Saturday, October 14, 2006

Popeye VS Anime, a Study of Contrasts

I spotted this on YouTube, and I have no idea if you've seen this or not, but you should.

Who doesn't love Popeye? That lovable muttering-under-his-breath sailor has had it hard lately with the whole "people talking about me spinach" thing, so it's great to see him out and about again, especially for his latest cause "Protecting Children From Anime."

You see, geeks are a fun but trusting group, who greet all manor of genre media with enthusiasm and open arms. Whether it's something of quality like the new "Battlestar Galactica" DVD or something toxicly "B -rated" like the 21st season of "Stargate SG1: Pretend We Are Farscape (Because we hired the whole damn cast)," the geek market opens it's wallet wide, supporting anything that even tries to mention space, aliens, superheros, time travel, monsters or cloned bikini clad women with blue hair (not that I'm complaining...Wait...I am complaining...Sorry I forgot).

Anyway, geek culture needs someone kicking their ass and making distinctions of quality. The past six years has been good to us comic book film geeks or as we call ourselves "Sequential Art to Film Aficionados" (yes....we really don't call ourselves that).

If we want more "Spider-man 2," "Ghost World," "X2," "V For Vendetta," "Justice League Unlimited," "Batman Animated," "Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex," "Samurai Champloo," "Lost," and "Battlestar Galactica," we need to point our disdain at "DareDevil," "Fantastic Four," "X3," "Pokemon," "Yu-Gi-Oh," "Stargate," "The 4400," "The Deadzone," "Inuyasha," and "Who Wants to Be a Superhero." (we all hate that last one right?)

Oh yeah, Popeye!
Popeye is performing an important role, by allowing us to visualize the stark contrasts between traditional western animation and its direct, non-referential "character gets hit in the head and says Ow!" style of story telling and the negative aspects of "Bad Anime," whose, repetitive, bureaucratic rule based hierarchal tournament plots churn out obsessive, gambling children who act like pint-sized heroin addicts in their never ending, lust quenching for the new monster, card or tournament. Check it Out!

I am not an Anime hater, by any means. But I will admit that pre "Cowboy BeBop" I had no use for anything other than "Akira," the work of Hayao Miyazaki and "Gatchaman/Battle Of The Planets," which as a child of the late seventies is my birthright! (Battle Of The Planets Rules!!)

Right off the top of my head I can tell you what I'm liking in the Anime world:

Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Cowboy BeBop
Samurai Champloo
Wolf's Rain
Paranoia Agent
Fullmetal Alchemist

Each one of these shows is deeply character based, strongly written and unabashedly strange.
(yes I watch Adult Swim) Let me know, if you have any recommendations.


Kell Trenzer said...

Most cartoons (anime included) are geared towards children so I'll cut it some slack, and I do enjoy some of the same anime you do. But I had forgotten why I pretty much stopped watching cartoons in general and that clip really hit it on the head. Popeye made more sense speaking than the other characters did, and those are common types of lines from the cheaply produced anime that so much of animation has become.

RobbyT said...

If you want to talk about great, old school anime, don't forget Space Battleship Yamato, or to us 80's babies in the US, StarBlazers!! Check out wiki:

Chris said...

You might want to check out Gantz. That show is amazing.