Haiji’s Opinion Corner – The differences between Anime and Cartoon debate

There’s an issue people inside the loop have with people outside of the loop. That is to say that people get mad over anime being called cartoons and manga being called comics, and often trying to differentiate them. Another one would be that they might mistake a non-anime character like Hatsune Miku or a character from a game to be an “anime character”, and thus it leads to more fans to become upset. There is no need to get your panties in a bunch over these minor misunderstandings, you can’t blame the people who aren’t fans to understand your fan lingo. Think about it, do you think your non-fan friend will understand this?

Hey man, you’re so kawaii as fuck! I can’t believe I never noticed you! You make my kokoro go doki doki and everything will be daijobu!

(I seriously hope nobody speaks like this, though.)

Ok maybe your friend could possibly understand some of that, however most of the time it’s often a straight no. Do you play StarCraft II? No? Ok try to understand this. You probably will know what I’m talking about though.

I’ve been scanning you, and I must admit that I’ll take a fast third-expansion when I’m with you any day. Hell, it’s about time I focus fire down your Hatchery. My Yamato cannon is ready to fire, and I’m stimmed up and ready to come at you, baby. I even have combat shields to be safe. Still not convinced? You won’t believe the size of my over-engineered codpiece. I’ll be Terran you up and releasing my unstable payload in your base. When I’m done with you, it’s going to be gg.

If you know what I mean. – Haiji Onii-san.

If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry. It’s just my super gosu micro skills to pick up 100 girls on the beach (God Damn It Zikang, you probably won’t understand this unless you’re a friend of a certain shrimp). The point is I’m trying to make here is that, if somebody doesn’t understand something, you can explain it to them so that they will understand or point them in the right direction, there is no need to feel terrible about it, just use the opportunity to bring somebody closer to our secret sect so that we can make it easier for our nekomimi loli imouto army take over the world. Wait a sec, did I just reveal the secret plan? Oh shit, YOU SAW NOTHING. Without any more beating around the metaphorical bush, I’ll be attempting to find the definition of anime.

Differences and Similarities in Art Style

First of all, we see that the majority of Japanese pop-culture media such as Anime, Games, Manga, Light-novels, and even Artwork etc. can have a certain distinct art style commonly known as “Manga style” or “Anime style”. If you look closely at this so called “Anime style”, it is in fact not a style at all, it’s actually collection of different styles, if you look at one artist’s work, you see different shading  techniques, different eye shapes, and even the proportions may differ as well. As you can see, referring to all of the artwork in Japanese pop-culture as “Anime style” isn’t entirely correct and to some fans it is considered highly inappropriate.

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This depiction of Hatsune Miku will be considered by many to be “Anime Style”.

The reason why people who are unfamiliar with the fandom and of characters such  as “Hatsune Miku”, and mistakenly think they are from anime is because they simply look like they do. If you think about it, the styles may look drastically different to you, however in some ways the art styles are actually quite similar. For example, over-sized eyes for expressing emotions easily, idealistic body features and proportions make up are just the tip of the iceberg that they can see, and as for the more experienced few, you’ve dove deep enough to see the rest of that iceberg.

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Western Cartoon style? Nope! It’s just another “Anime Style”.

So the question here is, can you define anime simply by the similar art styles? Probably not, because you’ll be defining non-anime media  as anime as well and also the fact that some art styles of anime resemble the “western cartoon style” which blurs the lines between anime and cartoon a hell of a tonne. Perhaps it isn’t the best idea to define anime by the art style at all. Although it is the easiest way to differentiate between anime and cartoon since most of the time there are many differences but you must be aware of the grey area in which cartoons look like anime, and vice versa.

The Assumption that Anime can only be made in Japan, and by the Japanese

Many fans discriminate quite heavily that the animations made in other countries that aren’t Japan and animations not made by Japanese people are not anime. So by this definition many anime made in other countries and by non-Japanese can’t be called anime. Not even the epic anime short made in Singpore can be defined as anime despite many fans considering it so. So are you sure that people outside of Japan and foreigners can’t make anime?

You can make anime outside of Japan, there’s no doubt about that however just saying that an animation isn’t an anime because of the location it is made is utter ignorance. Likewise, you can’t say that western cartoons made in Japan are automatically counted as anime. This discrimination based on location needs to stop since the fans doing so are severely narrowing the scope, it’s not particularly correct nor is it polite to say an anime made outside of Japan is not an anime at all. Personally I’d consider series such as RWBY and Avatar the Last Airbender, as foreign produced anime however not many fans are willing to accept foreign made anime to be anime, so I’d say give it a bit of time and people may become more lenient with the definition of anime.

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One of these is made in Japan the other is made with in outer space. Still a manga.

The Texbook Definition of the word Cartoon

The texbook definition of a cartoon is that it is a non-realistic or semi-realistic image. Even though the definitions have evolved over time, as the very definition of cartoon has evolved to describe western animations, and the word comic has also replaced the word cartoon for the western graphic novels, you can still consider anime as cartoons and manga to be comics. Many fans are not willing to accept this, are against referring to anime as cartoons, and manga as comics and would like them to be referred correctly as such.

So are we out of the water yet? If you’re willing to put the differences aside and say anime are cartoons and manga are comics, and the entire fan-base is open minded to this then yes, the debate is settled, however I wouldn’t say this would happen any time soon, so probably given it about at least 10 years for this to sort itself out. I ask of you fans to stop being butt hurt over people saying your beloved waifu is a cartoon character, seriously, it’s not an insult, the people don’t mean any harm unless they explicitly insult you.

Conclusion

With the blurring of the lines between anime and cartoon, we see that some cartoons are adopting the common traits found in anime and some anime adopting traits found in cartoons. If you look at the anime such as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt,  and Kill la Kill, you can see the adoption of a cartoonish style while still be considered an anime and a few series  I mentioned earlier made by non-Japanese producers, who aren’t in Japan have adopted the anime-like style.

I’d say we should embrace any good anime series to watch regardless of definitions, art style, location or nationality of the people making it and not be so close minded about it. To an extent we shouldn’t stop people from calling their own work anime just because it doesn’t meet your criteria. While I’ve spent a whole deal trying to define anime, it is very hard to do so since many lines are blurred and the truth is that there is no clear cut way to differentiate between anime and cartoon, particularly those in the grey area. So my dear readers, please do consider looking at this perspective which might be stretching it a bit.

Anime is just another word for cartoons.
Manga is just another word for comics.
What matters is that it is all art.

Good Luck, Have Fun!

-Haiji Onii-san

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Dear the People who designed the Jungle Speed packaging

Let me get straight to the point, the box is huge. So huge that it doesn’t need to be. I was expecting a box that was frankly half its size, since the contents of box only should contain a deck of cards, the totem, an instruction manual and a pouch. I was surprised by the sheer size of it, if that was your goal you indeed have fulfilled it however did you think about how much wasted cardboard and plastic you’re going to use to make the packaging? You literally could have made the box compact, and space efficient so it wouldn’t be a hassle to lug around when you first take it home.

The box really doesn’t have to be that big, it’s highly inefficient. There’s all this empty space inside the box that isn’t filled, in fact it’s enough room to fit an average size paper back novel. You could have made the box thinner or even smaller so that you can store more boxes in a given space, instead we get a box that the inside is practically half filled with air. Do you really think this is a good idea considering how huge empty boxes can be easily crushed? With the materials you use to make this 1 huge box, you could literally make almost 2 smaller boxes that can still get the job done.

With the amount of space inside the box, you could literally fit 2 Jungle speed sets inside. So I’m just saying that you could possibly save a bit of money on the materials, and shipping and allow the re-sellers to store more of your product before they sell them to the consumer.

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The contents don’t even take up half of the box’s available real estate.

One last thing – YOU MERE MORTALS DARE DESECRATE THE SACRED DUELS WITH FLIMSY PLASTIC? BRING BACK THAT WOODEN TOTEM, OR I SHALL SMITE YOU WITH MY SWORD.

To all my dear readers living in Australia, you can purchase the exact same edition of Jungle Speed I have at “Good Games” for $28. You can get it shipped or you can drop into one of their stores, and they’ll take care of you.

Click here to go to the Good Games Website.

Good Luck, Have fun!

– Haiji Onii-san

Astebreed – Haiji’s First Impressions of the Game.

I was randomly scrolling and aimlessly browsing through my facebook feed until I saw this game. I liked how the game looked and holy shit is that an epic looking sword on that mecha? SOLD. I bought the game on steam and decided to have a spin, and I’m going to tell you I had a blast, literally. In the game you pilot a mecha, shoot everything that comes your way and hack and slash everything that comes close. The name is somewhat weird and how exactly do I pronounce the title of this game? Ass-breed? A-star-breed? I seriously don’t know. The word breed is also implying something, but let’s not go there. Pepper your Angus and prepare your body for some epic shooting, hack and slash action. Just look at it!

Hell yeah.

Figuring out the controls

When you first start the game, it immediately directs you to a menu which allows you to configure the controls. It is immediately apparent that you can use an Xbox controller to play the game if you so choose which I definitely would recommend doing if you have one. If not then you can use the keyboard to control it however it took a little bit of time to figure out the controls since in the interface it doesn’t mention any keyboard keys. You’ll have to map them. So for the default controls, here they are.

Z – Scatter shot (in game) and Select (in menus)
X – Focus shot (in game) and Cancel/Go Back (in menus)
C – Use your epic sword
V – Special attack
Q – Pause the game
Directional keys – Move

It wasn’t too much of a problem for me to figure out the controls as Z, X and C keys are commonly in many shooting games when playing on PC. Though I would like to see more support for people who use the keyboard by allowing us to see which keys actually being used instead of just displaying “Control X”, with X being a number.

Playing through the Prologue

Once you’ve finished configuring the controls, and the graphics settings, you’ll immediately start playing the game. You’ll play the Zeroth chapter of the story, and instead of boring you with a mandatory taking turns with the computer at controlling the character, the game throws you in the deep end and teaches you along the way. The tutorial doesn’t mess around nor does it interrupt you from your play, the controls are presented to you, and you as the player will learn as you go, with the story progressing as you play through the prologue.

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Just look at that sick combo!

Hell, the tutorial process is pure bliss, and utterly painless unlike other tutorials from other games I’ve played. The game just tells you what each of the controls does, and let’s you try for yourself without demonstrating to you, that way you get first-hand experience. After playing through the prologue, already, I can start moving on to the main game without a problem. Props to the developers who designed this prologue, the tutorial process was quick and efficient, it sets up the story while you’re playing it and more importantly it doesn’t go through the suffocating process of teaching you how to breathe.

If you require further detail, you can have a go at the tutorials where they demonstrate everything to you and then let you try out for yourself however this is entirely optional. I would recommend having a look at the tutorials that tell you how the scoring system works and a few things you’ve missed in the prologue. If you want some detailed information or if you want to play better the game it’s worth having a look however these are the kind of tutorials you find in every game, unlike the prologue.

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Shoot the small ones, and slash big ones. The basic strategy in a nutshell.

The Main Game

I played through the first 2 chapters of the game and am working towards beating the third chapter. The game itself can be described as the love child of a Danmaku (Bullet Hell) and a 3D Hack and Slash game. It’s a lot of fun destroying everything with the homing lasers, boosting around, and killing stuff with the sword. The first chapter is easy, the second chapter was a little harder, however on the third chapter things get a bit toasty with lots of missiles coming your way.

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First Boss – Waste no time, and just alternate between and spam X and C right in the boss’s face. Press V for the finishing blow. BOOM!!!

There is no save function however, you don’t really need it. Each time you move to a new chapter, you unlock it and can resume playing from chapter select. You can also adjust the difficulty settings however at first you’ll only get Easy and Normal.

You can play the game in English and Japanese however, the voice acting will always be Japanese for both options. Personally I watch a lot of English subtitled anime with Japanese voice acting so it wasn’t too much of a problem for me, however for those who aren’t used to reading and watching at the same  time, you might find it a bit inconvenient. You play through the game with the characters exchanging dialogue along the way. You progress while the story is progressing, and this makes playing the game an immersive experience.

The view shifts and pan around while you’re playing, you are not limited to one perspective. You could be playing a side scrolling shooter and then transition to a top-down shooter, it may seem difficult to adapt to different perspectives, however it’s actually quite intuitive.

Conclusion

This game is very well made, and one of the complaints I have is that there isn’t an option to use the 1366 x 768 resolution, which means I’m forced to use 1280 x 720 instead which isn’t much of an issue. The controls could do with a bit more explanation for keyboard users but other than that there isn’t much to complain about. The prologue doesn’t mess around, the controls are easy to learn, the graphics are brilliant, voice acting is very well done, the music is ear candy and above all there’s a huge amount of polish put into it.

You can buy the game on Steam and it costs US$19.99, and at time of posting it costs only US$15.99 which lasts until the 7th of June 2014.

Click here to go to the Steam page.

Click here to go to the game website where you can download the free trial.

I hope you enjoy playing this game!

Good Luck, Have Fun!

-Haiji Onii-san