Every now and again I am sadly reminded of what seems to be a distinct lack of mature action-oriented anime. Before I go any further with this, let me qualify what I regard as “mature action-oriented anime”–I mean shows that involve adult characters, in which well choreographed action in the form of exchanging fists, bullets, or sword edges happens very often throughout the series. The phrase “action-oriented” suggests that the series’ primary focus is action, but that certainly doesn’t have to be the case. So long as the action works its way into the (hopefully well written) plot, things are good.
The reminder of this sad fact comes in the form of animation MADs. You know, those compilations of really impressive cuts of animation by notable animators in the industry? Without fail, these videos are filled with really impressive bits of animation. And more often than not, I can’t even recognize any of the shows in question. After some application of brain power, and maybe a Google search, I come to the realization that these are mostly shounen fight properties.
The shounen properties I’m talking about are usually the ones with a set length, like NEEDLESS or Soul Eater, as opposed to the endless epics like Naruto or Bleach. But they’re shounen fight shows nonetheless, so they’re outside of my field of interest. I don’t feel these shows are undeserving of the kind of talent lavished upon them, I’m just wondering why we don’t see more Cowboy Bebops or Samurai Champloos with talent like this out there. I mean, know why–there’s hardly any market for it, but I’m wondering why there’s no market.
I guess “adults”–as in, not otaku adults–don’t care to watch cartoons, so that’s one issue. The other one is that while otaku do get into action oriented things (I mean, Nanoha’s popularity speaks for itself) I guess they don’t particularly care if it’s centered around adults. I suppose Darker Than Black scratches this itch somewhat, and while it has really sweet action scenes, the plot is absolutely incomprehensible, and at times kind of boring.
While watching these MADs, I also wonder why the talent present in them can’t be brought on for more niche productions. Again, I know why, but it still bothers me. While SHAFT’s thing is manipulating direction creatively to turn out something really neat looking on a low budget, I’m beginning to think their issue is more with personnel and less with money. Why can’t some of these guys work on Bakemonogatari? Even better, Dance in the Vampire Bund? That really needed some hot action, and just didn’t deliver. But I’m a SHAFT dork, so I’ll shut up.
While this whole post is framed like a moan–and it is somewhat–I’m less disappointed and more surprised at what is actually a shocking turn of events. I am shocked because I got into anime through very well done action shows, yet all I watch these days are shows that are very dialogue centric, and often times devoid of much animation. I mean Keion! is pretty animated, but it’s not like those girls are duking it out with their best kung-fu moves.
I guess I can watch Sword of the Stranger, or something.