The future of “anime” is bright

Let’s take this Dai Sato discussion for another spin, shall we?

The above image is from the film My Beautiful Girl Mari. It was released in 2001, and is being distributed in the US by ADV films. Moreover, you can stream it for free courtesy of the Anime News Network. It centers around a dream the protagonist has, as a young boy, while staring at a cat’s eye marble. The film is atomospheric, intense, visually pleasing in the extreme and experimental.

If you didn’t notice already, it’s also Korean.

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The future of anime (is bleak?)

Will the people inspired to create the anime of tomorrow want to create another K-ON? Or another Cowboy Bebop?

If you haven’t already, I urge you to read this recent discussion with anime “storywriter” Dai Sato. He’s pissed off with the current state of anime and you should care because he created Eureka Seven and Ergo Proxy, as well as contributing to, amongst others, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Wolf’s Rain and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

Sato‘s complaints hone in on two separate areas, the first of which concerns how the production of anime is being increasingly out-sourced to cheap labour in neighbouring Asian countries, but more fascinating to me are his latter comments on the quality of story-telling in anime (or, indeed, the lack there-of.)

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Naruto & child soldiers / The thrilling tragedy of Kakashi Gaiden

Does Masashi Kishimoto think about how children are depicted in Naruto? Ninja are tools of war, after all, and Konoha trains its children to become ninja; isn’t that wrong? On a base, moral level? Of course, Naruto is intended as entertainment and, as such, there’s a certain amount of distance one feels between it and the real world, but to compare it to another boys-orientated action anime, like One Piece, reveals just how dark a world Kishimoto’s characters are born into, a place where children are trained to fight almost as soon as they can walk.

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Low-brow good times [Occult Academy first impressions]

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about anime over the past year, it’s that these Anime no Chikara projects start out strong, only to have me lose interest after four episodes.

When faced with the latest offering in the project, Occult Academy, I was determined not to be sucked in. I would watch it, but the cool-looking opening wouldn’t sway me, nor would the conversation with the cab driver in its opening minutes pique my interest. I was a woman not scorned, but bored – and I would not have it happen again. I sat on my throne of good taste, and prepared to get back to waxing poetic about The Tatami Galaxy.

Then the female lead decked her father’s corpse with a chair, wrestler-style, and all of a sudden, I was more than willing to give things a second chance.
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Play it safe. Stay inside. Watch anime.

After tackling time travel in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Mamoru Hosoda returns in Summer Wars to the more provincial and realistic world of the Internet.  Luckily the Internet here is not the boring, text heavy internet of our time, but a more garish and interesting Internet of a not-too-distant future.  Pastel colored avatars, corporate headquarters and shopping centers dominate the internet world of OZ.

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Seeing the forest through the trees with Sailor Moon

If you haven’t done yourself the favour of reading the original Sailor Moon manga, I suggest you drop whatever stigmas or preconceptions you have of the series and find yourself a copy. Naturally, it suffers from the cliches it helped to establish: baddies-of-the-moment, elaborately named attacks, and a penchant for all the bad parts of 80s women’s fashion. Coupled with the toxic sweetness of Mamoru and Usagi’s relationship, if you go in expecting anything less than the crown jewel of the magical girl genre, you’ll be going in horrendously underprepared. That said, the manga has its merits, and Sailor Moon is definitely one of those “read the manga, skip the anime” type affairs. Any fan of really, really well-drawn and well-paced manga should read Sailor Moon.

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