Samples Japan Japanese Anime and Manga

Japanese Anime and Manga

622 words 3 page(s)

1. The anime Revolutionary Girl Utena uses a lot of limited animation techniques because of its small budget. To make the production cheaper, Ikuhara keeps reusing a lot of sequences throughout the whole series. For example, the scenes of getting to the battling arena and preparing for the duel change only one time per story arc. There are a lot of still images where only sounds indicate movement and lengthy pauses where the characters think about what they have just learned. In flashbacks, we often see only plain black silhouettes instead of detailed images of the characters. The Shadow Girls always appear as stylized shadows on the walls. Instead of wasting time on animating sword battles in detail, Ikuhara uses a lot of close-ups of characters’ faces and even hides some scenes behind large white roses that suddenly appear in the middle of the screen. All these techniques help to make production faster and cheaper.

2. Limited animation has helped Japanese animation studios to develop a unique style of storytelling. Although all animators use these techniques to some extent, only in Japan, this practice has created a distinct genre with its specific rules, visual language, and character archetypes. Limitations stimulate animators to seek new creative ways to express ideas, which helps to discuss very complicated topics by using very simple effects and symbols. This innovative approach to storytelling is as interesting for the viewer as the more expensive and artistically refined children-oriented projects by Disney and other Western studios. The global success of Akira has proved that animation is suitable not only for children cartoons but also for more serious content that caters to teenagers and adults. It has become an alternative to the Disney-dominated Western market of animated films. Therefore, instead of preventing anime from becoming successful globally, limited animation has become its trademark.

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3. The practice of denationalization has begun with Astro Boy in the 1960s. Mushi Pro was selling it to the US. The releasing company did not want to market the series as a Japanese project because many people still were traumatized by Pearl Harbor, and Japanese goods were associated with cheapness and low quality. The company asked to use English names for the streets to make localization easier, and Mushi Pro carried on with making the world of Astro Boy culturally and geographically ambiguous to make the series attractive for different markets. Today, anime often features Caucasian characters with traditional Western names, and the setting often reminds of old European towns. We often see a mix of Western culture with some additions of traditional Asian cultures, which makes everything look familiar and welcoming without any straightforward references to the real world. This makes anime look appealing for the international audience and accounts for its global success.

4. I think that Miyazaki’s films are unique because of their soothing atmosphere of wholesomeness. All of his characters are mentally healthy individuals who are open to other people and are comfortable with the way they live. We see how people support and care about each other and spend their days doing fulfilling jobs that benefit their communities. Every time I watch a Miyazaki movie, I always ask myself, “Why we cannot live like this?” These films show a lifestyle that seems to be completely lost by now because of the growing social isolation, unfulfilling office jobs, and mental health issues that affect so many people. The topic of ecology and the relationship between people and nature also is prominent in these movies, critiquing the thoughtless wasting of resources and pollution. Miyazaki suggests that people can live happily if their lifestyle stays in harmony with nature, and he has been consistently sending this message to his audience for decades, which makes him truly unique.

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