is anime!?” Someone screams from a nearby rooftop, catching my
attention as I pass by on the street. The wind whisks the words away
before they reach my ears, forcing me to guess at his question. “7:36!”
I shout back. Flustered, the man cups his hands to his mouth and tries
again, “WHAT!
IS! ANIME!” Unfortunately I do not
hear this, as I have wandered into a nearby deli in order that I might
purchase some pastrami.

The man begins to shake his head sadly, tears
pooling in his eyes. His family will go hungry once again. But what if
you, like this misguided man, would inexplicably like to know what
anime is? This guide might just help.

An Uncomfortable Burning Sensation

is a style of animation which originated in Japan in the 70’s. The date
is a complete guess, but I’m certainly not going to look it up, so yeah
it was the 70’s. One day a bunch of old Japanese guys in baby blue pant suits sat in a dank theater watching
some animated Disney movies. One of them said (probably in Japanese)
“Ooh! This animation is quite pleasing to me; Hmm? let us make some of
our own; ha-ha; Mm.
Ooohhhhh...” The others nodded solemnly in agreement, except for the
guy who was leaving to use the bathroom because he didn't hear it.

businessmen formulated a plan right then and there to create a vast
empire of Japanese animation. Once they had finished, they stood up and
filed out the emergency exit at the rear of the theater. A few minutes
later, the man who went to the bathroom came back into the theater,
wiping his hands on his pants. He noticed that the others had left
without him, became quite ashamed, and began searching for an object
with which to commit ritual suicide. He didn’t find one, but did find a
half-finished box of junior mints behind one of the seats. He then ate
them, finding them to be quite delicious.

For a secondary
definition, I decided to head over to Wikipedia (an online
“encyclopedia” which is controlled by the people most committed to
spraying the internet with haphazard libel), which defined anime as

(square square square question mark) is a medium of animated cartoons
originating in Japan, with distinctive character and background
aesthetics that visually set it apart from other forms of animation.
since this comes straight from Wikipedia, we must assume that this is
the official definition which has been agreed upon by a supergroup of
the world’s finest intellectuals and linguists. I agree with this
definition I suppose, except for the three squares and a small blue
question mark which come after the word anime. What was the meaning of
this? Were these the the sinister remnants of some untranslatable elder
glyphs? Coded assassination instructions from the Underground Anime

I popped a few more pills to steady my shaking
hands and poked out a quick internet search for “square square
square question mark”, hoping to find my answer. What I discovered was a jewelry website which claims to sell what they suspiciously call “Square Question Marks”. Here are the features of these alleged baubles:Question

  • Slide bracelet component, gold-plated, square question mark. Sold per package of 6.
  • Slide
    bracelet components make personal expression fun. Easily slides onto
    slide bracelet straps, sold separately, for quick changes to suit your
    many moods.
  • Slide bracelet components have a depth of 3.5mm. Components come in reclosable plastic boxes that are easy to store and stack.
find this to be highly irregular. Why a highly-esteemed web destination
like Wikipedia would be advertising such a worthless trinket is beyond
comprehension. And to force you to buy six at once? Highway robbery. I
shall close the book on this case for now, while my sanity is still
intact. I dare not delve any deeper, lest I expose my mind
to cosmic truths too horrifying to fathom.

Anime Basic Training

There are three main principles that all Japanese animation must conform to if the creator is to be allowed to live:

Visuals should be grotesque (if not outright terrifying).

creating anime, you must create a visual Freakshow in order to distract
the viewer from shortcomings in all other areas of production. Just
don't go too far. Most anime fans are set in their ways, and if you
make things too original a lot of people won't be able to handle it.
Try to go with: 90% familiar to 10% weird.

 If this
rule is followed, other objectionable elements of your anime such as poor
voice acting, ignorance of basic color theory, absurd J-Pop soundtrack,
poor writing, and nonexistent character development will be missed or
ignored by fans because they are too busy drooling over the cat girl
with big jugs to notice.

Animate with the least amount of effort possible

example, let’s say you’re animating the climactic battle in which the
ill-proportioned, red-leather-clad, motorcycle-riding
protagonist takes on the antagonist (a giant-headed manbaby who
inexplicably grows into a frightening and not so vaguely sexual  
conglomeration of throbbing veins and phalli).

Instead of
animating a scene like this in its entirety (which would take a lot of
skill and time and effort) you can save time by drawing one large
picture and then panning around or cutting away to different parts of
it while playing some early 80s rock music and muffled Sergio Leone gun
firing sound effects in the background. You can also be spice things up
by adding in some static images of characters jumping (or walking)
against streaked background while shouting. This goes a long way in
conveying to the viewer that you were either too lazy or not skillful
enough to animate a character moving in a realistic or purposeful

You might think viewers wouldn’t stand for this kind of
cheap cop-out technique, but that’s where you underestimate people who
have stubbornly decided they are fans of things. Not only will they
stand for these techniques, but they will actually go out of their way
to DEFEND them as stylistic choices on the animator’s part. Strange
world ‘innit?

Offensively convoluted and overly complex storylines are key.

the most common crutch of a poor writer (If you need an example: You're
Reading One), and this the area in which most anime excels above all
else. Hey, if you don’t know how to tell an interesting
story, just choose a random half-considered idea or dull cliché (one
with which you would normally have trouble sustaining interest through
a single 23 minute block), and
then stretch it out over 500 or more episodes. Why not? People with no
standards will sit through anything, as long as you put in a few good
child rape scenes.

Adding thousands of pointless peripheral
characters, sprinkling in pointless plot cul-de-sacs, and stealing
liberally from classical literature which the script writer doesn’t
quite understand are also common techniques, as they are easy and
efficient way to cause tightening in the loins of
pseudo-pseudointellectuals. Remember: It's not about creating actual depth (that's hard work!), it's about achieving the illusion of depth
with as little effort as is possible. And having a rabbitgirl solemnly
recite lines from Thus Spoke Zarathustra in your anime script is as
easy as pressing Ctrl-V in your wordprocessor.

Part 2: HERE