Thursday, October 25, 2007

Audience pleasing done right (in its own way)

Daicon 4 (04:22)

To state the obvious, it's impossible today to talk about animation in the US (indeed the world) without mentioning anime. Why it is so popular is matter of debate (though Eddie Fitzgerald has good points here, here, and here ), although honestly, if you had to watch robotech or the snorks, which would you prefer? Granted the former is not cartoony or particularly formed of anything animation can and should do, but it is just more interesting than the crap people put up with in that time. Same as now. The trailer alone for Paprika looks better than shrek and sharktale combined. Another thing about anime that makes it work is that because so few people can come together and make something happen there is more of an individual feeling. Also, because there is again, so few workers and no crusty management (Japan respects its artists) they understand what the fans want and how to please them.

Both examples are shown in the short above. Although I don't personally care for the main character (a little too bland), the amusing cut style and oomph of the music more than make up for it. What's really special about this short is that the handfuls (four to six, depending on who you hear from) do the work of a far greater collective. This, the early Hanna Barbera and (to a far, far greater extent) Wizards all show creativity, not mass influx, make quality product. And again, why did they do this? To make the fans happy, by making themselves satisfied. They were fans. They cared about the art and trusted their instincts. And out of this small group came Gainaxe, who went on to make heads turn with FLCl and Neon Genesis Evangelion. From these five minutes. Sadly, some of that fun is lost on the current company, as with many studios (later Hanna Barbera) when their ranks swell.

So despite my somewhat lack of true enthusiasm for this short, I applaud it for being relentlessly forward in its entertainment capacity, showing that fans and admirers of animation can change the circumstances they live in. Something American animators sorely need to wake up and realize.

Another Fitzgerald post, which captures my feelings about anime perfectly,

Well thought out opinion on the piece: The Origin of the Species

No comments: