TSM Episode 387: Making a Great Anime

It may not be dramatically excellent, but the localisation is very good.
Pokemon has consistently delivered a solid anime for years.

Download: Released 2016.08.01

In this special round-table discussion, panelists Adeki, SiliconNooB, and Lusipurr (along with special guest Imitanis) discuss what it takes to make a truly great anime, and what anime best fulfil the potential of the medium.


  1. How to Make a Great Anime:

    1. Never start.
    2. If you must start attempting to make a great anime, first check to see if you are Hayao Miyazaki.
    3. If you are, then you have already made anime as good as the medium can tolerate. Pour yourself a Suntory. You’ve earned it.
    4. If you are not Hayao Miyazaki, you should probably give up now. Maybe you could try another hobby, like Cricket?
    5. Above all, never start.

    [Typo fixed for you! -L.]

  2. Also, are the Japanese that well-known in cricket circuits? I know their baseball players sometimes come play in Real American Leagues.

  3. @Lane: SHAME on you.

    Also: no. Although there is a Japanese team (and a better, Chinese team), they are worse than the USA. And the USA is not great.

  4. @Lane: There is, indeed. Several members of my university team made the cut after they graduated last term and in the term before that (my university has an excellent Cricket team).

    The USA is not a Test-playing nation, but they do compete to qualify for the World Cup (a T20 championship). In the last qualifying round, they did reasonably well, and even beat several teams who are notionally above them (i.e. Canada, the Netherlands). However, they did not qualify, in the end, due to really strong showings by Afghanistan and Qatar.

  5. All we did at UT was play cricket and then go to Fado and watch “footy” and cricket on the “telly” while having “bangers and mash” or a “full fry” and drinking room temperature beer. I don’t think we were aware you could play other people.

  6. @Lane: I’m not a fan of ‘footy’. The fans are hooligans and I find the sport too simplistic in its construction. Too much athletics, insufficient strategy.

    I make bangers and mash (too) regularly, and I occasionally (also rather too occasionally) have a full fry-up for breakfast. But I don’t much care for beer at any temperature. If your enormous lawyerly salary ever brings you to Michigan (perhaps you want to visit Mackinac? or Tahquamenon Falls?), I will happily fry up some bangers and then we can play a bit of Cricket. I am confident I can bowl you inside of two overs if not in one.

  7. You absolutely can, because this whole “run your own law firm” business has left me with little enough time to work out, and I’m sorely out of condition.

  8. @Lane: My mother has pledged to buy me something called an ‘elliptical’ which, to me, is an adjective not a noun; and, whether adjective or noun, is a thing well beyond affordability for an impecunious graduate student with a baby on the way. I am told this ‘elliptical’ device will somehow ensure that I do not exceed fourteen stone in weight, and may even roll back the stone and a half that I have gained since acquiring a teaching job that sucks up all the time which I used to spend running about outside shouting at people and children. If it can restore to me the ten stone that I weighed before taking on a series of ultra-sedentary jobs (piano teacher, church organist, university professor), then I will consider it the first genuinely good thing to come out of my mother’s pocketbook in my adult life.

    If you have heard of elliptical devices, you should acquire one for yourself and place it in a suitable place. Ours is going in the garage on the dais (yes, we have a dais in the garage: I assume it was provided expressly for this purpose).

    Of course, I have learned that my mother’s promises often end at the wrought iron-fence encircling the property, and the dogs generally ensure that I don’t have the opportunity to dispute the matter unless she wishes it. And she typically does not.

    I imagined an elliptical like this:

    But apparently it is like cross-country skiing, so I do not understand why it is not simply called a ‘cross-country skiing’ machine or a ‘cross-country’ machine. It is in no way shaped like an ellipse.

  9. I have a “BowFlex Max Trainer,” which sounds sufficiently manly, and is, I believe, some species of ellipsoid. The problem is that, after a day of office work, corralling the staff (just kidding; my staff is lovely and do a fantastic job), and then visiting the ne’er-do-wells in jail, it’s often past 7:00, dinner has long since become cold, or perhaps tepid and congealed, and I prefer to just hide under the covers and await the next day.

  10. @Lane: I think I have found your problem. MAX training seems excessive. I doubt you need Max training. Who needs MAX training? Olympians. Professional sportspeople. You need a Bowflex Moderate Trainer. Or even a Boxflex Limited/Gentle Trainer. That would be less demanding and probably the sort of thing that wouldn’t leave you double-knackered after a long day chatting with crims.

  11. It’s strange. I can hike all day to a secluded river, wade against the current, and spend 8-9 hours fly fishing (which requires fairly constant arm movements), or row my kayak up a river, and be nothing more than a little sore the next day.

    But ask me to run a mile, and I’ll probably just shoot myself.

    All I can determine from my research, which was rewatching the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, is that I am some species of inordinately tall dwarf, and simply not a natural sprinter.

  12. @Lane: Fly fishing? We were discussing fishing over dinner whilst I was in Kentucky, and the enforced learning experiences I had in fishing throughout my childhood until, at the age of eighteen, I was able to legally resist. I believe I characterised it as “the reification of boredom,” which I believe very satisfactory as a definition.

    I think you should try the elliptical device. If nothing else, it will prepare you for fleeing from my secret police when the American people eventually elect me Dictator-for-Life–a former absurdism that now seems positively passé when one looks at the current raft of would-be officeholders.

  13. Fly fishing a time-honored tradition and pasttime. Your secret police need not fear any insurrection from me, as I can be pacified with fiberglass and trout.

  14. My favorite anime is Code Geass, a show that plays like a high stakes game of chess. Very well written,very smart, well scored and well animated. It is also a story that has fatalism.

  15. @LegendaryApple: That sounds excellent, so I’ll be looking that up and watching it this week. Thanks! :)

  16. I’ve got to stick up for Imitanis here; SAO was not a bad anime. I enjoyed most of it. If you can just accept it as light entertainment it will be quite enjoyable. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon was like that.

  17. Correction. The first six episodes of SAO were not bad. The remaining episodes were a fucking travesty and a prime example of how most anime becomes a bad, trope-ridden, fan-servicing shitcake.

    The only anime I’ve seen recently that I didn’t go away hating was the first season of Psycho-Pass (the movie’s OK as well). Wasn’t a huge fan of the second season because after the “big reveal” it loses a lot of pull.

  18. Moribito was pretty good. Ms. Lane really liked the other one by the same studio, Sainkoku Monogatari.

  19. Lane pretends to disdain anime, but really he seems like more of a dedicated weeb than anyone on staff! ^_^

  20. Kill la Kill is my favorite anime series I’ve ever seen. There was so much happening in it, it was both hilarious and at times emotional, and kept up its momentum through the very end. But I can also see how it could be received as very obnoxious. I have only seen the few episodes of Urusei Yatsura up on Youtube, but even so that would have to be my second favorite. Humor is the quality I look for the most in an anime series (so one of my old favorites would be Lupin III), but world-building is something that anime does especially well as a medium. Also, I feel like anime movies and TV shows are two different topics that can ve discussed.

  21. I have nothing against Japan or anime. After all, I did practice judo back when I was in shape and still do practice iaido. I also like anime (and have been watching it since I was a kid in the 90s), I just don’t think most of it is of high quality. Same for US-based TV and movies. Some of it is entertaining pap (Marvel movies), but rarely does it rise to the level of the sublime.

  22. Have to agree with Legendary Apple, code geass is great, a favorite of mine.

  23. In the anime, Sanji, in addition to sniffing Perona, tries to pounce on her, forcing Perona to retaliate by stomping his head and using her Negative Ghosts.

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