The Instigator
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
Shawnewise
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Anime studies should be offered in American high schools

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/23/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,608 times Debate No: 23793
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

RoyLatham

Pro

The Resolution

Anime
is an art form akin to novels or movies. The definition of anime is controversial among fans of the art form. For the purpose of this debate, I'll define

anime: a colorful style of animated feature produced in Japan and reflecting themes that include traditional Japanese values or conflicts, often in a science fiction or fantasy setting

This avoids the controversy over whether similar features produced elsewhere are really anime or not. That's for another debate.

In this debate, I'm not going to be talking about Pokemon or Card Capture Sakura or Dragonball Z. I don't have a problem with that type of anime and there are things in that genre worth studying, but it's not prime turf. Just as "literature studies" technically ought to include romance novels, it's not the prime focus. I will argue that anime series like Chobits, Habane Renmei, Kamichu!, and others are worth studying in high school.

I will in each case I cite explain what it is that I believe supports my case. I intend it to be unnecessary to have seen any of the anime to follow this debate. I will assume that the reader has seen at least one anime designed for the age 13+ audience audience, so the general style need not be explained.

The resolution says "should be offered." That means that the anime course would be an elective, not part of the core curriculum. No one would be forced to take the course. I grant anime studies would be inappropriate in a very small high school that offers few electives. A school large enough to offer electives in literature or cinema would be in the category that should offer anime studies.

I assume that school resources are finite. One might argue, for example, that "high schools should offer a course in magnetoeclectrodynamics." on the grounds that having more courses is better than having fewer courses. that would be true except resources are in fact finite, So if you add something, something else has to go to free up the teaching time and classrooms. I will argue that what ought to be replaced are some courses in classic literature, cinema, ethnic or general multicultural studies, or other aspects of pop culture.

My opponent contacted me wanting to debate something. Seeing he had done an anime debate I suggested this topic. I'm grateful to him for the opportunity to debate one of my favorite subjects.

Rules

This round is for definitions, establishing the context of the debate, and acceptance. I will present my case at the start of the next round.

I accept the burden of proof in this debate. I must provide adequate reasons for changing the status quo.

Standard debate conventions apply. I list them here for the benefit of new debaters and readers. I believe there is nothing tricky or eccentric. Both sides agree to the following rules, and that violating the rules is a conduct violation, with anything contrary to the rules to be ignored by readers judging the debate:

DR 1. All arguments must be made in the debate. Evidence may be cited or linked from the debate, but only in support of arguments made in the debate. Arguments made in Comments are to be ignored.

DR 2. Source links or references must be included within the 8000 characters per round limit of the debate. No links or sources in comments.

DR 3 Any term not specifically defined before use is to be taken with the ordinary dictionary definition of the term that best fits the context of the debate.

DR 4. No new arguments shall be made in Round 4. Arguments and evidence may be presented in R4 in rebuttal to any previous argument, but no new arguments.

DR 5. DDO site rules always apply. Neither side may add or modify rules for the debate once the challenge is accepted.

Shawnewise

Con


I accept, But note that this is my first time going against a debate king, so go easy.


Definitions


Anime .n. - Japanese movie and television animation, often having a science fiction theme and sometimes including violent or explicitly sexual material.




Debate Round No. 1
RoyLatham

Pro

Go easy? My debate avatar is Hajime Saito from the anime Rurouni Kenshin. In that sword-era anime, Kenshin is approached by the Minister of Defense to take on a mission. Kenshin's girlfriend asks Kenshin, "How do you know the Minister is honest?" Kenshin replies, "Because Saito works for him, and the Minister is still alive." Saito was a decisive guy. :)

1. The themes are well-suitable to high school students

In Japan, anime is followed by general audiences, while outside of Japan the audience is younger. The reason that the audience is broader in Japan is that older people have a much greater interest in the shaping of youth culture. People remain interested in the problems of youth. Beyond that, there is a general interest in adapting traditional ideas to modern times.

The result of the broad Japanese interest in anime is that plots are more mature and more substantial. The long serial formation allows for complex plots. A story arc is likely to go for twenty or more episodes. That's a good length for class study. It's tractable within a high school course. No one is going to have a problem looking at an hour or two of anime each week and taking notes on it. Anime is fun to watch, which makes for more interested students.

Here are a few anime themes: How should a young person deal with an elder they are obligated to respect and who is brilliant in some respects, but wildly eccentric and even disreputable in others? What does respect demand? In the comedy series Ranma 1/2, the wizen old grandpa in the clan is a marshal arts master and smart enough to often trick people into doing what he wants, often selfish. sometimes benevolent. The old man has a hobby of sneaking around at night in ninja costume and stealing women's underwear off of clothes lines. The family must control the geezer while remaining respect. The theme of resolving conflict between respect and disagreement appears repeatedly in anime.

Another common theme has to do with treating evil people who believe they are acting morally. The most vile of villains often provide philosophical rationalizations for their behavior. The virtues of villains include clarity of purpose, decisiveness, and loyalty. The story often evolves that they need killing, and are dispatched accordingly, but that's no reason why their positive qualities should not be recognized. The Rouruni Kenshin plot is a good example.

Conflicts between family loyalty and love interests --the Romeo and Juliet theme-- are played out in anime, but the importance of the family connection is more believable than in Western use of the theme. Ai Yori Aoshi http://en.wikipedia.org... is a good example. In the anime, much effort goes into winning the consent of the two families, which ultimately resolves the conflict.

2. Modern Themes

For all the merits of Shakespeare, he doesn't say much about relationships with robots. That's a common theme in anime, with Chobits http://en.wikipedia.org..., Mahoromatic http://en.wikipedia.org..., and Solty Rei http://en.wikipedia.org... among many examples. The robot theme explores questions of "What is it that makes a human human?" and "What odd limitations and defects are tolerable in a relationship?"

Multi-sided plots are common. Mahoromatic has evil aliens invading earth, but also a sort of mediating alien force and a rebel faction in the mediating organization.


3. Treatment of Religious Topics

It's virtually impossible to discuss Christianity, Islam, or Judaism in American schools without worries over being politically correct. Avoiding cultural land mines means keeps philosophical questions to recitations of history, descriptions of cultural practices, or statements of belief rather than discussion of basic beliefs. Buddhism and especially Shinto are not so constrained. There are very few places in America where a completely frank discussion of Shinto cannot be undertaken without fear; yet the philosophical questions addressed have a great deal of overlap with Western religion.

Kamichu! http://en.wikipedia.org...! is a version of the teen goddess theme in anime. Yurie, a middle school girl, awakes with god powers. Shinto has thousands of kami (spirits), each with limited powers and a role in the world. There is a kami for poverty, who has a lot of angst over his job, kami for nostalgia, and even spirits that move trash in the wind. Yurie must figure out how to act as a kami and what her role is. The spirits are organized and give training seminars. The role of the local shrine in the village and the foibles of promoters and precaution's are played out. Few modern Japanese believe the kami actually exist, but, I think, the series shows the merits of treating the world as if they do exist. It explores what it takes to be a god.

Haibane Renmei http://en.wikipedia.org... is concerned with the concept of redemption. the notion is that redemption lies in resolving inner conflicts. The Third http://en.wikipedia.org...! has a religious theme that is originally concealed and builds through clues.

4. Multiculturalism

All anime references Japanese culture. It is interesting because of obvious differences from Western culture, but it deals successfully with common issues of all societies. While something can be learned from study of any dissimilar culture, the Japanese are technological advanced and have a sophisticated society. It is monocultural. Americans are taught the virtues of multiculturalism, and those virtues are true, but monoculturalism has strong advantages as well. By measures of crime rates and education, Japanese society does much better than American society. In other areas, not so well.


Making Space in the Curriculum

Shakespeare is awesome. So is Twain. Melville has some good stuff. There is great literature worthy of core study in high school.

However, it's not all well-suited to high school. Ronald Reagan said of Jimmy Carter, "Anyone who says they like to get up early and take a cold shower will lie to you about other things as well." A similar sentiment applies to the morbid vain of classic literature. Studying Thomas Hardy, most of Dickens, and all of Chaucer are among my picks for deletion. Tess of the d'Urbervilles starts with Tess's horse being gored and proceeds downhill for 300 pages to her horrible demise. Imposing that stuff on high school students is tantamount to abuse. Trimming it will in non-core courses will make room for anime.

Vapid attempts at multiculturalism fail as well. Playing out similar themes in different cultural contexts is not real multiculturalism; it is just different recitations of conventional thinking. Japan provides genuine diversity in culture.

A valid reason for studying classic literature is cultural literacy. If everyone is familiar with Shakespeare, a simple reference to Romeo and Juliet saves much explaining of the theme. Shakespeare is an example of world cultural literature. the stories and themes are known to educated people around the world. Anime has a substantial following around the world, so it offers a modern avenue of world cultural literacy.

"While anime had entered markets beyond Japan in the 1960s, it grew as a major cultural export during its market expansion during the 1980s and 1990s. The anime market for the United States alone is "worth approximately $4.35 billion,... Anime has also had commercial success in Asia, Europe and Latin America, where anime has become more mainstream than in the United States. " http://en.wikipedia.org...

Anime has influenced American television (The Simpsons), animated features (Pixar), andmovie making (e.g. Avatar
http://avatar.wikia.com...).

Anime has provided valuable innovations in artistic style, including character design, animation style, and the strong integration of music with content.

It's well-worth studying.


Shawnewise

Con

Bad influence

Anime has shown a highly bad effect on the world today. Although some anime are enjoyable to watch some are are rather exploited. Some anime like Naruto, Bleach, Inuyasha, Blood+, Gundam, Dragon Ball Z, Zach Bell, and Death Note are anime that promote violent acts. Such as killing, blood swords, fighting, ambush attacks act. Most teens and preteens watch these shows, overtime there brains act in a certain way to kill and imitate what the see. This seems to make no sense but is a true fact. Which was fist a crossover, slowly began to change the Americans marketed their television to children. These shows with more adult content appeared, and in some cases emulated the Japanese format.



http://www.narutobase.net...


http://www.timmyfan.com...

Debate Round No. 2
RoyLatham

Pro

The first video is Urusei Yatsura, an early mainstream anime sitcom. It's dopey and harmless, and more typical than the stereotype of endless fighting. The series makes many references to Japanese customs and mythology.

The second video is the first episode of Rurouni Kenshin. It's a prime example ofanime worth studying. The first few episodes of an anime are usually devoted to developing the characters, before the real story begins. Notice how elements of humor, drama, action, slice-of-life, and romance are integrated. In the animation, care is given to making artistic backgrounds as well as to the characters. Scenes have clues to the season, time-of-day, and the weather; hair is moved by the wind.




My case


I was worried that con would systematically attack each of my contentions by claiming the claimed benefit could be better achieved within the framework of more traditional courses. He might have pointed to classic literature in which similar themes were developed, and argued that the classics did them better. He might argue that an anime course is not going to help students get into college. Fortunately, he didn't do any of that and left all my contentions unchallenged. If he doesn't contest my contentions in the next round, he'll miss his chance, so I hope he doesn't jump on it.

Does anime promote violence?

If anime promotes violence, then Japan, the country most saturated with anime ought to be a violent place. In fact, if we compare crime rates, Japan is one of the least violent places in the world. The average murder rate for South America is 21 per 100,000 of population. The average for the world is 6.9. for the U.S. it is 5.0. and for Japan it is 0.40. http://en.wikipedia.org... Only Iceland and Monaco are less violent, and that's because everyone in Iceland is hiding from the cold, and no one with gumption lives in Monaco.

Japan also has violent manga and violent television with samurai epics. I think the reason none of it promotes violence has to do with whether the violence is portrayed as just or unjust. In anime, violence is pursued to obtain justice, and the use of violence is pondered explicitly. In Rurouni Kenshin the hero is a one-time assassin who has sworn off killing. He is patted against evil doers with no such reservations, and Kenshin must figure out how to defeat the bad guys without killing them. Some commit suicide after Kenshin beats the whiz out of them with the dull edge of his sword. The story line is about preserving pacifist ideals in times that demand violence. Saito is the dramatic foil to Kenshin's endless pondering. Bad guys face merciless death from Saito, in the style of Dirty Harry, and Americans can relate to that. But Kenshin is the hero, not Saito.

Violent media of any type does not cause violence. Studies that claim to prove the relationship show that there is desensitization to violence right after viewing violent media. This is tantamount to proving that exciting media induce excitement. that effect lasts an hour or two. Long term studies find no relationship between violent media and later violence in life. The collective literature was reviewed, and similar conclusion reached, by Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D., in an invited address at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association http://www.calstatela.edu...

"The importance of the question of external validity, i.e., valid generalizations to the real world, is monumental when it comes to taking lab results about acquisition of violent attitudes, values or behaviors or about desensitization to sexually violent behavior and predicting real world behavior. It is especially important when the results of such research are used as the basis for advocating or passing socially restrictive government legislation. ... And, endless assertions in the survey literature notwithstanding, the fact that rapists and murderers prefer to watch films compatible with their appetites is no indication of a causal connection, any more than the fact that golfers like to watch golf games proves that watching golf games cultivated their interest in golf."


In sum, lab experiments showing short-term desensitization do not establish negative effects on society, and correlation does not establish causation.

Anime is not extremely violent overall

Anime is unjustly tagged with being excessively violent. When anime was first exported, there was a fascination with animation having showing bizarre sex and violence. The tentacle-raping monsters in Urotsukidoji grabbed attention.

But that type has never been typical.
Urusei Yatsura is one of the longest running anime series of all time (1978 -1987) was http://en.wikipedia.org.... The story is a sitcom of an average family coping with alien visitors, including the inevitable cute magical girl. That type is far more more typical. (Urusei Yatsuri's author, Rumiko Takihashi, was the best-selling female author in the world until overtaken by J.K. Rowling with Harry Potter.)

It is true that anime has more mature themes than was typical of Disney-era animation. That ultimately sparked Pixar and The Simpsons. It makes anime well-suited to high school students. In anime, teachers have drinking problems, boys lust after girls, and children are hurt by divorce. The virtue is that mature themes are handled in a mature way. The themes are usually moralistic beneath an action veneer.

Anime features many female action heroes. Up until about the 70s, different anime themes were used to appeal to boys than those used to appeal to girls. Then someone made a discovery: girls liked to watch girls being empowered and boys lked to watch cute girls doing almost anything, but especially things with action.

Literature is violent, too

Not all anime is worth studying, just as not all literature is worth studying. I object to the strong morbid theme in much of the classic literature selected for study. No one needs 300 pages of poor Tess meeting her ultimate demise.
There are mountains of trash novels and films we don't study. We get to choose what is worthwhile.

My argument is that the best of anime is thought-provoking, unique, and a valuable experience.
Shawnewise

Con

Shawnewise forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
RoyLatham

Pro

I'm grateful for the opportunity of writing an essay about anime, one of my favorite topics. As a debate, there really was not much debate. I gave Con some hints on how to respond, but he instead forfeited R3.

My contentions stand:

1. Anime provides mature themes well suited to high school audiences.

2. Anime provides modern themes not present in classic literature.

3. By offering religious insights from Shinto and Buddhism, religious philosophy can be examined without obsessing over political correctness that accompanies Western religion.

4. Anime offers an opportunity to study a culture that is markedly different from Western cultures, yet it works in the context of a modern technological society.

I presented specific examples to support each claim. I need not prove that all anime is worth studying, only that there is enough worthwhile to make a substantial elective course. I did that.

I argued that there was room in the high school curriculum for an anime elective by replacing some of classic literature or by replacing weaker courses in ethnic or cultural studies. Con did nt provide a counter argument.

Con argued that the violence in anime had a negative impact. I replied that the simple action-only anime need not be studied any more than a literature course had to study uninteresting genres of literature. Moreover, the case that media violence leads to cultural violence is flawed. Japan is a peaceful culture despite media violence, and scientific studies showed that media violence has no permanent effect. Con's supporting evidence was only two blogger opinions.

My contentions being sustained and Con's objections answered, the resolution is affirmed.
Shawnewise

Con

Shawnewise forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
This is going to be a close one.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
I haven't read all of Shakespeare, but I'm pretty sure the subject doesn't come up.
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
I've never noticed that before. Shakespeare doesn't say much about romantic relationships involving robots, does he?
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
Interesting to see your thoughts on anime Roy.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
InVinoVeritas
RoyLathamShawnewiseTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
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Reasons for voting decision: Tragic. This was actually an interesting resolution :(
Vote Placed by royalpaladin 4 years ago
royalpaladin
RoyLathamShawnewiseTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
RoyLathamShawnewiseTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con left after dropping all of pros arguments.