Anime for People Who Don't Like Anime

There are people among us who appreciate and look for the same things in anime as they do in books, movies, or theatrical performances. Among them are: — three-dimensional, realistic, memorable characters with well-explored arcs; — fresh ideas, or at least unconventional circumstances used as their vessels, — elaborate, not overly predictable storylines with impactful, carefully set up twists and conclusions; — unconventional, perhaps visionary storytelling that treats the audience and their intelligence with respect; — well-crafted atmosphere that immerses you into the fictional world by showing, rather than telling; — well-placed audiovisual accents that highlight the emotions without being tacky; — pacing that allows enough time for the events to sink in and characters to develop, while maintaining the audience's interest throughout; — experimental use of sound, camera angles, coloring, editing, animation techniques, etc.; — clever, believable dialogues that work without inserting jokes, thought process self-narration, or forced exposition where they don't belong; — fresh, well-written and delivered verbal and visual humor, and/or well-disguised, yet biting, satire that doesn't overly rely on real world pop culture references (let alone other anime series); — well-placed foreshadowing, attention to detail, and other things that tell us of the care and thought put into any given work. If you consider the entire list you'll realize how few and far inbetween are works that get even half of it right. The vast majority of titles don't comply with any of those criteria. Most of the time you can tell what a character is gonna be like at the first glance and how they will change (if at all), see plot twists coming from a mile away (unless the writer goes full-on deus ex machina with them, which is even more of a storytelling impotency), probe the extent of fanservice, crude humor, and lowest-common-denominator dialogues by the first five minutes, and otherwise tell what particular formula a show adheres to and what kinds of stupid decisions one can expect. So yes, we are out for quality works that not only change one's perception of anime as a medium, but actually have the potential to change people deep inside; give them something to relate to in real life, challenge their worldview and their tastes in art. We are, indeed, looking for something reasonably close to high art (within each respective genre, obviously). This is a very tall order, and there is maybe half a dozen works worthy of being mentioned here for any given year, out of many hundreds titles that choose to stick to tried formulas, for better or for worse. This isn't to say that anime that looks and feels like typical anime is bad—oftentimes it's just fine, sometimes even extremely enjoyable (the founder of this club is extremely fond of One Piece, for one, despite it being deeply entrenched in well-established shonen anime sensibilities). But here we're looking for titles that transcend the borders and limitations of anime and are perceived as instances of notable, powerful, easily discernible creative expression—that happens to share the form—so that even people with well-developed taste that don't happen to like anime as a medium (or even anything animated at all) can still see merit in that. *** RULES AND CONDITIONS *** 1. No douchebaggery. This club's purpose is to help each other find new titles—not to show off your tastes nor to prove you're better than someone else. 2. When you pitch a new addition, take your time and be as specific as possible in how you think it adheres to the ideas and principles stated in the description. Don't just suggest anything you or other people have happened to enjoy. If you can name at least 4-5 titles that are very similar to what you're about to suggest, it should probably tell you it wouldn't be a very good suggestion. 3. Just because something is well-animated, or very funny, has great music, epic plot twists, or tearjerking drama, it doesn't make it automatically eligible. But if any of that is used in ways that make it significantly thought-provoking, creative, or otherwise elevates it far above the norm, then it's worth discussing at least. 4. Just because something has some problems, it doesn't automatically disqualify it either. In a collaborative art such as this, perfection is impossible to achieve. But whatever problems there might be should be very significantly overshadowed, perhaps even dominated, by the strong points. 5. Genre, subject matter, year of release, popularity rating, budget, names, etc., don't matter much. What matters is how the creators have dealt with constraints. 6. Manga is allowed and welcome. We'll see about games/visual novels. (Various updates coming soon, including a list of Bad Examples and a list of Things That Almost Made It.)

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Members: 6
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Category: Anime
Created: Nov 26, 2015

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moozooh (Admin, Creator)

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