I went to the New York Japan Society’s exhibition on anime, manga, and video games yesterday. Entitled KRAZY!, the exhibition explores a variety of artists and works, from Moyoco Anno to the guy who made Afro Samurai, from Shigeru Miyamoto to… Shigeru Miyamoto. The point is, this is totally about stuff that the kids like: ANIME AND MANGA AND VIDEO GAMES. As expected, it seemed to attract a young audience, something most museum and gallery exhibitions wish they did without it being just 20-something hipstrs.
Overall I didn’t get too much of a “HEY GUYS! ANIME!” vibe from the exhibition, and I liked what they had to say about the Super Mario Bros. series being a collection of simple rules which opens up a rich and complex world to interact with, but I couldn’t really tell who exactly the exhibition was trying to draw in. Passing by their video room filled with clips from Akira, Patlabor the Movie 2, Paprika, and Macross, I got this strange feeling that this is not what the kids these days see as “anime,” nor is it what they want. It’s kind of a baseless feeling, but when you see all those movies together and realize that the styles aren’t very “modern” (despite Paprika having come out recently), I think you might get the same impression. All I could think about was how others would handle the exhibition.
There was one blurb however that really pissed me off when I saw it. In one part of the exhibition is an area devoted to the music of Yoko Kanno. Now, neither Yoko Kanno nor her music anger me, but when the description of her music is prefaced by, “Prior to the late 80s all anime music was of poor quality,” then I have some serious issues! The emphasis is mine but they actually used the words POOR QUALITY. It’s as if no REAL music aficionados could POSSIBLY like ANIME music before REAL MUSICIANS like Yoko Kanno and her contemporaries graced the industry with their presences and sprinkled magic fairy dust and now ANIME MUSIC IS GOOD! WOW! Hey, wait to take a dump all over those hardworking composers from the mid-80s and before! Joe Hisaishi? Apparently the man who composes Studio Ghibli music is garbage!
There are apparently other things like this in the exhibition where it’s like a guy trying to convince REAL ARTISTS that anime is totally artistic too and making mistakes in the process. For better or worse, I didn’t notice any other glaring instances though.
All in all, it’s worth a visit at least once, just calm down when you visit the Yoko Kanno section. I hope the kids who visit this exhibition at least learn something.
Oh yeah, and I’m probably gonna go read Sakuran. Sounds interesting.