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La Mangafique: Anime species: Part I

20 Jul

Anime species: Part I

Yep. This Kind of species.
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So last time was a tentative toe dip into the anime world, and today I’m going to keep myself from shoving you right in. I’ll allow you to test the waters. In a different spot though. Today I will point you newcomers to this fascinating land in the direction of the different genres found within anime.

In addition to the traditional categories found in media: Romance, Historical, Sci-fi, Adventure, comedy etc. there are genres that are unique to anime. Detailing on those genres, I will be educating you all on a few anime that fall into those categories. Hopefully you will learn something. Keep in mind, anime always fall into more than one category. For instance, an anime may fall into the romance, historical, and comedy genres simultaneously.

Without further ado, here’s the list:

Sports: As the name suggests, anime where the main focus is some or the other sport fall into this category. Moral(s) of the story are generally depicted through a certain player/team struggling against obstacles, overcoming them and rising to become the best. Watching may be accompanied by hysteria, excitement, and the kind of whooping usually reserved for rabid sports fans. The author will deign to point out that anime like Hungry Heart: Wild Striker excited her far enough so as to make her forget her lady like behaviour and display symptoms belonging generally to the audience in a sports stadium.

Soccer – Japanese Style
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Gender Bender: Anime that fall into this species are one’s where males dress as/pose as/become females, OR females dress as/pose as/become males. No make sense? The protagonist is forced into a situation where his or her own gender comes in the way of solving a problem. In some cases there is a case of a misunderstanding, which may develop into a full-blown mistake that compels him/her to dress up a person of the opposite gender. Contrary to all the lurid thoughts that are probably running wild in your head right now, such anime is packed with comic scenario’s and topsy-turvy (pun intended) situations that will have you forgetting any cross dressing phobia’s you may have had. Haruhi, from Ouran High School Host Club, is an example of a girl forced to dress up as a boy to help repay her debt.

That dark haired boy up front? Isn’t a boy. You’ll get used to it.
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School Life: Again, as the name depicts, anime in this category is centered on school life. There may be multiple protagonists, or at the very least characters on the side are given more attention. Typically depicted are the ups and downs of school life: grades, first love teenage crushes, best friends, school festivals and parents as obstacles. More often than not, these anime are in the feel good category that transport you back in time to your own school days (for all you doddering ancient people out there) or even makes you look forward to high school yourself! (For all those pipsqueaks yet to enter the realm). Perks include cute school uniforms, lots of leg show (short skirts FTW!), teenage hotties and the occasional school bully getting beaten up.School Rumble is one of the more popular anime in this category with 2 seasons and 2 OVA’s all of its own!

Ahem. Cute girls in short skirts, anyone?
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Mecha: is a science fiction term for a large piloted walking vehicle, including ones on treads and animal shapes. (Courtesy Wikipedia) Need I say more? With robots right out of your shiniest fantasies, the core of mecha anime consists of gigantic machines controlled by humans directly or indirectly that engage in battles. Goals include world domination, prevention of the same, saving some sort of maiden/princess (the mecha becomes the knight’s horse and armour all rolled into one) or even PROTECTING THE UNIVERSE. With some really old anime in its kitty (The whole Gundam series and Ninja Robots to name a few), this species is often gory, but may include fights with futuristic laser guns or good old-fashioned swords. The Vision of Escaflowne is one such popular anime with the hero’s personal robot boasting the ability to evolve into a dragon shaped one!

So who doesn’t want their own personal robot dragon?
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Slice of Life: This is one category that in a sense defies what anime is essentially about. Slice of life anime depict realistic characters and scenarios, with the trials and tribulations of the protagonist(s) matching incidents that may be seen in one’s own daily life. Additionally, the backdrop is identical to or is modern day earth. Typical plot devices may include unemployment, romantic dilemma’s, inability to overcome obstacles and even unhappy endings. At times depressing, but also at times refreshing, this kind of anime typically caters to a more mature audience. Emma is a fantastic example of series in this genre, where the protagonist is a maid in the Victorian era who constantly faces upheavals, and isn’t always able to conquer them.

Not all of us are born with Cinderella’s luck.
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Part 2 of this list will be lying in wait for you next week. Till then check out the anime already recommended!

The resident drama queen,

La Mangafique

13 Jul

Anime: The who, the what, and the where (and other nitty-gritty’s)

It’s out there and it’s coming to get you.
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So, sometime in the past 10 years or so, you must have noticed this craze going about infecting young and old people alike, called “Pokemon”, which seems to consist of absurd fantastic creatures, a parallel reality and the ability to capture said creatures and battle with them. (If you really still don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve been living under a rock). Ever scratched your head and wondered just what it is and why people are crazy about it? Some if not all of those questions, can be answered if you delve into the world of anime.

Out of pets to collect? Start collecting these.
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Anime, is essentially defined as animation created specifically in Japan. Ask a fan and they’ll tell you there is a world of difference between the animation that pours out of Japan and that which is made in the rest of the world. So much so, that anime is now more than just a term to define a certain kind of animation. It is now a phenomemon, a movement, a cross culture ideology that has managed to cut across barriers of race and language to bring together followers from across the world. Cult much? Hell yes.

Though the origins of anime lie buried somewhere in the 1910’s , anime as we see it now didn’t hit the globe till the late 60’s. Osamu Tezuka, popularly known today as “The God of Manga”, adapted western techniques of animation and applied them to his own project, “Astro boy”, which took the world by storm and is still much loved today. Pokemon, Shin Chan, Sailor Moon and Gundam have become some of the biggest symbols of anime culture.

What came first, The transformers or Gundam?
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Anime in itself can be made from scratch or adapted from manga. Most anime is adapted from manga series, allowing a larger audience access to work that may only have been available in Japanese in the manga form. One of the biggest debates among fans of Japanese animation is that of the superiority of one form over the other. Manga fans claim that the anime destroys the authenticity of the storyline to make it more appealing to a mass audience, while anime fans argue that anime is easier to watch for those who don’t have the patience (and of course money!) to acquire and read manga.

Of all the features that draw the line between animation and Japanese animation, distinct characteristics include hair in the most impossible shades, disproportional bodies, eyes that would make your own bulge, out of the world scenario’s and a dollop of fantasy the size of the sun. So, if cute little girls with squeaky voices who save the world isn’t your cup of tea, you can always turn to anime with a slice-of-life scenario, or even some apocalyptic set-up, where contrary to expectations, the world DOES come to an end.

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The image courtesy Akito Maru:

Does anime have any after effects? Of course it does. In some cases symptoms of excitemet, exhilaration and ultimately addiction may be seen in some of the test subjects exposed to anime. Others may be found instantly allergic and essentially form a part of the anti band wagon. Though admittedly, the former outnumbers the latter by figures you couldn’t calculate if you were anything less than Einstein. Cosplay, figurines, and special edition collector’s items form the main chunk of anime spin off merchandise. Anime conventions worldwide becoming the gathering place for fans who want to invest in the same, alongside showing off one’s cosplaying skills.

So now you know what anime is. Just to summarise, in case it still went over everyone’s head:

  • Pokemon and Shin Chan are anime
  • Power Rangers is not an anime
  • Anything made outside Japan is NOT anime
  • Anime does not always make sense
  • Green/Red/orange/Purple haired people are normal in anime
  • Greeting other people in Japanese is not completely out of the place among anime fans.

And most importantly,

  • The phenomenon is here to stay, so go with the flow, or get swept away!
And in case you were wondering – this is just the beginning of La Mangafique! Pop by every Thursday for your weekly dose of anime news, reviews and madness!

Ja ne!

Calyptra Oujo Sama