The American Anime Essay

995 words - 4 pages

The American Anime
Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko's television series Avatar: the Last Airbender often falls into the debate that the series should be categorized as an anime. Experts and Otakus say that the main reason why Avatar cannot be an anime is because it was basically not made in Japan. The westerners often compare it to shows such as Teen Titan, Boondocks, Code Lyoko and Totally Spies which are Western animations influenced by Japanese-style animations but are not considered anime because they were not explicitly produced in Japan. Although Avatar can be acknowledged as an anime. Fans around the world accept the televised series as an anime because of the similar characteristics and the somewhat similar plot compared to other anime. For instance, the Last Airbender includes lovable characters, identical to Naruto, with a plot that, like One Piece, swiftly transitions between drama, romance and comedy while including fighting scenes comparable to Bleach and great character development similar to Dragon Ball. It also has stereotypical Japanese cultural references and archetypes that fit most anime such as the concept of humility, the notion of family and the desire to be loved .Therefore, Avatar the Last Airbender can be considered as an anime because of the strong resemblances in the Japanese style of animation.

Anime being a style of motion picture, AtLA can easily be compared to it, even though it has a combination of American cartoon, because of the highly stylized and colorful art and the abundance of Asian content throughout the story. Mostly, the very traditional aspects of martial arts and spirituality that are common and omnipresent in most anime. Avatar includes cultural references from different parts of Asia. The practice of drinking tea clearly demonstrated by Iroh, the concept of balance, the belief of reincarnation, the Chinese Scriptures seen throughout the series, the Buddhist robes worn by the Avatars, the hybrid animals inspired from Japanese mythology and the imperialistic nature of the Fire Nation are part of the Asian references that can be seen. There is also the fact that the story about the four nations is based on a mix of Asian and Inuit population. Along with these, Avatar includes Japanese martial arts. The concept of Japanese martial arts claims that "most martial arts aim at self-defense and are based on techniques that minimizes the risks of injuring the opponents"(GIJ 32). This proves that Avatar can be viewed as an anime because one of the most obvious cultural reference found in anime is the fighting style which, in this case, is attributed to the element bending of the four nations inspired by Eastern Asian martial arts. Those types of fighting are influenced by typical forms of martial art such as Baguazhang, Tai Chi, Shaolin Kung Fu and the Praying Mantis style. This quote also proves that the trilogy can be considered an anime because the purpose of the Avatar is to master the four types...

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