Hello there Anime Vice users! If you are asking yourselves "WTF?! Where am I? and what is this about" then let me explain how this works. A 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. Also, be sure to go back and read the comic book-related discussions we had in the past. (Here
I am Geo, also known as the Digimon-loving sora_thekey, and I will be moderating this conversation. "Sitting" with me is Roundtable regular, damswedon and newcomers, Halberdierv2 and Count_Zero! Welcome!
Halberdierv2: Hey, I'm Stefan, and I'm quite happy to finally make it after a few attempts to get on the discussion table!
Count_Zero: Hi, I'm Count_Zero, and this is my first time, and I look forward to adding my old-school perspective.
Glad you guys could join me! First of all, before we get to the hard-core conversation, I want to know what is up with you guys. Anime/Manga-wise.
So what have you been watching, reading or doing that pertains to our common denominator here?
On the Manga front, I've been reading some Tsubasa
, and for Anime I've been watching Baccano! and I just got Armitage III: Poly-Matrix from Netflix, and I'm looking forward to watching that.
Halberdierv2: I have been keeping up with Bleach and Naruto on the manga side, and enjoying the World War Arc's quirks. I also watched the grand return of Gintama, which takes it's place back as the funniest anime Ive ever seen. Particularly with some of the twists in the opening special.
My Ordinary Life (Nichijou)
The Third: The Girl With the Blue Eye
You guys have kept busy. I have been trying out some of the Spring Season anime on Crunchyroll and I just started watching The Third: The Girl With the Blue Eye. I also started reading Library Wars and I finished reading I Am Here. Also anime-related. Two weeks ago I went to my first anime convention in San Diego called Anime Conji.
Now that we have covered what we've been doing so far lets talk about the hard-core main topic: American Influence in Anime.
Count_Zero, what do you understand by that term: "American Influenced Anime"?
Panty and Stocking
First off, I'll say what I think theinsert
term isn't, just to narrow things down for me - it isn't co-productions. Animatrix, Batman Gotham Knight, all the various stuff based on Gerry Anderson shows (Thunderbirds) , etc. are out.
As far as what it is
, I'd say films and TV series influenced by American projects and properties (even if they're series animated in Japan in whole or in part), but not necessarily based on them. So, for example, Big O (inspired by Batman: The Animated Series), Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, and parts of FLCL, for example, would fit.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
What about series that are considered anime but are made in the US? Like Avatar: The Last Airbender or Teen Titans. Would these series fit in with that "term"?
Count_Zero: I'd probably give that a different term like, I dunno, Japanese Influenced Animation. It's animation generally done by western studios (with out-sourcing to Korea and China as needed - as is Standard Operating Procedure these days), but the most of the people creatively driving the episodes are from more Western countries (I'm including French productions like Winx Club on here too), but they're taking stylistic references from Japanese works, either stylistically, like Teen Titans, or in terms of narrative structure, or both in the case of Avatar.
Though, I tend to get hung up on semantics sometimes. ;-)
Halberdierv2: Well, as the Count said, a lot of shows like avatar and Teen titans often have their productions outsourced to other places such as Japan China and so on for animation purposes. Admittedly, Teen Titans is a special case in that its a hybrid Anime/Western show, which can be seen by japanese influence in expressions, Puffy Ami Yumi doing the intro, and even a Japan movie. As for shows which have fallen under the category:
there really aren't too many of them in the past, although there were cases of Astro Boy being influenced by Disney ( I think), and a few shows having actually a reverse effect (eg. Kimba vs The Lion king). In recent times, there's been more of these shows coming, mainly from Marvel, which has brought X-Men, Iron Man, Wolverine and the not-so-well-known (at least by me) Heroman.
Well, we are going to talk about all of the anime that have some kind of American influence, whether made in the Us or are based off of a Western source. Let's first talk about Madhouse's Marvel project. Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men and shortly Blade all have an anime translation what are you guy's opinion on these?
I haven't had a chance to watch Iron Man and Wolverine yet, but I'm looking forward to them. The last similar project I'd encountered (Kia Asamiya's Batman: Child of Dreams
) was a very good read and was, IMHO, a good introduction to the character for those who are new to the series, but with some nice references to the mythology for those who know more about the character. I'm hoping we'll get the same thing with these series.
Well I wrote a review of Wolverine *SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT
* and well to put it simply I think the Marvel shows so far have been two giant turds. And based on the fact that I couldn't make it through the first 10 mins of X Men it is very likely to be a turd as well. But one of major problems with those shows has been they feel like Anime made and written by people who have no clue how to plot and pace good Anime. I won't go into spoilers but when your only just trying to give the main villain a motivation in the last episode you done effed up.
Halberdierv2: The Madhouse interpretations of these Marvel franchises are potentially a good Idea if they were done well. Im not sure how popular these guys are in Japan now, but if they have a good start, I could see other companies like DC dropping some of their franchises in anime form as well. also, since Japan is a lot more crossover-friendly than the US, you probably could expect to see a few clashes between rival companies more often than a one-shot comic (Wolverine vs Batman, anyone?).
I don't have all that much viewer-ship of the Marvel conversions, but I've heard some negative comments about the character interprteation, for example, of Wolverine in his latest anime. his back story is different, and brings in characters that weren't in his mythos, and ignoring some of his classic and well known rivals. I suppose initailly this is to get a Japanese feel for a Japanese audience, but it doesn't always speak good of the original story intention.
Just a little addendum - I have hopes that the X-Men anime will turn out well. I've noticed that team series work better in anime then solo heroes. Even Shonen series like Naruto and Bleach live and die by their supporting cast, which sometimes (*cough* Hitsugaya
*cough*) end up outshining the leads.
Halberdierv2: Yea, Hitsuguya right now is more interesitng than half of the bleach charcters, and his recent role in a filler paired up with Karin again was a good tease.
Hal you mentioned something important. You said you could see other companies like DC. Do you guys think this could be an opening for other comic book stories or US media to be translated into anime by Japanese companies?
damswedon: Do you mean Comic Book titles or are we widening the scope to include Video Games and the like?
I mean any US media...
Halberdierv2: I see it only happening of the initial companies do it well. I don't think all of Marvel's Japanese endeavours have been failures so far, Heroman has reached mimetic popularity, so maybe interest generated of an unusual source might also be a success factor.
Wasn't there a Halo anime once?
Count_Zero: Yes there was - Halo Legends. Unfortunately I haven't seen it yet (something I need to rectify - it's on Netflix Streaming).
Halberdierv2: Addendum: One of the stumbling blocks between getting a succesful american anime in japan is culture difference. they have to get enough appeal to garner to their audience, since Japan isn't so receptive of outside cultures as we in the West are. Certain behaviors that we accept over here, such as high violence levels with guns and explosives and such really isn't popular in Japan, so violence powerhouses like Wolverine aren't gonna do well, and are gonna get bowlderdised in a similar fashion to a lot of animes brought over to the west.
That's very true! In a way these are made to appeal a different audience than the usual anime-fanatics.
I'd disagree on the point of the violence. Black Lagoon
appears to have done very well, and that's all about violence with guns and explosives (and the emotional effects that violence has on people). Berserk
is also violent and gory as hell, and it's also very popular - the only reason it's currently on hiatus is because it's author is allergic to deadlines (a trait shared by some western comic writers, particularly Kevin Smith).
Halberdierv2: Also, I could see some stereotypes still succeeding. I could see a Spider-Man swinging the streets of Tokyo doing well if they can get some interesting Japanese Archetypes to work with. also, Superman could do well with a similar fashion. of course, assuming they can set a solid enough foundation, the concept of crossovers can come in and work wonders.
I am guessing you never saw the Japanese Spider-Man show.
Halberdierv2: * Embarrassed Look* Nope, I haven't.
Count_Zero: I think part of the problem comic book heroes have had in carrying over to Japan is, to a certain extent, the same problems that they've had in catching real mainstream popularity in the US - the history of camp and corniness they've had since the days of the Comics Code. However, you're right-on in the resistance to outside cultures. While supers comics were able to persevere in the US because they were the only game in town in their medium (aside from Archie), so the camp only did damage to mature readers - in Japan they were up against domestic products that provided a broader range of material. By the time that the Comics Code started losing clout, and stuff like Dark Knight Returns started coming out, the damage had already been done in Japan, unfortunately.
Halberdierv2: As I said earlier, due to fewer companies running the animation and rights in Japan, it's more likely to see some crossovers between characters that would almost certainly never happen in the West. If these characters can get hyped up enough, they can make a big mark on the anime landscape. Beserk and Black lagoon aren't as mainstream in the same sense as the American characters. Every boy from since they turn 5 knows who Spider-Man, Batman, Wolverine, Superman and the lot are. Black Lagoon and Beserk are more for older people, considering how gruesome some of that stuff gets, so its also an issue of target audience as well.
Moving away a bit from the comic books. I want to talk about what dams brought up. Can an American-made video game be successfully be made into an anime?
Rachet and Clank
Halberdierv2: A video game, eh? hmm. Yeah, it can, providing it stays away from the stereotypical archetypes that are known to be failures in the East. If they want to be ballsy and go for Gainax level humor, they could do something crazy for Ratchet and Clank, and maybe Crash Bandicoot.
Possibly. It really depends on the main character of the game. The archetypal bald space marine probably wouldn't cut it. I could see Uncharted getting an adaptation (though Nathan Drake would probably get re-imagined as Lupin III
meets Indiana Jones) for example. Other then that, if the series doesn't have some characters you could really build a series out of, then it has to exist on the strength of its setting, in comparison with other already-existing series (Fallout vs. Desert Punk & Fist of the North Star, etc.).
Halberdierv2: A similar thought crossed my mind with Uncharted, but I knew that he'd have to be re-interpreted to be successful.
Count_Zero: I agree with Hal that Ratchet and Clank are characters that could have crossover appeal with an anime in Japan. Also, to tie in with my comments about Berserk and Black Lagoon, we've seen a new renaissance of anime aimed for Seinen audiences, particularly through noitaminA programming (like Eden of the East) as well as other shows like Durarara. So, games that would appeal to those audiences either through their characters or through their setting (say, Assassin's Creed or the upcoming Mass Effect and Dragon Age films) could also do well.
Halberdierv2: True, true. Although, a gag game into my head. we know Street Fighter is a Japanese property and hasn't done well as either an Anime or Cartoon. what about a purposefully bloody game like Mortal Kombat or Splatterhouse?
I think Western Video Games are more likely to succeed in Anime than Comics. I think that there are vastly different types of Video Game properties that will get the push over than in Comic Books. Dragon Age and Mass Effect are both made by Bioware but they are vastly different in their genres. Even Halo and Mass Effect are different. Ultimately the only comics that are going to get the push are superheroes.
Count_Zero: Some indy comics could do well, if the right properties are done - though I'd say that the comics most likely to be successful are the ones that are already eastern influenced (Scott Pilgrim).
How well did the Scott Pilgrim movie do in Japan anyway?
I don't know how Scott Pilgrim did in Japan. The style and the type of themes the movie and book used match anime very well.
damswedon: I think Scott Pilgrim did as well as a cult movie would do anywhere. Why people thought it was going to do any better I will never know.
Scott Pilgrim was one of those movies that broke all the rules. Usually that means it's a really good movie or a really bad movie. Scott Pilgrim was great i don't understand why this movie was better in the box office.
Halberdierv2: Scott Pilgrim is a good anime concept, but I doubt It would have enough western backing to let it happen, which is a shame, it could be quite awesome, particularly with the video game references all around.
I think video games would work well. So I agree, but what about TV shows like Supernatural. That was recently made into an anime.
Halberdierv2: It was? dang. If we are to go on that route of conversion of Live Action to anime, I wouldn't mind seeing someone like Monk being converted to Anime form, or even something like house, which definitely would be sennin.
Count_Zero: Well, Supernatural has already been licensed for a US DVD and Blu-Ray release by Funimation, so we'll see how that turns out once it hits stores. As far as other series could go - I could see a Japanese CSI anime, if only because I don't believe most Japanese live-action TV series have enough of a budget for some of the effects shots we see in the series (like seeing injuries from inside the body). Due to time-slot constraints they'd probably be limited to one case per episode but that's probably fine. Anime series generally tend to not have A and B-Plots in their episodes anyway.
I also wouldn't mind an anime based on Babylon 5, Farscape, or Star Trek as well. I think the adventures of the Enterprise C could work well as an anime - it's already got what I'd describe as the iconic anime conclusion: a Pyrrhic victory, the Enterprise C is destroyed and all hands are killed, either in the ship's destruction or after being captured by the Romulans - but they succeed in ushering a new age of peaceful relations between the Federation and the Klingons. Additionally, aside from knowing how the Enterprise C's story ends, we know nothing else, giving the writers and the director plenty of room to work with.
The Enterprise B would have a similar sort of freedom - the beginning is known (in Star Trek: Generations), but the rest of the ship's adventures an open area for the writers to play in.
Fringe anime... Just putting that out there!
Okay so I'm going to shift this conversation a full 180.
What about US animated series with the Japanese/Anime influence. Like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Teen Titans.
Halberdierv2: Ahh. Avatar is one of the best shows Nickelodeon has produced this decade, and although the art style is more for the drawings and less for the gags, it flows well, and still maintains a western feel while looking Japanese. Teen Titans a hybrid show and was made by DC. therefore its automatically awesome.
I think Teen Titans pull of the full deformity of the characters just like an anime would. Yet the pacing of the show was very US of them. Avatar on the other hand felt like an anime.
damswedon: Samurai Jack was great. Samurai Jack was also around the last time I watched or cared about cartoons.
Samurai Jack was also another show that simply felt like anime.
Count_Zero: Agreed! - and I think they had more then a few overt references to anime and manga.
Halberdierv2: Aw man, I feel bad i forgot about that. that show was awesome. Although its a bit of a subersion, although the premise of the show is in the modern world, the whole basis is off a Japanese legend (of sorts. yea, its not really a legend, but you get the idea.)
This has been a great discussion. I think it's time to let the readers give an opinion on this. Before we finish, I have one last question for you guys, if you could make ONE American-made entertainment media (comics, movies, TV-Shows, etc...) into an anime, what would it be?
Halberdierv2: If I could make an American made show into an Anime, it's gonna be Spider-Man for me. Peter Parker has the personality that should be able to work in an anime if he got relocated to Tokyo, and quite easily, I could see some crazy mix ups with Yakuza people and crazy scienitsts wanting to unleash Godzilla on the populus. that would be awesome for me.
I wouldn't mind seeing a detective series like Monk or CIS being given the Anime treatment. I suppose it has to do with my recent preferences (I forgot to mention this, but due to the earthquake and the month gap between episode releases, it slipped my mind, I was following Gosick from when it was introduced, and I'm into mystery/detective stories, so seeing one of these get a workover seems a good Idea in my opinion.)
Maybe you can slip in this to my "what youve been following in anime question" - "also, Ive been smitten by the new Mystery series Gosick, with Little Miss Sherlock Holmes and her Japanese Watson solve crimes plaguing Roaring Twenties Saubure."
Count_Zero: If I were to go with one American show, comic, video game or whatever into an anime, after much deliberation, I'd go with Frank Herbert's Dune. All the stunning visuals of the planet could probably be pulled off better in animation instead of CGI and Live-Action, and all the Machiavellian manipulation of the novels would fit better within a TV series (possibly a multi-season TV series) instead of a single film or live-action mini-series.
damswedon: There isn't anything I can think of because I can't think of any good reason to why they should be moved over to Anime. It is easy to say I want Star Wars or Blade Runner but what is there to be gained over the original product?
You make a good point dams. I guess making them into an anime would just reach be to reach another audience. I want to know what readers think. So with that we will end this discussion. Time to say good bye!
Count_Zero: Adieu, adieu, to you, and you, and... okay, fine, you too. :-D
Thanks for having me here, Sora. Thanks to damswedon and Count_Zero for your jogging of my memory of old shows I forgot about (Samurai Jack FTW!!), and hope we can come back in another discussion. This is HalberdierV2 saying: Go Watch Gosick
! you won't be disappointed. Peace Out!
Thanks for being with me on this interesting discussion.
I am Geo aka sora_thekey signing off.
-- Geo (sora_thekey) 24/7 geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey