What is Anime? The Visual Definition

...because anime is NOT just violence, porn, and pokemon.

What is Anime? The Visual Definition is a major anime video project that I began working on in December 2007. It took me many days to complete and it came out to about 1-hour and 46-minutes long. The first 5 minutes of the project give a brief overview of what anime is as well as an introduction to the project itself. The remaining 1-hour and 40-minutes consist of anime opening clips from 50 different anime series. But instead of having the opening clips play one after another, in between each clip a page of information will come up showing the anime's title, genre, and a brief synopsis of the story and plot. I created this project with the idea of promoting anime to people who are not familiar with anime, so I'm hoping that other anime fans like myself will use it to help spread the awareness of anime's appeal to others. Read below to find out more about the project as well as ways to watch and download it.

The Purpose of this Project

Being the major anime fan that I am, the fact that most average Americans are ignorant about anime has always bothered me. I often thought to myself, "What would be a good way to get these people to realize that anime is not just 'cartoons' nor is it all just pornography and violence? How can I show people the variety of creative stories, themes, genres, and art styles that make anime so appealing?" Of course the most obvious way would be for these people to sit down and watch a bunch of different anime series...that all sounds good, but realistically very few non-anime fans are going to dedicate many hours of their time to watching anime just for the sole purpose of learning more about it. Reading the many reviews and written information about anime online or in books is another option, but again most people who are not anime fans themselves are not curious enough about it to want to read or do research about it. So I figured, there must be a relatively quick and easy way for people to get a good idea of what anime is without the commitment of watching entire anime episodes themselves or doing extensive reading about it. So that's the basic idea behind this project to present in less than two hours the variety of anime themes and genres that exist as well as the amazing creativity of its many different stories and art styles. My hope is that anime fans will show this project to friends, family, coworkers, or other people who are not familiar with anime and thus spread awareness of anime's appeal and creative qualities to countries outside of Japan.

Making the Project

Now that I knew the basic idea of what I wanted to do, I needed to figure out what kind of footage I should use that would best portray anime quickly and without much strain on the part of the audience. I've always enjoyed anime opening videos and could watch many of them over and over it always amazed me how well many of them portray the themes and genres of their respective series in just 1-minute and 30-seconds. So that's when I figured, watching a bunch of anime opening videos in a row would be a great and relatively fast way to show the variety of anime that exists. But of course, just stringing a bunch of anime opening videos together without people actually knowing what the shows are about wouldn't be quite as effective. That's when I decided that, before each opening clip played, a page would come up showing the anime's title, genre, and a 2-3 sentence summary of what the show is about. This, in addition to the opening clips themselves, would really give people a good idea of the creative stories as well as the creative art styles and themes that anime encompasses. And because I didn't want to just jump right into the opening clips, I used the first few minutes of the project to give a brief introduction about anime and the purpose of the project itself.

Posting the Project

I finally decided to start working on the project during my 3-week winter break in December 2007. I thought I would be able to get it completed and posted before I had to go back to school in early January, but it ended up taking longer than I thought; getting good quality video files of all the anime openings I wanted to use, writing and creating all the information pages for each of the 50 series, editing the video and getting all the clips together everything took an extremely long time and many hours of dedication. Although I actually completed the project in December, I didn't actually have time to get it posted online until March/April.

Downloading and Watching the Project

Once the project was completed and I saved it as a high-quality WMV file, it ended up being a whooping 1GB! That's obviously too large a file for people to download directly from my web site server and even for video steaming sites like YouTube. So I came up with a few different ways for it to be downloaded and/or watched:

Watch the 18 minute preview version on Veoh

If the embed link above doesn't show, click here.

This is the first 18 minutes of the project which you can view directly on the video-streaming site Veoh. This is the quickest way to get a good idea of what the project is about without having to download the entire 1-hour and 46-minutes.

Watch the full-length version on Veoh

In order to view any video over 20 minutes, Veoh requires you to download the additional VeohTV software (which unfortunately is only available to PC users). It's free and can be downloaded fairly quickly so if you want to watch the entire project without having to download it directly or use bittorrent, this is your best bet. If you don't have VeohTV already, you can download it from the Veoh site here. Once you've got it installed, make sure you restart your web browser before you try to watch the video.

I divided the full-length project into two separate Veoh videos (both about 50 minutes long). The first part can be found here and the second part here. Only five minutes of each video will play unless you click "Watch on VeohTV" in which case you will be able to stream or download the full-length video through VeohTV.

Download directly through Megaupload

I uploaded the entire project in two separate files onto the file-sharing site Megaupload. They may take a while to download but if you don't want to use bittorrent or Veoh to download the video, this would be the next easiest way. You can download the first half of the project here and the last half here. Both parts are about 240MB each and are WMV files.

Download via bittorrent

If you still want to watch the entire project and the above methods don't work for you, I also made bittorrent files for the project which you can find below. However I'm usually the only one who seeds the files so if you want to get the project via bittorrent and nobody seems to be seeding it, e-mail me, tell me which version you want, and I will seed the file so you can download it. And if you're able too, please seed it for as long as you can after downloading! Thanks!

Download the 300MB torrent version here. This is the smaller but lower quality version of the full-length project (about 300MB total). Since it's smaller, it shouldn't take as long to download but the quality is not as good.

Download the 1GB torrent version here. This is the best and highest quality version of the full-length project (about 1GB total). But of course, being the highest quality, it is also the largest version of the project and thus will take much longer to download. But if you're serious about having the full project in its highest quality, this is the download you want.

Feedback on the Project

For those of you who watched the project, I would really appreciate any feedback you can offer me about it. I would also like to know if you have any questions about it or if you experience any problems with watching or downloading the videos. You can e-mail your feedback directly to me here or post your comments for everyone to see on the blog post here.

The Future of the Project

Depending on how well this project is received, I may decide to make different versions of it, for example, fixing the few spelling errors in it, using some different anime openings, etc,. If the project really ends up being a success, I may even make follow-up versions of it, for example, instead of using anime opening clips, I'll use anime images, AMVs, or actual footage from anime episodes.

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