What is an anime?

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egg
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What is an anime?

Post by egg » Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:54 pm

Current Definition can be found here:
AniDB Definition: Anime
Last edited by egg on Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Bensam123
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Post by Bensam123 » Wed Apr 20, 2005 6:28 pm

Hmmm, I don't know if this is the proper place for discussion of the above mentioned or not but the threads not locked so I'm assuming so.

I agree with some of the for mentioned but there are a couple thing I would argue in the past statements that describe a anime. Not only that but alot of the formentioned is based on biased statements of whats has been acceptable in the past.

I don't know how being professionally done would have anything to do with something being a anime. Some fans or amateurs at that do some pretty nice work. There work wouldn't be available on ANIDB till they go pro in which case there formerly unadmitable work would become admitable even though it was created when they were a amateur. Even if people think the animation sucks that doesn't stop worse looking anime from being entered into ANIDB that fit the classfication for mentioned. Pro is just a title worn by people with financial backing.

As far as where the film was produced that once again should have no impact on what is considered a anime. It was mentioned above that even people in japan consider anime as something that is just animated. While animated films Aladdin and Scooby Doo wouldn't be acceptable (they really should be considered cartoons and not Anime in the sense of it being animated) there are some films that come out of the US and other parts of the world that would be considered Anime. It wouldn't fly saying that something that comes out of Asia is automatically an Anime and anything else are just cartoons. (It's no different then saying everyone in America is white and everyone in Africa is black. While its a good generalization, it's biased and not true).

What it was produced for once again should have no impact on what's considered a anime. This goes far beyond being biased and basically says that anime can only be anime because its produced for people in Japan. Are hamburgers only hamburgers cause they're made for people in the U.S.? Of course not. You can make a hamburger anyway somone wants, anywhere in the world, for anyone in the world and anime can be made anyway somone wants, anywhere in the world, for anyone in the world.

Parodies and Fansubs are no different as well. It's still anime and changing the voice or who drew the character (a correctly done parody should have the same drawing style) won't change that. If your trying to dig at the essence of anime you could also say that if the voices are changed you are really changing what is truley meant in the orignal work. All dubs would then have to be removed because as we all know censoring and translations to the english language (or others) doesn't always turn out right. Even though its professional work it's not necessarily professional grade and thusly could be considered lower quality then a fandub.


I think almost anyone can recognize what a anime is just by watching it for a few minutes. Much like philosophical work that you can't totally wrap your brain around without totally butchering, you can describe anime in what it is not.

A Anime is not a cartoon.
While drawing style is the most noticeable difference cartoons almost never have a plot line or are really one track while the better animes delve into deep morals and philosophical theories.

In the past most animated films out of the U.S. have been considered cartoons (almost all of walt disney's films are). Scooby Doo, Sponge Bob, Rescue Rangers etc. The newer stuff is starting to break these barriers. Most otakus refuse to believe it can be considered anime because it... well can't be because it's out of the U.S. The newer animated films like the Incredibles, Teen Titans (which is a good blend of classic anime and U.S. cartoons), Justice League, etc. are all Anime's. They now have some plot (pretty good ones at that) and are more realistic as far as anything animated can be. The way the characters develop, interact with their enviroment, eachother, the emotional content, etc. it all gives the feel of what a anime it is. You don't see anvils falling out of the sky or ingenious traps set up to catch a bird. While some of this might still be there it's only for the occasional commical relief. It's more from reality and less from pure fantasy.


Now what the above guidelines do, do is keep any material that has the potential for a lawsuit off of ANIDB (U.S. works are ESPECIALLY prohibited in multiple ways, even though rips of licensed material by big companies such as MGM are on the ANIDB {Ghibli is owned by Walt Disney, Walt Disney is owned by MGM}), keep anything new or different from showing up infront of the anime community, and generally keep what shaped their life at the for runner of the pack.

In essence your (they're, am I addressing the last poster or everyone that has anything to do with the ANIDB website?) becomming the censors that are so hated in the U.S. for butchering works like DBZ, Inu Yasha, and soon to be One Piece among many other ones.

I thought places like ANIDB and Anime Reactor (forums) were amazing mixing pots that show the vast majority of changing animated artwork but putting clamps on it like this will only end up destroying its diversity.


If you want ANIDB to only have what is 'classically' thought of as anime and nothing more, then the above guidelines are true although it is a very narrow and biased definition of it.

From Japan, for Japan.
(Those without finacial backing or who really like anime need not apply)

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Post by egg » Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:17 pm

Bensam123 wrote:Hmmm, I don't know if this is the proper place for discussion of the above mentioned or not but the threads not locked so I'm assuming so.
Feel free to make comments here. After a while the discussion portion of the topic will probably be moved to the Feedback forum.

Despite of what people may think, I actually do not care that much what the definition is, I just wanted a definition, so I started working on it. What was finally posted was after a many revisions to try to accomodate the prevailing views. I would post a definition for the documentation group, and then when there were objections I changed things to accomodate that. I posted it here when the documentation group stopped complaining. I don't think that this fits any one person's definition exactly, but it was a common ground that people didn't object to that much... :wink:

Please post your opinions, and if there is enough support for a change (in particular from the mods), then the definition can be revised.

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Post by Rar » Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:23 pm

In my mind these guidelines exist largely to exlude (h) doujinshi anime and Rankin-Bass stuff. I added the Daicon entry, which is obviously a fan production, and when I've finished the post on Mainichi award winners that will probably include a fair bit of stuff that people would not consider 'anime'.

I have to disagree with you over 'cartoon' and 'anime' being quality distinctions, and that new US imitations deserve to be in the 'anime' category. The early american animators do have a great deal to be respected for, the debt goes both ways as acknowledged in the homage Legend of the Forest, and american full cg films are still a short mile ahead of japanese efforts. However, as there has been very little actual crossover work, giving the produced-in-japan caveat is a very good way of excluding a wide range of productions that a majority of anidb users would not be interested in. There are other sites that are interested in cataloging these.

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Post by Bensam123 » Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:31 pm

I didn't say there was a quality difference between anime and cartoons but a difference between how realistic things are overall. Almost all animes are drawn or act as things would in the real world. There isn't a quality difference between Cartoons and Anime just a difference in style/realism.

While there are shows in the U.S. that try and imitate anime from Japan most don't. They have their own distinct style of drawing. Samurai Jack is a good example of this (still suprises me something like that hasn't made it onto ANIDB). It's still drawn with cartoon like style but I would say its alot closer to a anime then a cartoon. Samurai Jack, Starship Troopers: Roughneck Chronicles, Justice League, are alot of good examples of anime type work that comes out of the U.S. even if it's a different style of drawing or produced here.

I thought ANIDB was where you could find all Anime like films not just Japanese or Asian Style Animation. (JANIDB?)

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Post by Rar » Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:33 pm

If you think anime is realistic, I fear for your little sister... At any rate, I'm sorry, but most people won't consider these poor US imitations as 'anime', and there's a certain degree of pig democracy at work here. Personally I think if the mainstream US animation industry wants to get back on track, they should start trying to be original again, rather than imitating the anime style.

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Post by Ultima » Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:37 pm

Bensam123 wrote:If you want ANIDB to only have what is 'classically' thought of as anime and nothing more, then the above guidelines are true although it is a very narrow and biased definition of it.

In essence your (they're, am I addressing the last poster or everyone that has anything to do with the ANIDB website?) becomming the censors that are so hated in the U.S. for butchering works like DBZ, Inu Yasha, and soon to be One Piece among many other ones.
That's really your opinion if you believe AniDB's scope of anime is very narrow and is biased. You don't have to use AniDB at all if want, ANN and animenfo are very good sources of information as well, so I suggest using them since they include more anime and have a wider definition on what they deem anime. And as far as I know, we don't censor anything on AniDB. Your idea of censoring is skewed - it's not like we're withholding information from you, AniDB just doesn't include such animated works. You can find such information that AniDB lacks elsewhere.

An anime is an animated, professionally produced, feature film created by a Japanese company for the Japanese market.

That's our definition for the moment. It has been heavily discussed and please keep in mind that the moderators and staff behind AniDB have a fairly good idea of what they want included and excluded from AniDB. For all we know, the Japanese believe anything animated is anime, whether they be cartoons or any other animated work. However, that is not the aim of AniDB. We do not (for the most part) include works that have been influenced by the anime style of Japan, but rather have originated from Japan and that the anime has been produced to cater to the Japanese. Basically, like John from animenation has stated before in his "Ask John" column, an anime is an animated work in which the Japanese are pulling the strings from behind the scenes and have created an original, professional work for the Japanese people. The fact that Westerners have grown to like their type of animation is merely a side effect, and always remember that most anime produced in Japan is not produced to be liked by other people other than the Japanese.
Bensam123 wrote:In the past most animated films out of the U.S. have been considered cartoons (almost all of walt disney's films are). Scooby Doo, Sponge Bob, Rescue Rangers etc. The newer stuff is starting to break these barriers. Most otakus refuse to believe it can be considered anime because it... well can't be because it's out of the U.S. The newer animated films like the Incredibles, Teen Titans (which is a good blend of classic anime and U.S. cartoons), Justice League, etc. are all Anime's. They now have some plot (pretty good ones at that) and are more realistic as far as anything animated can be. The way the characters develop, interact with their enviroment, eachother, the emotional content, etc. it all gives the feel of what a anime it is. You don't see anvils falling out of the sky or ingenious traps set up to catch a bird. While some of this might still be there it's only for the occasional commical relief. It's more from reality and less from pure fantasy.
Yes, they are animated films or cartoons that have been influenced heavily from Japan. The difference you neglected to mention is that these examples you have listed are meant for English speaking people or Westerners in general. Animated works that are included in AniDB are produced by Japanese people who cater to the Japanese people. This means that there is no way that an American "anime" can be produced in the way an Japanese "anime" can be produced even if it looks like it has been heavily influenced by Japan. The type of music used in a Japanese anime, the colors used, the story, the innuendo, the jokes used, the characters, the culture, etc. can only be determined by a Japanese staff. An American "anime" just can't do that because the demographics are American viewers and are produced (for the most part) by Americans.

Does this mean animated works from Western nations are bad because they aren't considered "anime"? Oh hell no, I'm sure we all can name a lot of good ones. The term "anime" is just a word anyways. However, these type of animated works are not included in AniDB not because they are bad, but it is because they do not fit our definition. I hope this helps clarify things a bit.

Reference for "Ask John" articles:
"How Much of Anime is Actually Japanese?": http://www.animenation.net/news/askjohn.php?id=961
"What Exactly Constitutes Anime?": http://www.animenation.net/news/askjohn.php?id=970

Also:
Bensam123 wrote:I thought places like ANIDB and Anime Reactor (forums) were amazing mixing pots that show the vast majority of changing animated artwork but putting clamps on it like this will only end up destroying its diversity.
Although the AR Staff that made the AR forums are responsible for the origin of AniDB, they are not the ones shaping it nor moderate it. In other words, whatever material that gets posted on the AR forums have no bearing on AniDB (aside from the annual awards), so they shouldn't be compared.

You may check the following link for AniDB origin: http://anidb.info/perl-bin/animedb.pl?s ... &sub=about

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Post by Bensam123 » Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:06 am

Thank you for the gods hand aproach (don't like it, tough go somewhere else) but that wasn't the reason why I made this post here.

My views on censorship aren't skewed at all and you even counterdict yourself in the same sentence. "it's not like we're withholding information from you, AniDB just doesn't include such animated works." You're not 'not including', your excluding works. Sense many entries are made by people other then admins on the site, you go through and remove entries that don't meet the criteria, thats censorship. Handpicking right?

Now there would be no desput if anidb wasn't called anidb and was called something more along the lines of janidb (japanese anime database) or aanidb (asia anime database), but saying that somethings a anime only by ones personal definition is like calling a apple a apple when your really just talking about red apples and not green ones.

As I said earlier who produced a anime or who its produced for has no meaning on the word. You never produce works of art for one person to look at or a certain enclave, you make them as you see they should be made. Making works for certain people doesn't yield good results (especially when its narrowed down to where somone lives and not how somone things). Besides physical appearence humans generally think alike so unless they're targeting anime by making the characters look Japanese (they look like a certain ethnicity?) they've almost never made anime solely for people in Japan, thats just where it started out.

Yea, there are inside jokes but they don't go so far as changing the plot (besides some really odd cases) or changing the fundamentals of a anime. It can be understood by anyone in the world as long as they have a correct translation of what people are saying (inside jokes, no but having a loved one die in your arms, yes). This goes back to my hamburger comparision again. Heres another example and no way relates to a real world situation. People in America like cheese on their hamburger, people in Japan don't so they take the cheese off, is it still a hamburger? Animes, anime but Japanese style Animation is different then Western style animation (cheese or no cheese?).

Heck making something for a certain region (when it can be used all over with no change) doesn't even make sense from a economic standpoint. Products can be specialized but animes not something you can specialize enough that it would only be bought in a certain area. You make your product as broad as possible in order to harnass the most amount of consumers. If anything the only reason anime would remotely been made for the people in Japan is because it's easier to buy such material over there (that has absolutely nothing to do with the product or work and has more to do with marketing).

Forgive me for assuming this here but you live in the U.S. right? If anime is only made for people in Japan why are you watching it?

Cartoons have been around for a long time. Even now Western style animation doesn't even closely resemble that of Eastern style animation (similarties yes, but not more so then all humans having legs to walk on). It has picked up some of the things that has made anime great but the style hasn't changed. I dunno about you but I can tell that something like Justice League was made in the western side of the world and Naruto was made in the east. I could figure that out without hearing the voices and without taking into account the censorship levels.

Ask John is another guy writing articles based off his own personal opnion and not based off of a general consensus or group decision. Someone saying red is blue doesn't make it seem blue to other people no matter how long they've stared at the color. If enough people are convinced that red truley is blue the color will start to change but I don't think anime can be considered just Japanese style work.

I guess if you guys truley believe Anime is Asian style artwork and nothing American or Europian thats your personal view on things (unless this is actually a broad spectrum not targeting one region, its a narrow view).

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Post by Rar » Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:41 am

You appear to be having trouble differentiating censorship and selection - the internet is a vast and infinite place, it's quite capable of filling in the gaps that our poor database neglects. As for your continued insistence that 'anime' can be made by anyone, I'd suggest that re-appropriating that loan word might not be as easy as you make out. At any rate, the bottom line remains the same, a vast majority of the users of this database are not interested in the american anime apery, so it is excluded. If you want to make a site about the things you feel we, and most anime watchers, are neglecting, you are perfectly free to do so.

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Post by kidan » Thu Apr 21, 2005 2:10 am

Bensam123 wrote:My views on censorship aren't skewed at all and you even counterdict yourself in the same sentence. "it's not like we're withholding information from you, AniDB just doesn't include such animated works." You're not 'not including', your excluding works. Sense many entries are made by people other then admins on the site, you go through and remove entries that don't meet the criteria, thats censorship. Handpicking right?
Yes, we do censor/filter otherwise this database would be pretty useless (think of eMail without spamfilters, that's censorship, too)
Bensam123 wrote:Now there would be no desput if anidb wasn't called anidb and was called something more along the lines of janidb (japanese anime database) or aanidb (asia anime database), but saying that somethings a anime only by ones personal definition is like calling a apple a apple when your really just talking about red apples and not green ones.
Sure there would be less confusion, if this was the case, but usually most people agree on what anime stands for and that it is strongly related to Japan.
Bensam123 wrote:As I said earlier who produced a anime or who its produced for has no meaning on the word. You never produce works of art for one person to look at or a certain enclave, you make them as you see they should be made. Making works for certain people doesn't yield good results (especially when its narrowed down to where somone lives and not how somone things). Besides physical appearence humans generally think alike so unless they're targeting anime by making the characters look Japanese (they look like a certain ethnicity?) they've almost never made anime solely for people in Japan, thats just where it started out.
Was any of your US-anime produced with non-english dub originally? AniDB is a FANSUB oriented database, how many of your titles are actively fansubbed?
Bensam123 wrote:Yea, there are inside jokes but they don't go so far as changing the plot (besides some really odd cases) or changing the fundamentals of a anime. It can be understood by anyone in the world as long as they have a correct translation of what people are saying (inside jokes, no but having a loved one die in your arms, yes). This goes back to my hamburger comparision again. Heres another example and no way relates to a real world situation. People in America like cheese on their hamburger, people in Japan don't so they take the cheese off, is it still a hamburger? Animes, anime but Japanese style Animation is different then Western style animation (cheese or no cheese?).
cheesburger = hamburger + cheese != hamburger
Bensam123 wrote:Heck making something for a certain region (when it can be used all over with no change) doesn't even make sense from a economic standpoint. Products can be specialized but animes not something you can specialize enough that it would only be bought in a certain area. You make your product as broad as possible in order to harnass the most amount of consumers. If anything the only reason anime would remotely been made for the people in Japan is because it's easier to buy such material over there (that has absolutely nothing to do with the product or work and has more to do with marketing).
Most anime include a lot of traditional Japanese culture and behaviour. This is one aspect which makes them special.
Bensam123 wrote:Forgive me for assuming this here but you live in the U.S. right? If anime is only made for people in Japan why are you watching it?
AniDB/AR is a pretty mixed community (US, UK, DE, BR, ES, JP, PL, ...) and most of usr are watching this, as we prefer it to cartoons or as we do like the special features of anime.
Bensam123 wrote:Cartoons have been around for a long time. Even now Western style animation doesn't even closely resemble that of Eastern style animation (similarties yes, but not more so then all humans having legs to walk on). It has picked up some of the things that has made anime great but the style hasn't changed. I dunno about you but I can tell that something like Justice League was made in the western side of the world and Naruto was made in the east. I could figure that out without hearing the voices and without taking into account the censorship levels.
Style is another isolated aspect, as it varies even pretty much inbetween different anime.
Bensam123 wrote:Ask John is another guy writing articles based off his own personal opnion and not based off of a general consensus or group decision. Someone saying red is blue doesn't make it seem blue to other people no matter how long they've stared at the color. If enough people are convinced that red truley is blue the color will start to change but I don't think anime can be considered just Japanese style work.
I guess he's not alone with his opinion. Besides colors are convention, too.
Bensam123 wrote:I guess if you guys truley believe Anime is Asian style artwork and nothing American or Europian thats your personal view on things (unless this is actually a broad spectrum not targeting one region, its a narrow view).
Well it might be narrow, but this way we keep in the DB what most of us want there and we keep that out of the DB what most of us would most likely consider cartoons.

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Post by Elberet » Thu Apr 21, 2005 2:12 am

Bensam,
Wikipedia wrote:Censorship is the systematic use of group power to broadly control freedom of speech and expression, largely in regard to secretive matters.
Censorship occurrs when AniDB forces other internet anime databases to exclude non-asian animated series (cartoons) from their listing. As a matter of fact, however, AniDB is an independent project. It's existence does not interfere with your souvereignity or your freedom of speech. As such, the limitations AniDB has chosen to impose upon it's contents, do neither. The limitations in questions have been chosen because the maintainers of AniDB follow a certain definition for the term "anime", based on their experiences with a large community of likewise interested users, and in the believe that the majority of AniDB's intended user group agrees with that definition.

Bottomline: It is entirely up to the moderators to decide what to include in AniDB and what not. AniDB is not obliged to be complete in any way whatsoever, and your claims of censorship are void according to the definition of the term. If you don't like AniDB, don't use it.

P.S.: No, red does not just gradually turn into blue. The wavelength of blue light is precisely defined and may be measured objectively. What you mean is that, over time, the semantics of a given term in a given language may change, i.o.w. that the english word "blue" gains a new meaning. But - how exactly is that related to AniDB?

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Post by Ultima » Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:09 am

Seems I have wasted by breath on this issue, but since you're so stubborn bensam123, here's the bottom line: If you bothered to read the "What is AniDB" link you would realize AniDB was originally made for AR members (maintained by the AniDB staff then too), and later was open to the public, and is still shaped by the AniDB staff along with the feedback from numerous AniDB users. Whether our definition of what is "anime" is narrow to you is really none of our business. As Elbert, kidan, and Rar have stated, AniDB specifically selects anime according to our definition of anime. If that becomes "censorship" to you, I already have suggested to consider other sources for your anime information. We don't link to ANN and APN just because it looks cool. The members of the AR community + the other 70,000+ users use AniDB to their liking and not many complain about the lack of content but rather the clutter data (whether that be anime or other information) that AniDB racks in everyday. Our definition of "anime" may be "narrow" and "biased" or even "elitist" but that's where AniDB's roots are and probably will remain in the future.

And I pointed to "Ask John" not because that's where we derived our opinion from, but because his opinion happens to coincide with the AniDB staff. As Rar has stated earlier, if you believe you can create a database to include works that AniDB is missing, feel free to due so, we're not the only anime database on the Internet :) ANN, APN, AoD, and others I'm neglecting are excellent sources for anime information, though they too excercise "censorship" too, but in different ways.

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Post by PetriW » Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:58 am

Give me the 10 minutes I just wasted reading this back! :evil:

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