Nature in Anime?
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Posted 7/12/14
I work in the USA as a biologist, and I love and appreciate the many outdoor opportunities. Needless to say I also love and appreciate anime. It just occurred to me, however, that there are not many anime out there that are heavily influenced by nature. For every anime heavily involved in the natural world, there are a hundred that take place in a school yard. Do you think this is due to Japan not having the same natural area opportunities as some countries (in other words, it is too developed)? Or is it more a reflection of the nation's culture itself?
I am curious as to everyone's opinion...
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Posted 7/12/14

Nicholi wrote:

I work in the USA as a biologist, and I love and appreciate the many outdoor opportunities. Needless to say I also love and appreciate anime. It just occurred to me, however, that there are not many anime out there that are heavily influenced by nature. For every anime heavily involved in the natural world, there are a hundred that take place in a school yard. Do you think this is due to Japan not having the same natural area opportunities as some countries (in other words, it is too developed)? Or is it more a reflection of the nation's culture itself?
I am curious as to everyone's opinion...
It's simple economics, really... Most of the target audience in Japan that watch anime are in the age group that goes to high school, so that genre sells better than something that targets a more mature audience (Like mushi-shi, for example)
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Posted 7/12/14


Go watch "nausicaa of the valley of the wind". For my massive graduation presentation i used it as part of my final exam in environmental sciences. Almost every single theme in the movie relates to nature and how humans and their interactions cause problems and or help it.

One of my favorite movies in animated history.


And just as the other poster said... not many people are into "nature" especially since most anime is targeted towards highschool students and young adults
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Posted 7/12/14
Thanks for the posts! I agree about the target audience, money speaks where people will listen. I too loved Nusica, and others like Princess Monanoke too, though those are the one in one hundred I spoke of. I spent a lot of time as as high school student outdoors too, however, so my original questions still stand.
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Posted 8/1/14 , edited 8/1/14

Nicholi wrote:

I work in the USA as a biologist, and I love and appreciate the many outdoor opportunities. Needless to say I also love and appreciate anime. It just occurred to me, however, that there are not many anime out there that are heavily influenced by nature. For every anime heavily involved in the natural world, there are a hundred that take place in a school yard. Do you think this is due to Japan not having the same natural area opportunities as some countries (in other words, it is too developed)? Or is it more a reflection of the nation's culture itself?
I am curious as to everyone's opinion...



What do you specialize in?


Garden of Words is a movie, but the animation and story both focus on one setting in nature, rain. I do not believe that Japan being overdeveloped is the case, rather anime in general is aimed at a demographic in a specific margin of ages, which is why most do take place in the setting of a school, not because of the country's experience with climate and other ecological factors.
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Posted 8/1/14
Well you have to think. In Japan is a mountain is in the way of money, they will blow is down. Only in sacred parts they will leave it in tact.
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Posted 8/1/14
Also check out Wolf Children. It approaches the nature vs humans topic differently than the Studio Ghibli films.

It's probably partially because the most popular genres tend to take place in cities and because most writers probably live in cities. It's like in the US how there are a ridiculous number of shows based in New York. Or how shows will always have tons of snow in winter unless specifically said to be set somewhere other than the northeast. The Tokyo area seems to be the default for anime.

My field is oceanography, and I flip out anytime there's a show featuring ocean (which you'd think there'd be more of, Japan being an island nation and all). Gargantia was particularly awesome because it combined the ocean, mecha, space wars, and giant cephalopods. That one also had a 'live with nature' or 'fight against it' theme as well.
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Posted 8/1/14

darkfire9o9 wrote:

Well you have to think. In Japan is a mountain is in the way of money, they will blow is down. Only in sacred parts they will leave it in tact.


Sure you're not describing West Virginia?
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Posted 8/1/14

Just felt like sharing this. It's from Glasslip, another P.A. Works creation.
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Posted 8/1/14

LokiLB wrote:


darkfire9o9 wrote:

Well you have to think. In Japan is a mountain is in the way of money, they will blow is down. Only in sacred parts they will leave it in tact.


Sure you're not describing West Virginia?


Never been there, im from Hawaii. I havent really gone to the state that much. Only places like Texas, Alaska, California, Utah, and Washinton State.
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Posted 8/1/14

LokiLB wrote:

My field is oceanography, and I flip out anytime there's a show featuring ocean (which you'd think there'd be more of, Japan being an island nation and all). Gargantia was particularly awesome because it combined the ocean, mecha, space wars, and giant cephalopods. That one also had a 'live with nature' or 'fight against it' theme as well.


Have you checked out Nagi no Asukara?
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Posted 8/1/14 , edited 8/1/14
Not 100% sure since I only watched a few episodes but I think it's possible you would be able to relate to the anime 'The World Is Still Beautiful' First few episodes seem like they are leading into something close to what you described.
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Posted 8/1/14

jannuelcabrera wrote:


LokiLB wrote:

My field is oceanography, and I flip out anytime there's a show featuring ocean (which you'd think there'd be more of, Japan being an island nation and all). Gargantia was particularly awesome because it combined the ocean, mecha, space wars, and giant cephalopods. That one also had a 'live with nature' or 'fight against it' theme as well.


Have you checked out Nagi no Asukara?


I started it, but then it got all awkward adolescent romance, which I am not a fan of.
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Posted 8/1/14

Nicholi wrote:
Do you think this is due to Japan not having the same natural area opportunities as some countries (in other words, it is too developed)? Or is it more a reflection of the nation's culture itself?


It's a confluence of a number of factors. The Japanese have a great respect for the natural world as reflected in the beliefs of Shinto. And Japan has a fair number of parks and natural areas. However more and more Japanese are moving to the urban areas of the country for jobs and / or a preference for the "modern" life. And with the continuing decline in population it's sometimes a necessity for people to move to the cities. There simply aren't enough people to sustain the village.

Additionally the native agricultural sector is coming under greater and greater pressure from foreign imports, often driving farmers out of agriculture or at least greatly discouraging their children from inheriting the family business.

From the other side anime and manga often act as indirect tourism advertisements. Larger cities and towns will encourage anime to be set in their areas in the hope that fans will visit to see areas where scenes occur. This benefits the anime because the city will spend its own money to advertise the series. Because rural areas lack the ability to provide this kind of support shows like Non Non Biyori that focus of rural life are a rarity.



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