Anime Vice News

Almost Otaku: Immitation or Flattery

What do you think about American anime and manga?

 Clearly manga-influenced.
 Clearly manga-influenced.

I figured I’d bring up a topic my friend Metal Mike suggested (you all saw him in the Unscripted review we did.) See, I remember years ago, the manager of my local comic store also happened to be a huge Otaku.   He was the one who got me on to watching ESCAFLOWNE and RECORD OF LODOSS WAR (although I never finished watching the later.)   He also looked down on American-produced with a bit of disdain, calling it “faux manga.”   At the time, I didn’t think too much about what he said. Now that I’ve got a greater context, however, I’m wondering if he had a minority opinion or if it reflected the majority.

What do you Anime Vice lunatics think of American cartoons and comics that clearly owe a big debt to anime and manga? I’m talking about stuff like SAMURAI JACK, AVATAR and SCOTT PILGRIM, just to name a few. Does it please you to see what you love having such demonstrable influence, or does it make you just roll your eyes? Who are these poseurs trying to jump into the sandbox that they’ve got no business being in?

Me, myself, I’m all for cultural exchange. That’s what art is all about.  One artist influencing another artist, who in turn influences another, ad infinitum. Hell, isn’t there that whole apocryphal chestnut about anime's signature big eyes starting as an imitation of funny animals like Micky Mouse? The more I think about that old owner’s attitude, the more I see it as needlessly dismissive. How about you? Let’s our own exchange going here.

-- 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.  

 
Count_Zeroon July 10, 2010 at 12:13 a.m.
I really don't mind at all, as long as it feels more referential and reverential like Avatar and, maybe, Scott Pilgrim (I haven't read it yet, so I can't say), and less cheap-pandering cash-in, like the CGI US Produced Voltron series from a while back that lasted about 3 episodes before being put out of its misery.
MercuryCrusaderon July 10, 2010 at 12:21 a.m.

Considering that the style associated with anime and manga came about because animators were influenced by the works of early Disney (Snow White, et al), and it evolved overtime from that base, I don't see a problem.  That being said, there's a lot of crap on both sides of the ocean.

sotyfan16on July 10, 2010 at 12:26 a.m.

I think it's good to have exchange but many would rather have manga and comics stay separate. I never really got into comics but manga came after anime for me so it made sense to have the same themes and aspects. I really like the thought of collaborations like what Stan Lee is doing with Ultimo and Heroman. My focus is creating American-made anime. That is what i want to do but the process of writing is a difficult one. To go along with that it is hard to have someone come up with a pictoral version of the characters (as I'm no artist). Add on to those factors trying to pitch the idea to an anime company. While the road will be dire at times I hope it's something that can be done and be successful. Avatar is really the only one you listed that I like but the Scott Pilgrim movie looks cool.

FoxxFireArt moderator on July 10, 2010 at 12:39 a.m.
Seems rather snobbish to look down on US produced manga. He obviously never saw much of Antarctic Press' series. Fred Perry, creator of Gold Digger, isn't just an amazing American manga style artist and writer. I look to him as my artistic idol. I've been a huge fan of his for many, many years. I can draw in many different style, but I've never had more fun then working in this form of manga.
 
He is in the truest tradition of manga artists. For his series, Gold Digger. He does all the writing, pencil work (though he draws on tablet now), coloring, and text work for his comic and releases it monthly. The only thing he doesn't do is the editing. He even made an animated movie based on his comic characters. He draw all the animation and did the color work. It looks beautiful.
This is a clip from his youtube channel of the opening credits for the movie he created.
  
Hell, even some bigger named manga-ka have staff that work with the lead creator to put series out.

Samurai Jack was an awesome series. It's too bad it never got to follow it's full course.
VinceAon July 10, 2010 at 2:22 a.m.
@sotyfan16:  Just a quick note. It's 'Stan Lee' not 'Spike Lee'. Although the use of 'Spike Lee' did give me a chuckle this AM.
sickVisionz moderator on July 10, 2010 at 5:26 a.m.
I don't mind it.  Some of it is entertaining and at the end of the day that's all I'm looking for.
Daniel_Newton moderator on July 10, 2010 at 5:36 a.m.
Samurai Jack is awesome, Avatar is pretty good too, what else... oh! TEEN TITANS!
Yeah I love me some faux anime, at some point I'll add more of it to the site.
 
... MEGAS XLR!
Killajadeon July 10, 2010 at 5:37 a.m.
@FoxxFireArt 
 
That Fred Perry person has an art style that makes me think hes done a lot of furry art, i dont mean that as a negative thing but again his art style is really not my thing(my own personal fav's are Range Murata and X6suke but there are alot of westen artists i like too). 
 
@Tom Pinchuk 
 
When i think of american animations two word always comes straight to mind "endless fillers" and thats not saying they have NO story at all but more like, they introduce their characters and background story and then they just do endless fillers. Samurai Jack did this and even though i liked it i was always hoping for some more story. Avatar also had quite a few fillers that introduced characters that were never seen again, but overall Avatar was so much story driven(and the story was great too) and character driven that it still managed to rank atop with my other favorite anime's(some of the humor seemed way to forced at time and the little frying squirrel was outright annoying to me).
Dream moderator on July 10, 2010 at 7:53 a.m.
American animation studios adapting the anime visual style for their own works doesn't seem much different from adapting other visual mediums to create one's own work for an idea. After all, Osamu Tezuka, the God of Manga who developed a good number of the trademark visual details that would be found in anime, was influenced by Walt Disney's animated works to create his style. And going even further back, American animated shorts made in the 1920s were originally influenced by newspaper comic strips.
blaakmawfon July 10, 2010 at 8:52 a.m.
I thought Samurai Jack had a very distinct feel from anime and shared its style more with the old Dexter and Powerpuff Girls cartoons on Cartoon Network. Teen Titans, however, is a faithful emulation of the anime style. The chibi and comic relief typical to anime is not used gratuitously and I feel the show comes off as a good american anime overall.
Catolfon July 10, 2010 at 12:10 p.m.
I think it's a good idea, it's nice to see artist opening themselves to other art-styles. Much like how Teen titan's was and the young justice league, or Batman Beyond (or that other batman animated one) just seems pulled from anime and it's nice to see art-styles mix and make new awesome flavors.
Chromaon July 10, 2010 at 12:20 p.m.
As an avid fan of both manga and Scott Pilgrim, I think it is wonderful to see a strong influence from one on the other. To be fair however, SP has many influences (video games and independent western comics among them) and is not simply a Canadian manga.  
 
There has been a lot of cross-pollination between east and west long before now and I don't see any problem with it. I think the ones that seem like a direct rip-off are the ones that don't do as well. It's alright to be inspired by anime but you have to have a story or bring something original to the table as well. 
Gaseroon July 10, 2010 at 1:43 p.m.
I don't mind at all. I consider it to be offputting when the "imitator" goes out of the way to reference what they're imitating though. It would feel like they're just begging for someone to pay attention to them because they are referencing something else that people like.
YotaruVegetaon July 10, 2010 at 3:39 p.m.
I think that the three titles you've listed (Pilgrim, Avatar, Samurai Jack) Are at the top of most people's minds because they are GOOD examples of people who saw the manga/anime style and didn't simply ape it. These are people who respect anime and want to take what they learned from Japanese art and apply it for their own stories. 
 
I think it's like Quentin Tartantino. I feel like Quentin Tarantino obviously takes from things he's watched, but he takes the knowledge of these things and creates his own thing, rather than take the the actual  work and regurgitate it.
 
That is what a sucessful Non-Japanese creator should do to stand out amongst all these other people who hope to be manga or Anime creators. Stop being also-rans. Embrace Japan, but bring your own heart to it!
 
 
BTW, I loved Teen Titans. It seems that the old die hard comics fans didn't dig its fusion.
Fabeon July 10, 2010 at 5:25 p.m.
Well, since the early manga artist where influenced by western animation and comics all  the current trend of western artist using the anime/maga style  is things coming full circle.
sotyfan16on July 11, 2010 at 12:24 a.m.
@VinceA:
lol Thanks for pointing that out. I changed it and added the link. I get the names mixed up someitmes for some reason.
Theresonlyoneon July 11, 2010 at 5:33 a.m.
I love Samurai Jack it's just a shame it never ended properly.
Kelleth moderator on July 11, 2010 at 4:13 p.m.
@Newten said:
" Samurai Jack is awesome, Avatar is pretty good too, what else... oh! TEEN TITANS!
Yeah I love me some faux anime, at some point I'll add more of it to the site.
 
... MEGAS XLR! "
Pretty much every series i meant to say lol Megas XLR was cool and that's only judging from the few episodes that made it here before CN went Digital (the Dutch dub was horrible though)
Olivawon July 11, 2010 at 4:58 p.m.
Samurai Jack is more heavily influenced by old samurai films than anime itself. It's style is a bit more unique than that.
 
Avatar, however, is nothin' but anime. I never watched it, but I guess it's alright? I don't know!
 
Scott Pilgrim may be manga influenced, but unless it's a comic that is literally done in a manga-style or done backwards, it does not count as manga. Now, Megatokyo? That's a manga. It also sucks, but that's neither here nor there.
 
So I guess I don't really care about American anime or manga? If the story is interesting or the show is cool, I can deal, but mostly I want people to use their own style and not rip off the work of others.
 
Especially anime and manga. I mean Jesus, the reason most of it looks the way it does is because they don't have any money. Why are you copying a style that only came about because of a lack of budget and inbetween artists?
hitsusatsu11on July 11, 2010 at 5:56 p.m.
Not a fan of when they do that no.

Dig Deeper into Avatar: The Last Airbender

In a world where gifted individuals can bend elemental forces to their will, the Fire Nation declares war against the Earth, Air, and Water tribes. Only Aang, a young boy who wields the power of each element, can stop the war and save the world.

Edit/View the Wiki
Hit the Forums (12 Posts)
Add/View Images (118 Images)
Watch Some Videos
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

The Worst DRAGON BALL Villain?

DRAGON BALL #21-- Retro Review

Anime Caption Contest! -- 9/29/14

With Summer 2014 season ending, here are the shows that are still trucking today.

Fall 2014 Anime Guide

Here are our quick impressions of shows that have caught our eyes.

ONE PIECE #663 -- Special Review

Do you feel as emotional as Luffy does?!?!

AKIRA and the Best Format for Anime?

Viewer mail! Would this classic have been much better as a mini-series?

Most Frustrating Anime Hiatus?

Whatever will we do without HUNTER X HUNTER and JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE?

HUNTER X HUNTER -- Chairman Election Arc Review

Part 1. How HxH relates to other shonen...?

Unboxing ATTACK ON TITAN - Part 2 Limited Edition Blu Ray

The Vice Pit. Does the set deserve deluxe accolades?

Anime Caption Contest! -- 9/29/14

With Summer 2014 season ending, here are the shows that are still trucking today.

Fall 2014 Anime Guide

Here are our quick impressions of shows that have caught our eyes.

ONE PIECE #663 -- Special Review

Do you feel as emotional as Luffy does?!?!

The Worst DRAGON BALL Villain?

DRAGON BALL #21-- Retro Review

NARUTO Ch. 693 Review

Apparently, no one ever taught Sasuke that it's rude threaten to kill someone after asking them for a favor.

Most Frustrating Anime Hiatus?

Whatever will we do without HUNTER X HUNTER and JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE?

Community Spotlight 9/26/2014

There's plenty to enjoy in the last spotlight of September.

HUNTER X HUNTER -- Chairman Election Arc Review

Part 1. How HxH relates to other shonen...?

Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel