Sunday, 8 September 2013

Why anime is not for kids only!

So the worst misconception and stereotype about anime is that just like 95% of western animation(cartoons) it is for kids only.That could not be farther away from the truth.How many times have people told you that anime is only for children?Well good news,it is not only for children.

Don't think I hate cartoons,as a child I loved them.Even now some spongebob,simpsons,south park jokes still crack me up.Btw. in this post most of the things that are animated but are not anime will be included into "cartoons".

Back to anime though.Modern anime even has separate genres for adults,like josei,seinen and well stuff like ecchi and hentai.

A year ago I also found this article on tvtropes(a great website btw.):
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnimationageGhetto

The problem is that this article has been changed a lot since then,or I would rather say it was destroyed.It is missing the information I was looking four.Luckily I can still remember most of it.The next link is proof that the article was changed,because if you will read everything there carefully,it will not make sense:
http://www.animeforum.com/showthread.php?116207-Animation-Age-Ghetto&s=cfafb97fbd15dc00a942f122d99c30f5

This is a quote from the old article before it was edited:
With standards lowered and budgets tightened, cartoons became little more than a drawn series of humorous gags devoid or blunted of emotional impact. Soon, it became unavoidable that the children's demographic became its target market. Although they were often funny and creative, their lack of concern for depth or strong characterization lent little room for adults to enjoy them. Furthermore in the West, animation was pigeonholed into a stereotype that they could only be successful if they were humorous.

So now I will try to remember what was written there and retell it in my own way.We have to go to the past a bit.The history of anime and cartoons between the 1940's and the 1970's.

In the 1940's/1950's anime and cartoons were both basically carbon copies of each other.Unlike todays cartoons which are aimed only at children,1940's cartoons were aimed to adults as well.Just like anime today they had adult themes.In fact cartoons were mostly considered to be a form of art,so you could win academy awards,without investing a lot of money.Back then you could make cartoons or anime without investing a huge amount of money into production.That is not really childlike,is it?

So what changed both the anime and cartoon industry?When did they split up into two diverse entities?

To understand that we need to mention the difference in tastes between adults and children.
Adults want/need:good animation quality,realistic animation,a good story,character development,good sound...
Children:don't care about any quality as long as they can spend some time.

So in 1953 color TV was introduced.For anime and cartoon producers this meant that in order to attract grown up audiences they had to invest more money into production.BAM,that is when things started to change and the so called "animation age ghetto" was created.

The cartoon industry decided to take the easy road.Children don't care about good animation quality,a good story and stuff like that.So by the beginning of the 1960's most cartoons were oriented towards children.This was done in order to cut production costs.Because with the introduction of color tv adults started to demand more and more quality.

The anime industry did not do the same mistake.They continued to improve the story.They continued to improve the animation quality.The anime industry instead continued to try to appeal to the more mature audiences.

In the 1970's the cartoon industry continued the trend that started in the 1950's.The 1970's were even worse because the first "30 minute toy commercials" have started at that time.
In fact we had to wait for the 1990's (The Simpsons to be more precise) to see the first signs of this trend slowing down.
This of course created the stereotype in western culture that everything that is animated is for children.

Meanwhile what was happening in Japan?
In the 1960's the traditional anime style of animation was established.That is when the anime industry became its own entity.That is when anime became what it is today.In the 1970's many modern animation studios like madhouse and sunrise were founded.This allowed a whole new generation of  authors to enter the anime industry.The mecha subgenre was established.And then came the 1980's...

Here are some more sources.I found those while I was searching for the original text of the first source I mentioned in this blog post:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheDarkAgeOfAnimation
http://sdfeitherway.blogspot.com/2011/11/animation-age-ghetto-discussion.html?showComment=1378639522730#c2363120502267166652
http://storify.com/Mike_Jagger92/animation-age-ghetto
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