[MA-SOC] Venting about anime for a moment...

erin at pop.netculture.org erin at pop.netculture.org
Thu Mar 3 15:15:45 EST 2005

> B Smith, who talks too much and doesn't do enough work
> at work

Hee hee... I have this problem as well.  For a long time I had jobs where
I did nothing, and now I have a job where I do something, and it takes
some getting used, NOT wasting time on the internet all day.

Mr. Richard Fung - Did you grow up in Japan or what?  Are you there now?  
Truly, my fandom is humbled, since I've only been watching anime since I 
was 14, and that was only 11 years ago.  I didn't start watching a lot of 
anime and really getting into it until three years ago, but since then 
I've been watching it as if it were my job.  Which it sort of is, since 
now I work in animation.

I'll readily admit I don't know nearly enough about manga, and I'm only 
just now getting into it.  It's kind of exciting though, to see American 
publishers of manga picking up older titles.  I don't know how it is in 
Japan, but does anyone still read older stuff, like "Swan"?  The 
re-hashing of decades worth of manga to a new market is kind of cool, in 
my opinion!

> Brain has commented on this in detail already and I whole-hearted agree.  
> Nothing is born out of thin air, there are certain rules a genre stick too,   
> hence the word genre.

Alright, so, nothing is born of thin air, but these "genres" had to
originate from somewhere/someone!  Someone wrote the first giant robot
manga, someone wrote the first shojou manga, someone wrote the first
"harem" anime, someone wrote the first manga about psychic teenagers, and
someone wrote the first sports manga!  There are probably more than a
dozen distinct manga/anime sub-genres that we could sit here and identify,
but all of them had some unique origin, right?

My question is:  What was the last new genre to develop, and when did it
originate?  I get this weird feeling that no new genres have come out it a
while.  It's kind of like... well, Christmas carols.  There are a set
number of Christmas carols that most people know all the words to, but all
of those songs are fairly old, and no new songs are added to the Christmas
carol roster each year.  I know that's a weird extended metaphor, I hope
it makes a kind of sense.

On Wed, 2 Mar 2005, B Smith wrote:

> One more thing on the creative impulse.  For anyone
> who's tried to write their own book or comic or
> whatever....it's @$@#@%#%# HARD to create something
> that is totally new and different and outside the box.
>  Every fantasy is compared to Lord of the Rings (the
> books from way back when), every sci-fi epic will be
> compared to Star Wars, every robot story compared to
> Gundam.  

Tolkien invented a new genre - sort of, he had his sources too - and all 
current fantasy strives hard not to be a Tolkien rip-off.  (Or they don't 
even try, since Tolkien got it right, why try to add to it?)  Someone 
wrote the first science fiction story, too, and someone invented rock and 
roll music.  I guess it kind of takes a genius to come up with a brand new 
"genre" or a brand new art medium or whatever, and it's something that 
only comes along a couple times per century.

I think I may have mistaken or confused the current trend in Japan to make
purposefully nostalgic things (new Cutery Honey material, another Ah My
Goddess series, a Giant Robo movie, a third incarnation of Glass Mask that
was recently announced) with the very American problem of being out of

I think American cinema right now is really floundering - remaking older
films and only adapting things from other media-forms that they know will
be successful instead of coming out with more orginal movies (like, say,
in the 1970's).  I think American television is REALLY in a bind.  
Ratings are low, and the waves of popular TV shows on the major networks
are all clones of other popular shows - how many more tired reality series
could there be?  How many more make-over shows?  How many more
bachelor/bachlorette shows or American Idol rip-offs could possibly come
out?  Sit-coms seem to have been beaten to death, so the only decent
original programming lately comes out of HBO.  As if somehow, only HBO can
try new things that aren't cloning other shows.  (And Cartoon Network - 

I may have utterly confused this with Japanese shows, which clone each 
other in a very benign way and not a malignant way like on American 
live-action TV.

In another odd example, I was pretty sure rock and roll was totally dead,
but there have been a few bands coming out lately that seem to be
breathing new life into what I though was most certainly a dead horse by
the year 2000.  There are still new and innovate anime series coming out, 
like "Full Metal Alchemist" and "Paranoia Agent".

> There's a reason while even prolific creators
> like Rumiko Takahashi (Lum, Ranma, Maison Ikkoku,
> Inuyasha) spend years on a single work....it's easier
> to keep churning out something that sells then work
> your ass off on something different and watch it flop
> (like One pound gospel or mermaid's forest).  

I think that Rumiko Takahashi tells a lot of the same story, but each new
work branches out a little.  Lum is similar to Ranma 1/2, and a few Ranma
characters are similar to a few Inu-Yasha characters, but Inu-Yasha is a
very different series for Rumiko.  I've also heard good things about One
Pound Gospel, but I've only seen one episode of Mermaid's Forest (which I

Rich writes:

> I know they're a lot of cheap generic imitations in all the genres, I
> just simply don't watch them.  

Of course, 90% of anything is crap.  I'd like to think that if people 
don't watch bad shows, they'll get cancelled, but that doesn't always 
work.  A lot of crap sells well, so I guess they'll always be a lot of 
crap in any market that has room for it.

> That's why I hate reviews, I think I can decide what I like and don't
> given that I watched anime since I was 5.

I often choose not to read reviews (of anything, not just anime), because 
I dislike spoilers and want to look at new material in an un-jaded way.  I 
also know which critics to disregard - The Village Voice, USA Today, my 
friend Dan - but I wouldn't go so far as to say "I hate reviews".  Reviews 
are useful to a lot of people!  My parents see a movie every week, but 
they'll pass if it gets a one-star rating in the local paper, which is 
good for them, because otherwise they wouldn't know ahead of time not to 
waste their time or money.  I hope you're not brushing off all forms of 
film criticism, because it has it's place.

Also not everyone has had the unique privilege of watching anime since 
they were 5!

Alright!!  I'm done!  I'm getting off the soapbox, I swear!

More information about the ma-nyc-soc mailing list