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Which Anime is the lesser of evils?
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25 / M / California
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Posted 12/14/10
I'm curious because I'm constantly seeing topics about, "What should be considered a great anime versus a horrible anime."
So then all I ask is this, Which do you prefer? An anime with a horrible storyline but great drawings with a lot of intense action and scenery, or an anime with bad or mediocre art but a fantastic storyline and interesting characters?

Now let me get specific on this a bit so that people will not be confused. Most people would agree that a crappy storyline even with the best art is still a horrible story and thus is disliked.

So look at it like this, Let's say that there was an anime that had fantastic art. Absolutely amazing. This anime with this fantastic artwork also has a lot of Action happening in it, such as fights, ecchi situations, fan service, and intense dialogue.
It's very interesting to watch but, there is no real storyline, no challenge for your brain. It is after all just fluff. (I'd like to use To-Love Ru as an example for this type of anime, hate me if you will.)

Now the next anime is just poor when it comes to drawing. Incredibly unappealing towards visual stimulus. However it has the most well thought out mind boggling story that has ever graced your mind. The characters are deep and believable, the plot pulls you in, and the twists and turns have you guessing at every corner. Still the animations create a let down although the story is intensely good.

So now my Anime lovers, which of the two is better.
I would love to hear which one you think is better and why you prefer one over the other. I will also be nice and say you can pick both, if you explain why.
I'd also prefer if you didn't answer with "Neither", however if you can explain the reasoning for choosing neither by saying something that isn't already in my descriptions, I would love to hear it.
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Posted 12/14/10
I personally prefer substance over style- so in my case, I'll choose a great storyline over a visual/audio feast. I know that the core of animation is in the visuals but I also believe that it allows more creativity than conventional means of entertainment. On one hand are the anime with rather plain or dull animation but still entice the viewer with a compelling plot. I'd like to use anime such as Serial Experiments Lain and Great Teacher Onizuka.

Bluntly said, Serial Experiments Lain took a lot of shortcuts in it's animation with the whole random animation sequences not unlike that of the last two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Art wise, I'll say the most appealing thing of this anime was Lain's creepy eyes and her dark, computer room. The backgrounds were rather plain and the other character's designs blended in with one another too much to make any lasting impression in my mind. However, the basis and plot of Serial Experiments Lain are among the most complex and mind-boggling ever conceived in an anime. While I found myself confused many times, I also found myself wanting to continue watching just to see more ideas and twists I've never thought of before.

Great Teacher Onizuka makes up for it's rather lackluster and old looking animation with character development. Onizuka has to be one of the coolest anime characters ever conceived. While he simply appears stupid many times, he's unpredictable. I could never guarantee a guess on how he'd react or solve a certain situation. Even though Great Teacher Onizuka looked plain, I couldn't help myself in watching more and more of it.

On the other side of the spectrum are the anime with great visual appeal but little or a poor plot to compel the viewer. I'd say that many recent anime suffer from this problem which is probably attributed to the boom of moe though I can't say it was absent in older anime. Anime such as Burst Angel present visuals galore but suffer from an unfocused or overly simple plot. With it's extensive use of CGI and quite attractive character designs, it was certainly pleasing to the eye. This factor, however, shadowed the fact that it's plot jumps place to place (filer episodes) and it's basis seems "borrowed" from another anime aka Bubblegum Crisis (also, the Rei/Asuka ripoff was also obvious). Or for a more recent example, the anime Asobi ni Ikuyo greatly showcases this dilemma. It honestly is one of the cutest and most cuddly anime ever created with more otaku fetish than can be counted. The anime busily presents it's over-boobed characters to entice the viewers into watching more. The plot and character development, however, are barely there. The dog species attack without reason (oh, because dogs hate cats right?), the male lead is your standard harem idiot, we never do get to know the rest of the crew, JACK or the reason for a cat-worshipping organization, and the anime was rather easy to predict.

Of course, the best anime showcase both amazing art and plot which in which I believe the mid 90's to mid 2000's anime most exemplified. I'm still waiting for the next revolutionary anime that will break this moe trend and cause a resurge of creativity. It's been fifteen years since the last and anime could really use one right now.
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25 / M / California
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Posted 12/14/10


Love this post.
I'm so glad to read from somebody who not only respects qualities such as these from anime but is also capable of understanding them.
I also easily prefer a great story over great art, but I also would love to hear from some people that prefer the other side of the spectrum. That is if anybody would admit to enjoying that other side of the spectrum.
(Also I need to watch that Lain show, people keep talking about how great it is but I've never taken the time to watch it.)
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Posted 12/14/10
I say it doesn't matter to me either way, whatever I find entertaining I find entertaining.
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23 / M / Seoul, South Korea
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Posted 12/15/10 , edited 12/15/10
Is it better to "have horrible storyline but great drawings with a lot of intense action and scenery or have bad or mediocre art but a fantastic storyline and interesting characters?"

I say, Is it too much to ask for both?

"Gankutsuou: Count of Monte Cristo" is one of my all time favorite anime. It has stunning visuals and characters that held my interest for the whole series, with no lesser attention given to the supporting characters. I strongly recommend people to watch this series. The art is just mind blowing. There should be DVDs available in many countries.

And what anime looks good/bad and what story is interesting or not is totally up to the viewer. what makes a good anime is probably the combination of art, story, character, and audio (we must not forget the audio) that creates the soup that brings out all sorts of emotions, and thoughts that will satisfy the viewer.

The people who makes anime probably thinks of themes that will satisfy the viewers, be it ninjas, pirates, cute monsters, they use them to appeal to an audience. Use of themes like cyberpunk, psychology, ethics, philosophy are not interesting to a wide audience. So now we are looking at anime in numerical value which I think most people easily associate value with. Tones of people like Naruto so it has to be bad, but on the other hand It has to be good to have tones of viewers. One Piece must be an anime that has an almost perfect combination of art, story, character, and audio to have such a success in many age and gender group.

Now if I had to chose from the 2 anime you stated. I would chose the second one because I'm that sort of guy. Besides, my favorite novel didn't need a single picture for me to like it, but then why would I waste my time watching an anime when I could just read a novel, so the second one could be said to literally SUCK as an anime and the first one to be better in a sense of being an animation where the viewers are supposed to enjoy the movement of pictures.
Posted 12/15/10
Hmm never thought about it like that. An interesting anime is one that I can watch from beginning to end I suppose. Anime that I stop watching half way through for what ever reason (Mostly no distinct reason, probably just forget about some xD) just weren't keeping me interested enough.
Posted 12/15/10 , edited 12/15/10
I would rather choose storyline over the art style any day.

At the end of the day, you're going to remember a series for it's wonderful storyline, for characters that were amazing, and that you really loved or were in-tune with.
Flashy drawings and amazing backgrounds are great too, but it's really not going to make up for a horrible plot or characterization.

So many modern animes fail with this line of thinking, and that why so many classics are holding out and even beating these because the producers and creators got their thinking right.

Take the older series, Maison Ikkoku. It's one of my all time favorite mangas, and I adored the anime too even though the art style was super old and not so pretty to look at. But the story, even though I thought I was going to be amazingly bored with the whole "shonen romance"...Gosh was I wrong! The plot was simple, but so humorous and touching in places....The characters all had their own individual and unique personalities, all their own funny quirks and little things that made them so different. And the characters really grew either physically or mentally throughout the course of the story (unless they were kept the same for comic reasons).

I know many people like the anime Clannad. And I admit; it's got superb art, truly beautiful scenes...But the story was really put on in my personal opinion. They tried and tried to make you feel for the characters, but it always fell short. At times it was so forceful that it made you laugh, and other times it just dragged on and on, until it finally reached the end of the arc, without having reached a proper conclusion. The second season was better, but I wonder if it really deserves to become a "classic."

I think some people are under the impression that if it's modern and new - it must be better. That's not true in so many cases. That's why the classic animes - despite not having amazing art or animation are still thriving and still fresh in people's memories and their mind. Because they deserve it.


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Posted 12/15/10

magicuser360 wrote:



I know many people like the anime Clannad. And I admit; it's got superb art, truly beautiful scenes...But the story was really put on in my personal opinion. They tried and tried to make you feel for the characters, but it always fell short. At times it was so forceful that it made you laugh, and other times it just dragged on and on, until it finally reached the end of the arc, without having reached a proper conclusion. The second season was better, but I wonder if it really deserves to become a "classic."

I think some people are under the impression that if it's modern and new - it must be better. That's not true in so many cases. That's why the classic animes - despite not having amazing art or animation are still thriving and still fresh in people's memories and their mind. Because they deserve it.




I like this because of your brave Clannad Statement.
I thought Clannad was unoriginal and boring as well as the situational and dramatic dialogue made me laugh almost every time because it always felt stuck on or over done.
Whenever I say Clannad is not good, I just get yelled at by it's fan base, so it's great to hear somebody else who didn't like it besides me.
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49 / F / Center of the Uni...
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Posted 12/15/10 , edited 12/15/10
Thinking back on the Anime I've watched through to the end and the anime I've dropped without even really remembering that I was watching I'd have to go along with the apparant trend.

Slick visuals may grab me, temporarily, but what keeps me interested is a degree of sympathy for the characters and a desire to see what happens next.

I recently watched a rather trite and silly anime with abosulutely ancient animation (Dokoida) but I found it funny as hell and watched it through to it's end.

Many of the currently Airing anime I've just not bothered to continue with. Bombshells, Zakuro, Darker than Black, Kaze no Stigma are just a few anime that I've only recently attempted to watch and so far haven't bothered to finish.


The above notwithstanding the plot doesn't have to be mind bending to be effective. The author just has to somehow how get me hooked on the characters. I love Black Lagoon, even if I don't share the amoral and nihilistic mindset of most of the characters. For whatever reason, Mai HIME and Mai Otome were quite addictive. Here on Crunchy Roll The two big sucess stories for me are Ika Musume and 'The World only God knows'. I think for me, a quirky sense of humour helps.

oh.. and those who thought Gankusuo was good, should really read the book. Dumas is a giant, and the Actual book Count of Monte Christo will spoil you for lessor authors, making even renowned current novelists seem like hacks for harlequin.

(edit: PS -- Sound track definitely comes into play. When I first got hooked on anime I used to love watching the promos at the start of the tape for other Anime that importer had translated. There's no small number of anime I found thanks to a cool AMV, and in the nineties my own CD purchases were pretty much driven by OST releases.)
Posted 12/15/10

Rezzy64 wrote:


magicuser360 wrote:



I know many people like the anime Clannad. And I admit; it's got superb art, truly beautiful scenes...But the story was really put on in my personal opinion. They tried and tried to make you feel for the characters, but it always fell short. At times it was so forceful that it made you laugh, and other times it just dragged on and on, until it finally reached the end of the arc, without having reached a proper conclusion. The second season was better, but I wonder if it really deserves to become a "classic."

I think some people are under the impression that if it's modern and new - it must be better. That's not true in so many cases. That's why the classic animes - despite not having amazing art or animation are still thriving and still fresh in people's memories and their mind. Because they deserve it.




I like this because of your brave Clannad Statement.
I thought Clannad was unoriginal and boring as well as the situational and dramatic dialogue made me laugh almost every time because it always felt stuck on or over done.
Whenever I say Clannad is not good, I just get yelled at by it's fan base, so it's great to hear somebody else who didn't like it besides me.


I agree completely. Their shallow little (or large) fanbase can't see the stupidity in the lines, the scenes and the overall plot! It's really idiotic. And the characters are so annoying.
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Posted 12/15/10
Depends what anime Im watching.

If Im watching To Love Ru...Im obviously not going to give a rats ass about what the plot is.
Take any comedy anime for example for that matter....who watches comedy for the plot? You watch it for the comedy.

If Im watching something like a Death Note. Well its obvious what Im watching it for....Death Note is on God-like status for its storytelling and how the events unfolded.

Storytelling in anime is not always needed. But then again, no one watches an anime that just has stick figures in them.

Now lets take Otome Youkai Zakuro for example. Personally I think the storytelling is decent.....but what really captivated me was the superb art-work, something that I have not seen before in anime. If an episode was simply just seeing Bonbori and Hozuki at their antics...I would be satisfied.

So the answer is it depends on what anime they are watching
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Posted 12/15/10

superluccix wrote:

Depends what anime Im watching.

If Im watching To Love Ru...Im obviously not going to give a rats ass about what the plot is.
Take any comedy anime for example for that matter....who watches comedy for the plot? You watch it for the comedy.

If Im watching something like a Death Note. Well its obvious what Im watching it for....Death Note is on God-like status for its storytelling and how the events unfolded.

Storytelling in anime is not always needed. But then again, no one watches an anime that just has stick figures in them.

Now lets take Otome Youkai Zakuro for example. Personally I think the storytelling is decent.....but what really captivated me was the superb art-work, something that I have not seen before in anime. If an episode was simply just seeing Bonbori and Hozuki at their antics...I would be satisfied.

So the answer is it depends on what anime they are watching


Good points, but that doesn't answer the question. Basically to apply the question to your answer in this case, would you prefer To-Love Ru or Death Note. It's about taste, not necessarily good points versus bad points, however it is interesting to hear them. Do you prefer one over the other? Artwork or Story.
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Posted 12/15/10 , edited 12/15/10
You are right. I didnt answer the question, guess I got a little full of myself. Sorry about that.

Well I know this is going to sound quite odd, but I probably am fond of visuals more than I am of storytelling. The reasons?

1. First and foremost, I am no great judge of what is a great storytelling or not. However anybody can tell Death Note had a great story.
And when I first realized I was not a great judge of storytelling was when I finished the anime "Yojōhan Shinwa Taikei" I could tell I just finished watching probably a masterpiece of anime, but sadly, I did not find it truly appealing to me. I was shocked. To me that anime would be PERFECT for reading it in some kind of book or something. But to me, the visuals weren't too great for me. But it really wasnt the visuals that put me off from it....its just that I didnt find it entertaining, even though it was probably a masterpiece. So in short I guess you could say its greatness blinded my eyes.

2. I am a fan of ecchi anime. So right then and there its a fact that I would like to see decent visuals.

3. I am a fan of comedy anime. I like to laugh, not to be Aww'ed into submission by storytelling. And visuals are more important than storytelling in a comedy anime.

Sadly I cant think of any more reasons, and even then, the reasons that I gave were probably garbage.

If someone told me a Death Note season 2 was coming out, and someone told me a Seitokai Yakuindomo season 2 was coming out, I would be more anticipating the Seitokai Yakuindomo season 2.

But it really does depend on what Im watching beforehand. If Im going to watch a comedy and I know its a comedy, Im expecting visuals over storytelling. If Im watching a drama/mystery/shounen or anything that isnt a comedy/slice of life anime, then Im expecting visuals.

Edit: Dammit all, now Im questioning myself what is storytelling? Doesnt every anime technically have a story that is being told?
So yea Im going to have to say again that it depends on what Im watching
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Posted 12/15/10 , edited 12/15/10
it's the characters and story that matters most to me, the art is not so important to me, I don't care how good the art is, if the story is boring and the characters are annoying then I won't watch
Posted 12/15/10
It's hard for me to say. It kind of takes both for me to be "REALLY" intrigued. I admit that bad artwork with great storylines draw me in, but the same goes for great artwork with bad storylines.

Take "The Tatami Galaxy" for example, it has "bad artwork" (to me, it seemed abstract-ish, but was enjoyable because of how it was incorporated) but it's story is great.

Now, take harem animes for example. Some have great artwork, and it makes me watch it because of the art.

It's hard to decide I guess. I like the artworks, and I like great storylines as well.

Is it bad to say I prefer both, even if one is lacking another? I watch and enjoy animes for what they are.
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