Don’t Hate Anime

And now, for something different, I present the words of Quentin Tarentino, putting film crit hulk in his place:

“And I mean if you want to do this for a fucking living and you’re absolutely serious, then never hate a movie. You can learn so much about the craft from bad movies. I man you can’t like fucking look at Kurosawa and be all  “Oooh just do what Kurosawa did. You know, it’s easy!” Fuck no! Bad movies teach you what not to do and what to correct in your process and that’s way more helpful. You know how many feet of film I burned on this thing [Kill Bill] when I was trying to be like something else that was great? Like fucking Pole Fighter, like what you said? No, all the best stuff came out of me just trying to avoid mistakes.

And fuck man, hating movies closes you off to stuff that seems like whatever you hate. Or stuff by the same guy. And who knows? That other stuff could be awesome. Some of my favorite filmmakers made bad movies. It won’t help you. It just won’t. It stops your development right in its tracks, okay? I mean like everything and I ain’t trying to get you to be like fucking me or anything. I’m just saying I think it’s better for you. And it makes me way, way happier. Never hate a movie. They’re gifts. Every fucking one of em.”

From the same entry (please excuse his hulk-like style):

AT THE TIME HULK DIDN’T REALIZE HOW MUCH TARANTINO WAS BREAKING A WIDE-OPEN HOLE IN HULK’S LATENT ADOLESCENT PERSPECTIVE. ABOUT THINKING YOU KNOW EVERYTHING JUST BECAUSE YOU KNOW SOMETHING. HULK LOOKS BACK ON OPINIONS, WRITING, FROM A DECADE AGO AND SORT OF SHAKES HULK’S HEAD. IT NOT THAT THE WORDS INARTICULATE, OR THE IDEAS NOT COMPLEX… IT JUST SO UNFORGIVING.

REMOVING THE HATE CREATES A NEW AND BETTER CLIMATE. IT’S SHOWS US THAT BEING SO FOCUSED ON DESIGNATING MOVIES AS AWESOME OR SUX, PREVENTS US FROM HAVING THE BEST POSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS.

I’ve said something similar to this in my other posts, so what I am doing here is simply finding a more eloquent version of what I was trying to say.

Has anyone ever heard of this bullshit called “type a” and “type b” otaku? Let me post the descriptions:

Type A:

A person who simply enjoys “anime.”
Is proud of Japan’s anime.
Evaluates anime based on direction, voice acting, art, etc.
Hates shallow anime with no real content.
Story emphasis >>>>> Moe anime.

A recent example would Higashi no Eden. Fans of anime like Lain or Ghost in the Shell would probably be this kind.

Type B:

A person who simply enjoys “characters.”
Will watch an anime if it includes cute or beautiful characters.
Doesn’t care if story is awful, as long as the characters are of interest.
Evaluates anime based on which seiyuu are in it and what the characters look like.
Loves moe elements. Doesn’t like complex anime.
The otaku the media picks up on are usually this kind.
Doesn’t know that much about anime and so is often criticised as by Type A otaku.
However, they make much better customers than the more discerning Type A otaku.
Recently there has been a huge increase in anime targeted at Type B otaku.
People who like K-ON!, Queen’s Blade, Strike Witches and so on would be in this class.

This description is obviously biased towards the type A; it was clearly written by one.

He likes some anime, he even loves some anime. But his love is conditional on a thing called “quality”, and he hates anything that he perceives as lacking sufficient amounts of it. All of his discussions are geared around this thing called quality, about whether this thing or that thing increases or decreases the quality. And the sad thing is, he thinks this way of thinking makes him smarter and more sophisticated.

What a boring man.

 

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3 Responses to Don’t Hate Anime

  1. Long reply, but your posts are far more interesting than all the usual episode summaries toward which other blogs tend.

    In four words, I think I agree. We come to stories and art both to be taught and to be engrossed. The proportions are different from instance to instance, of course; could we ever really enjoy a story that was completely lacking in one or the other? I’m not certain it would even be a story…

    I think the problem with the quality-obsessed is that they often don’t understand the levelheadedness these sorts of judgments require; the dichotomy the person in your example constructed is false, isn’t it? For example, I’m a huge fan of worldviews, because I believe that they are (along with the social needs of a particular time) a big part of why certain works last while others fade away. But it depends on what I’m looking for. Took me years to realize that. Scary.

    I think it’s totally okay to test a series that sets itself up to be a contender for something, or one that people claim to be something more than it seems. Like calling out a movie’s conclusions as bullshit when its process revolves around developing philosophical ideas, or spiritual reflection. There isn’t just one way to do things, neither in life nor in art; I hope most people understand the silliness of the idea. That said, you have to acknowledge what a particular tale does, and what it’s trying to do. You can say, “Yeah, it’s not my type,” but to disparage it automatically is stupid.

    “Simple” entertainment aside, the key, for me, is successful range: if the range of depicted values is thorough, honest, and sane/level-headed, we can see a wacky/desperate/anguished/despairing character behave crazily, yet be in a better position to make better guesses as to what we have in common with them and what we don’t. Yup, this applies for comedy, too. Otherwise you risk ending up where I did, straightforwardly conflating 2-D personalities with reality, which can be humorously embarrassing, or worse.

    The quality-nut is doomed to failure. “Quality” eludes him because there probably isn’t a unitary formula in the first place. I’m not sure what the alternative is, but I’ve settled for “being moved,” since that’s something art actually does.

    Thus: if something feels weird, I try to figure out why. I think Madoka was the most recent personal example I can think of. Directorial work was awesome, and clever, but something felt weird. Investigate the weirdness; decide where the line between taste and legitimate criticism is.

    • bricksalad says:

      I think you’re right about testing a series that is set up to be something on that level. I do in fact find myself looking down upon comedies that aren’t funny or thoughtful works that are trivial.

      But even when that is so, I have cheated myself when I let my impression end there. For a work that fails to be one thing may succeed at being another thing, and even when that’s not the case, there is still the question of *why* it fails. In that sense, an unsuccessful work can be even more interesting than a successful one.

      • Therein lies the magic of your point: even if a story has a point that fails or stumbles in the end, it can do other things well, like entertain, or stir us up to action or feeling. An apparently simplistic robot show can make us scream “Gar YES!” Or draw us into OMG-what-happens-next mode. All of these factors are legitimate successes; they don’t get as much respect as they perhaps should. Because what artists and audiences alike remember and relate are pieces, or moments, or reactions, not simply wholesale narratives.

        One of the interesting things about narratives, databases, etc. is that, for hundreds, if not thousands of years, we’ve been incorporating “pieces” for the creation of new work; even if we haven’t always been database animals, we’ve still had the impulse to consider tales in new ways. Sort of…Modern, I guess.

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