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dewlwieldthedarpachief



Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 750
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:25 am Reply with quote
I look at a show like Madoka Magica (which ANN was raving about) and see a viciously manipulative story where young girls run around in outfits that would make strippers blush, engage in pointless magic battles, and then are denied escape from the story even when they (SPOILERS REMOVED). And don't forget to have them run around naked some as well- fans love that. If this was a live action show with 14 year old-girls performing, it would probably be described as child abuse.

If you step away from the hate-o-rade for a minute, you might wonder why such a "vicious" thing was championed by ANN staff that have spoken out on numerous occasions against content that abhorrently exploits the fairer sex for entertainment.
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kakitamike



Joined: 24 Jul 2007
Posts: 183
Location: Akron, OH

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:29 am Reply with quote
While I didn't hate the show, I don't get why it was championed by so many people. It was a story that's been told before and felt phoned in starting with episode 10.

I like that he lumped it in with lost property, strike witches and bund. Not because I agree, but I figured it would make for good comment reading material.

Also, it's not exactly open minded to dump hate on this guy because he doesn't like a show you liked.
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swhitey



Joined: 25 Apr 2012
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:37 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Then we have series with characters who I believe show symptoms, with recent examples such as the casts of Haganai and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, Mei Tachibana of Suki-tte Ii na yo, and especially Mashiro Shiina from Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo...


I don't think I can quite understand how that even crossed their mind, especially Mei. While there are plenty of characters who act like morons or socially inept, I can't see how they show symptoms of Autism or other mental disorders. Shiina has had everything done for her and therefore knows how to do nothing and Mei has never had friends and therefore doesn't know how to make them or interact at all with people socially. I agree with their statement about a lack of focus on mental disorders in anime, but disagree with all their "examples" of these ideas.
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dewlwieldthedarpachief



Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 750
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:43 am Reply with quote
kakitamike wrote:
While I didn't hate the show, I don't get why it was championed by so many people. It was a story that's been told before and felt phoned in starting with episode 10.

I like that he lumped it in with lost property, strike witches and bund. Not because I agree, but I figured it would make for good comment reading material.

Also, it's not exactly open minded to dump hate on this guy because he doesn't like a show you liked.


Right, I'm not open minded and I dump hate because I have a response that is critical. And Madoka has so been done already. Next.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 12853
Location: NZL

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:59 am Reply with quote
Third Questioner wrote:
I've watched anime since I got into DVDs in the 90's. I'm disappointed to see how the rise of web streaming has all but eliminated the DVD/Blu-Ray purchasing aspect of calling one's self an “anime fan”, but I'm far more worried about what I see as the collateral damage being done to anime in general over the last half decade or so. The shift to web-based delivery of content, including anime, has shifted the mindsets of consumers to viewing all content as something you “consume” rather than “collect”. I see this emerging in what types of shows are offered up for sale now as well as what gets streamed. Complicated stories and character-driven plotlines are out- girls in skimpy outfits are in.


Dude, are you telling me that the 80s and 90s didn't have girls in skimpy costumes? Because I could literally bury you in an avalanche of titles from those two decades which featured exactly that; girls in skimpy costumes.

Complicated/intricate storylines are still around; just look at From the New World, PSYCHO-PASS or Zetsuen no Tempest.

And if you think that you have to own Anime to be a fan of it you need to drastically adjust your thinking before you get rightfully schooled.

Third Questioner wrote:
What was the cause of the shift? I began to wonder. By chance I then watched the Genshiken series, and got some insight into how a good number of Japanese fans like to use doujinshi to basically “consumerize” anime by taking the characters and replacing plots with nudity and sex. Then it hit me: most of the anime I see offered up in the US now has skipped the first step of making characters that get converted to doujinshi - the anime itself has become its own doujinshi. No girl too young to have giant boobs and no clothes. Just give 'em what they want.


And this wasn't also the case back in earlier decades?

If you're only looking at stuff like Strike Witches and Queen's Blade then of course the situation is going to look dire. But did you know that Natsume Yuujinchou is coming out in North America? Did you watch Chihayafuru on CrunchyRoll when it was streaming? For every bottom-of-the-barrel fanservice show in a particular season I can name two or even three shows of very impressive quality, let alone the numerous titles in the middle.

Third Questioner wrote:
I look at a show like Madoka Magica (which ANN was raving about) and see a viciously manipulative story where young girls run around in outfits that would make strippers blush, engage in pointless magic battles, and then are denied escape from the story even when they (SPOILERS REMOVED). And don't forget to have them run around naked some as well- fans love that. If this was a live action show with 14 year old-girls performing, it would probably be described as child abuse.


Wow, look at you, so cool and edgy by hating on a great show without even bothering to understand it.[/sarcasm] Also, if you think those costumes would make a stripper blush (which you, uh, do), then you've obviously only read about strippers in books and never seen a photo of one. You do realise that a typical stripper shows more skin on one leg than any of the PMMM girls did on their entire bodies, right?

Third Questioner wrote:
Most of these new anime are built to be consumed once, remembered briefly, then forgotten as the next series starts streaming. No need to think about characters or plots because no one watching it will ponder the show long enough to make that kind of writing effort pay off. The same thing can be seen if you browse the new releases of licensed anime at the stores - Heaven's Lost Property, Strike Witches, Sekirei, Vampire Bund. If the latest anime tells us anything, it's that in the near future clothing will be a rare item, at least for girls.


This is true of lots of Anime, but that's what you get with so many series airing at once; many of them are just forgettable one-cour shows designed to boost Manga or VN sales. But there are numerous series each year that were made with a lasting legacy in mind. You can really see the effort and attention to detail and the sheer passion that went into some of the series. They might not always be popular but good timeless series are being made each and every year.

Third Questioner wrote:
Maybe with the collapse of the consumer demand to own anime the the publishers found that only the shows featuring regular doses of titillation could be counted on to make a profit, so that's about all that gets licensed. But even when I look at what is getting released in Japan it feels like the inmates are running the asylum now: too many pointless recycled plots looking for excuses to blend up a mix of sci-fi mumbo-jumbo, explosions, and short skirts. Just give 'em what they want.


Look, I don't like how many fanservice shows are being made either. I don't like it that Infinite Stratos can be a huge hit and yet Wandering Son is basically ignored by the Japanese consumers. But at least I can see past them and enjoy the genuinely good shows which are being made each and every season. 2012 was a great year for quality Anime and 2011 was even better. Not every show is crap; there are a vast quantity that are plainly not crap. Some of them are even amazing. You're so busy squawking that the world is ending that you fail to realise (or simply don't want to know) that the type of show you're complaining about constitutes a minority of the ones that are broadcast.
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thenix



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:08 am Reply with quote
Did someone just use Madoka as a non-collectable and shallow storied anime series? It has DVD/BRD to buy and they sell for $90 a pop for special edition, it's super collectable. Also the story is rather serious and deep. I can't say this person actually watched the series.
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here-and-faraway



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1192
Location: Sunny California

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:10 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Then we have series with characters who I believe show symptoms [of being on the Spectrum]....Now why is that?


I've worked with kids on the Autism spectrum for 13 years and I agree that there is a sort of Autistic "archetype" in a lot of anime series. Characters like Rei (Evangelion), Noel (Sora no Woto), Rui Hanazawa (Hana Yori Dango), and to a lesser extent comedic characters like Karasuma (School Rumble) are just a few examples.

These characters have genuine emotions and feelings, but don't know how to express them nor read social cues. They seem odd and are often fascinated/fixated on one particular subject or object (for example Noel fixing machines). These are all red flags that someone could be on the Autistic Spectrum. The characters are usually very bright too, which is stereotypically associated with Autism.

I know the person who wrote the question was asking more about why anime/manga doesn't seriously explore these issues more. I just want to validate his/her feelings that there is something there to begin with. Because there is.

Whether or not the writers are consciously creating Autistic characters is a whole other can of worms. But I argue that the archetype is definitely there.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 12853
Location: NZL

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:18 am Reply with quote
Reading this week's question, I have decided to send in a top ten list. Hopefully it gets featured in next week's column.

thenix wrote:
Did someone just use Madoka as a non-collectable and shallow storied anime series? It has DVD/BRD to buy and they sell for $90 a pop for special edition, it's super collectable. Also the story is rather serious and deep. I can't say this person actually watched the series.


Probably watched the first episode and then dropped it, although it doesn't explain why they thought that the costumes were more revealing than a stripper's outfit. Dunno how it's possible to be that hilariously wrong.
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EireformContinent



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Łódź/Poland (The Promised Land)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:34 am Reply with quote
here-and-faraway I wonder if authors you mentioned actually meant the characters to have any specific disorder, or just put some observations, without wondering about reasons. Reading one of my favourite books I had a strong impression that heroine had eating disorder caused by insecurity and perfectionism, but when I had a chance to ask author about that, she denied that she meant to describe it, but rather based her characteristic on person from real life, whose problems were never properly diagnosed.

Mental disorders (and generally all disabilities) are even greater taboo in Japan than in West. Even in our culture they are usually flattered into some "cool" features and it's hard to find a piece of entertainment that manage to deal with them in more complex way.
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penguintruth



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 6097
Location: Penguinopolis

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:42 am Reply with quote
Quote:
So I'll put this to you: how weird would it be if Dragon Ball Z took a time out to explain to the audience that Goten had Asperger's?


Well, I'm not sure about Goten, but his father certainly has a host of issues. Some of them likely stemming from radical, irreversible brain damage as an infant.

Just part of his charm, I guess. Laughing
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here-and-faraway



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1192
Location: Sunny California

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:11 am Reply with quote
EireformContinent wrote:
here-and-faraway I wonder if authors you mentioned actually meant the characters to have any specific disorder, or just put some observations, without wondering about reasons.


I agree. I don't think the writers thought, "I'm going to have an autistic kid in this story." That said, I think there's a preoccupation with characters who could easily be labeled as "on the spectrum" in many series.
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Utsuro no Hako



Joined: 18 May 2012
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:12 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Complicated stories and character-driven plotlines are out- girls in skimpy outfits are in.


You say that as though Faye Valentine went around in a business suit and Rei Ayanami's plugsuit wasn't the basis for female outfits in many of the series you decry.

And let's not forget the thing about '90s anime that the general public still remembers -- tentacles. Lots and lots of tentacles doing nasty, nasty things to girls. I'll take Strike Witches over any tentacle rape anime any day, thankyouverymuch.
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RyanSaotome



Joined: 29 Mar 2011
Posts: 4210
Location: Towson, Maryland

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:13 am Reply with quote
I think a lot of those "Autistic characters" aren't even considered autistic by their creators. The Rei archetype has just become incredibly popular since she came around, and many otaku demand those "Stoic, emotionless" kinda characters since its a popular form of moe.
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rizuchan



Joined: 11 Mar 2007
Posts: 326
Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:44 am Reply with quote
Sexism and such in Anime is an interesting topic to me. You can't really deny that many of the elements considered sexist to us show up in anime without the writers batting an eye (Ignoring fanservice shows even, I'm talking about plot points like in Death Note where female characters give up everything to be with a guy. Or remembering how annoyed I was when I first watched Naruto back in the day and all the girls were useless.) and yet, they have works with strong, female lead characters.

I've read various essays on how popular books and movies for kids like Harry Potter or Disney movies always have a male lead. There might be a powerful female in the group, but she's never THE main character. Supposedly the reasoning behind this is that girls will gladly watch a story with male main characters, but boys automatically assume that any story with a female lead is "for girls" and won't watch it, so it's more marketable to make male characters. (This always makes me think of Nelvana's debacle with Card Captor Sakura to try to make Li look more like a main character to capture the male audience.) And what was the last Hollywood move you saw that was not specifically targeted toward women that had a strong, female lead character?

So what got me thinking about all of this was that I just started reading the Shakugan no Shana manga. I was amazed that the main character was a such a powerful female character in a story probably written for middle school boys. It's quite a popular story and Shana is a well-liked character, so it worked. Miyazaki's films are an obvious example of stories written about strong girls that are enjoyed by everyone. And there are many more like this.

Of course, you might argue "But all of these so called 'powerful girl characters' are cute/sexy for the purpose of fulfilling otaku fantasies. So they're still plenty sexist!" But I think that's irrelevant. Think of the times Hollywood has tried to make a movie about a strong, sexy female character. Catwoman? How did that go? I think the difference is that many of the strong females in anime have plenty of personality so they don't become "just a sex object". Also, Main male characters, (Aside from the generic, brown-haired "dating sim guy") in both anime and movies are usually pretty attractive themselves. Having only attractive people in media is another issue entirely Laughing

So I've been wondering, what is it about the audience of anime that is more accepting of strong, female lead characters? Or is it that Hollywood and TV has had it all wrong all this time, and really audiences of both genders would gladly accept a female in a lead action role?
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RyanSaotome



Joined: 29 Mar 2011
Posts: 4210
Location: Towson, Maryland

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:56 am Reply with quote
rizuchan wrote:
So I've been wondering, what is it about the audience of anime that is more accepting of strong, female lead characters? Or is it that Hollywood and TV has had it all wrong all this time, and really audiences of both genders would gladly accept a female in a lead action role?


These lead female characters are generally made attractive to appeal to otaku who like cute girls. Its quite odd in Japan how casts full of mainly female characters generally have more male fans, while mainly male characters have mainly female fans. At least among the otaku, they place much more significance on the attractiveness of the characters and thats what draws them to it.

Lets just say if something had a lead female who wasn't a cute girl or had big breasts, I very doubt the male audiences would care much about it.
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