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Froschess



Joined: 28 Apr 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:54 am Reply with quote
I have some questions, its for a project Im doing about anime in school.. I have two..

1.Do you guys think anime needs more diversity?

2. Would you watch an anime if the main character he/she wasn't Japanese? Like Spanish, Black, Native American or any other race.


Im curious let me know!
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louis6578
Anime isn't real? Nooo...Anime isn't real? Nooo...


Joined: 31 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:20 am Reply with quote
Froschess wrote:
I have some questions, its for a project Im doing about anime in school.. I have two..

1.Do you guys think anime needs more diversity?

2. Would you watch an anime if the main character he/she wasn't Japanese? Like Spanish, Black, Native American or any other race.


Im curious let me know!


1. It would be nice, I guess, but I'm cool with it as is. (The question was "do we think it NEEDS more diversity, so I guess short answer; no.)

2. Um... sure. If it's good. I've already watched quite a few shows about such characters, though admittedly they're pretty obscure. Nadia is African after all.
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:17 am Reply with quote
@Froschess

1. No, anime is made for the Japanese audience, that is a large part of what makes it so interesting. Japan has very little diversity within its audience. In fact, anime is surprisingly diverse in spite of this.

2. If the story is interesting certainly. In this connection, given that Japan is Asian, a show such as Baccano which takes place in the US constitutes a form of diversity.
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louis6578
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:41 am Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:
@Froschess

1. No, anime is made for the Japanese audience, that is a large part of what makes it so interesting. Japan has very little diversity within its audience. In fact, anime is surprisingly diverse in spite of this.

2. If the story is interesting certainly. In this connection, given that Japan is Asian, a show such as Baccano which takes place in the US constitutes a form of diversity.


Yeah. Honestly, having a show like Family Matters in anime would be weird. Keep in mind, in that show, starring a mainly black cast, the entire white cast is either incredibly stupid and selfish, antagonists, or some one off gag. The most prominent white characters were Carl Winslow's obnoxious superior who was clearly stupid and careless, and Eddie's bad-influence best friend. It was kind of... weirdly specific in its audience. Now, this didn't stop Caucasians from liking it, but it comes across as racist in the same way that GoT can come across as sexist.

I don't think I'd want an anime about Latinos or something where all Japanese people are stuck up jerks. I feel like once you bring race into it, you usually get preachy or over-indulgent. There are exceptions, such as Nadia and JoJo's, but they focused on being a story first with nationality pushed to the wayside.

Honestly, the only appeal to having an ethnicity-specific anime would be more accurate cosplay choices to choose from.

My point, basically, is that characters shouldn't be defined by their race. Spike and Jet are Caucasian and Ed is... probably some type of Indian? Revy is Chinese, Benny is from Florida, Dutch is African. The whole cast of Baccano is mostly Italian-American, but completely diverse if you look closer. But you could honestly go through all of these shows without even noticing their ethnicity because the characters are strong enough that those things don't matter. Look at Marco Diaz from Star vs The Forces of Evil. His family is clearly Latino, but that doesn't matter or come close to defining him. A sort of "Speedy Gonzales" type main character might be nice, but it's totally unnecessary. The characters in anime are usually Japanese, but that ethnicity is pretty neutral to the audience, who can usually identify with them regardless of where they come from. After all, I'm guessing that not many people on this forum are Japanese.
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:49 am Reply with quote
I'm pretty sure Dutch in Black Lagoon is African-American, not "African." He's one of the most realistically portrayed African-Americans in all of anime. Most of the time anime tends to stereotype non-Japanese characters, often quite badly.

For instance, here are the two Negro characters in Baccano!:



Either these designs were intended to portray contemporary images of black Americans in the 1930's, or they are just horribly racist.

Uchuu Kyoudai has a rather diverse cast, but most of the characters other than the Japanese, and to a lesser extent the Americans, are also caricatures. The Indian lady has fortune-telling powers, the Jamaican has a Rastafarian style, etc. The portrayals of Texas are also pretty hilarious.
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Psycho 101
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:02 pm Reply with quote
Froschess wrote:
I have some questions, its for a project Im doing about anime in school.. I have two..

It is expected here at ANN that when you create a new thread and ask people for their opinions you provide your own as well. So it would be helpful if you answered your own questions and maybe told us more about the school project itself. Thanks.
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:19 pm Reply with quote
Froschess wrote:

2. Would you watch an anime if the main character he/she wasn't Japanese? Like Spanish, Black, Native American or any other race.


There are tons of shows like that that are pretty popular. Namely any show that takes place in a fictional setting or fantasy world. No one from Berserk is Japanese or American, they're from Midland or Kushan.

Anyways, while variety isn't a bad thing I think people put too much emphasis on inclusive representation. Sure, it's nice to see your particular culture group in a major role, put people act like they can only identify with characters the same as themselves. We should be able to empathize with others based on similar struggles and the common human condition.
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Ggultra2764
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:07 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
1.Do you guys think anime needs more diversity?


Would depend on the type of diversity you have in mind. Race, sexuality, and gender? Those seem to have a solid amount of representation in anime in spite of Japan's nearly homogeneous population. Religion? Perhaps, as Eastern religions and Christianity are more often represented and I can't recall too many instances where Judaism and Islam have been depicted. Disabilities? To a degree. Mental trauma and physical injuries/ deformities are mostly involved, but I'm a bit disappointed there's nothing focused around those on the autistic spectrum as yours truly.

Quote:
2. Would you watch an anime if the main character he/she wasn't Japanese? Like Spanish, Black, Native American or any other race.


I am going to care more for the quality of the series to catch my interest than anything like race or ethnicity of the characters being a possible turn-off for me.
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Froschess



Joined: 28 Apr 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:23 pm Reply with quote
I love the comments on this forum, the different opinions definitely are helpful about the topic. Actually me and my friends were talking about how it doesn't really matter about race but diversity is good. Most anime audiences are japanese and when they do try to do other ethnicities some can come off as offensive. I guess in the end its depend on how political some people are about anime and diversity. Either way if the anime is good I'm most definitely will join the fandom.


Thanks everyone for your comments! Very Happy
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Stuart Smith



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:28 pm Reply with quote
I find diversity only works when it's something the author wants to do on their own, rather than an expected or obligated practice. Detective Conan has Americans because the mangaka wanted to get the CIA and FBI involved in the Black Organization story, so we get Jodie, Andre, and James. Shuichi is half white and half Japanese. Likewise for any global plotlines like in Digimon Adventure 02 where they go to Mexico, America, France, and Russia and meet kids there, or in Yu-Gi-Oh GX where exchange students from America, Australia, and Scandanavia arrive.

yuna49 wrote:
Most of the time anime tends to stereotype non-Japanese characters, often quite badly.


Generally if they don't you get arguments like 'Are anime characters white?' So white characters have big noses, black characters have big lips, etc. People sometimes assume any tanned or dark skinned character is suppose to be black.

-Stuart Smith
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One-Eye



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:34 pm Reply with quote
Froschess wrote:
I have some questions, its for a project Im doing about anime in school.. I have two..

1.Do you guys think anime needs more diversity?

I don't know I'm not Japanese. As long as anime is primarily made for a Japanese audience it seems a little presumptuous for an outsider to ask if a fairly homogeneous society has enough diversity in one area of its entertainment. Now I wouldn't mind seeing more creativity in subject matter and if that included people of mixed descent, foreigners or well researched foreign locales then that would be great. However, having never personally lived in Japan I wouldn't be comfortable making judgements about diversity in its culture.

Quote:
2. Would you watch an anime if the main character he/she wasn't Japanese? Like Spanish, Black, Native American or any other race.
Of course I would watch. Its the quality of the story that is most important for me. Heck, I watch foreign live-action films as well so ethnicity or nationality is not a barrier.
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Kadmos1



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:04 pm Reply with quote
Some notable examples of diversity in anime/manga:
1. Chad from "Bleach" was born in Okinawa but raised in Mexico, so I guess you could say he's Okinawa Mexican.

2. In "Cyborg 009", Cyborg 008 is an African resistance fighter and Cyborg 005 is a Native American (A Southwest tribe). This is from a 1964 manga.

3. The "Planetes" manga (I think the 1st volume) had a panel showing a Muslim using a prayer rug.
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ChibiKangaroo



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:40 am Reply with quote
Froschess wrote:
I have some questions, its for a project Im doing about anime in school.. I have two..

1.Do you guys think anime needs more diversity?

2. Would you watch an anime if the main character he/she wasn't Japanese? Like Spanish, Black, Native American or any other race.


Im curious let me know!


The answer is yes.

Anime, in general, is incredibly stale and recycled. Most seasons of anime tend to have a majority of shows featuring their usual cast of "Japanese" characters who really just look like white people with Japanese names. That's what always makes me laugh about this whole question when people are like "Well, anime is for Japanese people so they should all be Japanese!" Sorry, but anime already is heavily influenced by western European body images to the extent that a minority of shows have characters that actually look Japanese. This is of course all due to 20th century history, as Japan essentially became a colony of the United States after World War 2 and the U.S. metaphorically (and to some extent literally) rebuilt the country in its image. So it's no surprise that anime, which developed its roots from U.S. animation such as Disney, is so heavily influenced in the appearance of its characters.

That being said, yes, anime needs to do more different things with its casts. Right now, "diversity" in anime is basically taking the exact same character model, copying it and pasting it several times, and changing the hair color to create new characters. That has worked because most otaku apparently don't care about whether the characters are deep or are particularly interesting in their development - characters are secondary to certain elements of pandering. So essentially, whether the characters are "Japanese" or "foreign" doesn't matter so much I think because otaku are mainly just interested in whether certain tropes are being utilized to their liking. But its still easier to just copy/paste character models based on what has been done before, and adding ethnic diversity would require some new thought and changes in the stock character models if they wanted it to be convincing, so the easier path is to not change anything.

I personally think both the characters and stories would be better if they experimented more and tried new things in this area. We probably wouldn't have as much recycled content.
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louis6578
Anime isn't real? Nooo...Anime isn't real? Nooo...


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:56 am Reply with quote
ChibiKangaroo wrote:
Froschess wrote:
I have some questions, its for a project Im doing about anime in school.. I have two..

1.Do you guys think anime needs more diversity?

2. Would you watch an anime if the main character he/she wasn't Japanese? Like Spanish, Black, Native American or any other race.


Im curious let me know!


The answer is yes.

Anime, in general, is incredibly stale and recycled. Most seasons of anime tend to have a majority of shows featuring their usual cast of "Japanese" characters who really just look like white people with Japanese names. That's what always makes me laugh about this whole question when people are like "Well, anime is for Japanese people so they should all be Japanese!" Sorry, but anime already is heavily influenced by western European body images to the extent that a minority of shows have characters that actually look Japanese. This is of course all due to 20th century history, as Japan essentially became a colony of the United States after World War 2 and the U.S. metaphorically (and to some extent literally) rebuilt the country in its image. So it's no surprise that anime, which developed its roots from U.S. animation such as Disney, is so heavily influenced in the appearance of its characters.

That being said, yes, anime needs to do more different things with its casts. Right now, "diversity" in anime is basically taking the exact same character model, copying it and pasting it several times, and changing the hair color to create new characters. That has worked because most otaku apparently don't care about whether the characters are deep or are particularly interesting in their development - characters are secondary to certain elements of pandering. So essentially, whether the characters are "Japanese" or "foreign" doesn't matter so much I think because otaku are mainly just interested in whether certain tropes are being utilized to their liking. But its still easier to just copy/paste character models based on what has been done before, and adding ethnic diversity would require some new thought and changes in the stock character models if they wanted it to be convincing, so the easier path is to not change anything.

I personally think both the characters and stories would be better if they experimented more and tried new things in this area. We probably wouldn't have as much recycled content.


One thing I think anime does poorly is the design of the "average" person. If someone is average, they're usually just as attractive as everyone else, but with less shiny eyes or a more understated way of dress. Like, look at Duck from Princess Tutu compared to Rue. One is average, the other is beautiful. Admittedly, at least they give Duck freckles, which is typically not considered a particularly attractive trait.

People need to stop being afraid of making some characters fat, noticeably skinny, give them messier hair, freckles, a pimple, etc. I feel like anime is too focused on selling merchandise, so they limit themselves to only one or two unattractive characters in a lead role. I've heard people talk crud on my man Kuwabara from Yu Yu Hakusho because he's not as pretty as everyone else. Honestly, that bit of diversity is what makes him great in my eyes (among many, many other things).

If I had to point toward some character designers who aren't afraid to take risks, a lot of the characters in Cowboy Bebop are incredibly diverse in their race, height, weight, and other such qualities. The same can be said for Satoshi Kon's characters, who give off a feeling of being real people just from their appearances. One Piece's outlandish character designs have always appealed to me because they aren't obsessed with making people look gorgeous. Seriously. Special mention to One Piece because it feels like these are designs that the writer made because he wanted to, not because he wanted to sell as much merchandise as possible.

But in terms of ethnicity... eh. I guess we could use more.
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yuna49



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:39 pm Reply with quote
ChibiKangaroo wrote:
Right now, "diversity" in anime is basically taking the exact same character model, copying it and pasting it several times, and changing the hair color to create new characters.

I quite enjoyed SHIROBAKO, but the designs for the five girls really do illustrate this point.
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