An Introduction to Anime
Article By: Jeff
Most of the Beautiful Art By: Joe

Anime is a somewhat popular thing amongst a couple of people out there in the world, I guess. Every year people swarm to convention centers and make the employees nervous and fearful for their very lives. Thoughts such as "Is that fat guy dressed like a school girl gonna maul me for my bagel" and "Hey, that chick with the blue hair is kinda hot...wait a minute, that's not a...OH, DEAR GOD, NO!!" race through their minds as they eagerly await quittin' time or a quick death from the hands of a merciful bystander.

The anime that these people are obsessed with is nothing more than simple cartoons made in Japan by Korean animation studios. To the truly hardcore anime fans (known as Otacos) the simple act of calling them cartoons is frowned upon as they feel the proper term is Japanese Animated Picture Show or "JAPS" for short. For these Otacos, there is nothing better than finding and viewing some extremely rare JAPS and then immediately hauling themselves to their computers to boast about what they've bore witness to.


Anime! ^_^

Now, the majority of animes (or JAPS if you prefer) are based on Japanese comic books called "mangoo". There are literally hundreds of mangoo genres anywhere from Sci-Fi to Fantasy and all parts inbetween. These can have multiple issues and spin-offs so it's not rare to see collectors with a lot of mangoo on their hands.

The main focus of any anime is on its story as most have an overarching plot that can follow several episodes or the show's entire run. Usually the plot is introduced within the first episode or so and reveals the main character, his quest and his rival. Here's an excerpt from the show, Icepop Sugershack Panic that does all that stuff I just mentioned up there.

Toshit: What a glorious day to begin my quest for enlightenment in the art of spectral assassination!

(SUDDENLY, AN 8FT LONG SWORD IS THROWN TO THE GROUND NEXT TO TOSHIT)

Toshit: WAHHH!!!! (SPEED LINES ALL AROUND HIM)

(BEFORE TOSHIT STANDS A DETERMINED YOUTH DRESSED IN BLACK WITH HIS GREY HAIR FLOWING IN THE BREEZE. HE SPEAKS WITH HIS EYES CLOSED)

Pinto: FOOL! I'm the super ninja, Pinto, and you stand in the way of my epic journey to learn what it takes to rock you like a Hurricane!

Toshit: It appears that you are blocking my way for I too am on a quest of great importance.

(PINTO AND TOSHIT STARE AT EACH OTHER AS LEAVES START TO FLY AROUND THEM)

Pinto: GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!!!

Toshit: NEVER!!!!

(THE TWO RUN AT EACH OTHER AND THEIR SWORDS CLASH FOR A SECOND THEN AS THEY STAND BACK TO BACK, PINTO FALLS)

Pinto: IMPOSSIBLE! Someone like you can't beat me!

Toshit: You should have used that big sword you threw at me instead of your pocketknife. Boy, am I hungry.

Pinto: I...must train more. Some day, when I'm stronger, I'll beat you.

Toshit: You will be a worthy adversary for some reason and I look forward to buying your Wall Scroll and adorning my room with it. FAREWELL!

As you've just read, everything is now set into place, but I hear you saying "Wait a minute, isn't there supposed to be some super evildoing bad guy out doing evil, Captain Cool?" Of course there is, stupid, but the villains aren't really all that important in anime, I'm assuming, what really matters are the characters. Speaking of which, once the main plot and hero have been introduced, it's common practice to start loading them up with sidekicks and other tagalongs that don't really do anything. Here's another excerpt from Icepop Sugershack Panic that introduces the hero, Toshit, to his first travel companion.

(TOSHIT IS WALKING ALONG A DIRT ROAD SURROUNDED BY MANY FIELDS OF WHEAT. HE SEES A YOUNG GIRL STANDING BESIDES A DEAD HORSE HOLDING HER THUMB OUT)

Toshit: Excuse me, I'm quite hungry, may I eat your dead horse?

Xuki: PERVERT!

(XUKI SLAPS TOSHIT AND SENDS HIM FLYING OFF INTO THE FIELD THEN RUNS AFTER HIM)

Xuki: Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were trying to pick me up. You see I'm hitchhiking because my horse died and a girl can't be too careful with all the freaks out there. We are in Japan after all.

Toshit: GET AWAY FROM ME YOU CRAZY BITCH!

(XUKI STARES AT TOSHIT AND THEN STARTS TO LAUGH)

Toshi: What the hell are you laughing at? This isn't funny. I think you broke my nose.


(SUDDENLY A SMALL FURRY CREATURE APPEARS OUT OF XUKI'S BAG AND JUMPS ON TOSHIT)

Toshit: AHH! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?

Xuki: That's just Herpes, my ever present and highly marketable companion. I think he likes you!

Toshit: No thanks. (TOSHIT GIVES HERPES TO XUKI) I wouldn't want to separate a girl from her Herpes.

Xuki: Ok, but Herpes is hard to get rid of especially if he likes you.

(TOSHIT STANDS UP AND BRUSHES THE DIRT FROM HIS CLOTHES)

Toshit: So where were you hitchhiking to?

Xuki: See that town up there, in the distance?

(XUKI POINTS TO A SMALL VILLAGE UP THE ROAD)

Toshit: Yeah.

Xuki: I was going there until my horse died of what I assume to be foul play. So now I need a ride so I can finish taking the 800 pounds of rice I had strapped to the horse into that village.

Toshit: I'm very hungry, how about I eat all the rice and then we can travel together so people won't give me weird looks whenever I talk to myself.

Xuki: Ok, but I have to warn you; I'm not a good cook and am very clumsy.

Toshit: Who isn't in these stories?

Xuki: Then it's settled! Come on, Herpes, I'm going to spread your love throughout Japan!

So now we've established the hero, the rival, his sidekick, the quest and the show's mascot but when it comes to mangoo and anime, there's always a hefty dose of fighting to be done. Fighting in an anime is different than what we Westerners are used to. Instead of just having characters run up and start punching each other, anime characters fight in long still shots and small bursts of fast animation. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is how anime characters call out the names of the attacks they are about to perform, while a Western character would just go right into it. Here's another excerpt from ISP showcasing the anime style of fighting.

(TOSHIT STANDS BEFORE THE HUMAN THUNDERBEAST, KNOBGOB, AND READIES HIS SWORD)

Knobgob: You can't defeat me, little man; I'm just that damn good.

Toshit: We gonna see bout that right now, FLYING SWORD UPSIDE YER HEAD ATTACK!

(TOSHIT SWINGS HIS SWORD AND HITS KNOBGOB UPSIDE HIS HEAD. KNOBGOB REELS BACK AS HIS HELMET SHATTERS)

Knobgob: AHH! You...BASTARD!!! FLAILING AXE SMASH!


(KNOBGOB LEAPS INTO THE AIR SWINGING HIS AXE WILDLY AT TOSHIT WHO SKILLFULLY DODGES THE BLOWS)

Xuki: TOSHIT!

Toshit: You'll have to try harder than that to beat me like my father used to. ROYALE CRUSH!

(TOSHIT KICKS KNOBGOB IN THE BALLS SENDING HIM TO THE GROUND, DEFEATED)

Knobgob: My...weakness...how did you...know?

Toshit: Your own arrogance lead to your downfall along with your having testicles which I do not, for a wolf sold mine for a sack of flour to be used for baked goods. Speaking of which, Im very hungry, when do we eat?

See, that's way different than what I'm used to and I'll wager a guess that it is for you as well. What happens between the beginning and end of an anime is usually the crazy shenanigans of the cast as they travel to their next destination, helping villagers and getting into comedic situations along the way. However, Japanese comedy is very different than...not Japanese comedy, as we shall now see in another ISP moment.

(TOSHIT AND COMPANY ARE STANDING IN THE CITY SHOPPING DISTRICT)

Toshit: Ok, we need to buy some supplies to make the trip to the Phantasm Citidel so we can rescue the king of the Cat People and then finish my quest. I sure am hungry.

Dingleberg: I hope we can get better food than these terribly hard wafers I've been eating out of this bag.

(DINGLEBERG SHOWS THE BAG TO THE GROUP. IT'S THEIR MONEY POUCH. EVERYONE FALLS DOWN)

Toshit: You ate all our money?

Dingleberg: There's still one left, but I was saving it for dessert.

(EVERYONE FALLS DOWN AGAIN)

Zasqwach: Now what are we gonna do?

Dingleberg: I'll get our money back in a few hours.

(EVERYONE FALLS DOWN YET AGAIN)

Toshit: I'll get our money back now!


(TOSHIT SLICES DINGLEBERG IN TWO AND MONEY SHOOTS OUT HIS BODY. EVERYONE FALLS DOWN ONCE MORE)

Xuki: I guess this is where he splits from the group!

(EVERYONE LAUGHS AND FALLS DOWN)

What are those people thinking over there? Really now, puns are not funny and never will be. The culmination of an anime happens not when the main villain is destroyed but when the hero and his rival finally meet for their one on one battle to decide who truly is the best. These work like normal battles but the two involved reveal their true feelings and opinions of one another. Let's take a look at ISP yet again to shed some light on the matter.

(TOSHIT STANDS BEFORE PINTO AS THE TWO CONVERSE BEFORE THEIR FINAL BATTLE)

Toshit: You seem stronger, Pinto.

Pinto: Yes, I've gotten stronger since we last met, Toshit. Strong enough to defeat you I'm sure.

Toshit: We shall see if your strength is enough to defeat the strongest of them all, me.


Anime! o_O

Pinto: I respect the strong, and for you to get here, with me, that deserves a lot of respect...from me.

Toshit: Indeed, my respect for you and how strong you are has grown as well. If I were into guys, I wouldn't say no to you Rump Bumpin' me all night long.

Pinto: Thank you, Toshit, those kind words mean more to me than anything. NOW LET'S GOOOOOOO!

(TOSHIT AND PINTO BEGIN TO FIGHT)

Wow, now that's what I call an awesome build up to what was and is still the greatest battle in the long and lucrative history of anime. Once the hero's rival is defeated, the only thing left is for the hero to finish his quest and fulfill his destiny, but if I were to spoil the ending to an amazingly good show like Icepop Sugershack Panic, then I'd deserve to get my ass kicked by a horde of overweight nerds in cardboard Gundam costumes. If anything, I hope reading this has given you a better understanding of anime, mangoo and the wondrous stories contained within for I know little about the subject and don't care to learn more.


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