I absolutely love anime (Japanese animation). Even before I knew what it was, I gravitated to these kinds of animated shows. Remember G-Force: Guardians of Space? I do, and as a child I would sit fixated on Saturday mornings watching it. I still remember the theme song (theme speech?) even — I won’t sing it too loudly, you can relax.
When I officially knew what anime was, I started watching reverently. Series like Record of Lodoss War, Slayers, Escaflowne, RahXephon and Claymore to name a very small few, have seen hours of my time caught up in their worlds; hours I don’t regret. Fellow anime fans know exactly what I’m talking about and anyone else not willing to believe in the power of this genre, you have five days left to live . . .
Okay, totally kidding! Of course everyone won’t like the same things.
I wanted to touch on anime today, because of the reasons I love it and some of the lessons we as writers can learn from it.
Lesson 1: Die plot holes, die!
Almost all the anime I’ve seen, movies or series, contain limited, or often no plot-holes. Even when I think I’ve discovered one and point at the screen triumphantly, the writers clean it up later on. I find this impressive, especially as it’s a pet peeve for me, because plot holes can ruin an entire story. Focus on the little things, I find this really helps to ensure our stories keep on the straight and narrow.
Lesson 2: Speech Therapy.
We have to be so careful when we decide to insert long, drawn-out monologues into our writing. I’ve been guilty of this at times and have had to employ the delete button to save my characters from themselves. Anime — like old Spaghetti Westerns, has a way of doing this without making the viewer want to throw something at the television. If characters must have a long-winded moment before maiming and killing, ensure that it’s relevant and hits the reader for six. (N.B: Hit it for six – cricket term meaning when the ball is knocked beyond the boundary without bouncing.)
Lesson 3: Character Development.
There are so many characters that I’ve fallen in love with, hated, wanted to save, etc, as I’ve watched. The way characters are developed in these shows, is commendable. Even when a character goes against their personality traits, it’s usually done in such a way, that it works. Character development is of course, one of the most important elements to writing. I didn’t love Rurouni Kenshin because he was an amazing swordsman, I loved him because of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s devotion to the character. This same homage must be paid to all our characters.
What anime titles do you love and, have you learnt anything from them?
Have great Mondays!
Amendment: As Sky made me realise, I wasn’t clear on the titles I was referring to. I didn’t mean that all anime is awesome and perfectly done (far from true), I was mainly using those titles that I have labelled personal favourites, because of the qualities shown above. Thanks Sky for pointing this out in your comment :).