Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hey, Animated Films for Adults Do Exist

Anime Girl in Black
Anime Girl in Black
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by intruzo..99
I love cartoons, and especially most anime.  You see, I watched tons of cartoons as a kid, I was immersed in them--G.I Joe, Transformers, Exosquad, Starblazers, and so many others.  But somewhere along the line, I guess I started to think maybe there's an age limit for cartoons, so I stopped watching them. But, in the last few years, I've rekindled that love of cartoons, that I lost so long ago, and it's been wonderful.

The thing is, I think this is very common in adulthood.  We turn our backs on so many things we used to like, sometimes for the better, but in some cases, it's just because we have this preconceived idea that adults don't do that.  I think it's this way with cartoons, and I really wish I could call people out on it more often, because I believe if people would give it a chance, more adults would be watching 2-D animated cartoons.

Heavy Metal Magazine
Heavy Metal
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Rene Walter
Some of my favs now, are Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal 2000, Titan A.E., and a great many anime movies that I've discovered.  One of my favorite anime movies, is Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa, which I recently did a review of on Squidoo, called Fullmetal Bringing Back the Brothers.  Click the link to find out more about it.

There is another movie, however, that really brought back my love of animated movies.  It's a documentary that fleshes out all the ins-and-outs of the anime industry in Japan.  The movie is called, Anime: Drawing a Revolution.  It's a movie chock full of interviews and information about the burgeoning industry in Japan, and what it really means to be an anime movie.

Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by mimimeow_
The thing is, all major nations have an entertainment mecca that developed over time due to different influences and needs.  It's kind of a cause and effect type relationship.  America has Hollywood, India has Bollywood, and Japan has anime.  The economy and culture of Japan doesn't lend itself well to big budget blockbusters that rely on big named stars or effects.  Most movies in Japan have a small budget, and require that the small number of big named directors work magic to eek out epic films with little but pennies on the dollar, or Yen.  This has lead to anime studios.

You might think, well anime is still just a cartoon, and technically you'd be right.  However, anime is actually a revolution in Japan.  It's swept the country, just the same way the big named actors in America take control every big movie season.  Anime movies are the movies of Japan, and with that, they aren't the typical silly child-like cartoons, such as Scooby Doo.  Many of them are dramatic pieces, that can create an emotional tie to the stories and characters.

Flicker Creative Commons Photo by ORAZ Studio
Some of the big ones are Akira, Summer Wars and Grave of the Fireflies.  Akira starts off with an atomic detonation that levels all of Tokyo, and brings on an apocalyptic setting, which for the Japanese is something many actually have feared, at one time or another.  Summer Wars is a movie that depicts a nation submerged in the internet, so much so, that when a virus cuts things off, the world plunges into complete chaos.  The only thing that keeps them all alive, is family and friends bonding together.  And Grave of the Flireflies is a movie of two children trying to survive in the ravaged country of Japan after World War II.  Their parents were killed in an air raid, and they have little to go on, but their wits.  It's a depressive story, but one that is all too real for those in Japan.

The difference here, is an emotional tie that isn't present in most animated movies.  However, in anime, this is an important factor, to find something true to hold on to, and press beyond the black lines and colors, to reach out and touch the audience.

Afro Samurai
Afro Samurai
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Nuno de Azevedo
That's not to say that anime movies don't have their fun movies.  There's always Trigun, Redline and Afro Samurai, which are all amazing anime films that are more likely going to just entertain with violence and exhilarating action.  And that's not always a bad thing.  It all depends upon what you're in the mood for.

So, before you pass judgement on an animated feature-length film, please try and consider its background first.  If you know of any more films you think deserve consideration, I love to hear about them in the comments section.  Otherwise, I hope your holidays have been great!

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