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Discuss all topics related to anime.
561

The anime canon
Topic by: ahogue
Posted: July 16, 2006 - 9:26 AM PDT
Last Reply: July 18, 2006 - 6:43 PM PDT

page  1  2      prev | next
author topic: The anime canon
ahogue
post #1  on July 16, 2006 - 9:26 AM PDT  
I was just thinking recently about anime literacy -- about what anime an educated, well rounded fan must have seen.

I've stuck with a few series that I otherwise wouldn't have because they were so famous and influential, most notably EVA, and haven't really been disappointed yet.

So the question is: what do you think should be in the anime canon? If you were running a school of anime, what shows would you include in your Survey of Anime Culture 101 class?

hamano
post #2  on July 16, 2006 - 11:12 AM PDT  
I guess the third segment, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), on this collection.
hamano
post #3  on July 16, 2006 - 12:08 PM PDT  
Then there's this one but it's only out on fansub, not as an US DVD release...
Battie
post #4  on July 16, 2006 - 2:37 PM PDT  
I say Gankutsuou, Berserk, Ceres and Ninja Scroll.
jross3
post #5  on July 16, 2006 - 3:21 PM PDT  
> On July 16, 2006 - 9:26 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> So the question is: what do you think should be in the anime canon? If you were running a school of anime, what shows would you include in your Survey of Anime Culture 101 class?
> ---------------------------------


Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, Escaflowne, Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth, Pokemon, Hikaru no Go, Tenchi Muyo, Blue Gender, Dragon Ball Z, Fushigi Yuugi, The Big O, and Naruto (even though it's still ongoing; as proof of its influence, Inu Yasha had a "demon ninja" arc where one of the ninjas used a demon version of Naruto's trademark Kage Bunshin technique); Akira, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away

I think that each of those added a lot to the creative mix and influenced a lot of the shows to come after them, although a couple of them are still a little too new to really see the full scope of their aftermath.
I tried to think of more influential movies ('cuz I know there's more out there than just the Miyazaki ones), but for now I'm stuck.
jross3
post #6  on July 16, 2006 - 3:35 PM PDT  
ah, and some more older ones.

Astro Boy is a must, of course; it's so fundamental that you can't talk about anime influences without at least mentioning it. Gigantor goes in the same category.
And Doraemon (which isn't even available in the US) was hugely popular in Japan and influenced a lot of shows since then. Nobita is a bigger crybaby than Shinji.
Speed Racer is another big influence, not just on other anime but on how anime was and still is precieved in America.
hamano
post #7  on July 16, 2006 - 3:43 PM PDT  
Oh, this time my satellite failed me! See, jross, my big secret is that just before I post something LOOOONG I check the thread again to make sure somebody didn't beat me to the punch. This time you beat me, but in the interest of exposing my "magic timing" this is what I just wrote:

------------------------------------

See, I'm joking around because if I seriously sat down to think what I would include in an Anime 101 course, I'd have to first figure out how to design the curriculum. Are we going for history? Cultural significance? Sphere of influence? Unlike jross I was there (as a kid) at the birth of what we now call "anime" so I'd take into consideration shows that he hasn't even had a chance to see, or wouldn't recognize as "anime"... The Eighth Man, Prince Planet, Gigantor, Speed Racer... That's just the ones that were exported out to the US. Most American fans, unless they're really hardcore (or old like me) can only remember back to Macross and Transformers and their ilk. jross is almost in the Pokemon/Dragonball age bracket!

If we were talking about GLOBAL, we'd surely have to include Doraemon which was a HUGE hit not just in Japan but in Asia, Africa, parts of Europe and Latin America. But VERY few Americans have seen/read anything by Fujio Fujiko or Fujio Akatsuka (a famous gag comedy manga-ka and the father of the magical girl). It makes me laugh when most Americans who consider themselves "otaku" talk about what influenced what, because they've only seen the TIP of the iceberg. It's like pretending to be a Da Vinci expert when you've only really seen the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.
jross3
post #8  on July 16, 2006 - 4:03 PM PDT  
muahahaha!!
(I bet you just -let- me win, though :-P)

There was an anime called "Prince Planet"?


Another one to add to my "canon" list: Revolutionary Girl Utena

I didn't really select as if for a learning cirricculum; i just randomly picked out ones I thought would belong in an "Anime Hall of Fame", or something like that. Influential, popular, original, all worthy criteria.
I'd feel bad for any students that had to watch all the ones on my list. Yeah, it wouldn't be such a bad homework assignment, but watching all of them in one semister would be... hard. heheh.
Battie
post #9  on July 16, 2006 - 4:41 PM PDT  
I just picked some favorites that I know others have agreed with fairly often. (Not always, but often.)

I'm tempted to add Wicked City, but since it ventures into hentai...
hamano
post #10  on July 16, 2006 - 4:44 PM PDT  
> On July 16, 2006 - 4:03 PM PDT jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> There was an anime called "Prince Planet"?

You bet! You've never seen it? Prince Planet was one of the classics. I watched it religiously in Japan then when I came to America it started playing here, too (in the late 60's, I imagine). They did a really good job of translating the original theme song into an English version. The chorus would go, "Priiiiiiiince Pla-net!!" instead of "Piiiiiiiiiiiii Pa-piiii!!!"

They also started showing Ultraman, but I was surprised to also find they imported Ambassador Magma, a tokusatsu contemporary of Ultraman and another favorite of mine. In English he was called Goldar.

Another good one from those days was Marine Boy. Marine Boy had a girlfriend who was a mermaid, and her chest was covered only by her wispy long hair. You know if that show was made in the US, she would've had a scallop shell bra or something.

> Another one to add to my "canon" list: Revolutionary Girl Utena

That's certainly in my list of favorites, an important milestone if you draw a line through Rose of Versailles and Sailor Moon.

> I didn't really select as if for a learning cirricculum; i just randomly picked out ones I thought would belong in an "Anime Hall of Fame", or something like that. Influential, popular, original, all worthy criteria.

That's pretty much the criteria we used (or I did anyway) with dbooher's old thread.

I'd watch most of those again, in one semester or less.

hamano
post #11  on July 16, 2006 - 7:38 PM PDT  
For the real canon you couldn't leave out Kyojin no Hoshi, which later led to Dokaben. Those are probably the two most important sports manga/anime, eclipsing even Ashita no Joe.

For Shoujo, certainly Rose of Versailles and Aim for the Ace.

Plucky little girl heroines started with Miyazaki's adaptation of the Little Alps Girl, Alps no Shoujo Heidi. The next big milestone would be Candy Candy.

Gag comedy, Osomatsu-kun, Tensai Bakabon and Dame Oyaji. Here's a cover picture of the Dame Oyaji Manga which leads me to believe it had an influence on Matt Groening.

Magical Girls... first there was Sally, the Little Witch but she was like a kids' version of Bewitched. True magical girls (transformations, magical items) began with Himitsu no Akko-chan, which was created by a male gag comedy manga-ka, Fujio Akatsuka, the creator of Osomatsu-kun.

The origins of sci-fi, robots/cyborgs, and space opera are better known to you in the west, starting with Astroboy. Osamu Tezuka, Shoutaro Ishinomori (Cyborg 009), Leiji Matsumoto (Star Blazers)...
ahogue
post #12  on July 16, 2006 - 11:58 PM PDT  
> On July 16, 2006 - 3:21 PM PDT jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, Escaflowne, Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth, Pokemon, Hikaru no Go, Tenchi Muyo, Blue Gender, Dragon Ball Z, Fushigi Yuugi, The Big O, and Naruto (even though it's still ongoing; as proof of its influence, Inu Yasha had a "demon ninja" arc where one of the ninjas used a demon version of Naruto's trademark Kage Bunshin technique); Akira, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away

Wow, I've seen quite a few of those already. I've added Escaflowne; someone tried to show me the movie long ago and since then I avoided the series as well, but everyone says it's good. Is Sailor Moon really that important? I always thought it was really a kid's show, but I've never seen any of it that I know of.


> I tried to think of more influential movies ('cuz I know there's more out there than just the Miyazaki ones), but for now I'm stuck.
> ---------------------------------

What about Ghost in the Shell? Or something like Perfect Blue?
ahogue
post #13  on July 17, 2006 - 12:01 AM PDT  
> On July 16, 2006 - 3:43 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> See, I'm joking around because if I seriously sat down to think what I would include in an Anime 101 course, I'd have to first figure out how to design the curriculum. Are we going for history? Cultural significance? Sphere of influence?
> ---------------------------------

Well, I'd be interested in any of these, but I'm most interested in things I have a chance of seeing someday, assuming that I don't learn Japanese.
hamano
post #14  on July 17, 2006 - 4:11 AM PDT  
> On July 16, 2006 - 11:58 PM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Wow, I've seen quite a few of those already. I've added Escaflowne; someone tried to show me the movie long ago and since then I avoided the series as well, but everyone says it's good.

Opinions are divided, but I think the TV series is a can't-miss, while the movie is mostly flash but not worth a repeat view.

> Is Sailor Moon really that important? I always thought it was really a kid's show, but I've never seen any of it that I know of.

It is mostly a kid's show, but Sailor Moon is very important in the Canon as a TV show, more and more so as Kunihiko Ikuhara took on creative control over the story/characters from the original manga artist Naoko Takeuchi. Ikuhara went on after Sailor Moon to create Utena, which I classify as more of a gay-shounen show than a shoujo show. You can see a lot of shounen appeal in the Sailor Moon TV show, too, especially in the S series, which I think is the best. If nothing else, you should see the Sailor Moon R Movie, The Promise of the Rose. There are plenty of things for the Queer Eye to savor, campy S&M, an obvious sexual thing between the hero and the villain etc. The S series even included an overt Yuri element (Sailors Uranus and Neptune were a couple). The kinetic visuals borrowed heavily from shounen-targeted magical girl shows like Cutey Honey and Devil-Hunter Yohko. Sailor Moon Sailor Stars introduced transvestism elements to a general audience.

I think of Sailor Moon as the show that opened Shoujo to a general audience, and specifically an important segment of the shounen audience, and paved the way for the kinds of fantastic/romantic shows that are made for a shounen audience today.

> What about Ghost in the Shell? Or something like Perfect Blue?

Both of those often pop up in other people's anime histories... I guess they're important, although I didn't like either of them. I think Dominion Tank Police is more important than GitS, and Perfect Blue was just okay compared to the best live-action slasher films. Maybe it was an anime milestone, but I'm not enough of an otaku that I exclude live action films from comparison. My favorite non-Miyazaki anime movies are the Ah! My Goddess Movie, and Jin-roh. Totally different from each other, but they're still state-of-the-art definitive anime movies. As art they're better than fanboy fodder like Akira, I think.

Grave of the Fireflies stands alone as the one anime movie that can 1) make your parents watch anime, and 2) make them cry as well.
hamano
post #15  on July 17, 2006 - 4:27 AM PDT  
> On July 16, 2006 - 11:58 PM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On July 16, 2006 - 3:21 PM PDT jross3 wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> Magic Knight Rayearth, Pokemon, Hikaru no Go, Tenchi Muyo, Blue Gender, Dragon Ball Z, Fushigi Yuugi, The Big O, and Naruto

> Wow, I've seen quite a few of those already.

I'd say either Magic Knights Rayearth or Fushigi Yuugi, but you don't have to watch all of both. I'd recommend watching all of Cardcaptor Sakura before either of them, as someone who owns ALL of all 3 series.

Although Hikaru no Go is an addictive and culturally important show, I don't know if it deserves to be in "the canon"... I was really into it while I was watching it, but now I hardly think about it. It might be different for folks who took up playing Goh as a result of watching it...

Blue Gender was mostly just a Starship Troopers wannabe. I'd say "not important"...

I'm not a big fan of Tenchi or Slayers, although others would surely include them in an anime canon.

Pokemon, Dragonball Z and Naruto... other than the cultural significance of their merchandising power I'd say they're pretty much irrelevant, unless you're a shounen gamer type. It's like Barney and BooBahs... why put yourself through them unless you're a parent?

The Big O - I think of this show as the reward for graduating from the school of anime. There are certain shows that can only be fully appreciated by those who have absorbed most of the elements that are being parodied. In that respect The Big O was a tribute to everything I love about anime (like Excel Saga is a tribute to everything other people love about anime...) FLCL was a similar experience for me...
jeffs
post #16  on July 17, 2006 - 8:04 AM PDT  

I haven't been watching anime as long as the others, but I'm a little surprised to not see anyone mention Bubblegum Crisis yet.

I'd add Voices of a Distant Star and Now and Then, Here and There.

I don't mean to sidetrack, but can someone fill me in on why everyone likes Utena? It wasn't visually appealing, the plot was silly and formulaic. There are only two series I hated more than Utena (a Nuku-Nuku spinoff and FF:U). I watched it all because I was told it was a clasic and though maybe it would get good, but I think it only got worse. I don't mean to bring up a debate whats good and whats not, but I'm curious to see what people find so appealing about it.
jeffs
post #17  on July 17, 2006 - 8:05 AM PDT  
Sorry, forgot about Fruits Basket...I'd add that as well.
jross3
post #18  on July 17, 2006 - 9:10 AM PDT  
> On July 17, 2006 - 4:27 AM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Pokemon, Dragonball Z and Naruto... other than the cultural significance of their merchandising power I'd say they're pretty much irrelevant, unless you're a shounen gamer type. It's like Barney and BooBahs... why put yourself through them unless you're a parent?

I included Pokemon not only because it was a huge cultural phenomenon, but because it was really the spark that set off a trend of sorts. After Pokemon, there were a bunch of series where the hero fights his/her battles by proxy, where it was possible to have an action series where the hero wasn't a big muscle-headed tough guy. I admit that Pokemon wasn't the first (the first would have to be Gigantor, who was flown by remote), and there may have been more series like that before Pokemon that I'm not aware of because they just weren't popular on this side of the Pacific.

The influence of DBZ... it might not be as much it "influencing" other series as sharing a common root with other shonen action series. The aimless escalation of "power", the sprawling and disconnected story lines, battles that can last three or four episodes, five solid minutes of screaming in order to psyche one's self up for a big attack... To me, it all started with DBZ, but on the other hand it could just be a normal by-product of making an action series for young boys. Either way, it's not unreasonable to expect a well-versed otaku to be at least familiar with the series, even if they haven't seen much or any of it.

I wasn't sure whether to include Naruto or not. It's too new to really say that it's gonna have the lasting cultural memory of shows like Sailor Moon, but it did for ninjas what DBZ did for serious martial arts (that is, take a good concept and totally warp it to make it appealing to boys under 14). There's already shows that gently borrow from it when they're having trouble being original, but that's more likely tapping on its success than any kind of homage. For now I'll tentatively remove it from my list... we'll check back on it in 10 years or so....
jross3
post #19  on July 17, 2006 - 9:17 AM PDT  
> On July 17, 2006 - 9:10 AM PDT jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I included Pokemon not only because it was a huge cultural phenomenon, but because it was really the spark that set off a trend of sorts. After Pokemon, there were a bunch of series where the hero fights his/her battles by proxy, where it was possible to have an action series where the hero wasn't a big muscle-headed tough guy. I admit that Pokemon wasn't the first (the first would have to be Gigantor, who was flown by remote), and there may have been more series like that before Pokemon that I'm not aware of because they just weren't popular on this side of the Pacific.


I forgot to include my examples. I mean shows like Angelic Layer and Zatch Bell. I almost wanna include Yuugi Oh and its many derivitives but it was successful enough that it didn't really need a precursor. If anything, it owes more to Hikaru no Go than Pokemon, because its action is more strategic and cerebral than visual.
Yowanda
post #20  on July 17, 2006 - 12:07 PM PDT  
I also have to say Sailor Moon. I was thinking about writing that last night, but was too lazy to post. All those things Hamano said are true. Also, Sailor Stars (unavailable in US) is very good too. Probably my favorite season. I was so excited when I got my fansubs of it, and just loved every minute of it.

And Utena is great too. From what I've heard Rose of Versailies (I totally misspelled that) would be good for the shoujo canon too, but I've never actaully seen that one.
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