Question about Japanese entertainment?

TNT737373
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Joined: July 22nd, 2011, 4:46 am

June 6th, 2013, 7:08 am #1

We all know Japan is the international powerhouse for producing some of the weirdest stuff around, and I've been confused for a long time about one big aspect of their entertainment culture. What is with the Japanese fascination on mecha? Rather fighting robots, futuristic vehicles battling, that sort of thing? Serious question, there's really not much on mecha historically speaking on how it became such a huge hit throughout the years. Personally I can't stand it, lol it prevents me considerably from enjoying much of their anime. Long drawn out robot battles usually preceded by long stand offs with talky segments about the consequences of destroying whole segments of the Earth. Ugh. Pass. haha so many animes revolve around this structure too, it's plain dizzying. FYI to be unbiased I hate Transformers too. :rofl:
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Vinyl
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Vinyl
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June 6th, 2013, 7:16 am #2

I have 3 words to answer your question:
pew-pew, lasers and explosions XD

Then you prob hate the anime TTGL (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)
there is a guy in a mecha --> inside a mecha --> inside a big mecha made of a boat --> fused with other mechas --> inside the mecha made of the moon --> inside an even bigger mecha, and they are fighting eachother by trowing universes =)

There is no logic at all but ist pure fun and entertainment =p The bigger the better I guess
https://www.consolevariations.com/
The Ultimate Console Database





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floorcat
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Joined: May 11th, 2006, 12:21 pm

June 6th, 2013, 5:04 pm #3

Sup, TNT... interesting question! I wondered similar things ever since childhood, but haven't put serious thought into it... so I'll try now. (Some serious post-grad papers could probably be written on this topic, honestly!)

I haven't really studied much on the cultural aspect & reasoning of various facets of contemporary Japanese (pop-)culture, but I do know that Japanese in general have always had a much tighter bond with nature & earth than other cultures... and this can be attributed all the way back to the Japanese origin story (with Izanami, Izanagi, and the Sun Goddess, etc.), and has probably countless connections to everything else in the country, from its very geography & climate to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki to their reflexive adherence to their recycling program.

I may be over-generalizing, but Japanese culture seems to have the over-arching idea of being in equilibrium with Mother Nature, and when that careful balance is thrown off, catastrophic things tend to happen. Or alternatively, if the scale is tipped too much in one direction, the balance has to re-adjust, and the adjustment is a very jarring event.

Anyways... what does all this have to do with the Mecha fascination they seem to have?

It's probably a bit of a stretch, but I feel that a lot of these themes provide a great, grand-scale plot-line for many of these anime, and having them take place in the future is both the easiest and most fascinating thing to do. What better way to envision the fate of the natural world than to look to the future, when man struggles to preserve it against some outside threat? Of course, I'm pretty oblivious to many (most) Mech-anime, but this was the theme I gathered from my limited exposure.

Anyways, likely stemming from their technological boom in the 1980's, it seems Japan has envisioned a very robotic/mechanized future, while not wanting to completely dismiss the natural world they spawned from. And I theorize that they do this in their (anime) entertainment in the form of a Mech... a human-shaped robot that no doubt has great capabilities (saving the earth/universe/etc.), but is ultimately piloted/controlled by a human. We've seen this to various extents in Western culture as well, with Robo-Cop, Iron Man, (James Cameron's) Avatar, and the mechs in Alien... which may or may not have derived from the East... where only the combination of human & hardware is able to succeed. Or in some cases, the completely "human" overpowers the human-hardware.

So... that's just one theory, at least. I might have others if I dwell on it more... but I probably should get back to work now. ;)
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Grizzmeister
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Joined: March 8th, 2011, 9:14 pm

June 6th, 2013, 8:33 pm #4

The Japanese frown on human-versus-human violence on TV so to get their action fix they use humanoid robots or Mecha instead.

Personally I love the genre as its given rise to my favorite series of games on the original Playstation. :)

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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YogurtStorm
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Joined: January 8th, 2013, 4:12 am

June 6th, 2013, 9:01 pm #5

I must be japanese too, then... I LOVE mechs. Seriously, I can't stand NOT having one.

Mechs > Jetpacks > Hover Boards :yeah:


My first really big video game investment was Steel battalion on XBox, because... well, it's a MECH SIMULATOR :w00t: !!!



It's at the folks though, not enough room for it at the appartment :(
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TNT737373
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Joined: July 22nd, 2011, 4:46 am

June 6th, 2013, 11:08 pm #6

I can see that being a main reason, plus TV executives liking that concept of robo-warfare as a substitute for human warfare and aiming it towards the youth, thanks Grizz.
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Omnert
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Omnert
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Joined: November 5th, 2012, 12:24 am

June 7th, 2013, 2:50 am #7

I always just figured it was BECAUSE THEY'RE AWESOME. :lol: Who wouldn't want to control a giant weaponized robot that can turn into or combine with other robots? Sounds like the perfect toy to me. I remember picking up a used copy of one of the first MechWarrior games back in the day, and I couldn't stop playing. It was one of the first games I played all the way through and then started playing again.

But as far as 'why Japan specifically?', I couldn't say. I don't know much about Japanese culture, I just know why I like them.
Current N64 focus: NTSC-U carts. Current count: 108/296 (36.5%), 4 NTSC-J.
[+] Spoiler
Consoles: Atari 2600, Genesis, PS1, Game Boy Color, Xbox, GameCube, Wii.
Games:
Atari 2600: 145
NES: 2
Game Boy/GBC: 27
Master System: 1
Genesis: 26
CD-I: 2
PS1: 62
PS2: 51
GBA: 1
Dreamcast: 2
Xbox: 32
GameCube: 67
Wii: 60
DS: 2
PSP: 1
360: 7
PS3: 4
PC: 75 (disc-based games only).

TOTAL: 577
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TNT737373
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Joined: July 22nd, 2011, 4:46 am

June 7th, 2013, 4:56 am #8

Omnert wrote:But as far as 'why Japan specifically?', I couldn't say. I don't know much about Japanese culture, I just know why I like them.
What I appreciate is that Japan considers animation to be an expressive art, plus at the same time an entertainment outlet for appealing towards mature audiences instead of just kids and teens. I feel like I've got such a strong stigma against animation because of so many years seeing only American animation. Even adult themed programs in the USA tend to rely on immature comedy and recycled gimmicks. Granted there are many that do the same in Japan, but a small portion of their anime really push the boundaries in providing thought provoking and consistently entertaining material. Haven't watched that much, but I've been going through Ghost in The Shell, Akira (entire manga series), Cowboy Bebop, and Monster. Very Surprised in what I've found. Top-notch writing with complex characters and stories. All these programs are immensely abstract however compared to what Americans are used to, frankly I'm surprised many people in the states like Ghost In The Shell. On initial viewing the story went WAYYYYYYY beyond my head. Luckily I gave it a second watch and 110% of my focus from that point on for the series. It'd be nearly impossible to recommend GITS to 99.9% of people in the states. lol

Just one year ago if somebody tried to get me to watch Cowboy Bebop I'd tell them no way due to my preconceptions on Japan and anime, so my question is this:

How do you convince others that there is anime out there that isn't just strange monsters, overdrawn women, samurai sword-fighting, robot battles, and exaggerated emotions? Basically if I bring Cowboy Bebop up to my friends I know they're gonna rag on me and say something stupid like that I'm into tentacle porn or something, lol so what is the best initial introduction for a Westerner to anime? Personally I would say Cowboy Bebop or Akira, but honestly even these are a difficult transition at first, these are more like a second step.
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