Is anime really just a modern extension of romanticism?

ASuch

The Salt Master
#1
Romanticism in the past was generally a piece of art, like a book or painting, that showed a romantic view of life in terms of a hero and a bigger evil. Fuck it, the hero might have some magical powers or his enemies might have magical powers too.
It came about because people, especially factory workers, wanted to have an escape from their normal lives into a fantastical world. Does this not fall in line with the obsession over anime? Sure, I don't believe anyone would be fapping to Frankenstein or the characters from Pride and Prejudice, but I think the basic idea is still there. There's a protagonist that has to prove something to the world and defeat the bigger evil using whatever powers or skills the protagonist has.

Do you agree? Are we not giving anime enough credit for this?
 

repomech

resident remnant robot relic
#4
This is interesting. I want to see you run with it more. So if Romanticism was given impetus by social conditions of the industrial revolution, what do you see as the underlying social catalyst for romanticist anime? Do you see this as true of all anime as a medium, or only true of the prevalence of certain styles or trends within anime? Do you feel this is true for the sections of society engaging and consuming this in both Japan and the US, or even other nations?
 

ASuch

The Salt Master
#5
This is interesting. I want to see you run with it more. So if Romanticism was given impetus by social conditions of the industrial revolution, what do you see as the underlying social catalyst for romanticist anime? Do you see this as true of all anime as a medium, or only true of the prevalence of certain styles or trends within anime? Do you feel this is true for the sections of society engaging and consuming this in both Japan and the US, or even other nations?
What really brought this to my attention was this song, actuallyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m38g4L1U0rc
The description especially struck me:"The picture was me trying to go for a typical otaku's fantasy.A magical girl who can sing and is cute and stuff (hence the flirtatious wink)"
Many of the hardcore fans of anime buy the body pillows, etc. Anime allows them to escape from what they see as "normal, rudimentary life" to a world where big men with big swords get busty girls with eccentric personalities and abilities. It also helps that this stems from Japan, as people, especially otakus, have grown to see an idealized version of Japan. Why watch Breaking Bad when you can watch a grown ass man fight a demonic creature with a sword that's heavier than he is, fighting over the magical object that provides a massive conflict?
Like Attack on Titan, for example. The setting is absolutely absurd. It would just not work if it wasn't an anime. Maybe because it's animated, we tend to be able to believe it more. Watching Power Rangers now is a bit hard because you realize how weird it is. If it was animated, you wouldn't really have those feelings.
And also, anime just really lends itself to a romantic feel. There's no anime that was like The Wire or Breaking Bad in the sense that it showed a real life struggle with real people as the way it is (BB is a bit less believable, but you get my point). Why would someone want to watch an anime about homeless people begging for money and so on?
 

ASuch

The Salt Master
#6
Continuation:
I also think of why I liked and got into anime in the first place. Why did I like Bleach? Why did I like Naruto? Why did I like Code Geass? It's really simple. I liked Bleach because of how epic the battles were (at least that's what I thought at the time). A badass dude with a massive sword fighting another guy with a massive sword on a massive battlefield? That's kickass! With Naruto: holy shit badass ninjas? And the one scene that really got my attention was something with Naruto fighting Gaara and they both transformed into some massive monster and I was like "....lawd". Code Geass is really easy. Woah, they have mechs? That's awesome, I WISH WE HAD MECHS IN REAL LIFE. I WISH I HAD NINJA POWERS LIKE NARUTO. I WISH I COULD HAVE A SWORD LIKE ICHIGO. All of those feelings go along with romanticism.
 
#8
There are other genres that have this model as well.
And they're all modern interpretations of romanticism.
Hook, line, and fucking sinker.
Something wrong with that? At this rate, we should be discrediting every derivation and say "Simpsons did it! Simpsons did it!" (Aka, most movies and books can be traced back to ideas that came from Beowulf, Frakenstein, etc).
I'm no huge Anime fan, but modern genres are doing things in addition to deriving ideas from past work.
 

Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
#9
I think one thing they never tell you about Romanticism (and even in Cornell I wasn't told this in the Romantic Natural History class), is that more than about fantasy, it was partly about the awful social conditions of the time, and partly about tackling these conditions through veiled escapism. So, it's easy to simplify romanticism into heroic fantasy and, well, romance, but what's hidden under the skin is what's really interesting about it.
I'm not saying this weakens your argument -- if anything, it strengthens it. Anime today, as well as Gaming and Hollywood films, are incredibly escapist, and romanticize aspects of life that sense would tell us should be demonized. The romanticisation of 'murican soldiers in film and games, for example, serves a similar escapist purpose as many romantic works, but occasionally you get the other side of the coin, like with Spec Ops: the Line, which deconstructs and denounces both the escapism and the spirit behind it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that much of romanticism came as a result of the french revolution, when people at large were coming to terms with new ways of life under governments that they were keenly aware were not working to the people's benefit. We, on the other hand, may only be arriving to such a point right now. If the internet brought about a sort of new renaissance, then we are stuck in between that and the french revolution, and proper romanticism. (As an aside, the book Neuromancer is quite a bit about this topic, and a great book regardless.)
So yeah, anime being so escapist certainly makes it very much like romanticism, especially so when it gets deconstructed to portray social issues at length.
 

Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

Well-Known Member
#10
Its why they can be cheaply produced and be successful, its those emotions that they prey on.

Personally all the anime's I like tend to be deeper than simple romanticist work . Or their silly slice of life stuff or kid stuff like Pokemon.

But Inazuma Eleven is awesome escapism XD
The fujoshi's who obsess over that show weird me out though
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#11
Very interesting topic.

It can certainly fit the bill if you're really only looking at character development and relationships ("primacy of the individual" and all that). But "nefarious evil vs. hero" is 100% completely incidental to romanticism (for goodness sake, Edgar Allan Poe is considered a romantic poet, and although his work would make for one hell of a surreal anime, homage to the hero it is not).

If you're talking long odds on the hero as a precondition, you're going all the way back to epic poetry.

Anime is truly a jumble. It takes epics, romanticism, surrealism, science fiction, traditional Japanese codes of honor, and more, puts it into a blender, and out comes 50-foot mechs, space operas, harmonica music playing after deaths, and beach (ecchi / "hot springs") episodes. You get everything from Tiger & Bunny to Initial D.

It works because it is, as mentioned before, 100% pure escapism. Japanese animation is stylized enough to incorporate nearly any sort of fantastical imagery. Toss a character you can empathize with (gee, this protagonist is also kinda depressed with their humdrum life?) into an intriguing scenario, and voila - you have someone to root for.

[I never really watched much anime. But once it gets its hooks into you, you can't stop watching. You almost always have a rooting interest in the outcome. I just mainlined 26 episodes of Initial D in like three nights.]
 

Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

Well-Known Member
#12
Very interesting topic.

It can certainly fit the bill if you're really only looking at character development and relationships ("primacy of the individual" and all that). But "nefarious evil vs. hero" is 100% completely incidental to romanticism (for goodness sake, Edgar Allan Poe is considered a romantic poet, and although his work would make for one hell of a surreal anime, homage to the hero it is not).

If you're talking long odds on the hero as a precondition, you're going all the way back to epic poetry.

Anime is truly a jumble. It takes epics, romanticism, surrealism, science fiction, traditional Japanese codes of honor, and more, puts it into a blender, and out comes 50-foot mechs, space operas, harmonica music playing after deaths, and beach (ecchi / "hot springs") episodes. You get everything from Tiger & Bunny to Initial D.

It works because it is, as mentioned before, 100% pure escapism. Japanese animation is stylized enough to incorporate nearly any sort of fantastical imagery. Toss a character you can empathize with (gee, this protagonist is also kinda depressed with their humdrum life?) into an intriguing scenario, and voila - you have someone to root for.

[I never really watched much anime. But once it gets its hooks into you, you can't stop watching. You almost always have a rooting interest in the outcome. I just mainlined 26 episodes of Initial D in like three nights.]
Now if they could just stop making a bunch of bad ones and upped the diversity in their character ethnic designs it'd be 20% cooler
 

Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
#13
[I never really watched much anime. But once it gets its hooks into you, you can't stop watching. You almost always have a rooting interest in the outcome. I just mainlined 26 episodes of Initial D in like three nights.]
I'll look into Initial D, but I also want to take this opportunity to ask you if I haven't asked you yet: have you seen Redline? If you haven't, by god you must see it.
The movie is basically this:

Then this:

Then more of the above. And so much more. And it feels like this:
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#14
^
Nope, haven't seen it, but damnit, now I must. Is it on Netflix?

[Initial D is a peculiar one. It's very late 1990s, with some CGI racing cut scenes interspersed, and it's all street racing. I pretty much gave in and watched it as soon as they showed a Skyline GT-R. If you are a bit of a petrolsexual, you'll probably like it.]
 

theMightyME

Owner of The Total Screen
#18
also.. if you get addicted to initial D check out yowapeda... it is about bicycle racing lol.... but it has the same addictive quality as initial d... it gets so deep into ridiculous techniques and hooks you in that same way... again... not about cards... about riding bikes

it is currently on crunchy roll.. I recently posted some more 48 hour guest passes in the CT if you want to check it out some are expiring soon, so snag them up before they do... if you have never registered on the site you can get a 2 week (or something like that) free trial.... it is a GREAT service.... and you can even get some of the stuff for free (ad supported, in sd, and like a week behind with a more limited catalog)
http://www.crunchyroll.com/yowapeda

some other recommended series:
Hunter X Hunter - a shounen action series like dbz, one piece, naruto... but with really dark overtones
Beyond the Boundary - one of the better current series
Sword Art Online - people trapped in a virtual reality fantasy MMO, if they die in the game they die in real life
Kill la Kill - HYPER stylized and hillarious
Attack on Titan - best anime in YEARS... kind of a deconstruction of giant robots and zombies with a very dour gritty setting
Magi - an anime reinvention of arabian nights
Durarara - assorted characters in shibuya (tokyo), gangs, hackers, headless grim reapers, etc..
Puella Magi Madoka Magica - a very dark deconstruction of magical girl shows like Sailor Moon... brilliant, andit has a great groundhogs day episode too
Another - really depressing ghost story of sorts with an explosively dark final act
Blast of Tempest - whacked out modern day anime take on Shakespeare's the Tempest
Watamote - great dark comedy about social anxiety (oh how I relate)
Btooom - kind of a battle royale meets game world kind of thing
Maoyu - a fantasy series with a great blend of comedy and drama that is essentially about the strategies used to end war
Sunday without god - amazing world for the series, basically everyones wish comes true, and people can't die, and it changes everything in the world
Kotoura-san - perhaps the best first episode of an anime I have ever seen.... like 15 minutes of depressing dour shit, and then something surprising changes everything
Guin Saga - a lot like berserk, dark strategic low fantasy, betrayls, politics, conan like action... kind of like conan as told by grr martin I guess hahaha


there are a TON more.. they are basically the netflix of anime

here are my free 48 hour pass codes
9/21/2013 DKBN74YT4DH All-Access Guest Pass - 48 Hours Valid Sep 21, 2014 Not Redeemed Yet Gift to Friend
8/21/2013 FPEJ3RVB9ZX All-Access Guest Pass - 48 Hours Valid Aug 21, 2014 Not Redeemed Yet Gift to Friend
11/20/2013 V8FUMQKN9XC All-Access Guest Pass - 48 Hours Valid Feb 18, 2014 Not Redeemed Yet Gift to Friend
10/21/2013 X8FSC93WX6D All-Access Guest Pass - 48 Hours Valid Jan 20, 2014 Not Redeemed Yet Gift to Friend
 

Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

Well-Known Member
#19
Lol its your fault man^

I went and watched all of yowamushi peda. Read 7 of the manga volumes ( stlll 23 left to go but I wont be back in Japan for a while so .... Imma have to wait on that) then I went and watched over drive's anime

Now Ill probably watch Initial D because why the hell not./ ]

Now I need to go finish the mountain climber manga I've been readin
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#20
If I use those crunchyroll passes, I'll never get anything done again. :p

And hopefully I haven't talked up Initial D too much. It's not some phenomenal anime, it just got its hooks into me early, so I marathoned the first season (I still have the other two to go on Netflix...plus there's a movie version on there). Really, it's just a neat footnote of the time period (the CGI and focus on drift racing was cutting edge and current when it debuted). They also made a few Initial D racing games for the PS2, but Japan-only. I'd love to get my hands on that.
 

theMightyME

Owner of The Total Screen
#22
If I use those crunchyroll passes, I'll never get anything done again. :p

And hopefully I haven't talked up Initial D too much. It's not some phenomenal anime, it just got its hooks into me early, so I marathoned the first season (I still have the other two to go on Netflix...plus there's a movie version on there). Really, it's just a neat footnote of the time period (the CGI and focus on drift racing was cutting edge and current when it debuted). They also made a few Initial D racing games for the PS2, but Japan-only. I'd love to get my hands on that.
what about the upcoming 3ds game?
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#23
Initial D still is running

Courtesy of Sega
what about the upcoming 3ds game?
WHA--


This is actually cool news. My new anime addiction is the first FTP game on the 3DS.

Sadly, it's limited to being a drag/shift game, and right now it's only scheduled for Japan. But if that were already announced for NA, I'd probably gift myself a 3DS (that I can't afford) for Christmas.
 
#24
Romanticism in the past was generally a piece of art, like a book or painting, that showed a romantic view of life in terms of a hero and a bigger evil. Fuck it, the hero might have some magical powers or his enemies might have magical powers too.
It came about because people, especially factory workers, wanted to have an escape from their normal lives into a fantastical world. Does this not fall in line with the obsession over anime? Sure, I don't believe anyone would be fapping to Frankenstein or the characters from Pride and Prejudice, but I think the basic idea is still there. There's a protagonist that has to prove something to the world and defeat the bigger evil using whatever powers or skills the protagonist has.

Do you agree? Are we not giving anime enough credit for this?
Anime the medium itself is a modern extension of romanticism through bright colors and imagination. It is daring and free. It's not reality and doesn't rely on classical or neoclassical theme of hard logic.
 

simplyTravis

Lamer Gamers Podcast Co-Host
#25
Romanticism in the past was generally a piece of art, like a book or painting, that showed a romantic view of life in terms of a hero and a bigger evil. Fuck it, the hero might have some magical powers or his enemies might have magical powers too.
It came about because people, especially factory workers, wanted to have an escape from their normal lives into a fantastical world. Does this not fall in line with the obsession over anime? Sure, I don't believe anyone would be fapping to Frankenstein or the characters from Pride and Prejudice, but I think the basic idea is still there. There's a protagonist that has to prove something to the world and defeat the bigger evil using whatever powers or skills the protagonist has.

Do you agree? Are we not giving anime enough credit for this?
I don't think I agree completely with your definition of Romanticism. Romanticism isn't as easy to pin down as Neoclassicism or other variants of art due to the highly personal nature of the movement. Also the hero vs villain narrative has been used in various styles of art. It is better defined by an emphasis on intense emotion and individualism while glorifying the past and celebrating nature sometimes over man.

It was an anti-Neoclassicism movement which focused on a strong masculine style, re-living the great Roman civilization ideals, call to arms, etc... which would be normal after the French Revolution as a push back against the ideas of war. Romanticism was much more wild and harsh because its underpinnings were individual liberties opposed to gathering for a cause.

Simply put, Neoclassicism led up to the French Revolution and Romanticism helped push through it and put forth their individual freedoms.

I don't necessarily see all anime as Romanticism, however, the history of Japan is riddled with worship of various nature based deities so there is a chance why you may construe it as so.

Also, I don't think you can support what you are saying about factory workers. In fact, the Romanticists would have been opposed to the Industrial Revolution before it happened. Wrong time periods.

I honestly see Anime as its own form of art partially based off of its own culture. It is highly influenced with anti-war messages and pro-nature messages due to what happened in WWII because of the extreme nationalism where they treated their emperor like a god and against the horrors of the war such as the atomic bomb.
 
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