Japanese cartoons

i think about these tweets (thread) a lot

(sorry, discourse devs are dumb pieces of shit and forgot how Twitter embeds work during some update or another)

this is something ive been really hung up on lately. I know a couple of creators whose work i like that use “anime” almost exclusively as a pejorative. i know that people here use it that way, even though the SB Anime Club has thoroughly convinced me that Japan (especially from the 70s to the 90s) has produced most of my favorite cartoons of all time.

For years of my life i basically refused to admit i liked anime because i thought it was embarrassing. I avoided creative work that’s essential to me now. Art teachers looked down on me, and i looked down on my fellow artists in turn. Falling in love with Japanimation during the western boom of the 90s defined my love of art and animation, and i disowned that until i was like 25. That’s really stupid

I don’t really know what else to say it’s just been really bugging me and i wonder what you all think. Treating the whole creative output of an entire country as if it’s meritless trash has been normalized since i took to the internet, and at some point it just became xenophobic and incredibly annoying to me.

I’ve been trying to dunk on games as an industry more, instead of treating the whole medium as worthless, because it’s actually a kickass medium and deserves better. I think anime (especially the term, and branding “anime”) is the same. Clearly the capitalist industry that makes anime has grown more pandering and exploitative and bad. but it rubs me so much more the wrong way when people make stupid blanket judgments about what an entire legacy of sequential art from a single nation can do, vs a relatively nascent medium that still can’t find a better name for itself than “games”


meritless trash is the condition of most art regardless of origin


in this case it’s not helpful that the shittiest expressions of the style have become welded to the worst internet right wing nodes either

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I think “anime” gets summarized as a pejorative because bad anime is worse than bad almost anything else and it occurs at a higher percentage rate than in most other media. But its great works are the equal of great works everywhere. Sorry Satoshi Kon you made your masterpieces in the same medium as where they make Nazi warships into sexy underage girls


The vast majority of anime that mass audiences actually watch in japan are pretty mundane family dramas.

That weird bullshit is the fringe of the fringe, and then gets pushed by western companies hard as part of the way they make money.

I mean America produced South Park, which regularly glamorizes antsenitism as well. Not to imagine countless, unending, cop shows that glorify officers steamrolling rights to ‘get the guilty suspect’.

Evangelical Christian television is pretty gross too.

I don’t think the worst anime is that far off from the worst stuff western folks produce.


really don’t think moral relativism is appropriate here when being as judgmental of each others’ cultures as possible in this case would produce the optimal result

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i mean, that’s simply not true, it’s just easier to believe it’s true because it’s more in our face. there are definitely cases of horrid books, music, games, etc that i’m not going to bother listing that can be even worse. but since it’s covered so much here and is a large industry and affiliated often with such a loud and toxic group and cultural differences and pre-baked judgements (i mean, who hasn’t gone through a phase where they weren’t like “anime is porn right” at this point) and blahblahblah it can be a lot more irking to see (to some people not me i’m like a boiled frog anime is just normal for me yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh bababyyyyyyyyyyyy) then like, having an awful book show a paragraph or two of gut wrenching grossness

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what makes those judging from the outside more qualified then those judging from the inside

alternatively: when has a culture been like “that’s bad other culture” and not made it worse

I have accidentally gotten off at Akihabara station while hung over enough times to know nothing is worse than anime.

And by “gotten off” I mean “exited a train”. That just doesn’t read as well, ok. Just wanna clarify things here.


I fully believe Jack Kirby is one of the greatest artists who ever lived and in 2019 this is not a controversial opinion but I also fully believe the superhero genre is a fucking pox on humanity and comic books should be shown no mercy so like my opinion is pretty much why bother disposing of incredibly convenient and accurate catch-alls and descriptors and such when we can just talk about how great certain artists are.

Also I’m a cartoonist so I can talk shit about comics ok that’s how it works.


sometimes appreciating the nuances gives you more ammunition to make excuses when you shouldn’t

I like Assayas for chrissakes, I’d know

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have you read Books lately


i reckon a lot of it comes from the leftover xenophobia that came from the “lol weird japan” stuff that’s been around during the last twenty years of the internet. you know, like the fucking “they have vending machines with used panties in them on every corner” stuff. maybe even before that, like the paranoia over japan’s economic boom in the 80s that was expressed in every cyberpunk story of the time.

then there’s the fact that when it comes to anime, most of the stuff brought over here (“here” being “the west”) isn’t worth the shit from a dog’s ass, and is specifically designed to appeal to our scummier, less liked peers. and really, would you want to be caught dead liking the same show as that racist white dude on twitter who spent years pretending to be a japanese housewife that was extremely and realistically concerned about the dangers of video game feminism? the rest of it are either works of absolute genius, or bland as fuck; the shows about nine year old nazis in mini-skirts don’t exactly air on prime time. which really isn’t that much different from our tv. i mean, we have a lot- a lot of garbage playing on a 24 hour loop.

so i guess that shame of liking anime comes from that combination of being told that it comes from a “weird” country that’s totally different from us (even though it kind of isn’t), and publishing companies being run by weirdos into gross shit and therefore import said gross shit and rub it in your face in the hope it gets bought and not immediately torrented by future school shooters that will call you the n-word for having your pronouns in your bio.


I think “animation from Japan” gets summarized as a pejorative because bad animation from Japan is worse than bad animation from almost anywhere else and it occurs at a higher percentage rate than in most other media [from other countries]. But its greatest works are the equal of great works everywhere. Sorry Satoshi Kon you made your masterpiece in the same country as where they make Nazi warships into sexy underage girls

definitely this, though it predates the internet. mainstream western writing about/“parody” of tokusatsu borders on straight up racism at times, and has been for decades.

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(discourse won’t embed tweets if the link is to the mobile site. you just have to remove the “mobile.” part of the URL and it should work)


I think contempt for anime comes from

a) white people Actually Think that asian people lack like, souls or interiority, so how could they create anything of artistic merit

b) american contempt for cartoons and

c) the fact that anime fandom in america has been outright hijacked by pedophiles

I’ve always hated the idea that people would misperceive my taste. I remember telling a school counselor when i was like ten years old that i wanted to be an animator and she said oh, you want to make something like toy story? Like no i wanted to make something ARTISTICALLY SUBLIME and TRANSCENDENT like spirited away. I ddin’t actually say the first part to her but i thought it, though like not in those words. Idk i think most people are genuinely closed off either spiritually or physiologically to the possibility of subliminity and transcendence in art.


I got into a fairly heated argument with a fellow Japanese lit grad student a few years back when I proposed the same thing that Nina does here. For slightly different reasons, but I think this is also a very good (perhaps better) set of reasons.

Yeah sure same diff

This is a little too broad though, it’s not irrational to consider all animation made in the sphere of influence of a certain culture to be related as a coherent medium apart from live action film, TV, music, and whatever other media.

Me: it’s reductive and kinda xenophobic to blanket say anime sucks

You: well, to be fair, anime sucks

Me: ok thanks for your input

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