Why should I even like anime?

The art.


I don’t want this blog to be an entirely negative experience. It’s pretty fun to poke and jab at the unsavory underbelly of anime and anime fandom, but at the end of the day, I do love anime. I wouldn’t know as much as I do about anime if I actually hated it.

So why should anyone like anime? It’s a question with a lot of answers, but I’ll just focus on the art in anime for this entry. I won’t even bother to give a synopsis of the shows I’ll be detailing because all that matters today is the art.

Starting with the screenshot above, I submit Tekkonkinkreet. This movie is full of amazing backdrops especially at its full 1920×816 resolution. Sure, the kooky character designs might throw some off.tekkon2But it’s hard to deny that the background leaps off the screen. It’s filled with detail and care; it’s full of life. How many anime have you seen that doesn’t give a single thought to the world its characters inhabit?

Sometimes, it’s not just about panoramic city shots full of life. Animators need to bring emotion not only to their characters, but to the world around them.5centSometimes anime feels dead and static because most shots are so devoid of complexity. And I don’t mean complex human drama, but the mere utilization of color and lighting to craft a scene that needs little words. Sometimes, words are a detriment.5cent3 The love of movie should entail a love for cinematography. Animation is just another evolution of movies, but so many people forget the roots of film. They worry about the silly drawn out stories, the moe of the characters… they forget what movies, and thus anime, are supposed to do.5cent2You’re looking at 5 Centimeters Per Second, which I would recommend to anyone if they’re a true fan of anime. Even if you don’t like romances or character studies, forget about that. Just watch it for the love of the art, for the love of craftsmen who feel pride in their work. On a bit of a tangent, I’m amazed how far Makoto Shinkai has gone since making Voices of a Distant Star on his PC by himself and what he has done since then.

But it isn’t always about capturing realism. What animation can do that few movies can accomplish is the ability to render imagination on the screen. And I’m not talking about a bunch of monkey men flying around in the sky going pew pew while their clothes homoerotically falls off piece by piece. I mean true surrealism.mindgameBut honestly, Mind Game deservers better than a screenshot. After all, from the pic above, what could you really tell about Mind Game? See it for yourself. Too abstract? Paprika won’t disappoint either.paprika3For the carnivalesque… or just for the unsettling shots for their atmosphere.paprika

You might say, “But these are all movies. It isn’t fair to compare movies to broadcast anime.” And you’re right, movies have budgets that dwarf the anime we see on TV. But honestly, that’s not an excuse to put out shoddy work. Why must I be treated to cost-saving scenes like thisyamato

in my anime where important characters are rendered as practically stick figures when other anime can do this?edenIf most studios can’t pull this off, then don’t. Practice some restraint–exercise some quality control and we might not be bombarded with so many subpar efforts. Who here has ever felt exasperation at watching your favorite characters degrade over time because studios farm out their work to lesser companies? I know I certainly have. I’d rather see nothing than a half-assed anime.

Anime is first and foremost an artform. There’s nothing wrong with engrossing stories or captivating characters, but it has gotten to the point where we care more about voice actors and packaged female qualities (moe) than the actual anime itself. This just fuels the need for animation studios to become sweatshops churning out cheap, ready-made anime by slaving artists. We’ve lost all distinction in anime–everyone looks the same. Slap some different color hair on each of them and call it a day.clannadIf you love anime, and haven’t seen any of the movies I listed above (I didn’t show off any Miyazaki movies because if you’re an anime fan and haven’t heard of Miyazaki…), I urge you to go out and watch them. Forget about the synopsis. Forget about whether or not the main character is moe or not. Forget about whether or not any of it is even cute. Just enjoy the visual experience. A lot more can be said about the stories and characters of anime, perhaps in a future entry, but for now, this is about anime as visual art. Be a real fan of anime, not just someone screams a “Kya~~~” at the latest Kugimiya Rie tsunderekko and fancies themselves a connoisseur of anime just because it isn’t Naruto.


6 Replies to “Why should I even like anime?”

  1. The more I read your stuff the more I get entertained. I have never met or seen such an anime expert with such knowledge. I love anime, I grew up on it and plan to watch it until I grow old and die. Anime lately has been boring and starting to sound like the same old stuff from past shows. So I was wondering, besides the shows you said on this post would you mind recommending me some shows?


    List of anime shows I watch. Ignore the name, the tags, wallpaper, and whatever seems to be nonsensical. I really want to watch some of the best work since…well because I love anime. So if you don’t mind, please.

    1. That’s a huge list so I’m not sure where to start, but I’ll give it a shot.

      I’m a huge fan of Studio Ghibli. They’re obviously known for Princess Mononoke, but most of the stuff they do are of usually higher quality. I especially like Whisper of the Heart, personally, but it can be slow for most. Nausicaa and Grave of the Fireflies are classics and Pom Poko is just fun.

      Satoshi Kon is another director I respect. I’ve already mentioned Paprika, but Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress are both good movies. He was also responsible for Paranoia Agent, which I think you rated well on your list.

      Depending on how you think of Serial Experiment Lain, which I noticed was on your list of planning to watch anime, you might enjoy Texhnolyze. It paints dystopia well, but its liberty with the narrative flow can be a bit much. Not a strong recommendation, but it’s worth a try. Boogiepop Phantom falls into the same vein.

      Makoto Shinkai also tops my list of favorite directors, but you’ve already seen Voices of a Distant Star and 5CM Per Second. I didn’t notice Beyond the Clouds on the list though, and it’s another of his good movies.

      Last but not least, perhaps Freedom, a series of OVA with high production values.

      There’s really a lot more anime out there that I can’t possibly fit into this small comment section. It’s also early in the day and not a lot of anime is coming to my mind at the moment so what I have recommended here is in no way an exhaustive list. I do hope to eventually do in-depth entries on them, however.

  2. It seems like this blog is mostly about negative stuff about anime. With a few good things about it mentioned too. I think there are excellent reviews in your blogs but you shouldn’t have so much negative thoughts in your text. Perhaps try making it 50/50. Half negative, half positive. That will make your text much more interesting to read. Also the name of your site ‘moe sucks’, has barely anything to do with the site. Of course moe, is to do with anime and manga. This site is not mostly about moe so it’s a waste really. There are tons of amazing names you could use for this site. You might as well reconsider the name of the site (if you’re even bothered to). Nevertheless, the site is interesting, keep up the excellent writing!

  3. I don’t think the name is so important… In my opinion, the problem here is that people do want to watch good anime, but they can’t, since they are not able to find reviews about good ones anywhere. I mean, it seems like you mainly write about lame stuff. So we get to know about lame stuff, and still, except for a few light references, we never hear about those ones which made you actually like anime.
    Or perhaps I just didn’t find the right articles. Maybe you should just add a category “masterpieces”. (Actually it would seriously help me, I can’t tell how many first episodes- no : how many ten first minutes of first episodes I’ve seen before thinking I might as well clean up the toilet if I wanted to see something ugly and uninteresting.)

    1. since they are not able to find reviews about good ones anywhere.

      Anywhere? The last post I wrote was positive. On the Lists page, I also rank each season’s anime by my personal tastes. You could always see if I’ve written anything about some of the better shows. Of course, this won’t guarantee that you’ll find something you’ll like, but I don’t think it’s fair to say you can’t find reviews of good anime anywhere on the blog.

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