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GreenCine Movie Talk
Anime
Discuss all topics related to anime.
561

Steampunk Anime
Topic by: qutzibaby
Posted: June 6, 2008 - 10:09 PM PDT
Last Reply: June 10, 2008 - 8:50 PM PDT

page  1  2      prev | next
author topic: Steampunk Anime
hamano
post #21  on June 9, 2008 - 5:40 AM PDT  
> On June 7, 2008 - 4:14 PM PDT Catullus wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> In any case it really is a matter of defining what technology makes the difference between calling it cyberpunk and steampunk and that can be left open to interpretation when some mediums contain instances where items could be considered of both such as blade runner.

I don't think you can call any parts of Blade Runner "steampunk"... the retro "film noir" look echoes films from the 1940s and '50s. It's definitely cyberpunk because it deals with the underbelly of society (the "punk" part) and it deals with issues of artificial intelligence and machine consciousness (the "cyber" part). Blade Runner contemplates what happens when replicants develop the same capacity for thought as humans despite the fact that their "minds" are entirely artificial mechanisms. In that situation what does it mean to be "human"? Roy Batty's final act is an act of mercy... he chooses not to kill Deckard. In my mind that act shows that the replicants have indeed become "human".

I guess what confuses most people is that cyberpunk and steampunk share a lot of thematic elements. That's the "punk" part, a consciousness, portrayal and criticism of the differences between social classes where the lives of a few incredibly rich, privileged people rest on the labor and suffering of a massive underclass.

The 19th Century, where steampunk is usually set, saw a revolution in literature where authors pondered those very issues of how the noble wealthy classes exploited and at the same time largely ignored the masses of workers. Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens... Even if all you know of their works is Huckleberry Finn, Les Miz and A Christmas Carol you can begin to see how these authors tried to address the struggle of the underclass in their works. In real life this later gave birth to Socialism and Communism. In the literary world these same authors and issues inspired the earliest authors working in speculative fiction/ science fiction, like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. The "steam" part of steampunk is really an expression of the desire to see the science fiction of these authors go on and on.

Cyberpunk, too, deals with a society where the society has become stratified into the extreme haves and have-nots. The heroes are usually hackers who eke out a living at the lowest, poorest end of society, like the kids in Oliver Twist. So thematically these "punk" stories owe a lot to 19th and early 20th century authors.

From a mecha design and production design point of view, though, there is a CLEAR difference between cyberpunk and steampunk.

I would say that there is also an intermediary step between steampunk and cyberpunk that hasn't been labeled in the same way, what we might call SocialistPunk. I'd probably put some of HG Wells later works and also stuff by authors like George Orwell, as well as noir literature maybe in this category. Then people won't be so confused maybe, when stuff gets retro but not quite "steam"... It would be easier to classify films like Brazil and Blade Runner...
doozer
post #22  on June 9, 2008 - 6:14 AM PDT  
> On June 9, 2008 - 4:02 AM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
>
> I'd say most steampunk would have to be set between US independence and WW1 to qualify, OR in an alternate history where the reign of steam-powered tech extended beyond WW1, OR in an alternate world that exists in a historical age that is the equivalent of this "Victorian" time period on Earth.
>
> Cyberpunk is set in the near future, or in some alternate history/world that mirrors what we usually think of as the "near future"...
>
> So I would say Steampunk=Cyberpunk-300years at most, not 1000 years. The genres together cover the 19th through 21st centuries of human history.
> ---------------------------------

I think that's understood. I really don't think the 1000 was meant to be taken literal. I think the writer was trying to simply say they're the same thing or very similar things in different time periods.
hamano
post #23  on June 9, 2008 - 6:39 AM PDT  
> On June 9, 2008 - 6:14 AM PDT doozer wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I think that's understood. I really don't think the 1000 was meant to be taken literal. I think the writer was trying to simply say they're the same thing or very similar things in different time periods.

Yeah, simplification is sometimes useful, but there's a point where OVER-simplification just makes things idiotic. I just wanted to point out how steampunk and cyberpunk are NOT "=" because I think there are important and meaningful distinctions.

In terms of set and prop design, for example, they're nothing like each other. Some cyberpunk and other SF genres can use 19th and early 20th century designs for mecha and sets and props, but that really has nothing to do with the steampunk genre aside from a similar "look"....
doozer
post #24  on June 9, 2008 - 9:28 AM PDT  
> On June 9, 2008 - 6:39 AM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On June 9, 2008 - 6:14 AM PDT doozer wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > I think that's understood. I really don't think the 1000 was meant to be taken literal. I think the writer was trying to simply say they're the same thing or very similar things in different time periods.
>
> Yeah, simplification is sometimes useful, but there's a point where OVER-simplification just makes things idiotic. I just wanted to point out how steampunk and cyberpunk are NOT "=" because I think there are important and meaningful distinctions.
>
> In terms of set and prop design, for example, they're nothing like each other. Some cyberpunk and other SF genres can use 19th and early 20th century designs for mecha and sets and props, but that really has nothing to do with the steampunk genre aside from a similar "look"....
> ---------------------------------

I think we understand the steampunk look and cyberpunk look. Again I think you're taking the author too literal. It was a comparison based on what is considered cutting edge and alien "technologies" for the supposed time period of each genre. If I could remember the exact source I could provide it but unfortunately I don't. You're dissecting it from one sentence out of many that has been taken out of context.
hamano
post #25  on June 9, 2008 - 12:54 PM PDT  
> On June 9, 2008 - 9:28 AM PDT doozer wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> If I could remember the exact source I could provide it but unfortunately I don't. You're dissecting it from one sentence out of many that has been taken out of context.

Yeah, whatever. I'm just pointing out it's pretty clear exactly how steampunk differs from cyberpunk, if you bother to check (or actually think about them for a little bit). And it's interesting.

But I guess most people have the "Chinese, Japanese, what's the difference?" kind of attitude about it. Slanty eyes, black hair, it's all the same, no problem.
^_^
qutzibaby
post #26  on June 10, 2008 - 2:40 PM PDT  
uhhh....thanks guys!
Catullus
post #27  on June 10, 2008 - 3:04 PM PDT  
> On June 10, 2008 - 2:40 PM PDT qutzibaby wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> uhhh....thanks guys!
> ---------------------------------

I think we scared her with our hardcore geekness >_>
qutzibaby
post #28  on June 10, 2008 - 4:19 PM PDT  
> On June 10, 2008 - 3:04 PM PDT Catullus wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On June 10, 2008 - 2:40 PM PDT qutzibaby wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > uhhh....thanks guys!
> > ---------------------------------
>
> I think we scared her with our hardcore geekness >_>
> ---------------------------------



its almost as bad as living with doozer





just kidding. it's not as bad!
underdog
post #29  on June 10, 2008 - 5:04 PM PDT  
Speaking of steampunk... did anyone ever read "The Difference Engine"? (By William Gibson and Bruce Sterling) It's a brilliant novel, which literally took me three separate tries to get into.

Anyway, it's one of the best examples of the genre, imho. But of course, it's a book, not anime.

hamano
post #30  on June 10, 2008 - 8:50 PM PDT  
> On June 10, 2008 - 5:04 PM PDT underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Speaking of steampunk... did anyone ever read "The Difference Engine"? (By William Gibson and Bruce Sterling) It's a brilliant novel, which literally took me three separate tries to get into.

I read it right after Neuromancer and Count Zero... fun book, interesting genre-hybrid. That's the kind of machine they show on the bridge of the floating command ship in the first episode (I think...) of Last Exile.
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