A Dissent:

In all fairness, we have to keep in mind where Anime comes from and how that differs from where our particular predispositions come from.
If you're from the North America, odds are pretty good that your ideas about animation have been influenced by a limited number of sources, most likely including Disney, Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera, and the M-G-M studios. (There are others, to be sure, but these are the big producers.)

Animation is painfully expensive to produce. Each second of film has 24 frames. To make something move smoothly, you need a new drawing to appear about every other frame. That means most American animation needs 720 drawings for each minute of motion for each moving item. And you still have to pay someone to draw everything that is moving on screen.

Most well known American animation was produced for theatrical release. All the classic Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, most of the "Disney Classics," were all made to be shown in theaters, 'cause that was how cartoons made their money back. Most television animation doesn't have a comparable budget.

Which is why cartoons like Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, or anything from Filmation (like He-Man, She-Ra, or Fat Albert) used what are called cycles. They couldn't afford to re-create footage of characters doing things like walking for every episode, so they re-used the same footage over and over and over. If you look carefully, you can see the same walk cycles showing up again and again.

In Anime, rather than re-use the same footage, many directors chose to simplify the animation by using fewer different drawings per second. In America they used more drawings for shorter segments and re-used those segments. In Japan they didn't re-use the segments, but they used fewer drawings. Both decisions were made with an eye to economy, and not sloth.

Of course, shows like The Simpsons and The New Batman/Superman Adventures had enough money to spend per episode to rarely have to recycle footage for reasons of cost.

Japanese Animation looks so bad because,

1. They do it the hard way: Western animators peg the bottom of their animation paper to the drawing surface so that they can "roll" it with their fingers and compare five or six drawings at once and check that movement looks natural. Japanese animators peg it at the top make it difficult to compare more than three drawings at a time. This makes it a lot harder to produce natural looking movement. Animators in japan are also more responsible for cleaning up their own drawings, despite the fact that they will be cleaned up again.

2. It's like comics but for TV: Anime is more closely related to Manga than American cartoons have ever been to your comics. The pressure of animating characters not designed to be animated combined with the emphasis on accomplished stills over smooth movement compound the "problem". Western studios usually don't have this pressure as they are drawing characters designed to be animated and aren't under a great deal of pressure to produce individual frames that look good because they are dissassociated with a drawing by the time it goes through cleanup.

3. Quantity vs Quality: Just like manga, anime is alot more popular in Japan than it is overseas. Therefore a lot more of it is produced. Most manga in Japan will be sold in monthly issues thicker than a collecters edition LOTR trilogy but with no color and horribly cheap paper! They've sacrificed production quality, to bring more comics to the consumer, who can never as many comics as they would like. Similarly because of the sheer quantity and rate at which anime is produced some corners are cut. For example most anime is shot on threes, that means each drawing is shot to film three times to make a total of 8 drawings per second. This is opposed to animating on twos ( 12 drawings per second )which is common practice in western studios.

In the end it comes down to taste, would you rather have a few feature length animated movies a year from the same major corporations or a plethora of conversions of your favourite comics in which the characters look exactly like the original and move exactly like puppets made from cardboard cut-outs.
Make your choice... or cop out and import both.

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