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#1
Apr 30, 11:37 PM

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What's better or what do you prefer in anime? symbolism and imagery etc or straight up info dump. I don't like info dump, I hate when characters start telling me about what wars happened or how this certain device works or how the master plan unfolded, just leave me to discover these stuff.
A good example for me is Evangelion, they don't tell us how the war unfolded or what is Gendo's master plan, you understand it if you pay attention and is better for the atmosphere. Even though I liked Franxx, I hated the explanations, it would've been better if we didn't know anything about the world or the klaxo, but in the end they shove that info up our mouths instead of just making some foreshadowing or adding background info (like the news casts from Eva) to understand the world.
I'm not saying info dump is bad storytelling or that symbolism is good. Do you have examples where info dump is well used? how does these things affect an anime? Anyway, discuss.
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#2
May 1, 12:21 AM

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I'm also in favor of symbolism, my favorite example of good symbolism is Hidamari sketch cuz it's optional you can watch the anime just casual and it will be good or you can play close attention to the characters and backgrounds and understand a lot more of the characters.

I don't have a problem with info dump but it seems that lately EVERY freaking anime just tell you EVERYTHING and it's getting annoying honestly.

 
#3
May 1, 12:31 AM
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this topic is better stated as "spoon feeding" vs "fill in the blanks or show dont tell"

its funny though the reason Hunter X Hunter is very popular is because of the constant exposition or spoon feeding story telling, and this is true for most manga and light novels i think while the show dont tell technique is seen more on original anime like one example i can think of is Flip Flappers

for me i prefer to fill in the blanks like what i discuss with the original anime Charlotte back in the days here https://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=1432935
 
#4
May 1, 12:32 AM

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Catalano said:
What's better or what do you prefer in anime? symbolism and imagery etc or straight up info dump. I don't like info dump, I hate when characters start telling me about what wars happened or how this certain device works or how the master plan unfolded, just leave me to discover these stuff.
A good example for me is Evangelion, they don't tell us how the war unfolded or what is Gendo's master plan, you understand it if you pay attention and is better for the atmosphere. Even though I liked Franxx, I hated the explanations, it would've been better if we didn't know anything about the world or the klaxo, but in the end they shove that info up our mouths instead of just making some foreshadowing or adding background info (like the news casts from Eva) to understand the world.
I'm not saying info dump is bad storytelling or that symbolism is good. Do you have examples where info dump is well used? how does these things affect an anime? Anyway, discuss.

I don't think that too much info dump is great and all, but getting explanations on certain things ain't a bad thing either, especially if you're confused af or something.
One of the best explanations is from the HBO series The Leftovers, where, in the end, they tell you why the 'thing' happened but the show kinda hints that you can choose whether or not it's because of that reason..

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#5
May 1, 12:38 AM

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I like it better when an anime follows the "show, don't tell" rule, what with anime being a visual medium and all. Any idiot can dump info onto the viewers. It takes talent and skill to "show" through natural dialogue, believable expressions and body language, visuals, direction, cinematography, and camera work, rather than literally "tell" through bland, droning dialogues.
 
#6
May 1, 12:48 AM

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Don't have a preference but a balance of both should be good IMO. This is possibly better understood through a show by show basis.

As for info-dump being useful for the story, I can think of Shin Sekai Yori and Steins;Gate as a couple of examples, because these stories would be arguably frustrating to interpret and sit through if we didn't know how the world operates.

Legend of Galactic Heroes uses info-dump well too, because symbolism alone wouldn't help understand how the present state of events came to be. Detective Conan is another possible example where the info dump is necessary for you to confirm what really took place, as it's a detective-mystery series.
Modified by KreatorX, May 1, 1:04 AM
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#7
May 1, 1:00 AM
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As with anything, balance is key. I don't want to be left completely in the dark, or feel like there's no direction or buildup of the plot (if it's a plot-driven show, that is), but I also don't want to feel like the writer thinks I'm an idiot by spoon-feeding me every little detail. I like shows that either convey their story through a moderate mix of both well-purposed exposition and symbolic elements, or a more straightforward plot that's easy to follow but still contains enough depth (in my eyes, of course) to be analyzed to a certain degree afterwards.
 
#8
May 1, 1:24 AM

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Defo info dump. I'm an idiot and find it hard to understand most simbolism and understand hidden meanings; I really need it spoon feed to me or I won't understand.
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#9
May 1, 1:26 AM

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Nah I prefer imagery or interesting character interactions, much calmer and more entertaining. I feel like I won't like LoGH for this reason.
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May 1, 1:31 AM

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Info dump does a good job explaining whatever, it's doing it's job well. If it's an explanation then I'd rather just get things have things said and done, I'd like the main plot to just unfold. But I still at the same time love symbolism and love having the plot show what could've been an explanation.
If explanations are too overused then obviously that would be boring and needs to be balanced.
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May 1, 1:33 AM

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I prefer a mix of info dump and subtle hints/foreshadowing. For example, there are so many abilites, gadgets, places and organisations in One Piece, explanation for the viewer are simply necessary. But there are also tons of small details you can pick up in every episode/chapter.
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May 1, 1:52 AM

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As others have said, i like a mix of both. I'm not into shows that just throw symbolism at you without explanation and just info dumping all the time is annoying. A mix of both is perfect.
 
May 1, 2:34 AM
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Of course, simbolism is more mentally engaging so I prefer it. The Fate/series has some master degree simbolism and it's not the only one. Also rarely you can have a show that uses simbolism through dialogue like Monogatari.

But "info dumps" can be amazing too, with the right execution that is. Sometimes there are too large quantities of information to be just sent to the viewer. Shinsekai yori is the best example. It's fourth episode is the most information dense episode I've seen until now. The monologue is accompanied by beautiful imagery that tells even more.

There you probably meant info dump as in a show that spoon feeds everything but here ^ I just took it as vast amounts of information transmitted directly.
 
May 1, 2:39 AM

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KreatorX said:
Legend of Galactic Heroes uses info-dump well too, because symbolism alone wouldn't help understand how the present state of events came to be. Detective Conan is another possible example where the info dump is necessary for you to confirm what really took place, as it's a detective-mystery series.

Great example here, imagine logh and trying to guess what's happening, who is fighting who, who's winning, what are the characters philosophies and Conan resolving a mystery without us knowing the mechanics.
"Even if there's a wide world and stories
beyond the main focus, I don't think
it's necessary to end with the protagonist having
been involved in everything." - Yagi Norihiro
 
May 1, 4:06 AM

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Catalano said:
What's better or what do you prefer in anime? symbolism and imagery etc or straight up info dump. I don't like info dump, I hate when characters start telling me about what wars happened or how this certain device works or how the master plan unfolded, just leave me to discover these stuff.
A good example for me is Evangelion, they don't tell us how the war unfolded or what is Gendo's master plan, you understand it if you pay attention and is better for the atmosphere. Even though I liked Franxx, I hated the explanations, it would've been better if we didn't know anything about the world or the klaxo, but in the end they shove that info up our mouths instead of just making some foreshadowing or adding background info (like the news casts from Eva) to understand the world.
I'm not saying info dump is bad storytelling or that symbolism is good. Do you have examples where info dump is well used? how does these things affect an anime? Anyway, discuss.


It depends, not balancing each other, but pick one of the two for your anime ... It is all about execution ..
 
May 1, 4:22 AM

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Macross Delta had an entire episode as info dump, well they fucked up the second half and I guess that episode was their solution to the inevitable trainwreck that happened anyway.
 
May 1, 4:29 AM

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Here's my top 5 priorities:

1) Big tits
2) Good animation
3) Epic music
4) Violence and blood
5) If it has magic or supernatural stuff, well explained rules and limitations. I guess info dumb is part of this
 
May 1, 4:34 AM

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It depends on what the story needs. Could you imagine Serial Experiments Lain without the symbolism or Rurouni Kenshin without all the info dumping in the beginning?
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May 1, 4:37 AM

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Sybolism is better.It makes a story more interisting and particular.Also it pushes the audience to pay more attention to the story,thus people are more involved into it.Plus symbolism can be interpreted in a lot of different ways,so is more interesting trying to find the interpretation more similar to what the author actually wanted to say.
 
May 1, 5:03 AM

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Johnnyd3rp said:
Macross Delta had an entire episode as info dump, well they fucked up the second half and I guess that episode was their solution to the inevitable trainwreck that happened anyway.

They should've kept the atmosphere of the first installments, I don't know which ep you're referring, maybe the one with the walkure past? because that one was not necessary at all, just hint that they had tough times and that's it. Don't get me started on the whole premise, a whole show about "Jamming Birds" from M7? which was proven to be ineffective

holysauron said:
It depends on what the story needs. Could you imagine Serial Experiments Lain without the symbolism or Rurouni Kenshin without all the info dumping in the beginning?

Agree with Lain but RuroKen could still work if we weren't given info all the time about the war and what crimes he did (there is that ova with his past which adapts the manga).
"Even if there's a wide world and stories
beyond the main focus, I don't think
it's necessary to end with the protagonist having
been involved in everything." - Yagi Norihiro
 
May 1, 7:59 PM
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the examples here like Legend of Galactic Heroes and Rurouni Kenshin is missing the fact that they are anime adaptations of a novel and manga and those story medium of course has visual story telling limitations unlike a full blown visual story
 
May 2, 3:40 AM

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I can only think of "fate zero, "Sagrada Reset, Steins gate", but as long as it doesn't take an entire episode and is shared a little at a time, I find it perfectly exeptable.
Symbolism is essential to get us to think (or me to think) of a series as original. While info dump if done correctly, makes an anime seem like it's creator (source material) put in a lot of thought, planning and had intriguing ideas while making it. In short it makes me feel the passion the creator put in to the story he was telling.
 
May 2, 4:13 AM

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Both, it depends on the show, though info dumps are generally more useful and less cryptic and are far less likely to be misinterpreted. I'd take a well placed info dump over some of the cryptic BS type symbolism any day, but subtle symbolism is better than a badly placed info dump that doesn't really fit the conversation for situation.
Modified by Kruszer, May 2, 4:21 AM
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May 2, 4:48 AM

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I think it depends on the show's direction and genre. I usually prefer symbolism to info dump, but the latter if done right is fine. Symbolism is all fine and dandy in shows that like to go in the philosophical direction but I'm sure most people wouldn't care for it as much in more casual shows

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May 2, 9:38 AM

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Biggest problem with symbolism is that it's not always possible the viewer will be able to understand and come to conclusions with it, especially if it's a more obscure reference. It's why I'd prefer infodumps because at least all the information needed can be explained properly

Good examples would be Shinsekai Yori in the beginning, and while not an anime, MGS2 before the final boss
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May 2, 9:43 AM

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I honestly don't care as long as it's explained in a good way and has good story telling.
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May 2, 9:49 AM
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It depends, as always, on the execution and context. I've heard people complain about infodumps just on principle before, even if they were necessary, made a lot of sense and were executed in a cool and unique way, and I don't have a lot of understanding for that kind reductive mindset. Similarly I've seen people complain about shows being confusing when they really just required you to pay a bit more attention and it wasn't THAT hard to figure out what was going on, just because it wasn't spelled out for them. That's also not a position I can relate to.

In the end I'll mostly try and go with the flow of the anime/director and try to accept whatever method they deem best for any given situation or scene. Both have their pros and cons and I don't have a clear rpeference in a vacuum anyway, so I don't see the point of ruining my experience by always wanting anime to go for one or the other. Show-don't-tell is more interesting but it also requires more concentration and effort and I'm not always in the mood for that kind of watching experience. A lot of the time I just want to relax, not solve a puzzle, so I'm fine with the majority of anime gravitating more towards the info dump end of the spectrum.

I will say however that show-don't-tell has a higher ceiling, if it is done perfectly and resonates well with me it's just adding an additional layer of enjoyment that is to be gained from a show, while info dumps are mostly gonna be neutral and just play a supporting role in generating enjoyment from the viewing experience in terms of what they might do for worldbuilding or other aspects. But there is no particular 'joy' in hearing an infodump, while analysing and interpreting visual storytelling can definitely be a fun and rewarding experience on it's own, independent from the actual content you're 'deciphering'.
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May 2, 10:12 AM

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A balance is good. For example in Attack on Titan they tell you about the 3 walls and the titans, yet you initially know nothing of the origin of these titans, as well as how the world fell into such a state. Without some "info-dump" the plot would be confused, and the many enigmas play a great role in driving the plot.
 
May 2, 11:45 AM

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I like both if they're done right. Both symbolism and exposition should feel natural. At no point should you think that the anime/manga is only giving you such scenes because it has nothing else to offer. This is why I dislike much of the symbolism scenes in Mawaru Penguindrum and have a hatred for the exposition scenes in Sakurada Reset. The symbolism in Penguindrum felt empty and got in the way of the story most of the time (though I love some of the symbolism it offered like all the train motifs). The exposition in Sakurada Reset felt forced and never served its purpose of driving the plot forward very well.

I would say I lean a bit towards exposition scenes as a preference. Symbolism done well can be beautiful but I appreciate it when an anime wither has great subtlety in its exposition or has the balls to shove walls of exposition in your face (with intent of course) and that's why I actually liked the fat exposition episode 4 of Shinsekai Yori. If I get shoved in the face with never-ending symbolism I just feel like the anime is berating me for not being smart enough or something.
 
May 2, 11:56 AM

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Can symbolism really be seen as the opposite of info dumping? I don't really think so, but I absolutely hate info dumping to the point where I prefer ambiguity.
 
May 3, 6:25 AM

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Exposition is very underrated in my opinion
 
May 3, 11:37 AM

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syncrogazer said:
Can symbolism really be seen as the opposite of info dumping? I don't really think so, but I absolutely hate info dumping to the point where I prefer ambiguity.

It doesn't really matter if they are opposites or not, I just put them there because they are most used in anime I guess. Ambiguity is too lacking I think, you have lets say 12 episodes to make a plot and you still don't put anything there? That's why I dislike the first tehxnolyze episodes, too ambiguous, why not insert something cool there?
"Even if there's a wide world and stories
beyond the main focus, I don't think
it's necessary to end with the protagonist having
been involved in everything." - Yagi Norihiro
 
May 3, 4:00 PM

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Catalano said:
It doesn't really matter if they are opposites or not, I just put them there because they are most used in anime I guess. Ambiguity is too lacking I think, you have lets say 12 episodes to make a plot and you still don't put anything there? That's why I dislike the first tehxnolyze episodes, too ambiguous, why not insert something cool there?

Well, the or was certainly misleading then.

I don't know, I think ambiguity is pretty cool. Openness allows for a lot of fun in fictional worlds. But if it got to the point where it actually felt like something was 'lacking' in the building of the plot then that is something else altogether, and that's not what I mean by ambiguity, which should be obvious.
Modified by syncrogazer, May 3, 4:08 PM
 
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