4 votes

‘Enter The Anime’ Netflix Documentary is an Orientalist Attempt to Rebrand Anime

4 comments

  1. [4]
    Whom Link
    Interview: Enter The Anime Director Alex Burunova from ANN might also be of interest.

    Interview: Enter The Anime Director Alex Burunova from ANN might also be of interest.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      nothis Link Parent
      Maybe he just throws that in as a controversial smoke bomb to distract from the original question (whether the whole "documentary" is basically just an ad for Netflix productions), but this is...

      There is a big debate on whether anime produced outside of Japan is still 'Anime.' There is no consensus. Anime is a style of animation that originated in Japan. Where it goes from there - I don't know!

      Maybe he just throws that in as a controversial smoke bomb to distract from the original question (whether the whole "documentary" is basically just an ad for Netflix productions), but this is something I've been thinking about before. I kinda liked their Castlevania show, which in turn reminded me a lot of Avatar. It certainly looks like anime, it borrows a lot of tropes but it's wrapped around a very American core. Is that tacky? Is it... -gasp-... appropriation? Can you "appropriate" a $17 billion industry?

      Honestly, I don't think that Japanese anime is really vulnerable to any kind of "attack", here. With all due respect for the range of anime produced, the vast majority of popular anime shows do sell themselves through being edgy and weird and seem to be very okay with that branding. Being mad at that is like being mad at branding Hollywood as a producer of mindless action movies, despite also producing independent movies.

      If Netflix is channeling all that into a show as good as Castlevania, who's hurt?

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        Whom (edited ) Link Parent
        It's not super representative of even the mostly popular stuff, though. I certainly wouldn't call the vast majority of Miyazaki's work "edgy," nor would I apply that to Shinkai's work which has...

        It's not super representative of even the mostly popular stuff, though. I certainly wouldn't call the vast majority of Miyazaki's work "edgy," nor would I apply that to Shinkai's work which has super far reach as well. If you look at the most popular anime and manga, you'll see a whole lot of serious dramas, lighthearted silly comedies, grounded sports series, and action shows which are roughly as "edgy" as TMNT. An ad doesn't have to be representative...but this seems like it's presented more as a documentary, something where I expect a degree of accuracy.

        I get the marketing. It was pushed super hard during the western anime boom so teenagers could say that they aren't just watching cartoons. It's inaccurate, but that's fine, whatever...I dont expect marketing to ever be good. The problem is when you push something as a documentary giving a truthful overview of anime and use it to push that marketing angle and make it one big Netflix commercial. I would get mad about a documentary about the history of Hollywood which skips over a bunch of milestones since they aren't available on the platform funding it and falls into whatever marketing narrative the platform wants to push. The main problem here that gets brought up again and again is that it's an ad presented as a documentary, which is never good.

        They can channel whatever they want into Castlevania without doing what they do in this documentary...taking inspiration from a certain kind / image of anime has nothing to do with making a documentary painting that to be the way it is.

        Who's hurt by any bad art? There is an answer to that question, but I don't think a critic has to necessarily answer it. In this case, the effect of misinformation is probably pretty minimal. At most it's a small contributor to much bigger problems with how we tend to view Japan. Can't we write about why something is bad without having to establish that it hurts someone or something?

        6 votes
        1. nothis Link Parent
          Oh, I didn't want to defend the documentary (haven't watched it but the description sounds awful), you're absolutely right.

          Oh, I didn't want to defend the documentary (haven't watched it but the description sounds awful), you're absolutely right.

          1 vote