General anime thoughts/discussion thread.

HWR

Shrine Maiden
Animation's a very visual medium though, and that sort of thing's not exactly visually interesting. Animation's also not great at handling things like subtle body language and facial expressions the way live actors can, which matters a lot when the "action" is just taking place in nondescript rooms. Probably why House of Cards could demand my attention but LotGH sent me to sleep.
Those are very valid points, it would be difficult to do. This is likely why the concepts haven’t really been executed.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
On a related point, this is why I've never been a big Ghost in the Shell fan either: I just find it too complex to be actually entertaining. It's why I've seen the two highlights movies of Stand Alone Complex but haven't delved into it any further: I couldn't really imagine devoting that much time to sitting through 52 episodes of it. (As well as the fact I've just never found the franchise's characters very interesting, perhaps the Major herself especially — at least in anime form. I'd probably like the version of her from Masamune Shirow's original manga better, where she was more of a mischievous rabble-rouser, before Mamoru Oshii seemingly forever changed her into the rather po-faced individual seen in subsequent outings.)
I think SAC's Motoko is a really nice compromise between the two, so is SAC itself really. It can tackle serious concepts but it doesn't forget how to have fun, and ranks among my favourite TV anime for its approach. Not that I don't still love the first Oshii film to pieces, and if I could only take one piece of GitS media to a desert island I'd be taking that (but then I seem to particularly enjoy films that take the source material and rip it to shreds and reconstruct it in the director's own image - GitS, Blade Runner, The Shining). Movie Motoko might not have the most developed character, but I feel like she's there in a large part more as an audience avatar so you can reflect on and consider along with her the concepts and questions the film asks and deals with. Oshii is certainly more interested in concepts than he is in characters though, he's explicitly said as such, and I appreciate that's not for everyone.
 

HWR

Shrine Maiden
Yeah, it's with anything as well, not just animation. I just can't get into anything that's too laden with sub-plots and characters; it's too much to keep track of. Plus, these things tend to be too serious in tone, which I just can't really do either. I mean, sure Pokémon could get cringey on occasion, but I always loved the show's simple messages about friendship and working together. I really rooted for characters, and there's nothing complex about it - it just is what it is, and it has a wonderful visual style to boot!

Gurren Laggen is one I'm looking forward to watching with you someday 🙂 The animation looks genuinely good, and I've already identified with Nia 😊👍

Franxx too 😊👍
I wish I could go back and watch Gurren Lagaan for the first time again.

I also wish I hadn’t bothered with FranXX after that ending but you can’t win them all.
 
Also @ayase - I would argue that, while anime in particular may not be a great medium for animating subtleties in facial expressions and body language, the likes of Disney and DreamWorks really do execute these things well. So much so I actually forget I'm watching an animated film. While I'm sure there are exceptions (since there are so many production studios/creators/genres etc), I think a lot of anime tends to rely more on visuals and effects, at least the things I've seen. I think when portraying things like horror, for example, it tends to look quite overly-dramatic?
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Also @ayase - I would argue that, while anime in particular may not be a great medium for animating subtleties in facial expressions and body language, the likes of Disney and DreamWorks really do execute these things well. So much so I actually forget I'm watching an animated film. While I'm sure there are exceptions (since there are so many production studios/creators/genres etc), I think a lot of anime tends to rely more on visuals and effects, at least the things I've seen. I think when portraying things like horror, for example, it tends to look quite overly-dramatic?
You're not wrong Aya, but all animation by it's very nature is somewhat exaggerated. It has to be, otherwise it looks dull as and there's no point even using it. Even those very well and very expensively animated Disney & Dreamworks characters still work off exaggeration, but the difference in approach to character design between Japanese and American productions probably plays a large part in how that exaggeration is achieved. You couldn't get away with Dr. Facilier's facial animations on most anime characters, for example - It would look very weird (and probably quite horrifying) because he has a much more detailed face that can deform in more subtle ways. Anime characters, with their often quite simplistic facial features, usually require more drastic exaggeration to convey expression. Not that anime can't convey subtle emotions, but it often has to use other means to achieve it like music and internal monologues.

Another thing the big American studios had when they were producing their best 2D animation was an awful lot of money. Also a lot of talented older animators who'd more or less invented the medium to learn from. Hell, Disney used to rotoscope real actors to achieve more realistic animation. While animation might be popular in Japan, the industry has never really been flush with cash (at least not since the economic bubble burst in 1992) and TV anime especially has to work to pretty strict budgets. So they'll really lovingly animate one important scene, but another will have to be virtually static because of the extra time they spent on the first.

It's also a matter of cultural differences - While this isn't my area of expertise, as someone looking from outside I'd say the Japanese are far more comfortable with exaggerated expression in their media than we are in the West. Even a lot of acting in (modern, Yasujirō Ozu is long dead) Japanese live action media seems to me hammy as all hell, but clearly enough people enjoy it, and those cultural factors are going to filter through into animation as well. So I think it's a real combination of factors that have led to two quite distinct styles of animation developing. But of course in the west, while we might once have been masters of hand drawn animation, sadly nobody actually makes it any more because there's no money in it.

Sorry, that's what you get for engaging someone who's studied animation :p
 
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Neil.T

Mad Scientist
I think SAC's Motoko is a really nice compromise between the two, so is SAC itself really.
It's interesting because, at the risk of contradicting myself (and of repeating myself on these forums) my favourite installment of GitS, by a mile, is actually Innocence. It took until his film Napping Princess for SAC director Kenji Kamiyama to deliver something I unreservedly enjoyed. I'd watched Moribito but found that equally as po-faced as GitS. I've never really found Kamiyama to be very adept at humour, as evidenced by his attempts at in in Eden of the East, where it just felt shoehorned in. I personally do rate his film Re:Cyborg 009, but again it's bloody tricky to follow at times! 😅
Napping Princess, for me, was the first thing of his that has humour and charm, and actually has a great deal of warmth to it too; I think that was a missing ingredient for me in his other work.

Oddly, despite being seemingly impenetrably frigid on the surface , Mamoru Oshii's Innocence possesses an unexpected warmth as well. It's at least partly having Batou as the main character that allows that to happen, I think. His character in that film is certainly more compelling than any version of Kusanagi I've ever encountered. For me, anyway.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
It's interesting because, at the risk of contradicting myself (and of repeating myself on these forums) my favourite installment of GitS, by a mile, is actually Innocence. It took until his film Napping Princess for SAC director Kenji Kamiyama to deliver something I unreservedly enjoyed. I'd watched Moribito but found that equally as po-faced as GitS. I've never really found Kamiyama to be very adept at humour, as evidenced by his attempts at in in Eden of the East, where it just felt shoehorned in. I personally do rate his film Re:Cyborg 009, but again it's bloody tricky to follow at times! 😅
Napping Princess, for me, was the first thing of his that has humour and charm, and actually has a great deal of warmth to it too; I think that was a missing ingredient for me in his other work.

Oddly, despite being seemingly impenetrably frigid on the surface , Mamoru Oshii's Innocence possesses an unexpected warmth as well. It's at least partly having Batou as the main character that allows that to happen, I think. His character in that film is certainly more compelling than any version of Kusanagi I've ever encountered. For me, anyway.
Don't worry about repeating yourself Neil, I think if you're here for any length of time you'll find yourself doing that anyway - Old people forget and new people arrive, it's pretty much inevitable.

I think I'm probably just less concerned about humour, warmth and charm :p Those things have their place, but they're far from necessary for me to enjoy something. Personally I tend to like Kamiyama's stuff, SAC and Moribito I liked an awful lot and I enjoyed EotE (though not to the same extent). Haven't seen Cyborg. His humour is fairly dry I think, but in the case of SAC I feel that fit the characters well. They're not hugely emotional people but that makes sense, they're engaged in a pretty demanding line of work that requires level-headedness, and if anything that adds weight to the occasions we do see them relax in their downtime or blow up in anger.

I appreciate SAC's Motoko as a character a lot because to me at least, she's probably one of the most genuinely strong female characters (or even characters in general) I've seen in anime. She still has human doubts and feelings, but is highly competent, reasoned, self assured and independent to the point she probably doesn't really need anyone else at all for anything (which is part of what makes her and Batou's relationship a bit melancholy). Balsa was similar, it could be that Kamiyama and I have similar ideas of what qualities make a person admirable (too much resentment and frustration in me to ever get there though I think, probably the only way I could achieve a similar level of stoicism would be if I was the only person left on the planet).

I do also like Innocence. Not as much as the original or even SAC, I felt it tended a bit more towards the self-indulgent side of Oshii's stuff, but you're dead right about Batou. His characterisation in that film is great. Also visually it's fantastic.
 
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Professor Irony

Railgun
AUKN Staff
Embarrassingly, I still have Innocence sitting unwatched in my pile of discs. More embarrassingly, this is not the first time I have posted that statement. Might crack it open once I finish Woman Called Fujiko Mine.

I'd probably like the version of her from Masamune Shirow's original manga better, where she was more of a mischievous rabble-rouser, before Mamoru Oshii seemingly forever changed her into the rather po-faced individual seen in subsequent outings.
Much as my colours are very much nailed to the SAC mast too, I'd be really interested to see that version of Kusanagi in anime form. Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the characterisation in the PSX (not gonna start writing PS1, deal with it) GitS game skewed far closer to the manga than any of the anime adaptations, and had cutscenes that I'm sure were using the same animation team who worked on New Dominion Tank Police. It comes across as very lightweight, but it definitely catches Shirow's irreverent sense of humour and it's a unique take on the IP that we've never seen again since. Given the frequency with which we see reboots of GitS, I would be entirely open to one that used that template.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the characterisation in the PSX (not gonna start writing PS1, deal with it) GitS game skewed far closer to the manga than any of the anime adaptations
So that's where your avatar came from.
and had cutscenes that I'm sure were using the same animation team who worked on New Dominion Tank Police.
Let's find out, shall we? Well, uh, they share Animation director/key animator Hisashi Ezura (if anyone’s ever heard of him before, I know I haven’t) but that's about it. Character design for the game cutscenes is credited to Shirow himself, interestingly. And the director was (nearly single handedly it looks like, no pun intended) also responsible for the best episode of Cream Lemon, which until now I had always presumed to be a Dirty Pair parody... Except if ANN is to be believed, it was in fact released four months before the first episode of Dirty Pair even aired. Huh.
 
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Neil.T

Mad Scientist
I do also like Innocence. Not as much as the original or even SAC, I felt it tended a bit more towards the self-indulgent side of Oshii's stuff, but you're dead right about Batou. His characterisation in that film is great. Also visually it's fantastic.
I think Innocence is a remarkable piece of work. I'd love a proper HD transfer of it, but I don't know if such a thing exists. Some professionally translated subtitles would be nice too. 🙄
(Are your ears burning, Manga?)

And it certainly is visually fantastic, yeah. Really incredible considering it was made in... what was it, just a couple of years? Oshii went into it with the mindset of "Decide how long you're going to spend on something and then make whatever you can make within that timeframe", to paraphrase the man himself. That's a very practical approach, and look what it resulted in.

Whenever I watch Innocence, I can't ever help but raise a wry smile at how Oshii has basically transplanted himself into the film in some form through Batou. Where the real and the fictional parts begin and end is just as fun to ponder as the same situation with Hideaki Anno and Evangelion.

I appreciate SAC's Motoko as a character a lot because to me at least, she's probably one of the most genuinely strong female characters (or even characters in general) I've seen in anime.
I really couldn't argue with your viewpoint of this subject whatsoever, ayase. Kusanagi would be more than capable of handing your average harem protagonist his a*se while simultaneously dismantling her weaponry for cleaning and maintenance, so I could never be completely critical of the character. I do also really see the similarity with Balsa from Moribito. They've both very much got their minds focussed on the job at hand.

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the characterisation in the PSX (not gonna start writing PS1, deal with it) GitS game skewed far closer to the manga than any of the anime adaptations, and had cutscenes that I'm sure were using the same animation team who worked on New Dominion Tank Police.
You know, I once watched a bit of a YouTube playthrough of that game after seeing an advert for it in an old Beez Entertainment catalogue, and I still have in my mind the image of that piece of CG artwork. I'm intrigued to see how the upcoming SAC_2045 team-up with Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki is gonna pan out, given how much of a fan I am of the latter's CG work on Appleseed and Harlock: Space Pirate. :)

And big up New Dominion Tank Police. 👌
 

ayase

State Alchemist
I can't pin down exactly what it is, but I always preferred the original Dominion to New Dominion (it's not the Puma sisters' striptease scene. Probably not. Maybe). Haven't watched either in a while though, might be time to remedy that.

I've enjoyed this thread today. Nice to just talk random anime like this.
 

Neil.T

Mad Scientist
I always preferred the original Dominion to New Dominion
When I was in Glasgow for Scotland Loves Anime last October, I lucked into a copy of Acts III and IV of Dominion in CEX to go alongside the first part I've had for a few years now. Haven't watched it yet. Actually, I'll rewatch the first two episodes before I do.

It's all dubbed, of course, so it makes it more difficult to properly compare the original with the new series. I think the dub was competent enough, from what I remember, which is good for an earlier anime dub.

And now that makes me remember the old Manga Entertainment dub of Cyber City OEDO 808 that was screened at Glasgow Film Theatre at the festival. It's... colourful — as I'm sure @Professor Irony would be able to attest to as well! 😂
 

ayase

State Alchemist
The Manga Dominion dub is quite a thing. It certainly isn’t better, but I actually love slightly-fake-American-accented-but-obviously-British Puma sisters (Alison Dowling, she’s in The Archers now apparently, what) it somehow feels so very right. And that replacement end credits tune is seriously relaxing, I think I might even prefer it to the Japanese, somewhat heretically.
 

Professor Irony

Railgun
AUKN Staff
Much as I love NDTP with its glossier production values and wailing guitars, I kind of prefer the original Dominion too. The original has a much more post-apocalyptic flavour (it’s always night, you could die from going out without a mask) that I think throws the silly humour into sharper relief. It’s a bit like the early part of Red Dwarf; no matter how bad the future is, people will still make knob jokes.

The replacement music the Manga dub used kind of leans into this too - stripping out the daffy j-pop makes it all seem that little bit bleaker.

And now that makes me remember the old Manga Entertainment dub of Cyber City OEDO 808 that was screened at Glasgow Film Theatre at the festival. It's... colourful — as I'm sure @Professor Irony would be able to attest to as well! 😂
The audience reaction to Sengoku being told he wouldn’t know a vampire if one bit him on an embarrassing part of his anatomy was worth the price of admission alone!
 

Neil.T

Mad Scientist
One of the Puma sisters in The Archers?! That's quite a thought! 😆
The Manga Dominion dub is quite a thing.
You know, before I went to see Alita: Battle Angel at the cinema, I remembered that one of my old Manga VHS tapes (yes, a VHS tape in this day and age) has a clip of the Battle Angel Alita anime in the trailer reel, so I popped it in for a look. (Yes, into a VHS player I still have set up.)

While doing that, I also stumbled across a trailer for Manga's dub of Space Adventure Cobra. This was from the days when dubbing actually meant reversioning, and Manga had decided that the original musical score was not up to snuff, so they'd replaced it wholesale with music by a band of the time called Yello. I haven't seen the film at all, but it would be interesting to see and hear the two different versions.

The audience reaction to Sengoku being told he wouldn’t know a vampire if one bit him on an embarrassing part of his anatomy was worth the price of admission alone!
Oh my god, wasn't it just! 🤣
The hilarious thing for me was that I'd stumbled across a YouTube clip of that bit quite by accident a couple of years or so before, so I knew what was coming! Hearing the audience losing their s**t to that extravagant putdown just made that screening.
 

Professor Irony

Railgun
AUKN Staff
That dub of Space Adventure Cobra is kind of sought after now, or at least I know a few folk were disappointed it wasn't on Discotek's release of the film a couple of years back. I’ve only ever seen snippets of the original Japanese soundtrack, so I can’t say exactly how it compares, but it’s a pretty good dub in its own right - the Yello music fits the psychedelic imagery well and voice performances are solid, no unintentionally hilarious dialogue rewrites. Only slight complaint is that the villain’s name is changed from Crystal Bowie to Lord Necron, for no readily apparent reason (I wouldn’t have thought it was close enough to trouble David Bowie’s lawyers).

Cheekily though, Manga did use ‘Oh Yeah’ to promote the Yello soundtrack in the trailer, despite it not appearing in the film...
 
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