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Reader Comments (10)

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 6:38PM Audacious said

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It never ceases to amaze me the way an entire region of the world continues to pigeon hole themselves artistically into such a saccharine, obnoxious looking kiddy artstyle like this.

You'd think they'd try and diversify things at least a little bit over in the orient.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:52PM FluffyBearLina said

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Because all anime looks like this, right? Yeah, I figure you're pretty compelled to say yes, but consider the validity of your hasty generalization.

Need help? Compare, for example, the following:

Monster, an ultra-realistic psychological crime-thriller...

...Sailor Moon, which is all about girl superheroes with fancy magical powers...
(removed link for the 3-link limit; I'm sure you know what Sailor Moon looks like)

...Full Metal Alchemist, a serious story revolving around the use of a type of magic bound by scientific laws...

...And K-On!, a casual, light-hearted comedy about a bunch of girls that start a band.

You can easily distinguish between them, even if you can say the previous examples are extreme depictions of each particular genre. There is plenty of variety. I think you're just not looking hard enough.

Western cartoons aren't beholden to general standards of design, which results in a lot more variety, but then you'll get exaggerated styles that vary wildly from product to product. Doug, Dexter's Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Fairly Oddparents, Johnny Bravo, and Hey Arnold all have humanoid characters, yet they all still looked wildly different from each other. Then you get into shows that don't really feature humanoid characters much--Foster's, Spongebob Squarepants, Ahh! Real Monsters, Chowder--and the variety becomes dizzying.

The anime style, on the other hand, has standards that most artists will comply to, and most if not all anime follow this set of standards (in detail: greater emphasis on light and shadow, more accurate body proportions, accurate depictions of hair and clothes physics, large eyes used to express a greater range of emotion and conversely smaller mouths that have far less importance concerning facial expressions). Yes, this may lead most people to believe they're all the same-looking. But even then there's enough room to maneuver within those standards to make each product look as unique as the artist desires, which leads to diversity while still adhering to the basic criteria of the art style.

MMO's in particular tend to pursue the fantasy-ish look simply because the subject matter revolves around that sort of thing most often. It also tends to be versatile, and since MMO's can feature elements from many different genres, a fantasy look can adhere to most of them without forcing the artists to use non-uniform styles in one product.

Now you know.

Posted: Aug 4th 2010 7:38AM Dblade said

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I think it's western character design that sucks, to be honest. It's either boring Elder Scrolls-ish realism, or disney/wb afternoon cartoon design. Anime may be kiddish like wonderland, but it can also make more of a realistic style like Aion, or FFXI. It also seems better at conveying difference. Look at this game, then look at Megaten Online. Then look at Fallen Earth and Global Agenda.

And raze, try reading manga before complaining about the lack of realism. Here's a couple:

Blame! http://www.mangafox.com/manga/blame/
Blade of the Immortal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_of_the_Immortal
Crying Freeman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crying_Freeman

3 I can think of off the top of my head that use a more realistic style. The Blame! artist even did Wolverine: Snikt! for Marvel Comics.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 6:50PM FluffyBearLina said

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In reply to your comment below, since this one will appear in your E-mail (grr, Massively needs to let you reply to any message, not just top-level ones -.-)


No. Dizzying variety is never a bad thing, and I never said that. But it's still certainly not better--or worse, for that matter--than anime.

They are two different styles. Whether you LIKE IT or not is entirely dependent on your subjective opinion, which you have every right to. That subjective opinion, however, is not a justifiable criteria upon which to formulate an objective claim of truth.

To apply it to this debate, you can certainly say that you like the "dizzying variety" and you hate the "standardized anime style" and that's perfectly fine, but you can't say that the former is better, the latter is worse, and actually be right. There is a huge difference between "I don't like it" and "it sucks".

Everything else in your comment is addressed by the above argument, as most of it is just your subjective opinion that the standardized anime style "sucks".

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:27PM FluffyBearLina said

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While I'm at it, a few more anime with art styles that don't look even remotely "saccharine" or "kiddy-like"...

Nausicaa - About a girl learning of the mysteries of the past in a post-apocalyptic future
Akira - About a gang of kids that rise against an oppressive dystopian government
Ghost in the Shell - Cyberpunk story dealing with the moralities of marrying biology and cybernetics

The rest have no images, thanks to the link limit. In no particular order:

5 Centimeters Per Second - A drama about two lovers who slowly grow apart
Eve no Jikan - Deals with the morals of AI who achieve human-level consciousness
Gunslinger Girl - Deals with genetic modification of children into government assassins
The Twelve Kingdoms - Fantasy epic inspired by Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Mother Mary is Watching Over Us - Slice-of-life drama about a group of girls who become very close friends
BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad - About a rock band!
Desert Punk - Post apocalyptic story
The Daughter of Twenty Faces - A girl who is raised to become a master Sherlock-style thief
Serial Experiments Lain - About combining the virtual world and the real world
Read or Die - Government conspiracies and the morals involving the alteration of history and reality
Black Lagoon - A band of mercenaries gets involved with all sorts of crime rings
Code Geass - About a prodigious boy who leads a rebellion against a conquering nation
White Album - A drama about a boy and his girlfriend who deals with the drama caused by her becoming a famous singer
Death Note - A boy receives an item that has the power to kill anyone he knows the name and face of.

Then there are the ones that DO have childish art styles for the sake of appealing to larger audiences, but deal with very mature subject matters, like Sora no Woto. While not nearly as common, they're out there.

Posted: Aug 4th 2010 3:57AM Joshua Przygocki said

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"more accurate body proportions" then "large eyes used to express a greater range of emotion and conversely smaller mouths that have far less importance concerning facial expressions)"
Don't really go together...

Did you keep refreshing this page and down-ranking his comment?

Not everyone loves anime, get over it.
To me it just looks ugly and unappealing as an art style, and to anyone who doesn't obsess over it, it probably all looks alike or at least very similar. And personally I think cartoons should be disproportionate, odd, twisted, satirical images, not "emotional" and "dramatic".

Not everyone likes the same things, don't push it on others or boohoo other's opinions on things you love.


Posted: Aug 4th 2010 10:58AM Audacious said

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(In reply to what you said above and this, since this one'll appear in your email.)

'Dizzying' variety is never a bad thing. Never. It's certainly better than 'standardized' animé.

Generalizing as I was, by your own admittance western animation has far greater variety artistically and creatively than animé does, which is my entire point. We don't get very many games out of the east with a creative (or, in my opinion, even memorable) artstyle because they believe in idiotic things like an artistic standard that all their artists have to comply with. Occasionally I'll stumble on something really awesome and creative like Cannon Fodder from the 'Memories' compilation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1Gx-nxhcXs) Okami, some of Miyazaki's movies, or Akira; but the overwhelming majority of animé, manga, and their games has that 'standardized' look they love so much. The very fact that you can even generalize animé and lump it together so easily is a testament to that.

Posted: Aug 4th 2010 12:22PM (Unverified) said

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Your original generalization was pretty much implying the only art style in the particular region is like this one, which is by your own words: "obnoxious looking kiddy".

There is a difference between "not as diverse as the western cartoon", and what you implied from your original generalization.

Although I have to admit that even with years has past, the particular region has not really diversified their production value and is keep dumping moeblob crap. But if you look at the titles that made it out to the world audience and left their place in history, then you should realize how trollish and misguided your generalization was.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 6:49PM FluffyBearLina said

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@Joshua Przygocki:

1. Read more closely: "More accurate BODY proportions". For starters, I was talking about a character's figure. It's far more realistic than what you get in, say, Hey Arnold, for example. Whether realistic is a good or bad thing to you in the end is subjective (it makes little difference to me), so that's not relevant. What's important is that, it's a fact that the anime art style aims more for body realism than most Western animation.

2. No. I downranked his comment once.

3. Obviously, not everyone loves anime. That's not the point. The point is that both Japanese and Western animation have merit regardless of whether someone likes it or not.

4. You have every right to your subjective opinion, and I'm not denying you that right.

5. So what exactly is wrong with the latter? The key difference is that the Japanese use the anime art style for every genre, whether it be oriented towards adults or towards kids, whereas the Western attitude towards "cartoons" in general is just flat out "for kids". In short, I'm saying the Japanese also design their cartoons for mature audiences. It's a cultural ideal, there's nothing wrong with it, and it's not in your place to judge.

6. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but reality dictates that some opinions are more reasonable, justified, and informed than others, and not all opinions are equal. I couldn't give less of a shit if you like anime or not. But you, and the original commenter, are misrepresenting it. You dislike the art style for reasons that don't even apply to the entirety of the genre. You're judging it based on a limited perception, only on what you see and not what is really there. Nothing in this world should be judged at face value. It's like criticizing a book without even reading it. How do you know how good or bad it is if you haven't actually experienced it?

The difference here is that you're stating your subjective opinion as if it were an objective truth. In the end, you don't like it, but that doesn't make it bad. You have every right to "not like" it, but you have no right to say that it shouldn't be done the way it is solely for that reason alone.

Posted: Aug 4th 2010 12:31PM Heraclea said

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I wouldn't generalize about all anime, but I do find the lolicon style of the given illustration not my cup of tea. The sexualized child-women of some anime styles have always been disconcerting to me. The thought of a character based on St Joan of Arc, a national hero of France and a saint in Roman Catholcism, appearing in that style strikes me as the sort of thing that someone could work up a fit of dudgeon over.

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