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What are your thoughts on Anime with a western setting?

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Sep 20, 1:16 AM

Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 81
Personally I do love anime based in western countries. My two favorites are Unbreakable Machine Doll and Gosick. I also feel anime with a western settings are better to watch in Dub rather than Sub, but that's just my opinion.

Sep 20, 1:19 AM

Joined: May 2017
Posts: 111
I only like when in anime they visit the west and have the npc's have scuffed english accents for the memes
Sep 20, 1:35 AM
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Usually, I hate them. I love the Eastern feeling that anime tends to give because I find that more relatable. However, if the creator has put enough research and hard work into it, I might actually like it. I mean, I loved Kuroshitsuji!
Sep 20, 1:39 AM
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It depends. I enjoy shows set in modern western setting, but in case of historical setting I often don't enjoy those shows because it's usually pretty misinformed image of the era. I much prefer anime set in Japan when it comes to historical setting.
Sep 20, 1:51 AM

Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 1485
I think it can work, but it depends how much effort the staff put in. If they're trying to accurately recreate another country for their setting, then they need to put the work in, and most just kinda don't. That's how we end up with some many black and engrish characters in hawaiian shirts with big afro's that hardly even look human.

If they can replicate not just the look but also the culture of the place then I'll be happy. Most of his work is sci-fi, but Shinichiro Watanabe is really good at this. Also Yamada Noako. Go watch the K-ON! The Movie, it takes place mostly in London and everything looks perfect. EDIT: Shit I didn't even think about Ancient Magus Bride! That's a good example too, though in my opinion it goes for the aesthetic of the UK, but sidesteps a lot of the specifics, by taking place mostly in fantastical or unspecified locations and showing very few people outside the main characters. I love both but I think the K-ON! movie did a better job
Modified by A_Sad_Dust_Cloud, Sep 20, 9:31 AM
Sep 20, 2:07 AM

Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 116
Animes that have western feels to them are one big breath of fresh air to me from an aestethic stand point, you can have some amazing animes like space dandy or cowboy bebop which sometimes feel like they werent "filmed" in japan at all which again is very refreshing, and usually when the anime sucks its not the western theme's fault but other things that make it suck like any other anime

Also about the dub, i agree, theres something about western styled anime dubs that is amazing, i personally would have not enjoyed space dandy or panty and stocking nearly as much if i watched them subbed
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Sep 20, 3:44 AM

Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 658
I like it a lot actually, it feels familiar when they use different european house architecture that i can see everyday where i live or in close places/countries i have been to.

Sep 20, 4:37 AM

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 282
A dream of mine is an anime parody of the wild west and westerns. Generally, anime sets in western setting (which can also include the middle east and africa) are always welcomed, it adds an intresting element to it, since most anime we know are set in Japan. But ultimately, the story is the most important thing, the setting, the animation and stuff like that comes after the story and are less important.

Sep 20, 4:51 AM

Joined: May 2018
Posts: 2174
Japanese can be very good doing this but also I don't mind when they mess up some detail - it becomes hilarious.
For example "engrish" is absolute classic. You can tell that most of the VAs can pull a better job and are doing it for stylistic reasons.
Sep 20, 5:02 AM

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 239
Me too, I like a change of setting from Japan, I suppose mainly because I'm from the UK myself. I particularly liked Ancient Magus Bride that is set in the UK (Somerset or Devon i think) and am currently watching Strike Witches which is set in Britannia (an alternate world setting for the UK).

I have really enjoyed getting to know all about another country, in this case Japan, from watching anime. It's been interesting to immerse myself in another countries culture. You don't often get the chance to do this without actually visiting the country itself.

I've had mates that have gone to Mexico, Peru & Thailand & have come back with a very distinct impression of another countries culture and have grown as people from the exposure to different cultures. Because of anime we get the opportunity to consume a wide variety and depth of media from Japan.
Sep 20, 5:06 AM

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 239
MsBanana said:
A dream of mine is an anime parody of the wild west and westerns.

That would be brilliant, a Western done by an anime show as a parody, great idea, although I don't know how much Japanese anime writers would be interested by the Western culture of the USA, it doesn't really have any crossovers with Japan from what I know.
Sep 20, 5:16 AM

Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 3107
I only watch historical animes about western culture... And I liked them. I wonder how it's going to be done in modern time.

Sep 20, 5:46 AM

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 30
Well I like 91 days, Baccano, Hellsing Ultimate, Jojo's (well the parts set in the west), Nodame Cantabile: Paris and Mahoutsukai no Yome a lot.

You could also include shows which are fantasy or sci-fi with heavy western themes and influences too, such as; ACCA -13, Shingeki no Kyojin, Cowboy Bebop, FMA:B, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, SDFM, Macross 0, Macross Plus, Akagami no Shirayuki-Hime, Oshitsu Kyoshi and maybe Yuri On Ice.
Sep 20, 5:56 AM

Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 14426
I don't play favorites when it comes to the setting. May it be western, traditional Japanese, fantasy or some hybrid settings like in Gintama. All of them can work for me.
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Sep 20, 5:59 AM

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Posts: 20854
Well, seeing a familiar kind of setting from the perspective of another culture can be interesting.
Sep 20, 6:43 AM
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Industrial europe is one of my favourite settings in anime and I hope they would be more of them nowadays like during the days of the world masterpiece theater
Sep 20, 9:33 AM

Joined: May 2009
Posts: 5515
It can certainly be interesting, and an interesting setting is one reason for me to pick up a show.

At the very least it's more interesting than Yet Another Japanese School.
Sep 20, 9:43 AM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 395
I like them, particular historicals. There is only so many samurai stories I can take before it gets old
Sep 20, 9:47 AM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 181
Just watch Trigun. It's as western as they come tbh.
Sep 20, 10:02 AM

Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 1326
Don't matter if it's Western or Eastern, Reality-based(real world) or history-based stuff is not of my interest when it comes to playing/watching/reading media.
Sep 20, 10:09 AM

Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 126
i mean if it works it works
if it doesn't work it doesn't work
Sep 20, 10:16 AM

Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1916
I caren't really about the setting. I loved Gosick for other reasons. It also has an interesting plot hole where April misapprehends Victorique's gender for a lot of episodes, having only heard about him in third person. The Japanese dialogue never have it away but they're canonically speaking French, not Japanese, so it would be very improbable for the underlying French dialogue to not give it away. To make matters more interesting the English subs also give it away which makes it really odd that April was mistaken all this time.

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Sep 20, 2:29 PM

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Sep 20, 2:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 71
Sometimes it's a lot of fun to see what stands out as unique to a culture. Like, it always makes me smile when NYC shows up in anime because it's always comically filthy and full of mobsters.
Sep 20, 2:39 PM

Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 4791
Absolutely. I got deeper into anime because of Inuyasha and Mononoke Hime and the old japanese setting there, and I love old and new Japanese mythology and settings (or chinese), but Western settngs definitely can be great too. My favorites are so D.Gray-man, Pandora Hearts, Vanitas no Carte and of course Fullmetal Alchemist and Attack on Titan. Their settings are completely fictional, but western designed ... Gosick is a must see in next time too.
Sep 20, 2:55 PM

Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 1239
I prefer anime that mix both Japanese and Western settings, eg sports titles featuring national and international tournaments outside Japan, where they also visit the host city or country

Mixing history and social themes is also bonus (ashita no Joe, attack no 1)

Urasawa's works in particular, having also written 2 sports manga

I also liked the Italian settings of Gunslinger Girl, mixing politics and scifi.

As for fictional settings, apart from nippon Animation and tms classics, there is also the movie "A Penguins Memory". If you ignore that all characters are Penguins, it is very realistic, taking place in 70s America.
the yearling is another detailed adaptation of the known novel.
belle and Sebastian take place in both Spain and France in interwar era.
Many shojo titles of the 70s and 80s take place in the West too, either as novel or manga adaptations, though with adding shojo design flare
Sep 20, 3:40 PM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 18
Youjo senki ? Its a very good exemple i think
Sep 20, 8:31 PM

Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 450
I like them a lot when they're done well. Some of the most critically well received and personal favorites of mine are steeped into the Western setting. Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Monster, Baccano, Berserk, JoJo are just some of the series I'd reccomend to people to at least try.
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Sep 21, 3:52 AM

Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 1531
I hope more come out, anime like D.Gray-man, Gunslinger Girl, Jyu-Oh-Sei are awesome.
Sep 21, 3:55 AM

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 502
I prefer them to be set in Japan or asian cultures in general, but I don't turn down an anime just because it's in the west.
Sep 21, 4:09 AM

Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 318
There is that one anime which blew my mind w/r to realism of a Western setting, and that is Monster. To quote my review:
I'm German and roughly of the same age as Johann/Nina are in the show, and while growing up in Western Germany, I'm familiar with the former GDR trough a lot of visits to relatives on the other side of the wall (before the end of the cold war, too). Which means the show's main era shown are my college years, and the peaceful world of the German middle class. Please take it from somebody so close to the period piece I see Monster as: the degree they hit the spot and the dilligent details woven into the show are breathtaking. I could write multiple pages to just cover everything, but let me give just two examples. A Graffiti seen on the wall of Kinderheim 511 during a camera movement is that of German avant-garde band "Einstürzende Neubauten", who were extremely popular in the independent music scene from the mid 80s to mid 90s. Another is the whiskey brand "Racke Rauchzart" used as a plot device at some point, which is as German as Sauerkraut and I expected to be unknown outside Germany. And it doesn't stop there, from the design of the landline telephones of the era up to the sound of a 1990s' hard disk during boot - they get it right. I had never considered that this level of detail would be possible for anything made in Japan. Nothing is perfect, though, there are two flaws I found, which isn't much for the total run-time. The first is a weather map shown on TV, which has Germany in the 1937 borders pretty much. Ouchy, we don't do that here anymore.

Sep 21, 9:12 AM
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From what I experienced Miyazaki did some wonderful European settings, like Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro (actually, Lupin III happens a lot in western countries, in general), or Porco Rosso which looks just amazing to this day.
Sep 21, 5:22 PM

Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 48
I sometimes wonder whether there is an Anime set in the German Democratic Republic?
(And the location was actually researched -- not necessarily to the extend to which the creator's of "Heidi" studied Switzerland, but to a greater extent than was done for "Schwarzesmarken", where the GDR is merely present in name.)

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Sep 21, 5:33 PM

Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 853
I find them more interesting when it's a western influence, rather than a setting, but I don't think I'm a fan of either.

When they go for a realistic western setting there are several issues, one of which being that the setting is inherently boring. I've seen a hell of a lot of media in western settings. I live my life in a western setting.

There's also the fact that I'm the kind of weeb that likes anime as an escape from western culture that I don't like or relate to. But culturally western and a western setting are somewhat different things.

Looking over my list, I don't have anything over an 8 that could reasonably be described as a western setting or heavily western influenced.

And only one 8: Violet Evergarden. But even then it's a period western setting with lots of fantasy elements. And to be honest, the setting is one elements of the show I'm not too keen on.

Other than that...

Redline (actually, a second 8) is western-influenced but a sci-fi setting.

Two 7s: The Promised Neverland, and Black Lagoon. Both have western influences, and TPN's setting is western.
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Sep 21, 5:46 PM

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Posts: 98
setting is just like every element in a story - if it's played out correctly, it's fine.

the case that stands out to me is umineko - they managed to take japanese people and put them in the most european setting possible. it could have very well taken place somewhere else, but managed to tie the setting to it's story in a creative way.
Curiepolis said:
I sometimes wonder whether there is an Anime set in the German Democratic Republic?
monster takes place after the fall of the wall, part of it takes place in the former state and much of the story is built on that cold war essence
Sep 21, 5:50 PM

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 758
When I first got into anime, I had a very strict conception of what I thought it should be, so knowing it is a Japanese product I wanted it set in Japan (whether historical, modern, or even alternate history fantasy version) with characters with Japanese names and culture speaking Japanese. I believe Inuyasha was the perfect longer anime to watch at the time that I did borrowing as heavily as it does from Japanese religion, mythology, and folklore, along with the feel of an era unique to Japan in its 16th century setting.

Seeing Western names or references really turned me off because it felt like an imitation or pandering or a foreign audience.

Nowadays, after seeing more anime of all different genres with varied settings, I don't view it any differently than I do live television programs and films. That is, all I'm after now is an interesting story. It can be set anywhere, in any place or time. There's still something deep in my brain or heart that sees anime like Inuyasha with the heavily culturally Japanese setting as the most "real"/authentic, but when you're searching for good stories, you start not to care if they're set in New York or deep in space or on the ocean floor. If it's ambiguous and no overt geographic or cultural reference is made, I'll assume it's Japan.

Some which I've mightily enjoyed with a definite non-Japanese Western setting are Berserk (high fantasy based somewhere in northern/Germanic-influenced Europe; I've always taken the kingdom of Midland to be representing Denmark), Ie Naki Ko Remy from the World Masterpiece Theater series (France), Porco Rosso (set in unnamed southern Europe, maybe around Italy or Croatia and the Dalmatian coast), Spice and Wolf (somewhere in medieval western/central Europe; also seems Germanic-influenced like a lot of anime with a European setting), Petshop of Horrors (set in Chinatown in Los Angeles, California), and Sora no Woto (Seize is modeled after a Spanish city, but everything else about it, including geography and languages used in the anime, make it seem probable it's post-apocalyptic version of Switzerland or something on the land that Switzerland now is).

Once you start hungering for quality stories, you're open to everything. It'd be a shame to see interest and imagination so limited and hemmed in by a setting requirement.

Right now I'm watching Akage no Anne from World Masterpiece Theater, which, since it's an adaptation of the Anne of Green Gables novel, also has the same setting of rural Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Maritime provinces. And I've never seen Atlantic Canada portrayed with such intimacy, coziness, artistic liberty, and attention to detail. It's a gem of a Slice of Life series. If I discounted it because it's not set in Japan, I would be really missing out.

Modified by WatchTillTandava, Sep 21, 5:55 PM
Sep 23, 6:24 AM

Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 48
I just started watching "Gunslinger Girl" -- three episodes in, it looks rather good: I want to know how the story continues. The Italian setting creates an interesting atmosphere.
Sep 23, 6:36 AM

Joined: Sep 2009
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Maybe the western setting is to give a fresh feeling to the anime industry...
Maybe it is to attract western viewers but more worrying is the sales...
Hit or miss...
Sep 23, 6:52 AM
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Posts: 82
It's always fun to see how Japanese creators adapts western stories and setting. Like when foreign filmmakers enters Hollywood.
Sep 23, 6:57 AM

Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 473
Cool, I guess? As long as the show is good, I don’t care where it actually takes place. There are probably exceptions to that rule that I’m overlooking for some reason, but yea, pretty much.
Sep 23, 7:02 AM

Joined: May 2016
Posts: 56
Doesn't really matter to me where an anime takes place. Half the time anime uses settings that don't actually exist anyway. I do like the unique art styles that tend to come out of West-set anime, though. Subs are fine for West-set anime; films and TV shows have existed for quite a long time where the actors use their native language despite being set in a location where the dominant language is far different, so anime is no exception.
Sep 23, 8:21 AM

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Posts: 3810
I like them. I never had a problem with that.
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Sep 24, 5:06 PM

Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 23
I find it refreshing, more even if it is well constructed.

I think it is because we are used to the western setting of stories, and seeing an anime take on it, feels nice personally.
Sep 24, 5:32 PM

Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 430
Quite a lot of the anime I watch have western settings or medieval European fantasy settings... I don't care where the anime takes place as long as it's good.
Sep 24, 6:27 PM

Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5107
I don't mind because I don't place much emphasis on location, but I think anybody who thinks a western setting is cool, interesting or refreshing should look into media beyond anime at some point

Or fuck, just step outside in 99% of cases on this board
Sep 24, 6:34 PM

Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 941
oh i love em, it’s fun seeing how they tackle places and cultures that i’m more familiar with. definitely super refreshing at times. of course, where it takes place doesn’t determine how good the anime is altogether, one taking place in japan can be just as good as one taking place in europe or america, but it’s definitely a nice change of pace sometimes.
Sep 24, 6:42 PM

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 7731
I generally like them a lot. There are several I enjoyed such as Monster and Baccano.
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Sep 24, 6:47 PM
I'm Blue

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I haven't watched Grenadier or Trigun yet so I don't have much of a thought about this beyond CLICK, CLICK, BOOM.
Sep 24, 9:08 PM

Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1500
A_Sad_Dust_Cloud said:
I think it can work, but it depends how much effort the staff put in. If they're trying to accurately recreate another country for their setting, then they need to put the work in, and most just kinda don't. That's how we end up with some many black and engrish characters in hawaiian shirts with big afro's that hardly even look human.

If they can replicate not just the look but also the culture of the place then I'll be happy. Most of his work is sci-fi, but Shinichiro Watanabe is really good at this. Also Yamada Noako. Go watch the K-ON! The Movie, it takes place mostly in London and everything looks perfect. EDIT: Shit I didn't even think about Ancient Magus Bride! That's a good example too, though in my opinion it goes for the aesthetic of the UK, but sidesteps a lot of the specifics, by taking place mostly in fantastical or unspecified locations and showing very few people outside the main characters. I love both but I think the K-ON! movie did a better job

Just goes to show we can all laugh at stereotypes.

Personally, I find it hilarious whenever I see an anime blatantly stereotype Westerners or have Western characters speak terrible Engrish.
Sep 24, 9:59 PM

Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 824
Yeah I think it's cool that Japan would even take an interest in Western or European history. As a history buff my main interest is in Europe and the Middle East so I am going to appreciate references to the history or culture of those places (though I do want to learn more about pre-modern Asia more so than I do now).

I like stories set in either realistic historic settings like Baccano! and Vinland (outside of some of the supernatural elements in Baccano! and crazy fights in Vinland) or just enjoying the cultural elements (or aspects drawn from history) influencing other stories like FMA, Attack on Titan, The Ancient Magus Bride, LOTGH and Saga of Tanya the Evil.

I don't really have a preference though. A good story is a good story though of course using a historic setting or cultural aspect well will always be + in my book. Anime/manga is Japanese though so I think they do the best at expressing history and cultural elements to stuff they are closer to. It's really great to see and learn about Japanese culture through shows like Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu.
Modified by TolkienFan365, Sep 24, 10:06 PM
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