Week 11 Discussion

The computer age is upon us

35 thoughts on “Week 11 Discussion

  1. Jane Flynn

    Lovejoy’s reading, “Postmodern Currents: Art and Artists in the Age of Electronic Media” really highlighted how powerful and diverse a tool the computer is. It strikes me that humans have never before been able to create a tool quite like the computer. There is virtually nothing that a computer cannot be programmed to do. One can ‘google’ virtually anything and find the answer on the internet in a matter of seconds. Knowledge is no longer for those of a certain “class”, anyone who has access to internet (wether that be at home, in libraries, school, etc.) has the chance to learn, and teach themselves virtually anything they could ever want to know about.

    The invention of the computer has contributed to the creation and distribution of art; if you cannot visit a gallery miles away from you, and cannot access a book on the subject, the internet can provide you with an image and background information of the works instead. Whilst viewing work in a gallery, or artistic space is a different experience from viewing it on a screen, it allows those who would not have access to such work before, to gain access to it.

    Online forums allow people to discuss work from many locations and teachings all around the world, contributing to new understandings and ideas of work like never before.

  2. Jay Oetman

    Lovejoy’s first paragraph in his chapter 5 of the text, was remarkably motivational, nay inspirational. The computer is a machine like no other. With the evolution of this technology the machine has become this thing which effortlessly combines and correlates diversified tasks in one unit. The computer age has undoubtedly and irrefutably altered life in ways we are just comprehending. Jane pointed out in her astute observations, the vast potential of these machines for democratizing access to information. And it is phenomenal to consider as an academic and a lover of education the sheer potential which exists in this information age.

    Simultanteously, however, I cannot help but consider the potential complacency which could present itself in conjunction with the ease of information accessibility in this our information age. Students might not feel a real need to internalize information if they know that it is constantly within reach as a result of a smart phone. This concern extends to the democratization of media creation, some would call this movement a “bastardization.” I would not go so far, however, it does generate some concern as an educator that information and art because of their ease of accessibility, replication, and creation could generate complacency in regard for the great fields of academia and art. Perhaps my concerns are unwarranted and perhaps they originate out of an elitist set of ideals, but who’s to say I am not playing the devil’s advocate? 😉

  3. Doron Alter

    In this week reading I found Margot Lovejoy article “The computer as Dynamic Imaging Tool” very interesting. In the article lovejoy discusses the many functions of the computer in now days society including a tool for artists.

    In the article lovejoy says: “The computer is the new tool, the new medium which links the concept of information and art together”. It made me think about examples that we saw and talked about in class when we talked about cinema, and the place of CGI in cinema. But more than that it made me think about who can be an artist today. Because of the technological advancements the artist today can be someone who studied computer science and has no knowledge or background of what is art. Also if we are thinking on the computer as a replacement for the paintbrush the question arises how do we know that the result was exactly as we planned? that there wasn’t a small glitch in the program?

    I think that if computers is the future of art than art will loose it’s most beautiful trait, the human touch.

  4. Stacy Calvert

    My comments today revolve around two of the readings, “Immediacy Hypermediacy and Remediation” and “The Computer as Dynamic Imaging Tool”. I feel that I was drawn to both of these articles because I feel that the topics relate somewhat directly to my art practice.

    In Immediacy, Hypermediacy and Remediation, Bolter describes the different ways that these terms come into play when discussing computer-generated art. Two different examples spoke to me including the reference to USA Today and also when Bolter spoke about Remediation.

    In regards to the newspaper, USA Today, Bolter said that the newspaper was trying to emulate a “graphical user interface”. In a way, the newspaper was trying to be in my opinion, more intuitive than previous newspapers. User Interface Design was growing into an actual field in the early 90’s and I think that USA Today took some of these principles when creating their newspaper.

    Remediation was also another term discussed in this article. I’d like to discuss this in class a bit. Is this the beginning of what is now called transmedia? It seems to possibly be an early thought process — specifically about bringing different elements of the story in new ways.

    “The Computer as Dynamic Imaging Tool” by Margaret Lovejoy was also quite relevant to my work in regards to my usage of the computer as a tool and a way to produce art.

    I am really interested in discussing this quote by Keith Haring in regards to creating art with a computer, “There is a sense of displacement. Your hands are on a keyboard or you are holding an electric pen, which separates you from the screen. There is no direct brush-to-canvas or ink-to paper contact. This makes drawing on a computer a much more mental process than a tactile one. Still, as a technique, I find it just as interesting as drawing right on paper.” (Lovejoy, 167).

    What does that mean for artists today? Are artists who create only on the computer “less than” than traditional modes? That would be a great discussion question.

    I’m also interested in talking about when this article was published. When the author describes that the “realization of the dream to recreate the real world by machine in all it’s infinite detail and variety is still far off”, amazes me particularly because of the advancements that have been made over the past 10-15 years in computer graphics.

    One way that intrigued me specifically was when he spoke about remediation. It reminded me quite a bit of transmedia and how that involves bringing different elements of a story to light in new ways.

  5. Lauren Stoelzle

    In Shanken’s writing, “From Cybernetics to Telematics,” I found many of the titles of Ascott’s work very thought provoking alone. For example, “‘Telenoia’, ‘The Architecture of Cyberception’, ‘The Mind of the Museum'”, etc. The idea behind “The Mind of the Museum and the discussion as to how, “cultural institutions must be responsive to these imminent social transformations, which he foresaw as underlying new forms of expression in the future,” I found very necessary to ponder. As change comes, how do we digest it mentally and artisticly?

    I loved Ascott’s vision of the computer becoming moist in operation and “more closely relating to the wetness of organic biocomputers such as the human brain.” Making these connections I find vital to creating further understanding of new emerging human constructs and contemporary communication relationships. What does it mean to have a cell phone and to be able to dial up a friend at anytime? How are communications changing with the advancements of computer technology and how might we create art to further diagnose our current standings and relations per individual in this day and age.

  6. Jonathan Rhea

    The computer has given us a myriad of ways and opportunities to access, organize and disseminate information. In conjunction with the internet it can close gaps and bridge miles. As the computer has become smaller and more powerful it has also become portable allowing us to do our computing from literally anywhere so long as we have enough battery life or access to a power source.
    Yet with this portability has also com a dependency that concerns me. For example, as a kid I probably had over a dozen useful phone numbers memorized but today I know maybe two, other than my own, which I give out to people so that they can add it into their smart phone and not remember it either.
    As a side note: “Land lines” carry their own power and would continue to function in the event of a power outage, which has made me rethink not having one. Can you imagine what would happen if we suffered a major power outage over several days and how badly communication would break down?

    As someone who considers himself a fine art photographer who uses the digital darkroom extensively I am inclined to agree with Lovejoy that the use of the computer is causing artistic creation to be more of a mental than tactile process.
    I do not view that as a bad thing merely an evolution of the 21st Century artist and he way he/she works making more classical techniques no less valid just perhaps less efficient.

  7. Matthew Limb

    I’m interested in what the computer did to society, art, and how we view things – particularly images. There is an exhibition right now at a museum in Kansas City that is featuring images from Instagram, Computer generated images, etc. But half of the exhibition is only available online. You go and there is a giant screen and you can go through the images on a giant computer in the gallery – or you can see them in your own home. A lot of the readings talk about what the computer did technologically, what it provided for society, or at least those who had access to it. I think it has also changed the way we see. I like the concept of incorporating technology in art. Technology, as a platform, allows a larger number of people to have access to art and ideas than ever before. But when the technology becomes the art, and loses the human factor – the human touch – I feel like it loses something, but at the same time gains something else. What this ‘something’ is I’m not sure. The integration of the computer into our lives, especially in the last 15-20 years really demonstrates how technology is becoming a physical part of human beings. We are physically wired to internet networks in a lot of ways and this technology, more and more, physically manifests itself on us. The computer was just the beginning of that. I thought the Lovejoy reading kind of resonated with all of that.

    1. Zach Ehrat

      I may be opening a can of worms here with what can be defined as human, but isn’t a computer just an extension of the human touch? Nobody is going to chastise Michelangelo for using a brush instead of painting with his fingers. Technology is a tool to be utilized by humans, and while a common argument is that a work of art cannot be fully experienced unless experienced in person, I don’t have the money for a trip to the Vatican, but I do have access to Google Images. Technology may not be able to satisfactorily substitute art and reality, but it can certainly supplement it. If we’re of the species that created the internet, isn’t it just as much a human creation as a painting, and an extension of the human factor?

  8. Ryan Freels

    Blog Part 1

    The pre-Disney and Disney cartoons ranged from funny and enjoyable to outright disturbing, but were all interesting to see. I prefer Mickey’s design but preferred Oswald’s cartoon as a whole. Mickey seemed to be the more sympathetic, the everyman trying to get by with an abusive boss but looking on the bright side of life. Oswald is overall a more of a smart ass,being nastier competitor (was it a bear?) and savage with his musical goat, although Mickey gives him a run for his money when it come to beating on animals as musical instruments. I though it was cool that love interest was a cat and not a female reflection of Mickey. Creepy to find out the Mickey may have been intended to be a jewish stereotype. Speaking of which, that Donald Duck cartoon was kind of creepy, and make Uncle Donald out to be about as good an uncle to Huey, Dooey, and Looey as Charlie Sheen was to Angus T. Jones. While the animation, wardrobe, and music seemed well done from what I saw, its portrayal of another race as wild gun wielders and women as skirts to be chased and gazed at is problematic. The animation of the trees was really cool, and made me think of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The old violent pervert (cranky ass tree/Frollo) wants the girl and when they do not get their way they set the forest/Notre Dame ablaze, only to be consumed by their own fire. The Alice animation was cool, like a cel animated take on the silent toy film.

    Ruh gave a very look at both the influence and success of Japanese animation on American animation and culture, as well as the America’s ethnocentric sensibilities that stood in its way. We see that America dominated Japanese popular culture for a period of time, and when Japan did make its own shows, we tried to cover up any notion of its origins. This reminds one of how Stalin tried to erase people from photographs, as if they didn’t exist. As Stalinist Russia tried to forget politicians that weren’t Stalin’s BFFs, America did so with culture outside of theirs, or at least outside of anglo-saxon culture. While I agree that we do over fetishize violence, and perhaps some of Japan’s cartoons were violent, considering we tried to erase notions of Japan in Tetsuwan Atom, and totally reconstructed Battle of the Planets, I feel that the issue of violence covered up other issues, and was a hypocritical argument itself. Aside from clearly states antagonism towards anything Japanese, Looney Toons were pretty violent, as well other American animations and comic books. In a Carls Barks comic, Scrooge McDuck hired thugs to throw out natives for profitable land, and there is an old Mickey Mouse comic were Mickey physically and verbally assaults a gender queer character (it says Walt Disney did it but I kinda doubt that). That being said, people today are much open, honest, and celebratory about anime’s Japanese origins. I do think it is interesting to see how different forms of pop culture connect, and it is nice when it is not forced. And when a culture has viewed, played with, and expressed feelings and throughs on anothers culture, does that create a cultural exchange where a culture finds appreciation in another cultures accomplishments, blending it their own and combating ethnocentrism? It is interesting to think about.

    1. Zane Ecklund

      I am going to say something that I will probably catch hell for but I 1 I think I can justify it and 2 I could really give a damn what anyone who reads this thinks of me afterwards.
      I have a morbid fascination with the overtly racist cartoons of yesteryear. I have never seen a Mortimer Mouse feature but if I had I would be on the edge of my seat taking in every aspect of his supposed evil Jewish nature. I am not a bigot but this stuff is so intriguing to me. I guess because it’s like seeing something from a parallel universe. Sure there are stereotypical portrayals in media today but I can’t think of any that are intentionally offensive (that isn’t to say there aren’t any I just can’t think of one off the top of my head). For instance Apu from the Simpsons is a Hindu but he isn’t portrayed as an asshole. His stereotypes are tongue in check and he is meant to be a likeable character. Even Fat Tony the mobster, who is obviously an Italian stereotype, is strangely likeable in his own way.

  9. Zane Ecklund

    Oh boy…the subject of anime has finally reared it’s head in this class. If I listen closely enough I think I can hear the elated squeals of all the fanboys in class as they echo across the entirety of Carbondale.
    I have a love/hate relationship with the artform. I think some anime is absolutely spectacular. I love Akira and Princess Mononoke to name a few. However there are plenty I think are garbage. I will never understand the appeal of Dragonball Z or any of it’s derivatives.
    I think this is ironic as well as I am obsessed with Japan. I would do just about anything to live there, and if I ever caught a beautiful Japanese woman making eyes across from me at a bar I might drop dead from excitement.
    But enough about me and my peccadilloes…the readings did hip me to a couple of things I found interesting. Paul Well’s remark about animation being one of 4 indigenous arts native to the U.S. I found kind of odd at first but made more sense the more I thought about it. It’s hard to deny especially since the U.S is home to giants such as Disney, Warner Bros., and Hanna-Barbera.
    I didn’t realize anime accounted for half the animated films shown worldwide. Not too shabby! Apparently it is a 4.3 billion dollar industry in the U.S. That made sense too the more I thought about it as it seems like Japan post-WWII is getting revenge on this country economically as it could not defeat us militarily.
    Raffaelli’s article I found to be a monotonous exercise in boredom. Some boring points about Disney were made and a lot of the commentary about anime was a rehash from Ruh’s article. The biggest grievance I had was about the point that Disney was not seeking to recreate reality and instead sought to create a parallel reality. That is so interesting because I have never traveled by steamboat but had always assumed they were manned by crews of mice! Also, I had been wondering when I would meet an anthropomorphic dog the likes of which is featured in so many of his cartoons!
    Also, that article helped me come to the conclusion that I am a much bigger fan of WB’s shorts than Disney’s. However I think this is because I have seen a disproportionate amount of WB cartoons compared to the amount of Disney shorts I have had the pleasure to view.

    1. Zach Ehrat

      It is interesting to consider the the number of animations produced within the US and how much of the industry they make up. I’ve personally never understood the appeal of anime and I’ve forced myself to watch a few episodes of several different series’ recommended to me by overzealous peers. What really intrigues me about the US being responsible for so much of the world’s animation is that so many fans of animation within a certain age group predominantly watch just anime. I find it interesting that while the US produces the most cartoons, some of the most popular ones are stylized very differently from western art styles.

    2. Jonathan Seyer

      Ya know it’s funny how a particular person can be overcome by a fascination of another culture. From anime conventions to life partners the fascination will always be a mystery. I do agree that Ruh’s article to much more readable and enjoyable. Way to go Wells, way to put it into perpsective

    3. Jacob Jouglard

      I too enjoy Anime now and again, I try to soak up all great art forms I can so i have a better appreciation. Though I don’t watch it all the time, I find myself watching shows that are recommended by my friends. Well’s remark had me too wondering what he meant, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense.

  10. Zach Ehrat

    I found the Brian Ruh article to be more interesting in its statistics and analysis of global animation trends rather than the synopsis of Astro Boy and the differences between the eastern and western versions. While the subtleties and re-articulation of the series’ original episode from one culture to another are intriguing, it is to be expected that there will be some minor differences in the way various aspects of the narrative are portrayed from one part of the world to another. Perhaps the creative minds behind the show’s American adaptation felt compelled for one reason or another to slip in a subtle PSA about the dangers a Jetson’s-like society would bring with it, or perhaps the issue had something to do with censorship and what causes of a car crash would be considered acceptable. The addition of a narrator is an early example of what is now the common practice of hitting the viewer over the head with the plot and spoon-feeding them the expository information so they’re immediately up to speed and don’t have to get confused or think too much, but I digress. The most interesting and expansive topic covered in the article is the re-globalization of the anime style. I don’t have a wealth of knowledge on the origins of eastern drawing styles, but I do know that Asian culture has been heavily involved in the production of American studio animations since their conception, and a large portion of the production work for western styled cartoons still takes place in east Asian countries. What is impressive is the spread of the so-called Japanimation style, and how it has been adopted and then mimicked by western culture. While differences in the writing are to be expected, the differences between the visual styles of eastern and western anime is noticeable, even though they are both considered anime. There are numerous shows that are popular in both Japan and the US, but there are also some animes that are popular in only their native countries. It’s just interesting to think about a culture on one side of the planet adopting an art style from the other side of the planet, and then recreating it and redistributing it back around the world.

    1. Brandon roach

      Im not big into any form of animation, but I can relate to your interest of opposing sides of their world adopting from each other through sports. I am a big sports buff domestically and in other countries. Basketball started here and migrated overseas, but in countries like China they don’t make use of Centers or other big men like we do here, but rather fast highlight players like our globetrotters. The point is I also find it fascinating that a single concept can make its way across the world and be altered just enough to create to better suit the culture.

    2. Jonathan Seyer

      I completely agree in your approach to narrative. The average viewer has become lazy after being spoon fed everything. We as a viewing have lost the ability to appreciate the basic aesthetic nature of things. eventually the pendulum will swing back to the other side. Hopefully…

    3. Jacob Jouglard

      Yeah I would agree with saying that everyone is influenced by somebody. It would be hard to pin down who was the one to Influence all. With Japanese artists it was the West with Disney and the way it showed that animation could be successful. What is interesting nowadays is that some Western artists are influenced by Eastern artists. My biggest example would be Avatar: The Last Airbender.

  11. Brandon roach

    Brian Ruh’s article was very interesting in terms of statistics. I actually ‘googled’ “most popular anime” and found a few of them on Youtube to watch. I had no idea that the market for anime was so large worldwide and 4.3 billion domestically. The point is I have never once seen anime before reading that article and wanted to see what the hype was. From my discovery I see how culturally different the form of anime is compared to the popular cartoons I grew up watching. I have watched cartoons when my siblings here and there that are adaptations of Japanese animation such as Pokemon. I feel as if the overall pacing of anime is much faster than cartoons I grew up watching. I then found some interesting information while browsing the internet for re-globiliztion of American cartoons and found that shows I grew up watching are very popular in Japan. (Spongebob Square Pants and Tom and Jerry) I think a major impact on altering a cartoon that originated in another country depends on the countries censorship. I feel like Americans always want a reason and not be left to wonder about tragedies so that could be why they narrated additional information about the death of Atom Boy. One of the most interesting points I took from the other article is that although television is a used as a babysitter tool, it has not increased its appeal to a younger audience. I have noticed with Disney movies, they have included a lot of adult humor over the years. I cannot speak for early films, but from the 90’s to current Disney movies the humor for adults have increased a lot. Her article does state that through the years Disney has matured and broadened its vocabulary, and widened the emotions of the characters and narratives. Adults pay and have access to see and control what their children watch so its an obvious move.

  12. Jonathan Seyer

    The perspective of anime compared to animation was quite fascinating. Though i did enjoy and follow Ruh’s article, the other had it’s moments. Astro Boy was an interesting choice for this comparrison. It was interesting to here how cultural differences dictated specific aspects of animations. I can’t say I agree with this. It reminds me of when DC and specifically Superman decided to run with the Red Son story books. This is when DC stories were interpreted and taken place in communist Russia. If it were something of that degree, an exploration of an alternate story arch, I think I would be a bit more accepting. To make changes like Astro boy and other animations just ruffles my feathers. You are neglecting the original vision and assuming that we will never relate across cultures.

    One thing i didn’t expect was Astro Boy. In the case of altering anime’s due to cultural differences brings to mind Dragon Ball, and Dragon Ball Z. I remember tails of how smutty it used to be. Full of curse words and a lot more violence. One day censorship will be gone and we will finally regain faith in humanity.

    1. Ryan Freels

      I agree that it is culturally insensitive, especially whet they are trying to erase the Japanese origins of the anime, and the Japanese geography in it. It is an ugly act of ethnocentrism. I could understand some of the criticisms (key word, criticism, not censorship), such as violence, but it comes from a very hypocritical angle, (did the people that make those critiques pay attention to American animation?) where a sense of cultural superiority is the driving force. These criticisms also ignore the issues children went through in real life as reflected by anime’s fiction, important issue to touch upon.

    2. Zane Ecklund

      Yeah have you heard about the much maligned live action Akira movie? At least at one point it’s cast was all white folks and no Japanese despite keeping all the Japanese names. It was going to take place in Manhattan as well. In addition Akira is a fundamentally Japanese story.

  13. Jacob Jouglard

    This week I enjoyed watching all the old Disney cartoons that helped get them started and noticed. I remember from the game Epic Mickey that was recently put out about the character of Oswald the Rabbit. So when I got to watch the cartoon that he came from I was elated. Its funny to think that Oswald could have been as big as Mickey in the terms we associate mickey with Disney today. The discussions that we had about Walt and his nature in business made me rethink about how I look at him as a person. He was a very smart businessman, that I cannot deny, but at some point having that much of a stifling atmosphere to be creative around had to have been hell. I mean not allowing to own any royalties on the characters that you created, I mean wow. You know I used to say that if Walt was alive to see his Disney corporation today and some of its lewd practices he would be ashamed. Now I feel that he would have been the one to do them. The ambassador to South America was interesting, and watching the Donald Duck scene was very pervy. There was a Documentary on HBO that discussed Walt’s trip to South America and how positive it was for him. The name of it escapes me, but it is out there.

    For this week I was particularly interested in the subject of anime. Like most of my classmates, probably of us were born in the early 1990’s. The big thing in our childhoods was Pokemon, this neat show at the time about monsters controlled by little children fighting. The biggest show that most of us were aware at the time was Dragonball Z. I won’t even try to explain what that show was about, because it would take a few days. But I was a fan of it, and it was an animated show that came from Japan. There was this block and Cartoon Network called “Toonami” that would run every Saturday night, and we were introduced to different Anime shows throughout the years.
    Ruh’s article about the statistics of Anime really caught my eye as well. Of course since it is the most popular forms of entertainment over there, its no surprise that it is 4.3 billion market domestically. Paul Well talked about animation being indigenous to the U.S seemed a little odd at first. When you take a look at Anime though, you see that it started as a competition to American animation because of the success of Disney. One of the things that I hate about Anime is that the Japanese of very horrible at calling animation styles that look like Anime Anime. Technically they are correct when they say Anime is Japanese, so anything else is just animation. But really they afraid of their own business getting taken away from other animation studios that aren’t Japanese.

    1. Ryan Freels

      I agree on Walt Disney. I understand that he was hurt, but that does not justify becoming the very beast yourself. The fact that anything someone creates as one works for them is downright terrifying. Plus, when something becomes a part of our thoughts, our imaginations, our passions, are they really fully their characters anymore?

      Also, you might be interested in watching PBS Idea Channels “Is Avatar: The Last Airbender Anime?”.

  14. David Vance

    I’ve never been a huge fan of Japanese style animation. I grew up watching Warner Brothers and Disney animation, so the limited animation of anime never appealed to me. It just seemed cheaply made And kinda lazy.

  15. David Vance

    Befo attending SIU and meeting many hardcore anime fans I had no idea how popular Japanese animation was. The Luh and West articles shed some light on the enigma (to me at least) of anime. I thought it was interesting that Japanese animation has been heavily influenced by American animation such as Disney and Fleisher. Its hard to see this influence today but American animation has evolved too. In the articles it talks about how animation was imported to Japan but how they transformed the American style to represent their unique cultural and industrial needs. This helps to explain why anime characters has enormous eyes as sell as other ridiculously oversized features. The Japanese
    animators were responding to the “Americanization” of their country.

    1. Michael Colucci

      I think its cool how both American and Japanese animation have slowly started to merge into each other over time. Both seem to have aspects that are unique to their style, but it would be interesting to see how they evolve later down the road.

  16. Ryan Freels

    Blog Part 2

    Alllllrighty then!!! I really liked this article, because I felt like it did a fairly objective job of examining the strengths and flaws of Walt Disney films, Warner Bros. animation, and anime (Hana-Barbara was mentioned to but mostly for compare and contrast to anime). Walt Disney does have a habit of killing and making parents evil (or at least a bitter adult after youth), though there are exceptions. Also the evil is not so much in the good character(granted they can be imperfect) or an amoral situation that has no personality or contempt and makes things harder, but rather a unambiguously evil person we can spot. The Queen from Snow White, The Stepmother, Maleficient, Captain Hook, Hades, Frollo (really fucked up father figure, that one), etc. That being said, while this is a habit it is not always the case. The Warner Bros. is not full of heroes and villains, but it has personalities at odd with each other, staying away from the overly black and white world of Disney. However, it would certainly be problematic to say it is better than Disney, for only having animation that primarily mocks morals, like it would do to Thumper’s mother has to say, would not acknowledge the importance of such morals. This discussion of anime is particularly strong. I like how it defends classic anime’s stillness as a strength in its own right, using the still image to build on the emotional state of the character, and emphasizing the importance of patience in Japanese culture, While I might critique the overuse of violence (feel I need to see more of it before I say they use to much of it) I agree that taking away animation that expresses the isolation and angst children feel is wrong. I also like how the enemy isn’t just an evil figure but a social condition.

  17. Eric Brown

    Reading up on the arrival of Japanese animation was really interesting. I was raised without anime in my life to any capacity. I never watched Speed Racer or anything like that. To be honest, the closest I ever came was watching some Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack although Jack is more based on old action movies than anime. Powerpuff Girls are obviously a reference though with their huge eyes and that they were created by a scientist who wanted daughters. It is an homage to Astro Boy.
    I was raised watching Warner Brother’s shorts and Disney full length features. I don’t recall watching too many Disney shorts as a kid although I was aware of them because of the old video game that had you play through the cartoon adventures as Mickey Mouse. I don’t remember the name but it opened with Steam Boat Willie being the first level. If I did see Disney shorts they didn’t stick with me. I have always and will always be a Warner Brothers fan. I absolutely love Looney Toons and Merry Melodies for all the reasons they list in the book.
    When the writer discusses how in Bambi, Thumper gets embarrassed and goes through 16 emotions or something where as in Looney Toons he’d have just smacked his mother, I think that’s hilarious. The fact that Looney Toons created their own physics and laws always seemed exciting to me because as a kid everything can be anything else and for a plane crash to run out of gas, that’s brilliant. I love that the personalities are so strong in Looney Toons cartoons. Not that Disney doesn’t have them too but they are too wholesome in ways. In Looney Toons we see the characters starving or being scared or playing tricks. It’s really maybe not appropriate for the age of children we present them too just because they might learn something from it instead of having it be funny due to its inappropriateness but who can say.
    As an adult I still enjoy them but I have also taken up some Anime in the last decade or so. The first series I watched and enjoyed was Cowboy Bebop and then Samurai Champloo although I didn’t get all the way through it. Since becoming a fan of some the Japanese animation style I have added Miyazaki to my list of favorite filmmakers. I have seen all of his works except for the newest Ghibli release but it’s on my list. One of the reasons I couldn’t get into anime as a kid was that it isn’t really funny very often. That’s what got me into Looney Toons was comedy but as an adult now that can appreciate storytelling, the best anime have amazing stories.
    I also couldn’t quite get into the drawing style. I thought it was distracting and was unable to accept it as it was. The big eyes bothered me and other silly stuff. I got over it though as an adult and realized that there is no “wrong” way to create art. The stillness was something I found annoying too though, I never thought of anime as Manga comics with some animation, using them as stills but it’s exactly right. I think that the Disney features and US cartoons that appear to be fully animated leave something to be desired when first introduced to something like Speed Racer if it isn’t shown to you that it’s an acceptable animation style.

    1. Alex Bennett

      Maybe another reason that you got into Japanese animation as you grew older was that it was quite a bit more mature than American cartoons. I got into Japanese scene in middle school, before that it was all Saturday morning cartoons for me. But Japan’s violence, themes, concepts… I sought manga and anime over American creations because they felt much deeper and weren’t afraid to pull punches.

  18. Matthew Limb

    One of the most interesting parts I pulled from the articles was a quote by Helen McCarthy, “American animated films of the period [before WWII] were not so far removed from the traditions of Japanese folk art, with their sense of ridiculous, their gross exaggeration of physical characteristics for dramatic or comic purpose, their anthropomorphic animals and clean, simple lines, and their influences were readily absorbed.” I’m curious to learn more about the early Japanese influences on American animation — particularly in how it applies to Walt Disney.

    The economic reasons for Japanese animation spreading to the US were surprising to me. I can see why the dependence on an overseas market would have been a factor in Japan, but I wish the author had gone into more detail about the US’s involvement in the occupation of post-WWII Japan and how that influenced a delay in television’s take off in Japan. I suppose I could just read the article on it…Japan’s animation begins on TV in the 1960s, but Japanese art/culture/etc would have influenced American animation/art long before this…what are some examples of this influence?

    I did find the different philosophical approaches to animation (and art/life) of Disney and Japanese animation to be interesting and very indicative of their cultural philosophies. The west glorifies the individual (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Newton, Einstein, Edison) — the east emphasizes the collective, the group, and the success of the whole. Both models have their flaws and their positive points. I don’t think the world exists in such a neat binary. There are other models and ways of producing art.

  19. Michael Colucci

    Ever since I was little I’ve always found myself in awe over the brilliance of anime and it’s ability to emphasize aesthetical value. Reading about the introduction of Japanese animation was rather interesting. I was always a big fan of shows like Dragonball, Speedracer, and Pokemon. To be honest, if a show just had an anime “look” to it, I automatically was a fan of it as a child. I feel as though anime in the late 80’s and early 90’s always had the best style because it was so detailed on the eyes and hair without it looking to over-exaggerate.

    I was always curious why there seemed to be a lack in diversity in anime once the end of the millennium came around. After discovering in the reading that there was an overcrowding of anime production teams in the late 80’s that caused many to go bankrupt, it seems as though I finally have an answer to my question. I think it’s interesting that experimentation and creative intuition was what made production companies such as Studio Ghibli so successful during the mass bankruptcy. It just goes to show that originality is a key for staying successful when running an entertainment business.

    I feel like the reason I always preferred Japan’s style of animation over America’s style was because of how aesthetically detailed the characters looked while also taking a stronger emphasis on sharp angles and curves. I’ve always felt as though the storylines to most anime’s pay attention more to making things look cool than keeping thing realistic, which has definitely appealed to my imagination.

    1. Alex Bennett

      I feel the exact same way, but I also love how they say Japanese animators continually look for ways for their viewers to experience more emotions. I love Death Note, and when L died… hoo, they just do it in a way that American animation can’t.

  20. Alex Bennett

    Can I just say how glad I am that Tetsuwan Atomu made it over the U.S.? I love Japanese animation dearly, and since this was the first one to bring Japanese animation to mainstream attention, I suppose I have much to thank it for. It was fun to realize how much influence Astro Boy had on the Powerpuff Girls.
    But one can’t ignore the difference between Japanese and American animations, especially ones that are adapted from one country to the other. In the case of Tesuwan Atomu, minor adjustments were made in its transformation to Astro Boy. In both versions the protagonist initially perishes in a car accident, but in the American version a narrator explains that it was the fault of a futuristic highway that was supposed to steer cars safely on its own. Japan doesn’t include this narration, and is content with leaving Tobio’s death a mystery. The fact that this is not okay with American audiences says something about our society. We need an explanation, something tragic like that can’t be left open-ended.
    Whereas many American films open overseas yearly, why do foreign films so rarely reach our shores? And when they do, why are some themes including violence and nudity so offensive to our culture? Well violence not so much, but nudity, oh boy do those American’s have a hissy fit if we see nudity (anywhere other than our pornographic sites). I hope that Japanese animation continues to influence our culture in bigger and bigger ways, so that one day we might be as accepting of other elements as the Japanese are. I’d like to not be criticized for showing my kids Princess Mononoke and have others claim they’ll be traumatized by the forest spirit getting its head shot off.

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