Anime Meaningless?


Rambling Stories
Hamas & Fatah
Fear the Mighty DVR
Anime Meaningless?
Stonehenge Hijinks
21st century flop
Cellphone Manners
Iran & Nuclear Power

I was sitting at Little Saigon (a very good Vietnamese restaurant in Santa Rosa) waiting for my meal, when a mother and daughter came in and sat behind me. They started up a conversation involving the daughter's classes at the California Art Institute in San Francisco --not the SFAI, the CAISF.

She seemed to be enjoying her classes, and was particularly looking forward to a class in animation techniques. This class would mostly focus on watching various kinds of animation, and critiquing them based on a number of criteria.

My Shrimp & Pork spring rolls arrived, so I was in the midst of enjoying their delightful taste when she said "The Japanese stuff just doesn't have any message." I nearly snorted shrimp roll out of my nose, but remained quiet as they continued their conversation and meandered off to another topic.

Long after my lunch, I thought about what the girl had said. It was obvious that she'd been raised on Disney and Warner Brothers, and was having some trouble finding a frame of reference for something that was "Not Made Here". I had to wonder if she was going to have the same view of French animation (Asterix the Gual to the Adventures of Tin Tin) or British Animation. I kept thinking, that no matter how much I know about Japanese Animation, I don't think I could explain to her how much meaning she was being completely oblivious to.

Luckily, there actually IS something this budding animation student could do to expand her horizons. She could also sit down with some baguettes and watch Kiki's Delivery Service, and She could spend some time to read Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation. by Antonia Levy *.

Being an intrepid web surfer, I found a few reviews of Levy's book. Then, I filtered out the ones that had their personal axes to grind (it's amazing how many people own axes on the internet) and voila, you can get a pretty even handed review from Fred Patten on Animation World Magazine, Issue 2.2, May 1997.

Perhaps I'll write my own review on the book after I read it, maybe I won't. I may still be too busy getting the shrimp and pork rolls out of my nose.

*Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 1996. 169 pages, illustrated. Trade paperback, $18.95; ISBN: 0-8126-9332-9.