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May 2, 2013
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I can list a whole range of eastern-born cartoons that I think look absolutely gorgeous, and whose visual style I wish very much that I could emulate.
Only a handful of those, however, can I refer to as being "good". Or even "tolerable".
Having watched them for most of my life, going back to things like Mysterious Cities of Gold and the original Astro Boy, I can say with a certain degree of authority that: Japanese storytelling is a bit wank. Daring and dynamic visuals, sure. Crap narrative.
And it can't ALL be blamed on "bad translation".

There's a wide range of gripes to be had, but chief among them these days is that the major characters, those who one would assume you're to root for, across however many episodes the series consists of, are generally complete and utter dicks.
Example:
I'm currently wading through Gurren Lagann, a series which people have raved about for a while but which I'd not had the chance to watch until now (spoiler approaching, should you be in the same boat). There's a character in this called Kamina. He's an arrogant, aggressive, idiotic thug that, when not beating up his weedy little friend, instead throws him into harms way, and drops the line "Who the hell do you think I am" at least four times an episode. Which isn't annoying at all.
He's a douche, basically.
Thankfully, he dies. Inexplicably, all of his companions are broken up about this (which I assume means the audience is expected to be also). What the hell? This guy was a twat! Don't weep by his grave! DANCE on it! He's gone. You'll all live longer!
The more contemporary anime I watch right now, the higher the pr*ck count seems to be, and they're all primary, if not central, characters. This probably explains why I keep going back to my older DVD box-sets rather than purchasing new ones. I just can't watch a series where the character that gets the most screen time is such a dislikeable prat.

I've been digging around in my retro games mag collection, and found an old copy of Amiga Power. In it, they listed a few of the key tropes that will always be found in an anime. In 20 years, nothing's changed:

[excerpt from Amiga Power, Issue 50, June 1995]

Essential Anime Scene 1: A vocal conflict.
The thing that separates Anime shouting from shouting per se is the highly stylised and distinct Japanese way it always gets done. Take, just by way of example, a testosterone and amphetamine charged showdown between the evil Antagonist and green-haired, large-eyed Protagonist. The shouting must take the almost haiku-like form of:
Antagonist: "Protagonist!"
Protagonist: "Antagonist!"
Repeat at least 15 times.

Essential Anime Scene 2: Something is surprising.
96% of Anime plots make no sense, jumping from a poignant confession of undying love one moment to a hell-spawned demon biting off a motorcyclist's head the next. If the viewers, the writers and the animators don't understand them, why should the voice-over artists that dub them? To cover up any embarrassing pauses that are caused by a particularly indecipherable sequence, all characters go "huh?" to show that even THEY haven't got the foggiest idea of what's occurring. It's become an expected convention.

Essential Anime Scene 3: She's asking for it.
The Otaku WireHeads who create Anime films love women. They think they are soft and warm and yummy. Unfortunately, they don't meet women, and even if they did, wouldn't possess the social skills to talk to one, and here's the rub. Their somewhat mixed-up feelings invariably find their way into their films. To full recreate this, scantily clad buxom babes ripping at each other's clothing is good, but women being bashed around by nine foot tall blokes is better. Strangely, this too has become the standard in anime and manga.

Essential Anime Scene 4: A meaningful debate.
Of course, it's not just terrorising innocent women, you know. What do you think these people are? Monsters? To enrich the viewer's lives, or in an attempt to even out the gratuitous violence and misogynistic attacks (one or the other), Anime films MUST contain scenes provoking thought. Read the assorted works of the world's spiritual leaders (God, Allah, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, etc) and simply plunder random passages from each. Stick a few characters in a cell or on a mountain for a scene and have the spout some of these musings. Perfecto.

Essential Anime Scene 5: The allegedly humorous incident.
Despite all you hear about Benny Hill being sold successfully to European TV stations, humour doesn't travel that well – look no further than Blossom or Hanging with Mr Cooper for proof of this. Anime humour comes in two basic forms – 'Giggle, that's a nude girly' gags and slapstick. Slapstick a la Sam Peckinpah/Quentin Tarantino, that is. People sprinting into unseen plate-glass windows, smashing their teeth on table edges or getting their hands torn off is funny. Apparently. Something to do with the East/West cultural differences, we think.

Essential Anime Scene 6: Air is moving rapidly.
Be it the front of an approaching storm, the fearsome updraught of a cataclysmic conflagration or merely the shockwave of a small, tactical, thermo-nuclear device, numerous scenes in any Anime film MUST be windy. Ideally, the character must be standing on some lofty peak, fiercely backlit, maximizing the potential for flapping capes and those light flares that happen accidentally in movies but are carefully recreated in animated form. Skyscrapers are good, as are mountains. Or how about the wing of a 747, the hero stoically leaning into 500mph head winds?
  • Listening to: Booming orchestral scores
  • Reading: a book
  • Watching: Craptacular anime
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Eating: Bread
  • Drinking: Water
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:iconvm893:
VM893 Feb 15, 2014  New member Student Traditional Artist
wow. you just completely summarized why Anime has never caught on with me. well done sir. 
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:iconmew-seeker:
I have watched Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and while he has flaw, he also has his good side.
Sure, Kamina is braggart and he could probably act nicer toward other people too.
He asked for the treatment he got in the bath house episode and it was funny. : P
That being said, while the way he treats Simon is rough, he try doing so to teach to Simon how to never back down run away from problems and develop his through potential.
Despite all his flaws, Kamina is the guy who saw first before everyone else who Simon truly is and not what he seems to be.
By contrast, Yoko, while a much more nicer person toward Simon treat him like a little kid who is way out of his league and can't manage on his own.
One of the most telling scene of the trust has Kamina toward Simon is when Simon just say he has a plan and Kamina just hand him full control without asking any question.
Also, despite you saying he his a jerk, he refused to take for himself the things Simon discovered at the beginning. : )
Also, Kamina never accepted that people would live a mediocre life uner the ground, under the fear. Not just him but everyone. He also never accepted that someone else told him that something was impossible just because. As he fought against those who oprimed humanity, the others seeing he was getting somewhere imitated him and joined him in hopes of a better life. That he died like that was a big shock for everyone.
Also, they were wondering : "what now"?
Anyway, one of the thing I liked about the show was the interactions between the characters. ^^
Sure, the story was not the deepest but, overall, the anime was good imho.
Maybe it's not for you but I don't think it's as bad as you make it sound.
That being said perhaps the movie version would work better for you?
If anything, it's shorter, 2 movies of 2 hours each.

That being said, should you look for something better, I have some suggestions.
Puella Magi Madoka Magika is one of my favorite. Several people overlook it because it looks like a Sailour Moon or Card Captor Sakura knock-off. It's not. And only 12 episodes too. ^^
Gargantia of the Verdurous Planet is nice too. Super space warrior Ledo and his robot Chamber end up in a world they know nothing about and must adapt to the situation, having to deal with stuff like value dissonance among a few things. 12 episodes too.
Spirited Away. A young girl and her parents end up in a supernatural world. The girl end up having to save them. Great movie. ^^
Princess Tutu. If a show can make ballet awesome, it's this one. Also, a lot more stuff happens than you would expect at first.
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:iconshawnleroy:
ShawnLeroy Jun 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
That's too great. Bravo, good sir. Apparently, European magazines were awesome in the 90s.
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:iconyoungduss300:
I loved gurren lagann though kamina had too much of an effect on everyone for a guy who dies 8 episodes in. If you haven't watched it watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica
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:iconboborly713:
thats so.....vague
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:iconangriestangryartist:
AngriestAngryArtist May 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
D: I watch gurren lagann for the Robot. Boobs < ROBOT!
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:iconaxlflow57:
Finally! Someone like me.
Reply
:iconshrrgnien:
A good chunk of animes make no sense, have little plot, or have other weird quirks about them that make them unappealing to a good lot.

It's why I'm careful with choosing which ones I watch. I get previews and if they're interesting, I'll watch. If not, eh, move on.

Latest series was a little 5-episode OVA called Yukikaze, after the book of the same name. Kickass CG, and unless you read the books, some of the plot seems a little nonsensical.
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:iconzilkenian:
Zilkenian May 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OMG I laughed a lot with this. I'll put into my favourites XD.
Now, lets get serious.

YES, anime of these days are-always-the-same.

What is shojo? A girl who wants a boy, and has another girl going after him too, and the main girl has: powers, tail, animal-form, huge eyes, nice voice, and she's beautiful but everyone sees her like she was a pimple with legs.
Eventually, she gets the guy.

What is shonen? A couple of guys doing something to get the better of the best skills/power/strenght/whatever, and to get it they start a ridiculously large trip, os fight because yes against bad people.

What is hentai? Porn.

And then, what fangirls and fanboys do? Put two characters that sometimes they even don't interact with eachother to kiss and have sex, and they write about it and feel proud.

That's anime in these days. That's why I went into cartoons. They are better now.
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:iconangeleater:
Don't forget the fangirls/fanboys OTHER habits of writing the anime/manga characters kissing/having sex with self inserted versions of themselves :boo:(which also rarely represent the fantards actual appearence)
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