Tappan on RWBY

September 1st, 2013 by Author

Jonathan Tappan strikes at the heart of the question “what is anime”, using RWBY as an excuse (a title liked by e.g. Mr. Brickmuppet):

First I want to make it clear that I have no objection to Crunchyroll carrying American-made cartoons. Nevertheless I was disappointed to read this statement from director Monty Oum:

Some believe just like Scotch needs to be made in Scotland, an American company can’t make anime. I think that’s a narrow way of seeing it. Anime is an art form, and to say only one country can make this art is wrong. // –FEATURE: Inside Rooster Teeth’s “RWBY”

There are a number of American comic artists who want to call their work “manga” and now we have American animators who want to call their work “anime”. When they do they end up sounding sad and a bit sleazy, like a Chinese food exporter who says:

Some believe that “Whole Foods” can only refer to a particular American company. I think that’s a narrow way of seeing it. “Whole Foods” refers to any foods that are wholesome. Our fine Chinese food products are very wholesome so there is no reason that we shouldn’t label them “Whole Foods.”

This used to be a topic of great interest for us back when Sixten was an active animeblogger, but nowadays I find little to add to Jonathan’s. Also, LOL.

UPDATE 2013/09/09: CKS tries a measured approach, but ends with:

I don’t think Tappan’s call for animators to develop a style that’s different from anime and manga is really the right approach. At its core what it amounts to is telling people not to work in the style that they like and admire simply because they are not from Japan. It’s especially unlikely to work if you believe that the manga and anime style is further evolved and more artistically sophisticated and successful than the western counterparts.

UPDATE 2013/10/08: Sixten responded with an editorial and Omo responded to that. Lines remain drawn through the finer points. I can’t help thinking that Sixten’s identity as a manga artist is threatened by inauthenticity, and we cannot move forward without resolving that.

MORE UPDATE: Steven simplifies the argument to “if it’s good, it’s all good”.