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ANN on G4's Attack of the Show: Video and Transcript

posted on by Jonathan Mays
The Loop: Does Anime Suck? (7/19)

Kevin Pereira, Host: Jonathan, gotta start with you, my friend, because you are sort of our resident expert today at The Loop. What is it about anime that makes people care so much? Why do fans love the anime?

Jonathan Mays, Anime News Network Editor: Hey Kevin, we've gotta talk about your calling anime fans obsessive and insidious, but yeah, anime fans like anime because it's something different. You know, you've got a different culture, a different take on things. Somebody like Rintarō is not going to have the same view of life that Disney does. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it doesn't, but why not mix things up, you know?

So it's not just a different graphical style that they're interested in--

--No, it's all kinds of stuff. You know, you've got Pokémon, Perfect Blue, adolescent humor and adult drama. It's all over the place.

Jon, what do you say on this one? Is anime all it's cracked up to be? Is Jonathan right here?

Jon Gibson, Screenwriter: But what about the idea of the mantra that hardcore anime fans follow, that anime can do no wrong? That you live in a bubble--

--That's a good point, but you know, let's take somebody like the Governor of Tokyo. He happens to be a pretty big anime fan, and in March he said that Japanese animators are inherently talented. He's kind of like most of those superfans, and he really doesn't know what he's talking about.

But they're also good at math and science, right?

I'm sorry?

Now, Heather, let me ask you: Do you happen to know any hardcore anime fans by any chance? Are you familiar with anybody who might be really into anime?

Heather Dugger, Anime Fanatic: Well yeah, I know a lot of people who are into anime way more than I am.

What is it about anime that gets you going and so inspired that you'd actually cosplay, you'd dress up in the costumes of an anime character? Why anime?

The art style, the storylines, everything about it. And it's also a way to express myself other than drawing.

So now, how often are you cosplaying, by the way? Do you go out to conventions, do you have anime nights where friends come over and you all dress up?

I don't have anime nights, but I do go to conventions. I go to about three per year--


And I make anywhere from--

--See, that's the thing. I mean, granted, for cosplay, when I was 7 years old I was Link, doing the sword and the shield and the hat, and that was as close as I'll ever get to cosplay. But I've gotta say, I respect your passion. You seem like a pretty normal anime fan. You're not nuts about it, are you?

Now Jonathan, let me ask about that because I know fans of traditional cartoons, they don't necessarily dress up like Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny and run around. So is anime just for the superfans, or can you be a casual fan of anime?

Oh, there's no way it's just for superfans. I mean, if it were just for superfans, why would Michael Bay be doing Transformers from a 1984 anime? Why would Sailor Moon be making half as much money as Star Wars? Why would Dragon Ball Z be making 3 billion dollars? There's no way you can do that with just superfans.

Now, if you're going to call Transformers an anime, you could say all American cartoons are also anime, as well, because they're made in Asian countries. They're all animated over there.

No, that's totally wrong. There's no way all of them are made over there. Transformers was made by a company called Toei, which also did the other two.

Jon, what abot the fans, though? How do you feel about anime fans? Do you feel like they kind of live in a bubble where they can't be touched and no one can say anything disparaging about anime?


--Well, of course some of them do. Again, go back to that Tokyo Governor. He thinks that the Japanese are just better because they are, and that's ridiculous. And sure, there are plenty of fans who think that, too. But you know, I was at Anime Expo a couple of weeks ago. 40,000 people, and some of them, I probably wouldn't want to hang around with, but--

Jon Gibson, what--

--But most seemed like pretty normal people.

--What do you think, sir? I know Jon has delt with many hardcore anime fans in the past. What's your take on these fans?

I would say the superfans overwhelm the casual anime fans. I, I like--

--I don't think so.

--But would you say the same thing--let's go to sports. Would you say the crazy sports fans outweigh everybody else? I mean, you see that stuff on TV.

I'll be honest: The giant overweight guy with the bright orange and blue face paint in the stands spilling beer? He does make me not want to go to a football game. With that said--

--Well, that's your loss.

--I gotta ask Heather, do you think the superfans are maybe scaring the casual fans from getting into anime?

Well, sometimes I think that they do. But if they actually sit down and talk with them, then they'll find out that they're just normal like them.

They're just normal, they just like wearing the costumes because they're really into something that their friends are.

Yeah, and they want to promote the show. They want to get people interested.

Now, Jonathan--

--We shouldn't delude ourselves. There are plenty of crazies out there. But you know, just like sports fans, most anime fans are pretty normal people, I think.

But you would pick anime over any other type of animation any day, right?

No way. I'm a Lion King fan. I love Pixar. I've been to every single Pixar film, and I loved them. Why would I ever pick anime over anything?

All right, it's a good point. It seems like if you're a fan of it, obviously that's okay. If you're a superfan, might be a little too much for the casual viewer.

The anime debate will obviously go on and on, but right now I've gotta thank Jon, Heather, and Jonathan for joining us at the digital water cooler. Thank you, guys, for keeping us in The Loop.

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