Anime Vice News

Almost Otaku: How Important is Animation Quality?

Can you enjoy a good story with bad animation?

    This really doesn't hold up, for me.
 This really doesn't hold up, for me.

How important is the quality of animation to you?

I think that’s a fair question. The actual animation - - the sophistication of drawing, the color choice, the frame rate - - constitutes a significant portion of the anime viewing experience, obviously. And you can’t appreciate the positives if you can’t also account for how the overall anime’s diminished when the animation’s lacking. You can probably enjoy a good looking anime even if it has a bad story, of course, but can you still enjoy a poorly-animated movie if the story’s good?

I can think of two examples to address that…

Animation quality definitely factored into my appreciation of the VAMPIRE HUNTER D movies. This’ll probably be controversial to say, but I don’t think the original movie is that great. It was influential, to be sure, but I don't think it holds up to the hype.  A lot of that had to do with the animation looking really dated. It’s a little tough for me to me creeped out by ghouls and goblins when they seem consist of only four-frame-long loop cycles. I enjoyed BLOODLUST infinitely more and a lot of that had to do with the animation being infinitely sleeker. Then again, that could be easily chalked up to BLOODLUST having a more complex story than the first one’s pretty one-note plot, because stellar animation couldn’t save FINAL FANTASY: ADVENT CHILDREN for me. At all.

    I'm sorry, but this is made for hardcore FFVII fans and FFVII fans alone.
 I'm sorry, but this is made for hardcore FFVII fans and FFVII fans alone.

Actually, FF: AC almost deserves a rant in itself.  I rented that with A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE however many years ago and had such a bad experience with both, I pretty much stopped renting movies for more than a year. I was hoping to enjoy FF:AC simply as eye-candy and I couldn’t even enjoy it in that capacity. The CG animation looked so awesome in the trailer but by the time I got bogged down under the almost aggressively-inaccessible fan service plot, the expensive effects lost almost all their luster. I actually even prefer THE SPIRITS WITHIN.

So those are coming in on both sides of the spectrum. Bad animation hurting one viewing experience and good animation not being able to save another. I'm sure you Anime Vice lunatics have got infinite variations on the situation. When and where has animation quality mattered significantly to you?

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. HYBRID BASTARDS! is available  here and UNIMAGINABLE is available here for pre-order on Amazon.com.  

MercuryCrusaderon June 5, 2010 at 11:47 p.m.

Since I assume that most of the folks that consist of this community are young'uns that probably will never attempt to watch anything older than they are, I have to ask.  Is the reason that anime fans nowadays can't be bothered to be interested in older shows have to do with animation quality, or just the fact that it is old? 
 
Anyways, having great animation quality doesn't hurt a show, but it doesn't make a terrible show redeemable.  See: recent otaku-pandering moe-heavy shows.

FoxxFireArt moderator on June 6, 2010 at 1:04 a.m.
The story is paramount to me, but poor animation can kill a good story. To balance. Good animation wont get me to keep watching if the story doesn't have me.
 
What I think hurt Advent Children the most was that need to force too many characters into the story. I'm pleased to hear someone else liked Spirits Within. Yeah, it wasn't stellar, but it was pretty well done.
 
Look at the animation quality of Season 1 One Piece and compare it to modern episodes. It's night and day. It's just this crisper and better animated episodes make me enjoy it more.
 
I used to really enjoy Naruto and Bleach, but they just became so fight scene fixated. The story was taking back seat. This is pretty much the plot of Naruto for the past few years.

"I have to train to use this new jutsu. I arrive in the nick of time. Fight interrupted for some sob story. Battle ends. I have to train to learn this next new Jutsu. Rinse and repeat."

That's why I prefer One Piece. Much more story driven. The way it was ten years ago is the way it is now. It's still just as fun, but has such gripping moments.
Kuma_From_Argentinaon June 6, 2010 at 4:09 a.m.
I like good animation, but if the story is B-shit it's no use if your animation is as perfect as Ghibli's animation....
MorpheusDreamweaveron June 6, 2010 at 4:40 a.m.
Crappy animation can spoil a good story, but great animation can't save a poor story.
YotaruVegetaon June 6, 2010 at 4:43 a.m.
Faith without work is dead, and good animation without a good story is meaningless. A beautiful mess is a popcorn flick, something that wows you, but you immediately forget details of what you saw the moment you leave the theater or turn off your screen. 
 
Good animation is not that important if the story and characters are strong. I will watch a poorly or barely animated show if it is written well. Great animation, for me, cannot make up for a bad film or show.
cfatalison June 6, 2010 at 5:37 a.m.
@MercuryCrusader said:
"

Since I assume that most of the folks that consist of this community are young'uns that probably will never attempt to watch anything older than they are, I have to ask.  Is the reason that anime fans nowadays can't be bothered to be interested in older shows have to do with animation quality, or just the fact that it is old? 
 
Anyways, having great animation quality doesn't hurt a show, but it doesn't make a terrible show redeemable.  See: recent otaku-pandering moe-heavy shows.

"
well depends comparing the Old mazinger and the Shougeki.......... i feel......
FekketCantenelon June 6, 2010 at 7:50 a.m.
OP, I'm so glad to find someone else who hated A History of Violence.
 
As you hinted at in the post, it's really just a factor to be taken into account with every individual anime. What I like about JesuOtaku's video reviews, for example, is that she goes into the plot, characters, music, animation style/quality, and so on.
 
That said, I find it hard to watch something with animation as bad as, say, Space Thunder Kids. Then again, that had more flaws than just bad animation.
 
@MercuryCrusader:  Some of my favorite anime are Yu Yu Hakusho (began 1990) and Rurouni Kenshin (began 1994), the era of which is as far back as I tend to go. Anything before that was original in its time but now has suffered the unfortunate effect of appearing cliched purely because it invented the cliches (some people have a similar reaction to Lord of the Rings). Then again, it's not like the majority of modern anime is a jackpot of originality, so I'm open to anything.
Ryokanon June 6, 2010 at 8:21 a.m.

The original Captain Tsubasa had a crappy animation, yet, most of the people who view the original anime are right when they say it's better than the new breed... 
 
But anyway, a good animation is better, but not always the key of a successful anime. 
ShadowKnight508 moderator on June 6, 2010 at 8:29 a.m.
To me, both the story/plot and the animation make a show in my opinion. I can remember watching some shows when I was younger that had really good animation, but the story sucked and made it unbearable to watch. A great example of a show with decent/great animation but is stuck with a almost non-existant story/plot is Kampfer. The lackluster plot (especially in the last 2 episodes and the 15-minute OVA special with the Entrails Animal Dolls) killed off what could have been a great show (even though the animation was great, the story has to be decent as well).
sickVisionz moderator on June 6, 2010 at 8:40 a.m.
I think the story is more important, but nice animation makes everything better.  I can watch and enjoy a poorly animated but I get bored of a show with poor story after a couple of episodes. 
 
@FoxxFireArt
said:

"I have to train to use this new jutsu. I arrive in the nick of time. Fight interrupted for some sob story. Battle ends. I have to train to learn this next new Jutsu. Rinse and repeat."

That's why I prefer One Piece. Much more story driven. The way it was ten years ago is the way it is now. It's still just as fun, but has such gripping moments. "
Meh.  One Piece boils down to meet a character, here some sob story, cry for 10 episodes, fight some devil fruit people for at least the first 120 episodes.  Maybe it makes a radical shift in the 300s or something but the story isn't all that mindblowing compared to Naruto or Bleach and it certainly isn't less generic.
hitsusatsu11on June 6, 2010 at 9:12 a.m.
Very important
MercuryCrusaderon June 6, 2010 at 9:41 a.m.
@cfatalis said:

well depends comparing the Old mazinger and the Shougeki.......... i feel...... "

 Mazinger Z rules too hard to be bogged down by its dated, cheap animation and extremely cliched storyline (though to be fair, it originated many of the tropes associated with the Super Robot genre). Then again, I'm just your slightly-above-average Super Robot Wars fan turned Super Robot anime fan that demands a comprehensive history lesson and ends up being the Overfan, so...  That being said, all Mazinger is good Mazinger.
cfatalison June 6, 2010 at 9:53 a.m.
@MercuryCrusader said:
" @cfatalis said:

well depends comparing the Old mazinger and the Shougeki.......... i feel...... "

 Mazinger Z rules too hard to be bogged down by its dated, cheap animation and extremely cliched storyline (though to be fair, it originated many of the tropes associated with the Super Robot genre). Then again, I'm just your slightly-above-average Super Robot Wars fan turned Super Robot anime fan that demands a comprehensive history lesson and ends up being the Overfan, so...  That being said, all Mazinger is good Mazinger. "
they say they are making a getter reboot too........ yay, and a mazinkaizer chapter...... yay
Super Robot Wars where being hot blooded means that you can do double damage
Ryuku_Ryosakeon June 6, 2010 at 9:55 a.m.
I watched and loved the original Gundam. Also I watch Gundam 00 because it was pretty in HD. Using the Gundam series as a perfect example my order of favorites in that series generally follows older worse animated ones are better and better animated ones are worse. So basically animation quality effects how likely I'm going to watch watch the whole thing. Not how much I'm going to like it. It's like the movie 2012 I watched because wanted to see the special effects but that is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.
wwfunderakeron June 6, 2010 at 11:21 a.m.
i can tolerate watching the old stuff, and most of them are really good. Generally the quality doesnt bother me that much.
YotaruVegetaon June 6, 2010 at 12:26 p.m.
It's just that shows are old that the younger generation tends to stray from them. After coming out of college (and participating in an anime club) I had a greater appreciation for anime, and I wanted to watch any anime I had the chance to, regardless of age. I watched the anime which is considered the first of its kind not to long ago. I believe it came out in the 20s or 40s.
shelson June 6, 2010 at 2:23 p.m.
It's not that important if the story is good, some of my favorite titles lack a bit in the animation departament, are criticized for that (or for having a sketchy draw that doesn't make for the fluid animation, ex: noein) but nonetheless i still love them. Give the example of Shaft anime, in terms of animation (as ghibli per se) most of the cases it's pretty bad or rudimentar, but the awesome visual and the direction (camera angles/zoom/texts etc) makes up for it...
You can have a good story without awesome animation, but if the animation tops the plot in that field why not?..
zaldaron June 6, 2010 at 4:25 p.m.
wow I am happy to see all the story first comments here.  I was distressed when I read the original post.  I hated bloodlust because the story just didn't do it for me but then I've pretty much always thought VHD was a bit overrated.  Coming from books and movies as opposed to comic books I am very much story first.  What attracts me to anime is the story the greyness the thought provoking nature of the stories.  Now if something had absolutely terrible animation I could see not watching it even if the story was great but I haven't found one like that yet.  Usually the ones with bad animation have stories I don't care about either.
N15PCAon June 6, 2010 at 6:13 p.m.

I actually even prefer THE SPIRITS WITHIN.    

 
 I don't really care, but those are fighting words with some die hard Final Fantasy fans. 
 
Anyways, for me it comes to story first and formost.  I like watching allot of older anime myself and if the story good that about all I need for the most part.  I love watching older animes like Maison Ikkoku, Rose Of Versailles, Brother Dear Brother, Kimagure Orange Road, Marmalade Boy and the one movie and tv speical to Golgo 13.  (I have to confess when I see the CG in Golgo 13: The Professional  I have to turn the other way.)  I guess I could even put Utena in this category.  
 
People shouldn't be so quick to make fun of anime if it's over 30 plus years old.  I really older anime styles myself.  Something about the new for the most part dosen't hold up for me. 
 
I don't like all the bright colors they use in most anime nowdays. 
 
I did blog on the subject Whats happeing to anime nowdays
  

  
Shisnopion June 6, 2010 at 7:31 p.m.
Completely depends on the art style the anime is going for. Crisper it is, the smoother the animations have to be. But something trying to be "artistic" can get away with some animation slack. Plus, so many anime today have either mid-shots or close ups in have the scenes so the animators only have to worry about minimal movement.

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