They’re this stereotypical

Though not always the case for other anime producers, Hayao Miyazaki felt as if some contemporary animators don’t observe from life enough to make more rounded stories and characters. Or that’s what I’m remembering. Somebody else had a point about comics in the essay ‘Education of a Cartoonist’ where they think some cartoonists really don’t read anything else and why their stories are so repetitive.

If that essay’s points were to be applied to anime, it would be the same thing really. Again not always the case but it does explain the rehashed characters, plot points and storylines. But the problem with taking such a big risk’s that it alienates fans who want more of the same thing as they expected and remembered.

It would be just as shocking if a familiar mangaka started doing Bible stories and stuff about saints. Even if it’s something truly new and different. But this involves being so out of the blue that it’s comforting to stick to stereotypes even if some anime do defy or deconstruct those.

It does effect you

Like I said before, anime does effect people so it’s practically no different from any other medium in their regard. But that might take an epiphany to know this. It’s as if you like watching anime with blonde tsunderes, delinquents and rich girls that it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or any other stereotype.

That’s not to say angry blonde women don’t exist but it’s complicated by many other factors like having bad experiences with people or whatever that is. There are certainly anime producers who do poke fun at the stereotype. But that’s still proving how common this is that it’s bound to colour any future creator/consumer’s expectations of such characters.

Watching anime can colour one’s expectations of Japan (though it can be applied to any other country). This would be like watching media that depict Dutch (or any other nationality) people in stereotypical manners even though in reality for all the physical and historical differences they’re still normal people like me and you.

Though that would take a reordering of ideas and exposure to better sources to undo these.

It effects you

I’m not inclined to say anime or any other media’s necessarily this sinister but it does effect the way you perceive things. Something like the blonde tsundere cliche. It’s as if you watch a lot of anime with belligerent, angry blonde girls, rich blonde girls or blonde female delinquents it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy that you come to expect and create female characters like that.

(I even said that the existence of Japanese people with albinism ironically turns some anime cliches on its head when you think about it.)

Maybe with any other anime cliche really. But there’s likely a big disconnect between anime and Japan in reality, sometimes in ways you don’t expect. It’s as if you watch anime, you expect Japan to be a lot like this. (To put it this way, you watch a lot of media portraying Swedish women as nymphets even if ironically not all Swedish women are sex-mad.) That’s the same thing.

What you consume can sometimes influence you a lot. Sometimes if you watch a lot of anime featuring blonde tsunderes, you become attracted to them and expect them to be like that. Some anime producers likely know this and try to deconstruct it. But it’s common enough to effect how people would expect characters like that.

And why the media we consume still has a big say.

The fantasy versus the reality: Some Comparisons

As to why Japan isn’t always anime land, I could argue that anime does diverge a lot from real Japan. Sometimes in ways you don’t expect.

Anime blonds aren’t always tsunderes, delinquents, Westerners, half-Westerners, supernatural and rich girls though they often are. (Note they can and do intersect, in some cases perhaps relating to Westerners being rich or something.)

Naturally blond people do exist in Japan. Not just adopted citizens but also those with albinism. Bear in mind those with albinism are still Japanese citizens despite whatever misconception some of their compatriots make.

It doesn’t help that Japanese schools, until recently, suspected lighter haired students of bleaching theirs (actually not all Japanese who bleach their hair aren’t necessarily delinquents either). Some women actually bleach their hair to repel unwanted male attention.

I could go on saying that some Japanese people do dye their hair in odd colours (whether if blond counts) but it’s something that they’d get suspected for in school and head to jobs that tolerate these.

The Japanese spoken in anime’s the same thing in real life.

Somebody else already wrote about this. But that would involve realising how stereotypical most anime are (the more realistic anime do exist but not very common). There are some Japanese people who do speak like that, maybe not to the same extent. That’s how stereotypical anime can get.

To give a better idea of this, it’s as if US cartoons depict Southerners as speaking yee-haw even if not all of them do. Some of the X-Men comics are notorious for it, often depicting one character as saying ‘sugar’. Or any other dialect that has little resemblance to what those people actually talk like.

The fantasy versus the reality

I think it’s say to safe Japan might be one of the most idealised non-Western countries if it weren’t for anime media. There are certainly anime that depict Japan, people in general and other countries in a more realistic or at least non-stereotypical light. (There are certainly anime that do defy conventional moe stereotypes.)

The problem is, whilst it wasn’t always better before, there’s a tendency to define Japan through anime (I’m also guilty of this at times). Something like assuming all Japanese people to like anime (not all of them do nor have the time for it, especially if they have studies to complete). There could be anime fans who’re interested in Japanese football.

But not too many from personal experience. Maybe if they think Japan is anime, this is perhaps their point of reference that they stick to. Even if there are other sides to Japan that they miss out like sports and ecology.

Most cynical form of advertising

I suspect if DC and Marvel were to publish webcomics and eventually get rid of the print division, save for trade paperback editions and the like, it would have big effects on the publishing industry. It’s as if publishers started offering books for free that they find other ways of making money through advertisements. It could be in the form of live action documentaries but also cartoons.

DC and Marvel might technically do their own cartoon adaptations in-house but when made to advertise products by other companies, especially luxury ones is when the changes begin. Cartoonists being made to advertise products by luxury companies isn’t anything new, some mangaka did it themselves.

It would be surprising if the Flash started endorsing Supreme. A more damning development is if those parent companies started reforming in response to publishing webcomics for good. Disney might merge Marvel entirely with its general publishing division and ditch the film production side.

(It already did this to the television division.)

As for DC, I have a feeling there might come a time when Merck Corporation might buy a fairly stake in it, thus reuniting it with People (as both of them were part of Time Warner). Warner Media proper can still stick to animation but DC may have to spend more time with Merck from then on.

Smaller publishers like Image and Dark Horse might simply transition to being webcomics hosts, albeit backed up by other publishers. I suspect if DC and Marvel were to become webcomics hosts for good, it would affect the publishing industry greatly. Not just by making stuff free.

But also bringing comics significantly closer to online magazine and newspaper territory. Much closer by then. But that would mean publishers might pay film studios to advertise their products, thus resulting in the most cynical form of advertising. It’s as if PBS got paid to adapt Macmillan books into telly, that’s when change begins.

Horrifyingly enough, if DC and WB were to do animated productions again it would also be to advertise products by another company altogether and might form a committee of sorts. This already happened before with comic strips characters advertising food products. This isn’t any different.

Except that rather than having comics be research and development, it’s the film industry that suffers the most from this big change. Now that they’re part of a production committee to advertise books, I have a feeling film might end up as subservient to the publishing industry.

Especially as glorified advertising agencies.

Role Reversal Because of Webcomics

I still think it bears repeating that if the roles between film and comics were to be reversed, it would only be so if webcomics became the norm at DC, Marvel and their ilk. But that would involve having to find ways of making a profit whilst having comics for free. The consequences would be huge and this would even affect prose publishers in general.

What if every book publisher started offering books for free but when figuring out ways of making them profitable, they have film studios to advertise those? One might say that films exist to advertise Harry Potter books and pretty much did the job right. Same with any adaptation of comic strips that the point still holds.

Assuming if DC and Marvel ditched print comics for good and went straight into webcomics, chances are they’ll still find ways of making money. Whilst DC and Marvel have the luxury of having an in-house animation studio of sorts, for smaller publishers they may have to use the production commitee model instead.

Anime already did this since the 1990s, especially with several productions working on and advertising it (or so I think) that it might become the default way of licencing intellectual property. Rather than comics acting as research and development, film studios end up as glorified advertising agencies.

It’s as if a movie studio got paid by the publisher to advertise its books in the form of films and programmes. Studios buying the rights to adapt those media isn’t anything new. The biggest change’s that it would like what Japanese anime have been doing.

You have a committee of studios and publishers working together to produce things to advertise their books and comics with. If DC and Marvel were to switch to webcomics for good, this would have immense ramifications for the entire publishing industry to end up having their books for free online.

Only to pay movie studios to advertise those products that it might also become the most cynical form of advertising and be infomercials taken to a logical conclusion.