ANIME VS AMERICAN ANIMATION Essay Research Paper — страница 5

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It was a time-consuming and endearing task, which was only made worth it from the satisfaction given by seeing the final product. It would seem that there’s a self-imposed level of quality that American animators expect from themselves. American animators understand that animation is not just about telling a story — it’s about bringing it to life! The great Chuck Jones once recalled a kid telling him, “You don’t draw Bugs Bunny. You draw pictures of Bugs Bunny.” There is one more issue to discuss when comparing the visual quality of Japanese anime to American animation, and that is of facial expressions. Cartoon characters are usually based off of exaggerated caricatures of real life, and so they often use very exaggerated facial expressions. Of course, the type of

expressions used varies greatly from Japanese and American animation. These expressions are very important because they add emotions to the characters, which makes the animation seem even more life-like. Some anime fans will contend that anime has more facial expressions than American animation. I do not see any weight to this theory. There are American cartoons where hundreds of expressions are used. In fact, there are almost an infinite variation of expressions that can be used to give slightly different effects in American cartoons. This is because of the curve-based drawing method used in American animation. On the other hand, most Japanese animes only contain a small set of facial expressions. These may include a single expression for the emotions of happiness, shock, anger,

and sadness. Other times, anime characters will not display any emotion at all. However, the anime expressions do have a tendency to stand out and can sometimes leave lasting impressions on the viewer. It’s also true that some of them are very extreme and exaggerated. I suppose in some ways this is a benefit to the emotional element of Japanese animation, but in no way is Japanese animation capable of having more facial expressions than American animation. Another problem with Japanese animation is that changes of facial expressions tend to look a lot more choppy than they do in American animation. Besides facial expressions, body postures can also be important clues used to show emotions. The subtle body posture of a character can show whether he is relaxed, stressed,

impatient, shy, brave, cowardly, aggressive, and so much more. Psychologists have known this for a long time, and the American animators usually do a pretty good job of incorporating this idea in their animations. Too bad the Japanese are still pretty much clueless on this one. Go ahead and try to prove otherwise, but as far as I know, the only way you can tell the emotion of an anime character is by reading his face. After reading all of this, it may seem that I have left out one key advantage that Japanese animation has. To be fair, I will mention it. The use of colors and shading is often quite more advanced in Japanese anime than it is in American animation. In this area, it might seem that American animation hasn’t really advanced much beyond the Technicolor days. It’s

not because Americans don’t have the skills or knowledge of how to make good shading. In other art forms, like comic book art, Americans make very good use of shading which far exceeds the anime-style. The anime-style of shading is actually a very simplified version of shading that usually only uses one color for highlights and one for shadows, rather than the more advanced forms of shading which use graduated amounts of blended colors. Still, it’s a nice visual touch which can give atmospheric effects similar to those found in theatrical lighting. Yes, it’s overuse in anime can be annoying, but there are certain areas where I think something similar could be effective in American animation. One reason Americans don’t use it is because of the added production time and

costs it would require. There is also the fact that Americans learned along time ago that the whole “persistence of vision” trick, which is the basis for all animation, works best with flat colors. You see, if you use a lot of shading effects, then the animation seems less smooth and requires higher frame rates to obtain the same quality level. Over all, I think that American animation nurtures what is most important to its art form, the animation itself! QUALITY OF PLOT Of course animation is not all about whether it looks good or not. In the final analysis, it must hold value as a quality piece of entertainment. Notice that I said “quality”. Just because someone finds something entertaining does not mean that it has quality. There are other factors that influence people