Monday, 12 July 2010

Is Anime becoming stale?

Katanagatari's Latest Episode featured a different art style and direction, and a beautiful one at that.

So it's been a while since my last post, honestly I didn't feel up to posting thoughts and impressions on anime every week, for some it may be easy but I have to juggle around with my real life and I'm also in a manga group in which I do editing, so this was something I simply had to drop :P

However the latest episode of Katanagatari that I thoroughly enjoyed got me thinking, is anime becoming stale?

No I'll say this from the start, I'm not implying or saying that anime these days is boring or bad, and we still get some real gems each year. However I still can't help but feel that it's slowly going bland a bit. It's full of cloned harem comedy ecchi series which does little to impress but instead focuses it's efforts onto getting it's viewers excited (in more ways than one.)

Perhaps this is what Japan's audience wants so of course I'm coming from a Western point of view here but for me anime was something that could be animation but pass on an adult story, something we rarely get over here, animation these days is mainly used for children's tv.

So it saddens me to see that there are some series with so little effort put in, no new ideas, just the same mess of ecch-ness. Admittedly these series can be fun from time to time but to see it plague our screen's so often is frustrating.

This is one of the main reasons why I love so many of SHAFT's work, although you may argue they do fanservice here and there what I love about their work is that they go against the norm, they challenge what we as an audience are use to and present us with new different ideas. This is partly the reason why I loved Bakemonogatari so much, it was unlike anything we had seen and actually gave us something to be interested in, rather than just something pretty to look at.

Call it weird or stupid looking but it's the unusual style and scenes like this that I appreciate now and then.

I also like that SHAFT's visual or art direction is different from other studio's, this being most prominent in Bakemonogatari or Hidamari, inserting real life images here and there, perhaps you can argue this is due to lazy animating (which SHAFT is famous for) but it's the weirdness and different ideas that helps SHAFT's work separate from any other anime. Giving us a fresh experience.

Of course this doesn't mean that every other studio isn't doing something new or different, Gainax I'm rather fond of, famous of course for their series Evangelion eventually went on to giving us another popular series Gurren Lagann, it was crazy, silly, funny and over the top, and we loved it! And despite that it wasn't always too serious it managed to give us a story and characters worth being interested in.

I would give other examples but I think you've gotten my point, I think the anime industry needs to focus less on making anime with pretty girls and fanservice, I understand this sells well to a certain audience but there's no reason why they can't give us pretty girls with a decent story sugared in.

However one other thing I want to talk about is the art direction or style if you will for anime. Now really this isn't a complaint, but more of a wish.

I want more anime series to use a different style instead the usual manga and anime style, you may instantly flame me for this but the latest episode of Katanagatari showed how well it could work and it really was an enjoyable experience.

The opening of the latest episode was a stirring and inspiring piece of work.

I'm not saying every other anime should uphold this since it's style is what makes it dynamic and set apart from western cartoons and such, I just don't see why they can't shake things up a little bit.

Well thats my thoughts on the matter, I apologize if it seems jumbled or badly structured but it's 5am for me and I'm too tired to go over this properly :P

Feel free to post your thoughts!

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