Sunday, August 20, 2006

My Anime Inventory

Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell - stand alone complex : 6 or so DVD's
Corrector Yui : 2 DVD's
Blue Seed : box collection - I haven't watched this yet
My Neighbor Totoro (I'm including Miyazaki movies)
A Chinese Ghost Story (probably as good as Miyazaki)
Orphen : box collection
Nausica (Miyazaki)
Castle in the Sky (Miyazaki)
Lost Universe : 8ish DVD's
Noir : 6 or so DVD's - I haven't watched this yet
Gasaraki : complete series
Dirty Pair : 3 DVD's
Bubble Gum Crisis - Tokyo 2040 : complete series
Elhazard : 4 or 5 DVD's
Spirited Away (Miyazaki)
Tenchi : The movie - Tenchi Universe - one other version
Howl's Moving Castle (Miyazaki)
Porko Rosso (Miyazaki)
The Cat Returns (Miyazaki)
Metropolis
Ninja Scroll : a couple DVD's
Akira
Jin-Roh The world brigade : box set
Gunsmith Cats - Bulletproof
Macross Plus
Castle Cagliostro
Lodoss War : 2 DVD box
Princess Mononoke (Miyazaki)
Rahxephon : 6 or so DVD's
Kiki's Delivery Service (Miyazaki)
Generator Gawl : 2 DVD's
Nadia : 6 or 8 DVD's
Wolf's Rain : complete series
Appleseed
Full Metal Panic
Lupin III
Steam Boy
Ah, My Goddess - the Movie
Parasite Dolls - I haven't watched this yet
Armitage

And then you think of how much of a college education all that could pay for. Owie!

And there is television: Naruto is a favorite in our house. Full Metal Alchemist is very good. Trigun. Mendori Days. That one with the deliquent high school with the can shaped robot student that no one catches on isn't a boy... what's that called?

The Avatar isn't anime as I believe it's US produced but is excellent and borrows a lot from Japanese animation. It proves that we can learn. (I believe that A Chinese Ghost Story isn't Japanese either, but there you go.)

Favorites? Recommendations?

12 Comments:

Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Do you actually watch the entire Naruto tv series or is it just your son that watches it?

If a person likes Naruto, he'll probably like Bleach. Which is another tv series in Japan.

It's unfortunate that both Bleach and Naruto are no longer following the Manga storyline and character concepts with their latest anime episodes.

Because the authors of the Bleach and Naruto mangas are such good ones, you can really tell the quality decrease when other writers attempt to write the story line for the anime.

I think my favorites are DBZ around the Super Saiyan 1 time set, Hunter X Hunter, Naruto, and Bleach. Other anime shows are interesting, like Princess Monoke. But, it doesn't have the same psychological impact and presence of truly impactful psychological games as Naruto and Bleach has.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Learning to read from right to left with mangas was a bit weird. And sure, I'd prefer written forms, but the authors only do mangas.

Their storyline is good enough for a few inconveniences.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

The Miyazaki movies are different from the anime or manga series primarily because they are movies. They tell the whole story in a short time frame. American animation tends to tell stories in even shorter bits. Most cartoons are hardly over 10 minutes long with 2 episodes in a 30 minute show that could be watched in any order at all because nothing progresses.

That's changing. Have you seen the Avatar? It's very much in an anime or manga style with a long, ongoing story arc. Also somewhat typical of anime, there are more sides than two and a person gets the idea that eventually the main person trying to destroy the Avatar will become an ally.

This is actually a strong theme in the various Tenchi versions. If you haven't watched Tenchi you must. Sure the dilemma of a teen aged boy surrounded by galactic beauties who *all* are in love with him is funny but there is also a great deal of more serious stuff going on. In one version they out and out *say* that Tenchi's secret power is to neutralize all the unstoppable forces of destruction in the universe... be they vindictive evil genius, demon, or galactic princesses with super powers... by having them fall in love with him. In any case, time after time in Tenchi, the enemy becomes an ally.

Dragonball Z does that too. Over and over.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

There were too many versions of Tenchi for me to get straight, when I first started seeing it on CartoonNetwork. That really gave me a bad taste, because I could not follow the plotline as it kept skipping around. Not only with the plot, but the character backstories as well. "Various Tenchi versions" is the problem for me.

What I liked about the Naruto and Bleach tv series is that they explicitly followed the Manga. Because the original Manga had such a strong story line, it's the only reasons I watch the tv versions.

I also remember a couple of different anime series that you didn't list, that I liked. Chrono Crusade was a very dramatic and melancholy show. The plot was a little bit weird as was the expounding explanations of the villains, but overall at the end, it was quite an experience. 26 episodes.

There's also Full Metal Alchemist. Not as exciting and without a very coherent sub-plot and over-arching storyline, but it was still enjoyable. It's just hard to pay attention to the 25+ episodes, because some episodes are self-enclosed, with begin, mid, end. Others are part of mini story arcs, and so forth. A lot of the episodes don't do much to further the over-arching plot, which makes it hard to pay attention or see the episodes in a row to the end.

I haven't seen the Avatar, but I do know what you are talking about. Where in a lot of American games, it is see villain, fight villain, get rid of villain, villain gets resurrected, refight villain. In japanese anime stories, you see this instead.

Hero fights enemy, enemy's backstory gets told mid battle or after battle's end, hero spares enemy, enemy honors that mercy with repayment in terms of aid or knowledge or help.

In a funny sort of way, Hollywood acts like a barbarian that just smashes people apart. Where as the Japanese pop anime actually deals with the real world, you know. In the real world, the Japanese people fought American forces to the death, inflicting wholesale damage upon indigenous populations, POWs, and so forth. Yet when it came for final defeat, the Japanese did not see Hollywood's Full Scale Extermination via Military Bombs and Aircraft as is so often portrayed in movies and cop flicks. No, the Japanese saw forgiveness and mercy, reconciliation and formation of alliances. Symbiosis instead of extermination.

I think it's due to the fact that the Japanese have martial arts ingrained into their social fabric. Every anime fighting series almost always has a tournament as part of the plotline. I don't remember American movies having wrestling matches or UF matches as part of the plot line.

In martial arts, your purpose is not to kill the other guy. Your purpose is to improve, by fighting, and you can't improve if your opponent always dies. Cause not only will you be OUT of opponents soon enough, but time may come that YOU are the one that dies. You cannot improve, if you die. SO you should treat your inferiors the way you expect your superiors to treat you. To give mercy to those who you can kill in martial arts, but refuse to, so that you will improve later, when you face a superior opponent. That seems to be the basic philosophy. Shows like tenshi adds a lot of foreign and ridiculous ingredients into the mix, but the basic premise seems more or less unchanged.

So series like Naruto and Bleach, early on it's like sparring, with no fatalities. Then suddenly, they go into the pros, into the real world, where death is in your face and have to be dealt with.

The realism is what I like.

Also somewhat typical of anime, there are more sides than two and a person gets the idea that eventually the main person trying to destroy the Avatar will become an ally.

I see that a lot when reading David Weber and what not. Sure, some people oppose you, but that doesn't mean you should kill all of them. Some might be your future allies. Some you might need alive.

Don't you find it ironic that fake liberals always talk about there being more than two sides, more than black and white, yet they would never be able to understand the dynamics between Japan and America post WWII, and between anime characters that vow to defeat each other yet find a loophole in the code of honor to ally.

The first group of people to understand that you should not attempt to kill off all the enemy, is not fake liberals, but the military. Sun Tzu didn't recommend killing everybody and then declaring victory, but rather breaking the morale of the enemy to fight, and then declaring victory without anyone dying.

People like Truman, closer to the classical true liberals, they knew what was going on. They knew how to save the people of Japan and to prevent the need for extermination on the part of the US.

I haven't searched around a lot, but I don't know of many fake liberals that watch Japanese anime. Sure there are moderates and people apathetic to politics, but their views are not the ones I am curious about. So far, the people who watched the anime shows that I have, that depict the traits of mercy, compassion, and military expediency with honor, are either people who agree with me or people who don't even see it in the anime shows.

I have yet found anyone that saw it, yet interpreted it as something else.

Trigun was interesting, but the pacifism theme was too much for me. You said Naruto is one of the favorites in your house? But does that mean that that is one of your favorites or is it your son's, because he reads the manga?

12:12 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Oh ya, I almost forgot, but another anime series I liked was Twelve Kingdoms aka Juuni Koki I believe it is spelled.

It's a really good depiction of rulership, empires, the metaphysical aspect of good rulership as opposed to bad rulership, political intrigue, and various other things.

The first 10 episodes was very annoying, but it got a lot better once you got past the "child" phase of anime. THere's always a child phase I see. DBZ had it. Naruto had. Bleach has it. It's always high school or kindergarten or middle school for the Japanese.

You can find Juuni Koki on youtube. However, you won't really like it until you've seen all of it. There's a lot of good subplots concerning the various kingdoms too.

The Japanese are very good with their artwork and storyline. Because even if I disagree with the basic philosophical premise and character development, like I did with Rurouni Kenshin and Trigun, the episodes still provided excitement, fun, and interest to me. Take Wheel of Time for example, in comparison. I didn't like the philosophy in Wheel of Time and it wasn't good enough to provide anything else to replace that lack.

The really funny part I noticed, was that the more military science and the art of war I ingested, the more entertaining anime became. Probably because I was focusing on psychological warfare when I was attempting to learn all things military. There's not a lot of psychological games being played by Hollywood movies. The complexity is very very low. Deception, is not the foundation of any movie strategy as I've seen so far. However in contrast, deception has a lot to do with war and war strategies. So it was always fun for me to attempt to guess at it, to analyze it, to determine how accurate it could be applied to real life, and so forth. It was like another part of the brain has been engaged while watching entertainment.

The first time you see a really good anime with military themes in it, is when you are expecting not much, and then you are surprised by the touch of complexity and depth.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

One thing that I've noticed about the fighting in anime is the theme of trial by arms. Europe had a tradition for quite some time that a civil or criminal dispute could be decided by champions with swords. Righteousness and God would lend victory to the correct party. Duels likely developed from that but the last State sanctioned contest deciding the moral standing of a young man's mother seems to have actually been won by the correct party against a vastly superior foe. I'm not sure if this sort of trial went out of fashion because people realized that it was stupid or if it went out of fashion because it worked and rich, influential people decided it wasn't safe to try to manipulate the results anymore.

The fights in a good portion of anime aren't just the underdog defeating a vastly superior foe, somehow, but victory is often explicitly related to pureness of heart and purpose. They win because their cause is just.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I look at it as being the means justifies the ends. You've heard of the ends justifying the means. Which means that if you want to accomplish goal A, you can do anything to get to that goal. Yet, you can't just do anything and arrive at the goal in good time. Some of the things you do can actually be counter-productive to your goal. So the means justifying the ends, follows the causality chain. If you do something, then this will happen, and when that happen, you will deserve it. Your actions will have justified it happening, and you suffering from it.

In some cases like the Palestinians, what they say they are trying to accomplish is totally inconsistent with the means they are using. They claim to be attempting to save the lives of their women and children from the oppression of Jewish occupation, but they do this via sacrificing their children and abusing their women. So either they are lying or they are totally incompetent at figuring out what does what in terms of getting somewhere in life.

I've looked at why people win. I've asked myself the questions concerning, do the righteous always win, does evil win over good because good is weak, or is it just luck and fate?

THe answer I've come to, is that victory goes to the side that is smarter, makes better use of its resources, has a fully prepared strategic, tactical, and logistical landscape, as well as having good leadership and good discipline. Not only the basic Sun Tzu requirements, but also the technical training required in the 21st century. That in fact, there are objective criteria that determines, de facto, whether someone has a higher chance of winning in a life and death battle or war.

In pacifist orientated anime like Trigun and Kenshin, the hero does win because their heart is pure. But that's not the model I'm most related to. The United States military that protects the people of America does not win because their heart is pure or their intentions good. They win because they're better at killing their enemies, than the terroists are at killing Americans. Kenshin and the guy in Trigun win because they are just physically superior to the rest. They don't have to push themselves past the limit like the US did in WWII, because the opposition is so "weak". They believe their cause to be just, yet their purity of heart is related proportionally to their unwillingness to use maximum force. And somehow, for some weird quirk, nobody gets hurt by this limitation. The hero always saves the victims and so forth. In the real world, this purity of purpose and heart, will get a lot of people killed. Thousands have died in Somalia and the Sudan because those with power to stop it, refuse to use it for various reasons. This happened pre WWII too. Those with power, refused to use it for whatever moral pure reason they had, and they ended up consigning a large portion of the world to perpetual war.

It just so happens that the military that is the best at killing their enemies and bringing destruction to the world, US Marine Corps and related infantry branches, are the good guys. If events were different, or if we looked at different places in this world, the ones in power would not be the good guys.

If wishes were fishes or intentions were US dollars, all the utopianists would be rich and never hungry. It takes more than good intentions and a pure heart, in my view. You've heard the difference between a reactive strike back that is chaotic and ineffective, and a measured purposeful action. A disciplined strike that focuses power surgically and effectively, as opposed to a self-righteous strike that destroys everything in a radius.

I've noticed a similar thing about anime fight scenes. They are very duel orientated, 1 on 1 martial arts dueling. There are team fights in Naruto and Bleach, but they are either stalls for time or plot development to the true fight.

Given that dueling can get a lot of people killed, I do believe Britain and America outlawed it because of the deaths it caused. It was too easy for people to abuse such a system. Any system can be abused, but when this is abused, it is rather final. America kept up dueling for awhile longer than the Brits, simply because of the Scottish clan blood. As I see it, the rule of law was battling the rule of might. As civilization becomes more rule bound and civilized, the rule of the sword and the rule of the gun disappear to be replaced by the rule of law. In the Wild West, if could shoot fast and accurately with two pistols, you were golden. The local law was the sheriff, and if he couldn't kill you, then you could do pretty much anything, up until a posse catches up with you of course.

I don't know what it is like that, but it probably has something to do with entropy and order, civilization and barbarianism, and the dual paradox of human nature, light and darkness.

Using Naruto and Bleach as an example, victory comes to them either because they are clever and have planned it well ahead of time, or their will is so powerful that they exceed their current limitations, or they get saved by someone else, a Deus Ex Machina.

Death has no favorites. The good, the evil, all are equal before death's eyes. Every army and every side believes that god is on their side, righteousness is on their side. Only through trial by combat can you objectively see which one is the better. At the moment anyways.

So we have protectors, people who cannot give up who cannot die, not yet, because the people they seek to protect will be endangered if they die. That indomitable will to survive and to succede, not for their own personal sake, but for the sake of another, is one of the most powerful motivation themes in Naruto and Bleach.

The people, the villains, in Naruto and Bleach have their own motivations. Some petty, some utterly pragmatic, others are evil, others are just selfish. To everyone there is something important that they hold in their hearts. Something they believe that it would be righteous to fight for, either some important object, goal, or person.

Naruto and the main guy in Bleach win, because they don't give up. They constantly push their limits, go beyond them, and look back and be amazed at how far they had come.

The reason why the bad guys lose, is either because they make a fatal mistake like underestimating the enemy or because the bad guys just aren't motivated enough to win. Their motivations are based upon death, a fanaticism, or a selfishness. They live to serve, their lives have no meaning other than to be sacrificed for the goal or the leader.

For a US Marine, his life is valuable to him, yet he holds the lives of others as being more valuable, valuable enough to risk his own life in the pursuit of the mission.

The villains of Naruto and Bleach lose because their philosophy is wrong. Their philosophy dictates what actions they committ, and so their actions are the wrong actions. In war, this creates failure.

That is why I would not say that people win because their cause is just, but I would say that people win because their beliefs are the correct beliefs and their philosophy the correct philosophy.

Synova, what about my question concerning Naruto in your house?

Btw, I was watching the Avatar on Youtube, the first 2 episodes, and it looked like a very good show for kids. I won't know what it will develop into until I see the rest, however.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

I don't watch much television lately. I see Naruto because it's on because the kids are watching it.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Oh, you're watching the American version that premiered lately?

Compared to the Japanese version, it isn't as good.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

We prefer to watch anime with sub-titles but you take what you get. ;-) For what it's worth, the kids have complained about the translation.

Which, if I may go off on a tangent, I find fascinating. My children live in a very different world than the one I grew up in. It's not just that they are interested in Japanese culture and entertainment (my oldest daughter is studying the language) but that they take global connectivity for granted. When I was a kid we'd get international pen-pals and it was a really big deal. Now the kids will play MMRPG's with players in other countries, or collaborate on a "mod" or purchase items from overseas, and it never even occurs to them that this is remarkable.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

At the Dawn of the 21st century... sounds like the prologue to a science fiction movie based upon Babylon 5. Do you recall that just 10 years ago, people were talking about how Japan will be fighting the US economically, that Japan will set up a Co-Prosperity sphere with China, that Japan will try to get away from the US because of their previous loss in the past? Complete opposite in reality. Although if you are talking about Germany, that would fit.

I was looking up Naruto first episodes on Youtube, in order to give Bookworm a chance to see some of the first episodes, to pique her interest. SO I compiled a post with the first 4 or so.

Here goes

Aside from downloading fan subbed Naruto episodes, off bit torrent before it was licensed in the US, you can watch it on YouTube. The reason I like the Japanese version is not so much the translation, but the voice quality. I only watched the first English one, on YouTube, and the voices were ultimately inferior. Even without understanding most of the Japanese words, I could get a lot of context information from the sound of their voices. And in a way... it is artistically consistent. The anime is based off of a manga, and the manga was created by the vision of one person. Putting inferior English voices into the anime, somehow ruins the artistic quality by introducing foreign colors and sounds.

I had one guy that I was talking about getting Naruto off bit torrent off, but he was more interested in getting the entire multiple seasons of 24 ; ) at the end.

One of the things I noticed was that what happened with Emperor Hirohito at the end of WWII is mirrored in surprising ways in Naruto and Bleach. There is this protracted question of what is honor, what is your duty, and to which do you owe your greater allegiance. It is the question that must be asked and answered in all civil wars, including the American Civil War.

Is your duty to complete the mission, regardless of how many teammates you must sacrifice? Or is your honor fullfilled by keeping your teammates alive, even if it fails the mission? These moral dilemmas are part of the greatness of the new anime tv series in Japan, in my view. Because they can be directly, or indirectly, linked back to Japanese history.

Hirohito had to make a similar agonizing choice. Does he save the lives of his people, and become dishonored through surrender and perhaps even be executed by a war crimes tribunal? Or should he choose to maintain his Imperial honor, fight on as his military officers suggested, and see Japan destroyed?

Which is the greater allegiance, which promise should you keep? In David Weber's co-author Starfire series, in the Book Insurrection, he asked "What is your duty" when a navy was forced to decide between two political sides.

Color me prejudiced, but I don't expect these issues to be explored with such deftness and accuracy in a child's cartoon series. At least not in America. Cartoons for kids in America seem to deal with the trivialities, the inter-personal relationships, the immediate personal challenges. Such things as honor, duty, is perhaps foreign to the American conscience given the focus on individual freedoms. It is not foreign to the military, of course, but the military doesn't run the schools and the entertainment district.

In one of the latter episodes, you may have seen it, a Chuunin leader comes back from a mission and believes he was a failure and was second guessing his decisions on that mission. He wanted to quit, as an officer and leader of a squad. His father told him that this was the coward's way out. Missions would still be given even if he quit. Perhaps the next time the leader's friends went out on a mission, they will die because they will have a different leader. If you are a true friend, the father said, you would be a man and better yourself, so that you can bring your friends home next time with a perfect success.

I am reminded of the principle of leadership in the military. If you lead men, then you must care for and love them. But you must also send them into danger, and perhaps death. If you love them too much, you will not be able to lead. If you are cold to them, distant, and a stonewall, your men will notice and not follow you. So why do leaders become leaders? Perhaps because they know that they are good at leading men, that if another leader was in his position, they would get his men and his friends killed. So it is a self-sacrifice, they take the responsibility and duty upon themselves because no one can do it better. It is a purpose and a need, for which some are suited for.

If the kids complain too much, just point them to bit torrent, and they'll quiet down, Synova ; )

8:20 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I watched the first season, or book, of Avatar. The Water Book. And i could see what you meant by Americans "learning". There's a lot of similar and equivalent elements. It would be interesting to read the backstory of how it all started up. The one thing they missed is the battle techniques, descriptions and logical methods of it.

There is some logic and consistency with the 4 elemental styles, but a specific attack or technique is like 90% visual. All the information you can get is visual. There is no explanation or comparison or so forth. I don't why they didn't include this. Did they not have enough experience wth military tactics to cook something up, or did they believe children wouldn't understand, or what?

Of course, I'm biased. I just have to figure out why water could defeat fire, in that one specific incident. The moon wanning and the sun rising was logical, but it was very explicit in a way. There was an instantaneous transition. Personally, I would have liked a better explanation of how directly the moon affects water bending. Is it the amount of water you can move, freeze, or what?

I like explanations, because I like to figure things out, engineer mind. If I can figure things out as they are, I can craft solutions on the fly and see if I get it right via the story plot.

4:15 PM  

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