The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime

April 3, 2014 in ANIMATION

ANIMATION- The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime

The Four Best and Worst Things About AnimeI love anime. I really do, but it’s not perfect.  There are some awesome things about it and some not so awesome things. That is what this post is all about.

I grew up on watching anime..  Some of the first cartoons I remember watching were Heidi, Gatchaman, and Mazinger Z.

Those shows have influenced my taste in cartoons to this day.  But that doesn’t mean that anime is perfect.

There are some things that REALLY annoy me about watching anime.  But the best things about it keep me coming back for more again and again.

I came up with four things I like and dislike about anime and wrote them down here. I started with the worst so that I can leave you with the positive stuff at the end.

One thing that some American animation elitists will find missing from my “worst” list is the idea that the animation in anime is bad.  I won’t go there because I disagree.

The animation in anime is stylistically different by choice and I like it that way.  It’s not better or worst than American animation, just different.  To think otherwise is to be a snobby animation elitist.

Okay, now that that’s off my chest, let’s get started…


Whinny Protagonists

The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime 01This is by far one of the most annoying conventions in anime, the whinny protagonist.  It’s not in EVERY anime but it’s in enough so that it drives me crazy.

We are meant to follow this guy (it’s usually a male protagonist) through his adventure and identify with him, but how can we? All he does is whine about his circumstances all the time.

The worst is when most of an episode is taken up by the protagonist not taking story furthering action because he’s whining. Effectively stopping the show or movie.

I don’t mind if, the character starts off being scared and as the show or movie goes on, he slowly becomes more self confident. But when he stays whinny from the start of the show till the end, that’s a huge turn off.

The worst I’ve ever seen was in  the show Neon Genesis Evangelion. The character Shinji was a whinny baby from the first episode to the last and never changed.

So annoying.

Lack of Style Variety

Anime lacks style variety.  There I said it.  It has a certain look and it doesn’t veer from it much.

Yes, there is variety of styles within the anime style but that all it is, variations within a SINGLE style  In general anime tends to look the same.  It’s very rare when you see a Japanese cartoon and don’t realize it’s a Japanese cartoon.

There are exceptions but not very many.

I LIKE the style. It’s very appealing to me.  Don’t get me wrong.  But it’s only the one SINGLE style done in slightly different ways.

Pretensions and Preachy

Sometimes anime creators decide to preach their world view via their cartoons.  And they do so in such a heavy handed way that it not only comes off as preachy but also very pretentious.

Now, almost every story has some sort of message.  I’m not against that.  But if it comes across as self righteous preaching, that’s when it gets annoying.  Especially when they stop the story to do so.

And it’s even worse when the world view comes across like something an adolescent hormonal kid came up with and it’s just downright ridiculous.

Even if it’s an interesting world view though. Even when the world view is worth thinking about, when it stops the story so that the characters can preach to the audience about it, it just comes across as pretensions mumbo jumbo.

Let me get out of the story what I want to get out of the story but don’t try forcing it down my throat. It’s annoying.

Sexism and Misogyny

Panty shots, girls with gigantic bouncy boobs bigger than their heads, submissive women, tentacle rape or just plain rape and other abuse of women.  Anime can be very sexist when it comes to objectifying women, and it’s often very misogynist.

I understand that a lot of it is meant to entice male viewer to watch. I get it, but it doesn’t make it right.

“Oh but women in anime are very strong and pro woman.” Really? Then why is she wearing a bikini in every episode? “It’s because women should be proud of their femininity.” Oh, so it’s not because you want to see them wearing as little as possible? *sarcasm*

The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime02

One of these outfits is not like the others.

Case in point, Major Kusangi, a character in one of my favorite anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Major Kusanagi is by far one of the strongest, self assured, badass female leads in an anime I’ve ever seen.  She’s awesome, but she’s pretty much wearing underwear in every episode.

All the men are wearing normal clothes.  They’re in suits.  Which makes Major Kusanagi look even more ridiculous.  They give an excuse in the show for her outfits but, it’s lame.  It’s just an excuse to have her wear revealing clothes. It’s sexist.

It’s so bad, that it’s tough to recommend some good anime because of the embarrassing sexist portrayal of women in them.

And, let’s face it, some of  this stuff really screws up the way some guys view women.


So if  anime has so many annoying things like what I wrote above, why even watch it?  Because it’s not ALL universally like that.  Besides, the best in anime makes up for that bad stuff.

Good stuff like…

Variety of Genres

No other animation culture has the variety of genres that anime has.  Not American animation, nor European animation.

Japanese animation has, pretty much every genre under the sun.  There’s something for everyone.  For kids, for grown ups, for teens, for adult males and adult females.

It’s my go to for animation because it actually caters to my tastes.

I love mecha stories, anime has them. I love space operas, anime has them. I love cyberpunk, anime has those too.  Action adventure, Samurai stories, historical fiction, game cartoons, fantasy, cartoon about drawing comics…, you name, they have it.

So awesome.  I love it.

Definitely, hands down, one of the best things about anime.

Great Action

Anime action is tough to beat.  It’s tough to do action in animation without being influence at some level by Japanese cartoons.

They’re visceral and dynamic.  Often epic in scope.

Anime is often coming up with better and better way to show action in animation.

There are even shows that are ONLY about people fighting just because the action itself is so fun and dynamic.

I love this about anime.

Great Draftsmanship

The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime 03Nothing beats a hand drawn action scene of two anime mechas fighting. For an example of what I’m talking about, watch Gundam 00, SO AWESOME!

The draftsmanship involved in drawing something like that is unbelievable.  It’s even better when the drawings of the people are just as well drawn.

Anime has a way of making other animated cartoons look like lazy art.  I’m sometimes amazed at how well drawn the art in these cartoons are.  Especially since they also move. Some more then others but they move none the less.

Yes, there’s some short cuts being taken but the end result is no less beautiful.

It’s eye candy and just inspiring.  I love it, and I love it so much that I strive to draw just as well in my work.

Positive Messages

One of the thing I’ve appreciated more and more as I watch anime is the positive messages being conveyed through many of the protagonists.

It’s often a message of being confident, and having a sense of self worth.  Sometimes it’s a message about friendship, and how we all need the love of others.

There’s also plenty of messages about self sacrifice and putting others ahead of oneself.

I love seeing that.  I think the confidence and self worth messages in anime are by the far the most unique of all. This is mostly done in characters who are the antithesis of the whinny protagonist.

The confident protagonists who doesn’t let anyone get them down.  The character who has goals and is willing (sometimes joyfully) to power through the hardships that will get them to that goal.  Those characters are worth emulating.

The optimism and the drive.  The fearlessness is something I think we should all learn from.

Great positive stuff.

Sound off

I know I’ve made some people very mad at me. Especially because of what I wrote in the first part of this post.  Let me know what you think.

Just be polite or I’ll erase your post.

I love anime.  These are the things I love about it and the things I don’t.  If  you agree with me, I’d love to hear from you as well.

Until next time!

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