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#1
Dec 10, 2019 7:15 PM
padoru

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so how do you personally define complexity and depth? and what are some of the examples?

complexity = structural, layered narrative with many details, sophisticated relationships between events and characters
depth = content based, thematically rich, explores ideas and value of many and various facets that are relevant to real life

anime with complexity but lacks depth: jojo's bizarre adventure, attack on titans, code geass, when they cry
anime with depth but lacks complexity: utena, ghost in the shell, tatami galaxy, princess tutu
anime with both depth and complexity: serial experiments lain, ergo proxy, shinreigari ghost hound, evangelion
anime with neither depth nor complexity: 99% isekai adaptations and harem/ecchi shows
Modified by MAYOIII, Dec 10, 2019 7:18 PM
 
#2
Dec 10, 2019 7:23 PM

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i'm boutta throw hands if you're read steel ball run and still think jojo doesn't have depth
 
#3
Dec 10, 2019 7:28 PM

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I feel I'd define complexity as how difficult it is to follow or how many moving parts of a show you need to keep track of to get what's going on, whereas depth is how complex the themes and ideas a show is working with are. And for fun, I'm going to point out examples of each that I like.

So high complexity/low depth might be something like Boogiepop that has a lot of moving parts that makes piecing the story together part of the fun, but my initial take was not that it had much in terms of deeper meaning or complex themes.

Low Complexity/High Depth would probably be Kino's Journey (2003), a show where what actually happens is very straightforward, but the ideas it presents can sit and take root and is going to be thought about for a while. But you also don't need to dig too hard to find those ideas that it's putting forward.

Low complexity/low depth is easy, shows that are straightforward and not super deep. Haikyu is a good example, it's a very straightforward narrative with simple themes that aren't exactly going to change your life, but that doesn't detract from it as a show.

High complexity/high depth are those shows that love to use metaphor and have themes that will stick with you. I think Monogatari is the quintessential example of this.
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#4
Dec 10, 2019 7:29 PM
padoru

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Bunsuke said:
i'm boutta throw hands if you're read steel ball run and still think jojo doesn't have depth


so what
here is anime discussion and so far they have only covered part 1-5
 
#5
Dec 10, 2019 7:50 PM

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Depth and complexity are secondary for me, "impact and atmosphere" are way more important.
 
#6
Dec 10, 2019 8:36 PM

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the thing about "depth" is that anyone can derive any meaning from anything as well as Anyone can project any meaning onto anything.

Like a person can look at a blank canvas and gets all sorts of meaning out of it. Does that make it deep... sure why not?

Essentially I think anything can be argued to being deep. Including harems.
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Dec 10, 2019 8:37 PM

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from what ive seen so far Texhnolyze wins this one, i am not a fan of the show, personally i think its longer than needed
 
#8
Dec 10, 2019 8:53 PM
padoru

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ComboSmooth said:
the thing about "depth" is that anyone can derive any meaning from anything as well as Anyone can project any meaning onto anything.

Like a person can look at a blank canvas and gets all sorts of meaning out of it. Does that make it deep... sure why not?

Essentially I think anything can be argued to being deep. Including harems.


objectively it doesn't apply to everything
there are criteria to follow in terms of evaluating depth and most of us all know that some of the anime do not have deeper meanings attached to them
You can assign meanings to whatever but it doesn't mean they are meaningful by nature and/or to other viewers.
you can say it's common sense and I think most people do follow (most of the slice of life and romance shows indeed are of little depth and complexity but it doesn't mean they are of little meaning; meaning sometimes also have emotional value attached to them and you cannot obtain them through an analytical perspective based off logic)
 
#9
Dec 10, 2019 9:10 PM

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I disagree I don't believe depth and complexity are mutually exclusive, I think they are of the same category, the only difference is that with complexity you can easily point out why it is complex, like if a show have a lot of layers to its plot/story and that it is a thing that builds up as the story goes on. While depth requires the person to look deeper into the series to find those depth, if a persons doesn't have the mindset to think deeper about a particular series then they won't see the depth, it may not be apparent to them. And this is the tricky part here, anyone that looks deep enough in any story can find depth in it.

imho complexity is more objective and easier to point out in a story than depth, which isn't so easy to point out and require a different mindset all together.

So for me, if a series is complex in nature then it does have depth, saying a series is complex but lack depth is like saying humans are complex beings that lack emotions and feelings. That is the best way to sum it up imo.
 
Dec 10, 2019 10:10 PM
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keragamming said:
I disagree I don't believe depth and complexity are mutually exclusive, I think they are of the same category, the only difference is that with complexity you can easily point out why it is complex, like if a show have a lot of layers to its plot/story and that it is a thing that builds up as the story goes on. While depth requires the person to look deeper into the series to find those depth, if a persons doesn't have the mindset to think deeper about a particular series then they won't see the depth, it may not be apparent to them. And this is the tricky part here, anyone that looks deep enough in any story can find depth in it.

imho complexity is more objective and easier to point out in a story than depth, which isn't so easy to point out and require a different mindset all together.

So for me, if a series is complex in nature then it does have depth, saying a series is complex but lack depth is like saying humans are complex beings that lack emotions and feelings. That is the best way to sum it up imo.


thats a false analogy
human beings are dynamic and works that created by them are not
I am not sure why you would compare anime to human beings but there is a distinctive difference in their "complexity"
the one of the former is fixed and it does not overlap with depth because it's already structured in a way for presentation(you do not have to analyze in order to know that if a show is complicated)
you can most often spot the complexity through observation alone
I partially agree with you that everyone can find depth if they delve deep enough into the shows but most often depth is objectively acknowledged (though they can be subjectively measured)
 
Dec 10, 2019 11:18 PM

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This thread is my jam. This is super relevent to a new system I've been developing for rating shows so I've been thinking about stuff like this a lot. My system breaks an anime down in to three ratings:

1. Enjoyment. A product of every facet, including the proceeding factors 2 and 3. But in general this is the subjective enjoyment that comes from ones tastes. It is the most important factor when I come to giving an overall rating.

2. Production Quality. Detail in the art, fluidity in the animation. Artsistic and stylistic expression through the art, animation and directing. Sound design including sound effects, use of music and OP/ED. Voice acting.

3. Depth. Here's where this thread is relevant.

MAYOIII said:
so how do you personally define complexity and depth? and what are some of the examples?

complexity = structural, layered narrative with many details, sophisticated relationships between events and characters
depth = content based, thematically rich, explores ideas and value of many and various facets that are relevant to real life

Ok so I mostly agree with OP here. A few extra points though:

1. Talking about complexity alongside depth is apples to oranges. Or apples to a toothbrush. They're both things you put in to your mouth but for different reasons and with a different mental attitude.

Complexity is apples. A meal isn't objectively good just because it has apples. Sometimes we're not in the mood for apples. Sometimes the meal doesn't call for apples. And some people just dislike apples entirely. Of course, there are also people who can't get enough of them.

Depth is like a toothbrush. People don't like or dislike a toothbrush. It has a purpose. Some people ignore it so that even when it's presented to them they never put it in their mouths, but people who do put it in their mouths will reap the benefits of being able to enjoy their meals better in the future... because they keep their teeth... I guess? My analogy was pretty good up until now eh? LOL... I think you get the point.

I would consider complexity an aspect of personal enjoyment (1), and depth pretty obviously is number (3) in my system.

2. The other thing is I would probably want to expand on what OP defines as depth. Specifically the emotional depth of feeling that one gets when they empathize with really well-crafted characters. People often talk about depth in terms of philosophy, themes and life lessons, but I don't think depth is always something you can write a lot about. I felt Clannad: After Story had a ton of emotional depth that while a product of production values in many ways is still something distinct that needs to be noticed alongside the more "heady" philosophical, thematic stuff.

Ultimately, I feel "depth" is everything that leaves a lasting impression and that you take with you from an anime, whether that be thinking about Fate/stay Night's themes of ideals, Girls Last Tour's musings on philososphy, or the emotional impact from something like Clannad.

[EDIT: Bolded the above bit because I think it's central to almost everything I'm saying in this comment]

MAYOIII said:
anime with neither depth nor complexity: 99% isekai adaptations and harem/ecchi shows

I really hope this a joke and you're not that ignorant. The Monogatari series has strong elements of harem and ecchi, yet entire seasons go by without as much depth as Bakemonogatari alone. It's one of the most frustrating things in the anime community that the people who enjoy harem/ecchi and the people who like to get serious about depth and meaning and themes are never the same fucking people lol. Please say you were just being flippant and not serious.

ComboSmooth said:
the thing about "depth" is that anyone can derive any meaning from anything as well as Anyone can project any meaning onto anything.

Essentially I think anything can be argued to being deep. Including harems.

I agree. But I also think that's great and doesn't take anything away. Interpretation is the greater part of artistic appreciation. But certain shows motivate people to pull meaning from their narratives better than other shows. And they get known as shows with depth.

I have an ecchi harem in my 10s (Haganai) because I personally pulled a great deal of meaning out of it. The characters resonated with me. I could feel the love the author put in to them. I think other people are narrow-minded and can't look past for ecchi/harem elements and see how the characters are actually really well fleshed out and their interactions carry alot of depth. But that's just my opinion, don't take the 'narrow-minded' thing too seriously.

I guess my point is... while any show can be "deep", it is up to people to make them deep. Whether Evangelion is or isn't actually deep is completely moot. People have made it deep. Evangelion is deep. And I like to think in my own way, I make Haganai deep.

There's a whole rabbit hole here relating to subjecitvity/objecitvity and my three-part system mentioned earlier in this comment. The thing is, I think one can take meaning - create depth - out of a show, without necessarily enjoying it more. That's why I seperate "depth" from "personal enjoyment". The former can influence the latter, but can also exist completely seperate from it.

MAYOIII said:
There are criteria to follow in terms of evaluating depth and most of us all know that some of the anime do not have deeper meanings attached to them
You can assign meanings to whatever but it doesn't mean they are meaningful by nature and/or to other viewers.

Here's where you lose me. I'd be interested to hear what criteria you think there are to follow when evaluating depth.

As for your second sentence: Nothing is meaningful by nature, and your appeal to consider what's meaningful to others contradicts your assertion that depth is objective.

MAYOIII said:
you can say it's common sense and I think most people do follow (most of the slice of life and romance shows indeed are of little depth and complexity but it doesn't mean they are of little meaning; meaning sometimes also have emotional value attached to them and you cannot obtain them through an analytical perspective based off logic)

Here, for the first time, you seperate depth and meaning. I can get on board with that kind of, theoretically. But I think it's a bad distinction to make. You turn "depth" in to a very cold, emotionless, wooden thing by removing meaning from it. Depth without meaning is just a textbook. [EDIT: Funnily enough, one could say depth without meaning is just complexity]
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Dec 10, 2019 11:43 PM

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Complexity = the extent to which there are lots of important details or "moving parts" within a story that are needed to understand it. For example, a complex story may involve more plot twists or reveals that change the audience's understanding. Note that complex stories are not necessarily better stories.

Depth = basically, how hard one can think about a story, or more generally, how much one can appreciate a story (in a personal, mental sense, not a displaying-to-others sense). It's common for stories to roughly suggest certain directions/extents of depth based on the details of the story, so it's common for people to talk about stories themselves having various amounts of depth. But it's useful to keep in mind that depth to which an individual audience member appreciates the story can vary from person to person, based on how each of them responds to the story. For example, a story can present a variety of minutiae regarding the setting, which lends a certain depth to people's appreciation of its setting. However, a person who appreciates the story without paying attention to the minutiae has appreciated the story with less depth in regards to its setting, while a person could also appreciate the story to a greater depth by attempting to further flesh out the setting, such as might be done in an effort to create fanart or fanfiction.

Complexity is generally a cognitive thing related to understanding a story, while depth can easily be about one's emotional appreciation.
Modified by GlennMagusHarvey, Dec 10, 2019 11:49 PM
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Dec 11, 2019 12:49 AM

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You have also to discern between character complexity, settings, historical background etc


I'd also classify GitS having both complexity and depth, though manga had also adult scenes that were removed. The settings and history are very well explained and interconnected, though GitS 2 manga goes way overboard.

I'd also classify Kare Kano, 3-gatsu, Honey and Clover, Nana and Fruits Basket to have very good character depth, rivaling those of scifi series.

While Doremi does try to interconnect 30 characters with background stories together, making the viewer care for all of them. Not even lotgh went so far.

While Dougram has the best complexity, combining military, economic and political settings, yet apart from 4-5 characters, rest are forgettable, more fitting for slapstick action shonen.
 
Dec 11, 2019 1:33 AM
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Good thread. Both complexity and depth can have fairly varied definitions or perceived definitions when applied to anime series. Some may restrict entire genres.

So complexity. I think complexity regarding anime is defined by the expansiveness of it's plot and characters, as well as the intricacy of it's storytelling. The attention to detail is also characteristic to this. A prime example of a complex series would be Shingeki n o Kyojin, as mentioned by the OP. The series has expansive world-building, and intricate with regards attention to detail to the different aspects of the series. Complexity with regards to characters is in reference to their motivations and characteristics, are they entirely based on a single or few characteristics, are their emotions and reactions complex (layered, possibly confused and muddled), do they have individuality and not bend to the will of the plot (some power fantasy series). This can be described as depth as well.

Like complexity, depth can apply to various aspects of a series. A series can possibly present themes that are philosophical or not easily understood, without having characters that have much depth (complexity). An example, although very arguable as to whether it is accurate, is the second season of Magi
[spoiler] The themes explored within the magical school arc involve philosophy of retribution and forgiveness. Some depth is also present in the side story with the sentient magi soul portion, which explores themes of sentience and individuality. Most of the characters in the series, as far as my memory goes, are not particularly complex (Other than most prominently Sinbad and Hakuryuu) [/spolier]

As far as I have seen, a series can have some deep aspects and some not so much (fan service episodes). Depth with regards to individual characters is convoluted with complexity, at least for me.

As an aside, the opposite of 'depth' would be face value quick entertainment stuff, such as ecchi, comedy, romance in some cases. Of course it doesn't apply to all and is not an inherently a bad thing. Plus most shows usually attempt at some more intricate themes, it's just their execution is often lacking. An example of this is that in a fair amount of fantasy (harem or unofficial harem, usually ecchi and/or isekai), betrayal is a common theme that occurs, usually at the hands of someone close to the MC. This is usually treated fairly trivially and forgotten fairly quickly. Went a bit of topic here.
 
Dec 11, 2019 1:40 AM
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MAYOIII said:
so how do you personally define complexity and depth? and what are some of the examples?

complexity = structural, layered narrative with many details, sophisticated relationships between events and characters
depth = content based, thematically rich, explores ideas and value of many and various facets that are relevant to real life

anime with complexity but lacks depth: jojo's bizarre adventure, attack on titans, code geass, when they cry
anime with depth but lacks complexity: utena, ghost in the shell, tatami galaxy, princess tutu
anime with both depth and complexity: serial experiments lain, ergo proxy, shinreigari ghost hound, evangelion
anime with neither depth nor complexity: 99% isekai adaptations and harem/ecchi shows
attack on titan and jojo bizarre adventures are thematically rich from my understanding, especially attack on titan which really humanizes both sides. And jojo has some of the most in depth villains and their relationships with characters, the characters in jojo's have more depth than them than utena.

I agree with the distinction just disagree with the examples.


As for shows that have both attack on titan,jojos and vinland saga.
 
Dec 11, 2019 1:45 AM
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MAYOIII said:
Bunsuke said:
i'm boutta throw hands if you're read steel ball run and still think jojo doesn't have depth


so what
here is anime discussion and so far they have only covered part 1-5
i would kira yoshikage, diavalo and enrico pucci all have excellent characterization with unique takes on good vs evil.
 
Dec 11, 2019 1:49 AM
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Although one thing i disagree with a bit is that with having sophisticated relationships between characters and events those will in inherently have depth to them as they are exploration of the human condition.

And generally speaking alot of complex stories have depth to them, even your example of ghost in the shell have sophisticated and complex relationships between characters same goes for tatami galaxy.
 
Dec 11, 2019 2:18 AM
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A great discussion idea. Let's do it! Depth and complexity are two main points which made Japanese animation to be art back in the 60s. We should take back the dignity of it.
Depth and complexity go hand in hand. Every story (the good ones) are based on something.
Depth is how deep the foundation goes: is that a question of a particular field? A societal problem? Concerns the whole humanity? Covers the concept of life itself, maybe? Or goes to theorize on universal powers and origin of existence?
Complexity is how many layers until the foundation there are. Contextual, conceptual, symbolic, metaphorical layers that provide dimensions to the story: Is this sword just a sword? Does it reference a legend of any sorts? A religious myth perhaps? Did it break just for the scene to look cool, or? and so on.

Naturally, as viewers we can only guess where the depth/complexity begins and where it stops. Masterful works end up referencing their complexity and depth in such a way that there is no room for a dispute - an educated viewer, knowledgeable about the themes and elements, clearly sees details and symbols characterizing certain references. Interpretation becomes the weapon of the villagers, so to say. It would be the best if the authors could sometimes come out and tell us what they meant, to make us see who truly does understand this or that piece of art, and the themes present in it, and who is merely watching it without being able to grasp the right narrative, unable to distinguish it from the mingled thoughts and interpretations inside their mind. But this is an another question altogether.
ComboSmooth said:
the thing about "depth" is that anyone can derive any meaning from anything as well as Anyone can project any meaning onto anything.

Like a person can look at a blank canvas and gets all sorts of meaning out of it. Does that make it deep... sure why not?

Essentially I think anything can be argued to being deep. Including harems.

Argued to be deep and being deep originally, as intended by the author, are two different things. You can interpret the symbols however you want, but the idea of the author will remain unchanged.
MAYOIII said:
so how do you personally define complexity and depth? and what are some of the examples?

complexity = structural, layered narrative with many details, sophisticated relationships between events and characters
depth = content based, thematically rich, explores ideas and value of many and various facets that are relevant to real life

anime with complexity but lacks depth: jojo's bizarre adventure, attack on titans, code geass, when they cry
anime with depth but lacks complexity: utena, ghost in the shell, tatami galaxy, princess tutu
anime with both depth and complexity: serial experiments lain, ergo proxy, shinreigari ghost hound, evangelion
anime with neither depth nor complexity: 99% isekai adaptations and harem/ecchi shows

Jokes on you really, but Evangelion admittedly lacks depths,and complexity is arguable. The authors themselves admitted they named most things as per Christian mythology because it sounded cool, not because they had some symbolism in place. Sooooooooooooooooooo
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Dec 11, 2019 4:14 AM
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Daniel_Naumov said:
The authors themselves admitted they named most things as per Christian mythology because it sounded cool, not because they had some symbolism in place. Sooooooooooooooooooo
That doesn't mean it lacks depth though. There are all sorts of other stuff to get out of Evangelion, most prominently its discussion of the hedgehog's dilemma.
 
Dec 11, 2019 4:34 AM
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DumpsterKing said:
Daniel_Naumov said:
The authors themselves admitted they named most things as per Christian mythology because it sounded cool, not because they had some symbolism in place. Sooooooooooooooooooo
That doesn't mean it lacks depth though. There are all sorts of other stuff to get out of Evangelion, most prominently its discussion of the hedgehog's dilemma.

Its biggest contribution is opening the discussion into a troubled Japanese youth born past-bubble.
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Dec 11, 2019 5:21 AM

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Daniel_Naumov said:

Naturally, as viewers we can only guess where the depth/complexity begins and where it stops. Masterful works end up referencing their complexity and depth in such a way that there is no room for a dispute - an educated viewer, knowledgeable about the themes and elements, clearly sees details and symbols characterizing certain references. Interpretation becomes the weapon of the villagers, so to say. It would be the best if the authors could sometimes come out and tell us what they meant, to make us see who truly does understand this or that piece of art, and the themes present in it, and who is merely watching it without being able to grasp the right narrative, unable to distinguish it from the mingled thoughts and interpretations inside their mind. But this is an another question altogether.

What makes you think that the artist is the best evaluator of their own art?
Just because they think they conveyed something does not mean they succeeded in doing it. To judge art is to describe it, it has nothing to do with peoples minds, it is about one's contemplation over one's own state in relation to the artwork in itself.

Message and theme are secondary to the art itself, art depicts something, art is a judgement of taste in itself. If one like an artwork for a reason, like it's message, then it is not a pure judgement of taste.
 
Dec 11, 2019 5:32 AM
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Safeanew said:
Daniel_Naumov said:

Naturally, as viewers we can only guess where the depth/complexity begins and where it stops. Masterful works end up referencing their complexity and depth in such a way that there is no room for a dispute - an educated viewer, knowledgeable about the themes and elements, clearly sees details and symbols characterizing certain references. Interpretation becomes the weapon of the villagers, so to say. It would be the best if the authors could sometimes come out and tell us what they meant, to make us see who truly does understand this or that piece of art, and the themes present in it, and who is merely watching it without being able to grasp the right narrative, unable to distinguish it from the mingled thoughts and interpretations inside their mind. But this is an another question altogether.

What makes you think that the artist is the best evaluator of their own art?
Just because they think they conveyed something does not mean they succeeded in doing it. To judge art is to describe it, it has nothing to do with peoples minds, it is about one's contemplation over one's own state in relation to the artwork in itself.

Message and theme are secondary to the art itself, art depicts something, art is a judgement of taste in itself. If one like an artwork for a reason, like it's message, then it is not a pure judgement of taste.

Of course, there are many, if not most, instances where the authors have failed to convey their message, as per their own definition, to others. Which is why I am talking about outstanding, highest quality pieces of art - which create a perfect, almost transparent bridge between the mind of the authors, and the minds of the audience/readers. Truly great people succeed in getting their point across the media spectrum.

It depends upon what the creators are building. If they want to send a message, make a statement on a issue/in regards to a theme, then they, supposedly, build around it. Whether they succeed, or whether they make it an enjoyable, quality experience, varies case to case.
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Dec 11, 2019 5:46 AM

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Daniel_Naumov said:
Safeanew said:

What makes you think that the artist is the best evaluator of their own art?
Just because they think they conveyed something does not mean they succeeded in doing it. To judge art is to describe it, it has nothing to do with peoples minds, it is about one's contemplation over one's own state in relation to the artwork in itself.

Message and theme are secondary to the art itself, art depicts something, art is a judgement of taste in itself. If one like an artwork for a reason, like it's message, then it is not a pure judgement of taste.

Of course, there are many, if not most, instances where the authors have failed to convey their message, as per their own definition, to others. Which is why I am talking about outstanding, highest quality pieces of art - which create a perfect, almost transparent bridge between the mind of the authors, and the minds of the audience/readers. Truly great people succeed in getting their point across the media spectrum.

It depends upon what the creators are building. If they want to send a message, make a statement on a issue/in regards to a theme, then they, supposedly, build around it. Whether they succeed, or whether they make it an enjoyable, quality experience, varies case to case.


The artist judgement of their own work still has to be scrutinized like any other judgement of the work, so it cannot be used as a tool for judgement if one does not trust in that judgement.

The message then is part of what is depicted, but one's judgement of taste is not about the supposed message, but what that depiction does with one's state in relation to the depiction in itself.

Art is about appearance, so one can only judge what appears in the appearance.
 
Dec 11, 2019 5:55 AM
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Safeanew said:
Daniel_Naumov said:

Of course, there are many, if not most, instances where the authors have failed to convey their message, as per their own definition, to others. Which is why I am talking about outstanding, highest quality pieces of art - which create a perfect, almost transparent bridge between the mind of the authors, and the minds of the audience/readers. Truly great people succeed in getting their point across the media spectrum.

It depends upon what the creators are building. If they want to send a message, make a statement on a issue/in regards to a theme, then they, supposedly, build around it. Whether they succeed, or whether they make it an enjoyable, quality experience, varies case to case.


The artist judgement of their own work still has to be scrutinized like any other judgement of the work, so it cannot be used as a tool for judgement if one does not trust in that judgement.

The message then is part of what is depicted, but one's judgement of taste is not about the supposed message, but what that depiction does with one's state in relation to the depiction in itself.

Art is about appearance, so one can only judge what appears in the appearance.

Art - art-ificial cannot exist outside the creator and beholders. There are definite forces behind the author which dictate what or why he is doing, and why he justifies it so. To believe there is no solid form behind the minds of others is to negate any meaning of art itself, and plunge it into the malleable goo which serves one, but not all. I find it to be extremely depressing, nigh nihilism, to even believe that there is no definite matter. And art is merely a reflection of our reality, which simply cannot be denied the quality of being definite.
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Dec 11, 2019 5:59 AM
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i thought complexity and depth are synonymous especially "we need that more deep philosophy in anime" mentality of some fans

and art like anime is subjective anyway so it can be deep as much as possible for some people i mean you hear even a blank painting selling like hotcakes sometimes and be interpreted in a ridiculous deep way

Why Pay $15 Million for a White Canvas?
A canvas by Robert Ryman fetched $15 million at auction this week, creating a milestone in the history of white-on-white painting.
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2014-11-14/why-pay-15-million-for-a-white-canvas
 
Dec 11, 2019 6:01 AM

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Daniel_Naumov said:
Safeanew said:


The artist judgement of their own work still has to be scrutinized like any other judgement of the work, so it cannot be used as a tool for judgement if one does not trust in that judgement.

The message then is part of what is depicted, but one's judgement of taste is not about the supposed message, but what that depiction does with one's state in relation to the depiction in itself.

Art is about appearance, so one can only judge what appears in the appearance.

Art - art-ificial cannot exist outside the creator and beholders. There are definite forces behind the author which dictate what or why he is doing, and why he justifies it so. To believe there is no solid form behind the minds of others is to negate any meaning of art itself, and plunge it into the malleable goo which serves one, but not all. I find it to be extremely depressing, nigh nihilism, to even believe that there is no definite matter. And art is merely a reflection of our reality, which simply cannot be denied the quality of being definite.

I am saying that any judgement of the art has to relate to the art itself, the only thing definite is the artwork itself.
The artwork is an event between the beholder and the artworks own nature, so any judgement of the artwork can be scrutinized based on what appears in the artwork itself.
 
Dec 11, 2019 6:05 AM
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Safeanew said:
Daniel_Naumov said:

Art - art-ificial cannot exist outside the creator and beholders. There are definite forces behind the author which dictate what or why he is doing, and why he justifies it so. To believe there is no solid form behind the minds of others is to negate any meaning of art itself, and plunge it into the malleable goo which serves one, but not all. I find it to be extremely depressing, nigh nihilism, to even believe that there is no definite matter. And art is merely a reflection of our reality, which simply cannot be denied the quality of being definite.

I am saying that any judgement of the art has to relate to the art itself, the only thing definite is the artwork itself.
The artwork is an event between the beholder and the artworks own nature, so any judgement of the artwork can be scrutinized based on what appears in the artwork itself.

Oh, of course, the statement by the author can be easily contested by what we see in the art itself. After all, we cannot know the whether the nature of his claim is true or not, whether he was affected by the fact that others have perceived his art or not. But if the elements, present in the art, suggest the theme he is telling us to be his initial intention, then we can safely assume this to be the actual message, and everything else a personal distortion. It does not happen a lot, and most stories never get confirmation in the first place.
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Dec 11, 2019 6:15 AM

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Daniel_Naumov said:
Safeanew said:

I am saying that any judgement of the art has to relate to the art itself, the only thing definite is the artwork itself.
The artwork is an event between the beholder and the artworks own nature, so any judgement of the artwork can be scrutinized based on what appears in the artwork itself.

Oh, of course, the statement by the author can be easily contested by what we see in the art itself. After all, we cannot know the whether the nature of his claim is true or not, whether he was affected by the fact that others have perceived his art or not. But if the elements, present in the art, suggest the theme he is telling us to be his initial intention, then we can safely assume this to be the actual message, and everything else a personal distortion. It does not happen a lot, and most stories never get confirmation in the first place.

Just because one interpretation fits, does not mean one can automatically refute all the others. Rather contradictory interpretations are useful to get closer to core of an artworks inner potentiality. Words and artworks do not have a fixed meaning, they contain numerable potential readings and therefor one should compare and contrast all the possibilities to get closer to what is contained in the word or artwork. That is why debate is useful, even a wrong or contradictory interpretation can help get closer to insight into the nature of the artwork.
 
Dec 11, 2019 6:25 AM
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complexity: more involved and less explored
depth: less involved and more explored

complexity is just an excuse for writers who dont know how to narrate properly and end up making a mess and then so called elitists and intellectuals start making bullshit theories to complete the void and then call that work a masterpiece and tell everyone who appose it that: "Nah you are just stupid and dont get it"

and the opposite of this is true as well of course
the good work must have the balance between those two

and dont think it would be a good idea to mention examples after what i just said :))
 
Dec 11, 2019 6:39 AM
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Depth can achieved too, when a title has enough emotion complexity and the emotions touched you in your own life, somehow they changed even your view at the word. A title like your name, a silent voice or hanasaku iroha.
 
Dec 11, 2019 7:40 AM
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Depth could be everything. It depends on the viewer, their life experience and mindset, if and where they perceive the plot or characters as deep or meaningful for themselves.
 
Dec 11, 2019 7:43 AM
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Gwenze said:
Depth can achieved too, when a title has enough emotion complexity and the emotions touched you in your own life, somehow they changed even your view at the word. A title like your name, a silent voice or hanasaku iroha.

Emotions do not change people. Emotional output caused by third party agents (others) is a source of momentarily reactions that drain individual's mental capacity until it replenishes. They do not move the individual forward or behind, even for a fraction.
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Dec 11, 2019 7:46 AM
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Daniel_Naumov said:

Its biggest contribution is opening the discussion into a troubled Japanese youth born past-bubble.
What is this even supposed to mean exactly?
 
Dec 11, 2019 7:51 AM
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DumpsterKing said:
Daniel_Naumov said:

Its biggest contribution is opening the discussion into a troubled Japanese youth born past-bubble.
What is this even supposed to mean exactly?

A discourse into depressed young people from Japan, who were given birth past the economic-bubble burst and found themselves in a society with way less direction and capability to accommodate them than before.
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Dec 11, 2019 7:55 AM

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Safeanew said:
Just because one interpretation fits, does not mean one can automatically refute all the others. Rather contradictory interpretations are useful to get closer to core of an artworks inner potentiality. Words and artworks do not have a fixed meaning, they contain numerable potential readings and therefor one should compare and contrast all the possibilities to get closer to what is contained in the word or artwork. That is why debate is useful, even a wrong or contradictory interpretation can help get closer to insight into the nature of the artwork.
This is a good post, especially your point about wrong interpretations being insightful. Too many people ignore that and prematurely dismiss idiosyncratic or unusual interpretations because they don't appear to fit with the grander scheme of a narrative. Anyway, I'm generally of the position that works with a multiplicity of legitimate/illegitimate/contradictory readings tend to lean towards the complex side of things.
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:02 AM
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MAYOIII said:
so how do you personally define complexity and depth? and what are some of the examples?

complexity = structural, layered narrative with many details, sophisticated relationships between events and characters
depth = content based, thematically rich, explores ideas and value of many and various facets that are relevant to real life

anime with complexity but lacks depth: jojo's bizarre adventure, attack on titans, code geass, when they cry
anime with depth but lacks complexity: utena, ghost in the shell, tatami galaxy, princess tutu
anime with both depth and complexity: serial experiments lain, ergo proxy, shinreigari ghost hound, evangelion
anime with neither depth nor complexity: 99% isekai adaptations and harem/ecchi shows

Sorry, but according to your definition of depth, Attack On Titan does not lack it. How are the fight for freedom, moral dilemmas and the dystopia they live in not relevant for real life?
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:08 AM
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Daniel_Naumov said:
DumpsterKing said:
What is this even supposed to mean exactly?

A discourse into depressed young people from Japan, who were given birth past the economic-bubble burst and found themselves in a society with way less direction and capability to accommodate them than before.
Then I don't understand your claim that it lacks depth when you then proceed to point out one of its deeper themes.
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:20 AM
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DumpsterKing said:
Daniel_Naumov said:

A discourse into depressed young people from Japan, who were given birth past the economic-bubble burst and found themselves in a society with way less direction and capability to accommodate them than before.
Then I don't understand your claim that it lacks depth when you then proceed to point out one of its deeper themes.

It lacks depth as many seem to mistakenly believe. Such is a problem of interpretation here - people see Christian symbolism, and think it means something, start looking for meaning, and through careful twisting of the paradigm they suddenly realize just what allusion, just what meaning this or that has. While in reality half of it is inherently meaningless - the author himself did not put any meaning in it beyond being a cool and (at the time) unexplored foreign theme. Social discourse exists, and its depth is commendable, but other than that ... well.
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Dec 11, 2019 8:26 AM

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Daniel_Naumov said:
It lacks depth as many seem to mistakenly believe. Such is a problem of interpretation here - people see Christian symbolism, and think it means something, start looking for meaning, and through careful twisting of the paradigm they suddenly realize just what allusion, just what meaning this or that has. While in reality half of it is inherently meaningless - the author himself did not put any meaning in it beyond being a cool and (at the time) unexplored foreign theme. Social discourse exists, and its depth is commendable, but other than that ... well.
Eh, I don't think anyone outside of the hardcore/likely dead Evangelion forums really still adheres to the idea that the reason why NGE is 5deep3u is because it's laden with Christian symbolism. It's not just because Anno specifically said that he did it because it was cool, what he says doesn't really matter, anyone who has read the Bible or knows his theology or has read works with actual religious underpinnings can tell that the symbolism in NGE is strictly ornamental rather than representational.

Personally, I think NGE's usage of Christian myths, the Kabbalah, and other religious icons to be aesthetic; they lend itself to a certain kind of mysticism/aesthetic that sets it apart from other anime of its type. In many ways, Anno constructs a personalized mythos from universal objects, stripping them of their original meaning and repurposing them for Evangelion's internal universe. It doesn't make NGE deep or complex, necessarily, but I think trying to make an argument that the lack of meaning in these symbols with respect to their original concepts proves that NGE is not "deep" is a red herring.
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:29 AM
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Daniel_Naumov said:

It lacks depth as many seem to mistakenly believe. Such is a problem of interpretation here - people see Christian symbolism, and think it means something, start looking for meaning, and through careful twisting of the paradigm they suddenly realize just what allusion, just what meaning this or that has. While in reality half of it is inherently meaningless - the author himself did not put any meaning in it beyond being a cool and (at the time) unexplored foreign theme. Social discourse exists, and its depth is commendable, but other than that ... well.
that's just missing the wood for the trees. Just because not every part of the anime doesn't contribute to some deeper meaning, you shouldn't dismiss the parts that do. I don't even particularly like NGE but, I think you're underselling what it tries to do and the effect it's had on millions.
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:36 AM

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There is nothing complex about JJBA.
Ergo Proxy lacks both complexity and depth. Throwing random disconnected concepts in a story does not make that story neither complex nor deep.
Well, Evangelion is just a monster-in-a-week show up until the last random random events.

Texhnolyze, Blade of the Immortal and Ravages of Time seem like great examples of both depth and complexity.
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:41 AM

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N1eR said:
Ergo Proxy lacks both complexity and depth. Throwing random disconnected concepts in a story does not make that story neither complex nor deep.
Hard disagree. Ergo Proxy admittedly has a very sprawling narrative style but it is thematically cohesive. I'm not really sure how any of the concepts brought up in Ergo Proxy are "random" and "disconnected," but maybe you'd care to explain?

Texhnolyze [... is a ] great example of both depth and complexity.
I would agree.
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:42 AM
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DumpsterKing said:
Daniel_Naumov said:

It lacks depth as many seem to mistakenly believe. Such is a problem of interpretation here - people see Christian symbolism, and think it means something, start looking for meaning, and through careful twisting of the paradigm they suddenly realize just what allusion, just what meaning this or that has. While in reality half of it is inherently meaningless - the author himself did not put any meaning in it beyond being a cool and (at the time) unexplored foreign theme. Social discourse exists, and its depth is commendable, but other than that ... well.
that's just missing the wood for the trees. Just because not every part of the anime doesn't contribute to some deeper meaning, you shouldn't dismiss the parts that do. I don't even particularly like NGE but, I think you're underselling what it tries to do and the effect it's had on millions.

I am most certainly not. Hence the word "commendable".
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Dec 11, 2019 8:44 AM

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Yudina said:
N1eR said:
Ergo Proxy lacks both complexity and depth. Throwing random disconnected concepts in a story does not make that story neither complex nor deep.
Hard disagree. Ergo Proxy admittedly has a very sprawling narrative style but it is thematically cohesive. I'm not really sure how any of the concepts brought up in Ergo Proxy are "random" and "disconnected," but maybe you'd care to explain?

Texhnolyze [... is a ] great example of both depth and complexity.
I would agree.

what did that random guy with random library had to do anything with anyone? why are there shitton of references in it? I have watched it years ago, so can't really recall many examples.
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:47 AM

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Bunsuke said:
i'm boutta throw hands if you're read steel ball run and still think jojo doesn't have depth

and what made it deep? It had the worst episodic villains, if anything.
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:52 AM

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N1eR said:
\what did that random guy with random library had to do anything with anyone? why are there shitton of references in it? I have watched it years ago, so can't really recall many examples.
Yea that episode kind of sucked, lol

But uhh, to try to explicate it briefly, I think a couple of things were going on in that episode. The first is the City Lights Bookstore. I'm subscribed to the opinion that Ergo Proxy is essentially a road trip across America, and CLB is actually a real place in San Francisco, probably one of the top five or ten most famous bookstores in the country? I think it's one of the few episodes where Ergo Proxy actually grounds itself in a real geographical sense, and for that alone I think it's worth mentioning.

It's been a while since I've listened to the sluggish dialogue in that episode, but a big part of the episode was about memory, specifically Vincent Law's. There was a lot about how you can attribute memory to identity and the self, which I think is relatively consistent with the broader narrative at play. We see how important memory is in one of the later episodes, Ophelia, where Pino's unaffected memories helps the crew determine the presence of the proxy inhabiting the dome.
 
Dec 11, 2019 8:59 AM

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Yudina said:
N1eR said:
\what did that random guy with random library had to do anything with anyone? why are there shitton of references in it? I have watched it years ago, so can't really recall many examples.
Yea that episode kind of sucked, lol

But uhh, to try to explicate it briefly, I think a couple of things were going on in that episode. The first is the City Lights Bookstore. I'm subscribed to the opinion that Ergo Proxy is essentially a road trip across America, and CLB is actually a real place in San Francisco, probably one of the top five or ten most famous bookstores in the country? I think it's one of the few episodes where Ergo Proxy actually grounds itself in a real geographical sense, and for that alone I think it's worth mentioning.

It's been a while since I've listened to the sluggish dialogue in that episode, but a big part of the episode was about memory, specifically Vincent Law's. There was a lot about how you can attribute memory to identity and the self, which I think is relatively consistent with the broader narrative at play. We see how important memory is in one of the later episodes, Ophelia, where Pino's unaffected memories helps the crew determine the presence of the proxy inhabiting the dome.

oh, lol, sure they may have some connections, but concept of that bookstore itself and all felt forced and irrelevant. IIRC, nobody even noticed it, hence the lack of relationships and relevance. It just exists to talk about stuff. Well, I may be wrong.
 
Dec 11, 2019 9:02 AM

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Also for what it's worth I think most of Ergo Proxy's references are pretty much on point and can comfortably be debated as to whether they're haphazardly raised. The whole Collective being named Husserl/Derrida/Berkeley/Lacan is kind of meme, but even then, the major ideas of those philosophers at times have their ideas running through the course of the show.

For instance, you can think of Vincent's pursuit for his own identity through a Lacanian lens, his "true" identity the objet petit a if you will. Vincent himself is in some senses an example of Derrida's trace; the absence of one part of himself informs and refers to the other, etc. etc. Husserl is most known for his phenomenology, a study of consciousness, so on and so forth. I'll agree that all of these are not particularly salient or well composed, but as I stated before, the Collective is mostly just a meme.

N1eR said:
oh, lol, sure they may have some connections, but concept of that bookstore itself and all felt forced and irrelevant. IIRC, nobody even noticed it, hence the lack of relationships and relevance. It just exists to talk about stuff. Well, I may be wrong.
I mean that's also part of the point, most of the show deals with what it is physically/metaphysically/epistemologically "real," and that we are not given too many conclusive evidences of the reality of some of these places is part of the major questions of the show.

Then there's the obvious hamfisted character of Re-L, but even then her presence in the desert is, in many ways, a reference to the "desert of the real," a term popularized by The Matrix but mostly a reference to Jean Baudrillard's Simulation and Simulacra, which posits the myriad simulations and hyperrealities that prevent us from seeing what is actually real, which is a motif that runs through essentially all of the major events of the story.
Modified by Yudina, Dec 11, 2019 9:07 AM
 
Dec 11, 2019 9:09 AM

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MAYOIII said:
anime with complexity but lacks depth: All of your favorites.
anime with depth but lacks complexity: Everyone else's favorites besides mine.
anime with both depth and complexity: Every Hentai ever made.
anime with neither depth nor complexity: New on Genocide Even Gay Lion, Bursurk and 50 Shades of Grey.


Great topic but try to get your facts straight next time.
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Dec 11, 2019 10:07 AM
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YossaRedMage said:
This thread is my jam. This is super relevent to a new system I've been developing for rating shows so I've been thinking about stuff like this a lot. My system breaks an anime down in to three ratings:

1. Enjoyment. A product of every facet, including the proceeding factors 2 and 3. But in general this is the subjective enjoyment that comes from ones tastes. It is the most important factor when I come to giving an overall rating.

2. Production Quality. Detail in the art, fluidity in the animation. Artsistic and stylistic expression through the art, animation and directing. Sound design including sound effects, use of music and OP/ED. Voice acting.

3. Depth. Here's where this thread is relevant.

MAYOIII said:
so how do you personally define complexity and depth? and what are some of the examples?

complexity = structural, layered narrative with many details, sophisticated relationships between events and characters
depth = content based, thematically rich, explores ideas and value of many and various facets that are relevant to real life

Ok so I mostly agree with OP here. A few extra points though:

1. Talking about complexity alongside depth is apples to oranges. Or apples to a toothbrush. They're both things you put in to your mouth but for different reasons and with a different mental attitude.

Complexity is apples. A meal isn't objectively good just because it has apples. Sometimes we're not in the mood for apples. Sometimes the meal doesn't call for apples. And some people just dislike apples entirely. Of course, there are also people who can't get enough of them.

Depth is like a toothbrush. People don't like or dislike a toothbrush. It has a purpose. Some people ignore it so that even when it's presented to them they never put it in their mouths, but people who do put it in their mouths will reap the benefits of being able to enjoy their meals better in the future... because they keep their teeth... I guess? My analogy was pretty good up until now eh? LOL... I think you get the point.

I would consider complexity an aspect of personal enjoyment (1), and depth pretty obviously is number (3) in my system.

2. The other thing is I would probably want to expand on what OP defines as depth. Specifically the emotional depth of feeling that one gets when they empathize with really well-crafted characters. People often talk about depth in terms of philosophy, themes and life lessons, but I don't think depth is always something you can write a lot about. I felt Clannad: After Story had a ton of emotional depth that while a product of production values in many ways is still something distinct that needs to be noticed alongside the more "heady" philosophical, thematic stuff.

Ultimately, I feel "depth" is everything that leaves a lasting impression and that you take with you from an anime, whether that be thinking about Fate/stay Night's themes of ideals, Girls Last Tour's musings on philososphy, or the emotional impact from something like Clannad.

[EDIT: Bolded the above bit because I think it's central to almost everything I'm saying in this comment]

MAYOIII said:
anime with neither depth nor complexity: 99% isekai adaptations and harem/ecchi shows

I really hope this a joke and you're not that ignorant. The Monogatari series has strong elements of harem and ecchi, yet entire seasons go by without as much depth as Bakemonogatari alone. It's one of the most frustrating things in the anime community that the people who enjoy harem/ecchi and the people who like to get serious about depth and meaning and themes are never the same fucking people lol. Please say you were just being flippant and not serious.

ComboSmooth said:
the thing about "depth" is that anyone can derive any meaning from anything as well as Anyone can project any meaning onto anything.

Essentially I think anything can be argued to being deep. Including harems.

I agree. But I also think that's great and doesn't take anything away. Interpretation is the greater part of artistic appreciation. But certain shows motivate people to pull meaning from their narratives better than other shows. And they get known as shows with depth.

I have an ecchi harem in my 10s (Haganai) because I personally pulled a great deal of meaning out of it. The characters resonated with me. I could feel the love the author put in to them. I think other people are narrow-minded and can't look past for ecchi/harem elements and see how the characters are actually really well fleshed out and their interactions carry alot of depth. But that's just my opinion, don't take the 'narrow-minded' thing too seriously.

I guess my point is... while any show can be "deep", it is up to people to make them deep. Whether Evangelion is or isn't actually deep is completely moot. People have made it deep. Evangelion is deep. And I like to think in my own way, I make Haganai deep.

There's a whole rabbit hole here relating to subjecitvity/objecitvity and my three-part system mentioned earlier in this comment. The thing is, I think one can take meaning - create depth - out of a show, without necessarily enjoying it more. That's why I seperate "depth" from "personal enjoyment". The former can influence the latter, but can also exist completely seperate from it.

MAYOIII said:
There are criteria to follow in terms of evaluating depth and most of us all know that some of the anime do not have deeper meanings attached to them
You can assign meanings to whatever but it doesn't mean they are meaningful by nature and/or to other viewers.

Here's where you lose me. I'd be interested to hear what criteria you think there are to follow when evaluating depth.

As for your second sentence: Nothing is meaningful by nature, and your appeal to consider what's meaningful to others contradicts your assertion that depth is objective.

MAYOIII said:
you can say it's common sense and I think most people do follow (most of the slice of life and romance shows indeed are of little depth and complexity but it doesn't mean they are of little meaning; meaning sometimes also have emotional value attached to them and you cannot obtain them through an analytical perspective based off logic)

Here, for the first time, you seperate depth and meaning. I can get on board with that kind of, theoretically. But I think it's a bad distinction to make. You turn "depth" in to a very cold, emotionless, wooden thing by removing meaning from it. Depth without meaning is just a textbook. [EDIT: Funnily enough, one could say depth without meaning is just complexity]


surely depth is constructed through perception. One may argue that eva lacks depth for whatever reasons but it doesn't mean that it lacks depth by nature. After all works are constructed by people, and the authors themselves have interjected their ideas and thoughts into the story, whether it be deliberate or not. As such, I would say that all works are innately meaningful. They are not instrumentally meaningful however because they may not convey to the audience if the audience either does not understand the significance of the context or interprets them differently.

Well yes, thats my definition of depth thats Why Im asking other people their opinions. Depth in anime is not a defined concept and people may come up with different definitions.

and no I am not joking. Based off my personal viewing experience most of the harem/ecchi shows are insubstantial. this would include monogatari series. No matter how eager you wish to convince me I do not consider it deep at all.
 
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