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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.