JOURNAL: StudioKZ (Mike )

  • Fever dreams 2001-12-01 11:09:22 ...
    I had a dream about the funniest thing... I'm watching the new Star Wars movie and at one point, the Jedi are being surrounded by these .. Bad guys, I dunno what else to call them.. Anyways, Yoda turns to one of the young Jedi and is like 'Give me your lightsaber', at which point Akoom(sp?) shows up. Yoda ignites it and then tears around like mad, it looked very strange, yet cool at the same time, then he streaks across the screen and slices through the last one and strikes a pose, looking amazingly like Samurai Jack.
    Samurai Jack is a cool show, it's the kind of American cartoon I've been waiting for since I first 'formally' got into Anime back in 93. Anime's draw for me has always been that the subject matter and themes and action are always so much better than American cartoons up to that point. There's always been the argument that Anime is not for kids, but I disagree. I think Anime *is* largely for children. The biggest difference is that the Japanese give their children a lot more credit for being able to handle certain levels of violence and mature subject matter that Americans just don't think their kids are capable of. I saw an interesing 'help public schools' commercial that sort-of proves my point, even if that's not what was intended of it originally. There is this kid running on a track and jumping hurdles and the hurdles are all maybe a foot or a foot and a half off the ground and never get any higher until he hits the last one that is almost as tall as he is. The metaphor was you should prepare your kids for adulthood by increasing the standards you hold them to, yada-yada, and the message was support public schools. I think the same could be said for everything. Hold kids to a higher standard, but give them more and more credit for being able to handle tougher situations than you would normally and sooner or later, *pow*, your kids will surprise you.
    For the longest time, American Cartoons didn't deal with Death, and never even said any word associated with it(death, dead, die, killed, kill, etc). This turned the greatest fictional psychotic killer into a simple 'Clown Prince of Crime'. The Joker has always been my favorite villain, simply for how well this 'clown' face of his is such at odds with his vicious nature. Early seasons of Batman:TAS tried to show this, but never quite succeeded. By the time Return of the Joker came around, he was finally perfect, a vicious, psychotic maniac who killed just because he could. In addition to killing face to face, potentially hundreds were killed in his attempt to kill Batman with the Satelite borne laser. Of course... this was cut out or toned down for final release because, well, "kids can't handle death and violence".
    Then there's Romance... Show me an American cartoon that deals with Romance beyond the simple 'He likes her and she likes him' pseudo chemistry that pervades every American cartoon. KOR and MI would blow audiences away, but would never see American TV because there's not enough other than the Romance to get away with showing it.
    American cartoons are filled with Psuedo-violence and faux-romance and loads of conflict of one sort or another and in every case, it's all short lived... maybe a half hour long episode about a date or some other character interaction that gets interupted after five minutes by either some comedic mishap or some 15 minute long conflict that really doesn't mean anything.
    If we're going to start giving our kids more challenging obstacles, shouldn't we give them more complicated entertainment? Shouldn't we accept that yeah, kids can follow a season long plot with little or no actual conflict? Or maybe they can follow a short plot sprinkled with conflict and a little *real* violence? You know, where the whole actions and consequences thing comes into play?
    As much as I love Batman and Superman and B:B, I'm really rather tired of punches that send the badguy flying ten feet through the air, and throws and other nonsensical stuff.
    There's always the excuse, you know, like the story of the kid who went nuts and killed his classmate, hung his head on the gate of the school and dared cops to find and catch him, or the child who killed his parents with a knife, and both of these kids being really into Violent Anime. But that's what, a dozen, maybe? Out of how many millions?
    Personally, I'm rather tired of it. Then along comes Samurai Jack. I love this show. There's an underlying plot that goes beyond simple 'I'm here to fight the bad guys' and although there's little or no continuity between episodes, there is always the search. And there's violence. Not so much gratuitous as some Anime, but more realistic than previous American attempts. It's very visceral, very graphic and very amazing. I love this show...
    Anyways, There's no kids in sight, so hopefully this Star Wars will kick all kinds of ass. ... Hopefully. 
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