This rant contains spoilers! This rant may cause cancer in rats as known by the State of California.
Now, before anyone asks, I’m not talking about: “Blah blah freaking blah, Americans can’t make anime because they’re not Japanese!” Nope, I’m talking about the fact everything we’re obsessed with is not the focus of anime. For example:
- Friendly robotic sidekicks (such as the Tachikoma from GITS)
- Artifical Intelligence that can both sing and pilot experimental aircraft (such as Sharon from Macross Plus)
- Breasts (such as… well, almost any anime out there)
- Unrealistically large weapons that can destroy the planet (Gundam 0083, Eureka Seven, SDF Macross, etc)
- Messed up concepts from religion taken out of context (Evangelion, and to a lesser degree Eureka Seven)
- ‘Real’ giant robots (Gundam, Macross, Evangelion, Eureka Seven)
- Urban combat (Gundam, Macross, Evangelion, Eureka Seven)
- Shit blowing up (again, almost any anime out there)
Almost every single one of those example animes listed next to each obsessed over thing, each one of them have yet another concept that runs along side that, that Americans totally miss out on:
- The Tachikoma are weapons of war, and they kill people
- Sharon fell in love with the main character of Macross Plus and tried to kill everyone over it
- Breasts are also useful for flotation devices in emergencies!
- Almost everyone dies because of their use
- The religion in Evangelion was there to hide the physiological babble behind
- Those ‘real’ giant robots are also weapons of war, and kill people
- During urban combat, innocent people die
- More often than not, someone has died during shit blowing up
There are few cartoons (since we Americans can’t call ours anime) that actually touch on these subjects. The ones that do are quickly shut away as some ‘evil, Satan worshiping creation to corrupt children’, and get a big fat TV-MA or Rated R sticker stuck on it.
I mean, some people say America is desensitized to violence; no, I think America is too afraid to face it and to deal with it. What would happen if we showed children that their favorite cartoon character died painfully because of war or some other battle? They’d never happily march off to war. They’d never pick up a gun and shoot someone over a trivial matter. They’d think twice before ending someone’s life.
In essence, America can’t make anime not because we’re not Japanese, but because we refuse to tell good stories. The one thing missing from most Amercian cartoons is plot and character development; they miss out the most important part of writing a story: you cannot keep your characters safe, bad things always have to happen to them.
Caution: This math may be wrong.
In episode 6 of Neon Genesis Evangelion, NERV borrows a positron cannon from a government research lab to deal with the latest threat. This cannon takes all of Japan’s power output, for 37 seconds, to charge the rifle for one shot. According to the CIA World Factbook, Japan produced 1.017 trillion kWh for the whole year in 2003.
1.017 trillion kWh per year/365 days/24 hours = 116 million kWh per hour
So, Japan produces 116 million kWh per hour. However, Makoto Hyuga states that it will take atleast 180 million watts to pierce the AT field of the angel Ramiel. Seeing as it takes 37 seconds to charge the rifle*…
180 million kW per 37 seconds * (3600 seconds / 37 seconds) = 17460 million kWh per hour
So, if my calculations are correct, the rifle would need 17460 million kWh to charge for an hour; unfortunately, this is quite a lot higher than the 116 million kWh per hour Japan produces, infact, it is 150 times more. So, if Evangelion’s Japan in the year 2015 is to be able to power the rifle, it needs to produce 150 times more power than 2003 Japan does.
* Counting from the ejection of the first shot’s fuse, to the pulling of the trigger for the second shot.
Its funny. Dragonball is sort of the in-joke of the otaku crowd, yet I am actually sad to see it finally finish. With 508 episodes, 17 movies, and 2 TV specials1, it is a very very long series. I saw the entire life of Goku, and I give it 3 out of 5 stars.
Sure, the series is ultimately just about fighting, but after awhile even in such a series, the characters become real, as if the whole weight of the world really was on their shoulders. Goku ultimately wins against the most supreme evil, a culmination of the worst humanity… no, the entire universe has to offer.
Dragonball for 11 years2 has taught anyone who watched it to stand up for what they believe in, and to always protect friends and family. Goku even died for this… several times over. Not once did he regret his actions, for his heart was pure.
I’m just sorry that Dragonball is now hated within the otaku community. It was one of the first major hits in the US, and was both horribly translated (with sucky voice actors) and all the good parts were left on the editing floor (thanks to insane censorship laws).
Due to its popularity, it gave rise to the otaku community’s hatred of mainstream anime, and also gave rise to the influx of action/fighting animes that dominate the American airwaves. However, we can not blame the series for this. We can only blame those who let it be corrupted in the first place.
 153 episodes of Dragonball, 291 episodes of Dragonball Z, 64 episodes of Dragonball GT, 4 Dragonball movies, 13 Dragonball Z movies, and 2 Dragonball Z TV specials.
 Dragonball ran February 26, 1986 to April 12, 1989. Dragonball Z ran April 18, 1989 to January 31, 1996. Dragonball GT ran between 1996 and 1997.
In the future, life between the digital and physical world has been blurred. The boundary of technology and humanity has been stretched beyond imagination with lives being led in both the electronic and physical worlds. With the melding of man and machine – a new cybernetic level of existence is being created – An existence that continues to redefine mankind.
I finished episode 26 of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex today.
Gits: SAC is one of those series that is perfect from beginning to end. Its the kind of series that you watch several times to fully enjoy everything it has to offer. It is simultaneously comical and dark. The team of Shirow Masamune, Yoshiki Sakurai, and Kenji Kamiyama provide a wonderful vision for this version of the GitS universe.
It complements the GitS movies well (although, both exist in different universes and are alternate realities of Shirow’s manga). The introduction of the child-like Tachikoma robots (“Sentient Tanks”) was a great idea, and I wish they had appeared in the other two universes. They make you question what is human consciousness (“Ghost”), and they make you question what is real or not.
Hell, the entire series makes you question what is real.