The anime community is currently abuzz with a longstanding question: what truly defines an anime? Opinions on the matter vary widely, and enthusiasts have emerged from all corners to share their perspectives, especially with the announcement of “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.” In moments like these, one might yearn for an ultimate authority on anime to settle such debates. Yet, here we are, left to navigate these discussions like mature individuals.
While Netflix has marketed the animated adaptation of Scott Pilgrim as an anime series, not everyone is in agreement. Bryan Lee O’Malley, the creator of Scott Pilgrim, is certainly in favor of this classification, eagerly seizing the opportunity for the project. However, there are those who remain steadfast in their opposition.
The primary criterion often cited in determining what qualifies as anime revolves around the animation studio involved. If the studio is not Japanese, it becomes simpler for some to exclude it from the anime category and perceive it as a cartoon.
In Japan, all animated works are, technically, considered anime, irrespective of their country of origin. After all, the term “anime” is an abbreviation of the Japanese word for “animation.” Nevertheless, over time, its meaning has evolved, now commonly referring to a specific type of animated work originating from Japan. Therefore, projects like “The Boondocks” may not typically be deemed anime, despite drawing inspiration from it.
Some may argue, “Well, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off was animated by a Japanese studio.” This is true, and for certain individuals, that alone justifies labeling it as anime. However, what about the other aspects? The writers, music composers, original voice actors, and remaining production companies are not Japanese. Furthermore, the art style leans more towards Western cartoons than traditional anime. Does Netflix outsourcing the animation to a Japanese studio alone qualify it as an anime? That is a point of contention.
While this debate primarily revolves around “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off,” it has sparked a broader online discussion. Where do we delineate the boundary between cartoons and anime? Do we ultimately decide based on a subjective sense or “vibe”? Regrettably, to a large extent, yes. Whether one agrees or not, a unanimous consensus on what constitutes anime is unlikely to materialize. Each individual harbors their own set of criteria, and in the absence of the aforementioned anime overlord, these perspectives hold merit.
Despite the ongoing discourse, let it not deter you. “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” promises to be an enjoyable watch, so mark your calendars for its premiere on November 17th and relish the experience.