Chris Beilby (
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 17:01:08 GMT

>From: "Kaworu Nagisa" <>
>Subject: Re: [gundam] Anime VS Cartoons
>Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 09:50:27 -0400
> >> Okay okay... so I missed that point. Fine. But don't
> >> you wish the makers of animation there would put a
> >> little more "heart" in their work like I think what
> >> the Japanese are doing?
> >>
> >
> >Well, ya, that's obvious. They don't try over here anymore. If it
> >weren't for John Krikfalusi(sp?) or the Southpark guys there wouldn't
> >have been any decent animation in the last 10 years. You forget where
> >our animation comes from. 6 minute shorts in theaters, The Flintstones,
> >etc. Short and funny. Different everytime (e.g. Bugs Bunny meeting
> >Christopher Columbus or the Pink Panther fighting dinosaurs for food).
> >That is the root of our expectations and it is a hard thing to shake.
> >Personally, I prefer old WB and MGM cartoons over anything else.
> But take note, the quality of animation you see in
> Looney Tunes are far smoother than the ones you see
> in the likes of most later cartoons. Aside from that,
> Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, etc... are often times
> more violent than action cartoons such as Street
> Sharks, Princess Tenko, Ninja Turtles, etc.... Why
> is that?

The old Warner Brothers, MGM, and Disney (among others) shorts were mostly
produced in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, for theaterical distribution with a
feature film, a practice which has sadly died out. These often had budgets
for a six minute short which would be comparable to the budget for a thirty
minute episode of an animated series in the US today. In addition, a new
technique was pionerrored in the late 50s and early 60s called limited

For those who don't know what Limited Animation is, it is a technique of
animating only the moving portion of a character at any given time, by
layering a series of cells. It is sometimes used in Anime, but very rarely,
and almost exclusively in the background. You've all seen it, though.
Anything that Hannah-Barbera, Ruby-Spears, or (the worst offenders)
Filmation released up until the boom of exporting the animation work in the
mid 80s. The Technique was used to make affordable animated programs for
television. While it is a rather annoying approach, especially when the
color checking is not done correctly, you can achieve very nice results with
it anyway (Look at the original Johnny Quest series from the 60s) (Trivia
Note. Doug Wiley, the character designer of Johnny Quest gave Johnny his
black turtleneck to make this very technique easier.)

> One thing I don't understand is why anime keeps on
> progressing and some of it's western counterparts
> keep on regressing. Example, compare the quality
> of animation between Yuu Yuu Hakusho and Rurouni
> Kenshin. A lot better right? And now, compare the
> old GI JOE to the newer one....

Again, this goes back to this american stigma of "Cartoons are for Kids,"
which completely ignores people like Matt Groening (The Simpsons and
Futurama), John K. (The aforementioned creator of Ren and Stimpy), Peter
Chung (Aeon Flux), Arlene Clasky and Gabor Csupo (The married couple
responsible for Rugrats), or even the old masters like Chuck Jones (Look at
'What's Opera Doc', 'One Froggy Evening,' or 'Duck Dodgers in the 24 and a
1/2 Century!') and Tex Avery (Tex Avery got away with things at MGM that
have never been surpassed, only imitated...)! It is intresting to note two
of the above examples, Klasky-Csupo and John K, are known for creating
cartoons that are supposedly kids shows, on a children's network, yet have
attained a mainly adult following (Morso for Ren and Stimpy than Rugrats))

The people making most american cartoons now completely fail to realize that
all of the old Warner Brothers and MGM shorts that they grew up with were
created with ADULT audiences in mind. If you go back and look at any of the
Tex Avery 'Red Riding Hood' shorts from the late 40s at MGM, you'd be amazed
at the overt sexual references found in these. This is for kids?!? I think
not. Likewise, anything Warner Brothers did during WW2 (although in a much
darker and more disturbing vein.) Look at a Wartime short that came out of
WB. In 'Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips,' Bugs, playing the role of the 'Good
Rumor Man' hands a Japanese Soldier a Hand Grenade (sans pin) covered in Ice
Cream, saying. "Here ya go, Slant-eyes." The racisim in this scene is
appaling, even considering the overwealming national mood at the time. (And
for this very reason, this is the one Warner Brothers short from this era
which is /NEVER/ shown on TV.) And I'm not even going to get into the
homoerotic undertones that some people read into the relationship between
Bugs and Elmer Fudd. (Some things are too outrageously off the wall even
for me.)

> >> 2) The uniquness - there is this certain quality in
> >> anime that I never really saw in most western
> >> cartoons. In anime, you get to see really wild
> >> and fresh new ideas. In western cartoons, all
> >> I USUALLY see are "laser guns" that work like
> >> stun rays or something. Guns... guns... guns...
> >> duh. Why do they have to limit themselves to
> >> that? I think this one's in the culture....
> >>
> >
> >Again, look at the two approaches. In Japan its a huge industry
> >that's geared to adults as much as kids. Not here. Here it's a
> >risk that's meant mostly for kids. Also, it appears to the suits
> >that only Disney can get their money back from dumping millions
> >into animation so the others don't think it can be done.
> Hmm.... if that's the case, then I don't think anything
> can be done about that. As I said, it's in the culture.

But the thing is that, while it is part of our culture, it's a part that
many of us americans want to change...

> >> One thing that puzzles me is that why do the western
> >> animators tend to make every character buffed and yet
> >> oftentimes wimps? Heck, even Super Bikkuriman could
> >> wipe out the entire X-Men. Look at Rival Schools...
> >> there you have over-buffed 15-yr. olds, but their
> >> bodies matches it's use. You know what I'm getting
> >> at?
> >>
> >
> >Ask the suits who are in charge. You think the animators *like*
> >drawing crap show after crap show? You think it's their idea? You
> >have a low regard for them if that's the case.
> Well I can't help it. But hey, if I were an animator and
> the bigshots are gonna make me produce crap, I'd probably
> look for a better company or something. By the way, who
> does the character designing? The animators or the ones
> in charge? If you ask me, cartoons like "Mummies Alive"
> or "Swat Kats" would be a lot more spectacular if there
> were a more connected storyline that leads to a definite
> ending. "Mummies Alive" is so notable in the sense that
> it has an anime feel to it, you know, the transformation
> sequences, the armor designs, the martial arts?
>Kaworu Nagisa (aka Veilchen)
Oh, I wholeheartedly agree. Mummies Alive is, to me, pure eye candy. I
watch the show because of the visuals. Personally, I find the writing to be
substandard (although good by american kidvid standards.) However, even in
the 80s, there were some standouts. Look at the first two seasons of the
DiC Ghostbusters (based on the Ivan Riteman movie, as opposed to the
Filmation Series, which was inspired by a couple of grade B schlock comedies
from the 50s.) The first season or two of Ghostbusters stands out, due to
the writing, even though the animation was substandard.) Any Show which has
episodes based on Film Noir, Bad 50s Science Fiction Films (and penned by
David Gerrold no less,) or Lovecraft (Never thought /I'd/ see Cuthulu in a
cartoon!) is a lot of fun, but is decidedly NOT just a kids show.

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