NEETaku Rants: RWBY Is An Anime. Deal With IT!!

Sorry for my lack of activity, guys. Not trying to come off as the type of blogger who only looks at other people’s posts when I post something as well. Just went through a sort of rough week both mentally and physically. But, I’m back in shape now and rarin’ to get some writing done.

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Recharge complete!!

So, in the midst of my minor sabbatical, I finally got off my gigantic, lazy buttocks and began marathoning the RWBY series produced by Rooster Teeth & Monty Oum.

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Yet another genius taken before his time. R.I.P Monty

And while I was rekindling my love for the series, I was reminded of a whole hub bub that started up among several groups about whether it could be considered an anime. There were various Youtube anime personalities who talked about the subject, but for the life of me I can’t find their videos about it. Which is friggin’ amazing cause I’m usually great at finding things on the Interwebz. Regardless, I was able to find one particular video talking about what should be considered an anime. All credit to Digibro.

For those too lazy to watch the vid, it, like others in the past, states that anime itself is a Japanese creation, and only shows from Japan can be considered “anime”. And while it makes various points that make a whole lot of sense, I can’t help but respectfully disagree with them. As far as I’m concerned, anime is a style of animation that just happened to originate from the country of Japan. Notice how I put the word “style” in bold. Regardless of the various manner in which they are drawn, anime is just a single animation style regardless of where it started up. I mean, we don’t call Disney cartoons ” American animation”, do we? The majority of people see it as a style of animation that just so happened to be created in America. If Frozen were to be solely created in Japan, but in the same unique style of Disney animation, would it be considered anime? Of course not!! It would still be a Disney flick regardless of the country it was made in!!

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Now, I would like to point out that there is a difference between a show being an “anime” and another being “anime influenced”. For example:

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While Totally Spies had many things in it that come from the anime style, it was clearly written in the typical style of a western cartoon. Adding big eyes and random sweat drops on a characters face does not make it an anime. Likewise, while The Boondocks was clearly influenced by the anime style, can you REALLY see it appealing to a Japanese audience given that most western style cartoons don’t? You know…outside of Disney, which is actually waaaayyy more popular in Japan than it could EVAH be anywhere else in the world! It’s not even close! Go ahead and look it up.

So, you ask, what would I consider as an anime that wasn’t necessarily created in Japan? Well, a few of them should be pretty obvious…

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RWBY and Avatar notwithstanding, a lot of people would not consider the original Teen Titans cartoon as an anime. And my reply to those people would be: Are you out of your minds?! Not only was the action in the showed drawn in a way that was almost similar to that of Dragon Ball, the Japanese influence in the show was a clear as freshly cleaned window on a skyscraper! Heck, the opening theme of the show was written and performed by a female J-Pop duo!! But still, some would argue that the series can’t be considered anime given the source material is in fact western based. If that were the case, what the heck should we consider all those Marvel based anime shows?! How can we consider those anime but not Teen Titans?!

When it comes to the RWBY series itself, it’s painfully obvious that it’s not just another random cartoon with splotches of anime thrown onto it. It was clearly designed to be of the anime style of animation. No, I’m not saying that an anime is an anime just because of how it’s “drawn”. 9 times out of 10 most anime shows don’t look anything like one another. There’s a certain manner in which characters are created, plots structured and actions scenes depicted that make a cartoon an anime. And given how much anime I’ve watched and researched, shows like Avatar: TLA and RWBY have those specific characteristics. Just because they were technically created outside of Japan doesn’t make them any less than what they are, regardless of how many anime purists want to argue the point.

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Uhh…yes and no?

So, what do you consider an anime? Let me know down in the comments below. I’m NEETaku, and this was just…My 2 Cents!

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34 thoughts on “NEETaku Rants: RWBY Is An Anime. Deal With IT!!

  1. This is definitely one of those topics where people aren’t going to be convinced to change their minds regardless of the arguments put forward. Same as subs vs dubs. Rather than arguing whether something is or isn’t anime, I’m just going to keep watching whatever catches my eye and hope someone else sorts out the definition later.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hello. This topic has been discussed a lot but I agree with you. I always thought it was more than just something made in Japan. I always called RWBY an anime even though it was made here in the West.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with a lot of your sentiment, but sometimes I myself go back and forth on what I would call an anime. I’ve never even thought to consider Teen Titans anime until you pointed it out here, but that’s fun to think about.

    Here’s another thought exercise for you: Have you seen the Disney series Gargoyles? It’s an animated series with a story structure and themes that would appeal to an older audience. The characterization is complex, and it draws on a lot of mythos to tell a compelling story. Except no one would ever consider it an anime because it doesn’t look anything like one. What would you call these types of shows, and what sets them apart from your definition of anime?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I watched Gargoyles religiously as a kid, along with most Disney afternoon cartoons. And while it was much more complex compared to other cartoons of that era, I wouldn’t consider it an anime. As I stated in my post, watch anime long enough you can just sort of tell when a show fits into that sort of mold.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never put a ton of thought in it before but you are 100% right IMHO. I’ve always known shows like Avatar is american based but just considered it in my head as anime, like it was a given.
    Great post btw I have been really wanting to watch RWBY (esp since my bestie raves about it lately) now I found another reason to get off my butt and watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been watching anime for over 15 years. I’m not quite sure how to answer this question. But I wouldn’t consider Teen Titans an anime. Nor would I consider Avatar or Boondocks because they are American made. Though I can see the influence in all aspects. My understanding is that Anime is simply Japanese animation.

    Though American and Japanese animation both have stylized things related to them.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not really sure exactly what I would define as anime or not anime but I do know that people can get very worried about it on both sides of the argument (I mean think of all the recent fuss about Shelter). Most importantly though, I don’t think that it necessarily matters. In the simplest sense there are ‘shows which I am interested in watching’ and ‘shows which I am not interested in watching’. I like cartoons (including some things targeted at children), and I enjoy anime as well, and I wouldn’t be worried about whether a show is anime or not if I’m watching it, or even if I’m describing it to others. I’d merely say ‘This is a cool show about ____’.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not too attached to labels, so I never look into something because it has the anime/cartoon label. I do think that there’s a different in storytelling between both sides, tho, and it’s one of the reasons that while I while manga, I can’t for the life of me get into western comics all that much. But those faults lay with me, and not the mediums. I actually haven’t watched RWBY yet, but I did watch Avatar and I loved it, regardless of what I call it. To me they’re all shows, so I’d really wish people would enjoy life more instead of these petty wars I see

    Liked by 1 person

  8. For me personally, I tend to stick to the definition that ‘anime’ is simply animation originating from Japan. Influences in western and Japanese animation are quite ubiquitous and even explicit but in in the same way that you wouldn’t call animation from Japan rendered in the style or format of a western cartoon anything but ‘anime’ – I don’t think any amount of influence causes western animation to transcend definition and become ‘anime’ either. It’s just a classification in my mind. Art always challenges definition and perception and so to give it a fixed descriptor that tries to embody its content or style seems destined to fail. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hmmmmm. Very interesting topic and one that, to be honest, I haven’t completely made my mind to. I agree that anime should be considered more as a medium or style of animation rather than limiting it to animated shows from Japan. This is definitely one of those iffy topics that divides a lot of anime fans. I would consider RWBY and Korra as anime, regardless of whether they originated from Japan or not. Besides, a lot of big animations studios such as TOEI are outsourcing a large part of their anime to other countries …so does this mean to say that ONE PIECE will start to cease being categorized as anime because a big percentage of it is drawn from the Philippines? No. Hmmmm. I think it depends on the show? And this is such a subjective topic. People will have their own criteria for what is anime or not. But I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing it to my blog carnival…I hope you got a lot of “cheap views” from it. 😉
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very well argued! The point that really stuck with me was about the anime marvel movies that came out of Japan. I’ve grappled with this issue myself, especially as a fan of RWBY.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s one of the things most people overlook. Marvel is a Western creation, yet there are anime shows/movies based on their comics. By the general logic of most people, those shows aren’t anime despite them coming from Japan

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I know I’m a little late into this discussion, but first off I’d like to say thanks for sharing your ideas.

    To add a little bit to the plate, I’ve spent some time in Japan and it’s funny to note that the word “anime” actually denotes animation “in general”. In fact most Japanese are inclined to call anything that is animated — be it 3D or 2D; west or home-made — basically “anime”.

    I believe the distinction of “anime” as fundamentally “Japan-centric” comes from a sub-cultural movement during the period of pre-bubble Japan when the media was beginning to become more accessible through the internet. Prior to this, people referred to it as “Japanimation” to reflect it’s origin. It has since then transformed into “anime”, mimicking the Japanese truncation of the word, and has served as a sort of sub-cultural identification to people who are more “purist” so to speak.

    This is one of the reasons why older audiences that feel more attached to the nostalgic origins of Japanese animation prefer to make a clear delineation between Japanese works and western works that are “inspired” by Japanese animation. This is all good and fine from an ontologic perspective, but when people start forcing others to believe this idea as relevant to a age of globalization, then the argument starts to become wearisome.

    Because the reality is that the styles that you have alluded to as “anime-like” are actually inspired from manga – translated to the screen by utilizing methods that “limit” the amount of effort needed to create images of great impact. This is the reason why manga/anime have utilized exaggerated angles or tilted frames that would otherwise be scorned at by traditional western standards. The breaking of convention also allowed for entirely new methods of visual interpretation, including “bullet time” and “fly-by animation”, which have become staples in western “anime-inspired” films like “The Matrix”.

    So I agree with you entirely in that Anime is more a form of expression than origin of animation, and it extends to whatever person utilizes these methods of expression to their best. In fact the same can be said in the opposite direction — Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is an example of a cartoon in the Western ideology infused with the conceptual framework of an Anime. Everything looks cartoonish, but the use of angles and visual framing are distinctly “anime”.

    I can go on and on about these things, but alas, this comment is getting waaaay to lengthy. Thanks for the thoughts, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. For some reason I’ve always considered RWBY and anime and Avatar a cartoon. Love them both, hell I even have an Avatar tattoo, but something about the way they’re written makes them distinctly different to me. Overall though I don’t worry too much about the debate in general. If you want to call something an anime and it’s animated then just do it. Worst case someone disagrees with you. Doesn’t change how awesome the show is.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I wrote a thing about this topic a few years ago, if you’d like to check it out. https://fullmetalnarcissist.com/2016/08/06/should-western-cartoons-be-called-anime/

    More to the point though, I’d like to argue against one of your points directly… Anime is not a style. There are many different styles of animation in Japan, possibly even more than there are in America, so boiling the entire medium down to “a style” is insultingly reductive. Would you honestly say that Lucky Star, Panty and Stocking, Steins;Gate, Shin-Chan, Lupin III and Clannad were all the same style? No, because each one of those titles is of a different style, and look nothing like each other.

    Liked by 1 person

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