So I haven’t been posting much at all on this blog. I will continue to blame real life on this. Anyhow I decided to finish this quickie post first. I have about four or so different posts I want to write about eventually. But for now, koneko-chan’s first actual post is about… Dancing and Anime!?
If prisoners can do it, the anime fan can definitely to it. Now, dance to pay tribute to Suzumiya-sama. The International Church of Haruhi demands it.
The American TV show Dancing with the Stars ended this week. While watching the finale, something came to me: “What about dancing in anime?” After thinking about it some more, I ended up asking myself this “What dancing in anime?” And with that, I took a quick look into that idea.
In recent years when the average anime fanboy/fangirl thinks about anime dancing, almost immediately the Hare Hare Yukai comes to mind. Since the initial showing at the end of the first episode, the dance craze has exploded and is arguably the universal sign of anime fandom over the past year and a half. Its closest equivalent, Motteke Seifuku, is often deemed the spiritual successor to the larger original craze.
But outside these two which occurred primarily in their respective OP/ED’s, dancing doesn’t seem to be prevalent theme in anime. Probably one of the more memorable examples of anime dancing is Yuuichi and Mai in the 12th episode of Kanon 2006. However that occurs as a small element of the episode. As for dancing as a focus over more than one episode, Strawberry Panic’s Etoile election is an example that comes to mind. But dancing as a multi-episode element occurs less frequently. Dancing in anime usually ends up as just a minor footnote to the major plot.
So why am I going into this? I came to two conclusions after watching Dancing with the Stars. First, dancing requires a greater amount of technical focus. Animators need to add a significant amount of detail in order for dancing to work. In comparison with dancing’s more-frequent counterpart, singing is less technically challenging. Also, singing within an anime episode opens the door for seiyū participation and marketability. Dancing in anime usually does not provide the kind of return for its cost.
Dancing in anime requires the extra technical detail to get it right. The twelfth episode of Kanon 2006 is an excellent example of a well animated dance sequence.
Second, dancing doesn’t seem to have enough cultural significance in Japan. The dancing found in Kanon 2006 and Strawberry Panic is ballroom dancing, a very Western/European concept. Most dancing in anime is usually imported from Western dance. It is understandable why most animation studios tend not to add dance as a plot element since packaging a Western dance concept for a not-as-familiar Japanese audience can be quite a risk. There are culturally sound Japanese dances in anime. What immediately comes to mind are miko dances (Rika from Higurashi and Nanaka from Myself; Yourself), but those are also small in plot and few in number.
As a Filipino American anime fan, I like dancing in anime and I hope we can see more. Dance for Filipino Americans is kinda a hodgepodge of ballroom, Latino, pop and hip-hop. I think that dancing in anime is kinda similiar. Dancing is among the other imported elements from outside cultures in anime. As animation studios learn to better use the element, dancing will help to widen the appeal of anime to a larger international audience.
And with that, off to learn Motteke Seifuku… I can’t let prisoners one up me on that as well…