Kai’s Takes on AniManga Controversies

Did someone just said “controversies”?

Foxy and Neko just recently commented on about some of the frequently-debated topics of the anime community. Seeing Miharu and OG doing the same, I felt like entering the bandwagon too, so here I am. Right, I’m going to hide the fact that I’m dangerously running low on things to blog about.


1. Anime VS Manga

Of all the Japanese visual media I’m currently watching/reading/playing (hmm… this is a handful to type): anime, manga, games, visual novels, light novels-I had the longest history with anime out of all of them. I think it’s a no brainer that I would pick anime here then, as anime is a medium which pretty much introduced me not just to the medium but the Japanese visual media as a whole. I can always feel appreciative of certain pros and cons of different media, but anime will always has a soft spot in my heart.

There’s also another thing-I prefer huge production values in general. Aforementioned, I can appreciate pros and cons of different media; manga and LNs are definitely good, I find myself prioritizing the anime adaption if I know they have one. In fact, I immediately stopped reading Heavy Object recently after realizing an anime adaption is already greenlit.

I know full well that manga obviously has the advantage here as far as story/character development goes, but in the end, my philosophy, if you can call it that, won me over. In short, my choice is anime-with it’s ability in colors, motions and sound, it’s something manga wouldn’t be able to replicate.

2. Dubs VS Subs

Subs. This is another obvious choice. I grew up watching anime in TV horribly dubbed in Malay, English, Mandarin and even Cantonese-I was still fine with it at the time since I had not listened to a genuine original dubs before. But after I actually listened to one, I couldn’t go back. The capture of emotions, characterizations, timing-everything is nailed almost perfectly in original dub and I couldn’t help but felt awkward whenever I watched another dubbed anime. I’m however, well aware that there are anime with good dubs-Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bepop and Black Lagoon (I never watched them dubbed though)-incidentally, these anime are more westernized than your standard anime, so yea… that probably speaks for itself. I think depending on the culture and settings of the anime, dubs might work, but that being said, I still ultimately prefer subs.


3. Vintage VS Modern / Cel VS Digital

Both has their own appeal. I answered something similar in my ask.fm before, so I will just c/p:

“I had been thinking for awhile, but I think I would actually hesitate to say new anime is better visually. Technically speaking, they are better of course. In terms of details, complexity, colors and so on, art quality for modern anime had really improved by leaps and bounds compared to before, one reason I assume is because the heavier reliance on computers instead of the traditional pencil and paper.

But the problem here is that most artists in Japan seem to have develop a huge consensus as far as art philosophy and techniques are concerned. Most anime nowadays look “pretty”, but aesthetically/thematically speaking, it’s a different matter altogether. It’s seems as if every studios in Japan are following the same template, there are far less “unique” art styles in modern anime, or ones that actually fit thematically; other than looking “pretty”. Not to say they don’t exist of course, some newer anime like Attack on Titan, Monogatari, Madoka, Kanagatari, Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia are some titles which fulfilled their aesthetic/thematic concept. Are these “unique” looking anime lesser though? I would say yes.

Another thing to note, I have a belief that the more detailed and realistic your designs are, the weaker the expressions and the dynamics. Look at One Piece for example, it’s character designs are simple and, for the lack of better word, “cartoonish”, but because of that, they have the aesthetic freedom to draw their characters in ridiculous manner, i.e. Luffy stretching his arms, his body expanding/contracting like a balloon, etc… It looks silly-so much that most modern anime wouldn’t be able to pull it off.”

As for the digital side of things, there aren’t much of an issue to me. Personally, I feel digital is best used on inanimate objects like cars or mecha, but it works well thematically with KanColle too since the character are pretty much anthropomorphized warships. I can understand people’s problems with it, however; I remember Chikorita expressing his issues with the CG lives in Love Live before, and while it’s something I agree, it’s also not a flaw that “jumped” out at me when I was watching the anime. I think it’s fine as long as the CG isn’t overdone, so Love Live’s perfectly fine in that regard. If you had watched PriPara… now THAT’s overdone.


4. Moe VS Realistic

Another one of those questions where I’m on the fence. I don’t stick to a specific genre and I like having a variety in the anime I watched. Similarly, I watch both moe and realistic anime. Moe has really grown on me over the years however, I liked K-ON, and still do despite whatever rants someone out there could probably be mumbling about the franchise. I don’t go out of my way to criticize or analyze these types of “cute girls doing cute things” moe shows, I rarely even review them. I mostly just treat them as a relaxing entertainment, and depending on the time and mood, I really do need these shows with such an atmosphere. Sometimes on some rare occasions, there are shows like Love Live which are able to provide me and the fandom beyond what it’s genre has to offer, which is also a nice surprise at times.

5. Light VS Dark

Again, I watched both depending on my mood. I don’t mind heavy drama and violence and at times had even went through “visually destructive scenes” (Non-VN players might had to google this, but I played Kara no Shoujo, Cartagra and Saya no Uta which feature tons of said scenes), but I obviously don’t watch/read them in a consecutive fashion, that’s totally sacrificing my psychological stability, as Foxy would had put it. I always like to keep a balance between the two-when I got too high-strung after finishing a dark title, it’s an extremely good time for me to watch a slice of life/moe/yuri or anything light-hearted to wind down.

6. Continuous Plot VS Episodic

I don’t mind both, but it also depends on how I watch them. If it’s a continuous plot which spans over several episodes, I would prefer to marathon them but I like watching episodic in a sporadic manner, pretty much weekly if it’s a new anime. More onto this later. Most moe slice of life are pretty much episodic in nature too so yeah…

But additionally, I very whole-heartedly agree with Foxy and Neko with the point they made regarding episodic anime which build on the overarching main plot as each episode progresses. As Neko puts it “I think the best case is when a series has what people call the “main plot” and it builts on it by using many different short sub-stories.” It’s a nice way to build on the world/characters/story while constantly showing us a different facet every week.

7. Series VS Film VS Shorts

I talked about shorts briefly here but in short, anime shorts are like the anime 4-koma, and I don’t mind them as long as it’s just quick, mindless fun, but not when it actually attempts story-building, because with it’s short length, it’s close to impossible-save that for series or films. Speaking of those two, my preference depends. I’m definitely more of a series person but I think films definitely have the upper hand with thematic exploration since they have a more narrative focus compared to the need to expand that narrative to at least more than 10 episodes in a series.

Speaking of anime shorts, I should probably watch this soon. Heard a lot of good things about it.

Speaking of anime shorts, I should probably watch this soon. Heard a lot of good things about it.

8. Spoilers

My quick answer is, I mind spoilers. Because I was more of a marathoner, I had a tendency to avoid weekly episodic blogs, not because they are bad obviously (no offense to any weekly episodic bloggers out there), just because of aforementioned issues. Even seeing pictures is a no-go for me. Then again, I oddly had been marathoning less recently…

9. Weekly Watch VS Marathon

This is a weird question to answer now, because my opinion seems to have shifted. I think I can still say I’m more of a marathoner, and whatever I blurted out in my post here, I still stand by it, in that I marathon story with a continuous plot but watch weekly for moe/slice of life (refer to question #6). Though if you had notice in twitter, I had oddly been on the “weekly watch” side a lot more in the previous and current season. I think it has a lot to do with the current anime industry being more focused on these episodic anime. Quite honestly, the only anime that fits marathoning for me are Aldnoah Zero S2 (which I finished already), KuroBasu S3 and the second cour of Unlimited Blade Works.

10. Watching Alone VS Group Watching

I watch anime mostly alone, unfortunately. I do remembered laughing my ass off with friends when I was watching some old Gintama episodes with them, which was admittedly, quite a long while ago.

11. Paper VS Digital

Digital. Believe me, I would love keeping books, but I just don’t have space to keep anything physical. For the record, I don’t even have a book shelf in my room and I don’t have any space for any new furniture. I even had to control myself from buying any new figures, though I guess that saves my wallet. Otherwise, I would have collect all the Book Girl volumes by now… and more figures.

12. Reviews VS Editorials

I generally prefer editorials. As you can clearly see, even reviews on my blog are more of a secondary thing. I just love reading editorials because they provide more unique thoughts to the subtleties of anime, series or even the medium, and thus as a result, it’s also something I frequently write on my own blog.

This entry was posted by Kai.

22 thoughts on “Kai’s Takes on AniManga Controversies

  1. After reading Miharu and OG and now your post, and realizing that a lot of things on here I wanted to talk about, I think it might be safe to say that I am going to do a post like this. It is a great way to show my opinion on all of this and it is really interesting to see what other people’s interesting when it comes to these topics as well. Good job.

  2. Hmmm…I believe in each topics, either side has its pros and cons. There are situations I like one better than the other although I mostly prefer one over the other. So I think the answer is circumstantial. Like anime vs manga, a classic debate. I mentioned before in my own blog that I’m more of an anime fan, but I appreciate some things in manga and would read them.

    There’s only one topic in the list I TOTALLY side with one side: dubs vs subs. I’m all for subs only. I try watching Lucky Star in dub. Never get pass two episodes.

    As for spoilers…I’m a lot more tolerant than you given the fact that I read some of the manga first before watching the anime. Does that count as spoilers? Because the viewing experience is definitely different.

    • You’re right that each side definitely has pros and cons. And yea, there are some things in manga there is definitely hard to be replicated in anime form, likewise with the other way around. I think I just generally prefer media with high production values. For me, it would be anime = visual novel = game > manga = light novel.

      Dubs and moe is definitely a no-no D: If you’re still willing to try dubs, you can try out the ones I mentioned in the post, or any anime with a more Western setting and see if they are any better, I personally haven’t watch any of them in dubs myself though.

      I think they do, since it will be your second viewing experience when you’re watching the anime, lol. And yea, the viewing experience is totally different, and I love to be amazed by my first impression. But when my first impression ended up being just reading pictures and text on a book, that kinda lessens the impact, that’s why I really prefer high production values on my first viewing, I’m free to read manga/LNs after that though, lol.

  3. “Another thing to note, I have a belief that the more detailed and realistic your designs are, the weaker the expressions and the dynamics.” I think you’ll enjoy reading Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud since it includes such a point.

    Good to see my idea inspired people to talk about their opinions and produce content for their blogs

    • I think it also depends on the intention and the story of the anime/manga itself. If it is intentionally realistic, such designs are mostly effective in delivering its messages with a tone of seriousness and philosophical touch.

      Think of Slam Dunk. Its character designs closely resemble human caricatures (almost Western in style) and its setting isn’t fantastical. Needless to say, it isn’t a fantasy shounen nor a totally comedic, ecchi high school harem show (despite running in Shounen Jump). Its effect is that the players/characters seem to have taken basketball seriously, and not just “some hobby” that they kept doing. The overall feel of it is the honesty (being grounded on realism) of the series as a whole.

      • Indeed, which pretty much goes back to my discussion on fitting aesthetically/thematically^^

        Slam Dunk’s character designs indeed looks slightly Western-esque, but they look pretty realistic to me, and I definitely agree with your point in how the visual designs effect the story and characterization.

  4. Nicely written thoughts good sir. Not much to add myself that you haven’t read. We agree on several things but there are also things that differ.

  5. I’ve seen a couple of these about so I guess i’ll write some thoughts here because I don’t think I could fill out an entire post with them XD

    1. Why choose one? Anime, and -then- manga. Because I don’t like reading manga on the computer I need to obtain hard copies in order to enjoy the medium, so anime is like my gateway to deciding which manga I should buy. Having said that, I would have to side with anime in general because of how accessible it is and also because its art is generally better than the manga equivalent…I only enjoy manga with clean art.

    2. Subs. Dubs are fine, but they don’t have the same guarantee of quality and English VAs are reused way too often. The only Japanese VA I recognize regularly is Rie Kugumiya =P

    3. They each have their place. I can’t imagine Monster being done in a more modern style, for instance. I generally prefer modern over vintage, though, since the animation tends to be smoother. CG is fine, and it’s getting better, but i’ll side with normal animation most days.

    4. No preference – But you can be too moe.

    5. As you say, depends on my mood.

    6. I prefer continuous, but don’t mind episodic. I just feel that with the former it’s easier to feel connected to what’s going on.

    7. Series.

    8. Spoil me and I will destroy you.

    9. Marathon…screw waiting XD I’ve even started waiting for BD releases because of all of the animation improvements they get.

    10. Alone or with my fiancee, generally. I haven’t really tried watching in groups.

    11. Paper. I think the space is worth it and I don’t like reading off of screens any more than I have to.

    12. Reviews. They’re generally straightforward and it’s easy to pick out the writer’s opinion…and they’re more useful to me in general. Editorials often focus on features i’m less interested in like themes that may or may not have been intended by the writers, and they’re way too damned long. I’ll read them if they seem interesting, though it’s not often that I find ones that are. If i’m interested in specific details about how the creator feels about things like characters or themes, I can always ask in the comments section of reviews.

    Apologies if i’ve crowded the comments section XD

    • Okay :p

      1. Mostly just a priority question. “Anime and -then- manga” is pretty much my choice too in short, lol. Reading manga on the computer feels awkward, but I personally found it more comfortable to read manga on a tablet, lol. Still doesn’t beat physical copy though. The art side is a bit complicated on my side, I think at times, manga is better than anime in the art department, since they don’t need to worry about animations, they can draw very intricate designs and detailed facial expressions. When anime cut corners trying to adapt, a few of these dynamics will most certainly be lost. On the technical and general aspect though, anime definitely wins hands down.

      2. “Subs. Dubs are fine, but they don’t have the same guarantee of quality and English VAs are reused way too often.”
      Pretty much, yea :p

      3. Both certainly brings different things to the table. And me too.


      5. Indeed.

      6. I prefer continuous, but don’t mind episodic. I just feel that with the former it’s easier to feel connected to what’s going on.
      Definitely, and if you’re marathoning anime with a continuous plot, it’s perfect.

      7. *nods*


      9. A corner of my mind seem to think you’re actually aiming for the uncensored…

      10. Same.

      11. Paper’s certainly great.

      12. They are short editorials around too but I certainly get what you mean. I personally think reviews are actually more open to discussions than editorials, but maybe your target readership has a factor in it too.

      “If i’m interested in specific details about how the creator feels about things like characters or themes, I can always ask in the comments section of reviews.”
      That’s certainly one way of doing it too, lol.

      And no problem :p

  6. I have covered several of these topics as editorials throughout the year, so you probably know some of my opinions. Of course, at the end of the day, perspective is key. Trends change and there might be many shows that does not necessarily fit once tastes…

    As for the other aspects, I have done group watching online a few years back, but I generally watch things by my self. For subs, it’s quite obvious, although I do play video games entirely in Japanese since it has gotten better from my self study (although I find the Nintendo 3DS games a lot easier to understand since I don’t have to look up the Kanji since I now imported a Japanese 3DS).

    But aside from that, while I prefer doing editorials, it’s somewhat getting more difficult to come up with new ideas, but I eventually get some topics to write about once in a while.

    • “perspective is key”
      This, pretty much.

      How’s your experience with group watching? I guess for most of us, subs vs dubs is a pretty obvious choice, lol. Ahh so you got a Japanese 3DS already, nice. What games did you import for it?

      To tell you the truth, I’m running out of ideas for editorials as well, lol. I have a lot of time to think of new topics though since I post like once a week (sometimes even a fortnight).

  7. Interesting to read other opinions of other people, I don’t have an opinion on every of these points, actually.

    Dubs VS Subs

    For me Dubs are really painful, english and german doesn’t work for me with anime.
    I tried it several times, but everytime it felt totally wrong. Reading subs became a habit over the years,
    I can hear the great japanese voices and read what they say ^^

    Moe VS Realistic

    Watching an anime without bishoujo is not my thing, I dropped Diamond no Ace because of that,
    though most anime have moe elements these days, it’s hard to find something else.
    Realistic anime can be good considering the topic, but I rather see the non every day settings in general.

    Light VS Dark

    I like a dark setting in anime, war and apocalyptic settings are great
    What I don’t want to see is rape, exxagerated violence against girls in general or too sick crap.
    Although I like it dark, a positive ending is something I appreciate very much.

    Continuous Plot VS Episodic
    A continued plot is something I always prefer, an anime that doesn’t show any kind of development is a little lackluster over time. A mix of both is nice, good content episodes and more lighthearted stories that show character interactions and develops their bonds creates a nice experience

    Weekly Watch VS Marathon

    Both is good, I like a wild mix of animes each week, but also the stronger feelings when only focusing on one anime during marathon is good. Most animes feel better when watched as a whole. New anime doesn’t come as a whole and since I’m always curious so, I have no real choice then.

    • (I’ll just answer them respectively by paragraphs)

      Best use the original language it is intended for, lol. It just feels the most natural.

      Yea, like you said, most anime have moe, or rather just, attractively-designed characters. Never watched Diamond no Ace but I did watch KuroBasu so not having bishoujo doesn’t bother me completely, lol. Indeed, both has their place and their parts to play, definitely.

      So basically you prefer dark settings (but not extreme) and ends in a bittersweet way? Nice. The extreme ones you mentioned are almost hentai-territory so you should be fine, lol.

      Yea, I’m thinking you will like Plastic Memories :p Are you watching it?

      This was pretty much my mindset as well, being a marathoner. It’s just easier to connect with the story when you’re watching everything as a whole. Just with the exception of slice of life anime, those are still great to watch weekly/sporadically.

      • My liking for Dark mainly refers to the setting not really want too much depessing content or a tragic end.
        Things similar to NGE, Casshern sins are things I have fun with. Haha in most cases I won’t find rape or extreme cruelty in anime, but the first episode of Psycho Pass had all of it X/ I was disturbed for two days.

        Well, Diamond no Ace was 70 episodes long, but always focused on baseball, girls were there but had no meaningful role, I had enough ^^ Free! did a better job with it’s 95% male cast, Gou was a lovely girl ♡

        Strangely AI or humanoid Cyborg related stories make me extremely sad, conscious beings getting trashed and bullied weights too heavy on my mind.

        • Yea, dark setting is nice sometimes, but not sometimes when so much cruelty occurred to the characters. Though that one scene in End of Evangelion seems like something you would dislike :p

          “but the first episode of Psycho Pass had all of it X/ I was disturbed for two days.”
          Urobutcher strikes again.

          I see. Having a brief look at Diamond no Ace’s character database, I can certainly see where you’re coming from. I never watched Free either but I’m glad you enjoyed it :p

          It’s still not at a stage where they are getting trashed and bullied, but the end of episode 4 seems to hint on it, and I haven’t watch episode 5 yet, lol.

  8. Pingback: My Stand on Anime and Manga Controversies | The Reviewer's Corner

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