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Headscratchers: Anime


  • What is that "sound" made by anime characters when they're surprised called? I thought I was the only one who didn't know what it was, but I heard Matt and Woolie of the "Two Best Friends Zaibatsu" describing it in similarly vague terms and I realized a lot of people may not know if it has a name or what that name is. The best way I can describe it is that it's an "Ust!" sound made by people who get surprised or shocked, male and female, in anime—ALL ANIME, even going back to like Mazinger Z and Speed Racer as far as I can discern. Anyone know what that is or is it just some kind of weird vocal tic in Japan that dosen't directly translate into English or what?
    • I just call it the "anime gasp" - a quick exhale followed by immediately by a quick inhale.
  • How come geeks in American media are never shown liking anime, despite its reputation as a dorky hobby?
  • ^Basically, yeah. In western (popular) culture, anime fans tend to fall into one of three categories: Young children, creepy adults (who act like young children), and particularly immature teenagers!
  • The overriding theme here is immaturity, so the only use culture has for them is as a byword for the archetypal childish, creepy, obsessive fan. And if they don't need to use that stereotype then they won't show any anime geeks...
    • By stark contrast, more mainstream science fiction geeks were portrayed as much more respectable. They have their fair share of weirdos and kidults, but now enough people in the entertainment industry (who grew up with franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica) that there's an unconscious (or conscious) desire to portray fans of "classic" science fiction as perfectly normal people. Also, those "classic" franchises have been around so long that they have permeated popular culture. Even people who are completely ambivalent towards science fiction know who Captain Kirk and Darth Vader are. *EDIT*  But give it a few years. Let anime become a 'little more' mainstream. Let a few more young anime geeks grow up, break into the entertainment industry, and start producing their own shows, movies, and cartoons. I guarantee you'll see more portrayals of anime geeks in popular culture and the portrayals will be much more positive than they are now.
    • It doesn't help that the most popular animes tend to be the ones aimed at kids or adults who still have 'kiddish' tastes.
      • This follows the general consensus (in the Western hemisphere, at least) that cartoons are for kids. And let's be honest, almost all cartoons produced in the West are predominantly enjoyed by children. And at the end of the day, no matter what rampant anime fanboy tells you, Japanese animation is still considered cartoons by the mass.
      • Says you. Most anime are aimed at adults or teens, and 80% of Japanese citizens are said to like anime.
      • Yes, adults in America completely disregard cartoons. That's why The Simpsons, Family Guy, Futurama, and the entire [adult swim] lineup, have failed for so long . . .
    • The key is the examples used above. Star Trek and Star Wars, first of all they're live action, so they are not automatically labeled for kids like anime, plus these are subject to a lot of sequels, prequels and spin-offs but are at the end the same series, so it would be a matter or choosing what selected animes does the geek watch and how he acts to the, from the toy collector to the cosplayer.
    • A simpler explanation is that Anime still isn't widely known in the United States. On more than a few occasions I have had to explain to a friend or family member what Anime is. Most parents probably don't even realize that Pokemon or Naruto is not an American childrens cartoon. Sci Fi on the other hand has become a major cultural artifact.
    • IMHO, anime has gained a reputation for being "cutesy" and "childish", due to twinkly "anime eyes" and moe. Therefore, it's very surprising for lay-people when they are shown dark stuff, like Grave of the Fireflies, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Serial Experiments Lain, Hellsing, etc., as shows like Pokémon, Dinosaur King, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Sailor Moon, etc. have captured the Western imagination of what anime is "like". Sad, really.
      • Even those 'childish' anime (Minus Dinosaur King possibly, haven't seen it in forever) have plenty of deep, heart warming and tear jerking moments that can allow them to be respected as much as 'adult' anime. Heck, Yu-Gi-Oh! started out for adults, so did Sailor Moon (Well teenagers, but the stuff aimed at Japanese teens would either be bowlderized into children's shows or aimed at adults. All of the stereotyping is really aggravating, and a bit insulting as I (as well as probably most of you posting in the anime area) grew up just as much with anime as I did Western Animation.
    • This seems to be changing because as of 2012, anime nerds have been on Saturday Night Live. It would seem that the anime fandom has finally been noticed

  • This doesn't bug me so much as I am curious. Why do they address their older siblings as "big brother/sister" all the time? I never address my sister that way.
    • Cultural difference?
    • I'm Korean and I pretty much have to call everybody who's older than me (but not as old as my parents) big brother and sister. Not to do so would be considered rude.
      • Ditto us Indians.
      • And us Filipinos.
      • And Chinese.
      • And Uzbeks!
    • It's probably an attempt to translate words like 'Oniichan,' which roughly means 'Big Brother' and is used the same way you see 'Big Brother' being used in Anime. So just preserving speech patterns even when it sounds a little awkward.
      • Original poster thanks you guys for responding. TV Tropes does enhance your life!
    • Rule of Cute, as per Aryll?
    • Yeah, the above poster was right, but I just wanted to slightly clarify a li'l bit. In the same way that we (in the West) don't call our parents by their names, we call them by "Mom" and "Dad", in Japan, among others, children refer to their older siblings as Niichan or Oniichan (for big brother) and Neechan or Oneechan (for big sister). It is my understanding that the O- is indicitive of higher respect? So, as aforestated, dubbers simply translate it literally, despite the shaky way that it comes off.
      • "Nii" = older brother, "Nee" = older sister (there are other words for these terms as well, but they tend to be out-dated or gangster-ish). "Sama/San/Chan" suffixes in general indicate the level of respect/formality/familiarity in descending order. Similarly, the "O" prefix indicates a great deal of respect. "Ototo" = little brother (the "O" in this case is part of the word and not a prefix), and Imouto = little sister). You can conjugate them with suffixes, but I don't think you would use the "O" prefix for them unless your being sarcastic or really, really servile, if you can at all. Generally, the older sibling just calls the younger siblings by their given name.
    • And when they say the name followed by these like, Ayo Neesan, it's better to understand this as something we do with other family members, Uncle Roy, Aunt Marie, Grandpa Jack, etc. Older siblings just have less respect outside of Japan.
      • Make that Asia in general, as of being answered by the above tropes, pretty much all Asians follow similar rules.
      • Yeah, in most Asian cultures, Japanese included, seniority is of utmost importance. Heck, American culture (not assuming anyone here is American; it's just for compasison) is the minority in that there is little account for seniority, and this only came about recently. The thought that we just deem our grandparents useless and toss them into retirement homes a la The Simpsons must seem horrifying to many easterners.

  • Why do Japanese people and white people almost always look the same?
    • They don't really. If you watch enough you'll be able to tell the difference, but sometimes whites will get the larger/more protruding nose (especially if male) and then (if European) also very light colored eyes/hair and (if Indian) darker skin. After watching enough anime you can pick the "foreign" character out of a lineup pretty easily. Japanese will get a smaller nose, lighter skin than Indians, and darker hair/eyes than the Europeans. There are a few Japanese characters that look white (usually because they are "half" European or something), but it isn't a case of "almost always".
    • Also the facial profiles of characters more often than not look Asian in the way the cheekbones are shaped. If you look at Sakura from Naruto at a 3/4 angle it's a smooth line down her face, while most people of European descent have a clear indent at eye level due to the shape of the cheekbone (looking at my mostly-Irish face it's pretty prominent on me from the same angle). For the most part characters have the roundness there if they're supposed to look Asian, while European characters often have things like the cheekbones and facial features exaggerated.
    • Anime characters only look white to us (that is, people from the US, Canada, or most European countries) because here, white is the default. If you show a stick figure or a very very stylized character to a person from the US, they will more likely than not interpret it as a white male. If you show it to a Japanese person, they'll interpret it as Japanese because in their country Japanese is the default.

  • Why do so many animes not match the mouth's shape with the sounds? When a Higurashi character says "USODA", their mouth should be elliptical for the first two vowels. Granted, Higurashi doesn't have the most impressive of animation, but I've seen this in high-budget films like Rebuild of Evangelion.
    • The /u/ phoneme in Japanese is different than the /u/ phoneme in English. Japanese has an unrounded /u/ — so characters shouldn't round their lips when speaking it.
    • Simply put, nobody cares enough. Lip syncing isn't exactly priority number one is most Japanese productions, they focus instead on getting good voice actors, and generally good animation in general. Lip syncing is the kind of "touch up" job they only do if they have any extra budget left after all the other bits are taken care of, and considering how most productions tend to have budget problems in one department or another, lip syncing is understandably rare in anime.
    • The animation comes first and the voice acting comes afterwards, fitting to the footage.
      • Not in Japan it doesn't. They actually do the detailed animation after recording the lines.
      • Because apparently being aware of what phonemes are, how they affect you mouth when you speak, drawing and animating it is not part of decent animation.
    • That we shouldn't be complaining, it makes dubbing easier. Without it, we wouldn't have the Abridged Series!
    • I've noticed this, too. Especially in Soul Eater: one character claims to be able to read lips, but their mouths only ever change from lines to rounded rectangles. At the same time, I'm glad because I enjoy English dubs.
    • That's a really lame upside you're all bringing up. If they're gonna do it, then they should do it well from start to end. This troper lives in a non-English speaking country and we do have dubs of YOUR shows, AMERICAN shows. We sadly have to deal with the fact American studios are still fairly competent and our dubs don't always have perfectly synced audio, but it's not a big downside for me - at least I don't have to look at Mouth Flaps.

  • Maybe it's just me, but it does sometimes bug me that the character designs most of the time will have little differentiation. (Hence the idea of "anime style".) Save for some exceptions by the works of people like say Satoshi Kon or Shinichiro Watanabe, the designs of the characters in anime don't seem to have that much of a difference at least most of the time when you bounce from show to show or even just bounce from different characters within the same show. I could understand using more realistic proportions for more dramatic shows, but even comedies will usually hold a similar style. My question is...why? Do the character designers just really like it that way?
    • Anime seems to be very conservative and bandwagon jumping, and it seems that there's not enough skilled artists/animators with their own distinct style. That and maybe they don't think viewers will accept a significantly different animation style.
    • I think this is more of an 'outsider looking in' problem. When I first started watching anime way back in 1999, I thought they all looked the same too. but after 11 years of watching hundreds of shows, the only things that look the same to me are the ones that share a mangaka or character designer, and even those can very. I think it's all perception, and these days, you show me two anime, they'll look as different to me as Family Guy and The Simpsons, while to someone who doesn't watch anime, they'll look as different as Family Guy and American Dad.
      • But that's the thing. American animation is not as different as Family Guy and The Simpsons. American animation can be as different as Family Guy and Tangled.
      • And Japanese animation can look as different as Shin-chan and Studio Ghibli.
    • This is likely a major reason One Piece took off so well: It looks nothing like any other series out there (besides the ones made by Hiro Mashima, but that's a story for another day). Even an anime neophyte can see it looks remarkably different. It helps that Eiichiro Oda, the author, was influenced more by western animation than by anime.
    • A good example would be ironically, the Batman: Gotham Knight anthology film, which is composed of six episodes made in animesque way, where you can see the same characters (mainly Bruce Wayne/Batman) in different anime styles.

  • Ok, honestly, what's with the huge eyes? I mean, I understand giving someone larger than average eyes makes them look cuter/more childlike/more innocent, but I think the effect is kinda ruined when each eye takes up half of the character's face.
    • It's one of the trademark characteristics of anime. Most people identify anime with such trademark characteristics. Unreal hair colors? Check. Face Faults? Check. Large eyes? Check. Yup, it's anime. This doesn't apply with Animesque animation.
      • Ugh.
      • I would seriously like to thank the above troper for that article, it was much more insightful than most of the stuff (read: usually uniformed ranting) I have heard on this subject.
    • It is actually supposed to be because the bigger the eyes, the easier it is to display emotion. Probably related to the whole "The eyes are the window to the soul" thing.
    • If you want to blame anyone for this, blame Mickey Mouse.
      • Actually if you want to point fingers point to Carl Barks. Osamu Tezuka was quite influenced/impressed by his work from Donald Duck and Ducktales.
    • It's far from universal, actually. On one end of the spectrum you have Sailor Moon, true, but some of the more recent stuff tends to be a lot less stylized— look at Monster sometime, for instance.
    • I don’t mind the big eyes, as long as they’re not too big, but I find the most disturbing trend for me is for characters, usually young female characters, to be drawn with the figure of a Charms Blow Pop™: very long legs, scrawny bodies and these freakishly humungous crania that result in the eyes being set where the cheeks should be. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is a leading offender in the last aspect, as its characters look like bobbleheads. Even worse is that this horrible design is applied inconsistently in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuuutsu, whereďn male characters look normal but female characters look like wigged extraterrestrials. Seriously, if you saw such characters in silhouette, they’d likely be mistaken for stop signs. Azumanga Daioh thankfully avoids this trend, as its characters have human proportions aside from their eyes.
      • You would HATE Clamp's characters!
    • if you notice, they are used more on female character who are part of a romantic or semi-romantic genre to show beauty, since the eyes are thought to be the most beautiful part of the face, but just look at the 3 most popular animes in the west, Naruto, Bleach and One piece, none of which uses the big eyes concept, even One Piece with all of his weird characters.
    • The eyes were actually inspired by stuff like Betty Boop and Bambi. Essentially, the first anime/manga artist was actually inspired by Disney and other cartoonists, which makes the Anime haters who claim that anime art style sucks in comparison mild hypocrites.

  • What's with all the exclamation points in titles? Angel Beats!, Baccano!, Durarara!!, WORKING!!...
    • Got your attention, didn't it?

  • Why do anime fans call themselves "otaku"? It's really an insult in Japan, and it's not the equivalent of "nerd". You can argue that it's not the same in western countries, but it's an insult either way.
    • Ignorance, I guess. The same could be said of "gaijin", though it's not on the same level.
      • Or it could be a variation on another trend. Namely, otaku are allowed to call themselves otaku, but God help you if you're an outsider and you try to use that word.
      • I have never called myself an otaku. I simply like anime, that is it. Case closed.
    • Some people happily call themselves "fan-tards" and are fine with other people calling them fan-tards. Is otaku really much more offensive than that? Also, gratuitous Japanese.
      • Where are these people who willingly call themselves "Fan-tards"? Because I've never seen people like that.
    • Because people don't care and things are different in other countries? Seriously, what is an insult in one country can obviously mean something totally different in another.
    • Availability heuristic.
    • It's basically a loanword, much like many words in the anime fandom. In Japan, anime means all animation, in America, it means Japanese animation. In Japan, hentai means pervert, in America, it means pornographic anime. When fans use words like anime, manga, hentai, or otaku in English, they aren't so much using Gratuitous Japanese, they're using English words based on Japanese words.
    • Actually, Otaku is not an insult, though it can be considered insulting to be called one, Japan specially is divided with this, some consider these people immature while others proudly bare the name and the fame it gives the country, even the former prime minister Taro Aso openly claimed to be an otaku, there is even Akihabara, a complete town just dedicated to manga, electronics, etc. where otaku like to gather. The fact that many people are otaku and still very successful have decreased the bad view by the Japanese people.

  • Where do Japanese people get the idea that we Americans kiss as a greeting? I'm American and we do NOT do that!
    • Well, American movies are VERY popular in Japan and I guess they just assume that most Americans are like the ones in American movies. And in American movies there's A LOT more kissing than in Japanese entertainment.
    • There's a Trope for that now.
    • What animes have had people kiss as a greeting because I've not seen many of those.
    • That's them putting Americans and Europeans on the same bag, since it's used as a greeting in most European countries, and there is even differences between countries. In some of them, you only kiss a cheek, and on other ones, you kiss both cheeks.
    • Mainly because it's not rare for European, American and even Latin people to greet someone close to you of the opposite sex or both depending on sexual orientation with a kiss on the cheek, while in Japan a kiss on the cheek is only done to someone you have romantic affections for.

  • Let me provide an example of what Just Bugs Me: Bob and Alice are talking; Bob informs Alice of something startling, like Tomato Surprise type stuff, he's her father or something; it takes him several sentences to explain it, yet Alice patiently waits for him to finish talking before she shows any sign of surprise. Alternately, Bob is sitting with his back to the door when Alice walks in unexpectedly; she has time to utter a full sentence or two before Bob jumps and turns around. I see this kind of thing all the time in anime and it always throws me off. Is this a cultural thing (i.e. one must have the courtesy to restrain oneself while another is talking), or is it just to make the voice over recording easier? In the first example, it might be explained if the original line in Japanese saves the big revelation for the last word of the last sentence and English sentence structure won't allow for it, but in the second it just makes no sense.
    • This probably has to do with Anime taking so much directly out of manga. In comics and manga you can get away with sequences that would play out very oddly if they ran in real time. Since anime tends to copy a lot directly from manga, habits like this that are basically artifacts from sequential art tend to creep in.

  • Well I see this happen with Anime DVDs a lot, but it's not exclusive to Anime, but how come I saw a DVD with three or four episodes on it, yet when I bought a boxed set of something like say, Daria or House, I saw around twice the content on one disc? I know, Discs cost money to produce, and space is limited, but how're they able to do that?
    • There are several reasons. The first is that obviously they want you to spend more money on more discs, so they limit how much there is on each one. The second is that the data is often deliberately made large to make it difficult to rip and upload. The third is that this is somewhat common for Japanese exports to deliberately make the products in Japan more competitive.
    • In addition, the fewer episodes on a disc seems to be some sort of Japanese convention. When an American company localizes it, they are typically required by contract to follow as closely to the original DVD releases, episode count per disc included. That being said, it isn't always the case. The Big O, for instance, has the six episodes per disc you'd expect to find in season sets of American shows.
    • For something like Daria or House, the DVD release is gravy. It's just a residual check, and damn near 100% profit. With anime, an American company had to pay an assload of money up front for the license, and without a TV deal (like 90-something percent of all anime licensed), they have to make their profit back somehow and padding out a DVD release is probably it.

  • Why aren't there very many male oriented Romances outside of anime and manga?
    • In the Western world, romance between homosexuals (especially between two males) is seen as icky. That is one of major reasons.
      • I think I said something I wrong. I MEANT ones that are intended to be watched by males like: Zero no Tsukaima, Love Hina, or School Rumble. I THOUGHT that was what male oriented meant.
      • Because romances aimed at men never do well in America. They prefer the sex comedy. I'm guessing it's due to fear of coming off as gay. In any case, the romance genre in America is associated with women and femininity, so to most American men, a male-targeted romance would feel dissonant at best and an affront to masculity at worst.
    • actually they do this partially, since like said above a show solely focused on male oriented romance wouldn't attract much attention in the west what they do is throw this coupled with a lot of action, although it seems to always ends opaquing the romance part a lot.

  • Why is it that more Shonen or male centered series (i.e. Naruto, Bleach) manga get to have long running anime and will probably finish when the manga does, but good Shoujo or female centered (Ouran, Haruhi Suzumiya, Vampire Knight) only get two seasons at the most and they end it?
    • Because shoujo and other series aimed at females are, on average, more character-driven than shonen and other series aimed at males, which tend to be more plot-driven. Character-driven series, by nature, are centered around Character Development. When the characters have reached the end of their development, the story ends with it. Plot-driven series can go on for as long as the audience remains interested, because even if the characters are fully developed, new stories can keep happening—the author simply has to throw in something the main characters have never seen before.
    • There are two reasons why Shoujo anime are made (not counting Magical Girl.) To give you moving Bishounen (and sometimes Bishoujo) in color. And to advertise the manga version. If they adapted all of the manga into an anime then you would probably have no reason to buy the manga version.
    • The answer is much simpler: money. Most shounen series simply make much more profit than shoujo series, hence they last much longer on tv. If a shoujo anime was as popular as let's say One Piece it would last as long. Case in point, Chibi Maruko-chan, which has been residing in the Top 5 anime ratings for the past 20 years.

  • Why do they have to make filler when they run out of source material? Can't they just air re-runs till the manga catches up? Or better yet, why not wait till the manga is well far gone before making it into an anime.
    • Because in Japan you cant just show reruns because of how many Anime are made and Anime aren't produced in seasons and the ratio of time to what they would need is just to big.
      • In other words, American and European viewers are used to reruns, but Japanese viewers are not. When a show in Japan airs reruns, the audience just goes away and doesn't return when new episodes re-emerge. Japanese programming doesn't run in seasons like other parts of the world; TV shows run continuously throughout the year, with perhaps breaks at certain times, like holidays. Because Japanese viewers are so accustomed to this, an anime program gets better ratings when there's filler, no matter how bad, than if new episodes suddenly stop airing. As for why they can't just wait for a manga to almost reach completion, they need to strike when the iron's hot—if you wait too long, the enthusiasm will wane. One Piece is a good example of this: It's been ongoing for 12 years and is nowhere close to finishing. If Toei hadn't adapted it quickly, people wouldn't have been so excited and the anime wouldn't be so popular. Besides, you can never tell how long it takes for the manga to end, since sometimes the writer gets lazy and takes tons of breaks or the author fights tooth and nail to keep the series going for as long as possible.

  • Er, I was wondering about the term "fujoshi". It doesn't bug me, but I'm genuinely curious as to what exactly it means. People say that it's a pun on "rotten girl" or that it loosely translates to "rotten girl", but nobody ever bothers to actually fully explain it, as far as I've seen. Does anybody actually know, does it just mean "rotten girl" and some people don't know that, or have the people who brought the term over never bothered to explain?...
    • 婦女子 = fujoshi = "respectable/ married woman", a term of respect (somewhat like "otaku", in fact). 腐女子 = fujoshi = Yaoi Fangirl changes the first kanji in the word from "married/ lady" to "rotten", so 腐女子 means "rotten girl". See Wikipedia for more.

  • What exactly happened to Anime being broadcast on American television? During the last decade, quite a few networks showcased anime. Toonami and Adult Swim stoodout, but there was also Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! on The WB, FOX would show Digimon and Medabots on Saturday mornings, a couple other channels here and there. But now, there's very little left. [adult swim] barely shows anything anymore, Toonami is dead, 4kids shows a bit on The CW on saturday mornings... What happend? Was it just simultaneous Network Decay or was there something else at play?
    • Lack of interest. Anime reached its peak in viewership on American television in about 2003, stabilized itself for a few years, and has declined ever since. When viewership declines, sponsors pull out, and when sponsors pull out, the show gets taken off the air. Sometime in 2005 or 2006, anime ratings plummeted while ratings for live-action kids' sitcoms mushroomed (particularly on The Disney Channel, with shows like Hannah Montana, Even Stevens, and The Wizards of Waverly Place). The guys in charge of networks deduced that anime is a fad that's passed and have turned their attention to making more of these sitcoms. This is the same reason Cartoon Network became increasingly live-action: Cartoon Network and other networks specialised in children's entertainment all want some of The Disney Channel's accidental thunder. All except The Hub, for some reason.
    • Fansub (subtitles). Back when Cowboy Bebop aired they didn't have fansubs (subtitles) of every show and if you wanted to watch Cowboy Bebop you ether had to buy the DVDs or watch it when it was on. But now every incoming show is subtitled by fans- so everyone has seen the show subtitled the day after it aired in Japan. And when a show gets licensed/officially dubbed, if you watch to (re)watch it all you have to do is watch the DVD/fansub shows online. As much as I miss TV broadcasts of anime, the only people who watch them now are anime fans (who don't watch subtitles) or fans of the show that want to check out the dub translation.
      • Fansubs have been around at least since the 1980's, and tape trading was a fairly common thing among the hardcore base (the same people that do the torrent thing today). Since you mentioned Cowboy Bebop, that brings up another possible reason: they tried to program 13 and 26 episode shows like they were 65-episode (5 episodes per week on a 13-week cycle) American syndicated animation, and ended up running and re-running the same shows to death.

  • Always wondered: Is it Anime and/& Manga or opposite? It should be the former if you go by the alphabetical order, but aren't most animes (that aren't adapted from Light Novels or straight original) adapted from Manga? So I was figuring it would make a bit sense to call it M&A. Maybe in that way, people would, yes I know, bitch about having to skipping anime examples. Not that just for some people, we have to change the whole naming way. Ok, where am I going with this?
    • Lol it doesn't really matter, that is not set in stone, say Anime & Manga or Manga & Anime, it doesn't make a difference the point is still there, now if you found someone who screams at you the correct way to say it, that person is crazy.

  • I hear a lot of different things about how the anime industry is struggling. Is this true? What happened to anime's popularity locally and internationally?
    • Anime is still extremely popular in America... among a small, select, niche group. While people now have access to a number of anime far larger than ever before, they usually just see it online, illegally, or on an outlet far cheaper than where companies actually depending surviving from! Without profits from DVD sales or online official subs/dubs (which no one has yet to figure out how to properly market off of), companies cannot function like they used to anymore, and because the demand for titles has actually grown, companies find the need to cut corners and think of more economic ways to get them out! It's getting harder and harder to enter a job in anime distribution- studios are reusing talent and skill more frequently because the competition is so high. Studios have gone bankrupt like Geneon and ADV, and anime magazines have ceased publication like Anime Insider. Now I'm an American, so I don't know much about how it is in Japan, but I do hear anime is seen only for teens and kids who haven't matured yet, and anime in that country DOES depends a lot on the fortunes of the United States!
      • In a way you're right and yet you're wrong, anime in Japan is only seen as something for kids and teenagers in Japan, however, the Japanese anime industry does not rely on America for any of its income as American contribution to the anime industry in general is so negligent that it isn't even worth a mention. The countries that make the most anime merchandise sales outside of Japan are all other Asian, European and Spanish speaking countries. Also considering that anime is essentially a cartoon made in Japan, and the equivalent of anime dying is Japan is the equivalent of all animation dying in America you don't have anything to worry about.
    • It's also due to a combination of different factors that hit roughly at the same time.
  1. The original audiences when anime was popular, in the mid-90s, has grown up and moved on. They are now in their mid to late 20s and are now focusing on adult things. They are now concentrating on their jobs, and if they watch TV, it'll be mainstream stuff like Dancing with the Stars. Most people into anime during then were never into it for the long term anyway—most just passingly watch stuff like Dragon Ball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh! on TV. When they grow bored of it, they just move on to the next thing.
  2. The channels that were previously known for showing anime, most notably Cartoon Network, decided to stop airing anime. The main reason for this is that anime does not earn as much money than original productions. They may have obtained higher ratings, but they cost more to purchase because of all the middlemen involved (the anime distribution companies is a huge middleman). While anime continues to exist (and do well) on [adult swim], you can see the contrast at its starkest: The in-house shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Squidbillies are made on extremely low budgets—as in less than $1000 per episode—and can turn a profit with a niche audience. Something like Bleach costs $250,000 or more per episode and require the high numbers it's getting simply to break even.
  3. High School Musical. This is the straw that broke the camel's back. Even if the anime audience moves on and anime is taken off the airwaves, there is normally a new generation to follow along (this is how the Pokémon video games have had such sustained success). High School Musical caught the attention of this next generation, and instead of anime, they were into tween sitcoms. This resulted in a proliferation of shows like iCarly and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (and its spinoffs). And yes, CN Real is part of this wave. Essentially, at this point, animation itself is on a decline with kids.
    These three factors do mix with each other too—the slip in ratings caused anime as a whole to lose favor with the TV executives, who then canceled the shows. Since most people get their anime broadcast on TV (or cable or satellite), more people decide to stop watching anime. It became a vicious cycle, with tween sitcoms filling in the void.

  • Can someone just give me a concise, honest report on the current state of the anime industry? Half of the articles I read about the subject all contradict each other. Also where you think the industry is headed.
    • They're producing children's shows (and tie-in products) for a country in the middle of demographic suicide, most new shows air after midnight, the length of the average series has been cut in half, and in their primary export market, anime is seen as a fad on the wane, kicked off of networks for cheaper original programming, and the average video/electronics store gives it very little shelf space compared to 2002/2003. So yeah, they're golden.
    • To make it clear, you're getting mix reports because it's actually like this. It's having a collapse in North America, and maybe a few other countries for "some" of the reasons stated above. However those issues don't appear in Japan (since they're the makers) or other countries that don't have many regional shows and that export from elsewhere anyway. For example one of the reasons so many countries of Latin America has always showed a decent amount of anime is because they don't create many original animated shows, they had to pay for both Dragon Ball and the Street Sharks. So basically the method they're using to find out how many people are actually watching anime (be it DVD sales or TV tune rates) have become obsolete since they haven't found a way to tackle the new means of media that the majority of anime viewers are now using, the internet, except until very recently (late 20012), were a few companies have decided to license series and sub them themselves, which in turn takes the dub expenses out.

  • How are shows like fate/zero making any money considering that they are high budget and free basically everywhere legally?
    • Ad revenue.

  • I've always noticed that in shounen (Naruto, Bleach, etc.) the females who don't fight always tend to get a bad view in western fanbase. Most notibly they all get called useless. Especially the ones who are medics (e.g. Sakura and Orihime) or those who are more passive and prefer not to fight (Orihime), or have some kind of trauma going on in the series (Momo). They always call them useless (especially the medic females) or a word that doesn't even really apply to them (slut, b*tch, etc.). If the female doesn't have boobs (Like Hinata or Matsumoto), fights / is hot tempered / tomboyish (like Rukia and Tatsuki) it is very rare to find fans for them in a western fanbase. Why is that?
    • Passive women appeal less to western female audiences because it's basically "The Chick" trope with all its Unfortunate Implications. As for the other type, it's Real Women Never Wear Dresses and Faux Action Girl that backfire. Often, though, it's just Die for Our Ship.
    • In an action cartoon which nearly every Shonen is how useful you are is directly tied to how much ass you kick. Nearly all the females mentioned rarely contribute to combat in shows that often times literally rank characters by their power. Medics not just medic females but medics in general aren't popular because their roll is passive and some of them, Sakura comes to mind, feel bad because they to some degree correctly surmise that if they were as strong as the others they wouldn't NEED a medic because the bad guy would be dead faster. Again using Sakura as an example if she was roughly on par with Naruto and Sasuke every single fight Team Seven got into would have ended much quicker and with fewer injuries. As for not having boobs that's probably a case of most viewers are male. There is a reason why it's the Most Common Super Power and it's because male writers writing for a male audience put in things they like. When they don't they are kind of dooming the character to some extent.

  • So, which term do Japanese use for ecchi anime? Fanservice anime?

  • I heard that the Animation Age Ghetto is stronger in Japan than it is in America. (As in, any adult who likes animation there is considered a child molester or something like that.) If that's true, then why is so much Anime filled to the brim with swearing, Family-Unfriendly Violence, and other stuff? Is it Values Dissonance on what's considered kid-friendly and what isn't?
    • "Swearing" isn't a thing in Japan; translators add it in to try to meet the context of "rude" Japanese. As far as sex and violence, it's Values Dissonance to a point; Neon Genesis Evangelion was arguably a bridge too far in this regard, and the parental backlash led to a lot of anime programming moved to the red-eye time slots. However, the Periphery Demographic for anime is so large that many "children's shows" are that In Name Only, and are made primarily for the otaku audience.

  • Often, while watching someone review an anime on youtube, they mention whether it has "good" or "bad" animation. With the exception of some series (Slayers) a lot of series I've seen seem to have a similar animation style, with subtle differences. For example, Air Gear seems to have a more realistic feel, as opposed to Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, which is much more colorful. Are there any general guidelines one might use to determine how "good" the animation is, or is it just up to their own opinion?

    • I'm not entirely sure myself, but I think there's an aspect of personal preference, but there are also general guidelines, such as scale being depicted consistently, things being "on-model" (i.e. being the drawn the same in every frame), a lack of animation errors and so on. Of course, a good number of shows deliberately subvert some aspect of this, and it's quite literally more of an art than a science, but there are technically "rules." For a good comparison, watch any other episode of Gurren Lagann followed by episode 4, paying special attention to the animation style.

  • Have you ever noticed this? Why do most anime characters (mostly kawaii girls) only have clamshell mobile phones instead of smart ones, QUERT Ys (or whatever Japanese language uses) and conventional?
    • Well, for one thing many anime were made before smartphones became big(2-3 years ago). Some are adapted from manga(before Sphones), and keep the clamshells even though smartphones were big when produced. I've lately seen a couple anime have smartphones, and sci-fi anime often have equivalents to tablets(typically similar to clamshell phones, but with holo-screens).
    • The clamshell formfactor is very popular in Asia for some reason. My guess is that it's probably easier to type characters using a dial pad. In Japan, there's enough buttons to represent each "group", if you will, of Hiragana/Katakana and the appropriate punctuation. Plus on regular keyboards, the default input method for typing in Japanese is by typing its romanji equivalent... which requires knowledge of the English alphabet and I'm pretty sure there's no clean way of doing this on a virtual keyboard. The slate formfactor (what most smartphones are) is gaining traction though. However, this isn't to say that all clamshell phones in Asia are "dumb phones", I saw ads for a phone in Hong Kong that was an Android powered clamshell.

5 Centimeters per SecondHeadscratchers/Anime & Manga20th Century Boys

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