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Post Reply What is the difference between anime and western media in terms of story-telling?
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Posted 2/21/18 , edited 2/22/18
What is the difference between anime and western media in terms of story-telling?
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Posted 2/21/18 , edited 2/21/18
I think the preface something Todd Howard was saying when comparing JRPG's or he may of been referring to all Eastern RPG's, he was saying that Eastern RPG's tend to be quite fantastical with how they approach the concept of high fantasy, but in our fictional worlds in the West we like our characters to be believable, I don't know how to describe this but I think it would be hyper moral. We like to accentuate the really human aspects of our characters in the West, the hero in our stories aren't always perfect they have very human flaws and that's what makes us drawn to the characters in Western media. They're underdogs it's charismatic because we can at least relate to one part in our life where we had to punch up.

I used that example because it's something I'm more familiar with but honestly I think it almost applies to anime vs western media. There is this thing in Western movies where they tend to be very mosaic and they follow a very predictable format, George Lucas did this with Starwars and Tolkien with Lord of the Rings etc and that's "The Hero's Journey"



So up above my comment we have a really basic format, so we have the simple "call to adventure" this can be anything, for Luke Skywalker he had his uncle and auntie burned alive, there is this stranger Obi Wan who tells look about the force and how Darth Vader murdered his father etc, this is Luke's catalyst to start his adventure, i'm giving a simple introduction but you should be able to interpret one thing for everything on that circle in not only Star Wars but a lot of Western films, TV shows etc.

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Posted 2/21/18 , edited 2/22/18

bandage106 wrote:

I think the preface something Todd Howard was saying when comparing JRPG's or he may of been referring to all Eastern RPG's, he was saying that Eastern RPG's tend to be quite fantastical with how they approach the concept of high fantasy, but in our fictional worlds in the West we like our characters to be believable, I don't know how to describe this but I think it would be hyper moral. We like to accentuate the really human aspects of our characters in the West, the hero in our stories aren't always perfect they have very human flaws and that's what makes us drawn to the characters in Western media. They're underdogs it's charismatic because we can at least relate to one part in our life where we had to punch up.

I used that example because it's something I'm more familiar with but honestly I think it almost applies to anime vs western media. There is this thing in Western movies where they tend to be very mosaic and they follow a very predictable format, George Lucas did this with Starwars and Tolkien with Lord of the Rings etc and that's "The Hero's Journey"



So up above my comment we have a really basic format, so we have the simple "call to adventure" this can be anything, for Luke Skywalker he had his uncle and auntie burned alive, there is this stranger Obi Wan who tells look about the force and how Darth Vader murdered his father etc, this is Luke's catalyst to start his adventure, i'm giving a simple introduction but you should be able to interpret one thing for everything on that circle in not only Star Wars but a lot of Western films, TV shows etc.



Wouldn't this chart be applicable to anime as well? Especially shounen anime?
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Posted 2/22/18 , edited 2/22/18
The hero's journey is a format that gets adapted in a lot of media, both western and eastern.
I wouldn't say it's something that sets one apart from the other.

Recently I feel like there's a lot more blur between the two. While the staple building blocks are still different both sides have been borrowing from the other set.
If I had to pick out a difference in storytelling it would be those two sets of building blocks. The tropes that have become a staple in stories from the east or west.
Posted 2/22/18 , edited 2/22/18
Anime is too humble and it really likes to bang on about morality. Yawn.
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Posted 2/23/18 , edited 2/23/18
one's from Japan/Asian countries, the others are not. for me it all depends on plot, I don't look at where it comes from. most Asian things are better than American, and I don't go near Bollywood stuff. but, anime is a regional term after all, but it all boils down to, anime is short for animation aka cartoons. as for what America likes to roll out and call cartoons, they are horrible and have to be kept that way due to the limited attention span of kids in said country, as for cartoons for Japan, more can be parked into it, including better plot, art and so forth, but Japan's attention span for kids is far greater than what America has going for it on a good day.
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Posted 2/23/18 , edited 2/23/18

niotabunny wrote:

most Asian things are better than American.


Well that's a huge generalization unless your talking about the difference of anime and cartoons.
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Posted 2/23/18 , edited 2/23/18
it's still cartoons, in Japan it's called cartoons not anime, the western folks ran with that short word, but there's no difference to me. cartoons are cartoons regardless of location, just so happens American cartoons fail miserable to capture my attention span. Korean, and Chinese cartoons don't capture my attention but Japan does.
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Posted 2/23/18 , edited 2/23/18

niotabunny wrote:

it's still cartoons, in Japan it's called cartoons not anime, the western folks ran with that short word, but there's no difference to me. cartoons are cartoons regardless of location, just so happens American cartoons fail miserable to capture my attention span. Korean, and Chinese cartoons don't capture my attention but Japan does.


Oh i misunderstood. I thought your first comment was implying that most Asian media is better then American media so i jumped the gun. I apologize.
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Posted 3/1/18 , edited 3/1/18
Big Question. To break it down specifically towards Animation. Japanese Animation is more broad in terms of genre and can appeal to multiple age groups more efficiently (shonen, shoujo etc) while Western Animation is much less broad while trying to do the same thing and tends to follow a specific pattern however every now and then a rainbow unicorn appears and everyone loses their minds. (Rick and Morty).

I speak generally because a lot of Japanese Animation can tend to follow the same repetitive patterns as well and can also as well have their rainbow unicorns, but as far as I have observed it's more apparent on the western side.

Western Media is more popular for producing Drama's and more sub-genre of Drama. One look on Netflix and you think you get the idea. While I don't hear of any Drama's coming out of Japan, but that's just me, I could be just be uncultured and wrong, feel free to call me out. lol.
qwueri 
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Posted 3/1/18 , edited 3/1/18
Not always the case, but it seems like a bulk of Western animation are more episodic in nature, telling a self-contained story in 30 minutes. Whereas anime is more prone to serialized storytelling, developing characters over a longer period of time. I imagine a big part of that is the Western broadcasting expectations of syndicating blocks of reruns, whereas anime seems to be aired mostly only for one season before going to bluray sales.

Also, as already mentioned, anime tends to aim at a wider age-range and across a wider spectrum of genres.
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Posted 3/1/18 , edited 3/1/18
I'd say as a general rule eastern storytelling tends to put more emphasis on growth. Where as (Not always the case but you'll find far more of this in the West) there are a lot of western texts that put emphasis on someone being chosen or endowed with something. Think the call to duty from god... The protagonist was gifted with a moment in which they are implicitly contained within as if it were a gift that only they were capable of. This idea of born brilliance is brought up in a lot of Eastern texts but it is usually tied with some form of pessimism. The Japanese seem to understand that brilliance not fought for through heartache and trial is dangerous to some extent. Though these stories pop up in multiple cultures I have yet to see one that hits this point home as much as the Japanese do.

As much as I like LOTR's or any sort of Middle Earth sort of story it tends to fall into a subset of the 'chosen' ideal. Perhaps LOTR was a bad example though because there is varying degrees of growth that take place within character arcs... But I think a major difference is that you won't find a lot of Eastern stories attribute the balance between growth and endowment to be equals. In essence a ton of Japanese texts lament in the fact that strength comes from an almost stubborn pursuit of personal growth exemplified in a reach for some goal that a character is obsessed with. A good example is the Shonen story arc that follows the same basic patterns.

But to back up a little I'd like to say that chosen power is exemplified in anime often. But rarely is it shown without a struggle towards something.

Overall, I'd say that good storytelling is usually pretty similar regardless of were it comes from. It often reflects the ideals that a society holds dear. In the west we glamorize brilliance like it is something given to you. In the East they tend to glamorize the struggle towards brilliance. Either way, our similarities far outnumber the number of differences in our stories so the differences become more noticeable. But make no mistake, storytelling follows similar principals no matter the society.
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Posted 3/1/18 , edited 3/1/18

qwueri wrote:
Not always the case, but it seems like a bulk of Western animation are more episodic in nature, telling a self-contained story in 30 minutes. Whereas anime is more prone to serialized storytelling, developing characters over a longer period of time. I imagine a big part of that is the Western broadcasting expectations of syndicating blocks of reruns, whereas anime seems to be aired mostly only for one season before going to bluray sales.


^ That right there. That was the biggest key difference when anime first started creeping over. Episodic vs serial. All western animation was episodic and still is in a lot of cases. When things like Robotech appeared in the 80s it was completely different from everything else on TV at the time because of its serial nature. Western animation began to catch on by the 90s and these days its not unusual for western shows to be serialized as well. Serialization is kind of the expectation these days.

In addition to broadcasting expectations there's also the fact that many anime are adaptions of an already serialized format ( manga, light novels, games ). Whereas western animation is virtually always an original work even when its based on an existing property.



mxdan wrote:
I'd say as a general rule eastern storytelling tends to put more emphasis on growth. Where as (Not always the case but you'll find far more of this in the West) there are a lot of western texts that put emphasis on someone being chosen or endowed with something.


I don't know. The protagonist being the chosen one / special is so painfully common in anime as to be one of the most cliched tropes in all of anime. If that's really the case in Japanese fiction outside of anime, manga and LNs its not translating much into anime. And the chosen power in anime often just falls into the protagonist's lap and/or gets pulled out of their ass whenever its conveniently needed.

LOTR is a bad example as the "power" is a burden and does very little to aid the protagonist. Quite the opposite. Nor is the protagonist the chosen one.
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Posted 3/1/18 , edited 3/1/18
Um, I'd say Japanese storytelling follows the 5 step arc better than Western storytelling.

Like one follows the arc of life and the other the arc of sex.

I see more falling actions leading to resolutions in Japanese storytelling (like in life) whereas in the West after the climax the writers roll over and fall asleep (like in sex).

That's just my take.
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Posted 3/1/18 , edited 3/2/18

MysticGon wrote:
Um, I'd say Japanese storytelling follows the 5 step arc better than Western storytelling.

Like one follows the arc of life and the other the arc of sex.

I see more falling actions leading to resolutions in Japanese storytelling (like in life) whereas in the West after the climax the writers roll over and fall asleep (like in sex).

That's just my take.


Hmm, could be the other thing with western shows: They're not written to end. They're written to squeeze out every last drop until the show is a dead husk of its former self shuffling through yet one more season before its inevitable cancellation. When you don't actually have a beginning and end the story is bound to get uneven and meandering or run out of ideas.

Although conversely anime is known for its status quo resets so it can have a classic arc without actually changing anything.
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