Hmm... I've gotten a inordinate amount of hits from various LiveJournal.com pages over the past hour, so I was worried that someone at LJ was falsely listing this blog as a personal homepage, but, it turns out, nope, someone named Amanda "Incisivis" Wells just linked to me in a short post entitled Funny Rants Aganst the Pretensious[ness] of Anime because of the rant I wrote the other week against all of the gross overgeneralizations about and cheap shots against western cartoons in AnimeNation's "Parents' Guide to Anime". She also links to the now defunct Team Sexy Madam[e]'s "95 Theses Against Anime Fandumb" but she says my rant's better. Thanks, but I disagree, it was the sort of thing I write at 2 a.m. and is far from the closest thing to the definitive reference for the ways sensible anime fans should behave themselves without looking foolish.
I don't have any major issues with any of the "95 Theses Against Fandumb", except for, maybe, "85. Don't give away spoiler details of shows unless you've made sure the person to whom you are speaking doesn't mind.". For recent anime, yes, but, once something has been out a while and 99% of the people whom care would already know and a spoiler becomes "public knowledge", especially with the most popular series, I wouldn't lose any sleep over mentioning in a sentence that Sailor Moon is the Moon Princess Serenity or that Tenchi is the Crown Prince of Jurai or even the ending of Cowboy Bebop. Also, I think that, if the list is just limited to 95 items, far too much space is given to convention-related items of little interest to those of us whom aren't too interested in going to anime conventions. But, even without the con-related theses, it's several dozen sound theses. The only major problem is that the page isn't still around and we all have to link to a cached page on The Internet Archive Wayback Machine. I wish we could submit more. Here are a few I'd add.
-Taking note of a similarity between something in an anime and something similar in a Hollywood production is fine. However, there is a huge difference between merely noting a similarity and claiming that the Hollywood production is a rip-off. Unless you have airtight evidence and a good command of the important preceding works, anime or not, in any given genre, sci-fi, fantasy, or whatever, or important historical events, figures, legends, customs, religious mythology, or scientific theories, which may have influenced both productions, your rip-off claims will usually make you look stupid. Even when you can spot irrefutable anime influences, like the watermelon shot in Ghost in the Shell which inspired a similar shot in The Matrix, these are usually intended as homages or in-jokes.
-And never jump to conclusions on influences based on merely seeing a trailer. Wait until the movie is released or the TV show has aired a few episodes before going public with your outlandish rip-off conspiracy theory. For example, yes, Melfina in Outlaw Star and River in Firefly both emerged from metal containers (one a suitcase, the other a stasis pod) naked and in a fetal position. However, it's a sci-fi clich� that one strips down before entering stasis, and, sometimes, people lie flat in stasis pods but, other times, people lie in fetal positions. Outlaw Star didn't invent that. And Melfina, the emotional android whom acts like a naive young girl, and River, the emotionally disturbed, near-mute psychic girl, are two entirely different characters, so, even if the one Firefly shot was meant as a nod to Outlaw Star and wasn't just coincidental, the two shows aren't at all similar besides both having been influenced by 50s "pulp" science fiction from authors like E.E. "Doc" Smith.
-Generally, the more obscure the anime is, the more likely that any similarities you find between that and an American production are just coincidental, or based on the writers of both productions being influenced by the same things. This is why it is far, far more probable that the similar shots to Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki's Laputa and Princess Mononoke found in Disney's Atlantis: the Lost Empire were indeed homages than it is that Studio Gainax/Hideaki Anno's Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, which was available pretty much import-only in 1997, when Atlantis was written and is still not nearly as well-known as the same studio's Neon Genesis Evangelion, was an influence in any way on Atlantis. And don't get me started on the ridiculoud one about Time Bokan, a really obscure 1970s series.
-If Ghibli wasn't satisfied with the job Disney was doing releasing its films, they would have pulled out of the agreement a long time ago.
-Anime on American TV, especially on children's TV, is usually more edited than in most other countries simply because the media watchdog groups, religious or secular, that organize boycotts of advertisers are more active in America than in most other countries, and the children's television syndicators like 4Kids and DiC and FUNimation and Nelvana and Cloverway have full a priori knowledge as to what sort of thing ticks these groups off and they edit their shows accordingly. You don't have to like their objections, but, in the real world, you'll never get them to change their opinions and they're a much bigger group than the anime purist niche, so you have to learn to live and let live sooner or later.
-Also, some Japanese cartoons, like Sailor Moon, are just as edited for content in countries like France as they are in North America.
-For kiddy merchandising spin-off franchise anime like Yu-Gi-Oh, the Japanese licensors care a lot more about getting access to the wider American children's television market, the most lucrative children's television market on Earth, than they do keeping the show "intact" for the tiny anime purist niche in North America, so editing for content is a fact of life, and, often, the licensors are proactive with the editing, like Toei withdrawing certain episodes and one entire season in the case of Sailor Moon in order to protect Sailor Moon's "family-friendly" image in North America. At best, you can agitate for alternate, subtitled, uncut releases of your favourite kiddy anime, but, there often isn't enough demand for one to justify the cost of putting one out, and, if a series is still at the height of its popularity on North American television, they might not want to put one out lest some concerned parent find out things about the intact Japanese version.
-No one elected you to be the self-appointed guardians of "teh artistic integrity". The Japanese licensors themselves don't usually care about the artistic integrity of their products, at least not the people whom make the important decisions, and, if they disapproved of what 4Kids or the others were doing, they wouldn't do business with 4Kids.
-And, sorry, Pok�mon and Yu-Gi-Oh do NOT have the same degree of artistic integrity as, say, Millenium Actress does, and it's normal that the pragmatic anime fans whom know not to pick battles they can't possibly win not to be at all concerned with the fate of those shows on the North American airwaves. Being opposed to any and all cuts on "principle", even for the most blatantly commercial of kiddy anime, sounds like a nice idea on paper but won't get you anywhere in the real world.