Cowboy Bebop Anime Writer Expresses Frustrations With Industry

By Ishaan . July 24, 2010 . 5:16pm

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At a conference titled “Cultural Typhoon” held at Komazawa University in July 2010, story writer for anime series such as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, Dai Sato, expressed some of his concerns regarding the medium.

 

Issues with sub-contracting

 

One of the practices Sato takes issue with is outsourcing work for “in-between” frames of animation to smaller external contractors (often in China and Korea). Outsourcing and contracting work to external studios, Sato feels, leads to a loss in consistency, as sub-contractors are often unaware of the projects they are working on. He uses Macross as an example, where the “continuity between images was awful” and laments that, despite this, the industry has been following the same practice ever since.

 

For anyone that’s curious, this is a common practice in the games industry, too. Very often, smaller outsource studios are contracted to develop artwork or environments for games without majority of the staff ever being aware of the product they’re working on until it ships.

 

An extension of this problem, in Sato’s views, is that sub-contractors aren’t invested in their work at all, which he sees as the single largest problem plaguing the anime industry today. At the same time, however, he feels Japan can no longer claim anime as their own creation either. He accuses the anime industry of refusing to teach these Asian sub-contractors the skills required to craft their own stories because it could potentially damage the position of Japan in anime production.

 

No respect for stories

 

Switching gears, Sato also felt that the Japanese audience lacks a certain respect for storytelling. He laments the lack of an Ergo Proxy (for which he penned the story) DVD boxset in Japan, whereas the series received boxsets in other nations around the world. He went on to mention that Eureka Seven was dismissed in Japan as a clone of Neon Genesis Evangelion based on certain similarities in character designs (referring specifically to Rei Ayanami and Eureka).

 

Sato questions whether the audience is even interested in taking a deeper look into stories that creators put out. He feels the general audience is losing its ability to understand the meaning behind narratives that they experience. That works with a focus on plot and narrative are passed up in favour of those with an emphasis on cute characters and no real plot progression. As a result, he says, writers such as himself are finding it harder to find work, even as “Hollywood rips off our ideas.”

 

Anime is overly focused on materialistic escapism in his views, and no effort is being made to draw parallels with real-world problems and issues.

 

The future of anime

 

At a time like this, Sato says, the doujinshi (indie) scene is a source of inspiration. Since manga requires less staff to create something original than anime, he feels it is the last bastion of creativity within the industry. “Manga is the last hold out,” he said to his audience. “If that is lost, there will be no more anime.”

 

Personally, he feels that anime will die out in Japan in a few decades, but he wishes to continue working on it to prevent this outcome. He added that he has never had the freedom to work on something he wanted to. All the series he has written were shaped by commercial and professional restraints, and that he had to work to make them interesting within those constraints.


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  • JustaGenericUser

    Executive Meddling is quite a killer, huh?

    Also, in before we get 50 comments mitching about moe.

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    The hell!? Eureka Seven a clone of Evangelion?! WTF? that is like saying “death note is a clone of dragon ball durr”

    Eureka seven is one of my favorites animes out there, it has lots of fantasy, but the story is really great, and the characters cool AND DAMN it was so good, i cant belive people compare it to Evangelion… and eureka with rei… lololol

    Anyway i dont think anime will die in japan, but the quality of stories is dropping, a lot…

    • holyPaladin

      Eureka interesting at first but I don’t like when it’s near the end…Dunno why, maybe because Scub Coral thing and Charles & Ray ****Eureka =/= Rei for real!Rei <3 Sry Eureka 7 fans, I like Eva more than Eureka 7Yap nowadays, anime focus on fanservice and moe which is :(

      • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

        lol yeah, the ending was kinda crazy, but i still liked everythin, renton and his narrations were pretty cool :P.

        Heh and i respect that you like Evangelion more than Eureka 7, but if you saw both, then you know how stupid is to compare them -.-”

      • Guest

        “nowadays, anime focus on fanservice and moe which is :(”

        That alone is what made me quit watching and only watch those which are recommended to me by specific people who know me well enough to not just recommend what they think would be good…sigh. I wish it wasn’t this way…

  • thaKingRocka

    The short version is this: I agree with nearly everything he’s said. Thumbs up.

    “All the series he has written were shaped by commercial and professional restraints, and that he had to work to make them interesting within those constraints.”

    If this is true, then leave the shackles on … or take them off … it doesn’t matter. This man writes the only anime I’ve given a damn about in the last ten years. I’ve been consistently disappointed by vapid, inconsequential, incomprehensible, thoroughly predictable and soulless anime series in recent years. I was not disappointed in CB or SC. I loved them both.

    I agree wholeheartedly with his point of the connecting frames artists having no vested interest in the work, and companies need to start letting quality bring in the revenue by allowing those who care to complete their work. If you allow something the time it needs to develop, you will have a quality product that will earn for the rest of time. Why are so many business people incapable of seeing beyond the limited frames of earnings quarters? The Wizard of Oz has been earning for over 70 years despite initially slow box office sales. Starcraft has been making money consistently for over 10 years. These were quality works made by people who cared and they continue to earn well.

    I have to say though that his point about teaching storytelling doesn’t seem valid to me. “He accuses the anime industry of refusing to teach these Asian sub-contractors the skills required to craft their own stories because it could potentially damage the position of Japan in anime production.” That sounds like some strange bleeding heart stuff there to me, but it also reeks of a sense of cultural superiority. If a culture has literacy, it has storytelling. Asian sub-contractors have stories of their own to tell with storytelling sensibilities of their own. What they need to do is embrace their own, not seek to emulate Japan.

    • ShinGundam

      “I’ve been consistently disappointed by vapid, inconsequential, incomprehensible, thoroughly predictable and soulless anime series in recent years.”
      Man that is like PPPKP Combo.

      • thaKingRocka

        they’ve been hitting me with that combo of misery for years.

  • vrakanox

    Great read.

  • RupanIII

    OMG! Thank you for posting this! “Sato questions whether the audience is even interested in taking a deeper look into stories that creators put out. He feels the general audience is losing its ability to understand the meaning behind narratives that they experience. That works with a focus on plot and narrative are passed up in favour of those with an emphasis on cute characters and no real plot progression. As a result, he says, writers such as himself are finding it harder to find work, even as “Hollywood rips off our ideas.”Anime is overly focused on materialistic escapism in his views, and no effort is being made to draw parallels with real-world problems and issues.”THIS. THISTHISTHIS. I knew my friend and I weren’t just being curmudgeons. We talk a lot about how STORY and deeper meaning in anime has gone by the wayside compared to the 80s and 90s. I think I’ve rambled about this before on Siliconera too so bear with me if this sounds familiar haha. You never see the Bebops, the Evangelions, the Akiras, Galaxy Express, etc etc anymore. Superficial moe has usurped everything. I don’t mind moe as a (one of many) genre, but it’s like it dominates the whole industry now, where most new anime are geared directly toward the type of audience that goes out for tea with their Love+ body pillow. Also props to Sato for calling out Hollywood’s creative bankruptcy. I’m going to borrow/paraphrase something I said on Siliconera last week about Sakaguchi not being able to find work in gaming- it really demonstrates that the industry has changed when someone who wrote for Cowboy Bebop has trouble finding work. As my friend said it’s like all the storytellers just disappeared from the industry, so it’s nice to see someone in the industry actually addressing this.

    edit. I think too that somewhere along the way creators stopped viewing the medium in terms of potential artistic expression or storytelling and instead simply consumption/product. Perhaps creators gradually lost power to execs/money people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AllenSmithee Samuel Smithee Bateman

      And all these reasons are why people look at anime with disrespect now. They don’t realize Lucky Star isn’t Macross Plus: Movie Edition, because all they see are big eyes and silly tropes that don’t even exist in the good stuff.

      Macross Plus being the good one ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

        Lucky Star was supposed a slice-of-life manga/anime, a genre that’s supposed to make you think, “Oh I remember what it was being like that.” Take the character Konata for example. She’s a big otaku and isn’t afraid of hiding that fact. Otakus watching her were supposed to relate to her. Instead they had wet dreams about her and her friends.

        • cowcow

          In other words fail.

          I only really watch anime from the 70s 80s and early 90s anyway

          • Aoshi00

            Sounds to me like people who only claim to watch movies from the 60′s. There was good anime back then and there iss good anime now, there were good movies back then and there are good movies now. Just like there was crappy anime/movies back then and there’s crappy anime/movies now, you just need to choose what good shows/movies to watch. You don’t hear Ebert complaining there’s nothing good coming out of Hollywood now.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

            I’m not sure why but he’s replied to a majority of my comments in other articles in the same manner. I don’t want to rebutt him just for him to have some other, for lack of a better word, rude remark.

          • http://www.facebook.com/AllenSmithee Samuel Smithee Bateman

            Who me?

          • EvilAkito

            Definitely agree. Not every contemporary anime is a shallow, slice of life moe comedy meant to attract viewers with excessive cuteness. Yet for some reason, that’s all anyone seems to notice. It’s a shame that many people are missing out on enjoyable shows just because they refuse to take a closer look and filter out the shows that don’t interest them.

      • RupanIII

        lol, I should rewatch Macross Plus, I haven’t in years. Information High is such a great song

      • WonderSteve

        Man..Macross Plus is probably the best Macross out there.

        Looking at Macross Frontier…sigh…what did they do to my beloved Macross?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

        I was talking about cowcow.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6ZW7WOPHHL7FBXV3NITCF2433E Greg

    Yeah, anime is becomig pretty terrible thanks to the recent waves of androgeny and moeblobs.

  • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

    The complete article is quite an interesting read. I 100% agree with this guy, and he speaks the truth. I don’t mind moe stuff, I mean even I need fluff and something light in between the heavy stuff… but I don’t want the entire market to be dominated by them, and preventing a lot of more “difficult” stuff from ever seeing light.

    • Kibbitz

      Welcome to my life, where super robot anime has been tossed out in favour of *kewl* stuff like Gundam =P Heck, I don’t even see attempts at anything else similar to VOTOMS and Dougram (I’m aware of the newer VOTOMS OVA, but it tastes more like franchising rather)

      • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

        I think Gundam is only a mild offender, often selling gunpla is an objective, but at least Gundam tries to tells a story instead of being purely “atmospheric”. Probably the newer Gundam series have a lot of flash and pretty boy characters, but they do try to take on some controversial issues (which Sato felt was lacking in many anime series that serve more as escape fantasies). They suffer from franchising, but at least they try to have some merit.

  • Aoshi00

    Hm.. in-btwn has always been drawn by a combination of studios from Jpn, China, and Korea, even back in the days of Gainax’s “The Secret of Blue Water” (Nadia), due to the hectic weekly schedule, and we’re talking about the days of hand painting on cel. They don’t necessarily mean lower animation quality, at least not these days. If you pay attention to the end credit of some of the Death Note or Claymore episodes, some really good eps’ in-btwn were drawn by Korean staff (some headed by Jpn animation directors). As for inconsistency in long running anime TV series, that happens even when each episode is being headed by a different Japanese animation director. For some of my favorite series (like Saint Seiya), I used to be able to tell instantly which episode was directed by whom. If there was ever an anime that looks inconsistent from one episode to the next, it would have to be Tekkaman Blade, I loved that anime but it could look real nice in one ep and really awful in the next lol, the animation quality jumped all over the place, a handful of episodes you could tell it was directed and drawn by Obari Masami (Fatal Fury), who later did the OVA.Even the in-btwn of The Simpsons was drawn by overseas studios, one episode poked fun of that as well. Anime studios are sweatshops everywhere even in Japan, they are the unsung heroes.As for adaptation, aren’t most anime series adapted from established manga that are popular?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

      Not now-a-days. A majority of anime is actually adapted from visual novels. Other than KEY’s adaptations, those adaptations are so overfilled with fanservice they got old fast. The one’s that actually don’t abuse fanservice and have a decent plot leaves the protagonist as an indecisive idiot until the last one or two episodes.The other medium that gets adapted a lot now are light novels. Following the success of Zero no Tsukimiya, Shakugan no Shana, the Haruhi series(probably the actual instigator of the rush out of the four), and Toradora, there was rush by companies to adapt more light novels into anime. The result was practically the same as movie adaptations of books, which is hit or miss, but more often miss. There one surprising one this year called Kiss X Sis or something like that. As you can tell with the title, it’s an incest themed light novel. Now this was probably a late night production, but before that, I think incest was left in the adult entertainment territory. (you can tell me if this is true or not) I didn’t watch it for obvious reasons, but the poster for the anime screamed borderline hentai.On the other hand, this year there seems to be an increase in manga adaptations that aren’t primarily focused on ecchi fanservice or moe fanservice, the latter of which isn’t bad but there’s just too much of. I can’t come up with a list right off the top of my head, but there’s Fairy Tail, Highschool of the Dead, Nurarihyon no Mago, and Kimi ni Todoke. I know there are a little more out there, but I’m just don’t know what they are. I’m don’t remember exactly if Fairy Tail started last fall though, as I don’t watch it. Anyways if anime can go back on this trend of having non-”excessive pure fanservice” shows, then it can survive. (I didn’t know how to phrase what I put in quotes there)Just to reiterate, I’m talking about adaptations, not original work, which a good one pops up about every year I think.

      • Aoshi00

        I really don’t watch anime in recent years, but I think most of the shounen Jump/Sunday manga are still being adapted into anime continuously (and faithfully), even Adachi Mitsuru’s Cross Game last year, and now Nurarihyon no Mago from Shounen Jump, or even Tegamibachi (Letter Bee) from a while ago, even a few years ago, like Death Note, Claymore, Majin Tantei Neuro, Honey & Clover were all TV series adapted from good manga. The anime based on the horror manga Shiki (drawn by Houshin Engi’s Fujisaki Ryu) will start soon. I know there’s a lot of generic moe stuff out there, but it’s not like good manga are not being adapted into anime series. Like people bashing Hollywood movies, but I recently saw the post-apocalyptic “The Road” and liked it, seems to be based on a famous novel, but I haven’t read the book. I think they are still quality stuffs out there. People will always think back to the times before, like the best music for me was in the 80′s because that’s when I was young and actually listened to music. Admittedly the anime back then had a lot of heart in it because of the more detailed artistic style and even from hand painted cels compared to digital. I’m reading Ultimo (Shaman King’s author), the ping pong love comedyTakkoku (The Law of Ueki’s author), Kuroko no Basuke (basketball manga in Jump), and Kyoukai no Rinne (Takashi Rumiko’s new manga), I’m sure these titles would be turned into anime series in the very near future as well. I think the anime based on visual novels/games are only a small segment of it, just like those genre are a small part of gaming.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

          While agree I do agree there’s a decent sized stream of good manga adaptations each year, there actually has been a huge burst of visual novel based anime. Ok maybe not a huge burst of those, but there’s been a huge burst in ecchi fanservice anime with no real plot. Cross Game was a gem last year, but it was 1 of 15 titles for that season. I think there was 1 other good title that season. Of course I remember the titles you mentioned from a few years ago but in an industry that works in 4 segments a year, that’s actually a pretty long time ago. Things have changed faster than anyone could have imagined. Then again I’d actually say this year things has changed back pretty quickly too, especially with this summer’s lineup.

          • Aoshi00

            I agree, the moe garbage is a big reason that turns me off, other than the fact I don’t have time to follow anime shows in recent years.. that’s why I still read some manga and would be curious if they were ever turned into anime. I think this Sato guy is over generalizing w/ the quality of anime, his Cowboy Bebop might be good, but there were good anime back then and still good anime now (style is different of course as time changes, 70′s stuff would feel retro by now, some people don’t even like the original Gundam/Z/ZZ, I can’t watch the new stuff like Seed, Destiny, etc), and I definitely don’t agree w/ his view on quality being worse due to outsourcing in-between drawings to overseas, it has happened since a long time ago. Animation quality fluctuates even between different Japanese studios, they are all sweatshops when you consider one episode of an ongoing TV series needs to be finished in such a short period of time. From some of the anime I watch, I think the Korean studios are doing a pretty good job (and most of the time they have Jpn supervisors overseeing the project still to keep things consistent).

  • http://twitter.com/charliesabers Carlos Escalante

    Totally in the same channel as Sato-san.

    While I got into animé as a kid because of its exotic (at the time, anyway) designs, what kept me coming later was certain charm and depth that is rarely present anymore.

    I hate to pass on judgment about things I haven’t seen, but I think many modern otakus delude themselves into thinking a lot of today’s show have “amazing depth” and characters but to me, most of the recent stuff seems rather frivolous.

    Series like Ghost in the Shell SAC, Twelve Kingdoms , Monster, Escaflowne and even more mainstream stuff like the excellent Death Note, Cowboy Bebop and FMA are rare in world full of annoying sacharine and unrealistic characters and plotlines.

    I’ve heard the glories of Tora-dora and K-ON and from what little I’ve seen, yes, they ARE better than tons of me-toos roaming around, but never can they transcend the medium. The shows I mentioned before are not only top-notch anime, but can compete head to head in script quality with ANY series, live action, animated or whatever.

    Not all is lost though. I’ve plan to purchase the BRs of Eden of the East, Xam’d and (maybe) Ghost Hound.

    I holding out (maybe foolishly) for BDVD realease of Ergo Proxy, Chevallier D’eon, Baccano and Durarara (or whatever it’s called!).

    I hope Senko No Night Raid and Beast Master Erin get licensed. I hear they are good.

    Whenever I get the chance to support the industry I will, just don’t expect me or many anime fans 21+ to keep buying into either the endless shonen shows or the creepy loli trash.

  • raymk

    no anime won’t die well i know that manga won’t die. Its like saying DC and Marvel comics would die in the U.S and i don’t see that happening. Just introduce things to a different generation gap and things will be fine how do you think we learned of anime and manga

  • https://twitter.com/#!/SplashdownTiger STiger

    The storytelling thing. Happens in the U.S. all the damn time. Nobody cares about story, only that Y is a clone of X. And when a good story does come along, hardly anyone knows.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Melinda

      I think it’s because of the fact that nowadays people are too… what, sensitive to aspects of a work. Apparently ‘Too Japanese’ is a common complaint (particularly around Sydney, where I live) about certain works. “Too western” is voiced in some quarters as well. You probably can name others, if you watch quietly various conversations about anime or gaming at a convention.

      People don’t look at gaming (or anime) for what it IS, and put all sorts of labels about what they think about it before actually, well, giving it a try, or at the very minimum, having a good look at it and deciding ‘Will I actually enjoy what is on offer?’ before casting judgment.

      In a way, it’s our own fault as consumers that the industry is what it is right now – Companies respond to baseline overarching criticisms (both in Japan and abroad) and react accordingly to get their sales. They’re in the business of making money, so who’s surprised?

      Of course, when these same people wax on (And these people are western gaming journalists who write for newspapers, magazines and are full time as opposed to freelance like I am) about the good old days of Nintendo and they quote Super Mario Brothers 3 as being one of the classics which didn’t appear ‘too Japanese’, I have to make sure I don’t laugh aloud only because of the fact that it demonstrates my point rather well, and the fact I learnt the hard way that people will defend their opinion even in the face of cold facts.

      • KISVIDIANDIVLI

        Agreed

    • Jirin

      Yes, but who really cares who knows? Good stories do come out. Winter’s Bone is an effing excellent movie. What do I care if not very many other people go to see it? I went to see it and I loved it.

  • gatotsu911

    Guy sounds pretty bitter, but it’s hard to argue with a lot of his points, certainly in regard to trends in the industry at large. For what it’s worth, though, I myself passed over Eureka Seven because it looked like a clone of Evangelion. Whether that’s a fair summation or not, it’s hard to deny the similarities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDVaVRQoQhQ

    • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Eureka 7 was derivative of Evangelion, BUT that doesn’t mean one should write it off immediately. (I haven’t seen Eureka 7 to be honest, but just saying). Rahxephon also suffered the same problem because it looked like Evangelion, but it turned out to be a great anime on its own right. Actually, almost all anime is derivative to some point, just some are more crappy than others.

      • gatotsu911

        As I said, it may not really be fair to entirely write off Eureka 7 as another Evangelion copycat, but I’m just saying it’s not exactly unreasonable that someone would think that (same with RahXephon, which I never saw for basically the exact same reasons). And there are TONS of anime out there that are shameless ripoffs of other shows, ESPECIALLY of Evangelion. I’ve noticed that Japan as a culture seems to have a lot less of a stigma against blatantly stealing other people’s ideas than the West does.

  • http://www.youtube.com/B4ULoveShine Tim_at_where

    As someone who had watched 70s anime, I am proud to say that I grew up watching a couple of anime from that decade.They have more characterization, more conflicts, and more substance than that the sub-genre they call ‘moe-blob’. It’s no wonder anime is not being taken seriously as a medium.To those who don’t don’t believe me, I personally invite you to watch Mazinger Z, Cutie Honey (original 70s), Voltes V, among others.

    • Kibbitz

      I grew up on those. Honestly, I’d never take anime seriously as a medium on those either. Some of them explored some interesting angles that I wouldn’t expect them to do, but the messages and ideas feel watered down considering how long and filler-heavy they are.

      • http://www.youtube.com/B4ULoveShine Tim_at_where

        Self-censorship has been an issue and a self-imposed rule in the industry, apparently.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

          I don’t think it’s self-censorship. It’s more like the otakus don’t care. (evidence is many 2chan threads) It seems to me that plenty of the anime today are created by the otakus for the otakus. Or just for simply by a “greedy company that wants ratings only” for the otakus.

        • Kibbitz

          Fear of alienating viewers and losing viewership/money preventing them from trying to be meaningfully different?

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Ojsinnerz Firo_Prochainezo

    100% accurate.

    It’s why Baccano! sold like zero DVDs, while Lucky Star K-on and all those garbage have taken over the industry.

    • Aoshi00

      People seem to really like things like Suzumiya Haruhi, Azumanga Daioh, Lucky Star, and K-On (I’ve heard so much about it I have no idea what it is), it sounds like there are many fans here even on this site, but I don’t know much about them and they don’t appeal to me at all. In the 80′s, you see anime movies like Arion, drawn by the Gundam char designer Yasuhiko Yoshikazu and had Joe Hisaishi music (it’s funny I remember that after watching the horrible Clash of the Titans), Macross Do You Remember Love (Mikimoto Haruhiko) and Five Star Stories (Nagano Mamoru), they were very detailed..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LiKT_5I_4g&feathttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LtgxcfLPlMFor me the best robot anime series were from the 80′s and 90′s from Sunrise and such, I loved Mashin Eiyuu-den Wataru when I was a kid,
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI6wv2D2zf8&feature=related
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHqkD8igULw&feature=related
      I really don’t care much for the simple drawing style these days, even the recent dating sims/visual novels..

      • https://twitter.com/#!/Ojsinnerz Firo_Prochainezo

        I grew up with mech anime, such as Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Mado King Granzort, Eva (Never watched the end of eva until 2009), and a few others I can’t even remember. Only being 17, I couldn’t watch anything before the 1990s. I may be a fan of mech shows, but I can watch any genre no problem.

        Haruhi, Lucky star and the such, I can’t stand. I look at the seasonal anime charts to see if I can find anything to watch these days, but I’m watching less anime as time passes by. The charts disgust me how it’s nothing but pure fanservice type shows, generic harem rehash #12312512594, season 5 of that show nobody wanted, and maybe ONE or TWO actually worth watching shows.

        Anime is going to die within 10 years, unless something is done.

        • Aoshi00

          I stopped watching anime in the last 3-4 yrs (I’m 30 now), mostly because gaming and manga alrdy take up my free time, I don’t think I even have time for manga these days :(… I think despite all the moe garbage, there’s still a lot of good anime out there, as there are a lot of good manga being adapted into anime. Granzort was actually in the same line of Sunrise mech anime like Wataru or NG Knight Ramune & 40, w/ the semi-SD robots, even the GPX Cyber Formula TV seris was in the same style. I watched EVA when I was in college back in the 90′s, was crazy about it back then. I used to love all the mech shows, like Zettai Muteki Rajin-oh, Yuusha Express, etc, just robot shows that felt great to watch as a kid, didn’t have to be all psychobabble.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOmtBmdqTEQ&feat…I loved God Mars and Gold Lightan (the gaint gold thing in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom) too, had the toys when I was young. Now I get to watch them again, they felt so retro lol.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lwxJH0TMH4&feat… thank god for Youtube :)

      • Kibbitz

        As someone who specifically likes those four school girl 4-koma series (I buy Lucky Star, Azumanga Daioh, Hidamari Sketch and recently A-channel), my reasons for those are simple. I took a read, I found the cast of characters amusing and likeable, and some of the (possibly ridiculous/impossible) situations fun. The kind that I never had during my mostly bland and possibly miserable (IMO) school life.

        For art, I like stuff from both the past and present. I suppose it’s just one of those changes you see era by era. Never did watch Wataru though.

        • Aoshi00

          I can see why you like those cute shows, I don’t think they’re totally w/o merit, some of them look pretentious to me, like Haruhi, of course I really don’t know any of them, just artistically they’re too simple and not appealing to me. Too bad Wataru was never released here, it’s really hard to find the whole series.. I really wish to watch it again, it was a show I followed on air when I was in grade school, it’s basically these protagonist fighting the bad guys and and advancing up on a mountain, restoring peace the the world, lots of slapstick comedy, cool robot fights, and touching moments, it was the epitome of Sunrise mech anime back then. I think Wataru 1 & 2 were great, the sequels that came after them not so great..

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

        3 of those titles you mentioned are slice of life anime, which just about a character’s everyday life. The genre was supposed to appeal to people by allowing them to reminisce about their lives, but the otakus turned those female characters into a bunch of XXX idols just because they are female. I personally actually appreciate the slice of life genre the way it’s supposed to appreciated.

        K-ON! is about a group girls at an all girls school who decide to re-establish the Light Music/Rock Club there, with the faraway dream of reaching the Budokan. The majority of the plot is just them chilling out and living their school life. It’s a plot that works better as a 4-koma manga than an anime because the conversations are actually pretty normal to the point it’s mundane to hear 20 minutes of everyday conversation. Lucky Star and Azumanga Daioh were similar in that aspect.

        The Suzumiya Haruhi series is one of those things that gained phenomenal popularity for no apparent reason.

        • Aoshi00

          I haven’t watched any of those, so I can’t pass judgment, but is this Sato guy referring to these shows as well when he talks about moe? These titles just come to my mind when he was talking about the anime industry being gloom and doom. The last slice of life manga/anime I really enjoyed was Honey & Clover, but it was about college art major students, about how hard it is to make it in this world and their bittersweet love relationship, everyone should give it a watch, I love the songs used in that show, and Umino Chica’s drawing’s style is very unique (she designed the chars for “Eden of the East”). The ending of the H&C manga felt a little abrupt and unsatisfying though..

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

            I think he’s talking more about the ecchi fanservice shows when he talks about that. He might be talking about these too, but that wasn’t the original intentions of these shows. I mentioned it somewhere here, but I’ll use it again as an example here. Lucky Star has a character named Konata. She’s a major otaku. Otaku were supposed to relate to her because she acted like a stereotypical one. Instead they ended up thinking more along the lines of “She’s/Her friend’s cute” to some more extreme thoughts. This is why everyone sees them as garbage, although the cutesy drawing style doesn’t help. I can say people should look past the art but someone will probably respond why not make drama radio/CDs instead.Honey & Clover, as you know, is a slice of life with heavy drama and I agree about how abrupt and unsatisfying the ending felt. Lucky Star is a comedy/slice of life with gag moments inspired by Konata. I’d say K-ON! is purely slice of life. There’s no sense of foreboding drama in it and the comedy doesn’t actually stand out. The most drama I’ve seen in it is where the original group of girls is worried about how their only junior has no one to keep her company in the club after they graduate, but those were still very light moments. As for Azumanga Daioh, that actually slipped my radar because I was in the mood for some other genres at the time but from reading a little summary it seems like it’s like Lucky Star except it’s more of a straight up comedy.Edit: I recognized the drawing style right away when I watched Eden of East. That show has actually become one of my favorites.

          • RupanIII

            Second your recommendation of H&C, my fave anime of recent years. For me it kinda transcended the whole slice of life genre, it was very affecting and relate-able. I really liked the sense of camaraderie too.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

            I have to correct myself now that I’ve read the full article. He does seem to be talking about those series, but he doesn’t disapprove of them. He doesn’t seem to be bashing fanservice anime either as many animators have their roots there. He’s just upset at how an excess amount of similar material has turned anime into almost strictly commercial business that lacks creativity. The only thing I seemed to be right about is his disgust in the type of crowd these anime tend to attract. The type that goes “luv anime” (anime daichuki) as the article puts it. Btw, that’s the type crowd I mean by otakus. Of course that’s not what all otakus are like, but I don’t feel like typing out the word extreme each time.

            An interesting comparison he makes is that rap and manga, as they both fight against the forces that’ll make them lose there edge and don’t “sell out”. As you may or may not know, the Japanese rap scene is still mostly underground and the rappers there are quite creative. So is doujin scene. He also doesn’t like the fact there aren’t much original works like “Eden of the East” and his “Ergo Proxy” Also, while manga adaptations are still good, he believes the industry is too reliant on them now. (Yotsu if you read this link to original titles other than Angel Beats to prove him wrong)

        • RupanIII

          I really really don’t get the Haruhi thing. I watched the first episode yrs ago and just couldn’t get into it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

            Even though it’s a little confusing, it’s actually a pretty good series of books. I say book because the original work is a light novel and I actually read a translated version first. It just became over-zealously hyped after it was made into an anime for a reason no one has been able to identify.@Aoshi: Speaking of which about light novels, usually the adaptations take the art right out of them. Since the art in light novels are not supposed stand out over the actual text, I think they’re intentionally simplistic.Edit: Since I can’t edit below, I’ll mention that the translations I’m talking are not fan translations. Some publishing company called Hachette Book Group is handling it. You can find the first 2 or 3 volumes in bookstores now.

            Edit2: Darn it! I meant not exactly correct.

          • Aoshi00

            It must be the stupid dancing that made Haruhi popular :)? That char almost made me hate Hirano Aya the voice actress (even though I like many other roles she did, namely Mamori-neesan in Eyeshield 21). The simple style just felt a little too lazy to me, like the game Steins;Gate, I don’t find the art appealing at all, maybe the story is good, but the art doesn’t reflect that or draw you in (I tired the demo, the story was too weird and otaku for my taste), and most of the other visual novels too (like the TypeMoon stuff, I thought the art looks simple and generic..).

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

            @Aoshi: Well actually if you want to give the story a shot, they started translating the books last year or the year before that. You won’t have to deal with the art too much; you can just simply read the story. Also I realize I’ve been using the term light novel to describe the original works of Haruhi and a couple other series. That’s the term Japan uses. I think the English equivalent of the term is novella, but that’s exactly correct because novella don’t have pictures. That last part was just in case anyone didn’t know that.

      • ShinGundam

        Ladios Sopp is a wild example for a bishie who get a free pass.

    • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

      I bought Baccano! ;___; More people should buy it.

      Although Durarara!!! seemed like it was quite a hit. Baccano didn’t seem to get much buzz when it first came out, so it kinda slipped under the radar. Of course it doesn’t compare to the sales of K-On! though. (What’s with all these anime series with “!”‘s in them?)

      I actually don’t mind one or two moe series, but when every other show is half-assed generic moe show #78 it’s kinda sad. A good light slice-of-life show is great to relax the mind, but if companies aren’t willing to give freedom for more riskier projects, anime will die.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/Ojsinnerz Firo_Prochainezo

        Baccano is few of my favorites of all time. I’ll be ordering the boxset with my next paycheque. I’ll put it right next to Kino no tabi boxset I have. As for Durarara, Saika arc felt a bit too long. Still good, and I wouldn’t mind buying DVDs for this, if it ever came over.

        I concur with your comment of the moe series. I enjoyed a few slice of life, such as Azumanga Daioh. The fact that it had Norio Wakamoto made it even better.

        • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

          The boxset’s are pretty cheap now in the US and they’re 100% worth the buy. I can’t believe how fantastic the dub is (and I don’t listen to dubs normally).

          Durarara had its problems. I felt the beginning was wonderful and full of suspense and shocking reveals. But the rest felt kinda lukewarm in comparison. Still a great show (and better compared to a lot of other shows airing at the same time), but it tried to hard to be Baccano, but wasn’t.

          I also loved Azumanga Daioh. But it think it was genuinely funny, without relying too much on moe-ness and more on actual punchlines. But maybe that’s just my nostalgia talking. Although I’m not a Haruhi fan, I see a lot of merit and thought but into that show.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/Ojsinnerz Firo_Prochainezo

            While I don’t live in the US, the price is quite cheap for a 16 episode series (Well, 3 are OVA episodes, but whatever). As for the dub, it really is quite nice, though I didn’t like Miria’s voice. Then again, I didn’t like the original seiyuu either. Besides that, I was happy with how the dub was.

            You’re right, they tried too quite hard to be like Baccano, but then kinda did it own thing later in the story. It was still the only show I watched during that season, but the whole show feels like it went downhill after the two cameos. I would still recommend the show. Easily few of my favorites of 2010.

            Azumanga Daioh had a lot of charm, and it certainly was genuinely funny. It ain’t your nostalgia talking.

          • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

            What I loved about that dub, it that it was an instance where American voices worked perfectly…because it takes place in America. It’s cool that everyone has different accents and stuff, and the language/translation was made to sound like the period. /derails the thread to blab about Baccano!

            Yeah Miria’s voice is screechy no matter what, but at least it’s equal with the Japanese voice.

          • ShinGundam

            Yeah , I love Baccano :(

  • http://twitter.com/Sieghardt Sieghardt

    There are plenty of anime that still deal with down to earth problems, one great one I recently watched was Toradora, the family problems in it really hit home with me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

      Toradora was a good light novel that deserved to be an anime, but it came right before the past 1 or 2 years of generic fanservice.

  • KISVIDIANDIVLI

    Anime +PLUS Pretentious stories EQUALS= Save the dying anime industry?

  • zhemos

    Now that I think about it Eureka 7 is sort of similar to Evangelion. But the stories are entirely different. In Evangelion you got the Eva units which are man made synthetic angels, while LFOs are alien origin.

    You also got a madman/evil government wanting to unite the souls of every living being in order to create god in Evangelion, while in Eureka 7 you got the human race trying to achieve peace, and harmony with an alien race that crash landed on the earth, and assimilated with the land.

    I guess you could say that Eureka is similar to Rei during the beginning of Eureka7. In Evangelion Rei rarely shows any type of emotion, and her character is never fully developed, while Eureka is much more developed and achieves full human emotion during the middle of the series.

    With that said, this was a good read. I do enjoy moe/slice of life anime, but we do need more thought provoking anime. Less pantsu and lolicon more Evangelion/Escaflowne please. ^^

  • Jirin

    Isn’t this like complaining that mainstream Hollywood doesn’t explore postmodern existentialism deeply enough?

    People who don’t like mainstream stuff in the US find indie scenes to obsess over. Isn’t there some equivalent in Japan? Some kind of ‘indie anime’ that explores deeper, more mature themes? You can’t both have the big money and do exactly the story you want.

    • RupanIII

      The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. It used to be stuff with depth (or even if not really deep, stuff with strong stories) could also be very profitable. And it’s not just the deep themes that have been dropped, but stuff like compelling storytelling, the sense that the creators really care, etc.

      • Jirin

        And you know, he’s really got some balls complaining about Hollywood ripping off anime, considering he’s most famous for writing a space western.I just think, if you’re a good writer there’s always going to be an audience who wants to see what you write. But, it’s not always going to be the biggest audience where the most money is. Saying you want to make lots of money and still have creative control is like having your cake and eating too. And then blaming the audience for not liking what he wants to write? If he really wants to write compelling storylines, he’ll happily settle for a smaller paycheck.I don’t watch very much anime, but Monster finally started coming out on DVD in America and I’m excited about seeing that. There are still intelligent, story driven animes coming out. You just have to look a little harder for them.

        • RupanIII

          Point taken about making money vs. doing what you want. But I don’t think he was saying he wants to make a lot of money, I think he was saying that there’s just not as much room to be creative overall. Also, although ‘space western’ of course owes certain genre influences to, among other things, Hollywood (specifically older Hollywood), C.B. is anything but derivative imo, so much more than a genre label can do justice to, unlike most Hollywood takes on anime

        • Aoshi00

          That’s what I was thinking all this time, while manga/anime is an art form, ultimately it’s still a business, just like movies or gaming, it’s always been a bit of compromise, give and take. All the manga authors who serialize weekly work w/ a personal tantou assigned by the publisher, to keep him in check or bounce ideas off of, like he would tell the artist “nah readers won’t like that” “if the story goes into that direction, readers might lose interest in a couple of weeks”, which is a common thing, because magazines constantly put out survey to gauge readers’ interest. If the artist only draws something he likes but his readers are not entertained, he get knocked off and someone else replaces him. But there’s still room for the artist to express his or her creativity of course, w/ limits.In movies, you have director’s vision, producer input, and expectation from fans, etc.. I think he’s thinking a bit too highly of himself, Cowboy Bebop was good, but it wasn’t be all and end all, btwn that time and now there’s tons of good anime. If he wants to really make artsy stuff, it might not be the most commercially viable, like indie movies vs mainstream hollywood, just like he mentioned dojin, there’s less at stake. Not necessarily one better than the other, both kinds of movies have their pros and cons. Anno’s Eva was a unique case, he hooked everyone slowly w/ a more or less conventional robot anime, then bam came the surprising ending (and the cop out animation in the last two episodes when he ran out of budget), which people didn’t know what to make of at the time, and hence caused even more of a controversy, so the series was both famous and infamous.Moe has been quite prominent in recent years, but there’s still lots of good manga being adapted into anime. I haven’t watched much anime in recent years though..

          And his views on the in-between, I didn’t really quite agree w/.. (the art direction/storyboard and main frames were still prepared by Jpn staff a lot of times, the overseas studios are only doing the grunt work, filling in the gaps, and even then those studios have something else to bring into the anime, i thought Claymore was quite well drawn even w/ lots of Korean animators)

  • fuzzy_hobo

    Interesting that he said he never had the freedom to do what he wanted. While fighting the good fight in anime, perhaps he should try writing a light novel on the side where he might have more creative freedom.

  • JustaGenericUser

    Surprise, surprise. Nearly 50 comments of people bitching about “moe”. I’ve only registered to this site almost two weeks now and already I can completely predict responses. Just like a certain huge site of anonymous people.

    • RupanIII

      Rather than complaining about and belittling other peoples’ opinions, why not try to formulate a convincing counter-argument? :P

      • cowcow

        Because he can’t. Moe sucks. Its fact.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/Ojsinnerz Firo_Prochainezo

      Girl: Here, at the maid Cafe, we get plenty of sophisticated customers. They talk passionately on many advanced subjects. Sometimes, these subjects can get very heated.
      Guy 1: Enjoying your crappy mecha? Combining robots! How original!
      Guy 2: Go back to Sucky Star
      Guy 1: Screw you! Moe is the future of anime
      Guy 2: Are you Dense? Are you retarded? Mecha is a staple of anime and will be around forever. HOW DO I EAT CHOCO CORENT? WHICH IS THE HEAD? BS.

      Well, the place you’re talking about happens to love moe, unless you go to certain parts of the site.

  • Aoshi00

    I think that anime doesn’t alway need to be deep adult-oriented stuff, there was a time when anime was just good old fashioned fun, teaching values to kids growing up (the action was pretty intense and violent too by today’s standard, this would never fly on airwaves now..). I don’t know what kids are watching these days, back then there were things like Saint Seiya (the anime char design by Araki Shingo and Himeno Michi “Rose of Versailes” was beautiful),OP1http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPSn0gU2EEI&feat…OP2http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQxbpNEBwMk&feat…Kageyama Hironobu is forever awesome.. I kind of miss this kind of show..

    • https://twitter.com/#!/Ojsinnerz Firo_Prochainezo

      Hironobu Kageyama still does amazing songs! Masaaki Endoh is great too. I have to admit though, their voices sound rather similar.

      • Aoshi00

        That GaoGaiGar guy right? I love that show too. I thought that was Kageyama at first lol. Yea, some rock artists do have that kind of voice, but Kageyama was old school (and Cha La Head Cha La of course), the Burst Limit song he did was pretty good. Rock songs in anime are the best.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

      I can tell you that a majority of boys are watching one of two type anime in Japan. It’s either a “-mons” show or a trading card show like Yu-gi-oh! or Duel Masters! There could also be a bunch that watch Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Fairy Tail, and now Nurarihyon no Mago. They could also be watching tonkusatsu. Girls probably still watching magical girl shows that everyone on the internet bashes but don’t realize that they aren’t the target audience.

      • Aoshi00

        yea, I was going to say “-mon” too, the Bakugan thing seems to have caught on too even here, Naruto and One Piece are good for kids too (they’re like this generation’s Dragonball pretty much), I just miss the light hearted hot blooded robot (not the Eva/Eureka Seven philosophical kind) or boys in armors shows these days.. I have not watched tokusatsu in a long time, was wondering if they’re still around.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

          I know Ultra series is still running after all this time. Super Sentai has still has it’s yearly team. And they revived the Kamen Rider series in 2000, although the some of new series seem to be more philosophical, but not as deep as Eva/Eureka though.

          About “-mons” they’ve started a new Digimon series. The digimon themselves look more futuristic, but the plot setting seems like a Sengoku Era type of thing.

  • WonderSteve

    Awesome post from Siliconera.He make a lot of good points. I found myself less interested in the TV series over the past few years… The last anime I enjoyed with a fresh script was 5 cm per second.I can’t believe Japanese dismiss Eureka Seven as just an Eva clone…it was probably one of the best mecha show for the last couple of years.It’s not like Hollywood doesn’t suffer similar problems with story telling, but they don’t have the problem with producing consistent picture quality that’s plaguing recent anime shows.

    In my opinion, the “last line of defense” (manga and light novel) is slowly being breached too….

  • http://twitter.com/Alos88 Alos88

    He has always written stories with a little more depth than you’d expect, while I doubt it’s anything the average viewer couldn’t pick up on they’d need to pay some attention to it. For example, rewatching Samurai Champloo completely changed my opinion of it, and I realized that in effect Jin and Mugen perfectly embody Yin and Yang.

  • Yotsu

    Yea, let’s just ignore that Evangelion is still being made and just had a new BD release one of the highest selling ever–anime like House of Five Leaves, Sengoku Basara II, Legend of the Legendary Heroes, Shiki, Angel Beats, Occult Academy, Rainbow, Black Lagoon OVA, Senkou no Night Raid all released in the last 2 seasons. Let’s ignore stuff coming up like the movies Redline and the new Mazinkaiser film. Yes, all anime are the “moe” (which you don’t actually understand the meaning of just so you know) anime with not plot where nothing happens.The only problems I see here are idiots who think your tastes are superior than anyone elses and that slice of life comedies and romances aren’t allowed to be popular and you have a jaded sense of what what used to be released and what’s being released now. NEWSFLASH, Most of the anime in the past were NOT good. Most of them were crap and that has not changed but at least now there are a lot more anime.You need to get your head out of your asses.

    • yegwa

      I do agree with you on the point that there has been a lot of good anime released recently that tick the boxes mentioned by Sato. We are not even going into anime like Kaiba, Tatami Galaxy and Katanagatari that are a lot more experimental (with the anime form and format and themes), however, I believe Sato is more concerned with the fact that behind-the-scenes, it is getting harder for writers like him to pitch stuff that they want to do and cover the themes they want.

      Like everyone else has said on here, if the empty-headed anime makes it almost impossible for more complex fare to be released (AND to make money), then it’s a loss for all of us. In fact, that’s probably what he’s really talking about. The industry has just become more commercial and formulaic shrinking the production budgets and earning power of less generic stuff.

      I doubt things are as bad as he is making them out to be, but he is very close to the industry and so his view is obviously going to be skewed to the pessimistic side.

      • Yotsu

        “I believe Sato is more concerned with the fact that behind-the-scenes, it is getting harder for writers like him to pitch stuff that they want to do and cover the themes they want. ”

        Possibly, but my post is more so directed at the comments here rather than Sato himself.

        “Like everyone else has said on here, if the empty-headed anime makes it almost impossible for more complex fare to be released (AND to make money), then it’s a loss for all of us. ”

        There is no evidence of that happening and that’s never how it’s been. Either way, the complaints here are saying that there has already been a shift–not complaining about a future shift.

        The top selling anime nearly every year are still mecha anime. The two best selling anime of the year? Eva 2.0 and Gundam Unicorn. I don’t see anyone bringing that up.

        I enjoy slice of life comedies, romance, action, mecha, “intelligent” stuff. I enjoy everything. I don’t like this idea some people have that only what THEY like is what is allowed to be popular.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

          I’d like to point out that those 2 titles are established franchises with large fanbases and a majority the titles you mentioned are manga and light novel adaptations. Right now the anime industry is using those as crutches There needs to be more original animation works like Angel Beats, Senko no Night Raid, and I’ll list Eden of the East as Sato uses that as one of his examples of good original anime.

          Many people here are letting nostalgia jade their senses. You should just let them clamor around since they’re as stubborn as mules. That doesn’t change the fact that slice of life anime, which I do enjoy, with an all female cast has become the second most highest selling anime group in Japan for mostly the wrong reasons. Sato notices that and is rightfully disgusted with the kind of attention they have been getting and the fact the anime companies have been catering to their fetishes more. Until this past spring, there have been plenty of good titles that have just gotten lost in sea of pure fanservice. Thankfully the there are more good ones this year, especially this summer. There were plenty of bad anime in the past too, but those were just plain bad.

          Sorry if this seems disorganized, sleeping next to a loud street is not a fun thing.

          • Yotsu

            The majority of anime being adaptations isn’t new at all. Non-mecha original anime have always been big risks for studios.

            “That doesn’t change the fact that slice of life anime, which I do enjoy, with an all female cast has become the second most highest selling anime group in Japan for mostly the wrong reasons.”

            And what would the right reasons be for an anime becoming popular?

            There have been three slice of life anime–K-ON, Azumanga Daioh, and Lucky Star–that have gotten particularly big in the last 10 years. When you look at the anime coming out every season, it isn’t dominated by slice of life. There are maybe two them in the larger seasons maybe one in the smaller. Their prevalence is exaggerated by people who simply don’t want them to be popular.

            “Sato notices that and is rightfully disgusted with the kind of attention they have been getting and the fact the anime companies have been catering to their fetishes more.”

            I don’t know what is meant by simply catering to fetishes. That isn’t the only reason why these anime are enjoyed and it’s just something people say to argue against anime that aren’t filled with action but cute girls.

            “Until this past spring, there have been plenty of good titles that have just gotten lost in sea of pure fanservice.”

            Such as?

            We can go back to any point and pick out some bad anime that were popular and good stuff that weren’t. There will always be some “good” stuff ignored even compared to the stuff considered lowbrow. That isn’t just with anime, but everything.

        • RupanIII

          “I enjoy slice of life comedies, romance, action, mecha, “intelligent” stuff. I enjoy everything. I don’t like this idea some people have that only what THEY like is what is allowed to be popular.”No one has said this, not Sato or people in the comments section. Did you read the article? “He (Sato) did not say that he disliked “atmosphere-type” works like “K-On!” – rather he likes the incredible designs. He also did not criticize fan service, because, just as many Japanese film directors came from the “pink movie” industry, many animators are coming from a background in erotic material (doujinshi, eroge or ero-anime/manga). Sexual desire is part of the creative drive.”Actually, he praised it. If you did read it, don’t twist what people are saying. Most here don’t mind moe/cutesy/lighter fare, and in fact enjoy it, just like they enjoy other genres. No one wants to only watch super-serious stuff, sometimes you want a little mindless escapism, it can be cathartic too. Someone here, I think Kibbitz, mentioned that they liked schoolgirl shows because they were fun and the ridiculous situations were so different from their own school experience, something I can relate to myself. Personally I like that stuff because the characters are usually so innocent, not like American high school where girls sleep with 50 guys and get wasted and such.

          So again, don’t warp what people are saying. At the same time, though, they don’t like it dominating the whole industry, which they feel is happening. (I know, that opinion is off limits) Sure, there’s still good stuff coming out, no one said ALL anime nowadays is crap. We’re talking about general trends, and it’s hard to refute that in general there is a lot more vapid original material coming out, some adaptations and such aside. Vapid meaning stuff that is, intended or not, produced and makes money based mostly off characters that are sexual surrogates for the otaku set. Of course people question that kind of popularity; for one thing it’s arguably highly dysfunctional, though not everyone here thinks so, and some think it just doesn’t make for compelling storytelling. Also, come on, the Eva movies? NEWSFLASH, Anno even said some of the reasons he decided to remake the series were PRECISELY BECAUSE he felt the industry had grown stagnant, with portrayals of technology rather than will, and that not a lot of interesting work has been done lately. (http://www.liquidskydesign.org/rebuild-of-evang…)I’m sick of this cynical relativist attitude that it’s wrong to think a bit critically about the industry or to question trends. Don’t think or analyze too much, just shut up, if you don’t like something and have a reasoned argument why you’re just pretentious, if it’s popular that means it’s above reproach and must be automatically accepted by all, etc.Finally, taste is subjective. For all the ‘jaded’ and ‘superior’ people you think are here, absolutely no one has called you an idiot or told you to get your head out of your ass because you of your preferences, so you have no call to say that to anyone who likes yesteryear’s stuff, whatever their reasons may be. We Siliconera-ites may be stubborn, perhaps a tad old-fashioned, but when we disagree, we discuss, not hurl insults in yet another battle-of-the-intarnet-dimwits. I wouldn’t be saying this if you weren’t so rude and just argued your point amicably, but really, you went out of your way to make an account just to hassle people, not have a discussion. Grow up.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

            Uhmm… This may not be the right time or place to tell you this, but I just wanted to point out it’s not only the American girls that are like that. I’m sure you’ve heard of “enjo kosai” or “compensated dating.” For others who read this and don’t know, the most simplest way to explain is it’s when a schoolgirl wants to be an escort just for quick cash. It’s obviously an underground thing, so I don’t know exactly how prevalent it actually is, but just this past year, I think 4 girls, all separate situations, got busted doing it in just this past year, with the youngest being 13, so I’d say it’s pretty problematic there. So I wouldn’t be surprised if there are lot Japanese anime fans that think like that too about their female peers.

            I also have a personal story from about 5 years ago, where I met a 15 or 16 year old girl from Hong Kong or some big city in China that practically bragged about her drinking and being wild at clubs. When I had the attitude of “That’s just wrong.” written of my face(I still can’t hide my thoughts well) she scowled at me.

            So, I think it’s not only an American or Western problem, but it’s a problem in many first world countries and many big cities of second world countries. Sorry for going way off topic here.

          • RupanIII

            Oh yea, I know it’s like that in real life. I just said American high school girls specifically because that’s what I experienced. It might’ve been more accurate to drop the ‘American’ and just say I like the innocence portrayed in those shows because in contrasts from many real life girls that age. Yea, materialism tends to run high in many first world countries, to the point where an LV bag or whatnot is assigned more value than one’s virtue. Incidentally, speaking of Anno and enjo kosai, if anyone’s interested he made an interesting live action film on the subject called Love & Pop.

          • Yotsu

            “No one has said this, not Sato or people in the comments section. Did you read the article? ”

            As I said, my post isn’t just directed at Sato but the comments. Yes, people are looking down on people who enjoy cute anime and you are doing it yourself by pushing this idea that the only reason fans of the show enjoy it are for the most superficial reasons.

            “We’re talking about general trends, and it’s hard to refute that in general there is a lot more vapid original material coming out, some adaptations and such aside. Vapid meaning stuff that is, intended or not, produced and makes money based mostly off characters that are sexual surrogates for the otaku set.”

            No, I see anime that have cute girls in them, and people who don’t like the shows saying that the only reason anyone would enjoy them is for the cute girls. “Moe” isn’t even observable to the average viewer. It’s only something that people with a vague understanding of it can speak about and “see”.

            Making anime characters desirable is nothing new. Being obsessed with and falling love with them and buying the merchandise isn’t new. This goes way back. The otaku of now isn’t that much different from the otaku of 20 years ago.

            “Also, come on, the Eva movies? NEWSFLASH, Anno even said some of the reasons he decided to remake the series were PRECISELY BECAUSE he felt the industry had grown stagnant”

            He also said the same thing about the original Eva. Anno is a very pretentious man.

            That wasn’t my point though. I was just showing what the most popular anime are, and how saying stuff like “They don’t make stuff Evangelion anymore!” is absolutely ridiculous.

            “I’m sick of this cynical relativist attitude that it’s wrong to think a bit critically about the industry or to question trends. Don’t think or analyze too much, just shut up, if you don’t like something and have a reasoned argument why you’re just pretentious, if it’s popular that means it’s above reproach and must be automatically accepted by all, etc.”

            I am sick of the people blinded by nostalgia and the people who just got into anime a year ago forcing this idea and warped usage of “moe” on everyone because the shows they like aren’t as popular as K-ON.

            They are allowed to criticize the industry, but much of this criticizing isn’t justified. It is mostly thinking their tastes are superior to everyone else’s and cherrypicking. The people who do it don’t have a clue what they’re talking about, as they’re unable to see anything except the popular things they don’t like.

            “Finally, taste is subjective. For all the ‘jaded’ and ‘superior’ people you think are here, absolutely no one has called you an idiot or told you to get your head out of your ass because you of your preferences, so you have no call to say that to anyone who likes yesteryear’s stuff, whatever their reasons may be.”

            They are allowed to like it. Nobody is saying they’re not allowed to like old anime. But they’re not allowed to critique industry trends and direction when they themselves obviously don’t have a grasp on what’s being released or what was released–just a very limited understanding based on what’s popular on the internet and what they saw when they were 12.

            The fact is there’s been a lot more anime compared to 15 years ago, and there’s been more diversity in what airs. Most of these “classics” were far and few between. If you only look at what’s “good” in a time period of course your feeling of what’s been released is going to be off, especially compared to a time where you have everything–the good and the bad. That is a concept that seems to be completely beyond their understanding. Much of what they understand about anime before the 00s is based on what was handpicked for them by licensors and fansubbers who were of course going to pick out the stuff they expected a 14 year old boy would be interested in.

            “I wouldn’t be saying this if you weren’t so rude and just argued your point amicably, but really, you went out of your way to make an account just to hassle people, not have a discussion. Grow up.”

            I am annoyed, and reasonably so. I deal with these attitudes far to often within the anime community. I know who I’m dealing with. You guys aren’t that much different site to site.

          • RupanIII

            “As I said, my post isn’t just directed at Sato but the comments. Yes, people are looking down on people who enjoy cute anime and you are doing it yourself by pushing this idea that the only reason fans of the show enjoy it are for the most superficial reasons.”

            And as I said, not everyone is doing this (Sato or the comments sections). I even said cute anime can be cathartic, something I’d hardly call a ‘superficial reason’ for liking it, and something that implies that for some people out there, on a personal level, cute anime could be more meaningful to them than more serious fare. Again, just because people question a trend doesn’t mean they hate it. What it really boils down to is that you seem to be taking this whole thing a little personally, clumping everyone here (plus Sato, plus Anno, plus other people you are apparently forced to deal with “far to[sic] often within the anime community”) into this same rather extreme image. Many are just reasonably commenting on a trend, some saying that Sato’s being bitter, some absolutely loathe moe, some are in between, some feel there is a general trend/shift going on.. point is, there are a lot of diverse opinions and subtle gradations that you’re just mashing together into this vilified ‘you guys’ Other. And, just my opinion, but just cause some people around here don’t dig moe (which, if you browsed the site for any length of time, you’d realize they’re in the minority) seems like a trite, not ‘reasonable,’ justification to degenerate dialectic into petty name calling.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

      While I agree with your first paragraph and withholding my opinion on the second paragraph, did you just create a DISQUIS account just to make this comment?

      • Yotsu

        Yes. I was linked here from another site.

  • puchinri

    I’m glad someone in the industry is saying it. And it echoes my exact thoughts. Nowadays, anime is all about harem, ecchi and bullcrap. Even most of the plot/backstory is irrelevant. At least Tenchi had fun between its harem qualities and on/off ecchi. I miss older anime so much.

    And I do agree. Manga/doujin will have to be a source of inspiration. But I still hope for anime to grow and ‘revive’ itself.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    I wonder if he’s looked at, say, American cartoons of the 2000s for comparison. Avatar, for instance, is heavily plot- and character-development-based, even though some of the most passionate fandom is focused on individual characters (Zuko, Toph, Iroh, Koh, Wang Fire).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

      While he hasn’t looked at it, at the very end even Avatar seemed to “sell out” with it’s seemingly forced ending. And now Nickelodeon is creating a 2nd series just because of the popularity of the first one.

  • RAVENKam

    ‘…he feels that anime will die out in Japan in a few decades’. I think he’s being a little over dramatic there.

  • Pichi

    I don’t know, he’s talking exactly how some Japanese developers are talking. The “gloom and doom” stuff. Japanese developers have to cater to the west, some anime companies pandering to certain otaku and the likes.

    I just don’t see it for either situation, mostly. Its just the sign of the times of what’s popular these days. There are plenty of good anime works still being made and also Japanese games sticking to their roots. Not seeing a “gloom and doom” anytime soon.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/jodecideion?feature=mhum TheWon and Only

    Glad to read some of the comments here. Anime like everything else is becoming a cliche of it’s self. Everything is going too mecha or too magic girl big eyes harem adventures. Anime use to have more of a variety, and those shows did a better job of telling a story. With very interesting characters that made you want to learn more and see them more. I look at the problem with anime is being the same problem with the Japanese gaming industry right now. There is no more creativity, or imagination.

  • countupyoursins

    Thanks for the link. Totally agree with him. The amount of fluff shows now are nauseating. Funny how people even admit to watching a show solely because a character or two are cute.

  • lostinblue

    I think we need more people like him, fighting for the medium. Otherwise it’ll get more and more irrelevant like it clearly has gotten lately.

    I think he’s it’s a fight no one can win though, bucks against well… creative vision. Since it’s the bucks that make all the stuff possible in the first place they’ll always “mostly” triumph eventually.

    Like Hollywood, not many movies that get to the cinemas are any good but it’s the bucks that literally order them.

  • MisterNiwa

    This man completely understands my feelings towards Japan nowadays and Anime.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/S42ONH6C3L63N2MEAFXB6E26XE wahyudil

    wow … now I know why less and less good animes are released nowadays …

  • Exand

    Well a good chunk of anime is based off manga. So I guess the manga industry is going to hell too, since he specifically points to doujinshi manga as the “last bastion”.

    Not to mention for every fluff anime like Strike Witches 2 or Sekirei, you get things like Durarara, Senko no Night Raid, Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin, Shi Ki, that have good story and character.
    Even the more visual / action / “brain dead” anime like Sengoku Basara have contributed to the history boom in Japan, so I don’t see anything wrong with the anime.

    Sounds like he’s just having a hard time being creative (Ergo Proxy was a tangled mess of an anime trying to be too smart and artsy for it’s own good) and lashing out.

    I do agree about the quality of out-sourced anime though. It’s really evident sometimes when faces or backgrounds deform into 2nd rate drawings. Bleach is a really good example of just how bad things can get with out-sourced anime.

  • http://kanjiiz.wordpress.com/ Art Rodriguez

    How can Dai Sato badmouth anyone about anyone being original when he worked on motherfreakin’ Halo Legends. And not just any segment, he worked on The Package, one of the weak ol’ ones. And while it’s not ripping off anyone, it’s taking an already popular franchise and taking Western ideas.

    I feel this guy should really practice what he preaches and stop talking and start acting. This guy must be in some position at some anime production company to at least make some sort of change in the industry. All it takes is one anime. We can all blame ToHeart and it’s success for what’s happening right now with all these titles with no crossover appeal for gods’ sake. That’s right, ToHeart is to blame for EVERYTHING!

  • SeventhEvening

    That no respect for stories point could be extended to any country and any medium. Most people don’t seem to understand deeper meanings and seem to hardly grasp fairly straight forward narratives. By that I don’t mean everyone, but just what seems to be the general public. For example, I saw Inception a week ago, and it is detailed, but quite straight forward and easy to understand. But most of the people in the audience were complaining that the ending was ambiguous and that made it “suck”, and many people I have talked to who’ve seen it needed me to explain many of the plot points of the movie. I’ve worked in a game store, a book store and a movie rental place, and at all three places I consistently encountered people who had little understanding or respect for narratives. The worst was with movies, where many customers flat out refused to watch anything with subtitles.

    Additionally, just because Ergo Proxy got a boxed set release in the US doesn’t really mean anything. To my knowledge, that boxed set sold relatively poorly and as a whole is a rather obscure, under appreciated series. I mean, Niea_7 had a US boxed set release as well, but that doesn’t mean that Americans have an appreciation of it, or even a passing knowledge of it. On the reverse side, Galaxy Express 999 doesn’t have a boxed set release in the US, but is a rather well known, well respected series (partially thanks to the movie adaption).

  • karasuKumo

    I agree with him to a certain extent. Hollywood’s “greatest” horror films have been rip off’s and remakes of Japanese films and most of the time the western audience doesn’t know it’s a rip off. And it’s not just horror look at the Lion King and Kimba the White Lion.

    As for the storytelling I like the lesser known Anime such as Durarara and Noein (I emphasize this one if you haven’t watched it do!). Depends on what floats your boat really.

    I just despise how Anime in the west is dominated by Naruto and Bleach, you go and ask if a store has something you want in stock and they say “No we discontinued to sell that because of low sales, we do have Naruto though.” >_< And they wonder why people prefer to buy stuff online haha

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