15 CommentsAnime Analysis, Twelve Days, Ye Olde Days / By Scamp /

12 moments of Anime #12: The day I understood the oldfags

There’s a tradition in the aniblogsphere started by CCY at Mega Megane Moe called the ’12 Moments in Anime’ Project. Every year, starting on the 14th of December, bloggers are invited to write about their 12 favourite anime-related things over the past year. There’s something so honest and true to the spirit of Christmas about the project and I remember reading some of the posts last year and really enjoying them. So in the true spirit of Christmas and definitely not an attempt to get even more hits and recognition of the aniblogsphere I’ve decided to join in this year. The problem is my memory on how people structured these posts or what they even talked about is completely gone. But instead of going back and copying the ideas of writers from last year and end up with posts that look identical to everyone elses I’m instead going to fly straight into this without research in the hopes that I’ll produce something noticeably different from everyone else. Will this tactic work? Well the only way I’ll find out is by just doing the blasted thing instead of this needlessly long introductory paragraph.

Are you wondering whether you are an oldfag? Well ask yourself these questions. Do you look at upcoming season previews and think ‘man, anime is going downhill every year’? Do you’re favourite anime mainly come from the last decade? Do you wish they would make more anime like they did in the old days? Were you introduced to anime through Akira? Are you the type of person who can’t stand newer anime fans? If your answer to most of these questions was yes then you are an oldfag. I hate oldfags. Especially you, you insufferable, whiny git. There is a certain anime that is associated with these group of people. A movie that introduced a mountain of young adults to the world of Japanese animation. That anime was the movie Akira. They thought, and still do think, that this was the single greatest anime ever created and can’t stand the fact that no anime attempts to aim as high or as deep as Akira did. Hence came hatred by association. I hate oldfags, therefore I hate Akira. Naive and stupid yes but that is how I genuinely felt, and not just towards Akira. Anything made pre-Evangelion was regarded with contempt and disinterest.

Until one day, out of the blue, I decided to watch Akira. I was enthralled, gobsmacked, rooted to my seat, the only anime I watched this year that broke into my top 10 but most importantly of all, I understood. Not the anime itself, a hell of a lot of that story flew straight over my head, but I understood the oldfags. There is nothing like Akira nowadays. The only anime I could compare it to were not made this decade. The level of depth, imagery, background artistry just blew me away like nothing else. So just for that day I understood your pain and I sympathised.

The next day I went into a forum with Chartfags amazing chart for the summer anime season and it was packed full of oldfags. This season looks crap, the current season is also rubbish, anime is going downhill, blah de blah de blah and I quickly reverted back to my oldfag hating self. The next season is not crap and anime is not going downhill. You’re just too narrow-minded and viewing the past through rose-tinted specs. But…I wish they made more anime like Akira.

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12 Comments

  1. Posted December 14, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    The problem with animes today is too much CGI. The only thing I herald about CGI is the animators can visualize something that was difficult or near impossible in the past but quite often, the excessive use of CGI limits the viewers’ imagination and creativity. Animation, let it be Japanese anime or Western cartoon, must allow this space of imagination to create a sense of awe. This is why people are always hooked to Pixar’s work because they not only allow people to imagine but also, push beyond the limit of creativity where people do actually believe in something unimaginable. Almost religion-like, IMHO. This is something animes in the past was able to do. Osamu Tezuka’s works are great examples of this. One needs to look beyond the plot, characters, and visual to appreciate animation. It is this ability to imagine that gives the most impression for many years to come.

  2. Posted December 14, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    The phenomenon like Akira’s case exists in almost every where like in movies, music, books. Once in a long while, with everything done miraculously right, a legendary work of art is created. One may not be an oldfag in one field but ends up as an oldfag in another. It’s no big deal :)

  3. ('''\_(O_O)_/''')
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    yeah, Akira reminds me of the Outsiders. A work of art that is just plain epic that comes out of nowhere and never seen again.

  4. Posted December 15, 2009 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    I first saw Akira about six years ago, and I barely remember it except for all the disgusting stuff. lol

  5. Posted December 15, 2009 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    @Brian

    Well I agree to a huge degree that CGI is overused and misused. But the idea that imaginative series has died down I disagree with. Obviously we remember the best series from the past but there’s no lack of pushing peoples imaginations. Every single Ghibli does that, as does Summer Wars. I can’t think of a series that achieved that this year but Kaiba from last year certainly achieved what you’re referring to.

    @Canne and complicated-smily-face-guy

    I do think that what Akira achieved in temrs of storytelling has been mimicked in other anime. I just can’t think of any from this decade that have.

    @Shinmaru

    A group of my non-anime-fan friends wanting to see Akira recently and invited me to join them. I was a bit wary because Akira divides opinion, even amongst anime fans. To say they didn’t like it is an under-statement. The giant mutant baby has now become a running gag amongst them

  6. Posted December 15, 2009 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    @Brian I don’t think CGI is really a big issue. It’s just a tool. It can be used to create shortcuts and save money, or animate things that wouldn’t have looked as good before. The responsibility for imagination and creativity lies with the writers and directors. There have been just as many unimaginative animes in the past as there is today.

  7. Posted December 15, 2009 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    @RP: I agree with you on the last sentence, “there have been just as many unimaginative animes in the past as there is today.” It takes a spark of genius of create one frankly, and once they do, they not only create the most celebrated animes, they also create a culture. Anime cultures, e.g., Gundam and Haruhi, are a result of brilliant creativity and smart marketing strategies. And I blame the use of the CGI because the animators tend to become lazy and often use shortcuts to tell their story. Of course, CGI helps to save time and money but my point is overdependence of CGI. Look at H&C and Nodame. They use minimal CGI and most of the time, water colour palettes. Yet, these animes are among those most memorable despite their simplicity. In the end, it’s the plot that matters. The visual effect is for viewing experience.

  8. Posted December 15, 2009 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Well said. I pretty much made the same discovery this year when I started watching UC Gundam and other old shows. I knew something had changed when I was able to read Colony Drop without wanting to punch my computer ;P

  9. Posted December 15, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    @Brian: I’m not sure where CGI itself is the problem though. Lazy animators have always taken shortcuts, whether it’s static background images, cutting framerate, skimping on the details, or overuse CGI. It’s the creators that are to blame, not the tool. CGI is a non-factor in H&C and Nodame, because neither had stories that called for much use of it. If you want to build an anime around CGI, sure you might get crap (the Michael Bay effect). But CGI used well can make a good anime look even better. Pixar like you mentioned, being a prime example.

  10. Posted December 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    @ETERNAL

    Notice I said the ‘day’ I understood the oldfags? Maybe if I had read everything by Colony Drop on that day I would have liked them. But any other day I get that urge to punch the screen you mentioned.

  11. dm00
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Gosh. I can remember when saying “I’ve watched Akira” branded you as a newbie.

    On the other hand, I don’t look at the new season and automatically think, “Anime is getting worse and worse every year.”

    Instead, I look at the new season and think: “There’s probably a surprise waiting for me, I wonder what it will be.”

  12. Posted December 16, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    @dm00

    OOOOOOOOOLDFAAAAAAAG!!!

    just kiddin’. I’m kinda looking forward to the day when I’m branded an oldfag for loving Death Note

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