Thursday, December 21, 2017

(8) Why Anime Is Better At Science Fiction/Fantasy Than Live Action

File:Amazing Stories, April 1926. Volume 1, Number 1.jpgI am an old school Scifi fan. So old school I remember when it was called “speculative fiction” and published only in little pulp magazines. The whole idea then was to take a current idea, discovery, or theory and extrapolate it to extremes and then speculate on the future it would bring.

Of course, there were always “space cowboys” like Buck Rogers and the Mars and Venus books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I loved those, too. Star Trek, when it first came out, was an exciting pioneer that has had lasting success because it has melded the space cowboy adventure with speculative thought and had the courage to poke at conventions.

With the advent of ever better special effects, most scifi/fantasy live action series and movies have gone more and more to the adventure, space cowboy end of things. The media overloards who produce most of what we watch in the U.S. have concluded that most Americans are incredibly stupid, ignorant, and never want to think again in their lives. They also seem to think that if the action is fast enough and exciting enough, we will never notice shaky science or massive plot holes.

I like to watch stories that make me think.

Psycho Pass. Darker Than Black. Gargantia of the Verdurous Planet. Kado; The Right Answer. Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans. Modoka Magica. The Perfect Insider.WorldEnd. Bungo Stray Dogs.

The overlords of anime have no fear of making us think. Of giving us twists and surprises, and questions to speculate on and discuss. Of building a plot through thirteen or more episodes with the courage to know their audience can follow a story for that long – even if there are little side stories along the way.

Anime is not afraid of slowing down the pace and letting us think. Dropping little hints that we learn to notice and capture and examine. Is it a red herring – or something important? Is Kubey really just a cute little sidekick?

Anime, because it is art is ideally suited for science fiction and fantasy because it easily overcomes the barriers to making alien life forms, or planets, or robots, look real. We are not distracted by seeing the man in the Godzilla costume, or wondering how they made something seem to disappear, or admiring the prosthetic make-up of the aliens – or cringing when the effect is too obvious. Art, unlike special effects, gets out of the way of the story even as it enhances the story by setting the mood and giving us visual clues.

So here, in 2017, this old Science Fiction fan thinks the best modern Scifi/fantasy is to be found in Anime.

Image result for kado the right answer 

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