Anime (and animation in general) to me is a way of telling a story through limitless visuals and sound. Unlike live action, animators have full control over literally everything you see on screen and can more easily have full control over each frame than would be possible in live action. Since this is what is so unique to animation, this is what I look for in a good anime.
When I finish an anime I always ask myself the following: “Could that story have been told that well or better in any other medium?” Most of the time the answer is yes, as the show either has elements which would work perfectly fine in live action or as the anime itself was already an adaptation of a much better source material. But it’s those few special shows or movies that force me to answer ‘no’ that are truly special.
I once read a piece of work by the animator Richard Willams where he claims the main animation dictum is the following:
Don’t do what a camera can do – do what a camera cannot do.
And I think this perfectly encompasses what I have been trying to say here. The works that truly succeed and are considered masterpieces are the ones which push the boundaries and create something which could not exist in live action.
I hope you liked this shorter form blog post. It’s something I plan on doing quite a bit where I take a small idea I have been wanting to talk about for a while which may go beyond the topics of anime and manga, which I usually talk about, and put it in a more focused post by itself. I hope to due future rambles about visual novels or behind the scenes looks at animation studios.
It’s clichéd to start with an introduction post, isn’t it? After all, who’s going to bother to read it, I don’t have any traffic at this moment nor do people have any reason to care. To you reading this I am just another wannabe anime/manga blogger who may write a few mediocre pieces on whatever the recent shows are and then disappear off the face of the earth once I realised I didn’t have the time/care to keep it up.
You’re not wrong.
I can’t promise anything and even if I did I doubt anybody would believe anything I said, after all I did the very thing I told myself not to do when creating this blog: write an introduction post. Until I realised that there was no other way of diving into this strange form of communicating I had never dipped my toe into before. I mean, I often participate in the odd informal discussion on forums and I used to be a big fan of ‘livetweeting’ but never something where I could lay all my ideas out bare for whomever to see. Never have I had that anyone critically analyse my critical analysis or review my reviews. It’s like looking out over an ocean when your whole life you’ve been living in a swimming pool, and not the Olympic ones either; the crappy ones which people periodically urinate in.
Before a few months ago I never really considered myself a critical person and certainly not when it came to anime. For me, it was a medium which allowed me to turn my brain off and enjoy the pretty colours. Heck, I even enjoyed both Sword Art Online and The Asterisk War on first viewings because of this. I only really turned my brain on after reading some fantastic books a friend bought me about the anime industry and the work of prominent directors (including Hayao Miyazaki) and I realised just how much there is in this medium to talk about and analyse.
I guess what I’m trying to do here is say I understand how dreadfully pointless this first post is but I hope to convey a bit of passion and a light dusting of entertainment which is present in my writing.