The General Conversation Area

Girls wIth Guns

Pokémon Master
As long as AOL continues shipping to the US, I'll be happy. Hopefully through the end of their Easter sale, anyway. I just ordered 4 CE sets from them, and may order a few more before the sale is over.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
General rule in many communities is that something produced in east Asia is anime, everything else is cartoons/animation
By the commonly used English definition, I'd go with this. Is it Japanese? Then it's anime. Is it not Japanese? Then it's animation. As far as I'm aware, Gen:Lock is produced entirely in the USA so I wouldn't see much of a case for it being classed as anime. A lot of recent western animation has been inspired by anime, but then a lot of Japanese animators through history have been inspired by western animation, so I'm not sure where you'd draw the line if you used style to define it. I'd consider it a country of origin thing.
 

Adam-M

Stand User
Gen:Lock is produced entirely in the USA so I wouldn't see much of a case for it being classed as anime
But produced by Rooster Teeth and their series RWBY is another example of where people insist its actually anime, to the point that they insist you should only watch the Japanese dub. I personally find it quite strange :confused:
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Just to add, I don’t say this as an elitist thing (I know quite a few people do, which leads to a presumption people are being elitist when they say NOT ANIME) I enjoy a lot of western animation too, which I think has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance of late.

When classification gets tricky is with western-Japanese co-productions. I think a lot of people would consider the ‘90s Moomins anime since it was produced in Japan, but then what about something like Inspector Gadget or Ducktales, which had some of their animation done in Japan?
But produced by Rooster Teeth and their series RWBY is another example of where people insist its actually anime, to the point that they insist you should only watch the Japanese dub. I personally find it quite strange :confused:
That’s very odd and I happily haven’t run into any of these people. It’s one thing to enjoy foreign language dubs, but quite another to insist there’s a “right” language to watch something in. Especially when that’s not the language the script was originally written in...
 

SpideyWrex

Completely Average High School Student
When classification gets tricky is with western-Japanese co-productions. I think a lot of people would consider the ‘90s Moomins anime since it was produced in Japan, but then what about something like Inspector Gadget or Ducktales, which had some of their animation done in Japan?

That’s very odd and I happily haven’t run into any of these people. It’s one thing to enjoy foreign language dubs, but quite another to insist there’s a “right” language to watch something in. Especially when that’s not the language the script was originally written in...
That's why I don't bother with semantics. Usually, how I deal with watching dubs or subs is whether if the original production was produced in Japanese audio and if it's intended for a Japanese audience. If so, then I would watch it with the Japanese audio. Inspector Gadget, AFAIK (correct me if I'm wrong) was originally produced with the English audio, hence I watched it in English.

But honestly, it usually doesn't matter to me either way. It's not a black and white situation for me, where I must watch it in either audio and cannot compromise. I could understand being more used to watching anime in Japanese, but whether if I watch a cartoon in English or Japanese audio wouldn't affect my enjoyment either way; the quality of the voice acting, on the other hand, would.
 

D1tchd1gger

Shinki
‘90s Moomins anime
And the 60's and 70's. All on MAL. Their definition is that all or part of the production work has to be in Japan (they also include China and Korea), but also that it got a release in Japan with a Japanese cast on TV/Cinema/Online.
Stuff I have on my list that are co-productions are Ulysses 31, Dogtanian and the 3 Muskehounds and Around the World With Willy Fog (the writing being either French or Spanish). Also the more recent Mutafukaz (some animation was done in France as well as the story).
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Their definition is that all or part of the production work has to be in Japan (they also include China and Korea), but also that it got a release in Japan with a Japanese cast on TV/Cinema/Online.
I notice Inspector Gadget's not on MAL though. :p

Yes, a Japanese dub does exist:
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
I'm enjoying this topic. 🙂

Another couple of productions I can think of that aren't on MAL but are known to have Japanese involvement are the 1986 Transformers movie, and ThunderCats. Wikipedia lists Toei Animation as one of the production companies of the former, and Topcraft/Pacific Animation Corporation for the latter.

When classification gets tricky is with western-Japanese co-productions.
That's absolutely so. In fact, Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy's Anime Encyclopedia as well as Clements' own book Anime: a History both lay out in their early pages what they will and will not count as "anime".

And yet different people will unavoidably have different parameters. One of the sources that Clements quotes in that book would apparently argue that Astro Boy was the first true example of the medium that we call "anime" today, and that everything before that was just "Japanese animation". Indeed, the word anime in Japanese itself refers to animation as a whole: in Japan, The Simpsons and South Park are both anime.

Dogtanian and the 3 Muskehounds
For what it's worth, I actually rewatched this recently off a DVD box set of both seasons I lucked into a while ago. The first season is a Spain/Japan co-production (credited to Nippon Animation on MAL) and holds up really rather well, I think. The second, with no Japanese involvement, on the other hand, is pretty bad. As well as the awful, structureless writing, there are some amateurish animation mistakes like cels being layered in the wrong order, and also some serious scale issues where characters get disproportionately smaller compared to the rate they're walking away from the viewer. God, it's bad. 😅

It's not a black and white situation for me, where I must watch it in either audio and cannot compromise.
That's a healthy approach, I think. I must admit that I rarely if ever watch anime dubbed unless it's the only option on the disc, but this very afternoon I've been watching an old MVM DVD of the Lupin III movie The Secret of Twilight Gemini. The English dub is all there is, and do you know what? It's outstanding. To think that I would've missed it if the Japanese audio had been included.

Usually, how I deal with watching dubs or subs is whether if the original production was produced in Japanese audio and if it's intended for a Japanese audience.
This is another interesting point, because there are quirks to be found in this area, too. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, for example, was originally recorded in English. The Japanese credits shown on MAL are therefore actually for the Japanese dub of the film, helping to perpetuate a misconception that it was the opposite way around, as is far more common.
 
Last edited:

D1tchd1gger

Shinki
I notice Inspector Gadget's not on MAL though.
Transformers
ThunderCats
Re-reading the MAL rules were these all primarily Western shows with the animation only done in Japan. All the producers, directors, writers, etc Western based.
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
Re-reading the MAL rules were these all primarily Western shows with the animation only done in Japan. All the producers, directors, writers, etc Western based.
Indeed. And yet the 1986 Transformers movie is listed in The Anime Encyclopedia. Differing parameters at work there. ¯\(ツ)

And while Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (listed on MAL) also gets a mention in the book, it concedes that it "boasted so many foreign staff members that it does not strictly qualify as 'anime' within our own criteria."

It's actually a surprisingly complex issue.
 
Last edited:

Captaaainuniverse

Time-Traveller
Jumping in again I did say east asian productions mainly count as anime - there's older stuff like thunder cats, many cartoons in the 80s and 90s that had animation work done in east asian countries, but they were hired to do work for a western cast and production crew, so technically something that won't be classed as anime in the west

It was just quicker to have Korea and japan to do better quality animation while the western production did everything else
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
It seems like they've backpedalled on it a bit now, but just to further complicate things, there was that whole business of Netflix consciously trying to brand their own animated output as 'anime' for marketing purposes not so very long ago. That gambit looked to be about as well received by the fans as you would imagine, but I can at least see the logic in looking for a catch all name they can put on action and adventure type shows - personally at least, I feel like someone saying 'adult animation' would just conjure up images of Family Guy or Bojack Horseman.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
while Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (listed on MAL) also gets a mention in the book, it concedes that it "boasted so many foreign staff members that it does not strictly qualify as 'anime' within our own criteria."
That's interesting because it seems to lean towards defining anime as a cultural thing produced by Japanese people rather than a geographic one of being produced in Japan. I feel like that kind of definition would start to put things like Moomins in question, because while produced in Japan, the stories, characters and design are a Finnish cultural export. See also: The several Ghibli films based on Western source material. Were they produced in Japan? Yes. But are they culturally Japanese? Actually, no.

Interesting case study: Thomas Romain, creator of the obviously anime influenced but in no way Japanese Code Lyoko (and worked on grey area France-Japan co-production Ōban Star-Racers) who went on to work in Japan on shows like Aria, Symphogear and Space Dandy and now runs a production company based in Japan with a multinational staff. Will things they produce be anime? Are the spaceships in Space Dandy actually French because he designed them? :p
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
That's interesting because it seems to lean towards defining anime as a cultural thing produced by Japanese people rather than a geographic one of being produced in Japan.
And yet Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds does get a listing in The Anime Encyclopedia. The first series was a Spanish commission (based on a story by a French author!) animated in Japan*.

If I'm remembering right, I think Clements and McCarthy's criteria for something to be classed as anime was that it should have predominantly Japanese staff behind it. Although they themselves admit that this method runs into issues with things like Japanese studios outsourcing some of the actual animation work to overseas companies.

Bear in mind also that "predominantly" here simply means "above fifty percent".


*For the sake of clarity, my earlier criticism of the script writing on Dogtanian's season two doesn't itself have anything to do with the absence of Japanese involvement. The follow-up was made some eight years after the original and so likely had a different writing team behind it. The Japanese side was only ever involved in the drawing part.

Interesting case study: Thomas Romain
. . .
Are the spaceships in Space Dandy actually French because he designed them? :p
I had forgotten that fact. I'd remembered reading that the designer was chosen after director Shinichiro Watanabe had seen his work on things including Bodacious Space Pirates, but oddly hadn't remembered his name or nationality. 🤔
That's very interesting.

Broadening the scope of this, there's also big "foreign" involvement in productions such as Giovanni's Island, with its beautiful background art — a major aspect of the film's visuals — being the work of an Argentinian called Santiago Montiel. Funnily enough, Montiel also worked on Space Dandy: he did background art for episode eight of season two, one of the most unusual episodes and also one of my favourites. (Bizarrely, Montiel is not even listed on MAL, and the backgrounds for Giovanni's Island are credited to someone else. 🤨)

Then you've got character design, a role that puts the illustrator's artistic sensibilities front and centre and possibly defines the overall visual identity of a work. An obvious overseas example here is Russian artist Ilya Kuvshinov as character designer on Birthday Wonderland and the hotly anticipated (😛) Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045.

In turn, that unavoidably brings to mind the Russia/Japan co-production First Squad. That's listed on MAL and in the encyclopedia, so there's presumably no argument with that one there. The lines are definitely becoming increasingly blurred, though, I think.
 
Last edited:

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
it wouldn't be SAC without Origa on the OPs.
I imagine that SAC fans will soon have a whole host of reasons why they don't like the name being attached to 2045. 😬

I think anime will become more and more of an aesthetic thing rather than anything to do with geography, etc
This is another interesting point. I know that I would've fallen hook, line and sinker for Castlevania, because from the various stills I've seen of it, it looks every bit like anime.

Yet it's not. It's not listed on MAL, and not a single one of the creative staff listed in its Wikipedia article is Japanese. It's based off a Japanese franchise, sure, but that's evidently not enough to qualify it in MAL's eyes. I'm sure that someone, somewhere out there probably believes that it should count as anime, though.

And that leads nicely on to...
. . . as it becomes more and more popular and non-Japanese people want to make their own stuff inspired by it.
That's another interesting point of discussion. Should the definition perhaps be based on intent, then?

Does that mean that an individual's creation should be classified according to what they say it is? Does that mean that, for example, if someone who's not Japanese, who has no Japanese ancestry and has never lived in nor even set foot in Japan can legitimately claim to draw manga?

Related to parts of that, I remember once reading in an issue of NEO magazine an excerpt of a story called R.u.N. by a Greek collective called Mangatellers. It's certainly very authentic — so much so that I still remember it years down the line — with more than a whiff of Katsuhiro Ōtomo in the character designs. Should it classify as manga?

Cue a new kind of prickliness where a webcomic artist from Chigwell gets feedback on his latest online chapter. "I'm loving your manga," the comment reads. The artist quietly grumbles. "It's a manhwa, not a manga. 😤"
 
Last edited:
Top