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What makes an anime stand out for originality?
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Posted 12/10/13
We all have seen the typical:
- transfer student
- enters a magic-like high school (or already in a supernatural world),
- makes unlikely friends
- discovers a hidden truth as the plot unfolds.
- The main character starts out weak but solely through perseverance, they conquer their nemesis and all is right in the world.


These cliche points make up a majority of anime. I am starting to realize why people outgrow anime. Weird thought, right?

MY QUESTION:
There are shows like Baccano known for originality. What makes a show unique? Why do you think original anime are not as popular? Is that even a true statement?

No need for references in APA format but at least explain your answer.

My story:
Recently, I have been recommended and watched or am currently watching a number of action series commonly reviewed as unique and original:
- Black Lagoon (modern day pirates in the Thialand)
- Jormungand (arms dealer stationed in the Middle East with a mission for world peace)
- Michiko to Hatchin (A Fugitive and a child in Latin America set out to find a lost lover and father)
- Book of Bantorra (In a world where the deceased turn into books to leave behind memories)
- Ghost in the Shell (A classic! Cyberpunk Law and Order)
- Fate/ Zero (Legendary heroes fight to claim the Holy Grail)
-etc.

All have strong independent adult female heroines with out a high school to be seen which take place somewhere mostly other than modern day Japan (except Fate/ Zero). Some have promiscuous characters, but none are echi. All I like so far and are different from what I watched in the past. These recommendations were catered towards my own personal preferences (I think) and I am curious what other different series people find.
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53 / M / In
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Posted 12/10/13 , edited 12/10/13
Ghost in the Shell takes place in japan

hmm I would like to see a magical girl show where the girl is in her late 20's early 30's and is kind of forced into being a magical girl you save her family
Posted 12/10/13
I like shows like Phi Brain, Patema Inverted, catchy names like Girl who leapt through time draw me in (it was shit btw) and I generally like quirky humor.
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28 / F / SC
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Posted 12/10/13 , edited 12/10/13
for me it is plot twists... when a character does something completely unexpected... or something happens that I did not see coming at all.. prime examples are Durarara! and Code Geass. AoT/SnK is similar in that department too.

Consistent plot and character development that all conclude in a well-rounded ending makes an anime VERY unique IMO. The most well known example here of course is FMA.

and these are popular.. and I see them as original... but there are original anime out there that aren't popular too.

um.. also Free! was unique in that it had a lot of fanservice.... but not the normal boobs and butts glory. The storyline wasn't too original as far as sports anime go, but the fact that it had fanservice for the female audience was unique IMO. It also had character development. Fanservice AND character development? That is a new one now that I think about it haha..

and then there's Gintama.... which is so unoriginal that it is original
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19 / M / Southern California
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Posted 12/10/13
I think shows that abandon the status quo or deconstruct very popular conventions used in anime stand out for "uniqueness". Of course people also love doing unique animation styles and radically different premises, but end up doing what we're used to. I don't think I've seen enough of a variety of anime to say anything, but I just wanted to throw my opinion out there.
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Posted 12/10/13
FLCL and Dead Leaves would both receive honorable mention in the originality category.It seems originality is defined by the courage to take chances and the wisdom to ascertain what constitutes popular approval.If I had either of these attributes then I'd be writing this stuff in Okinawa ,and not freezing my ample bottom off in Wisconsin.
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26 / M / Inside Lorreen's...
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Posted 12/10/13 , edited 12/10/13
Pretty much any series that gets away from a high school setting seems amazing and original (given not all are) to me since it seems like 85% of all Anime are in high school, or high school aged characters.

As for actually providing an example... I think my knowledge is too limited... would Black Butler count as one? I know it has its supernatural merits... but that is also all I know of it... I only just started watching it and am only like three episodes in.
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Posted 12/10/13
I don't know. I would say "something that isn't cliche", but sometimes cliches can be used to an anime's advantage if it has a fresh look upon it.
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Posted 12/10/13

MY QUESTION:

What makes a show unique? Why do you think original anime are not as popular?


Because it contains a form of deviation that appeals your palate ---> Because what you perceive as unique and interesting may not be so to everyone else.



and once you've watched alot and I mean alot of anime, I'm sure that the slightest divergence from the set of tropes will stand out to you, yes that means you stark700 and Animekami.
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25 / M / Missouri, United...
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Posted 12/13/13 , edited 12/13/13
Pretty much anything that doesn't throw tropes around to fill in for missing plot or comedy or whatever the focus is.

The one trope I hate the most is the "suggestive collision (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SuggestiveCollision) if there are a lot of those in an anime I quickly forget about it unless it actually has some other redeeming value.
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26 / M / This Dying World
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Posted 12/13/13 , edited 12/13/13
All anime is the same shit... lol.
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36 / M / The IshVille
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Posted 12/13/13 , edited 12/13/13
There's far more originality in anime than I believe you're giving the genre credit for. You've got to get away from the major releases and focus on smaller studios. It's no different than music. The big names all make the same stuff, because record execs knows it will sell. You've got to go indie to find the outside of the box stuff. Anime is the same. The major studios pump out the same stuff with slight tweaks because they know what becomes popular. You've got to focus on smaller animes.

Half of anime is the cliches you mention. The other half is amazing and original stuff. My suggestion? If you get sick of the standard fare, switch over to movies, ovas, onas and specials. You'll find all sorts of gems like Redline, Dai Mahou Touge, Summer Wars, Golden Boy, Mind Game, Usovich and more.
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Posted 12/13/13
All anime are different in a huge number of ways.
Then again, I liked the endless eight, and people don't seem to think that was very original.
Must've been different when watching it once a week.
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32 / M / Arizona
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Posted 12/13/13
Various explanations can be at work, but some that stand out to me regarding why original anime wouldn't do too well is because they appeal to a smaller niche audience (rather then appealing to the "lowest common denominator" with things like fanservice/sexual tension), don't receive adequate funding/advertising from investors looking for a safer bet on what has worked in the past, or lack coherency from their foreignness (or even simply for originality's sake have introduced suspensions of belief/plot holes that impair enjoyment).

That being said, cliché elements do not necessarily guarantee unoriginality. As a case in point, let's use "fanservice." When I first read the synopsis of The World God Only Knows from ANN, I was utterly convinced it would just be another mindless harem comedy (which for the record is a genre I like lol), but was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it's story too (doubly so when considering how its repetitious "Scooby Doo-like" format of capturing lost souls didn't get old* [haven't yet seen the third season to be honest though]). As a guy who likes fanservice, this may be more tolerable on my part then the original poster rundancedraw who seems to dislike it, but even I have limits that will also find shows that try to coast by on sex appeal alone mentally repugnant.

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere was another show with plenty of fanservice, but I found it to be immensely interesting and original. One might suspect that the way they don't bother to explain the weird way characters talk or are recreating history is to blame for making the show seem original, as I was fairly clueless to what the friggin' hell was going on for a good portion of the show, but I don't think this is the case (also as a history major that may be partly to blame for why I really liked this show).

In conclusion, I don't feel like such shows should be disqualified from being "unique" or "original" simply because they contain cliché elements like being high school students or utilize fanservice. They still surprised and stood out to me from the copy-paste crowd of mediocrity, so I suppose I place a high value on the ability of a work's creator to surprise me as an indicator of originality...
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41 / M / America
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Posted 12/14/13
In the end there is nothing original in anime. Heck the only truly original story is Homer's Iliad.
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