No Right Answer: Is Avatar an Anime?

Firefilm

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Is Avatar an Anime?

Are the adventures of Aang and Korra considered Anime? Or are they Western because they're American made?

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ryukage_sama

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Are they anime? No. Having animation outsourced to Asian countries doesn't qualify something as foreign. Lots of special effects teams are based in foreign countries, but that doesn't qualify them as foreign cinema. The foreign influence is ever present in the Avatar series to its great benefit, but no amount of inspiration changes the shows nationality of origin.

I do see that some people don't want it categorized as anime because it is perceived as a slight against, but I see other people that do want the anime label for the reverse: the perception that anime is superior to American produced animation. Either rational is a fallacy. The genre of media doesn't carry with it an inherent positive or negative quality. Chris poses in this closing statement that if we can conclude that the series is good, we can conclude that it is anime. The two are only connected by people's biases, not by any technical distinctions.

Convincing somebody that a beef hotdog was made with pork doesn't make it a pork hotdog.
 

Something Amyss

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Damn you guys for making me want a calzone. Especially since I just ate. CURSE YOU! *shakes fist*

"In the style of" makes it something if that something is defined as "in the style of." This is how anime is largely defined in the Western world, and in Japan, it's used to describe things we wouldn't consider anime, so that argument doesn't work on either level. Manga, on the other hand, does tend to mean specifically Japanese created and published comics/whatever. I think this is a bad example, because you've jumped to another definition.

The "pop culture" thing may be the most relevant, since terms tend to go to the public acceptance. It may bother people that "literally" can literally mean "not literally," but hey. It's the way the language goes. And definitions of "champagne" have been changed or modified because I doubt many people other than snobs and the French really care.

I think part of the issue is exactly that. We have anime snobs.

And I'm not sure I care enough to really fight it out with them.

TL;DR: who cares? Let's all get calzones!
 

coheedswicked

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I really like Chris's pizza analogy. If it has all the elements of a pizza it's a pizza whether it's made in Italy or not.

However there are some things where region does matter, like Champagne, it is a sparkling white wine from the Champagne region of France. Sparkling white wine from anywhere else is just called sparkling white wine.

So this begs the question is anime pizza or champagne? Next weeks debate?
 

Pickapok

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May 17, 2011
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Anime (in the American sense, which is what's being debated here) is a cultural product of Japan.

Avatar is not.

Anime is not a style, there are thousands of anime out there and many of them have a distinct look and feel to them. You can't possibly tell me that a screenshot from Monster looks like it could come from Ouran High School Host Club or that a Gurren Lagann screenshot wouldn't be out of place in Full Metal Panic.
 

2cool4u

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I haven't watched the video, but I know this weird trick that can answer the question with scientific certainty! But what is this weird trick, I hear you ask? It's quite simple, I say. It only consists in answering a simple question, whether a certain work of animation is made in Japan or not. Easy as pie, you say! So, without further ado, let's put it to work.

Is Avatar made in Japan? No.

Therefore it's not an anime.

There, I answered your deep philosophical question that gripped your mind for centuries. Now go find a job, you nerd.
 

schmulki

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So...no winner, yet again. Show's already slipped to the point where no one else watches it with me, and I'm quickly losing hope....
 

Dragonbums

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May 9, 2013
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There is most definitely a right answer for this.

Anime is animation that originates in Japan, or at the very least the East Asian side of the continent. Avatar the Last Airbender originated here in the good old US of A. Therefore- while it's style may look like that of Anime, it is in fact- not anime.
 

Scars Unseen

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A clarification is needed here regardless of what side of the argument you fall on:

ANIME IS NOT A GENRE!!!!

*phew*

Mahou shoujo(magical girl) is a genre. Mecha is a genre. Well technically those are both sub-genres of fantasy and sci-fi respectively. Anime is not a genre. Anime is a loan word used by the Japanese to describe animated works. Calling anime a genre is like calling "painting" an art style or "senator" a political faction.

There are as many types of anime as there are western live action shows and movies. So you could possibly call Avatar an anime, but that designation is largely meaningless because you could just as easily call most 80s cartoons anime for the same reasons(animated works bearing thematic similarities with animated works made by Japanese people). In fact, aside from the fact that they aren't animated, the recent rash of DC television series have as much in common with anime as Avatar. For that matter, the animated DC cartoons could as easily be called anime as Avatar, again for the same reasons.

I find it simpler just to call anime "cartoons from Japan."

Though that does put Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust in a weird position.
 

Entitled

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Zachary Amaranth said:
The "pop culture" thing may be the most relevant, since terms tend to go to the public acceptance. It may bother people that "literally" can literally mean "not literally," but hey. It's the way the language goes. And definitions of "champagne" have been changed or modified because I doubt many people other than snobs and the French really care.
Even inside of linguistic descriptivism, there are some cases where terminology isn't defined by popular vote, so the majority of people can be wrong.

If most people say that the Immaculate Conception refers to Virgin Mary getting pregnant with Jesus, but the Pope says that it refers to Anne getting pregnant with Mary, then guess what? The Pope is right. If most people think that whales are a type of fish, but biologists categorize them as mammals, then the biologists are right.

Not all word usages are equal, a jargon is more strongly influenced by it's core users, than by random people who barely know about the concepts that it involves. Determining a word's "usage" doesn't just mean polling the Earth's whole population about it and let that decide: authoritive main users are also a factor.

If my mom thinks that anime is all that stuff with the shouting and the swords and the flashy attacks, but the anime fandom in general identifies itself by caring about japanese animation, and fan sites regularlycover shows like Mushishi, or Monster, but not Avatar, then my mom's uninformed opinion does not carry the same weight as an anime fan's who actually uses a consistent terminology every day.


Zachary Amaranth said:
I think part of the issue is exactly that. We have anime snobs.
I think the problem is that some people really care about turning this into a matter of snobbery, even where no value judgements need to be involved.

It's like if some people would be trying to categorize paintball as a video game, (since it involves shooting others with guns, just like video games, so it's the same style), and if gamers protest, call them elitist snobs who want to exclude others from their hobby.

It's not a matter of snobbery, the problem is that the outsider definition itself is based on a misguidedly narrow and stereotypical definition where an older and more consistent one has been doing fine.
 

K12

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I've always thought that having a genre defined by its country of origin is kind of dumb. Something more limited like a Spaghetti western or Wuxia film makes some sense but Anime is way too broad.

How is it meaningful to consider "Spirited Away" and "Neon Genesis Evangelion" the same genre but Fullmetal Alchemist and Avatar to be different genres?

To be honest, my response to the "what genre is this?" question is almost always "who cares, is it any good?"
 

Scars Unseen

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K12 said:
I've always thought that having a genre defined by its country of origin is kind of dumb. Something more limited like a Spaghetti western or Wuxia film makes some sense but Anime is way too broad.

How is it meaningful to consider "Spirited Away" and "Neon Genesis Evangelion" the same genre but Fullmetal Alchemist and Avatar to be different genres?

To be honest, my response to the "what genre is this?" question is almost always "who cares, is it any good?"
See my above post on genres. If anime is a genre, so is "book."
 

Entitled

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K12 said:
I've always thought that having a genre defined by its country of origin is kind of dumb. Something more limited like a Spaghetti western or Wuxia film makes some sense but Anime is way too broad.

How is it meaningful to consider "Spirited Away" and "Neon Genesis Evangelion" the same genre but Fullmetal Alchemist and Avatar to be different genres?
That would be dumb, if we were to consider anime to be a genre, that's why we don't. Spirited Away is in the fantasy genre, and Evangelion is in the mecha genre. Fullmetal Alchemist and Avatar are both in the shonen action series genre. The first three of the four also happen to be anime.

Just like how Star Wars, The Ten Commandments, Scream, and Mothra vs. Godzilla are all in separate genres, and the first three out of four are "Hollywood movies".

It's not like any categorization that we make about works, has to be their one and only identification.
 

Scarim Coral

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Oh come on! We had a thread on this months ago!

OT- In my view, no it isn't anime per say (yes it is an animation) since for one of the reasons, it doesn't have the proper opening and ending sequence that most anime have (some band singing in the intro and outro).
 

Scars Unseen

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Scarim Coral said:
Oh come on! We had a thread on this months ago!

OT- In my view, no it isn't anime per say (yes it is an animation) since for one of the reasons, it doesn't have the proper opening and ending sequence that most anime have (some band singing in the intro and outro).
That's not a requirement.

 

Casual Shinji

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It's generally the culture that permeates from anime that makes it "anime". There's plenty of anime that don't have the traditional anime style that still feel very much like anime because of the way it moves and tells its story.

Avatar has the anime look, but it feels like a Western animation in just the way it carries itself.

Ultimately the distinction is there to make it clear you're about to watch a cartoon from Japan with Japanese sensibilities.
 

Scarim Coral

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Scars Unseen said:
Scarim Coral said:
Oh come on! We had a thread on this months ago!

OT- In my view, no it isn't anime per say (yes it is an animation) since for one of the reasons, it doesn't have the proper opening and ending sequence that most anime have (some band singing in the intro and outro).
That's not a requirement.

I know, that why I said most anime have some band singing in the intro and outro.
 

bobthebobthebob

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Please guys....

Anime is literally animation that was produced in Japan. If it wasn't produced in Japan it can't be anime, it is something else.

If you want to redefine the word you're going to run into all sorts of problems. Next time you should argue if Avatar is a delicious hamburger.
 

Ikajo

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Scars Unseen said:
I agree with you 100%. It jarred me when they put down fighting as one defining component in anime! In some anime that's prominent yes, but not in all of them. There are even shounen series without fighting. One of last seasons best animes was a slow paced anime about a calligraphy artist who was forced to live on a remote island. It was really good and not a single fight or any martial arts in sight.

I've always felt there is a kind of atmosphere in a lot of anime that western cartoon doesn't manage to capture. I can't really describe it and you feel it differently in different series. It might be the fact that most animes keep a very particular balance between seriousness and comedy. They don't break a serious situation or a serious scene with a sudden comic relief. While I like Avatar, that was quite a common occurrence. The voice actors tend to be quite low key in anime as well (when not dubbed...). Sure some scream or shout at times but they are also subdued, in many dubbed anime as well as in Avatar they tend to be kind of loud. That adds to that special atmosphere.

Eh... well... Totally agree with you anyway. Anime is not a genre on it's own but it IS different from western cartoons. Much due to cultural differences that becomes prominent when in comparison.