The world of animation is dominated by two different markets. For most of the world, especially America, animation is synonymous with Disney movies. But in Japan, anime is king. Over the past few decades, the two markets have intertwined, with anime becoming a growing part of Western entertainment.
Despite this, the first thing that comes to mind when talking about animation is classic Disney works. However, those who are familiar with Japanese animation have seen wonderful films and know that anime has some of the greatest stories in modern cinema.
ten A Silent Voice Has A Protagonist Disney Would Never Write
Disney’s Biggest Obstacle movies is the vast market they are trying to appease. A Disney movie has to hit all major demographics and play it safe to do so. Animated films are not bound by this necessity and can be braver in their stories.
For A silent voiceit meant introducing a protagonist with a horrible history of bullying. A silent voice is hard to watch at times as its main character stalks an innocent girl, but it’s key to the overall narrative and character arc.
9 Your Name Is More Experimental Than Anything At Disney
Disney movies are sadly stereotypical. To appeal to the child demographic, Disney movies often have to follow strict plot structures and comfortable character archetypes. These films are not experimental like anime can be. your name revolves around a plot device that Disney I would never touch it for fear that it would be too complicated.
But your name embraces its unorthodox take on time travel to tell a unique story that has moved its viewers and garnered a huge fan base. While your name is far from the most experimental Japanese animation, it is still far braver than the Disney material.
8 Spirited Away has a better artistic vision than Disney
disney movies often seem factory-made. Due to being a large company, Disney movies are often executed by dozens upon dozens of creative hands with leagues of executives weighing in with their misguided opinions to help market the film to the masses. The Japanese Studio Ghibli proves the effectiveness of the opposite approach. Ghibli the films are the product of a creative visionary.
For Taken away as if by magic, that visionary was Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki created a film that no other person could make and often sacrificed his health to do so. Empowered as one of three studio directors, Miyazaki had the creative control to hold the artistic vision for Taken away as if by magic to its highest potential. The film’s noticeably slow pace is a reflection of Miyazaki’s no-holds-barred commitment to creating great art, seen in nearly every image of elaborately animated facial expressions.
7 Wolf Children is more mature than Disney
While wolf kids the surface-level concept looks like something out of a Disney movie, the actual depiction of the hardware is far more mature than anything out of the mouse studio. While movies like turn red explore motifs of family and animal transformation, a quick comparison of the film shows just how juvenile Disney is.
The bond between Hana and Ame in Wolf children is intensely relatable for young adult viewers experiencing their own first serious relationships. The film doesn’t shy away from the more authentic and real aspects of a romantic partnership, like balancing childcare and financial responsibility. These characters deal with issues that seem rooted in our own reality, making a story about werewolves feel more real than anything out of a Disney movie.
6 Perfect Blue is the horror Disney would never do
If there’s one genre of film that Disney would never touch, it would be horror. Horror is particularly difficult to market and attract mass audiences. Because Disney wants to achieve as high a turnover as possible, the studio sticks to family comedies with a hint of adventure.
But the anime is not beholden to this obligation and is more than comfortable delving into the world of horror. perfect blue is one of the most acclaimed horror films in the world, depicting a psychological plot that disturbs even the most seasoned horror fans.
5 Summer Wars is better than Disney in every way
In some ways, it might be considered unfair to compare one studio to the animation field of an entire country. Disney wants to produce a specific type of film that many animated films have no desire to compete with. But unlike movies like Perfect blue, summer wars could very easily fit into a Disney range.
Centered around family themes and depicting a bright, upbeat, and fun fantasy world, Summer Wars is exactly what a Disney movie tends to be. Still Summer Wars’ the world always feels fresher and more engaging than anything out of a Disney movie. Its unique take on technology and gaming feels grounded in modern reality, while pushing the boundaries just enough to become a fantasy world its viewers would dream of living in. Very few Disney films could do the same.
4 Promare is more ambitious than Disney
Japanese animation is full of superb talent producing some of the most visionary and creative works of the modern era. While American animation no doubt has people of the same caliber, Disney movies are so democratized that the characters don’t have the ability to pursue their vision the way Japanese animators do.
Promare is a perfect example of Japan’s overflowing creative happiness. With its vibrant colors, unique palette, and expressive animation, Promare takes the mech genre to new heights with a visual feast no Disney movie could even touch.
3 The Boy and the Beast is a Disney story best done
Disney movies have a certain feel to them. At its best, a great Disney movie evokes a sense of optimism and comfort in its audience. The boy and the beast is very similar in this regard, appealing to the senses in a Disney-like way.
But unlike Disney, The boy and the beast feels rooted in an authentic Asian culture that Disney often fails to replicate in its modern works.
While Disney made the original Mulane a household name, its live-action adaptation felt like a paper-thin mimicry of the source material. Also, movies like Raya and the last dragon received significant complaints from the Asian-American community for using culture more as dressing than proper representation. Unlike Disney movies, The boy and the beast feels proud of its Japanese roots and embraces them to great effect in a story that blends Japan’s traditional history with the technologically innovative present.
2 Ponyo adapts one of Disney’s most popular fairy tales
Disney films are most valuable when they communicate simple moral themes for children to learn. But over time, these themes can seem outdated from a modern perspective. When the purpose of a story is to convey themes that are no longer appropriate, it loses much of its value. The little Mermaid suffers from being an outdated vision of a woman who throws everything away for a man she “fell in love” with just days before.
But in 2009, Miyazaki released Ponyo critically acclaimed based on the same source material. Contrary to The little Mermaidwho lived and died by his moral narrative, Ponyo has so much more to offer artistically than it’s worth even though the romance may feel outdated. It carries all of the vision most commonly associated with Miyazaki’s films, such as beautiful landscapes, expressive animation, and the underlying subtext of environmental themes. The Little Mermaid is anchored by its romance, Ponyo flies away in spite of himself.
1 Akira Changed The Animation In Ways Disney Didn’t
One of the most important works of animation ever created came from Japan. Around the world, animators of all ages have been amazed by Akiraoften citing him as a source of inspiration and influence in their own careers. Akira has had a profound impact on the world of animation and is referenced in different cultural works.
For anime fans, the film is widely considered one of the greatest the medium has offered to date. For Western fans, it completely changed the way they viewed animation and the kinds of stories that could be told.
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