Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

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Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by Kireblue » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:03 pm

Hello everyone

For over 10 years now, the site has operated under a fairly clear cut definition of what qualifies as anime (Site Definition of Anime and AMV). And although this definition has served us well, it's always been a little restrictive, and occasionally caused us to exclude shows for the smallest of technicalities. Some of the most notable exclusions include "Avatar: The Last Airbender", "The Legend of Korra", and more recently "RWBY" and "Voltron: Defender of the Universe".

I've recently watched a video on youtube that does a very in-depth analysis of what defines anime, and for the most part, it's what inspired this post. I think that it's the closest representation of "what is anime" that I've ever heard, and it's truly worth watching from start to finish. If you absolutely don't have time to watch the 18 minute video, then it can be summarized as although Anime originated in Japan, it's no longer limited by geographical borders. It became a artistic movement that's now being embraced by the entire world, and there's an ever increasing sub-genre of "Non-Japanese" anime that deserve a place at the table in terms of anime discussion. The full video can be watched here:
So with this in mind, I'm posing the following questions.

1. Do you feel that the Org should broaden its definition of anime to encompass this "non-Japanese" anime?

2. If the site made a distinction between "Japanese Anime" and "Non-Japanese Anime", but still allowed both types of videos to be cataloged and uploaded, would you have any complaints?

3. If the Org went through with this, do you feel that AMV Contests should follow suite?

4. Do you feel that the decision as to what qualifies as "Non-Japanese Anime" can be left to the admins/ moderators? Or should there an additional influence from the userbase?



Off the top of my head, the list of shows that would probably comprise the "Non-Japanese Anime" list would be the following:
  1. Avatar: The Last Airbender
    The Legend of Korra
    RWBY
    Voltron: Defender of the Universe
    Teen Titans
    Steven Universe
    Megas XLR
    Samurai Jack
This would also open the door for discussion whether video games like Overwatch (cutscenes) and League of Legends (trailers) qualify as well.

So please, if you have even the slightest opinion on the matter, post it here so I can get a better understanding for what our community wants. At the end of the day, this site exists to serve the AMV community, and so we'd love all of you to join in the discussion about its direction.

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by hamstar138 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:28 pm

Honest I feel if you open it up to just a few collective shows it doesn't count as fair but you should open it up to all western shows then. There are a number of shows that were made with the contribution of Japanese anime studios (such as Toei working to draw for shows like Muppet Babies and such.) I realize the list is just shows off the top of your head, but i feel there isn't even a need to list shows, because once again if we open up to a few, we might as well open it up to all.

Then comes down to matters such as the example of WIthin Temptation, who don't want us to catalogue videos using their content.
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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by PieandBeer » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:45 pm

1. Do you feel that the Org should broaden its definition of anime to encompass this "non-Japanese" anime?

Yes yes yes yes yes. The community and the nature of cartoons, Western or otherwise, has shifted. We are seeing more and more shows marketed towards a more mature audience in the West that making serious music videos possible. I'm a child compared to everyone here basically, but I recall a time on TV in the U.S. where the only cartoons for adults were shows like the Simpsons, South Park, and anime brought over from Japan. Not only has this changed, with serious works of art being enjoyed by kids and adults alike, but the global footprint of a single show isn't as easy to pin down as it had been in the past. Additionally, the general style of editing western animation amvs is so similar imo to japanese cartoon amvs. There's honestly more difference between convention contest amvs, "candy" amvs, and japanese MADs imo. Allowing western cartoon amvs to be posted here would not affect how videos are viewed, critiqued, and how tech specific discussions take place.

2. If the site made a distinction between "Japanese Anime" and "Non-Japanese Anime", but still allowed both types of videos to be cataloged and uploaded, would you have any complaints?

Honestly, I think the upload feature on this site is becoming a bit obsolete. Most people just upload to Youtube and leave a link for the full version because they either do not want to go through the upload process again or the file size is too big. People are watching amvs first on youtube, not discovering them on the org, and it's easier to just drop a link to like gdrive or another service than it is to make people sign up/log in to the org. I still think the catalog function is essential, in case of youtube making our lives hell, but really just to get links to other services.

I'M TALKING IN CIRCLES but like, I think they shouldn't be an issue to totally opening up the org to them. These are videos that are already being made by editors here so it's not like we're gonna get an invasion of people we do not trust. Hell, I think it'll make this place more active (and distinguish us from AMVCentral ;) love you guys).

People have brought up potential issues with western companies killing us and salting our fields, but I think we're already fighting that battle with like music and sources that have been licensed to western companies. I do not think the effort being made to keep these videos out (and all the work goes into researching and verifying JAPANESE ANIME) is worth it yknow? The industry has changed, the fans have changed, availability of sources has changed, and most importantly the community has changed. I think it's time for the org to adapt.

3. If the Org went through with this, do you feel that AMV Contests should follow suite?


Yo AMV contests are already doing this. AWA, Momo, Expo are big ones on the top of my head that have relaxed their rules. Even though these are anime conventions, the overlap between western media fans is unmistakeable. You see so many people in cosplaying things like Voltron, League of Legends, and Avatar. I honestly do not think the audience gives a damn about which countries the videos they are seeing are from. The lines are becoming less defined as the years go on because the attendee base is increasingly being born into a world where Western animation and media is reaching the same audience as anime.

Granted, I think videos with like My Little Pony may be a little too off base for a lot of audience goers at an anime con but really that's for judges to decide knowing their convention and its attendees. It's sort of the same decision making between letting a well made vid with a relatively unknown source in over one they know the crowd will enjoy. It's a fuzzy distinction but I trust most judges to make the correct choice.

4. Do you feel that the decision as to what qualifies as "Non-Japanese Anime" can be left to the admins/ moderators? Or should there an additional influence from the userbase?


Userbase~! WE THE PEOPLE
I mean, you have tons of editors here making videos for both types of sources. If you need to cut out a specific subsection of western animation (which i really do not think is necessary), the editors here are the people who would have the best idea of what are viable sources because they watch and edit with them already.

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by MadMegatax » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:49 pm

I'm all for this! I think it would be awesome for the site to be more inclusive of other types of fan videos. From the perspective of someone who has spent more than half of my editing career (nearly nine years now) with non-anime sources, I didn't really have much interest in this site or other AMV communities because it was more geared exclusively towards Japanese animation. It was really only last year through several factors that I began hanging out with the AMV community more.

Anyway, the actual questions:

1. Do you feel that the Org should broaden its definition of anime to encompass this "non-Japanese" anime?
Yes!

2. If the site made a distinction between "Japanese Anime" and "Non-Japanese Anime", but still allowed both types of videos to be cataloged and uploaded, would you have any complaints?
No complaints!

3. If the Org went through with this, do you feel that AMV Contests should follow suite?
I think so! I kinda want to see a test run of this at some big convention where the audience votes, in order to gauge the audience reaction haha. If it's not successful, then the idea can be improved with audience feedback as necessary.

4. Do you feel that the decision as to what qualifies as "Non-Japanese Anime" can be left to the admins/ moderators? Or should there an additional influence from the userbase?
I guess this is where it gets murky. Some shows (A:TLA, Voltron) would probably pass no problem, but what about other media that's not edited with as much, or even non-traditional sources (is Homestuck an anime)? In general, I think the community would benefit more overall if it was more inclusive towards other sources.

But as we are discussing the defintiion of anime here, I don't think that the current site definition of Anime holds up all that well anyway, considering the existence of Thunderbolt Fantasy. It is made mainly with puppets and a little CGI (not enough that it should be considered CGI though), and was created and written by Gen Urobuchi and aired in Japan. I feel that this qualifies as anime. Perhaps the definition could be changed to accommodate the idea that people will continue to push the idea of animation and innovate new techniques that maybe no one has even thought of yet.

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by BasharOfTheAges » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:22 pm

RIP ORG. It was good while it lasted.

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by Xophilarus » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:59 pm

BasharOfTheAges wrote:RIP ORG. It was good while it lasted.
If you have issues with the proposed changes, that's completely cool, but it may be nice to add to the conversation instead of just honestly throwing out an insult. Erik is suggesting something he believes will improve the site so I feel like adding to the discussion. This response just felt kind of rude >.<.


Anyways, about the content changes. I fall under the camp where I believe if you want to extend it to some western animations, you should do it to all of them. I understand how you want to use a different definition, but I feel like it is still too lose to really feel fair for a lot of people, especially since countries now just borrow so much from each other in terms how animation. So I basically believe it should be open to either all animations or just keep it as is. I do believe it would be amazing to incorporate non-anime animations because the editing of the two is still really similar and it allows editors to feel like they can branch out more. I know some have expressed concerns over copyright, but honestly I feel like it is already more "risky" with the Japanese companies since fair use doesn't exist there as well as record labels since a lot of them are big punks about their music. I also do believe the idea of making a distinction between the two is really good as well so if someone just wants to watch anime AMVs, it is easy for them to still find them without having to go through a lot of other animations.
As far as AMV contests go, I feel like it should be up the contest coordinator and the con coordinator, and I think it would be a nice thing, but I also don't think they should really be pushed to do that either since I know some have concerns that it would upset their audiences.

Either way, I'm really happy this conversation is happening, even if the org decides to not go this route because I think there's a lot of opportunities here to help make it more active by incorporating a wider variety of sources so it is glad to see the idea explored ^^.

I'm sorry I didnt separate my points with the questions, I just thought I'd probably start repeating myself xD.

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by Tigrin » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:18 pm

I make non-anime AMVs, so of course I'm interested in broadening the definition of what an AMV is. How broad the definition is I guess is not my call though. Like if we limit it to things that are "anime" in their art style, it would open the doors to stuff like Voltron or Avatar, but limit sources that are definitely Japanese but really unusual in art style (like arguably Panty and Stocking has more in common with American cartoon shows like the Powerpuff Girls than anime, but no one's going to argue it's not anime). So if the art style is not a limiter then it's basically any animation, from anywhere, and it loses any of the original association with Japan. I think it's fine to start off with a small list, but probably just be aware that eventually the arguments will probably lead to allowing anything animated in.

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by Mol » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:57 pm

As far as i have edited only once with non-anime. Adding other sources would be cool. But i guess if there are borders ,then what will be those borders?
One could think that lots of stuff in japan is outsourced in other countries so accepting from those imo is a fine start, and stuff in anime spirit in general imo is ok. But would it affect org community activity if that's the goal? I guess there is no telling until it's actually allows stuff : d.
Still better than that MMO.
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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by Pathos Prime » Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:04 pm

AMV League has defined "AMV" as Animated Music Video since its inception. We've always kind of felt that it was a bit on the silly side to say that Japan was the only country capable of making quality animation.

Perhaps this paradigm change will encourage more editors to submit to AMV League events. :)

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by FoxJones » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:12 am

kireblue wrote:
1. Do you feel that the Org should broaden its definition of anime to encompass this "non-Japanese" anime?
2. If the site made a distinction between "Japanese Anime" and "Non-Japanese Anime", but still allowed both types of videos to be cataloged and uploaded, would you have any complaints?
Purist me from some 10 years ago would have said "Absolutely not, this is heresy"
Today's me (Who is a huge RWBY fan) is quite ok with this. Like it is implied here, the geographical borders have started to lose their meaning, when discussion goes to what is anime and what is not.
I think this path still needs to be tread carefully and in small strides, but if there's a clear distinction between these and it is clearly shown, I wouldn't have complaints. This way viewers can easily ignore the sources they find uninteresting.
kireblue wrote: 3. If the Org went through with this, do you feel that AMV Contests should follow suite?
No comments. Doesn't effect me either way.
kireblue wrote:4. Do you feel that the decision as to what qualifies as "Non-Japanese Anime" can be left to the admins/ moderators? Or should there an additional influence from the userbase?
Now this is the hard part. No matter how you approach this there will always be disagreements. If the decision is on a too tight leash, some people will see selection is made by arbitary choices of a small elititst circle. If you on the other hand go too freely, it will explode very soon and loose its' original meaning, as every what-the-f***-are-you-people-thinging cartoon gets approved.
Perhaps a system similar to Steam's greenlight, where the community votes yes or no, and when a certain percentage of approval is met, it will be added to list of approved non-japanese anime?
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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by Ileia » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:07 pm

I enjoy and have made fanvids of basically any source, but several questions come up:

• How do you define the border?
This is as dicey as the previous definition. Opening up the floor means people are going to make arguments for every type of animation and, unless you go the easy route and proclaim all animation as open season, the site needs to be prepared to explain its choice of restricting some sources and why.

• Will it present any new legal issues?
I don't proclaim to be an expert on the subject, but I know that there's a reason why we tend to get away with using Japanese anime vs some other sources. And it's the same reason why many AMV Contests won't accept entries that aren't Japanese animation. We want to share videos, but we also don't want C&D orders.

• Phade's opinion?
Though I do like the "we the people" option, it's ultimately the site owner that this would come down on if it went south. He may not be as active within the community as previously, but it's still his site and he may also still want it kept up a certain way. Before you go down that road, you'd need to know his take on it/his permission. Where does that currently stand?

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by CrackTheSky » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:30 am

100% no. Have you people even considered the legal implications? Like Ileia, I'm far from an expert, but this seems to be a one-track road to getting the site shut down for good. This site is lucky to have existed as long as it has. Honestly, it will probably stay around for a lot longer if nothing changes as far as upload content is concerned. Once you open the door to Western animation, you're opening it to all sorts of scrutiny from entities that otherwise don't give a crap what happens here.

No. No no no. This is a bad idea and I don't support it. Let those videos stay on YouTube so Google's legal department can deal with the copyright issues. We have an announcement forum for non-anime videos, can someone explain what there is to be gained by allowing cataloging of these videos and uploading them to our database?

Also, this should be Phade's decision, absolutely, and if he's silent on it, nothing should change. As the site owner Phade would have to bear the responsibility of any legal repercussions, and thus something like this should 100% be his decision, and no one else's.

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by PieandBeer » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:26 pm

@Ileia and crackthesky

100000000% agree, Phade needs to be in this conversation

Really, i don't think that the upload function is crucial at all since most people use links so if we just say cataloging+linking is allowed and encourage discussion we can easily avoid that issue.

But, how is that any different from the grey areas we are with licensed anime and music? I def do not know the whole story of the org and the japanese vs other sources legality debate. i just think the amount of effort put in to be like "ok this is anime definitely japanese" does not make it suddenly more legal than french or korean cartoons. And what makes the western animation more copyrightable than the music yknow? I just think it is unnecessary gate keeping that is preventing the forum and site from adapting to the new world of animated fan videos @_@ but if someone can provide like the reasoning why anime is ok vs western cartoons and why western music is ok that would be super helpful

but legit Phade's decision in the end

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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by ngsilver » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:41 pm

I prefer to use the actual japanese definition of the term anime, which is just basically short for animation. So by calling a site/video/ect AMV, anime music video, to me means more then this popular meaning we have in the west of Japanese Animation. So as far as definitions go, I would support the expansion. But as we have always done, and as far as I'm gathering form what has been proposed so far, we still need to make sure definitions are clearly posted (as they currently are) to explain what we apparently mean by the term anime.


@PieandBeer
We have a number of conversations every year at AWA on the copyright front partially due to the fact a lot of us are interested in copyrights and fighting for AMVs being considered part of fair use or properly defined as a part of remix culture which I believe it is.

As far as the term legal grey area, that is really a misconception and really AMVs are not legally grey at all as far as current definitions and legal precedent are concerned. The reason AMVs are often overlooked is a rights holder thing. Since the original rights holders are outside the country it is more difficult for them to persue legal action. Often it is left to the local rights holders, our anime companies, to handle the legal actions. The reason that legal action usually doesn't come to bear is because most anime companies realize that AMVs are a means of advertisement (free) and by cracking down on them they would be hurting that free advertisement as well as alienating a large portion of their fan base (see the backlash Nintendo has had for it's cracking down of Streaming and YT playthroughs of it's games.)

As far as fair use argument and even the remix argument goes, the anime/visual sources we use are fairly easy to argue because of the fact that generally we do mix that and create a different product. The problem we face on the legal side of things is arguing that by putting new visuals on top of a basically un-edited, full quality, audio track that we are creating a new derivative work and not just simply sharing/pirating the audio. Music companies just don't see how an AMV is a new derivative work, unless the audio is also remixed. So even if the artist loves to see AMVs for their music, it's the labels that usually are the ones that cause 'problems' and send the C&Ds.

There are others that can explain these things better, like our lawyer friends, but this is kind of an overview of the topic since you were asking about it.


I understand the views some have posted previously and that have been brought up a number of times. By broadening our definition of anime, letting in more stuff, we are creating a bigger bullseye. Our attack surface (to use an IT Security term) does become larger and we are opened up to more of a chance to receive C&Ds and have other legal action taken against us, terminating the site, ect. As much as I'd hate to see the org go because of this, honestly if we want to advance the precedent of remix culture it may be a risk worth taking. Though I also agree, as this is Phade's site, he should be involved in the discussion because it is true that ultimately the buck stops with him.
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Re: Potential Change to the Site Definition of Anime

Post by mirkosp » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:18 pm

Watched the full video before commenting. He had to use a flawed assumption to make it all work, and that is that we would already count Korean and Chinese animation as anime, but really we don't. Japanese is what we've gone by, and anime in western dictionaries is essentially registered as japanimation, so Korean animation and Chinese animation are also out, it's not just about American animation or western animation in general. What he DID entirely miss though, is what we've actually gone by all these years, perhaps without realizing it.

That is, the country of production.

Animation produced in Japan is what has counted so far. Mind you, produced, not animated, and this is a big difference.
They can outsource the tweening to Korea, they can have Austrians do the key animation (we all love bahijd's work, don't we?), they can get paid by Americans to do Space Dandy or Big O S2, they can even have western directors have a go at it like in Tekkonkinkreet, but in all these assumed exception you can check who the producer was on ANN or AniDB and there you'll find it was a Japanese production alright.
This also means that all the indie self-produced animation by Japanese people counts as anime. We've seen Ishida Hiroyasu grow from his indie ONA "Fumiko no Kokuhaku" into a full-fledged director with a studio (Studio Colorido, that is).

On the other hand, if you open up wikipedia you can read "Avatar: The Last Airbender was co-created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California."
RWBY was produced by Rooster Teeth, so I'm afraid it doesn't count either.

And then, Shelter. The whole video in the OP spurred due to it. Who's credited as producer? Crunchyroll? Madeon? Porter Robinson? If you hit up MyAnimeList, you see that the producer for Shelter was ultimately A1's Fukushima Yuuichi. Perhaps it was a co-production after all, but that's fine.
There have a few co-productions between Japan and other countries. Those get counted as anime too, since Japan has had a hand in it. As an Italian, my mind goes to "Topo Gigio" and "Calimero," and if you check the credits, you'll find Japanese producers. Well, it is a co-production, after all.

It's not a matter of audience, it's not a matter of staff in general. Really, if we try to retrace what has been defined as anime in all these years, we'll find it was at least co-produced by Japanese people. Which also means that yes, potentially a show produced by Japanese, then entirely outsourced to the rest of the world would count as anime by this definition. And I'd be keen to say it should.
If Ghibli's movies weren't produced in Japan, but in California, even with the same director and animators and all, we wouldn't historically know them as anime. We'd know them as Disney.


And this site, my friends, is animemusicvideos.org. Not animatedmusicvideos.org, nor liveactionmusicvideos.org. We got a domain name, and if we want to change what we are about, we should change our name as well.

PS: as for Voltron (the 80s one), I thought we already counted it as anime, much like we count Robotech? We don't count Legendary Defender, though.
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