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Observations on Animé
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I’ve been watching a bunch of animé recently—mostly bittorrented fansubbed stuff that can’t be got here yet. The quality of the writing and animation varies to an amazing degree, yet, still, certain common devices seem to appear in almost all of them, cutting across genres and directors.
  1. The main character has some special ability that they will discover only just in time to save everyone.
  2. The lead female is a princess, whether she knows it or not.
  3. The good guys’ Simple Way of LifeTM is threatened by the bad guys’ plans.
  4. Hideous monsters are used by or accidentally caused by the bad guys.
  5. Kids are always better suited to saving the world than are adults.
  6. If something flies, it WILL get shot down or blown up.
  7. There is always at least one incompetent character who serves as comic relief—and is always much more entertaining and less painful than Jar Jar Binks.
  8. The nexus of power that everyone is fighting over is always a pastoral village.
  9. The pastoral villagers always kick ass.

Now I will go find more to corroborate my findings. Yes, science is hard work.

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As far as I'm concerned, this is great, because I get to watch it with you :)

Those trends go beyond Miyazaki, then? The rest of the anime I'm familiar with -- Dirty Pair, Bastards!, The Guyver, and movies like Akira and Ghost in the Shell -- don't necessarily follow those patterns. Especially the princess stuff.

He's a wicked little critter with a sissy bar,
and he lays a patch on the tar!
Can't wait to get home and listen to this CD with you :)

You're right. Well then, there's a meta-rule: if it doesn't contain the above, then it's about badasses blowing shit up.

Actually, that's not true, either. I've discovered an entire subgenre that is devoted to stories with no point: yaoi. The name actually means "no climax, no meaning, no resolution." Seinfeld would be proud. Except, of course, that Seinfeld never delved into hot, hot man-love action that's not-aimed-at-gay-men-but-instead-aimed-at-straight-women, because apparently yaoi is almost always, though not necessarily, that too.

Oh, and then there's hentai, of course. The regular ol' kind of hentai, as opposed to yaoi and whatever other specialised animated porn subgenres I haven't heard of yet.

Oh, wait. I forgot the giant robots (the giant robots that aren't piloted by kids from pastoral villages who kick ass, I mean, because there are a lot of those).

All right, then it's more a set of themes within a major subgenre of animé that happens to be very well represented. I'm still amused, and even more so by the seeming uniformity of themes even while there's this massive diversity of subgenres.

Ah, I see you like the antique stuff. ;D

Well, it was high school that I got into anime, so yes :)

I point you to animesuki.com for most, if not all of your 'torrented fansub needs. :D

I'll have to check that out when I get home. So far I've found all sorts of goodies via boxtorrents.com.

All the tracker sites seem to be written by the same people—even the site rules are word-for-word identical! I'm guessing that there's some standard codebase that's getting passed around, much like TinyMud was ages ago, and Wangcode was more recently.

Oh yes. And if you inflict the accent egue on a japanese word one more time, you leave me no choice but to come over there and clubber you. With a bamboo sword. That can cause nasty splinters. ;)

Since when is "anime" a japanese word? That'd be like saying Quebec is an English word.

Shhh. He is in Language Whore Mode. Just lower you hands and sneak out of the room backwards. Or throw a steak in the opposite direction, that helps sometimes.

Hmm. According to this FAQ, it's "technically Romanized Japanese, which has no accent marks" and so should be spelled "anime." It notes, though, that the spelling "animé" is sometimes seen because it clarifies the pronunciation in English.

So, he's technically right. I would argue that, being an English word that was adopted into Japanese, subsequently Romanised, and then has now been re-adopted into the English lexicon anew, the spelling is really arbitrary anyway. ;-)

Also, I like accents. Macs and Linux can do accented rings around Windows machines, and I enjoy being able to use that precision. I think I'll stick with "anime" for now, though. Damn, I'm going to have to write a style guide for myself if this keeps up.

+ When shot everything blows up. Everything.
+ The human body contains 4 galleons of blood. Sometimes more.
+ There are two ways to die. So fast that you are dead before you hit the floor. So slowly that you have time to contemplate the errors of being a bad guy in the first place.

Good call.

And four Spanish galleons with cargo holds full of blood might be a bit of a low estimate for some of the anime out there.

Number 6 absolutely doesn't apply to Miyazaki. He loves things that fly and they often don't have any trouble.

But that's about as far as *my* knowledge of anime goes. I've seen all of his stuff, and the Speed Racer stuff when I was a kid, and that's about it.

Yes, it's an vast overgeneralisation. It's more amusing that way, though. :)

However, there's tonnes of stuff that flies and blows up in Miyazaki films: everything except the Mehve and the Corvet gets destroyed by the end of Nausicaä, and most of the Castle in the Sky gets blown up as well as all the ships save the pirate gadflies. Even the dragon in Spirited Away gets knocked down a few times.

Granted, it does seem that he likes his flying creations to stay aloft than otherwise. The Mehve, that thing is indestructable! His love affair with flight is one of the reasons I love Miyazaki's stuff.

"Mehve" is actually "Möve", which is German for seagull. ;)

Yes, I should be doing other stuff, I know.

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