Anime puts new face on art

Luke Hutchinson | Staff Writer

Anime is more than Pokéballs and Super Saiyan transformations.

A Japanese art style that combines graphic art, characterization, and cinematography, anime uses fantastical techniques to tell a story. Tofugu.com, a site that compiles Japanese culture blogs and teaches the language, said anime’s production places less emphasis on the animation of motion and more on the realism of settings.

Longtime anime fan and sophomore Zack Tepe said that as an art style, anime can cover any genre, which means its appearance varies.

“There are more realistic ones with a normal color pallet, and then they’re those that are really intense and in your face,” Tepe said. “Character proportions can vary, and a lot of the times you’ll see unrealistically large eyes to show emotion.”

Sophomore Wrynn Boucher said that his attachment to anime started as a simple recommendation, but lead to something bigger – a passion for drawing his favorite anime characters.

“I mostly got into the style because my friends recommended series like ‘Sword Art Online’ and ‘Attack on Titan’,” Boucher said. “I doodle on everything and actually started drawing my own figures, which are inspired by these series and Studio Ghibli’s movies. I express personality throughout my characters with certain physical indicators like colorful eyes, half-smiles, eyebrows, and I sometimes include movement or a pose unique to that character.”

Japanese production company Studio Ghibli has released many anime titles that became widely recognizable films in the U.S.. Back in 2002, “Spirited Away” took the worldwide record of top-grossing film away from “Titanic” when it earned $330 million in the Japanese box office.

More recently, Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 anime movie “Your Name”, a gender-bending tale of two teens swapping bodies, broke the record for highest grossing film in Ireland and the U.K. after its first day released. Anime’s increased international popularity has lead to productions using a style similar to anime art, but these works are commonly considered ungenuine by enthusiasts because they appeal to children.

Tepe said that certain widespread titles like this create a negative image for his group of friends that enjoy anime.

“Popular shows like ‘Pokémon’ and ‘on Ball Z’  leave a bad impression on the anime cliques,” Tepe said. “Since everyone knows about them and their bad animation style cheesy characters, settings, and plots, people develop negative feelings towards them. They don’t want to explore any further, they hate on anime and its viewers, and never find out what anime is actually like.”

Mature themes that venture into categories of violence, sex, divorce, discrimination, and politics are a tool students use to determine an anime’s authenticity. Sophomore and anime artist Liam Oberschlake said that the appeal of anime over normal animation lies in its grown-up themes.

“The main thing that sets anime aside (from normal animation) is its ability to represent adult concepts through its complex plotlines,” Oberschlake said. “The stories are just more developed which is easy to do with these characters since they tend to have more emotional background.

Powered by internet, anime has become more than an art; anime is now a staple hobby, so much so that senior Megan Alcox said she’s determined to resurrect an anime club.

“I want to start anime club, because I know there used to be one, but I’m not sure what happened to it,” Alcox said. “It’s gonna be kind of more focused on the anime that people don’t really hear about, like ‘Cowboy Bebop.’”

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