", both the anime and the graphic novels.

I also like "Hikaru no GO" which appears in the manga "Shonen Jump" and in graphic novels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was watching Cowboy Bebop and it occurred to me that I could rank the intelligence of the characters in an order which was almost the opposite of what one might naively expect:

Most intelligent

Ein, the "data" dog, is a genius.

Edward, the little girl, is the best computer hacker on Earth.

Spike Spiegel, the young man, is unusually perceptive.

Faye Valentine, the young woman, is a card shark and expert cheater.

Jet Black, the old man (owner of Bebop), is a gullible ex-cop.

Least intelligent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maison Ikkoku is an absolutely wonderful love story. And on that note, I can say with all honesty that the heroine Kyoko Otonashi is one of the most positively heroic women to ever come out of the anime world. It's truly elating to see Kyoko live her life the way she is happy living it when all of society disapproves of her independence and integrity - she doesn't give in, and this is what makes her admirable.

Ranma 1/2 is a hilarious, memorable action-comedy that I adore.

I've seen a large variety of anime, but I only really have a serious liking of the stuff by Rumiko Takahashi. She is very honest with her own work.

She also wrote the only horror manga series that I enjoy, "Mermaid Saga."

I have been wanting to see Maison Ikkoku for several years now. Your comments give me more encouragement to obtain the series.

Rumiko Takahashi has a unique double-personality in her stories. Most of the titles are hilarious. A small minority are emotionally stirring. I especially enjoyed "Fire Tripper", her story of time travel and lives lived in two different times in Japan. Very confusing, but very sweet. I have a fondness for the music in that film too.

I've seen a couple of Ranma 1/2 episodes, subtitled in English and thought they were some of the funniest shows I've ever seen.

Anyone see Steamboy yet? I was impressed with the new levels of realism achieved--it felt more like live action than anime. If ever there was a battle between ideals, Steamboy really illustrated that. I saw a parallelism in this story to that of the life of Nikola Tesla. This story was like Tesla's --the major difference being the technology was steam, not electromagnetism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anyone see Steamboy yet? I was impressed with the new levels of realism achieved--it felt more like live action than anime. If ever there was a battle between ideals, Steamboy really illustrated that. I saw a parallelism in this story to that of the life of Nikola Tesla. This story was like Tesla's --the major difference being the technology was steam, not electromagnetism.

Actually yes I have. I saw Steamboy at the video store and bought it based on the box which is something I usually don't do. I was blown away by the quality of the art and the story seemed really well done. I've enjoyed movies like Princess Mononoke etc but admit I'm not a huge anime fan beyone Robotech (which I grew up on). Steamboy was a new level for me. Plus, the story was as you said a battle of ideals.

And now that I think about it you're right about the parralel about Steamboy and Tesla. I described the movie to some friends and they said it fell into the edges of the "steampunk" genre but I'm not really familiar with it. Though I was fascinated by a series I caught on Cartoon Network I don't remember that had very low tech steamships in a high tech setting that I thought was pretty nice. Though it doesn't compare to steamboy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My girlfriend and I watched Trigun in the original Japanese with subtitles, and I honestly think it's one of the best series created in modern anime, in both its storyline, and its adherence to the manga.

Watching Vash the Stampede, I came to think of him as sort of an Objectivist, and while I'm sure that's not what the original author had as an intention, it certainly comes across in a number of ways:

If someone reading this hasn't watched the series yet, I'd recommend skipping the rest of this post, as I may give away spoilers.

1) In one of the first few episodes, he is offered the chance to commit suicide instead of die by another's hand, and remarks that he finds suicide the 'most offensive thing a person can do', or something along those lines.

2) He has a huge price on his head (he, himself, is an object of great value) and though he comes across people who are struggling to survive, he refuses to give up his life and freedom to allow them to profit from capturing and turning him in to recieve the reward.

3) Even though he is a powerful, accurate, almost supernatural gunman, he - as far as my recollection serves - never initiates violence against anyone he meets, stranger, friend, or enemy.

There are a few more reasons that came to mind when I started writing this, but they've escaped me at this point, as it's been a few months since I've watched the series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Watching Vash the Stampede, I came to think of him as sort of an Objectivist, ...

Vash accepts guilt for many things which are not his fault.

Vash tries to avoid hurting (let alone killing) even the most evil people.

These are not the attributes of an Objectivist.

Also he is hyper-excitable and just bizarre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vash accepts guilt for many things which are not his fault.

Vash tries to avoid hurting (let alone killing) even the most evil people.

These are not the attributes of an Objectivist.

Also he is hyper-excitable and just bizarre.

May contain spoilers

Near the beginning of the series, I would agree with you. But I think near the end he comes to realize some of his mistakes. He doesn't accept as much guilt as he did before. He also makes the right decision when he kills Legato before Legato can kill Meryl and Milly.

And personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with being a little bizarre ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to recommend Kino's Journey

It's a collection of loosely tied together short stories that covers a lot of philosophy and sociology and the like. There is a good episode that illustrates how free a Democracy can be, too. Interesting stuff.

I'd have other recomendations as I'm a big anime fan, but this one is at least somewhat relevant to this site.

Tim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vash accepts guilt for many things which are not his fault.

Vash tries to avoid hurting (let alone killing) even the most evil people.

These are not the attributes of an Objectivist.

Also he is hyper-excitable and just bizarre.

I haven't seen each and every episode but I did catch quite a few on Adult Swim. One thing about Vash was that he was engineered to be nothing but a killing machine so he was filled with a constant struggle about killing, hence his reluctance to kill even evil people that deserved it. So in order to suppress the veritable genie in the bottle (ie he didn't want to tear another hole in the moon) he attempted to not fight at all for fear of not being able to stop the chain reaction of death and destruction. It's a bit like being equipped with only a nuke. Sure you can kick ultimate but however you risk doing a whole lot of collateral damage to the ones you value ie Merril and Milly.

Plus, his guilt was a subconscious struggle with overcoming what he had done in his past life so-to-speak. His journey was a walkabout trying to come to terms with who he was and what he had done in the past. Once he did come to terms with it, defined Merril and Milly as his top values and realized they were at risk, then he got off his duff and started the killing that needed to be done. As for being bizzre, yes he is but then this is Anime and that comes with the territory. It's like finding a sublte kabuki character.

I'd say Vash was late to the game but I wouldn't say we was necessarily contrary to Objectivism. Mind you, I'm not saying he was an Objectivist. If anything, his realization at the end of the series may be akin to the Wet Nurse in AS. The Wet Nurse was late to the game grasping and concretizing what was right and wrong but in the end he did the right thing. In fact, the Wet Nurse is one of the only if not the only example of "salvation" (and yes I hate that word as much as everyone else does but it's what I can think of right now) that Rand presented in AS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something I have noticed about Japanese Anime is that the philosophy at times is rather ducky. Whereas western cinema focuses on good vs evil, I find that Japanese movies focus, in general, on hate vs love. It's something I noticed in Princess Mononoke, Appleseed, Vampire Hunter D, among the others I have seen. Acts of hatred are bad because they are acts of hatred, and acts of love are good because they are acts of love. The Atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, of course, acts of hatred, thus evil actions.

And of course, everyone here is well aware of the phrase "the age of love."

Appleseed in particular disgusted me, philosophically. When it showed a communist utopia where everyone's desires are taken care of, and the only thing that was still wrong was the prejudice against the "bioroids." The bioroids were these genetically engineered people designed to offset human hatred, but in the process lost the ability to love. So of course they played them out as an oppressed minority, who at the happy ending gained the ability to experience emotion, and stop being so logical all the time...

There are some Animes that I like. Dragon Ball Z, in particular, had a wonderful philosophy. And do disregard the fact that the american dubbers targetted 11 year old boys, im refering to the original manga, which was targetted at young adults and late teens. My favorite example was Vegeta's soliloquy at the end of the series, when he realizes why Goku was always stronger than he. He realizes that the reason Goku fights was because he enjoyed pushing himself, and that was what it was all about, compared to Vegeta, who pushed himself because he wanted to beat others. If that doesn't scream Howard Roark vs. Gail Wynard, I don't know what does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...