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  • Anime 101

    My fiancee has decided to embrace her inner geek lately and has started to get interested in anime and manga. Unfortunately, she really knows nothing about it...and neither do I. I know several people around here are into it...does anybody have any suggestions for 'introduction to anime'-type series or movies that might make good Christmas presents? I suspect she'd lean more toward the fantasy side than the sci-fi...
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  • #2
    Hmm, we haven't had any Anime Apolyton threads for a while.

    A good place to search for series is www.animenfo.com
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    • #3
      Alot of the anime I've seen looks like borderline porn.
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      • #4
        That's one of the major negative aspects of using google -- if there's a fetish (no matter how bizarre) somehow involved with the thing you're searching for, the kinky stuff ALWAYS comes up first, being more popular.

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        • #5
          Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away is very good.

          Record of the Lodoss War is fantasy in the elves/dwarves/orcs sense of fantasy. It's okay, not great, but some people like it.
          I'm consitently stupid- Japher
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          • #6
            I would recommend hiring some anime dvds first, and then if you like it, buy. I just can't stomach the obscure plots and poor animation myself.
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            • #7
              hiring?
              I'm consitently stupid- Japher
              I think that opinion in the United States is decidedly different from the rest of the world because we have a free press -- by free, I mean a virgorously presented right wing point of view on the air and available to all.- Ned

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              • #8
                Yeah. Don't you have Video Easy or other such stores where you live?

                I think it's a mistake just buying anime and hoping you like it.
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                • #9
                  I think it's a mistake just buying anime and hoping you like it.
                  I couldn't agree more - until you've seen a handful of stuff and can try the "they like what I like and they like X, so I'll probably like X myself" approach, you shouldn't invest in anything. Some rent, some make a habit out of anime clubs, some just download and watch. My introduction to anime was when watching at a friend's place.

                  Miyazaki should be a pretty good bet for a Christmas present, though.
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                  • #10
                    If you're interested in finding out just how much she loves you, try getting Ping Pong Club.
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                    • #11
                      I had a whole huge response typed out, and then it got eaten.

                      For now, let me make some suggestions, and I'll try to get back later and post more extensively.

                      You mention fantasy, so I'll start there. Pretty much anything from Studio Ghibli would work, but I'd suggest starting with Kiki's Delivery Service.
                      For Christmas, another possibility would be Tokyo Godfathers.

                      Some other titles:
                      Escaflowne
                      Fruits Basket
                      Millenium Actress
                      Twelve Kingdoms
                      Spirited Away
                      Haibane Renmei (my personal favorite show

                      --"Hmm, we haven't had any Anime Apolyton threads for a while. "

                      There wasn't much response in them, really. If there's interest, I can try starting them up again at a reduced rate. They tend to take a lot of effort to put together.

                      --"hiring?"

                      Translate as "renting" ^_^
                      I can't figure out what "obscure plots" is supposed to mean, though. And animation quality varies from very good (ie. Miyazaki) to rather poor (Violinist of Hamelin is almost a slide show).

                      Wraith
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                      • #12
                        The only anime I've seen is what they play on Cartoon Network but I like Case Closed, Lupin III, Rurouni Kenshin, & Inuyasha.

                        The Big O was cool too but is probably a little wierd for most.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wraith
                          Fruits Basket
                          What's that one about?
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by loinburger

                            What's that one about?
                            Girl happens upon family that is cursed - whenever a cursed member of that family is hugged by someone of the opposite gender, they transform into an animal from the chinese zodiac. That's pretty much the basis for the whole thing.

                            My fiancee and I are currently going through it and it's pretty good. I'm enjoying it.

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                            • #15
                              Okay, now I'll explain the choices a bit. I'll note first that anime is a medium, not a genre. If you give some examples of Amercian movies and series she does like (and doesn't like), that would help.

                              Kiki's Delivery Service is about a young apprentice witch. As part of her training, she has to leave home and live by herself for a year. This is a straightforward coming-of-age story. IIRC, it's based on a French story (Miyazaki's latest, Howl's Moving Castle, is based on a British story).

                              Tokyo Godfathers is about three homeless people living in Japan who find an abandonded baby on Christmas Eve. They decide to take care of her and then try to find her parents to return her. This one is a big string of coincidences happening one after the other. It was done that way on purpose, and I think Satoshi Kon did a good job with it, but it puts some people off.

                              Escaflowne is about a high school girl who gets swept into another world after a dragon and a boy in armor appear in the middle of the track field. On this new world, Gaea, Hitomi's fortune-telling hobby becomes something more, and the boy turns out to be king of a small kingdom. The villian in this one is rather eccentric, but it's a good show.

                              Fruits Basket is about recently orphaned high school girl Tohru Honda. Through circumstances, she's ended up living in a tent. More things happen, and she gets taken in by part of the Sohma family as kind of a live-in maid; cleaning and cooking in return for room and board. But the Sohma family has a secret; they're cursed by the spirits of the Chinese Zodiac. When hugged by someone of the opposite sex, some of them turn into their zodiac animal. This is a combination comedy and drama, and handles both very well.

                              Millenium Actress isn't quite a fantasy, per-se. It's the story of a famous Japanese actress, who disappeared suddenly from the screen some years prior. It's told in Satoshi Kon's trademark reality/fantasy warping fashion.

                              Twelve Kingdoms probably isn't quite what you want for a present. It's ten discs in total, although they haven't all been released here yet. Still, it's a great fantasy story. It's another high-school girl in a strange world story, only this one is very much based on Confucianism. She's taken there after a strange man shows up at school one day and swears fealty to her, before helping her escape some fantasy monsters that show up. This is mostly a character drama, although the setting is epic fantasy. I will warn that the main character starts out insecure and whiny, but she developes very well over the course of the series.

                              Spirited Away is another Miyazaki movie. In this one the main character, a little girl, is caught up in a fairy tale world; a bath house where the various spirits come to relax. This one is steeped in Japanese fairytales, so you probably won't recognize most of the monsters and spirits, but it's a good coming of age story.

                              Haibane Renmei is described pretty well by the link I gave. I will warn you that the first half is pretty much in the shomingeki style. There's no real western equivalent to this genre, but think slice of life. It's just normal people doing normal things. If she doesn't have the patience to watch a pure character drama, you might not want to try this.

                              Now, a couple quick responses.

                              Porn. Of course. Sex always sells, so that's the stuff that got brought over first, and in a fair number.

                              Obscure plots? Most anime plots are quite straightforward, like the Kiki's plot above. There are shows with much more convoluted plots (Paranoia Agent, Serial Experiments: Lain, etc), but there are similar shows in the US, like Twin Peaks or the X-Files. It's just a matter of selection.

                              As far as animation quality goes, of course it varies. Some productions will have more money than others, and more money generally gives you better results. Animation quality can range from the excellent, such as Miyazaki's famous for, to the very poor, such as in Violinist of Hamelin, which is nearly a slide show most of the time.

                              I probably wouldn't go with Record of the Lodoss War. I like it, but unless she's a big AD&D player, I wouldn't guarantee anything.

                              Wraith
                              "Baka."
                              -- Ruri ("Nadesico")

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