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ME!ME!ME! An anime critique of otakuism

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ME!ME!ME!, which is an anime short that came out rather recently, had Hideaki Anno (creator of Evangelion) as the producer. Apparently Hayao Miyazaki also made a minor contribution to this short. That said, most of the credit is attributed to these two people 

 

It should be well known by now that both Anno and Miyazaki have voiced concerns and criticism on how Otakuism is ruining anime. (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2014-01-30/miyazaki/the-problem-with-the-anime-industry-is-it-full-of-otaku).

Instead of studio's taking risks and making more artful shows as they did in the 90's (e.g. Evangelion, Utena, Lain), studios these days primarily market and create shows for Otaku. Hence the increase in Moe and Slice and Life anime that started around a decade ago. Within this past decade, the most successful anime/manga/light-novel that tackled the theme of otakuism in a serious way was Welcome to the NHK, and that anime was released all the way back in 2006. Anime has only gotten more saturated with Otaku fan-service since then. In any case, you can watch this 6-7 minute short here:    

http://animatorexpo.com/mememe/   

 

I also suggest watching this video afterwards  for some entertaining yet insightful commentary on the short:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_YjrTyxde8

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Or maybe, just maybe, it's flashy animation that's 2deep4u ;)

 

I do agree with the view that it's criticism on the otaku culture in general though because that's the interpretation that makes the most sense when you analyze the whole thing.

 

I think it's only a logical step to try and target otakus as their addiction is the one that brings industries the most money.

The problem in my opinion is the fact that anime is being run more as a business that's trying the best to profit as much as possible instead of trying to focus on the content they put out itself, leading to cheap animation techniques (sometimes really blantant and annoying), cheap fanservice (because I promise you fanservice can actually be good if done right) and just shallow shows in general.

I guarantee you all that fanservice sells like hotcakes, but at the same time it diminishes the stigma and overall view on anime from people outside the bubble (and inside as well), which is not desirable, but there are still some good shows once in a while, finding a hidden gem is better than no gems at all right?

 

Overall I think ME ME ME is beautifully animated and the music itself is awesome (TeddyLoid not disappointing) and I can only say I've hit the replay button many many times  :lol:

I'd rather not think too hard about it and just appreciate it for what it is.

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Despite the minor involvement of Miyazaki and the fact that Anno was producer on it, it would be wrong to assume they were the behind the driving ideas of this short. Rather, those two guys are.

 

I feel Miyazaki and Anno, despite their master/disciple relationship, shouldn't be lumped together on that topic. Miyazaki probably criticizes vehemently otaku, Anno IS an otaku and is conscious of his condition. I mean:

The only anime/manga/light-novel that ever tackled the theme of otakuism in a serious way before was Welcome to the NHK

What is Evangelion then? (And also Otaku no Video before that)

 

Which is also the reason why I feel the interpretation of this short as purely critical of the state of the anime industry is a bit off. The "otaku condition" didn't wait for the 2000s to exist and was very much there in the 80s, and albeit slightly different it was already characterized by an unhealthy obsession over sexualization of characters and a struggle to come to terms with a lot of things in your life (social relationships, expectations, sense of accomplishment, etc).

I think that's what being expressed here in a very trippy, excessive, flashy way. But hey, I might be off. I don't really know the guys who came up with it after all.

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Despite the minor involvement of Miyazaki and the fact that Anno was producer on it, it would be wrong to assume they were the behind the driving ideas of this short. Rather, those two guys are.

 

 Anno IS an otaku and is conscious of his condition. I mean:

What is Evangelion then? (And also Otaku no Video before that)

 

Which is also the reason why I feel the interpretation of this short as purely critical of the state of the anime industry is a bit off. The "otaku condition" didn't wait for the 2000s to exist and was very much there in the 80s, and albeit slightly different it was already characterized by an unhealthy obsession over sexualization of characters and a struggle to come to terms with a lot of things in your life (social relationships, expectations, sense of accomplishment, etc).

I think that's what being expressed here in a very trippy, excessive, flashy way. But hey, I might be off. I don't really know the guys who came up with it after all.

 

Edited my post and phrasing. 

 

While I agree that "The "otaku condition" didn't wait for the 2000s to exist and was very much there in the 80s", I think it certainly got a lot worse from the 2000s onward. During the 2000s, mostly due to the internet, Otaku culture spread not only in japan but globally as well. The otaku of today are not only different, but have far larger numbers than the Otaku of the 80s. 

 

The problem in my opinion is the fact that anime is being run more as a business that's trying the best to profit as much as possible instead of trying to focus on the content 

 

That's definitely the largest problem with contemporary anime. The anime industry has turned into Hollywood... 

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Instead of studio's taking risks and making more artful shows as they did in the 90's (e.g. Evangelion, Utena, Lain), studios these days primarily market and create shows for Otaku. Hence the increase in Moe and Slice and Life anime that started around a decade ago. Within this past decade, the most successful anime/manga/light-novel that tackled the theme of otakuism in a serious way was Welcome to the NHK, and that anime was released all the way back in 2006. Anime has only gotten more saturated with Otaku fan-service since then.

I understand what you are getting at but the use of the word artful is rather vague for the point you are trying to make.

 

Isn't the point of entertainment to appeal to the audience? As Nosebleed said, they do what brings in the money and you can't really blame them for that can you?. Yet I don't think the anime industry in Japan is quite as bad as Hollywood :P

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The way I see it, enjoying these sorts of things is nothing to be ashamed of, which is exactly what the video tries to show us; it's entertainment. However, once you start to lose your grip on reality and block out everything else in your life believing that friends and 2D women are the only purpose for living, then it becomes an issue. I also believe the video shows how drugs (in this case smoking) is bad for your health and can seriously affect how you think about and perceive life. While the video itself uses smoking as the example however, the "drug" of being addicted to an otaku's lifestyle is also detrimental.

 

Enjoy your hobbies, but don't let them consume you basically. Literally, as the girl does. :mellow:

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I understand what you are getting at but the use of the word artful is rather vague for the point you are trying to make.

 

Isn't the point of entertainment to appeal to the audience? As Nosebleed said, they do what brings in the money and you can't really blame them for that can you?. Yet I don't think the anime industry in Japan is quite as bad as Hollywood :P

 

True, though my greatest fear is that the anime industry will one day become as bad as Hollywood. 

 

 you can't really blame them for that can you?

  

This is quite complicated. On the one hand you can't really blame companies for producing safe bets that will profit them; that is if you emphasize the business and entertainment aspect of the anime industry. However, if you place a greater emphasis on anime as an art form, then you will blame them. I say will, because despite the truth that producers need to make money, it is also in their pursuit of making money that producers hinder artists from making things of true quality. Those who desire artistic brilliance will blame the people who restrict the artist (usually the ones with the money). Not that this is a new issue. Artists have always had to struggle with doing what their patrons want versus doing what they want. But I take the side of the artists in this age old debate. :P I don't want artists to do what the consumer wants, I want artists to do what they want to do.

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I think this issue is a matter of a person's perspective. There are three types of viewers and creators in this world (readers or audience, and writers,mangaka,animator), the deep thinker, the shallow thinker, and the escapist.

 

Deep thinker wants a masterpiece that tickles their minds. They incorporate different facts from their experience. Even if you say that there are deep thinkers who goes beyond these facts, they still acknowledge these facts and perhaps they just expounded them or contradicted them. In short they always want their brain constantly working.

These people are privilage enough to have a decent backround (mainly education and perharps food, shelter, psychology, family and etc). They are genius but rare.

 

The shallow thinker, in contrast, refuse to use their head to comprehend something infront of him/her. They are just relying on their "pleasure" which is just a primitive instinct.... In short, "look, BO*BS!!!" or "look, P*NIS!", they say.

They are the "deprived". They perhaps lack of education, nourishment, psychological health, and etc.. Because of this, they are regressed as an "animal" instead of being an ordinary human or something great. Unfortunately, they are a lot of them out there. Note, it doesn't restrict to financially poor.

 

And lastly the escapist. They are the ones who just want to escape from the rough reality. They don't want to use their minds too much but still their train of thought is still grounded by their basic human experience. In other words, they just want to relax and unwind as an ordinary person.

They are basically ordinary humans who are healthy in every aspect. They make, watch, or read things as a coping mechanism to maintain their healthy well being.

So my point is we can't condemn people because they are stupid. But we can assess why they are like that. And maybe we, or someone will help them....

Brought to you by a lolicon who was struck by some sense........... XD

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