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Just saw some of Madoka Magica on a big-screen tv. Wow! I gotto try this with some more anime.
Another: the beach episode. Somehow it didn't make me feel at all relaxed.
Since you mentioned Clannad earlier: is starfish watching a hobby of loners?
[And Madoka should be out on Dvd in April in my region. It's probably going to be the first I see of the remastered version.]
Watched Summer Wars early this week. It's a very good movie. Basically it takes place in the near future where the main internet network is called OZ. Pretty much every server in the world is connected to it and because it's considered so secure, everyone keeps their important information on it. However, a rogue AI has started affected several accounts and continual grows stronger by the moment. It starts hacking into every system it can and creates chaos, starting in Japan and spreads around the world. By the end it's a major threat to all of humanity.
It's up to a high school math genius, Kenji (who was initially framed for hacking into OZ security systems), Kazuma, an elite online gamer, and Takashi to fight against the AI.
The visuals in this, particularly for cyber space are all great and the subplots are wonderful. Also, the way the final showdown with the AI is presented is simply amazing. Everyone should give this movie a look.
"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." - Socrates
It sounds like a mixture of Neuromancer and War Games. I think I'm gonna watch it.
I've recently been rewatching the older Miyazaki films. Pretty good stuff.
Sometimes I rewatch End of Evangelion and remember I can never recreate anything even resembling that kind of perfection.
It's times like that I feel like the art of fiction in this world is complete.
There is nothing left.
It's already been perfected, and there's no reason to even bother anymore.
So my husband and I just started watching Ben-To last night. Oh my gosh, hysterical! We were pleasantly surprised by the production quality as well. Will definitely watch this one all the way through.
@Guilty Crown: "guilty" is even in the title. (I never dropped it; I just forgot about it and then couldn't be bothered to pick it up again.)
I'm not sure. My childhood-TV experience was dominated by cartoons. There were:
a) Various European cartoons - but from all over the place, so there wasn't really anything dominating (perhaps I can think of slightly more French stuff...)
b) Various American cartoons (Mostly Disney, Hanna Barbera, and Warner)
c) Japanese stuff (World Masterpiece Theatre stuff; Kimba the White Lion; Sindbad; Captain Future... mostly non-Japanese settings until they showed a certain sports anime that was more than a decade old at the time - a deluge of Jap stuff followed)
For some reason, it's the Japanese cartoons that give me the most nostalgic feeling. I mean, I'm Austrian. Switzerland is a neighbouring country. And the only true image of the popular Swiss children's book Heidi I can accept comes all the way from Japan. (And I've seen Swiss versions!)
So basically I just grew into anime. Initially, I think they might just have stood out (huge eyes, emphasis of setting...). But I think it helps that I was exposed to really good stuff early on. I mean if compare what Disney did to Kipling and what Takahata did to Spyri (Heidi)... To support this hypothesis, I present my disappointment with Pokemon, or DragonballZ. (Ranma 1/2, and even Hamtaro, I did like. I was on the fence with Sailor Moon [Tuxedo Mask was just such a stupid character...])
I think the first time I heard the term was in the mid to late eighties; before that they were just Japanese cartoons to me.
"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." - Socrates
Hi! My first experience was probably pokemon. Then Sailor Moon, Tenchi Muyo, Witch Hunter Robin, Wolfs Rain. You know, the Adult Swim line up before it sucked. I also liked the deeper plots and at that time I also appreciated the fashion and romance. Which I actually still enjoy now. The biggest change in my preferences is that I hate dubbing, with a few exceptions including Cowboy Bebop, Trigun and and Samaria Champloo.
In anime, you can get away with things you can't in live-action, either due to budget constraints or technology or other difficulties. It opens up new possibilities in genre.
In anime, your series generally run 11-13 or 22-26 episodes. It means writers and directors are more willing to experiment. I don't think anime on a while is more "original" than any other medium, but on the whole, it's far more open to the possibility of creativity and original than live-action shows or movies. And if you don't like what your favorite directors or writers or seiyuus are doing one season, they'll probably doing something completely different the next season.
Along the same lines, because most series are so short (compared to Western series), they're often made to be wrapped up in the same amount of time. You get full stories that deliver a satisfying conclusion in one or two cours. I find this (not as a rule, but more often than not) results in tighter writing than Western TV series, which can drag out for far more seasons than the writers have ideas.
I enjoy the themes. I'm not sure if it's the culture of Japan or the possible aforementioned more "open"-ness to new and crazy ideas, but anime seems to conquer a lot of themes that I care about that is often ignored in Western media. Particularly around growing up. A lot of these themes are probably addressed in YA novels in the rest, but seem to be ignored in media and movies, and even then, they're often ignored as far as their extension to adults.
One major such theme is loneliness, isolation, and the struggle to connect with other people. Even in literary fiction in the West, I've rarely seen the simple battle to relate to and understand one another tackled in the same way as anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain handle it. And it's not just those, but so many anime seem to deal with this theme that seems to me to be so missing from Western fiction, or at least not expressed to the extent that I wish.
Few Western directors or authors seem to delve into surrealism and magical realism so much as anime makers do, and these are genres I love. Stuff like Mawaru Penguindrum or FLCL. Where else would you possibly find fiction like this? Maybe in Latin American fiction by Marquez or something like that, but who, outside of David Lynch, directs such things in the West? There's a reason he's such a popular director in Japan.
Overall, I think, to me, it's just the kinds of stories I value in anime feel like stories that no Western media are telling. Maybe a lot of that is a cultural thing, and a disconnect between my own values and Western culture and the stories it likes to tell. Many of the things that appeal to me, and to which I connect, it seems, are unique to anime. Many of these things are themes I want to write about myself. So I'm thankful to directors and writers like Hideaki Anno and Kunihiko Ikuhara and Yoji Enokido and Akiyuki Shinbo.
To this day, the only work of fiction that has truly and completely changed my life is an anime. I know for certain that prose, too, is capable of such stories. I just can't seem to find them. And I've certainly been looking.
The above is essentially what I would say. Sure, anime has it's own long list of tropes and cliches, but never let it be said that anime writers aren't afraid to try something different. Anime is a fairly recent interest for me, but now I can't imagine life without it.
I'm just going off my high school psychology class here, so I'm not very educated about the subject, but I think Japanese culture places a much higher value on connecting to people (on more than just a networking level) and functioning as a group than Western culture, so that's why those issues are tackled more often. I mean, all cultures share the fear of being isolated, friendless, loveless,etc. That's just a human thing. But as an American, when I don't fit in with a group, I'm encouraged to say, "Screw 'em! I don't need those guys!" and be my own individual person. It doesn't appear that Japan has that same attitude.
Hopefully I've added enough qualifiers to buffer myself against accusations of generalizing. x.x
Neon Genesis Evangelion is like The Godfather of anime. Everyone says they're these timeless classics that I need to watch but I've yet to watch either of them. Although what I've heard about the WTF ending of NGE makes me a little wary. Someday...someday!