Anime versus Disney

I wrote this sometime ago and thought why not throw it up on my own site to see what feed back it receives here.

Disney (Americartoon) and Anime are different how?
Its a difficult thing to research on, as most of my searches yeild little more than other forum opinions and private articles posted by irrate people that have a disdain for the corporate american disney logo.

Disney (or its competitor WB) has held is animation stylings for a long time. Some have felt that its family orientation and themes of learning to love life and find a happy ending too surreal and fairy tales filled with giddy musical numbers. Its suggested that Anime, Japanimation, Manga and the likes solves this by being “Darker than Disney”, thus more in the real.

Do not call Disney less than Anime however, as many of its feature length movies have incredible work and artistry behind them. Research, Development and Media changing movements that helped make an industry work to better itself with each release of a new movie. And don’t forget, Disney had infact inspired some of the early works of Anime artists.

Disney distributes Anime
Recently the Disney corporation has put its name on several movies being distributed by its production companies. The Cat Returns, Nausicaa of the Valley and Spirited Away, being some more recent distributions.

Studio Ghibli is being touted by the Disney corporation by its distribution of several of its own films. Yet in respects to its selective choice of movie theme and style, its noted that movies like The Cat Returns does not live up to the darker than disney style that is appreciated from other Anime.

While personally I cant say that the themes of Studio Ghibli have been affected by the disney corporation, proving they do not control what that studio produces. (See Princess Mononoke, and co-produced Ghost in the Shell: Innocence) What movies are being distributed by Disney means they have control on who can sell and price these movies in the US and Canada.

NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind, is one of my all time favorite Anime movies. However I am a victim of Columbia House DVD club, who is not permited to distribute Disney controled movies. So if I wanted to buy this movie I would have to go through Disney or a local store. While not that bad, its representive of the distribution control some companies have.

What do you think, does Disney have any Business distributing Anime movies produced by reputable studios such as Studio Ghibli?

The channel recently launched a new series, “Super Robot Monkey Team,” drawn in a Japanese anime-style popular with boys. ~ SeatleTimes

I have some doubts wether or not many others will see Super Robot Monkey Team as a feature on par with real Anime however. Definding what the difference is can be problematic. Some have said that Samurai Jack, a brilliant epic series, is Anime. This along with its counter parts the Powerpuff Girls, Dexters Lab, My Life as a Teenage Robot and the new short length feature films based on the Starwars Clonewars Epic. I have a feeling that these are more of a new style that has found the hybrid combination of the two. (Yet to be defined better)

Its largely marketing and making the bill. It pays to invest in stuff people like. But what is that difference that sells? And why should it sell more to the ‘boy’ market? Perchance the edgy dark themes carried through many anime movies? This perspective on violence and less than perfect utopia ideals shown in most anime as a more male specific market aside, it does seem to be the major difference between “Disney” style and the “Anime” style.

Disney Style is commonly understood as aimed at children and family orientated, which is not entirely too bad, provided one does not want to expose their children too early to themes of violence, crime and other dark themes of the real and surreal. Many Adults feel it also provides a sence of nostalgia when it reminds them of fond childhood memories and fun. “Im going to Disneyland” idea that sells to them, with “friendly people and easy fun”.

Anime Style was much easier to research than the Disney Style as it seems to be more defined. Animeworld - “What is Anime” has a fairly all inclusive definition. However in terms of separating it from other styles such as the Disney’esque style, it would seem that the theme and vibrant colour and exagerated facial forms make the anime, but that as it says at Animeworld, does not fit all anime. Manga and other such Japanese creations that have been widely accepted culturally in the East, with the wide spread reading of comic books and graphic movies that they consider on par with any other book or movie form gives it is reality based themes. As in the industry does not aim at just children for its animated movies and serials.

“When I create a film, I believe it should reflect real life,” Miyazaki said. “Even children would not believe a film that is filled with only happy sequences.”
Disney adapts Japanese anime film for U.S. audiences ~ The Olympian

Ledford, who’s so busy his dubbing studio in Houston runs 24 hours a day, says the key to the success of Japanese manga and anime in the United States is their widely varied, cutting-edge subject matter.
“We’re kind of like the anti-Disney,” Ledford said during a recent visit to Tokyo. “Disney is very family type. We are appealing to the video-game, PlayStation, Generation X, Generation Y kind of crowd in America.”
See also,
Anti-Disney style of ‘manga’ and ‘anime’ appeals to Americans ~ Japan Times

Grave of the Fireflies, I feel is one of the best examples of the real world meets anime. Based on the events of WWII, this anime feature tells a brutal tale of two children that survive the holocaust like setting of hiroshima. A reality that Disney like movies do not commonly cater towards. (Only if you ignore the fact that 70% of Disney characters are bastardized children.)

Kingdom Hearts, in the game market is the joint project, a very successful one at that, between Disney and Squaresoft that commonly has been defined as an anime industry. However it still does not quite cross that borderline reality that is expected from anime features.

Many of the Anime that Disney is endorsing and distributing still stay mostly with the family orientated subject material it deems suitable for children. So this does not mean they have dramatically changed any of the films that are coming through its production lines, just the kind of films its putting its name on. What does this mean for the film though to have the Disney Logo on its film, simply money and expanded consumer base. Studio Ghibli served to make alot more money by allowing Disney to carry its films over to its Western audiences.

What affect does Disney logo have on its Anime Releases?
Has disney changed some of the film in translation. Of course it has, expectantly reading its audiences understanding of Japanese film culture and attempting to explain for them what some symbols and movements in the movies mean.

“He said the English-language script includes extra dialogue explaining the myths. That’s why characters sometimes talk to themselves, or their voices are heard even if they are not onscreen.
For instance, a scene in which the girl walks away from a boy and looks back to see a dragon take off into the sky was played silently in the original film. In the English version, she cries out his name and wonders aloud if it’s a transformation.” ~ The Olympian

Is that necessarily a bad thing? Perhaps not, however some avid Anime collectors that say it changes the culture the movie was established in can just go and look for an original subtitled release then.

I guess we shall see over time what else may develope through Disney and its attempts at finding the Anime market in the West, or East for that mater. You dont hear much critism of the New Tokyo Disney.

Production to Distribution
Business is Business. Its primary aim is making money, even myself as a growing artist who grew up with the ideals of free minded anti-corporation coruption, am learning the fact that its all about business and the first thing you need to forget and retrain yourself to do is not hate the machine, its what pays the bills.

I dont think every business man is an evil person looking for any and every way to make money, but having worked for ‘the company’ its an understanding that in a business its effectual to find the things that will earn you more. Disney investing in the Anime market does not mean its changing its style or themes in movies. Its latest production of ‘The Incredibles‘, (A Great Movie), runs the same gambit that all its movies do, just in the new computer format. (In truth The Incredibles was a slightly more edgy movie over its usual princess line of movies that seemed to sell more to girls. Not me, actual business articles stated that. But even so it did so with the soft rounded features that many disney watchers are used to.) Its smart business. Being friendly customers and watching for them, smart business also.

If its not one company importing good Anime, it will be another. Disney is only putting its name on family features that it imports still, in keeping with its family orientation that it has for years.

“I think what I want Disneyland to be most of all is a happy place, a place where adults and children can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it.” - Walt Disney.
This same ideal is held by all of its invested interest that carry his name. This is not bad and many parents (such as myself) have come to trust that name. This does not mean Im going to let my daughter watch any of the anime or some other Disney movies yet as even then many themes are still too much for her. A parent still has to think know how to discern the difference between good and bad for their youngsters, not letting Disney decide that for them. (As I back track I make note that Disney is still a fun thing to show children.)

What I hoped to specifically discuss I guess now that I think about what is being talked about under, “Disney vs. Anime” is the differences and concepts held between the two stylized animation types. The fact that we can see Disney distributing Anime still means that we can separate the two as different. Perchance someone may have another opinion on that here.