A few days ago I was talking to two of my classmates about anime, specifically about Your Lie In April and what we think of it – they loved it while I said I didn´t like it at all and that the characters faces look like fish, at this one of them stared at me kind of weird and said “well, some of us don´t judge a book by its cover.” at that time, I wanted to tell her animation is literally part of the content of the anime book, but class was starting and I had to rush to my seat and pretend I forgot my homework at home.
Here, I try to make sense of what this classmate said, why I think its absolute nonsense and literally talk to myself at 2 a.m.
The easiest and best way of dismissing silly comments like this is simply saying “if looks don´t matter why don´t you go read a God damn book instead.” but if I said that and only that this post would be too short, and I really want to brainstorm for once – I actually think saying things like “animation doesn´t matter” is kind of disrespectful towards the medium, its animators and creators.
“Animation isn´t important.”
Animation and sound is literally the only thing separating anime from manga, and drawings are the only thing separating manga from everyday novels – by saying animation doesn´t matter you´re basically dismissing the entire medium and what it stands for, you´re basically ignoring all the hard work (or lack thereof) put into the animation series in front of you and you´re most likely thinking you´re being super charitable to the creators – but hey, as an aspiring animator I´d rather get my work criticised than completely ignored. So yes, it´s pretty freakin´ important if dozens of animators are working on the very thing you´re ignoring.
“…Gosh, you take everything so literally. It isn´t important as long as it isn´t terrible.”
Hey friend, have you been watching Fate/Zero? What about Sailor Moon Crystal? Alright, how would you feel if the animation quality of both shows just spontaneously switched places, what now?
Terrible or not, competition is the best way of acknowledging the hard work of the hard workers – in this case Ufotable, who probably worked a lot harder than Toei. Animation matters: the bad, the average and the insanely good- Whatever the case may be don´t ignore the quality of an artists craft, you´re not being difficult, animators chose this path because they wanted to, don´t say they´re not important.
“Oh god you´re probably some annoying Tumblr SJW…at least I don´t judge the book by its cover, asshole.”
That´s great except animation is literally the content of the book, together with the narrative and sound of course. Judging the anime book by its anime cover would probably be judging it by its name, or poster, or the short description on MyAnimeList – In a book, you pass the cover and that´s it, you won´t see it again until you close it, meanwhile in anime the animation is there from start to finish, y´know, unless you´re Evangelion.
“Exactly! Some of the best anime have terrible animation!”
It´s all about the circumstances, my friend, and even supposed “terrible” animation can have its artistic merit – this post isn´t about deciding what animation is bad and what kind of animation is good, this post is about directly ignoring the animation by saying it´s not important. Evangelion worked with what they had, and luckily the colour of their story fit the messy animation and production choices – it´s what made (among other things) Evangelion what it is today, you probably know Evangelion because of its artstyle and animation choices by the end of it, but of course, shit doesn´t matter because you´re too good to look at the thing that makes anime anime.
“…Alright, I get it…I guess animation kind of matters.”
Of course it matters, but of course it isn´t everything – anime mixes image with sound and narrative, so let´s not be hypocrites and suddenly ignore all the other things that matter in production: creative things should be respected, and by respect I don´t mean blindly praise shows or movies to the heaves – by respect I mean being able to acknowledge everything that´s been worked on and then criticise it if you feel so inclined.
“And here I thought I was being kind by ignoring the animation. Thanks.”
You´re welcome. This one-way 1 a.m conversation is kind of sad. Guess I should go to sleep.