Debate and Discussion

American vs. Japanese Animation
Dave Mire at 2:11PM, Aug. 4, 2010
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Three fine examples of western animation.





last edited on July 14, 2011 12:09PM
isukun at 1:32AM, Aug. 5, 2010
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Only two are really examples of Western animation and only one would I consider “fine”. Rock & Rule has it's merits, the extensive use of rotoscoping not being one of them. Starchaser was fully animated in Korea. Besides that little fact, however, it also has the same sort of quality you would expect out of your average direct-to-video project (maybe even less so), plus the stigma of housing Scientology propoganda.

Early Don Bluth stuff, even the old laserdisc games (cause lets face it, pacing wise those didn't really mesh well), all have an incredible level of artistry to them. They actually kind of moved away from the rotoscoping for a bit when they left Disney. I just wish they had been able to remain that refined with later projects and didn't go back to all that “drawing from reference” as Gary put it. I still think Daphne was hotter than Kimberly, though, and Time Warp was easily the best of the series animation-wise. Having longer scenes was a better move and made the game feel more like a movie.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Hawk at 12:15PM, Aug. 5, 2010
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Daphne WAS hotter.

But here's the thing…. if something animated in Korea can't be Western animation, then what is Western animation anymore? Teletoons? Because TONS of our animation is done in Korea.

Or are you talking about stuff where even the keyframes are done in Korea?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:47PM
isukun at 12:54PM, Aug. 5, 2010
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Actually, Starchaser is kind of an odd case of role reversal when it comes to Korean studios. For whatever reason, while the story was written in the US, the animation was keyed in Korea and then brought back to the US for inbetweening. Since the key frames set the look and timing of any 2D animation, I consider whatever country draws out the keys to be the country that actually animated the piece.

The Korean studio on Starchaser also set the color keys, supervised the backgrounds and layouts and basically had complete control over the look of the movie. Usually these things are handled in the US for projects that get shipped overseas.

It's almost like Steven Hahn had no clue how to put together an animated feature and brought Hanhq Heung Up Co. in to show him how to do it. The problem is, in the end, the whole movie looks like something put together by a Korean studio in the 80's. The animation is sloppy and doesn't really follow the principles of animation, making it look stiff and inorganic. It feels more like a TV show than a theatrical feature in terms of visual quality.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Dave Mire at 12:03AM, Aug. 6, 2010
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Another fine example of western animation.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:09PM
mlai at 6:50PM, Aug. 6, 2010
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Hey Dave, that was really good, wow.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Dave Mire at 10:30PM, Aug. 6, 2010
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Thanx. i have others but i don't want to spam this thread with vids.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:09PM
GameCargo at 1:44AM, Oct. 2, 2010
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On American vs. Japanese Animation, I'm 50/50 since there are so many things I love about each. I like the exaggeration in anime because it allows for more flashier fight scenes in my opinion; some examples are: Afro Samurai, Black Lagoon, One Piece, and dare I say it, yes Golgo 13. Both American and Japanese animation differ since not all animation's are the same. There are some Anime and American styles I dislike. The American Animation styles that I fall in love with would be that similar to shows like: Justice League Unlimited, Static Shock, Stripperella, Heavy Metal 2000, and Dexter's Lab. For me all I care about is originality.

Also, in my opinion, Anime is just an art style that originated in Japan. Simply a *type* of cartoon, therefore The Boondocks and The Last Airbender could fall under that category. Now on the matter of Stick Figures…
Going through motions while I get my head straight.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:32PM
Evil_Hare at 7:36AM, Oct. 16, 2010
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I'd have to say I prefer Japanese overall, though American animation has its moments. American animation right now, though, seems to be moving toward all CG, which, while visiually pleasing, just doesn't do it for me as an artist. Also, the Japanese are better at depicting hot women ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:24PM
mlai at 9:14AM, Oct. 19, 2010
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GameCargo
On American vs. Japanese Animation, I'm 50/50 since there are so many things I love about each. I like the exaggeration in anime because it allows for more flashier fight scenes in my opinion; some examples are: Afro Samurai, Black Lagoon, One Piece, and dare I say it, yes Golgo 13.
I like Black Lagoon as much as the next man, but objectively I have to say I lost a lot of respect for it as soon as I realized that the animators didn't know how to choreograph flashy gunfights without making it look like everybody graduated from the Stormtroopers' Academy of Marksmanship.

I can understand the mooks can't shoot straight. But damn, for example that fight between Revy and that Yakuza swordsman was embarassing. Stuff like this happened a lot as soon as characters with names started shooting at each other.

Those animators need to study Equilibrium, Paragraph 78, Time & Tide, and other movies harder. Other anime had done it.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Armagedon at 2:11AM, Oct. 25, 2010
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I think this thread should be more aptly titled Eastern Writing vs Western writing. While there have been a few technical stuff that has been talked about, most of the arguments from both sides have been focused more on the writing and ideas rather than the technique (I'm not saying there hasn't been, just most of the arguments have been of that.)

I personally enjoy the western style of animated storytelling over the eastern. There's not to say I don't like some of the stuff that has come out of the east, but I find that, even if it seems that it's targeted for a younger generation (aside from the adult swim content that's been talked about), western can be just as developed.

However, it is also my belief that the “Anime” boom that happened in the 90's effectively killed off much of the western storytelling in the long run. This isn't because there aren't good concepts and ideas, but I would guess it was because it is cheaper to dub an already existing product and distribute it than to create a brand new one and go through the process to get it going.

On top of that, writing for children has seemed to become lazy. More often than not, the western animated writing seems to become just fart jokes ala Family Guy (with the exception to a few).

My examples for the storytelling aspects come, typically, from the mid nineties. I think they touch on the idea of plot, depth and creating a sustainable point that both progresses the overall idea, as well as, allowed the stories to be episodic. For these I am referring to Doug, Recess and Sonic the Hedgehog.

I'm going to start w/ Sonic because it is probably the lesser known of the 3. Sonic (also known as Sonic SaTam) was short lived thanks to the effects of Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. However, in it's 26 episodes on the air, in progressed the idea of a small group of people trying to fight against a tyrannical dictator. Each episode seemed to work well on its own (often times exploring a specific character trait or situation to enhance a character). At the same time, they progressed the storyline that showcased what happened to cause this mass take-over and industrialization.

The plot was clear, the characters were well developed and not only could you have watched it from beginning to end, but even if you never had seen it, you could pick it up in the middle of the series and quickly learn what is going on.

Second is Recess. Here was a show that did in 15 minutes what most shows have a problem doing in a half hour. They developed a VAST amount of characters, two separate worlds and created situations that apply to real life. When I watched the show as a kid i was like this is entertaining and I wish I could have gone to this school. When I watch it now, I see a lesson in economics(yes they had an episode describing in simple details how a basic economic system works), they showed a governments structure (in this case it was a monarchy), and they showed the idea of evolutionary development (evidenced in the vast difference from the numbered grades and the kindergartners).

On top of all that, it focused on a main cast of 5 kids and developed them from one grade to the next. So there was forward motion in their lives as well.

Finally, there is Doug. This is probably one of the most successful Western Animated stories I could think of. It took the idea of a mundane, boring middle school student and turned it into what is probably one of the best known cartoons of its time. Everybody could relate to this show because, regardless of their generation, there was a character that described it. Bully's, geeks, popular kids, etc. It also applied situations that we would see in our every days lives and showed it for what it really was. ridiculous and not that important.

I hold the belief that, regardless of where it was animated, the idea, style and design, really showcases where it's from. I think it even holds more water because a lot of animation is being shipped off to eastern countries. By that logic stuff like Family Guy would be considered Eastern Animation, though, it's clearly a Western Creation (If I remember right it's animated in Korea).

Anyways, that's my two sense. Western storytelling can be just as well developed w/o the violence and sex that eastern storytelling traditionally brings(I'm basing this off the shows described here). At least from a TV side… I could go even longer if I started getting into films. Which I may do at another time maybe.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
isukun at 3:29AM, Oct. 25, 2010
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There are some very key differences to how both countries approach their writing. In a way, the differences between American and Japanese animation is the same as the differences between American comics and manga. In America, franchises have a much longer lifespan. Audiences get attached to franchises more than they do the people who create them. Because of this, studios and networks look for series that are either full blown episodic or present a happy medium between serial and episodic. With kids shows, they also have to deal with last second schedule changes based on holidays and special events, or a need to rerun each series on weekdays. This, combined with the conceived notion that kids don't have the attention span to tune in every week, means that most animated shows need to work no matter what order you air the episodes in.

While you may get the occasional well crafted storyline, you frequently have a much larger writing staff on Western shows. To accomodate the various different perspectives, characters have rigid personality types based on simple stereotypes.

In Japan, audiences have a tendency to value authors and studios above individual franchises (with a few exceptions). This leaves studios and artists open to explore a number of different ideas, rather than invest all their time and money into projects that are meant to last 5+ years. They aren't afraid to have characters grow up, mature, and progress to new stages in life. Students graduate, teams win or lose their big game, would-be lovers take their relationship to the next level, people die, enemies become friends or vice versa. Very seldom do you find a series in Japan based on the idea that nothing changes, but that's the status quo over here, even in supposed serials.

That's not to say the Japanese way is perfect. They have a lot of derivitive material in their libraries, as well. Anime is also not as good for repeat viewings due to the time investment required. A Western show you can pop in a random disc and be entertained, anime tends to require a particular order when viewing. Plus, the shows have a tendency to focus more on offering an experience that once seen, loses a lot of its charm on repeat viewings when the audience knows what is going to happen.

I don't see any major changes to the way the industry in the US works compared to 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years ago. Our industry has always been about selling advertising space and toys with popular franchises, while Japan's focus was usually on selling books, which require far less of an investment to develop and print. If anything, the recent influx of anime into the American market has had more of an impact on the Eastern approach than the Western approach. In order to appeal more to a global audience, series are getting more derivitive and bawdy. The last few years have been nothing but disappointing seasons full of T&A, panty shots, and poorly animated action sequences, while not too long ago we were getting deeper content with less of the fan service. At least the shojou genre still seems to create shows with a decent amount of character development every now and then.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
itsjustaar at 9:22PM, Dec. 4, 2010
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My preference is Western animation, but I don't mind the occasional anime that comes into viewing whenever it's around. ‘DragonBall Z’ to me might as well be the Japanese equivalent to the ‘Superfriends’ as done by Filmation/Hannah-Barbera period for all I know. For what it's worth, I'd take the manga over the anime instead. The designs for each page can only get better and better, luring me in, rather than hear the dubbing and often comical subtitles here in. To be fair though, I only stuck around for one season of DBZ, watched one or two episodes of Pokemon, and… ‘sabout it.

Lupin III and it’s films are pretty good though. Studio Ghibli stuff I can enjoy without a doubt. The former is pretty funny on the Lupin character of yore, and the latter has some very illustrious backdrops and adventures to join in on. To me though, with the exception of a few, the only real reason to get involved in an anime is the heavy-emphasis on the female bosom. x///D …and to be fair, who doesn't like that? Can't get that snuck in on Western cartoons.

My friends will tell me that's probably the only reason to like anime. The women designs are often over-exaggerated there, and some of the humor can reach random levels (i.e. Papuwa) in comparison to really cornball and poorly designed cartoons back here in the States. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. The real best Western animation to look at harkens back into the 30's with Max Fleischer, Walt Disney's earlier Disney pieces up until his death, Tom and Jerry (all variants), and even a few of Hannah-Barbera's old television material.

Makes me wonder now. On an off-topic note; there's been hype over a new ‘Roger Rabbit’ film. What an lulz it might be if they tossed in the best of both worlds and have some anime in there. Considering how expansive animation's gone through post-1947 - it'd be a real treat for us buffs.
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Abt_Nihil at 5:12AM, Dec. 5, 2010
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itsjustaar
To me though, with the exception of a few, the only real reason to get involved in an anime is the heavy-emphasis on the female bosom. x///D …and to be fair, who doesn't like that? Can't get that snuck in on Western cartoons.

My friends will tell me that's probably the only reason to like anime. The women designs are often over-exaggerated there, and some of the humor can reach random levels (i.e. Papuwa) in comparison to really cornball and poorly designed cartoons back here in the States.
Um, not that I wouldn't appreciate that aspect, but… NO. The real reason is that serious, deep movies like Jin Roh, the Ghost In The Shell movies, any of Satoshi Kon's movies, and groundbreaking metaphysical action stuff like Akira have NO EQUIVALENT in Western animation.

Any significant difference would boil down to this fact. It's not about cultural nuances, the way the animation business is organized, or the quality of writing, design, storyboarding, animation etc. (- although I do feel that Japanese animation has a head start here by still being pretty good at a fairly low budget level. To my knowledge, no single low budget US animation has ever looked good. But that's just an aside.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:44AM
itsjustaar at 2:09AM, Dec. 6, 2010
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Hahaha, well, I have checked out ‘Papuwa’, and it is pretty out there. xD I mean, it's got… homoerotic snails, the characters scream in frustration more often than not, masculine female samurai warriors with goatee's, and a bunch of other stuff. It has to be seen to be believed. xD And then you got that other one with the blond-haired afro guy (I can never get that dude's name right) that was on Toonami's bastard child for awhile. xD

Now those I'd have to say are about as equal to Spongebob in some respects, maybe even Ren Koek and company. D:

Don't ask me why I bought it, though. xD It was for a dollar, as was Robotek and some Tobor, the 8th Man. Good deal on the last two.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
isukun at 4:52PM, Dec. 6, 2010
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Makes me wonder now. On an off-topic note; there's been hype over a new ‘Roger Rabbit’ film. What an lulz it might be if they tossed in the best of both worlds and have some anime in there. Considering how expansive animation's gone through post-1947 - it'd be a real treat for us buffs.

I doubt they will, what with the licensing issues. Although with the state of affairs in Japan in 1947, I doubt there'd be much to draw from. The animation industry really didn't get back into full swing until the 1960's and a lot of the golden era cartoons from Japan were lost in the war. American audiences wouldn't be familiar with anime character from that period, anyway. Anime didn't really start getting imported into the US until the mid 50's.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Hawk at 4:58PM, Dec. 6, 2010
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They could always make the new Roger Rabbit happen at a later time period. But I hope they don't.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:47PM
itsjustaar at 7:50PM, Dec. 6, 2010
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Yeah, me neither. ):

That was such a good film. They almost got Mighty Mouse and Superman in it. That would've been so cool to check out. Tom and Jerry too.
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Faliat at 5:26AM, Dec. 7, 2010
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Hawk
They could always make the new Roger Rabbit happen at a later time period. But I hope they don't.
Why not? There could be a whole plot there regarding CGI taking over everything and trying to wipe out 2D altogether!

Call that jumped up metal rod a knife?
Watch mine go straight through a kevlar table, and if it dunt do the same to a certain gaixan's skull in my immediate vicinity after, I GET A F*****G REFUND! BUKKO, AH?!

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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
itsjustaar at 2:11AM, Dec. 8, 2010
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I suppose so; in which case, both Bob Hoskins and Christopher Lloyd would have to do voice-overs or get mo-capped. This sort of thing should have been done at least within the mid-to-late 90's.

By now, if it's not an original concept, it's most likely a prequel, a sequel, or a ‘reboot.’ It wouldn't be the same without the originals back, but at least in the recent news report, they're getting the original writers of the first film back on board. I find it creepy that along with this sequel, due out in 2011 or 2012 or so, there's also gonna be another Ghostbusters and some other old franchise revivals.

Kinda creepy, eh? o.O

…Bonus kudos if Lloyd runs into Holli Would from Cool World, or Doc Brown from the Back to the Future animated series, as some sort of in-joke or jab at what's out there.
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itsjustaar at 3:11AM, Dec. 13, 2010
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Just wanted to post this up, lol. Might generate a few laughs here and in the funny pictures thread; it worked so well.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM

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