Let’s Address Complaints About Anime From a Pokemon Artist

I don’t read Sankaku Complex much due to all of the NSFW advertisements and images that litter the site to the point that they might as well be partners with Doujins.com, so I was mostly ignorant regarding their recent coverage of an animator in Japan throwing out annoying anti-moe/anti-fanservice tweets until somebody pointed it out to me. For those who don’t want to read the article or go to Sankaku in general, basically a small-time (and I mean practically insignificant) woman who works in the industry got “woke” on Twitter, and is being met with backlash for it. There are a bunch of people freaking out regarding this mindset infiltrating Japan, and I have to sympathize with them.

Moe is the cancer killing the industry? Anime should be more like Disney? These arguments are so bad and dated in present time, and yet it seems people won’t stop using them to criticize this medium to this day, so I figured I might as well throw my hat in the ring and debunk these tweets myself. And just to make it clear, I’m not making this post in order to contest her specifically. I’m making this post because I’ve seen her arguments being echoed by a vocal minority who are either still stuck in the past or are just terrible at having an opinion in general, and I’ve been holding my thoughts in for a long time now. Online anime fandom can do whatever it wants, but sometimes you’ve just got to vent, especially when you have takes like this.

Which roughly translates to…

Disney and Marvel films are in a position where each year they improve their quality, because they take actual societal issues and incorporate them into the middle of the script while interweaving them into difficult criticisms of the world.

Japanese animated films are not capable of doing that at this time.

“How do we blend in erotic fan-service to swindle otaku out of their money?” seems to be the current methodology to produce content in Japan.

You guys should already know by now that I don’t like anything from Disney apart from their animated films, and this includes the Marvel stuff. I watched Avengers: Endgame recently and I’ll concede that it was fun fanservice for everyone who stuck with those movies for so long and trying to be anything more at this point would have ended up pleasing nobody. But that still doesn’t change the fact that those films are not the least bit rewatchable and the majority of them don’t satisfy as either action camp or character studies. Also, Disney has not been seen as good lately by the majority of their fanbase what with their many live-action remakes, their poor treatment of the Star Wars property, and some of their recent Marvel films slipping in quality, especially now that Endgame has made that franchise’s future uncertain. Bit too late to start praising them, lady.

With all of that said, what Japanese animated movies does this woman watch? I have seen all of the notable ones that have made it to the West in recent years and literally none of them have had any erotic fanservice or pandered to otaku in any noticeable way with the exception of maybe Fireworks, that one movie everyone hates. More importantly, a lot of them have integrated actual societal issues with legitimate storytelling and beautiful animation as of late, even if you don’t like the actual product. A Silent Voice. In This Corner of the World. Night is Short, Walk on Girl. Giovanni’s Island. Even The Curious Case of Hana & Alice. And that’s not even getting into the movies that aren’t so recent like all of the Ghibli films and Satoshi Kon’s work. Sure there were a lot of bad anime movies that were nothing but rejected tech demoes, but how many of those can you actually remember or even claim to have seen?

Not only do these movies you claim don’t exist actually do exist, they are all much better than the Disney/Marvel stuff in terms of substance (you can argue that they’re less entertaining since more substance doesn’t always equal more quality, but try denying all of the Japanese culture that was put into Night is Short, Walk on Girl compared to the American culture put into The Winter Solder). I guess you can argue this woman meant to say “Japanese animated series”; in which case, yeah there’s a lot of character designs that scream to girls “cosplay this if you dare”.

But so what? A lot of girls like to dress erotically, even if you discount all of the erotic cosplayers who make a living off of selling nudes on Patreon. And while anime is generally terrible at integrating anime fanservice with good storytelling, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. A lot of anime I like are good because they manage to accomplish that hard task. Plus, there’s an audience for folks who just like trashy ecchi, and who am I to deny them the pleasures of anime tiddies? Bad anime have as much of a right to exist as good anime after all, especially when it leads to some high-quality six digit numbers.

These days, if you made a movie like Zootopia in Japan, I think people would get all worked up about it online, and say things like “Kill the feminists!” and “Wait, this movie was only made to please minorities.” But there’s nothing wrong with that happening. That shows that a movie has social relevance.

Zootopia was a good movie. I’m glad we’re all in agreement there. But you’re really making a lot of bad assumptions for a film that came out in 2016 (the same year the new Ghostbusters came out in case you forgot), long after the anti-feminist/anti-diversity agenda firmly rooted itself in Internet culture. I’m sure there are people who don’t like its take on racism and such, but it would have helped if Zootopia analyzed racism in a really unique way rather than resorting to certain bad Disney cliches like the twist villain and such.

And social relevance means jack shit if you don’t convey it to me like an adult. I’ve made it clear in the past that I have zero tolerance for anti-war/anti-racism/anti-discrimination/anti-environmentalism stories that just say “this is bad” like I’m ten years old. I couldn’t stand shallow representation and satire in fiction before “get woke go broke” was a thing. How the hell am I supposed to get behind the mindset of today’s progressives if they demand that gay people be represented with as much effort as the plot to James Cameron’s Avatar or practically everything that makes up those Hell Girl seasons? Netflix has been trying to push for social relevancy a lot in their original shows, and it’s because they keep doing it in a way that I find unentertaining (enough with the ten-hour long movies already!) that I stopped watching them.

I think men probably get deceived watching anime that’s just about girls being giggly and screechy, but when women look at men who desire too much comforting from women, it’s psychologically exhausting.

You do know that women watch anime too, right? Have you not seen the rising popularity of fujoshi shows and the numerous amount of females cosplaying those giggling/screechy characters if they’re popular enough? Also, only the completely deluded would mix up anime with real life. And whenever I go to an anime convention, I see a lot of couples there, so clearly these men know how to get women and I doubt they used anime logic to do so. Now it’s true that there are quite a few anime folks in a relationship that isn’t healthy, but that’s a different topic entirely.

In the comments, look at Violet Evergarden! I have an opinion that I hate that drawing. I think that it is not able to draw the meaning just because the hair is moving. What I was expecting from Kyo-ani was “I ☆ got it.” After that, I was disappeared to see the picture becoming more and more detailed and wack.

Look, I didn’t think Violet Evergarden was a great anime myself, but to say it was nothing but animation is quite frankly a load of bullcrap. As I pointed out in my review from a year back, the show was about communication and how difficult it could be to convey proper emotions and feelings into words, especially during a time period where social media didn’t exist (and you can argue that social media fucked up that aspect even more). Even if the execution could have been better, that story was prevalent throughout the majority of its screen time.

More importantly, that’s just one anime and it wasn’t even the most popular or the most critically acclaimed anime of its season. It’s the equivalent of people bashing ANN for claiming Flowers of Evil was a masterpiece despite most people hating it. Who the fuck cares anymore about that godawful “you like this terrible product so your opinion sucks” logic anymore besides people who are incapable of having well thought-out opinions? The fact that the Avengers and isekai light novel adaptations can achieve massive amounts of success despite their consistently awful quality should indicate that you need to give up that train of thought. I don’t care if you like them. I have to deal with popular stuff I don’t enjoy on a constant basis, and as such, I have no sympathy for people who screech about how anime is worse than it was years ago or are upset that fans accept mediocrity or whatever the fuck Anime Feminist is freaking out about right now.

Also, it should be pointed out that this tweet wasn’t in the original Sankaku Complex article. I found it on OneAngryGamer’s coverage of Moritsugu Keiko (which I’m going to unlink because OAG is a fucking racist moron). And the same is true for the following tweets.

Many young people say “But the budget for anime is different from Hollywood’s budget so it will commonly be inferior!” when they think about the situation.

However, the estimated budgets in the olden days always varied from Hollywood’s budget. But in the olden days anime leveraged more clout, influencing Hollywood…

It’s true that anime doesn’t have as much of an influence on Hollywood as it used to, but part of the reason for that is because of changing trends along with Hollywood being out of ideas altogether. I mean have you seen their ideas for the American adaptation of Your Name? Also, I can’t tell if you’re referring to series or movies with this tweet. If you’re referring to films, then quite frankly your argument sucks because most anime films (these days) have way more visual appeal than current Hollywood productions, and with a lot less budget to boot.

If you’re referring to series, then yes I agree that the industry in general is terrible with regards to handling the forty or so shows that come out each season. Just because most anime is terrible doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to cut costs and get out of that cyclical cycle that demands anime be set episode lengths and released within these specific months. And I’m sure people have read the recent news about Madhouse and MAPPA being a toxic workplace environment. However, I’m not really qualified to talk about that sort of stuff. I prefer to stick to the final product and live my own life rather than interfere where I’m not wanted and just make a bigger mess of things.

I’m not just angry at bluntly sexualized anime like this. I’m also angry at anime that include this attitude in a diluted form. I really think that moe has ruined anime.

At this point in time, anyone who says “moe ruins anime” is an asshole and should be regarded with more contempt than someone who puts pronouns in their Twitter bio (no offense to the two friends I have who do think that’s a cool trend). We have moved on from that fundamentally flawed argument at this point in time. Not only is it a strawman fallacy used to bash a specific subset of anime that most moe-haters seem to be easily avoiding just fine the same way most people who want Atlus to stop “insulting” trans people don’t actually play their games, but I’m betting that a lot of your favorite shows actually have moe in it and you like the show because of how it utilizes moe rather than in spite of it. Made in Abyss anyone? Hello?

As for fanservice, get over it. It can be annoying, but it has its place in the anime world, especially with how big meme culture has gotten in recent times. Also, why is this woman referencing Sekirei, an anime that’s been irrelevant longer than most Logan Paul fans have been alive, in her tweet? That anime is so obscure now that if she had referenced fucking Kampfer, it would have been more timely.

I’m sure there are more tweets by this woman, but I think we’ve all gotten the point by now. And that point is that this woman is projecting her failure to make it in the industry on the industry itself. Anime has a lot of problems and I’m definitely more cynical about it than most fans, but I also enjoy analyzing what’s wrong with it, and I understand the importance of coming up with a solution that doesn’t drive away current fans in the process. These takes that Moritsugu Keiko have are not only incredibly biased, but they’re in support of a model that I find so unappealing that I might give up on reviewing anime altogether if it comes to fruition, and she has really narrow tunnel vision if she’s been ignoring all of the big anime films that have come out recently or has forgotten Studio Ghibli’s existence in general.

My advice to those are unsatisfied with anime as of late? Just let things run their course and mock them if they do something wrong. That’s how we got the director of the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie to listen to us at any rate.

======================================================================

  • Also, it might help to get a job so you don’t end up broke yourself in the process of trying to make the big companies broke.
  • If you wonder why I rarely use Twitter anymore besides promoting whatever I write on here, let’s just say people like Keiko-san aren’t helping.
  • Please do not bring up the more politically motivated sperg-outs in the comments sections of the articles I linked because I really do not give a shit.

5 responses to “Let’s Address Complaints About Anime From a Pokemon Artist

  1. I don’t know the exact credentials of the tweets’ translator (or whether it’s machine translation), but らき☆すた is the Japanese name of Lucky Star. Therefore, the sentence “私が京アニに期待してたのは「らき☆すた」まで。” would be “What I was expecting from KyoAni was [what they produced up] until Lucky Star.”

    The sentence after it doesn’t make much sense either. “それ以降どんどん絵が細かくダサくなって見る気が失せた。” – “From then onwards, the pictures became more detailed and more rubbish, so my willingness to watch disappeared.” (“Willingness to watch” being derived from the literal translation “the energy to watch the show”.)

    I know it doesn’t change your argument – in the cases I’ve pointed out, it probably gets strengthened – and I could keep picking at small things that change how the translation works, but there is clearly some level of nuance lost in this particular set of translations.

  2. This reminds me of that time Keiji Inafune said “Japanese Game is dead” or something like that. As it turns out, being a member of the industry doesn’t mean your opinion is correct (Remember dmc and mighty No.9?)

    Every creative industry has its own problem, and unlike a lot of weirdos on Twitter, I’m not going to pretend that I know the solution. Learning from the west isn’t a bad idea, just make sure you don’t learn the wrong lesson. And maybe it’s better to not listen to the vocal majority on social media. I mean, look at the number of fanatics who think they can fix Game of Thrones, Star wars and the video game industry at the same time.

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