How deep is Japanese animation?
You know what? Japanese animation is as deep as you want it to be. Why do I say that? Because in the end, it’s you who is watching, so take your pick.
Why am I saying that? because it has come to my attention that people like to slam the genre for what it is, a better cartoon. I’ll have to admit that it is indeed a better cartoon, and thus, entertainment in the eyes of people who judge books by covers.
Why do I say it’s all about you and your perceptions? Lemme use a few examples, culled from TV culture, otaku culture, and my personal picks.
If you wanted deep in TV culture, you have Lost, Heroes, maybe Angela’s Eyes if you actually watch that. I’ve personally never watched Angela’s Eyes or Heroes and only one episode of Lost, but lemme tell you this: Lost is BS. it’s only perceived deep because the creators and scriptwriters couldn’t think of a coherent plot for the first season. I’ve never personally watched Heroes or Angela’s Eyes, but I hear good things about them. Solid storyline and all. Those can be a candidate for deep.
Entertainment in TV culture is extremely varied. For instance, if you’re British, you have stuff like Big Brother, for you reality TV fetishists, Monty Python for the epitome of British humour, Dr. Who, and friggin’ footy. In America, we have drek like American Idol and The Simple Life and MTV, good shows like psych, MythBusters, Becker, and somewhere in between.
Why do I love psych, MythBusters and Becker? They’re not overly deep, nor are they pretentious. They are good, clean (if a little pottymouthed) fun, great for epic lulz and chuckles alike. They don’t have to drape themselves with the deep tag, they just need a good solid story to drive them. And loads of laughs. In the case of MythBusters, though, they have explosions and they generally have a load of fun doing so.
As for Japanese animated series, lemme take a gander.
Eva? That drek isn’t deep, it’s drek. Drek encased in crystal and goldleafed. Psychoanalysis, Freud, and Christian symbols? Guess what? They ain’t deep, that’s a sign of how uninspired the creators are! Now, if Eva had a Carl Jung reference, I’d tolerate it, but nope, last I checked, no Carl Jung references.
Suzumiya Haruhi? Deep? HAH! Why would I trust a bunch of IDIOTS who got suckered in an OBVIOUS MARKETING GIMMICK to tell me that stuff is deep? I mean, 4 MINUTES OF YUKI FOR NO GOOD REASON. What do you call that? A call for help? A sign of the times? Artistic brilliance? Some Freudian psychoanalytical clue? That’s fan pandering and laziness at work, you pricks.
Lucky Star? Waitaminute, next.
You want deep, try this on for size. Kino no Tabi, Lain, Haibane Renmei, Gunslinger Girls, Elfen Lied, Saikano, Iriya no Sora, heck, I’ll throw in planetarian, because that thing is deep, and I can attest to that.
But what makes a show deep? What makes Kino different than, say, Hayate the Combat Butler? Why is Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night considered deeper than oh, let’s say, To Heart? Personally, I think for a show or game to be considered deep, it has to make the viewer think. And by think, I mean THINK. Reflect on the purpose of life and all. And why bad things happen on this Green Earth. It has to jolt the viewer into thinking about issues regarding their life. If a show can’t do that, then I feeel that that show is not deep.
Remember folks, it’s all how you feel towards a certain show.
Drm notes: No I haven’t watched Saikano yet, and Iriya no Sora may not have deserved to be called deep, but it’s my call. And I’ve only watched one episode of Eva, but it was the second time I have ever hated a series so much. Yes deep primal hatred for a series on the first episode. (Tho other was Chocotto Sister, and that was instantaneous. and brutal). Also, an excuse to not so subtly slam series.