Archive for January, 2007

Why Americans Can’t Make Anime (Or Can They?)

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.