Tuesday, 27 November 2012

An current overview of anime in Japan

I was asked by MTV's new English language site devoted to Japanese music and pop culture to do a feature outlining general trends in anime in Japan to act as a sort of introduction for overseas readers. The site, MTV 81, is primarily designed to promote Japanese culture and everything they publish starts from the point that it's all going to be basically positive, so don't expect to find me ranting and raving about the evils of moé or calling Makoto Shinkai a sentimental faux artistic hack. Anyway, it's posted online here if you're interested.

Also, I started from the assumption that readers are going to have some idea of what I'm talking about since anime is pretty widely known and the kind of person who comes to a Japan-orientated site like MTV 81 is probably going to have at least a fair idea of what to expect from anime. If there are any truly egregious errors, I apologise (yeah, I know "Bakemonogatari" has a typo in it), but I tried to be as fair as I could in my assessment. Of course I'll have left out loads of stuff, and I admit I've been pretty much dead out of anime for the past few years, but I was able to field a lot of pointers from mates Wah from Analog Housou/Mistakes of Youth and especially Matt from Colony Drop (bearing in mind the obvious biases those sources entail).


omo said...

this MTV81 site is pretty neat, if for all the access to content creators. Especially with a music focus.

The post you did has a little too much "fan speak" for my taste. "Anti-moe"? "Slice-of-life"? Ok bro. Otherwise good!

dotdash said...

Yeah, I had a gauntlet to run between writing something relevant to people familiar with the topic and being comprehensible to everyone else. I tried to explain any unavoidable anime-specific terms like "moé" in the text as best I could, and I'd hope in that context, the meaning of "anti-moé" would be clear (like it or not, that sort of stuff has dominated the anime scene for years, so even its enemies are defined by their opposition to it). I'm fairly sure "slice-of-life" isn't just an anime term though. It's pretty common currency in general use, although I guess it's only really in anime that it's been formalised as a genre label.

omo said...

I have a major personal bone to pick with the slice-of-life moniker so apply salt as you see fit, but yeah, it is only really used in the context of eastern (versus western) narratives. Which means it's only really used by anime/manga consumers, and a very niche set of gamers and film/lit academics. I'm sure most people reading MTV81 gets what that metaphor refers to, I just don't think it's necessary.

I realize you do have to tackle moe at some level, but I just think "anti-moe" is sort of cutting-edge fandom thing that could very well go away tomorrow and be replaced by something else...versus to the general reaction to over-satuation of moe in the culture? Like I said, I think it's good.

dotdash said...

I get what you mean kind of. Whenever I hear "slice-of-life", it makes me want to punch kittens, although I think that's more because of the thing itself rather than the word.

I'm not sure that "anti-moé" on the other hand is even a thing at all except in that it captures a sense that there are various unrelated people out there trying in various ways and with varying degrees of success not to do it. I did want to get into some of the more minor, cutting-edge stuff as well as just talking about the big, broad trends to try to add a bit of depth as well as general overview.

One thing I ought to point out is that my remit was to write something about the state of play in anime at this precise moment, which is why I tried to keep my references to things from the past five years or so (unless a broader historical point needed to be made). Hopefully moé itself will dissipate at some point and that will remove the need to not be it so creators can get on with just making good stuff.