Guaporense and Zotis Review Animation

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"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



75) Blade Of the Phantom Master (2004)



Reason for watching: I saw it in Netflix and decided to watch it because if looked fun.

Review: Featuring pretty good animation and art but overall it felt a bit derivative and uninteresting.

Its a film adapted from a Korean manga and the film is a Japanese and Korean co-production. Although the film is in Japanese.

The setting of the film reminds me of Trigun mixed up with Ninja Scroll. And the way it's executed feels pretty generic. The plot wasn't interesting and it felt like it was only an excuse for the almost continuous fight scenes.

So good art, animation and character designs. Rest was plain, specially the completely bland plot.



Essay - American Animation fans and Japanese Culture

What is the most insular country in the world? In cultural terms is the US. While living in the US since 2013 I noticed how incredibly closed the country is to foreign culture in general, I will not comment on the reasons for that.

One thing I noticed is that Anime is the single most popular form of foreign culture in the US, and the reasons for that are pretty obvious:

1 - Animation is the only medium that is not well developed in US culture. Other well developed mediums like live action film or literature have an abundance of US/English content so Americans don't bother consuming foreign stuff. Since Japan produces about 2/3 of the animation in the world, anybody with an interest in animation is driven torwards Japanese animation.

2 - While animation is not the main driving force of Japanese culture, manga is, the fact is that Americans and Westerners in general don't know how to read comic books, but they know how to watch TV. So they end up watching poorly animated adaptations of manga, which in Japan exists only as a means to advertise manga (yep, most anime just consists of manga commercials, made to boost manga sales and their plot is wrapped up in a rather hapzard fashion). So anime is what Americans like to call manga commercials for TV.

3 - Japanese pop culture is extremely rich and reflects the issues facing the people of an advanced industrialized society. Indian movies or Brazilian soup operas are not as easy for middle class Americans to consume since these societies are very different, Japanese society is similar to American society in many ways (more similar than Brazilian society is). While French movies are just plain boring and don't appeal to young people, despite being also from an advanced industrialized society. And young people are the ones more open to new and foreign stuff, older persons tend to only consume the same type of culture they consumed in their youth (their brains lose the capacity to learn new cultural languages, which explains why the middle aged parents hate their kids rap music).

As a result we have anime fans whose entire understanding of Japanese culture comes from animation and are virtually ignorant of other elements of Japanese culture. In fact, when I am watching Netflix I noticed that most foreign language stuff on Netflix consists of anime, there is very little live action Japanese stuff. And also, in book stores its pretty hard to find stuff that's foreign that is not very old stuff like Dostoyevsky. Animation becomes the only channel through people are exposed to Japan in the US. In fact, the highest grossing foreign movie of all time in the US is a Pokemon film.

Modern Japanese culture is pretty different from Western culture and specially American culture, despite being heavily influenced by Western culture in general and American culture in particular. These differences manifest themselves when Western animation fans complain that anime "panders to otaku". Well, its Japanese culture made for Japanese people, of course it "panders" to the interests of the Japanese and not the Americans: While some anime is exported abroad only about 15% of the anime industry revenues come from licensing outside of Japan, which means American market represents at most 4-5% of the anime industry's revenues. And the manga industry (who finances most anime) is several times larger than the anime industry.

American and Western anime fansin general constantly complain that anime doesn't pander to American and Western cultural norms and tastes. This form of complaint occurs in many ways, one type of complaint is their complaint that it's "paedophilia" or that "moe is killing the industry" and they miss the days of Cowboy Bebop and Trigun. Well, thing is that obe should actually try to instrospect on the reasons why they think they like Cowboy Bebop and hate K-On!, and then it becomes clear: Cowboy Bebop is one of those rare americanized types of anime and was directed by Watanabe who is a fanboy of US culture, hence, being the type of stuff Americans would tend to identify with. K-On! is feminized slice of life stuff, both feminized stuff and slice of life are foreign to the highly masculine and "active" American culture. Since American and Western anime fans in general are not actually aware that such a thing as a culture different from the Jewish-Christian one exists they tend to think badly of anime which appeals to different cultural elements than those existing in the Western world.

I would advise these people to actually try to learn a little bit more about Japanese culture and also try to understand it from a Japanese perspective not a American one. I learned to like American culture even though it's completely different from Brazilian culture (although it shares some Western similarities, its degree of difference is similar to Japanese culture if not more so) and so it's equally possible for them to actually understand other cultures. Learning the cultural languages instead of complaining like babies would do a favour for them and for the culture they misubderstand and insult constantly.



Well, I don't know a lot about American culture. I live in one of the most multi-cultural cities, if not THE most multi-cultural city in the world, Toronto. So here there are a lot of manga/anime fans, and I do meet Americans here regularily.

Even though I watch a lot of foreign films, most people here don't, and they probably watch more TV than films. I know several people who read a decent amount of Manga, and one or two who read a lot of manga. I know one or two people who watch more anime than me, and I know one person who watches more movies than me (or I should say has watched because he's older and doesn't watch a lot any more). But that's not counting people like the video store clerks I've encountered over my life.

Even here I would say very few people know much about Japanese culture, or any culture besides their own, myself included. I know a little bit, but that's it.

In my conversations with people I find that most people identify with the most mainstream forms of everything almost exclusively. They generalise about Anime the same way they generalise about Emo. The commercial product is the majority of it's identity to them even if it's completely misslabelled, like when Derek thinks Avenged Sevenfold is Metal.

Some people dig deeper, but most don't. Almost everyone digs a little into particular things that interest them. Now and then I encounter people who know about obscure realms of their areas of interest. Usually the people who I encounter who know more than me about my own interests which I've dug into are online on web sites dedicated to those things. They're spread thin over the world, but they run into each other online.

To me a peer is someone who contends with me in such areas of common interest. Take you, Guap, for example. You have seen lots of animation and films that I've not seen, I've seen lots you haven't, and we have a lot of overlap too. And we share other areas of interest too, like Metal.

I like you because you've taken your interests to exceptional depths and I can learn a lot from you and share my own enthusiasm with you. Most people are too shallow and ignorant to ever get to experience that, and it really seems to me like an essential aspect of life.



I think that I should add that I was talking about the "sociology" of culture there though not individual experience. The point was:

1 - Western fans of animation only know western culture.
2 - Most animation is not western and hence their only link to non-western cultures.
3 - Because of that there is a cultural language barrier and so western animation fans are constantly complaining that Japanese animation doesn't appeal to them.

It's also true that the US is also very multicultural in the sense that there are peoples of many cultures, however, the US native population is not exposed to other cultures unless they consciously become interested. For example, there are 30 million Mexicans in the US, but 99% of white or black Americans never read a Mexican book, listened to Mexican music or watched a Mexican movie.

In a sense the US is open (to people), in another sense, the US is closed (to culture). Brazil is more open to foreign culture because of our 3rd world status so we idolize foreign culture because it's from countries more advanced than ours.



76) Minions (2015)



Well, this movie was bland. Hollywood blockbuster movies are converging more and more to feel exactly like each other and appeal to the largest possible number of people. The problems with that approach is that the more artistic elements of expression tend to become downplayed (and that means anything that might not appeal to some demographics) as well as that filmmakers become chained to political correctness to an enormous level.

Despite these issues this film was entertaining and very "easy to consume": The minions were cute and watching them move around was enjoyable. It reminds me of Monsters versus Aliens as well, which is a very similar in style Dreamworks movie but with less "explosions". The animation is good but the art is a bit tad simplistic and the jokes are not very good (well it appears that the cuteness was the selling point not the jokes).

Also, in terms of cuteness there are many anime titles that operate on a far higher level such as Is the Order a Rabbit? (although their mixture of erotic elements might scare away most western people as well as their inclusion of more complex/adult writing:

Cuteness and erotica combined in Is the Order a Rabbit?

This doesn't fit well with western cultural stereotypes.

Overall Minion is an entertaining movie.



I think that I should add that I was talking about the "sociology" of culture there though not individual experience. The point was:

1 - Western fans of animation only know western culture.
2 - Most animation is not western and hence their only link to non-western cultures.
3 - Because of that there is a cultural language barrier and so western animation fans are constantly complaining that Japanese animation doesn't appeal to them.

It's also true that the US is also very multicultural in the sense that there are peoples of many cultures, however, the US native population is not exposed to other cultures unless they consciously become interested. For example, there are 30 million Mexicans in the US, but 99% of white or black Americans never read a Mexican book, listened to Mexican music or watched a Mexican movie.

In a sense the US is open (to people), in another sense, the US is closed (to culture). Brazil is more open to foreign culture because of our 3rd world status so we idolize foreign culture because it's from countries more advanced than ours.
Very interesting perspective, I never really thought about it like that. Culture itself is an interesting entity, and lends itself to more than just where you're from and what colour you are, and because of this I tend to agree with you. Someone that's not so attached to a cultural identity has a more fulfilling experience when exposed to foreign media.
__________________
"No golden thrones to follow, no shrines of solace to be found.
And only the locusts shall sing, at the end of the day."



Yeah, I don't think I could watch My Little Pony. I don't know how you do it.

Saikano was pretty cute though. That's my favorite cute anime. Much more than Madoka in terms of cuteness.



I updated the first page with the links you sent me Guap, and I added links to all my reviews. I also posted your list of top directors and my list of obscure gems.



Cool. In my list of favorite directors Junichi Sato shows up twice, so in the second time he shows up you can put Hiroyuki Imaishi.



Okay, so I began work on my Top 100 Anime list. So far here is my first draft of contenders listed alphabetically. There's 103 so far.

.Hack//Sign
8 Man After
A.D. Police Files
Akira
Amon: Apocalypse of Devilman
Angel Cop
Angel's Egg
The Animatrix
Appleseed
Armitage III
Armor Hunter Mellowlink
Arrietty
Baoh
Battle Angel
Battle Royale High School
Berserk
Big Wars
Bio Hunter
Black Magic M-66
Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma
Blood: The Last Vampire
Bounty Dog
Claymore
The Cockpit
Curse of Kazuo
Cyber City Oedo 808
Dagger of Kamui
The Dark Myth
Darkside Blues
Demon City Shinjuku
Demon of Steel
Devilman: Demon Bird Sirene
Devilman: The Birth
Dragon's Heaven
Fight Iczer!
Flag
Gall Force: Eternal Story
Gall Force 2: Destruction
Gall Force 3: Stardust War
Genocyber
Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Goku: Midnight Eye
Goodnight Althea
Grey: Digital Target
Haibane Renmei
Harmageddon
Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
Iria: Zeiram the Animation
Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Kai Do Maru
Kemonozume
Kite
Knights of Sidonia
Lensman: Secret of the Lens
Lily C.A.T.
M.D. Geist
Megacity 23
Memories
Meso Forte
Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01
Mind Game
Mobile Suit Gundam: A War in the Pocket
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counter Attack
Mobile Suit Gundam: Stardust Memories
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
Mushi-Shi
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Neo Tokyo
Ninja Gaiden
Ninja Scroll
Ocean Waves
One Punch Man
Only Yesterday
Paprika
Perfect Blue
Ping Pong: The Animation
Princess Mononoke
Psycho Diver: Soul Siren
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Red Hawk: Weapon of Death
Redline
Rhea Gall Force
Robot Carnival
Roots Search
Roujin Z
Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise
Saikano
Serial Experiment Lain
Silent Mobius
Spirited Away
Steins;Gate
Summer Wars
Sword of the Stranger
Tekonkinkreet
Twelve Centimeters Per Second
The Twelve Kingdoms
Vampire Hunter D
Venus Wars
Whisper of the Heart
Wicked City
A Wind Named Amnesia



Maybe you can make a top 100 animation list and include the other non-Japanese stuff to fill up to a 100. In my top 100 animations list there were 25 or so non-Japanese titles.