I am animation deprived and it’s basically my fault

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.

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13 Responses to I am animation deprived and it’s basically my fault

  1. Link says:

    You should watch Noein to get it out of your system.

  2. Anon says:

    I also wish there were more mature series. I don’t necessarily want action even, just more profound thought-provoking stories with endearing characters like 12 Kingdoms. But in terms of mature action, I found Basilisk and Claymore to be pretty good if you haven’t checked them out yet.

  3. Angkor says:

    Berserk, Vagabond, the JoJo series, or the ones the mentioned by the first two.

  4. Link says:

    Why would you recommend Berserk and Claymore for top quality animation?

  5. roast-beefy says:

    >I mean Keion! is pretty animated, but it’s not like those girls are duking it out with their best kung-fu moves.

    Sumo scene from s01e06 is still the best moment of the entire series.

  6. uncreative says:

    Incidentally, the only times that Link watches Naruto are when guest directors come on. I think we’re due for one this week, actually, if the art direction changes in the preview are anything to go by. (Yes, I watch it, shut up. I blame sentiment and a need to keep at least a little shounen fighting going to balance out everything else.)

    Obligatory observation that KyoAni properly animates things that don’t need it and SHAFT doesn’t properly animate things that do. SIGH.

  7. kgods says:

    The lack of mecha and general high kinetic material is a bit disappointing.

  8. G says:

    NEEDLESS isn’t shonen. Well there’s always Golgo 13 and Shoten Kouro… no wait neither of those got subbed because subbers are all awful people.

  9. wah says:

    I think people are missing the part in this post that’s all about good animation. Claymore, Berserk, Golgo 13, and the rest don’t have good animation. Good animation is not the camera panning over a still image of a character doing something.

    Good animation is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYLSMo5IEqM

    Or: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llH9q8O95x4

  10. elevated says:

    …..theres always rewatching Last Exile

  11. Z says:

    Maybe you should try some older series like Patlabor? You really can’t go wrong with the Patabor TV Series and OAV’s they have a little of every thing. Slice of life, mecha action, police drama, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Kaiju monsters, it has everything.

  12. GreatSG says:

    ^What he said about Patlabor, especially the first OAV, classic stuff. Hell, just rewatch 0083, it’s dumb on characters but at least it looks fucking pretty.

  13. chrisl says:

    “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.”

    It is?
    no, seriously, I never thought about the plot as “incomprehensible”, putting aside the fact that they never really explain why the doors and false sky appeared on the very first place.

    anyway, is ghost in the shell SAC a “mature action-oriented anime” ?
    I always recommend it, but maybe you would not like the plot part
    :P