You could say, anime dealies?

The Anime Graduation Paper and Me Part 6

Posted on January 24, 2007 at 5:29 am by ()
Post Categories: Grad Paper
Comments: 0

Let’s finish this up, shall we? I’ll eventually get off my butt and fix it up with the suggestions I’ve been getting from all over the place and then post it in one final post. The rest.

Oh, and seeing as the first semester has finally ended, I’ll try to get more posts in. Try being the important word, here.

Yet not all shows can be labeled as simply as “a children’s show” or as “an adult’s show”. With literally thousands of shows created from Japan alone (not counting Korea and China who are starting to get into the industry), there will surely be a couple series that will fall into the cracks. One such show would be Card Captor Sakura. Card Captor Sakura follows Sakura Kinomoto as she, too, goes through the everyday obstacles a ten year old faces, but this time, it is with a twist. She goes to school during the day, but when she senses a Clow Card that may disturb everyone and even put them in danger of being killed, it is up to her to stop them. Because Card Captor Sakura falls under the mahou shoujo genre (mahou shoujo meaning a story revolving around magical girls), her powers make it hard for her to keep her identity and live a normal life. Naturally, this type of story sounds like it would simply fall under the children’s section. When one thinks of magic, fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White would appear in one’s mind and the connection between Card Captor Sakura and a children’s anime is established, but it goes beyond that. Created by the superpower all women manga-ka (manga artists) group CLAMP, following the nature of their other releases, Card Captor Sakura is aimed for all target audiences and not just the children.

With Card Captor Sakura mainly being a televised show, movies are no different. Any anime fan has undoubtedly heard of Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is world renowned, winning awards not only in his native country (he won Best picture at the Japanese Academy Awards), but also around the world. He won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, his movie Spirited Away won an Oscar for the Best Animated feature of 2002, and he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at the Venice Film Festival. One of his most famous films is Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. In this movie, the Earth’s ecosystem is steadily being destroyed by human civilization. The peace-loving Nausicaa, though, has a close relationship to the animals and nature, and it becomes her duty to protect her homeland when it comes under attack. This movie is similar to that of Neon Genesis Evangelion in the sense that both deal with the idea of the end of the world. Unlike Neon Genesis Evangelion, though, Nausicaa ends the movie with hope of a brighter future despite all the wrongdoings that have been previously committed. It is more fitting a child would watch this movie and learn this lesson from the “happy ending” rather than an apocalyptic one of Neon Genesis Evangelion’s.

Another of Miyazaki’s movie’s that did well domestically and abroad is the aforementioned Spirited Away. With its rich and entrancing visuals, Spirited Away goes beyond just being another eye candy movie. One of Miyazaki’s most popular films ever, Spirited Away follows Chihiro Ogino as she finds herself in a new world. Moving to her new town, the parents take the wrong path and end up at a tunnel. The family, deciding to do a little exploring, finds an abandoned amusement park and the parents, smelling food, begin to gobble up food before paying. Before she knows it, Chihiro’s parents have become pigs and she is now lost in this world where everything unusual here, is normal there. In a later interview with Miyazaki, Miyazaki himself states that the movie was aimed to teach the audience. Created mainly to teach his nephew about the Japanese culture, he felt that the movie could be used to teach not only other children, but also the growing teens and the adults as well. –quick break. continued below–

With anime, it is similar to searching for a movie, there is not just anime, there are anime genres. Be it mecha, mahou shoujo, shounen (stories aimed for boys), josei (stories aimed for older women), or any of the many other styles, the subjects are limitless. And despite this variety, there remain those who still confuse what anime really is. Just recently in February of 2006, the Government of Canada made the opposite assumption. They banned anime for a short period of time, assuming that all anime was a type of anime pornography, but it is largely thanks to the anime community and their letters, consisting of teenage and adult fans alike, that this was repealed.

In conclusion, anime sales today are rapidly increasing, with an eighty billion dollar industry in 2004, this vastly overshadows the previous year and is ten times the amount of money made in 1994 quickly becoming a powerhouse. This is very much different from the earlier years of anime. In the beginning, fans of all ages (but mostly an older audience) would anxiously record each episode onto a video tape and then mail each other tapes in exchange. As technology grew, so did the fan base. It has now reached a point in which anime can be accessed easily via the internet and the industry is one of great profit. Though it has proven not to be an easy task, the problem that people think anime is for children still remains. Hopefully, it is with the increase of anime and manga outside of Japan, and its ability to be about any subject, the question is not how, but when this image of it just being a children’s style will vanish completely. For as once anime director Oshii Mamoru stated anime is “another world”.


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