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Post Reply Living in Japan ruined anime for me.
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Posted 10/4/16

LavenderMintRose wrote:


zipzo wrote:


Japan ruined anime for me. Think about the statement carefully. This isn't a case of me being disenfranchised with the actual country because I've seen how it really is, I'm disenfranchised with their portrayal of themselves in the media, whether it be dramas or anime, because I know how it really is.


Besides the fact that you might be using that word wrong (try "disillusioned").

What would make you think that a piece of media, that happens to be made in Japan, is necessarily trying to reflect Japanese society and its differences from other countries, rather than something that is or isn't present for humanity as a whole? If you watch something and see something that isn't present in your life, why would you assume that it must be present in the author's life just because they live in a different country from yours?

Why would you take an anime as a statement of "This is Japan,"? It's as if you think a Japanese author couldn't possibly write something that isn't meant to represent Japanese society specifically, and cover all of Japanese society.

If you write a story, is it automatically meant to "hold a mirror" and represent your country, or could it have a different focus? Couldn't a story you write be more specifically about the character you've created, and their life, or more broadly about humanity as a whole? What makes a random Japanese author any different in that respect, besides the fact that their country is far from yours, and you saw that author's work in translation?

You're right, it's not really fair for me to "hate" on anime because it isn't like real life. It's utterly arbitrary which is why I completely identify my reasoning as being a personal, subjective opinion.

It's as I stated before, that which holds no grounds in reality lacks that which is necessary for me to relate to the piece of work enough to invest in it.

Have you ever seen a movie with a guy who just sits there going "Oh come on, like that could happen" the whole time? Yeah, in a way, I'm kinda being that guy except towards anime. 'That guy' has the same issue I do, he's conflating entertainment with artistry intended to be relate-able from a realistic perspective, but the thing is that a lot of anime is the same. Sure some of it has dragons, and some of it based in the way future, and some of it the way past, but can you deny that much of the characters seen in anime are...well...exactly the same to one another? They have the same mannerisms, the same code of ethics, and apart from the obvious villains and people meant to appear corrupt, evil, or mean as a plot device, the day-to-day happy-times of what constitutes a civil, good-natured human being, their happy medium for how they wish to portray an "average" person in anime...is just make-believe and used frequently as their "base".

So you see in a sense, my criticism doesn't just have to be centralized on anime that focuses on day-to-day life in Japan, it can apply to basically any genre of anime whether it be die-in-real-life MMORPG's or futuristic morality dilemma sybl systems..

If the disconnect is supposed to be so vibrantly apparent between what it means to be Japanese or live in Japan, and how it is portrayed in anime...then why are so many anime depicted within Japan or between Japanese people? It's because it's meant to be relate-able, but in an awkward bout of irony, it's just not relate-able as a result of continuous same-ey writing of characters and personality depictions.

Again this can be observed blatantly in their live-action dramas.

Let's be clear. These dramas are meant to be depict real Japanese people and their relationships and depict real drama. Except watching it feels like such a joke, because they just aren't accurate. If they can't portray themselves accurately in a piece of work that is meant to be accurate to life then look towards that example to absorb the point I'm making instead. I'm only explaining that this habit of theirs leaks in to their anime just as much.



Nogara-san wrote:


zipzo wrote:

Let me try to make an important distinction here that could be diluting my point.

Anime didn't ruin Japan for me. No. It's a great place to live, it's very safe, a good place to raise a family. I will happily return when the eventual day comes.

Japan ruined anime for me. Think about the statement carefully. This isn't a case of me being disenfranchised with the actual country because I've seen how it really is, I'm disenfranchised with their portrayal of themselves in the media, whether it be dramas or anime, because I know how it really is.

Get it? I love Japan, but now I can't even feign interest to most anime as I find no root in believability. Again, it may seem daft in the sense that media is always exaggerated and never a definitive display of the actual people/place being depicted, but it's the intensity with which the content is fabricated on an emotional level, a base character level, that disallows me from being able to really relate to anything happening on the screen or with a character.

I didn't go to Japan expecting it to be like anime, but in an inverse way I guess you could say that to be slightly true. I simply went to Japan and found that how they portray Japan and being Japanese to be overtly inaccurate to the point that it makes me question the medium as a whole.

True there are many examples in Hollywood of such things for America, but I imagine the same thing would happen to me should I spend a great deal of time there, too. I am not disappointed in Japan for not being like anime, I'm disappointed in anime being so..."unrealistic"? I know you could construe that as being the same, I suppose, but to me they are not.



So....you're mad at Japan because it was nothing like how they portrayed themselves on tv?


Going to stop you there because this question illustrates that you completely missed my point. I mean, it's right there at the top of the post you quoted.

No, I'm not mad at Japan because it's not like anime.

Bluntly, I'm mad at the anime industry for being so intent on conveying a completely fictional idea of what Japan or being a Japanese person is like. It's not a personal slight, I'm not losing sleep over it, it just makes me disinterested in anime. It feels like a weird joke, where all I can do is kind of roll my eyes at any sort of Japanese media as it's so blatantly over-the-top and unrealistic that I can't find it relate-able.

Why can't there be some kind of visual media out there that makes me think "Yeah, that always happens", or "Ugh, I hate that". You know. Relate-able things that have root in reality which connects you to the material? This is impossible to achieve with Japanese visual media because of the extreme nature of their exaggerated projection of themselves.



sonic720 wrote:

zipzo, you're alive!

Haven't seen you around here since Kill la Kill ended years ago... I guess now I know why.

On topic, I don't watch anime actively looking for realism, so I expect it to be super exaggerated most times. I have not lived in nor visited Japan, but from when I was studying the language in school, I learned quickly how detached anime was from Japanese life and that it was very much an ideal fantasy world meant to escape to and usually not an honest reflection on Japan in the least.

Like others have said, most media in the US is the same, very idealized and not all that well based in reality. I mean think about it... do you think the average working adult anywhere has time to have such interesting lives as is displayed in most fiction? I'm pretty sure the average schlub goes to work, eats, has maybe a few hours of free time in the evening and goes to sleep, then does it again until their weekend. If you are said person, watching something mirroring that versus an exciting or idealized escape would likely appeal to you much more.

I've also heard time and again how middle school or high school life is looked fondly on in Japan as some of the prime time in one's life. So, it is no surprise a lot of anime mirrors this sentiment and idealizes and accentuates the most prominent positives from that time for many, and maybe offering a way to live vicariously through it if the person did not have much, if any, really shining moments. This may also be true for those currently in school, stuck in a rut of endless studying and feeling isolated from others. it is a way they can escape a harsh reality and think more positively I guess.

That's not to say there isn't any anime that tries to capture more realism in a poignant way, just that they are likely the exception and not the rule. Rakugo comes to mind from recent times if you are interested in something more mature and thoughtful.

Don't Lose Your Way!


Heh, hey there.

You're right, anime focuses on that age window because it's seen as the "prime" age, and it's generally targeted at the audience too, which is not me in the first place.

Another example that helps me illustrate my point better is the language.

The language they speak in anime is hardly ever real Japanese. I'm sure many spend years watching anime and absorbing and memorizing what characters say, and feel like they have a solid understanding of Japanese, but...it's just not really Japanese.

I'm really serious, nobody talks like anime characters do. The difference is similar to that of casual Japanese and keigo (polite Japanese), it's almost a completely different language.

I can't stress this enough, do not ever try to mimic dialogue you learned from anime in Japan, just don't. I'm not saying this because I've tried, I'm saying this because I've observed others try and it's...nothing short of depressing to watch.

Talking to people in real life (in Japan) is so far removed from watching a conversation happen between two people in anime, that it's another source of that "disconnect" I feel.

Why? Why can't I watch a character speak in their native tongue and it sound like a real person who speaks Japanese as their native tongue? Why can they not even speak normally in Japanese media? It's just odd to me. The difference of inflection, the tones they stress, the word choices, everything is just frequently wrong, even in anime where the setting is just meant to be daily modern Japan.

I don't get that, and it's one of the factors in my disillusionment.
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Posted 10/4/16

zipzo wrote:
Why? Why can't I watch a character speak in their native tongue and it sound like a real person who speaks Japanese as their native tongue? Why can they not even speak normally in Japanese media? It's just odd to me. The difference of inflection, the tones they stress, the word choices, everything is just frequently wrong, even in anime where the setting is just meant to be daily modern Japan.

I don't get that, and it's one of the factors in my disillusionment.


Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree about the language disconnect. One of the first things my Sensei told us was don't try to imitate Japanese anime speaking because it is not true spoken Japanese for the most part. There is a huge emphasis on politeness and social stature in the native tongue that is often overlooked or wholly abandoned in anime. Again, I think it is this way in anime likely due to that ideal of wanting to escape the formality and pleasantries and just have fun. Anime is likely seen as a time to just relax and release the societal pressures and one's inhibitions spawned from them.

I agree it would be nice to see some more anime where they speak using the polite masu form in social situations. What form one uses to speak in will of course vary based on the relationship and how comfortable they are speaking in friendly terms with each other. The amount of casual speaking in anime would make you appear quite rude, ignorant, and disrespectful in most normal situations in Japan if you were to imitate it. I also notice most anime does not have the characters use "sou desu ka" to reaffirm they are actively and intently listening to someone. My Sensei also stressed how important interjections like that were to keep the conversation flowing and reassure the speaker you had their full attention and wanted to continue talking.

The bottom line is don't expect anime to accurately reflect Japan or even Japanese culture as far as it relates to language, and appreciate it as an escape from the norm in that regard. Though, I agree it would be nice to see a few more shows try tackling things with that level of realism, I'm not so sure there is a market there to justify that risk of portraying realism to that degree. The "2D world" is inherently not real to begin with, so that too makes the gap all the more prominent. The mindset in anime creation for most is likely very focused on the fantastical and ideal and not on reflecting a true to life, and with it also harsh, reality.
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16

zipzo wrote:


Bluntly, I'm mad at the anime industry for being so intent on conveying a completely fictional idea of what Japan or being a Japanese person is like.

Why does it have to be about being a Japanese person, and not just about being a person? If they want to write a story about humanity that isn't specific to Japan, are they then obligated to set it somewhere else, just so you don't get confused?



It's likely that a lot of the writing is learned from Hollywood films and other foreign entertainment. But the things you've pointed out don't make the stories less truthful. People didn't speak in verse in the 1590's in London, and they definitely don't now, but as I've mentioned, that doesn't make Shakespeare any less resonant to those who bother to really listen, even today.
So Japan doesn't find it necessary to do David Mamet's style. That doesn't make the stories dishonest.


Have you ever seen a movie with a guy who just sits there going "Oh come on, like that could happen" the whole time? Yeah, in a way, I'm kinda being that guy except towards anime. 'That guy' has the same issue I do, he's conflating entertainment with artistry intended to be relate-able from a realistic perspective, but the thing is that a lot of anime is the same. Sure some of it has dragons, and some of it based in the way future, and some of it the way past, but can you deny that much of the characters seen in anime are...well...exactly the same to one another? They have the same mannerisms, the same code of ethics, and apart from the obvious villains and people meant to appear corrupt, evil, or mean as a plot device, the day-to-day happy-times of what constitutes a civil, good-natured human being, their happy medium for how they wish to portray an "average" person in anime...is just make-believe and used frequently as their "base".



That's 90% of anime because that's 90% of all media. It's 90% of all media because there are things that most audience members look for in a show, and good writing isn't one of them.

Anime fans find it acceptable to write like that when the characters are a sorceress with a bouncy chest, or a high school athlete with washboard abs (though they've unfortunately stopped having the sorcerers with long hair and washboard abs, but that's neither here nor there). Opera fans allow it because Verdi and Puccini gave it beautiful music, and the singers have beautiful voices to go with it. Movie fans are okay with it because Chris Hemsworth is hot and stuff explodes.

But in every medium, there's another ~10% that does have good writing. My personal favorite anime are Code Geass and K. I think both of them have story depth beyond things I've seen in most media. The characters are unique and there aren't really any card-carrying villains - which, actually, leaves a lot of viewers confused, like they don't know how to handle a story that's not just packed with stereotypes. If the dialogue issue bothers you, both of those actually have really good dubs (tbh, the performances in Japanese feel somewhat flat to me in both of those series - the main character of K, the one in my userpic, I sort of feel like the dub actor gave him depth that wasn't there in the Japanese version, even though it's there in the writing.)

Actually, thinking about it from that angle, how do you feel about manga? Do you have the same problem? Even something totally detached from Japan - have you read A Bride's Story or Black Butler? If you cringe when I mention Black Butler, try skipping to volume 9 of the manga. It's really a better series than what it looks like after that point.
Edit: I should clarify - read it in English. Black Butler definitely has that language issue in the manga. Ciel is supposed to be an earl but he says things like something that basically translates to "what the heck" a lot. And yes, it's zany, but there's actually a surprising amount of plot and character depth later on.


sonic720 wrote:


zipzo wrote:
Why? Why can't I watch a character speak in their native tongue and it sound like a real person who speaks Japanese as their native tongue? Why can they not even speak normally in Japanese media? It's just odd to me. The difference of inflection, the tones they stress, the word choices, everything is just frequently wrong, even in anime where the setting is just meant to be daily modern Japan.

I don't get that, and it's one of the factors in my disillusionment.


Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree about the language disconnect. One of the first things my Sensei told us was don't try to imitate Japanese anime speaking because it is not true spoken Japanese for the most part. There is a huge emphasis on politeness and social stature in the native tongue that is often overlooked or wholly abandoned in anime. Again, I think it is this way in anime likely due to that ideal of wanting to escape the formality and pleasantries and just have fun. Anime is likely seen as a time to just relax and release the societal pressures and one's inhibitions spawned from them.

I agree it would be nice to see some more anime where they speak using the polite masu form in social situations. What form one uses to speak in will of course vary based on the relationship and how comfortable they are speaking in friendly terms with each other. The amount of casual speaking in anime would make you appear quite rude, ignorant, and disrespectful in most normal situations in Japan if you were to imitate it. I also notice most anime does not have the characters use "sou desu ka" to reaffirm they are actively and intently listening to someone. My Sensei also stressed how important interjections like that were to keep the conversation flowing and reassure the speaker you had their full attention and wanted to continue talking.

The bottom line is don't expect anime to accurately reflect Japan or even Japanese culture as far as it relates to language, and appreciate it as an escape from the norm in that regard. Though, I agree it would be nice to see a few more shows try tackling things with that level of realism, I'm not so sure there is a market there to justify that risk of portraying realism to that degree. The "2D world" is inherently not real to begin with, so that too makes the gap all the more prominent. The mindset in anime creation for most is likely very focused on the fantastical and ideal and not on reflecting a true to life, and with it also harsh, reality.


Like I mentioned about Shakespeare, it is something very new and very modern in Western society that English speakers don't understand this. ~150 years ago, plays were almost never set in the time and place they were performed, because it was seen as too close, for a variety of reasons (e.g. felt like listening in on your neighbors' conversations, could be misconstrued as gossip, etc.) Right now, the standards in English-speaking countries have almost completely reversed, but that hasn't happened in the rest of the world - and that's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just something you need to understand.

It's not any less realistic than Bollywood movies are to everyday life and conversation in India. And 200-300 years ago, opera probably sounded a lot more like everyday Italian speech than Kabuki sounded like everyday Japanese speech.

Kabuki and opera are still performed, and tons of people, from tons of different cultures, find resonant ideas and things to appreciate in them.

You know, maybe that's why opera is actually more popular in Japan than in most Western countries nowadays.
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Well obviously.

Like that one scene in Watamote. She wanted to get a job at some kind of bakery. Her expectation being this dream job where you will make cakes for people and everything will be bright and colorful, and the reality being an assembly line wearing a full body suit and mask doing repetitive labor work. Going for her break, the coffee tin to the side for cigarette tips and workers coughing up a lung.

That's just reality. Do we need to keep reality in everything? Of course not, but we like to touch base on the major points of reality, something that hits you like a brick for a brief moment, something that opens your eyes. It's odd to say, but Watamote pretty much sums up everything you need to know about anime and Japan. Maybe it actually makes sense to you , because where we live and Japan have similarities. I never expected it to be a land of wonder, but I did expect it to be a land of promise.

Everywhere has the exact same problems, the exact same people. The only difference is how we hold our own when we are face to face with the same respectable individuals in front of us. There is culture, then there is reality.
Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16
This is why I never expect anything

Or if I do, I expect the worse
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16
Seen Zipzo aorund here for ages 3+ years or so sad to hear it man but i'll be honest i'm in it for the asian pussy
Posted 10/4/16

Humms wrote:

Well obviously.

Like that one scene in Watamote. She wanted to get a job at some kind of bakery. Her expectation being this dream job where you will make cakes for people and everything will be bright and colorful, and the reality being an assembly line wearing a full body suit and mask doing repetitive labor work. Going for her break, the coffee tin to the side for cigarette tips and workers coughing up a lung.


I forget why she didn't work at a cute bakery store instead of a factory?
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Posted 10/4/16

stars201 wrote:

This is why I never expect anything

Or if I do, I expect the worse


Being negative doesn't get you anything better, though. If you expect the worst, you'll get the worst.

But if you expect good things but keep an open mind, you'll find good things you never expected. Getting good things you didn't expect is even better than getting good things you did expect.
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Posted 10/4/16

stars201 wrote:


Humms wrote:

Well obviously.

Like that one scene in Watamote. She wanted to get a job at some kind of bakery. Her expectation being this dream job where you will make cakes for people and everything will be bright and colorful, and the reality being an assembly line wearing a full body suit and mask doing repetitive labor work. Going for her break, the coffee tin to the side for cigarette tips and workers coughing up a lung.


I forget why she didn't work at a cute bakery store instead of a factory?


I think her mom, or a family member who worked there got her a job, and having her friend fill her mind with Unrealistic expectations for herself; she expected her life to find that same satisfaction working the same job, but little did she know that her social standing and * people skills* would never allow her to live up to those expectations, and ultimately gives her a reality check quickly shutting down her ambitions once she realized what the actual truth behind satisfaction really is. Satisfaction being the consumer, or customer.

I haven't seen that anime in like 2 years, but I remember it so vividly for some reason. kinda why I brought it up.
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Posted 10/4/16

zipzo wrote:
TLDR; living in Japan killed anime for me, and I don't think I can ever turn back, and it makes me sad in a way.


A bit off-topic, but ... welcome back, Zipzo! A fair number of us have been wondering where you went.
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I also take exception to the claim that other countries' media is somehow more "real." I'll pick on Hollywood since it represents my own culture. As far as realistic characters go, I can't think of a single instance where I have thought a movie or tv character was like someone I know (from an admittedly small sample of humans). In recent years, Hollywood hasn't really gotten more real, but merely Darker. They are more willing to concentrate on the darker emotions, but on screen those emotions are just as exaggerated and flanderized as the positive emotions used to be.

To be honest, I can't watch most media from my own country anymore. Even though they're exaggerated, there is just enough truth to it that I can't help get depressed about how this country is going to hell. (And get off my lawn!) I just can't really call something that does that to me Entertainment.

But anime isn't any different. All of the collectivism and citizen worker drone mentality the OP speaks of has become obvious to me through the anime I've watched. Sure, it's often glossed over, but it still leaks through the paint, as it were, if you look closely.

BUT, the reason I can still watch anime is that, even though I find such things sad, I don't find them depressing because (selfishly) I don't live there.

If I were to ever live in Japan, I expect I would get disillusioned on anime as well, because now i DO live there.
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16
It's okay there's lots of otaku in that country and all over the world to replace you


Bluntly, I'm mad at the anime industry for being so intent on conveying a completely fictional idea of what Japan or being a Japanese person is like.


...but the whole point of fiction is escape

If I don't want to escape then I don't entertain myself
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Posted 10/4/16

JoeTheDestroyer wrote:
In recent years, Hollywood hasn't really gotten more real, but merely Darker. They are more willing to concentrate on the darker emotions, but on screen those emotions are just as exaggerated and flanderized as the positive emotions used to be.



This this this this this this this this this this!!

I feel like I've been talking nonstop about how the dark and violent trends aren't actually as mature and intelligent and superior as their fans want to think they are, so, sorry if it's gotten old... but it's true.



But anime isn't any different. All of the collectivism and citizen worker drone mentality the OP speaks of has become obvious to me through the anime I've watched. Sure, it's often glossed over, but it still leaks through the paint, as it were, if you look closely.


. . . I think that some of the things I like about the anime that I like might fall under that for you. Like, the enemies end up forgiving each other and becoming friends.

Or the scene in K: Return of Kings where Neko says Shiro can teach (spoiler) about (spoiler) and Misaki says that the different clans shouldn't be hanging out together like friends, but then Neko asks why, and Misaki doesn't know, and then Neko says they should all just get along, and Misaki doesn't know what to say, but then Anna says Neko's right, and Misaki stops. It's adorable, all of it.

Or my love for Scepter 4 and Reisi Munakata (the Blue King).

Like, they all work together to make a happy ending. It's nice that way. Cooperation is better than vanquishing your enemies... because if you vanquish them, someone, somewhere, will still want revenge.
(And even if there isn't anyone like that, you'll never sleep for fear of it. This is actually where the work "tyrant" comes from - the Ancient Greek "tyranos" meant "king who didn't get his throne by inheritance". But usurpers were haunted by the idea of revenge, and tended to become totalitarian out of fear, and it rarely ended well. And then a millennium and a half later, Shakespeare wrote Macbeth. And it still continues with modern dictators and revolutions. So burying the hatchet isn't for weaklings or whatever ^_^;

(and yes, Macbeth had to be killed, but a) it's wasn't hard once he'd turned everyone against him by his own actions, and b) plenty of people have noticed that it could be a cycle, and have the witches seek out the next king... or vice versa. )
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nanikore2 wrote:

It's okay there's lots of otaku in that country and all over the world to replace you


Bluntly, I'm mad at the anime industry for being so intent on conveying a completely fictional idea of what Japan or being a Japanese person is like.


...but the whole point of fiction is escape

If I don't want to escape then I don't entertain myself


Yes, and I expect the desirefor escapism is even more needed in a workaholic high pressure, high stress society like Japan.

I can understand the disappointment of having an expectation of something based on the idea that you've built up in your head and the things that shaped your opinion (for e.g. I felt disappointed when I went to Taiwan that Taiwan felt more like Japan than China, simply because I had been to China in the past, studied Chinese at university and had allowed myself to build up this image of Taiwan basically being a better-off version of China)-but really that's not the medium's fault, that's your fault.

When I first travelled to Japan, I really only followed anime that was popular in the west like Dragonball Z, Pokemon etc. so I guess when I started delving deeper into the anime world I already knew what Japan was about and it didn't affect my perception of things.


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Projecting an idealized version of life in media is not unique to Japan. At the end of the day people are people and not 2 dimensional characters. They are going to react with a myriad of emotions and in realistic ways. Also there are 120+ million people living in Japan, using popular media as social propaganda seems like a natural. There are worse messages than trying your best, support your betters, and respect your elders.
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