Sunday, June 26, 2011

Anime and the willing suspension of disbelief

No matter what kind of video content you're watching, be it animated/live-action, you definitely have to subscribe to the idea of willing suspension of disbelief.  Action shows have tons of bad guys that can't hit the hero with one shot, but the hero can take out enemies with just one bullet.  Musicals have us believe that everyone can spontaneously bust into the same song and the lyrics are already common knowledge.  You just have to sit back and enjoy the content.

While it's very hard to find anyone that says they aren't willing to put aside their issues when watching live action, some people find animation just too 'unreal' to follow along with.  Again, this has a lot to do with animated features that take on serious tones rather than more traditional American cartoons.  Seeing ducks and rabbits beat each other up isn't an issue, but watching two people try to solve a murder is just too far-fetched to subscribe to.

I don't know about you, but I actually find myself having an easier time believing what's going on in anime than I do in live-action shows.  I can watch the content no matter what the medium, but an anime setting works wonders for me.  Seeing real-life actors appear in multiple TV shows and movies kind of ruins the feature for me.  If I see one actor play a big TV role for 5 years of his career and then pop up in a completely different movie, I have trouble separating the two.  With anime, you never see that issue.  It may come up through voicework, but I believe it to be much easier to deal with a similar voice than a same face.

The animated medium lets me complete escape into the story that is being told.  I don't have to tie it to real-world actions or anything like.  Especially when it comes to anime, we often deal with some truly serious issues that take place in absolutely fantastical settings.  These amazing locations, be they based on real life or completely made up, paint a very specific picture in my mind.  Then, when I am thinking about an anime at a later date, I actually tie those characters into the real world.  Anime lets me take my imagination and work the amazing stories into real world fabric.

Perhaps that's why I react much stronger to anime than live action.  Traditional movies with actors just don't resonate as well with me.  I can watch and enjoy, and there are plenty of movies that I really love.  With that said, there are anime characters that I connect with and will never, ever forget.  When I think of the story of Death Note, I remember the actions as if they really happened in my life.  I think that's further proof of just how moving these stories can be.

Either that, or I'm way off the spectrum with this one.  It's definitely possible that I'm a little bit wacky!


  1. I mainly have trouble dealing with characters who react illogically, just to move the plot forward. Really, this is across all mediums though. Games, movies and anime. But I seem to notice more in anime. And if my characters start getting out of line and doing random stuff that makes no sense, I get so mad.

    Just like," NO, what are you doing!? STOP THAT. NO, YOU'R- YOU'RE STUPID. AWWGH AWWWWGH" then I start just making sounds and face palming. Mainly happens in harems, but I have so many problems with most harems in the first place lol.

  2. Whoa. You watch too much anime. Kidding.

    I've actually never stopped to think about that. Not consciously, at least. But I guess it's easier to create a believable fictional world with animation. That's a lot harder to accomplish in live action, unless they have a big budget to work with.

    My explanation is going to suck, but here it goes: I think it's because when watching real actors do unreal things in a setting that is otherwise believable, getting pulled out of that make-believe world is more jarring.

    I don't know if that made any sense. :(

  3. Yeah, it's easier with anime because anime is all computer generated. While live action is a mix. So it's more constant in anime and it all flows nicely.

  4. I remember sitting down to watch InuYasha with my then-boyfriend and his roommate. I wasn't really into it, but it was something to do. At one point in the anime, the group was walking past some pretty scenery and I just blurted out, "Yeah right! Pshhh, like there would really be rainbows at night!" My boyfriend turned to me, laughed and said, "Out of ALL the things you could choose to question, it's rainbows?!?" From that day on, whenever either of us has an unwillingness to suspend our disbelief, the key response is "rainbows at night, man, rainbows at night."