So for people of a certain age, they will remember an ad from ADV Films that basically started with:
“What is anime? Anime is action, sci-fi, comedy, martial arts… ”
Netflix put together it’s own answer to that question in the 58-minute-long disaster that is Enter the Anime. It starts like that ADV commercial, and then just gets so much worse. Not because, it tries to sell Castlevania as anime, and not just because it takes eight minutes for it to get to Japan, and the first person we hear from is an American.
No, Enter the Anime‘s real sin is that it’s not honest about what it is. This is an hour-long advertisement for Netflix shows masquerading as a “documentary.”
That lie undermines everything else about this effort. I’m more upset about Adi Shankar being in this show because they’re trying to sell me that this is an exploration of anime.
I’m more upset about a several-minute long conversation with the singer of Cruel Angel’s Thesis, because it’s pitched to me as being about anime music.
On top of that, I can’t trust anything the narrator is telling me. I was on and off of Google almost constantly to check if what the filmmaker is telling me is the truth.
I found myself searching whether Toei is really the Japanese Disney? I mean I thought Studio Ghibli was the Japanese Disney. That’s what Disney has been selling us for years.
The true tragedy of Enter the Anime is that there is a good information in there.
If I ignored the interstitial sections and the hyperactive editing, there are interesting stories. The film hints at the really bad work conditions for Japan’s animators. Creators talk about what motivated them. There was a super neat conversation about the stop motion animation in Rilakkuma and Kaoru.
On top of that, there are some shows in here I am actually interested in watching.
And that’s the real crime here. If Netflix was honest and said, “This is our anime lineup and we went out to talk to creators about it,” it would be 100 times better than what we got.
Instead Enter the Anime wants you to believe it’s an examination of a medium, when what it really is just a sizzle reel. And because of that, it fails at both.
I was motivated to watch this by this post at Little Anime Blog.