Why do so many people dislike Japanese Animation?

I have no particularly strong opinions on it either way besides the fact that its another style of media which I’ll happily watch but won’t particularly seek out, but for a lot of people they seem to really dislike it and I’ve never understood why.

I lent my dad (who is a closet science-fiction fan) the second Ghost in the Shell TV series but he quickly gave it back admitting he couldn’t watch more than part of the first episode because he didn’t like the animation style. I also lent a friend who loves military aircraft the Macross Plus movie but again he said he couldn’t watch it because of the animation style. And I see a lot of comments from people who dismiss the entire genre (?), which is their opinion but I can’t help thinking they’re missing out on some really good movies/TV shows.

I’m not talking about the overly stylised culture-specific anime which I have to admit I don’t really get myself but more universal stories and animation styles as seen in Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Macross Plus etc

I’m not familiar with any of the shows you mention so they may be very different. But in my (admitedly limited) experience, what immediately turns me off anime of any kind, is the pervasive tendency to either infantalize grown women or to sexualize young girls. Either way I find it creepy, sleezy imagery that borders on child porn. So, no thanks.

I don’t mind it, but I only like the kid stuff (Totoro et al.) Even some of that stuff can be hard for Americans since there are references to Japanese folklore that we don’t get/appreciate.

Couple guesses:

  1. Many anime movies are well nigh incomprehensible if you haven’t read the manga. Akira doesn’t stand alone as a movie and it’s not meant to.
  2. The art style is associated with cheap Saturday morning cartoons for people of a certain age and it’s hard to take seriously once that image is ingrained. Imagine a serious or atleast non-comedic animation that looked exactly like Looney Tunes. It would probably be hard to get into for many, and impossible for some people.

Growing up there were a few Japanimation shows on TV.

Only one I’ve really been able to find and I still love it. Starblazers/Space Battleship Yamato

I do remember when growing up there was a show called Force Five that showed a different anime show for each day of the week.

Force Five consisted of the following five series:
Dangard Ace (Planetary Robot Dangard Ace)
Starvengers (Getter Robo G)
Grandizer (UFO Robot Grendizer)
Spaceketeers (Starzinger)
I also remember Battle Of The Planets

The problem with the above shows is, with the exception of Star Blazers, they are all very similar. From what I remember each show has some variation of a team of people getting into ships that meld together to form a large mechanical robot. And the animation/characters all look very similar. Thunder Cats was always a rip off of these shows to me.

I think for me the same kind of issue with the animation still exists. I’ve seen the Akira movie, and I’ve looked at pictures from Ghost in the Shell and Cowby BeBop and for some reason, like the shows above they all seem to blend together. So for that reason, I do find myself reluctant to start watching since the characters all seem to look the same. (They even seem to closely resemble the shows mentioned above)

Another issue I have is when I do get the itch to try and give one a chance…I have no idea where to start, They all seem to have a number of different series that I can’t make heads or tails of. (The same thing exists with Star Blazers, but luckily it was shown in order so I know Quest for Iscandar is first, Comet Empire is second and Bolar Wars is third)

I’d love to get into some new anime, and if you could give some pointers as exactly where to start (the actual first episodes that were shown) with something like Ghost In The Shell or Cowboy BeBop, it would greatly improve the chance that I"d tune in.

The early Japanese animation I saw back in the 80s was primarily style over substance. It looked “different” than western animation, and was of a definitely more artistically draw. And some of the style tropes (how they showed movement, for instance) was unlike those people were used to. Some loved the difference; others felt it was confusing. But the stories were not particularly good and the humor – which people look for in American animation – never translated well.

That’s changed; my wife hated it until she saw Princess Monomoke and we both became Miyazaki. And there were other Japanese animation that did have good characters and stories. (It helped if you liked science fiction and fantasy, too.)

Back then, I talked with Dan Persons, who was working on showing more, and he admitted a lot of it wasn’t that good. That bad first impression has lingered on.

A better question may be why so many Americans like Japanese animation. I say that not because I think Japanese animation is awful or anything, but because foreign TV shows and movies tend not to be very popular in the US. Nearly all of the exceptions to this are British, which makes them easily accessible to American audiences in terms of language and culture. There’s also enough cross pollination between the US and UK entertainment industries that some British TV/movie stars are familiar faces in the US as well.

Beyond that, it’s pretty rare for foreign TV shows or movies to achieve mainstream success in the US. There are American fans of French New Wave cinema, Bollywood musicals, Korean horror movies, etc., but there aren’t a lot of them. It’s a lot easier to find Americans who are interested in Japanese animation.

I would assume that Americans who aren’t interested in Japanese animation either feel that way because of individual personal preferences that can’t really be explained or because the style/content is just too “foreign”. And by “foreign” I mean “different from American-produced entertainment” and not necessarily “based on traditional Japanese culture”.

This is it for me. Grown women look like 12 year girls, grown men look like 16 year old girls.

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of animation, so my opinion isn’t very valuable. But for me, it’s the too-large blank/shiny eyes and the lipless mouths that I associate with it. It’s just really unattractive to me.

I don’t dislike japanimation, but a lot of western anime fans (aka weeaboos) are insufferable weirdos. If you insist on subtitles instead of a dub, I don’t want to hang out. Yeah, the american voices are often bad, but guess what, so are the japanese voices (particularly some of the annoyingly shrill high pitched voices used for young women) and annoying voices I can understand trump annoying voices I don’t.

Also, it doesn’t help that back when I was in the right age group to really appreciate the stuff, there was hardly any of it in the US except stuff like Voltron or Robotech that got changed around a lot or other stuff only put out on expensive hard to find VHS volumes. By the time they started coming over in droves more or less intact and readily available (sometimes even on TV), I just wasn’t very interested any more. (Don’t get me wrong I don’t mean it as a knock on Voltron or Robotech that they were changed around, I still like both shows)

I think a big part of it was the dire state of American animation in the '80s. I was born in '75, and as a kid, I loved G.I Joe and Transformers and all of that stuff. But even at the time, I was aware of the fact that there was a significant amount of pandering going on. Take G.I. Joe, for instance: despite being about a heavily armed military organization that regularly engaged in large-scale battles with a ruthless terrorist organization, no one ever died. I remember religiously watching every blown up helicopter or shotdown jet, looking for the inevitable parachute that would say, “It’s okay, kids! Guided rockets aren’t really that dangerous!” Plus, the plots were always completely resolved in half an hour (minus commercial breaks), with the very rare two-part episode. All the American cartoons were the same - most were even worse. The real problem, obviously, was that I was aging out of the target audience for those cartoons, but not out of the subject matter - and there was nothing for me to age into. There was no space opera or long-format science fiction geared towards pre-teens/teenagers in the US.

But some cable networks, looking for something even cheaper than He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, started importing Japanese cartoons. Suddenly, here were these shows that had long, over-reaching plots, that led to an actual conclusion. Stuff that happened in an early episode mattered in later episodes! And people died in them! A lot! Not just faceless mooks, but actual named characters! Good guys, even! It was kind of mind blowing at the time. Looking back, a lot of those shows were pretty shitty (I’m looking at you, Robotech), but at the time, there was nothing like them being produced in the US. And if you knew where to look, there was a ton of it that never made it to network TV. That was enough to start a fan community around anime.

Nowadays, American animation has improved immeasurably, but the anime fan community long since passed critical mass and is now a self-sustaining fandom.

Because, 85 years after Steamboat Willie, the Japanese still have not figured out how to animate mouth movements to a pre-recorded soundtrack. Even Miyazaki animates first and dubs the voices after. It’s not style, it’s stupid. Couple that with the excessively limited frame rates, abuse of walk cycles, an apparent cultural inability to animate naturalistic human or animal motion (the “pickle up the butt” walk), freakishly exaggerated mouth movements, “Bambi eyes”, etc.

And yes, I have seen Spirited Away with sub-titles. The mouths weren’t in sync even in the original Japanese.

As a zombie fan I tried to get into High School of the Dead but the leering treatment of the female characters quickly got old. Never thought I’d say that but there ya go.

Big eyes. Screechy voices. Stupid cuts. Over wrought dialogue. Bad frame rate. Stupid plots. Stupid hair. Kid heros. Watching a supposedly adult movie or show which still looks like Pokemon. No subtlety in plot, acting or animation.

I thought Starblazers was cool when I was a kid. I grew out of it.

I was too old to adapt, frankly. Disney had laid down the 12 Rules of Animation and every animation I respected had to respect them. Even Tex Avery over at MGM stretched them to the breaking point, Warners and, the master draughtsmen the Fleischers bent them into surrealist shapes, but all watchable cartoons still had mass and gravity. Hanna Barbara cheaped-out on the rules, to their eternal shame.

“Japanimation” had characters suddenly change position of their limbs, then dissappear out of the frame, replaced with a stupid whirlwind symbol. Wonderful in other aspects; even surpassing Western works in some: that I won’t deny, and often marvelously drawn. But drawing isn’t animation in its definition “brought to life.”

Also, Japanese anime leveled up a couple of notches after around 1995 (c. Evangelion). If I had to limit myself to pre-1995 material, I would be a very occasional consumer, not a fan.

I think I like anime because it’s kick-back junk without some of the Hollywood conventions that I’m tired of. Sure, it has other odd conventions, but I haven’t ODed on those yet. But Hollywood conventions are popular both in the US and worldwide, so I’m not surprised that anime isn’t taking the US by storm. There are also the visual traditions, language barriers and dubbing of uneven quality to consider. Yeah, I generally prefer to see them subtitled, but I’ll often try out the dub for a few episodes to see whether I prefer it. In some cases I do.

Finally, I like watching different visual styles be they comic or animated. But not everyone has that quirk. If it weren’t for manga and anime I would probably subscribe to the New Yorker, read US alternative comics and watch more of Dr. Who.

OP might as well just drop “Japanese” from the title. Americans don’t really watch cartoons unless it’s with their kids, it’s Pixar’s latest family friendly CGI-offering or what amounts to an animated sitcom (Simpsons, Futurama, Southpark, Family Guy). Cartoons are for kids.

Aside from that, Western cartoons are mostly episodic comedies or super heroes. Or both.

People go to anime, despite all its flaws and alien culture and dub/sub problem for animated serialized stories with more adult material, like war or death or romance instead of another dick joke or tired commentary on contemporary American politics. (disclaimer: I’ve only seen a couple of the more famous anime series and I mostly stick with Western, but the described attitude is prevalent)

The visual style and the audio and the storytelling style and pace all give me a headache. I can’t stand to watch it for more than a few seconds.

I enjoyed Ranma 1/2, but that’s about it. It had a fun story with interesting characters, but the style and animation does annoy me.

While the Simpsons is an exception, American adult cartoons aren’t exactly free of this (see Family Guy or South Park) and most of the better quality anime don’t really do this.

Anyways, I’m personally an anime fan for the reasons pointed out above and also because a lot of anime have completely original ideas that result in often bizarre (but fun) combinations. For example see Girls und Panzerhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girls_und_Panzer