A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Anime Quality and Diversity

A part of me wanted to write this post awhile back but at the time I didn’t quite know exactly how to word it. Now in 2020; the Year of Corona, there’s a LOT to talk about in terms of anime quality, and diversity. Growing up I didn’t really have a lot of friends who watched or even liked anime as much as I did. In fact it was the opposite; I never had any friends who watched or even liked anime as much as I did. When I saw DBZ for the first time (Ocean dub before FUNimation), I thought it was the coolest thing I ever saw. Yeah at the time the quality was a little grainy, but this was the 90’s; and anime was hand-drawn.

Now we’re blessed with the technology that makes it easier for anime storyboard artists to draw, and animate many of our favorite scenes from our favorite titles. Since most of the anime that we watch is based off its manga counterpart, we’ve noticed many differences between them; and this is where the ‘quality’ part comes into play. When an anime creator comes up with a series that he/she wants to animate, they need an animation studio to do it. They can’t just walk in and say they need the studio to do ‘X’ and ‘Y’ for them; they have to book time, see how much money it’ll cost to make the series and put a budget together, and they have to put a timestamp on how long it’ll take for said project.

Deadlines are a pain in the butt, and should a studio not meet them within a timely manner, the results can and will be unfavorable. (Mostly to the fans.) Don’t get me wrong; there are some great quality anime out there for many of us to enjoy, but there are a few that kinda missed the mark a bit in terms of quality. When I say anime quality, I don’t mean just animation alone; there’s the story, the character writing, the character development, the challenges that the character(s) face, and so on. A large number of fans are so critical on these key points (and rightfully so), and if creators and animation studios don’t take those key points into consideration before the process begins, WE’LL know about it!

One thing I’ve noticed since watching an absolute gem called Afro Samurai, is diversity in anime. In fact there’s diversity among anime voice actors, ADR directors and writers. Anime fans from all over come from all walks of life; not matter your race, creed, ethnicity, or beliefs. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m happy that there are more People of Color getting voice acting roles and ADR positions in anime. I guess somewhere in the midst of it all, some people are hating on the fact that there are more African-Americans getting roles in anime; due to the fact that they were ‘handed’ to them in light of the Black Lives Matter protests all across the country. Not sure why they would hate on this, but trolls will be trolls.

I think we’re in a place now where anime stories won’t be told from just one prospective. With animation studios like D’ART Shtajio, we get to hear and see anime stories from a much more diverse prospective. To me, that’s something to be proud of. With more and more People of Color become anime fans each year, I’m excited to see what new and exciting stories will be told, and what new shows we might expect to see in the near future.

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