The Ten Commandments of Anime by Tom (Webmaster)

We at Animetion UK aren’t God but it cannot be denied that anime seems to follow certain rules that someone must have laid down at some point.  These are not our preachings but are evident by viewing anime. Enjoy!

1. Thou shalt only move if lines are behind thee

Kintaro Oe, Speed Line King

Surely the first stone tablet must have said that unless random coloured lines that bare no resemblance to the background at all appear behind every character when they move - and make them appear to be moving at 70mph – then your anime is going straight to hell.  Speed-lines have become more sophisticated and the animators do not tend to use the same speed-lines backgrounds over and over, the lines also now tend to blend better with their surroundings.  But the fact remains they must be in all anime no matter what.

2. Thou shalt have a face that defies all convention

What big eyes you have...

Have you ever seen anyone with eyes the size of frying pans and a mouth the size of ant?  Unless you’ve been doing experiments you shouldn’t have, then it’s unlikely.  But the second tablet states that this is how all anime characters must look, no exception.  Those who deviate from this rule cannot imply the other commandments as easily.  If you are wondering how someone came up with this style of human representation, then look at early American animation from the 20’s & 30’s.  This is the style that originally inspired anime artists, who eventually evolved the style into their own.

3. Thou shalt look hard when there is a breeze
This is level 5, Moody Contemplation

The only time wind will blow in anime when someone is trying to look hard.  How they manage to do it every time the wind happens to blowing is something other characters never question because they know that wind means business.  Emotions of the characters caught up in the wind can be measured by the Beaufort scale: a breeze will mean uncertainty in a stand-off, a medium wind that only effects the character’s cape will mean they are plotting something and a force ten gale that effects all their surroundings (but not them) will mean sheer determination.  If they are stood on a cliff and the camera is panning around them as well, then you know someone is in trouble.

4. Thou shalt make reference to sex

Pikachu just told the one about the nun and the bicycle

Whether it is the demon fantasies of Go Nagai, the light-hearted romance of Sailor Moon or the pervy old bloke, all anime contains a sexual reference of some sort no matter how small.  Obsession with schoolgirl uniforms, impossible nosebleeds and gender bending are all examples of sex in anime.  The sexual tension of such mainstream shows as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Brock’s attempts at getting girls in Pokémon serve as less obvious examples.  Homoeroticism is also common in many anime in shows such as Trigun and Dragonball Z.  One thing all of the anime mentioned here have in common is that they are far from being sexual reference free and there are very few anime that are.

5. Thou shalt settle differences only through fighting

love is in the air

If there isn’t a fight in an anime, Satan has interfered somehow.  Anime aimed at all ages have fights in them at some point and very often it is just between a small group of individuals, not large armies.  All kinds of emotions will be represented by moves used in the fights, fireballs often representing sheer frustration.  Despite this display of violence many anime usually result in a good ending or a strong message that violence is very very wrong, but is highly entertaining nevertheless.

6. Thou shalt sweat when not hot


Did someone turn the heating up?  Nope, it’s just someone who can’t express their true feelings.  Although this emotion is often just represented by a small drop of sweat running down the character’s forehead, sweating has gone further with gigantic drops on people’s hair portraying failure and even people attacking others with the almighty sweat drop.  Sweating is legendary in anime but it is not quite certain why this is essential in anime as in real life it is doubtful you would stay near someone who sweated so profusely.

7. Thou shalt contain huge robots

Tokyo must get fed up of being flattened on a regular basis

Having mechs the size of the Tower Of Babel isn’t true of all anime but it has become such a symbol of anime culture, they couldn’t have possibly not been on one of the stone tablets.  Whether they are piloted weapons or fighting of their accord, mechs always make their presence known and will continue to do so in the future.  If mechs aren’t present in an anime then it is likely that a huge Godzilla-like creature, cyborg or a human who needs help from machine will fill in for them keeping the size/technology in order.  Recent shows like Dai-Guard have also proved that mech shows can be funny and don’t always have to be piloted by school kids.

8. Thou shalt have a theme tune

Tonzura Koite!

An anime without a theme tune is nothing.  A well-thought out theme tune can be pivotal to an anime’s success as the best are often catchy, quirky but never too off-the-wall.  It is hard to think of an anime that doesn’t have a theme preceding it and it is hard to forget the themes of those that do.  Themes to Love Hina and Sakura Wars are examples of many that will not be forgotten.  No anime director seems to have the idea of not having a theme tune yet, maybe they will be lynched if they did.

9. Thou shalt shamelessly promote thy show with cheap merchandise

Yes, that is what you think it is. Batteries not included.

Merchandise for a show is often important to recuperate the show’s budget, but don’t DVD and soundtrack sales generate enough?  What’s with the sweets, cereals, pens, capsule toys, toasters and bad figure range?  For serious anime such as Akira, Serial Experiments Lain and of course Neon Genesis Evangelion to have merchandise such as fluffy chibi dolls and lunchboxes there must be a higher power saying ‘you must sell out…you MUST sell out!’.

10. Thou shalt confuse thy viewer


An anime just isn’t the same unless you can’t work out what the hell is going on.  The final commandment doesn’t just apply to strange sci-fi either, it applies to all genres.  You must having been watching Pokémon at least once and thought ‘why don’t they ever go to school?’ or ‘why has Ghastly just turned into a fire extinguisher?’.  In many comedy anime objects will appear from nowhere to hit a character and in sci-fi the meaning of life will be questioned, answered and then asked again.  Most anime will also end without any real goals being achieved.  True, this is more a commandment of Japanese story-telling rather then anime, but the plot of anime is what wins the acclaim at the end of the day.

So there you have it.  Historians have recently discovered that when Moses delivered the commandments he first got out of an Eva in a strong wind, wiped the sweat from his brow, asked everyone to stop singing his tune and then delivered the commandments with speed-lines behind him.  Afterwards he fought anyone who disagreed with him and blood shot from his nose when the local women asked him out.  He now has a stall at the bottom of Mount Sinai selling miniatures of the stone tablets and Chibi figures of Jesus.