The Lunar New Year: (3) Differences in anime and literature

I have been unable to sleep early since the onset of my sickness. Since I have ideas still roiling around in my head, I decided it would be best to write another post (it would also bring me closer to my aim of fifteen posts).

This book is worthless.

I gave some of my books today to a friend of mine. There was supposed to be a gift exchange among the different students of Biology (my course) for last year’s Christmas, but I wasn’t able to give that friend anything (since I picked him from the lottery) until yesterday. I gave So Human an Animal, Hyperion, and Greenmantle. All are notable novels to some extent, but they simply did not appeal to me. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, however.

I decided to give it to that friend of mine because he loved reading about different things and would probably appreciate the ideas of those books I gave him. I chose the novels in such a way that they had variety in them: every single book was different from one another that if he failed to like one or the other, there remained another option. This experience made me think.

Not everyone likes Honey and Clover, even though I think it’s the best anime series ever. It can be noted that the writer of that article also dislikes Twelve Kingdoms. While the reasons may be very valid, for example someone’s irritation with the character designs of Honey and Clover, as they are admittedly unique, there may be some reasons also that simply stem from the personality of the viewer.

Real looks like an actress . . .

I’m sure how the viewer was raised up or grew contributed to his future choices and decisions (even as supposedly simple as choice of anime series), and I’m also sure most of us will never know the reasons why one likes this and the other likes that. However, do we even need to?

Anime, first and foremost, is a medium meant for entertainment. It is not like literature in that some literature aim simply to make people think either in its sense or nonsense. I fervently believe that The Sound and the Fury was written like that because it did not mean to entertain in the first place: it meant to force people to think, to intellectualize and experience how the thoughts of a retardate, an intelligent madman, and a rational asshole flow all within the same nuclear family. If it meant to entertain primarily, the story won’t have been written in such a method.

. . . and he looks like a model

Anime, however, even at its bleakest and most complicated, is a medium meant to entertain first then to provoke thought second. Things are just like that. For even with the supposedly labyrinthine anime like Ergo Proxy, the heroes are very cute and pleasing to the eyes (Re-l was hot; Vincent was a bishie). There are no ugly leads. Because as long as one is entertained, even if he or she didn’t understand the totality of the (non)story, he will remain attracted to the series (even if only to the lead character), and this makes money for the studios.

And as long as enough money is made, both sides are happy. The cycle returns again to its starting state.

P.S. I finished this post at almost three in the morning. If I ever wrote something wrong, kindly address me in the comments. 🙂

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12 Responses to “The Lunar New Year: (3) Differences in anime and literature”

  1. korosora Says:

    You’re having a BLAST with those mouse-overs, aren’t you? XD

    Not everyone likes Honey and Clover?


  2. Michael Says:


    Oh, these mouse-overs ROCK. <3

    That was really funny. :3

  3. Baka-Raptor Says:

    Note to self: never accept a gift from Michael.

  4. Michael Says:

    Honestly, I only give books, too.

  5. eipu Says:

    I’d love to be your friend then ^^

    i also think honey and clover is one of the best anime.

  6. Ryan A Says:

    Broadcast anime is definitely like this, underground anime, if it exists, may strive for a greater intellectual experience, though why not deliver the eye-candy? Would it take more effort to create less attractive characters? I think so.

    Perhaps just average. Toward the Terra had some attractive characters, but I found most of them average (at least the main ones), but the experience wasn’t quite intellectual; ethical and dramatic, yes. This is the closest example I can find from my recent experiences, but even it does not match what literature is capable. The focus just isn’t on “whats visible” in literature; the reader really makes the other half of the experience.

    … play an anime and leave the room, it will continue, but stop reading a book, and it does nothing…

  7. hayase Says:

    Hey! You left out Pino! Pino is cute! 😀

    I looked at your HTML code, that mouse over is gonna be handy. =p

    Anyway, to me what makes literature more ‘intellectual’ must be the fact that it is the reader also needs to ‘imagine’ and understand what the author wrote. Anime, on the other hand, needs less effort on the part of the viewer simply because the image is already there.

  8. Lelangir Says:

    Well there are a lot of ways in which to compare different mediums but I’d focus on the creative/intellectual aspects as you were.

    So I think that there is quite a bit of “literature” that is created entirely for entertainment. What about those dime-a-dozen romance novels that feature some half naked viking on the front cover? Or, if you’ve ever seen those “worst case scenario” books. Sure, anime’s primary function is probably to entertain but then there are those instances when that might not be necessarily true. God forbid I bring up the last episodes of eva…

    It also seems like “modern” anime (1970’s?) is, without knowing any of its history, strictly a commodity, whereas literature is ancient and retains qualities you don’t necessarily see in corporate capitalism.

  9. ShortCircuited Says:

    A light response on literature and anime as media….

    In response to a post by Mike of Anime|Otaku.

  10. Michael Says:


    I find that literature is more capable of the power of evocation and pathos. But I watch anime to enjoy, so I still watch it. 🙂



    I thought of that, too. Anime needs less effort than literature.


    I agree with you.


    I replied in that post of yours already, so I won’t reproduce that here. 😀

  11. Hige Says:

    Finding intellectual depth, for some, can be a form of entertainment. Ergo Proxy generally failed as a standard piece of entertainment, but I enjoyed being taxed by it so I felt entertained in that sense.

    I’d warn against thinking anime can’t aspire to the heights of literature. Sure it’s all spelled out for us in some respects, but I think any form of fiction has the potential to achieve great things. Literature just has the prestige to encourage those aspirations.

  12. Volpeculus Says:

    Where does manga fall in all this? I’d like to think it’s a stopgap measure between literature and anime, but oh well… 😛

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