Monday, September 24, 2007

My Anime Appreciation Post

The first Japanese cartoon I saw as a kid was most likely Speed Racer or DragonBall Z. Those two shows are probably the main reason why I've hated anime since.

Since then, I've always known myself to be an "anime-basher". I hate anime with a passion. Every show I've seen is made up of one or more of the following:

-1) Animals being collected/abused/pitted against other animals in glorified battles (Pokemon, Digimon, Monster Rancher, etc.)

-2) Genetically-altered flying people shooting large balls of energy out of their palms in quarrels spanning half a season's worth of episodes (DragonBall Z, Naruto, Street Fighter, etc.)

-3) Magical girls with extremely short miniskirts using sparkly attacks with ridiculously long names fighting evil-doers for no apparent reason (Sailor Moon, Card Captors, Magical DoReMi, etc.)

& every main protagonist has either a really big ego with a heart of gold or is a selfless hero saving everybody from some spiritual danger that nobody else knows about except for some kind of cuddly yet wise woodland creature of questionable origin. & many of them seem to have gender issues.

& all the names are too long to remember or even pronounce properly:

"Hi, I'm Michael. What's your name?"

"Yumichika Ayasegawa"

"Uhhhh... god bless you?"

& don't forget all the big-eyed, small-mouthed, cutesy-wutesy 'chibi', limited-animated lipped, poorly-dubbed nonsense in between!...

...but recently, it seems that I've been bitten by the Anime Bug. There are some things that I really admire about it.

Japanese animation (unlike most of today's American cartoons) is extremely detailed & well-animated. Anime in general is chock full of appeal, design-wise. Each show I've seen (or at least a majority of them) have real plots & strong character development. I was completely blown away by Miyazaki's Spirited Away, not just because of the animation (I saw no trace of computer animation at all. It's either non-existent or they just hid it pretty well), but because of the story, characters, their personalities & relationships & the imagination that Miyazaki has to create films of this magnitude. Unfortunately, besides Spirited Away & Kiki's Delivery Service, I have not seen his other films. I've heard a lot of positive things about Princess Mononoke & My Neighbor Totoro. I'll have to go check those out ASAP.

From what I've seen, Japanese animators seem to be superior draftsman & skilled 'actors'. I've seen recent American films animated by Japanese (Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, The Tigger Movie, etc.) that prove that they're way ahead of us in another field: animation. First cars, then electronics, then video games, NOW cartoons. They never cease to amaze me.

Oh, & did I happen to mention that all the female characters are REALLY HOT!? Boy, do I envy those Japanese animators!

A few of my friends back home & two of my roommates here at SVA are definitely major influences in my sudden liking of cartoons from the land of the rising sun. But even before I came to the Apple (it's not the BIG Apple; that's a common misconception), I've already had a taste of anime. I've gotten into a few shows that are on late at night on Adult Swim: Bleach & Ghost in the Shell. Somehow, they stood out from the rest of the 'crap' I've seen, & I've come to the point that I'm looking forward to seeing them each night. Unfortunately, if I miss even one episode of either show, it feels to me like I missed something important & then every episode on doesn't make sense to me. Thanks to sites like TV Links, I might be able to get myself back into the groove.

I'm not quite at the point where I can call myself a 'fan', but I'm slowly edging my way up.

& don't get that "American Anime" crap confused with the real thing. You know, shows like Xiaolin Showdown, Ben 10 & the like? There's no comparison whatsoever. Even though it's animated by Korean people doesn't mean it's the genuine article.

*Oh, by the way, I'd like to direct you to my roommate's work. His name is Chris Niosi. He's the mastermind behind the Go, Go Parody Rangers that are all the rage over at He's an awesome Flash animator & a really gifted voice-over artist. Don't forget to check out Parts II & III!

Also, I apologize for not putting up the fourth installment of the 'College Soup' story today. Don't worry, that'll be up by the end of the week. Take care!


Anonymous said...

Hey Mike, I don't know if you remember me, but it's Veenna. I was at Hofstra on Saturday.
Anyway, I love My Neighbor Totoro, and you should defiantly see Castle in the Sky.
You are such a good artist.
Okay, bye.

Michael J. Ruocco said...

Hey Veenna! Thanks for checking out my little blog here!

I'll definitely check those films out. I might even go out to my school film library & pick those flicks up for my viewing pleasure!