I'm sure this has been brought up many times here, but please indulge me. I would like some professional opinions on the matter.
A friend of mine, slating to be an animator and is quite talented and myself (an artist as well) have numerous debates over anime. I'm going to start from the ground up on this for my own clarification.
Anime is the Japanese word for animation. Technically, English speaking people should be calling anime, cartoons. Manga should also be called comic or graphic novel. Essentially, we use the terms to describe a style or in the case of Japanese comics also how they are created. True, right? If so, having said that, I'm still going to refer to them as anime or cartoons, each meaning the different styles.
OK. I personally love animation in general. I like to think myself a very open mind and the quality of animation, art, story telling, voicing, character development, special effects, etc... be the measure if I like something or not versus liking or disliking something simply because it came from Japan or Marvel made it. I personally prefer cartoons or anime over comics or manga because I want to see movement and hear sound. I know often times the stories are cut short, or it's censored, but if I can't be won over by the animation I probably won't like it in it's book form either.
My friend is a large fan of Disney and Pixar. I am also a fan of them. The first argument broke out over him saying: "all anime has the same characteristics" referring to large eyes, pointy chins, etc... I suggested that isn't the case and showed a few main stream anime pictures trying to explain even though they are similar, they aren't exactly the same. Each artist depicting their work makes their characters different. I also said that there is a lot of anime which follows a popular guide line, but it's not all the same. He then showed me 4 or 5 different artist's rendition of Superman, one of his favorite characters. He pointed out that each artist renders him differently. I said "Yes that's true, but the same amount of difference measured between each superman can also be measured within anime. Each superman here is similar, but the details differ from artist to artist. He still has the muscular body, strong chin, black short hair with the little dingy thing hanging over his forehead." (Whatever that's called!) He wasn't convinced. At the end of going back and forth for probably over an hour I told him: "You've had your nose in a comic book since you were a child and you haven't seen any anime. You're looking at a few titles, notice they have similar characters and saying all anime looks the same. You're comparison isn't educated." He disagreed.
Since then, we agreed to watch something of each other's. I watch Spawn the animated series and he has started watching Full Metal Alchemist. (I thought Spawn was OK at bast. Last season was decently good however.) My friend thinks the story of Full Metal is really good, voicing is good, music, but he said "I still hate anime." These characters still all have the same characteristics." I said that simply isn't true. I suggested to him that Full Metal has better voicing, story, animation, character development, then practically any American cartoon. (I have to steer him away from comparing anime to Disney feature length films, a common problem I find. It isn't a fair comparison because of budget difference.) It's superior and that's why it's one of my top shows.
Today he said "Actually, I don't like anime because at my school (where he taught) all the kids come in drawing anime, probably 70% of them and I try to steer them away from that and identify their own style after learning how to draw." I said: "So you admit to being biased against anime simply because of the saturation level of it? OK, I agree there is a lot of anime and it is popular. I don't care how popular or unpopular something, my liking of it is based on the quality of it or other facets I enjoy."
Today he challenged me to show him images to see if he could identify what was anime style and what isn't. The follow links are all made in Japan (I think) except the first and last one).
http://www.2baksa.net/download/image...a5c931634e.jpg <-- not anime/manga
http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/1...sketchbqe8.jpg <--not anime/manga
How can someone say anime, as with any form of medium simliar including comics, doesn't have diverse styles? I feel he is so close to comics that he is able to quickly identify an artist's work and subtle differences, but when it comes to anime he umbrellas it all together and slaps a 'poor quality' label on it in his mind. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of crappy anime, but there is also a lot of good titles. Anime to me is synonymous with 'movie'. You don't say: I like movies. Everyone "likes movies". You say you like a certain genre of movies or specific titles.
Anyway, lest this post becomes very very long I'm going to cut it short. My question is:
Taking the sum of good quality anime/anime movies and/or manga, is the quality measurable in all facets to American animation/American animated movies and/or comics? (Realizing style, story telling or whatever is different.)
I say at least yes.