Aiming to coexist with humans, the X-Men, an elite group of mutants, have dedicated their lives protecting people like themselves and also the people who fear and hate them. For many of us the X-Men's story is a well-known, thanks to 20th Century Fox's movies, various animated television shows and comic books about this mutant super-hero team. The first episode of Madhouse's X-Men anime is no different.
Being Madhouse and Marvel's third twelve-episode series brings different kinds of expectations from everyone. In my case those expectations were not met but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
The episode begins with this interpretation of the X-Men fighting their fellow teammate Jean Grey, in her not-so-lucid form known as the Phoenix. (An overused plot point, sure, but it has worked all these years.) Putting aside Scott Summers/Cyclops' over dramatic screams, this first scene set up the team, their powers and the tone neatly. By the end of this scene Jean Grey dies, (shocker right?) but the interesting part is that while the team blames a mutant illusionist called Mastermind, Scott realizes that there is another mutant involved: Emma Frost. After the introductory credits the actual story begins.
The X-Men have disbanded and Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters has been closed for a year now. The rest of the episode is just about bringing the team back together to aid a young mutant girl in Japan named Hisako Ichiki (known as Armor in the X-Men comics) who has been kidnapped by the Inner Circle and their awesome-looking Sentinels. As an avid comic book reader my perception of this first episode is "well-informed" (I spend a lot of time on Anime Vice's sister site: Comic Vine) and for me this was all a big déjà vu.
The set-up reminds me a lot of the canceled animated series: Wolverine and the X-Men. Of course, unlike Nickelodeon's show, this first episode was a bit slow-paced. Aside from the first scene, the episode only focused on character traits and premise set up. The combination of an American story handled by Japanese storytellers is no as seamless as one would hope. Yet, one must always remember that this was originally made for a Japanese audience, one that probably is not as aware of the X-Men as Americans would be.
Anime is known for it's "extraordinary" tales, taking things to the limit, but a lot of this seemed restricted by its original counterpart, including the disappointing X-Men 90's-esque opening sequence. Originally, I kind of expected a story-line that would fit better with a Japanese tone. Aside from the squid with human intelligence who gives classes at a university this was very much Americanized. From an anime-viewing standpoint this would probably come off as bland but this isonly the first episode.
I probably do not know how to perceive the show. Should I look at it as an anime or a US-influenced animated series? Aside from that I have to say that the voice acting was pretty good on the most part and the animation is very attractive. It is a satisfying introduction to what the rest of the series will be. I will certainly continue to watch the anime and try not to judge the rest of the series by its first episode.
Episode 1: The Return - Joining Forces
Summary: When Jean "Phoenix" Grey's mind is taken control of by Mastermind and the Inner Circle, she sacrifices herself to protect the world. A year has passed since Jean's death, and the X-Men have since disbanded and the Xavier Institute closed. When Professor X receives word that a mutant named Hisako Ichiki has been kidnapped, he sends out a call to Storm, Wolverine and Beast. After being informed they are to fly to the Tōhoku region of Japan, where Xavier's psychic abilities cannot seem to reach, Wolverine and Storm go to talk to Cyclops, who has been brooding since Jean's death, in order to convince him to join them.
Company: Madhouse Studios
Air Date: April 1, 2011 (JP) / October 21, 2011 (NA)
Run Time: 23:33
Watch on G4 Fridays at 11PM ET
-- Geo (sora_thekey) 24/7 geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey
Hello everyone! This is the Roundtable User Discussion, where couple of AV users, like yourselves, virtually met up to talk anime, manga and other related topics. Read, comment, discuss and enjoy! Also, go back and read our other conversations (Here) and share your thoughts!
I am sora_thekey, sometimes known as Geo, and I am posting this RT. That's right, posting not moderating or hosting. For those of you who don't know, I've been away and will be away for a while so I don't have as much time as I used to. This particular Roundtable took place a while back and my replacement host (Fire Star) was not able to post this so I am instead.
Hello there and welcome to the seventh AV Roundtable Discussion ! I'm your host, Fire Star, and I'll be hosting the Roundtables while Sora_Thekey is gone. Today, I have with me some of the common Roundtable users, ZombiePie (ZP), sotyfan16 (Will), and Halberdierv2 (Hal)! I'd first like to thank you guys for joining me today! Our topic of today is the common concept: Sidekicks in anime, but first, how about we all do a little introduction?
Hal: Hi, this is Hal aka Stefan here again, giving a warm welcome to all the readers here!
ZP: Hello I'm ZombiePie, a mod and community director over at Giant Bomb.
Will: Hey everyone! I'm Will and I kick ZombiePie's butt on a daily basis. I do a number of Beginner's/Advanced Guides for the site as well as the Dunce Cap video reviews. Let's get along, ok?
What you have been up to as far as anime and manga-wise?
Hal: I've not.... done that much recently. I started watching Steins;Gate, which is pretty cool, along with the standard Naruto/Bleach Manga and Anime.
Will: Sure thing. Recently I watched Canaan, Samurai Girls, and Needless in a couple days. Now I'm on to Heroman and Yumekui Merry. Manga-wise, I just bought 9 volumes today and have been reading Bakuman Vol. 5 while doing this RT.
ZP: I also have been watching Stein;Gate, and I got past that hump that caused Tom to give up on the series and have been enjoying it a lot. Other than that I haven't watched that much and am holding off for the Fall onslaught.
Okay, we have our choice of discussion today: Sidekicks. Would you all like to share why you think this concept is significant in anime and manga? For myself, I feel that it is a common theme in any popular literature or art. Whether that be fiction books, art themes, or anime. So I feel that as a popular general concept, it is widely popular in anime as well. Thoughts?
Will: I think it's a general concept that is widely popular-just no so much in anime/manga. When I see or read them it's most always an individual or a group. I think the sidekick bit is more a comic thing.
ZP: Well much of our entertainment across all mediums and not just anime and manga are deeply rooted in the parable or arch of a heroic individual going the noble path and fighting evil. These stories have had such an impact on everyone that the images and tropes of these stories still persist today. That and they provide that light hearted entertainment when you need something that is gratifying to your sense. They just make you feel good.
Hal: Actually, I don't think it to be all that common in anime and manga as it is in western animation. there aren't too many cases of the stereotypical hero and sidekick scenarios recently, more so a lot of emphasis on teamwork (eg: Fairy Tail, Naruto, Bleach, etc). There are a couple of more standard cases of hero/sidekick, such as Victorique and Kazuya from Gosick, although even that has its changes as the story goes along.
I have to disagree, I have seen in in such anime as FMA and Soul Eater. Soul Eater being the bit with Meister and Weapon, usually there is a more primary character in the duo, and then in FMA, you see it all over with Ling and his guards. But people interpret things differently, so.
Yes, it does, I see your point. Ah, yes, those days!
ZP: Also, I think Western animation is getting away from heroes as the main characters. Instead Western Animation is moving toward having more of your regular "Joe Schmoe" who find themselves in some CRAZY SITUATIONS and it's all a heavy handed Aesopian lesson about living within your own means or how the character is fine just the way he is.
Will: I have to agree with ZombiePie that the hero being more powerful and cool and stuff than the sidekick is a Western style. In the East, importance is placed on balance. When duos come to mind in anime/manga, I see them as equally important parts in the equation.
ZombiePie, you have a point. Animation does change quite a bit.
Hal: Could I throw this one out? What would be your interpretation of the role of "sidekick" and has manga and anime (both of classics in the past and of recent stuff) realized these expectations?
ZP: This is actually an important point because co-stars and sidekicks are often confused by people all the time (myself included).
Honestly, my take on the subject is simple, a major supporting character that assists the main protagonist in the series. I think the concept is simple, but its portrayal isn't quite as easy.
Will: To me a sidekick is somehow who is weaker than the hero but is always by their side helping out despite the occasional bout between them.
Hal: There has been a change over time, in a manner similar to what zombie mentioned, the role of co-star is being combined with sidekick, making it seem more in one with each other. even some of the more recent anime, over time, have shown this. for example, in Bleach, there was a similar relationship between Rukia and Ichigo at the start, with Rukia having all the knowledge of how to be a shimigami, and Ichigo wielding all the power under her instuctions. and we all know how much different things are now (or in the manga's case, how much the same it has been practically throughout the new arc, Ichigo being everybody's sidekick).
ZP: That's a good point. I think if anything over time we are seeing more moral ambiguity added to the hero stew. Over time I'm seeing more characters that are supposed to be the "hero" of the show but act in ways that are morally suspect. I personally love to see this because that makes it easier for me to empathize with the hero. However we again get back to the issue of would these characters still count as a "hero?"
Will: Nowadays things have to flashy, extreme, and flamboyant to keep fan's attention so elements have changed to groups on wild adventures instead of the solitary comrades walking through the woods.
Yes, they have.
Will: So, yeah, guess I'll go with the co-star bit. Sidekicks are for "superheroes".
What do you think, ZombiePie? Does anime show the hero sidekick theme in general different than the stereotypical version?
ZP: Anime in general is about breaking rules, and to that extent I feel like sidekicks in anime aren't nearly as passive as they are in other mediums.
Will: A wonderful point. I like breaking rules.
Now, compared to all other relationships, what do you think the hero's sidekick type has to offer? For me, I think it is possibly the most interesting in a series. Not only does it have some of the most potential, but also because that is the one relationship if a series does have the concept, that we see grow the most, and that gives huge room for the production to go crazy with, hence giving us an entertaining show.
Will: I look for the flashy team-ups and combos along with the (hopefully) witty and humorous banter. If they can do cool stuff and give me some good dialogue, I'm entertained.
Hal: A humorous banter can do quite a boost, and if the characters are opposite genders, you could sometimes get some crush material to make as funny or sappy as you wish.
Yes, perfect example being Rave Master. Elie and Haru both have romance and humor between them, and we get a sense of that Hero Sidekick theme with them as well.
Hal: Well, the setup can become very interesting. sometimes, the sidekick can overtake the hero and become even more powerful. Remember a certain pair from Gurren Lagann named Kamina and Simon?
Hal: Sometimes either the hero or the sidekick goes rogue, and needs to get some sense knocked back into them to return to the light side. this isn't the best example for manga, but in a way, Sasuke and Naruto, since Mr Uchiha was generally considered stronger than Naruto (although that's up to plenty debate)
I feel like I can agree with you, but I also cannot. As in general, I guess I can see where your coming from, but in an Anime specific world, it really just depends on the seires or character. Some, in fact are very passive, Tsubaki anyone?
ZP: Oh you pulled a one two punch with Soul Eater. Which I feel like trots out all of the distinctive aspects about heroes we have been talking about.
Will: So saying "Soul Eater" means the end of discussion? Touche!
ZP: I guess but we didn't even get to talk about comic relief in hero stories! Or how sidekicks love to talk about how awesome the hero is and how the big bad guy is big fat poopie head! And how that can amount to a significant amount of the dialogue in an episode!
Soul Eater does show a lot of the characteristics that were describing here. Only reason I keep pulling it out is because it is one of the most popular shows I know that shows all of these qualities, other popular ones don't really show all of them, just some. Rave Master is another good one, though. Now, to the next general question, what do you think of villians and sidekicks? Even though this topic is mostly about hero's, what about some love for the evil duders?
Hal: Villians and sidekicks can be interesting especially when they end up being (to coin a TVTropes term) a Dragon, and usurp their Villan masters, and also surpass them (Kabuto absorbing Orochimaru's powers and starting World War 4!)
Will: With villains and their underlings, it's usually like the Western style. The evil sidekick is like a Boss Battle and the villain is the Final Fight. The sidekick is usually treated very poorly and humiliated. Then, sometimes, he/she actually loves the villain.
ZP: Villains don't have sidekicks they have cronies and henchmen...Or a brainwashed version of the long lost brother of the hero. Don't you hate when that happens? You haven't seen your brother since your house burned downed and your parents were killed by the bad guy. So you when you went to an orphanage and met your sidekick you pledged a blood debt against the bad guy. But over the course of the story you find out you have to kill your brother?
Hal: Yeah, they did the long lost brother thing in one of the Digimon series. when he did come over to the good guys side, he was more powerful than everyone else.
I find now that I actually think of it, that Villian sidekicks seem to be more popular in anime, would you figure so ? It may be my random thinking.
Hal: True, yet I can't really remember any cases where the villain's sidekick loved him (at least in anime).
Will: I totally think it is. Just look at Samurai Girls. Even though it's more like a master/slave or General/samurai relationship. Ok, that's not the best example.
ZP: I think it has to do with how villains a lot of times are just badass looking and their sidekicks look just as cool. Anyways the villain sidekick usually has sunglasses. Sunglasses makes ay character ten times cooler.
Will: I wear Oakleys all the time. They match my hair color. Does that make me 10x cooler?
ZP: Well a hero that doesn't play by the rules is an anti hero and a lot of the great anime and manga characters in the last ten years have been anti heroes in my opinion.
Hal: Eehh...just wondering. Now that you guys have your concept of what you call "Sidekick", what are some of your favourite deviations from the norm?
I think I will go back to Elie and Haru, Tsubaki and Black_Star, and Zabuza and Haku.
Hal: Zabuza and haku, despite being disturbing in theory (I mean, come on, a Swordsman of the Mist paired up with pretty much a crossdresser?), there is some serious respect between the two, particularly when Haku sacrificed himself in battle, and Zabuza's response to it.
These are all good. Well, this has been a great RT, do we want to go ahead and wrap this up?
Geo/Sora: Wait! You're saying good bye! No Batman/Robin jokes?! Not even a nod... Oh well! I hope you all enjoyed reading this Roundtable (RT) 'cause I sure did! I especially liked the part where the participants discuss on what a sidekick is. Heavy stuff!
Be sure to head below to comment on your idea on Sidekicks and who you favorite duo is. This is Geo, signing off! Bye!
-- Geo (sora_thekey) 24/7 geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey
Can you guess who my favorite video game character is? I’ll give you a hint, look at my user name!
I found this amazing piece of art on DeviantArt by Sajira called “Older Sora” [link]. The thing I liked the most was the costume redesign made to this already cool character (Right). I decided to use the design and draw Sora too.
I used a different anime style that resembles the Digimon franchise too make the character a lot cartoonier. I wanted to share this with you guys and also tell you that I have decided that I like this incarnation of Sora’s outfit that I decided to cosplay it someday. I got the original artist’s permission… I just need to learn how to do it!
-- Geo (sora_thekey) 24/7 geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey
The Roundtable User Discussion is where couple of AV users, like yourselves, virtually met up to talk anime, manga and other related topics. That conversation has been posted here for you guys to see, read and enjoy. After you read our conversation be sure to comment below where you can submit your own opinions after reading ours. Be sure to comment below where you can submit your own opinions after reading ours. Be sure to go back and read our other conversations (Here) and share your thoughts. Even if you disagree with us, we like comments.
Editor's Note: There is a bug which prevents me to add images correctly to the post, so this particular RT will not have images (Other than the banner). I will try and come back to it and add them later. Sorry.
Welcome one and all to the sixth AV Roundtable Discussion ! Hosting today is myself, fire_star, and sora_thekey is assisting me in co-hosting. To keep things clear because there are two hosts, sora_thekey's posts will be in bold and fire_star's will be in italics.
Along with us is RT Veteran Bigheart711 (Big) who will be hosting RT's over at Screened. Then, there is the Comic Vine RT Veteran thehummingbird (THB), welcome you two! I will be taking over for a few weeks while Sora is gone...
Hello! I am fire_star's co-host Geo/sora_thekey!
Big: Hello once again, it's Bigheart! (and FYI, I'm human; not a giant heart. :P )
THB: I am THB!!! I am kind of crazy, I own an orange garden and unicorns and I ride rainbows to work!
So lets go ahead and begin !
Can everyone start off this discussion by telling me what they have been up to recently in regards to anime and manga ? Myself, I have been watching and reading Soul Eater, a new series I have come to like and enjoy.
THB: I am really behind, but I am trying to catch up on Deadman Wonderland anime, because I loved the manga, I started watching Gantz. I am also finishing Arakawa under the Bridge x Bridge and rewatching Bakemonogatari. My last manga series I completed was future diary! Looking forward to a few summer series!
Big: Just like last time, I'm on Durarara, Nana and Shiki, but I took a small break on them to check out the first episodes of Blood-C and Usagi Drop. Ended up enjoying both, and I'm preparing a blog on them as well as what else I'm watching later on.
I have been catching up on my Deadman Wonderland and Steins;Gate!
THB: Yay Sora you are watching Deadman! I am making a hummingbird cosplay XD
Oooh! Post pictures when you are done!
So this might be an awkward RT for everybody since this is one around will have two hosts. You feel special yet?
THB: I feel special I been to two RT's with two hosts XD
Editor's Note: There was a two-host RT at Comic Vine not too long ago. (If you want to read follow the link: Here)
Soon I am going to have to go MIA from the Roundtables because of some Real-Life (Non-virtual) stuff I will be tending to but the awesome, fire_star, will be taking over for a while. So let's begin.
Today's topic is one that Sora suggested awhile back, and it really got me interested and I think it is something we can all relate too, anime for children. Now I know most of us here are adults, but remember, Anime isn't specific for any age really, it is made for all ages to enjoy ! We see many examples of this when we see popular shounen anime like Naruto on Cartoon Network, an active T.V. network that is focused on younger age groups. In fact, many of the anime I began watching was when I was much younger, and I also know this to be true with some of my friends. Can you guys start by telling me why you think Anime is so easy for children to get interested in and begin to enjoy as much as adults?
THB: Sailormoon and Digimon Seasons 1,2,3, as well as first season pokemon, Naruto, and Shaman King, I think are all accessible to both children and adults equally. I liked them when I was much younger and I enjoy them all the same now.
Bakugan and Yu-Gi-Oh fall into that category too.
Big: Some anime series are managed to be exposed to all ages like the above mentioned from The HummingBird, but in my opinion, it happens to be greatly impacted from the art style of the setting and its characters. A lot of times, such art styles (especially back when I was watching Sailor Moon as a child) ended up grabbing my attention in the past and it still does today.
Bigheart711 makes very good points when talking about artwork, art style is always important in grabbing viewers attention no matter what age group the company is focused on, if their is any focus at all. If the artwork is dramatic and vibrant in color, it is more likely to hold the attention of a younger viewer, and that is a trait most anime's that are popular among children share.
That is so true in Ghibli films!
THB: Oh yes Sora and all of you are right about the art, drawing in a younger audience. Spirited Away hooked me as a child (and still does).
I loved Spirited Away as a child ! I think a sense of fantasy is also an element that can draw children's attention, I know that is what got me hooked on the movie as well.
Big: I never said this before ever, but thanks for stealing my answer, HummingBird. Spirited Away was one of my top favorite Ghibli films as well! :)
THB: Haha yes every time I watch spirited away I wish I was their and experiencing that kind of child's fascination. Which is what Miyazaki works to bring to his films, that same feeling of wonderment that children have.
Speaking of Ghibli films. I love Ponyo!
I have a question thehummingbird. Why do you consider Naruto as a kid friendly anime?
THB: I consider naruto to be kid friendly, probably because I watched it when I was nine in japanese. It may have been odd for me to do so, but I never saw anything abnormally inappropriate, Naruto to me is like a watered down version of a shounen like deadman wonderland. They share many the shounen elements that draws not only a large male fanbse, but it also appeals to children. The plot line of the main character rising and striving for his/her dreams, and naruto manages to do this with still violence, and slightly vulgar language and jokes, but without over stepping that mature content line. I say shippuden does more than the original though.
I don't think I agree with this. I think the show crosses that mature content line when the battles show blood.
THB: Sora I can see why you would believe this, but I was exposed to many mature content animes such as inuyasha by the age of 6, so my lines may be a little skewed here.
I also think that there is a certain line that Naruto crosses, while I agree with Sora on the blood part, I must say that the sexual innuendos are far more repulsive to children than that of the blood, though I still think of Naruto as one of the most likable anime among younger viewers.
BIg: Because of some of the mature content, I also thought Naruto wasn't for kids either especially for some of the sexually suggestive events that go on in the show.
THB: Yes pervy sage and the sexy jutsu can cross a certain borders, but I do not think it is enough to be inappropriate. Sailor Moon has lesbianism as well as gay relationships throughout the series and many would consider this to be mature.
I guess my lines are not skewed as much as yours :P I don't really believe that Inuyasha, Naruto and even Digimon: Tamers (Season 3) are kid-friendly.
I think the sad part about it all is that some parents automatically assume because it is animated that it is safe for their children to watch, which is a totally flawed logic.
THB: Oh fire_star I agree with that!!! I saw a parent letting their kid watch Love Hina! One time because it was animated and even I stepped in.
Big: I strongly agree with Fire Star's statement as well. In fact, that was the case when I was exposed to all the bad language in some of South Park's episodes when I was about seven, but thankfully, I knew I shouldn't say such things at the time (plus, it would get me in huge trouble with my parents like I did the moment they heard one of the stronger swears of a random episode).
Actually that leads me to my next question, what do you all think of that idea? People assume that animation means "for children", is this true?
THB: Not at all, even my skewed view is sickened by what their kids watch. This might because I was over exposed when I was young that I feel so strongly. Parents need to at least look at the show, and anime has more mature things in it than I have ever seen in a show with "real people" .
Big: In short, it's not true at all. Just because it's animated doesn't mean it should be accessible to all ages.
Would you guys let a kid watch a PG-13 rated movie?
THB: Depends on the movie, not Mean Girls, but perhaps She's the Man is okay in my book.
I too agree that it depends on the movie, I'd have to see it first. But generally, no.
Big: Normally, I really wouldn't let a child watch a PG-13 movie, but it depends for me as well. I strongly agree with Fire Star's statement as well. In fact, that was the case when I was exposed to all the bad language in some of South Park's episodes when I was about seven, but thankfully, I knew I shouldn't say such things at the time (plus, it would get me in huge trouble with my parents like I did the moment they heard one of the stronger swears of a random episode).
Actually that is very true! When I first started reading comic books my dad would always check the "Rated T" ones before letting me read them. Parents should be conscious of what their kids watch and read, otherwise kids would end up watching hentai and parents will think that it is a kids show!
Big: Indeed! The thought of a parent catching their child watching hentai really makes me cringe like heck. *shudders*
Exactly Sora! That leads me to the next general question for you guys, is most of the children-specific anime adult friendly too ?
Big: It depends in my opinion, but the plot of said kid-friendly anime series might end up attracting an audience of adults as well.
This might be a good point to bring up 4Kids. When 4Kids was still around, the company would always edit mature content off series like Naruto and One Piece for kids to watch. Any opinions about that?
THB: I hated 4kids I felt things were to watered down, they slaughtered one piece for me. Tokyo Mew Mew was also over censored by 4kids as they did not even leave the scene with the censored naked girl hugging the cat.
Big: I always thought that if it happens to have a huge level of mature content, then it shouldn't be viewable to kids at all. However, 4Kids's localizations of the anime they touched ended up lowering the target series quality rather than just editing out said mature content. Tokyo Mew Mew and One Piece are prime examples of their victims. Why I said that they were "victims" was because most of the stories were altered as well as most of their characters' names and personalities.
THB: I agree with you one hundred percent!
I think it is acceptable, then again I am Pro-Censor/Edit so I am not sure if I am already flawed before I answer. Kids should be able to enjoy anime just like us, they just aren't ready to listen and understand things that we are.
I'm not against censoring either but then again there are some anime specifically made for kids opposed to adult/teen oriented series. For example, Usagi Drop or My Ordinary Life.
Maybe those series would have been better licensed for the anime channel block.
THB: I think they are appropriate for such blocks even before a lot of the editing, I really wish they could leave a little more since often 4kids and toonzai over edit childrens television.
I think it is time we start wrapping up this discussion but before we go do you all have a kid-friendly anime you would recommend?
THB: Digimon Season 3! It is the best and kid of any gender can enjoy it, and leave you hoping for your own digimon!
Yes, Soul Eater is a great anime that I would recommend for any kid, it has vibrant colors and animation, and it is tons of action packed fun!
I think for me it has to be Summer Wars or Ponyo!
THB: Oh I love Summer Wars, though The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was my favorite!
Well, it has been a wonderful discussion, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Maybe you didn't though.
THB: Au revoir children! THB is out for a night time stroll with the unicorns.
Big: I would stick around, but it's time for my to leave the stage once again! This is Bigheart signing out!
We would greatly appreciate any comments below to help us help you enjoy the Roundtables more, this is fire_star signing out!
and this is Geo/sora_thekey, co-host signing out! Bye!
-- Geo (sora_thekey) 24/7 geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey
Hello Anime Vice! You are now reading the fifth installment of Anime Vice's Roundtable User Discussion. This is where couple of AV users, like yourselves, virtually met up to talk anime, manga and other related topics. That conversation has been posted here for you guys to see, read and enjoy. After you read our conversation be sure to comment below where you can submit your own opinions after reading ours. Be sure to comment below where you can submit your own opinions after reading ours. Also, go back and read our other conversations (Here) and share your thoughts. Even if you disagree with us, we like comments.
I am Geo, also known as the Digimon/Kingdom Hearts fan, sora_thekey, and I will be moderating this conversation. "Sitting" with me are Bigheart711 and sotyfan16 making their Roundtable comeback. Also, for the first time welcome my fellow moderator: Black_Rose.
Black_Rose (Rose): I'm Rose, I'm a moderator, I like anime!
Bigheart711 (Bigheart): Hello, everyone! It's Bigheart711, lover of (nearly) all things anime and major page formatting maniac.
sotyfan16 (Will): Hi everyone! I'm sotyfan16. I'm just a regular guy who loves manga and anime. I try to do what I can for Anime Vice with the Dunce Cap segment and Beginner's Guides.
So to start off I want to know how your anime-watching/manga-reading habits are going. What was the last anime/manga you watched/read?
Rose: I watched the first episode of Usagi Drop, which I think is the most promising anime this season. It just looks like it's going to be a pretty down to earth and mature story, which is exactly what I need right now. The art style is wonderful too.
Cool! Well, I'm still going through [C] and I think it is slowly becoming one of my favorite anime ever. (Up there with Digimon and Haruhi).
Now I noticed none of you mentioned Bleach, One Piece of Naruto. This is interesting since the topic for this RT is "Mainstream" anime. Would it be safe to say that the three anime series I mentioned just now are the present "mainstream" series?
Rose: Yes, very few people would argue that.
Bigheart: I agree that they are the current mainstream series as well.
Will: Of course. To say otherwise would be denying the truth.
Not too long ago the "mainstream" series were Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z and some might argue that Sailor Moon was also in that category. Do you guys watch any of the mainstream series? Or did you watch any of them? If so what did you think?
Will: Last weekend I did catch up with the Bleach dub (ep 211) and I'm still on ep 97 of Naruto from like 4 months ago. As for One Piece, I watched a couple eps but it's not my thing.
Rose: DBZ was the very first piece of fiction I felt emotionally attached to, so it has a very special place in my heart and I loved Pokemon as every other kid back in the day but I only ever saw it till the second generation. I liked Sailor Moon quite a bit too, it was on right before DBZ.
Will: Back when Toonami on Cartoon Network came around I loved watching DBZ and Sailor Moon. Pokemon was another big one for me so I'd say that yes, they were the big series for my generation of fans.
The difficult thing about the mainstream series is their length. The task of trying to start them now is very daunting. I think they are all fun series and different in their own ways but I wish there was a long-running series that wasn't shonen and catered to an older age group.
Bigheart: In the past, I did watch all of these and fell in love with DBZ, Pokemon and Sailor Moon in the process, but I only remember finishing DBZ. I'm refreshing my memory on Sailor Moon off and on not just for enjoyment, but to also work on the franchise's pages at Screened. I'm also catching up with Bleach (I'm on Ep. 204 for now) and I'm behind on my One Piece viewing (I'm on about episode 30 or so!) as well as my pace with Naruto.
Will: I will say that I think Fairy Tail will eventually be among those names and it will turn into the "Big Four".
Rose: I don't think it will.
Rose: The reason those three are so popular is because of merchandising, I don't think Fairy Tail has or will have the merchandising power that Naruto or One Piece have. You don't see 10 Fairy Tail videogames every year for every console in existence for example. I can see it being about as popular as Katekyō Hitman Reborn! was, but not in the same level as the big three.
Bigheart: I haven't checked out Fairy Tail yet.
Will: Fairy Tail fun in either anime or manga form (though I'm very behind on both). The comedy is silly and simple and the characters are interesting. Give it a shot Bigheart!
Bigheart: All right. I'll add it to my radar then, will! :)
Rose: I do think Fairy Tail is the best shonen show right now, but like the others it suffers because it doesn't know when to stop.
Will: I get your point. Merchandising is a big thing and I agree with you that Fairy Tail doesn't have the same marketability. But as a franchise (manga and anime) I think it will grow to be a viable rival.
Plus, Fairy Tail doesn't have cool village headbands!
You bring up an excellent point Rose! One of the big reasons Pokemon, Naruto and all those other series became "mainstream" was because of marketing. Do you really think that should be important for a good series to become mainstream?
Rose: Oh it's definitely important. People who like the first few chapters/episodes of a certain series will buy related stuff, be it video games, toys, trading cards. The companies will want to keep the series going for the sake of selling stuff. I do think that when a show becomes big enough the story takes a second place to the money.
Bigheart: I think marketing strengthens the series as well. When some people happen to like an anime series or movie, they tend to look for any merchandise related to said series or movie (Figures, Posters, Manga, etc.). Forgive me for going off-topic for a bit, but I remember buying a necklace resembling Simon of Gurren Lagann's drill last year at a convention... Right after finishing the whole series.
Will: I'm a Business Major so from that standpoint, being able to market and merchandise a product is vital to success. But personally I think a title should earn the merit of being mainstream from its quality. My support for that is the story of Bakuman.
I will vouch for that Will. Series like Bakuman get pushed to the back burner because there is a lack of merchandising. Yet Bakuman is probably one of the best series (both anime and manga) ever.
Rose: But Bakuman isn't a mainstream show, being popular doesn't equal being mainstream. If you show a kid a picture of Luffy or Naruto they'll instantly recognize it. Try doing that with a Bakuman character, it won't work.
If Bakuman or any show of its kind ever reaches a mainstream level I can see it lasting more than 3 or 4 seasons.
I, for one, think the storytelling should be enough but sadly it isn't. Selling Digivices and Pokedexes are what the companies want. Which is why we continue to get Digimon, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh series that do not par with their originals.
Will: I look for merch of series I like but since the mainstream series are not high on my list of preferred anime, it's hard for me to find what I'm looking for. I'd like to note that Afro Samurai has a game and it wasn't a mainstream title. However, the title was marketable because of the animation, story, and voice actors.
Rose: Many shows have a game or two but few have a whole franchise worth of them. Yes, animes should be mainstream based on their quality but sadly, that is not the world we live in.
Bigheart: I'm pretty much with Will on this one. I also searched for the current mainstream series's merch in the past, but so far, I haven't found anything interesting to me yet because I'm still catching up on those anime series. Also, there have been a lot of merch of non-mainstream anime, including the Haruhi Suzumiya and Ikki Tousen franchises.
Will: I was meaning the story of Bakuman. The boys had to create a manga good enough that it gained popularity that editors couldn't ignore.
Oh see I didn't get that. Yet you are correct. In the series Ashirogi tries to create a mainstream manga and they continue to struggle because it needs to work as a mainstream and attract the editors attention. In the end, marketing doesn't take much of a place when a series begins but if they want to keep the series going they sort of need merch.
Rose: That depends on the publisher.
Will mentioned Fairy Tail as a future potential "mainstream" anime. Are there any other series that might also have the potential to be as big as Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, DBZ, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Haruhi, Sailor Moon or Digimon.
Bigheart: Sorry, but nothing comes to my mind on what other anime series could be a potential mainstream series. You never know what the heck could be next in line, people.
Will: Hmm I'm not really sure beyond my Fairy Tail wager. It seems like fewer and fewer series have 30 or more volumes of manga to go on. Detective Conan aka Case Closed has over 600 eps but it's a niche show.
Rose: I think Bakugan has. It's already HUGE with kids, it just needs a little more push internationally.
I think Bakugan needs a more adult outlook for it to become mainstream. Think about it, all of the mainstream series are popular with kids and adults because the themes are not dumbed down for the audience and Bakugan doesn't accomplish that as well as other series.
Rose: From what I've seen of Bakugan it's pretty much on par with the Pokemon (the Anime) in content and most adults hate the Pokemon anime, at least in my experience. I do think it's going to be mainstream enough for adults to recognize it, but not for them to enjoy it.
What about [C]? On my review I mentioned it had the battle aspects that Yu-Gi-Oh, Digimon and Pokemon had. Could it become the next big series?
At Anime Expo I saw people with t-shirts with a [C] logo.
Rose: I haven't seen [C] so I can't comment on that.
Will: Oh Geo...I am still trying to finish series from last Fall. I can't even begin to give my thoughts on [C] because I know nothing.
The reason I mention [C] is because it incorporates the monster battles that a younger audience would love but the main plot are financial debates. Adult themes.
Bigheart: I agree with Bakugan and [C] becoming potential mainstream series as well, but I also think that they would need some more merch to further support them.
Do you guys agree that for a series to be mainstream they need to have an older appeal?
Rose: No, not really. As far as I'm concerned it just need to be recognized by enough people, be it kids or adults. I think Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! are the prime examples of that. After all anime is still a niche and the fact that a series becomes mainstream doesn't mean it's enjoyed by older people. Just look at the reaction most of them get when they're brought into discussion in most internet forums.
Will: Yes and no. The age range of shonen is like 10-25. That range is the biggest fanbase pretty much all over the world. I'd like a mainstream title that caters to 16+ because I think it would deal with a number of more mature topics while still being available to, and enjoyable for, much of the shonen crowd. However, the shonen that we know mostly cater to just teenagers because the characters are the same age and the aspects of the stories are understandable yet intriguing enough for them be ok with without wanting something more complex.
That's especially true with One Piece and Naruto since they made the characters older in Shippuden and the recent time skip on One Piece.
Bigheart: I think it's more about recognition than target audience appeal.
Will: I think those are one in the same. There are certain things that appeal to the audience (e.g. ki blasts) that are the points of recognition.
So, I think we should wrap this up. I just have one question for you. If it was up to you what series would you make mainstream? (Old, New, Canceled, etc.)
Rose: Welcome to the NHK, it's a very different and real show that I felt related to and it's fantastic. That's the kind of show that I wish more people watched and enjoyed.
Bigheart: If I could, I would have either Pretty Cure or Black Lagoon as a Mainstream series.
Will: I would go with Bakuman (I also thought about Claymore and Code Geass). Yes there is basically no action in the show but it is very smart (can't expect anything less from the people behind Death Note) and can be easily related to.
I am onboard with Bakuman too!
Cool well, this was a blast! Thank you so much for joining me today guys. Would you like to say your good byes?
Bigheart: Once again, it's time for me to bail, so I'll see you guys later! Remember AV, you and the other Whiskey Media sites have a special place in my heart! <3
Rose: Well it was a pleasure to participate in this discussion and you people better agree with me or else...you'll all be banned.
Will: I've a lot of fun in the RT and I am very glad we were able to get together and do one after the hiatus. Thank you sora, Bigheart, and Black for participating with me. If any of y'all got a question for me feel free to ask! Stay thirsty my friends.
Alright, well this is now the end of the show. Thanks for reading, be sure to comment and see ya next time!
This is mainstream sora_thekey signing off!
-- Geo (sora_thekey) 24/7 geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey