Is that Sailor Moon? Can you pass the Dramamine?
March 12, 2008 7:31 PM   Subscribe

Anime makes me feel queasy. Why? Is this common?

I can't stand watching anything in the anime style, never could. Something about the flashing white teeth, closing eyes, random laughter and weird photography makes me feel queasy, nauseous, actually physically ill. I get a headache and just want it to be over. Is this a common condition at all, or where could this be coming from? I've managed to avoid it all these years, for the most part, but I remember wanting to be sick all through Akira and Ghost in the Shell years ago. I don't have epilepsy or anything like that.
posted by sweetkid to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You're sure it's not due to the fast-motion or flashing bits? Sounds psychosomatic.
posted by hjo3 at 7:50 PM on March 12, 2008

I think this kind of format-specific reaction isn't uncommon. A lot of people complained of problems with the shaky handheld camwork of Blair Witch project. I could never take the Pink Floyd: The Wall movie, which was, like canon with my old high school stoner friends.
posted by nanojath at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2008

Do you have any type of epilepsy? Do you feel sick when playing video games, or have you avoided them for that reason? Check this out!
posted by hal_c_on at 7:53 PM on March 12, 2008

Are you talking about watching on the big screen? I've noticed that sitting in the front rows can cause dizziness, but moving back in the theater eliminates it.
posted by powpow at 8:17 PM on March 12, 2008

Big screen, small screen, even anime style commercials.
posted by sweetkid at 8:24 PM on March 12, 2008

Do you have a problem with traditional, Disney-style animation?

My guess is it's a combination of the distinctive staccato animation style giving you some degree of motion sickness and general anime weirdness. Maybe it's even psychosomatic by this point.
posted by neckro23 at 8:41 PM on March 12, 2008

I also have a very visceral reaction to anime. Just thinking about it makes me kind of twitchy. Never thought about the why, I just avoid it. I don't have any issues with other animation. I think it's as neckro23 says - the staccato style and general weirdness. Blech.
posted by Wolfie at 8:46 PM on March 12, 2008

You know, it's weird, but I know what you mean. Anime doesn't make me sick or anything, but the experience is definitely unpleasant.

It's kinda like how when you're flipping channels, and you stop on a channel that's playing a soap opera, you just *know* after a half-second that you're watching a soap opera. In the case of soap operas, it's a combination of cues - videotape format (as opposed to film), camera angles, lighting, etc. I'd imagine that there is a similar set of signals for anime.

As far as the unpleasantness thing goes - I guess it's just a matter of taste. Kinda like how if you don't enjoy something, everything about it seems kinda yuck.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:07 PM on March 12, 2008

My girlfriends call it "bad atmos." It's the feeling of watching the Rose Parade on TV New Year's Day, being trapped in jury duty, waiting in a long line at the pharmacy, and anything else that just makes you feel a little more depressed and uncomfortable about being human.

My brother used to call it "keno," after the feeling of being in a Vegas hotel restaurant at 7 in the morning with a raging hangover, the sounds of ringing slot machines clanging in the distance, and nothing on the TV but keno.

I think your version of "bad atmos" and "keno" might just be "anime."
posted by Lillitatiana at 11:22 PM on March 12, 2008 [3 favorites]

I got so nauseous from hand-held-camera motion sickness in the Blair Witch Project that I had to leave after about half an hour (did I miss anything? It didn't look like there was much going on there). Maybe anime does that to you.

Or, maybe you had a bad reaction to shellfish while watching Astro Boy as a tiny tot that you can no longer recall.
posted by flabdablet at 11:34 PM on March 12, 2008

You could try experimenting with: anime on projected film; anime on Blu-Ray; anime on HDTV; anime on Blu-Ray on HDTV; etc. It may be the transfer to video that introduces the problems.

On the other hand, supposedly Douglas Trumbull's high-frame-rate "immersive" film invention was said to cause similar reactions to yours, so this coudl be the exact wrong direction to go.

It's basically a balance/inner-ear/environmental signals problem.
posted by dhartung at 1:30 AM on March 13, 2008

I don't know but I really hate anime. I don't get nautuous, I just get annoyed.
posted by sully75 at 3:25 AM on March 13, 2008

Some things I've noticed about anime that may contribute to your nausea:

Most of the anime I've seen seems to be shot with an eye toward economy, which means that the movement is going to be stiffer, as there are more frames per image. Your eye still perceive movement, but you aren't getting fluid persistence of vision. I've even been watching and noticed thing like people running with only one leg (I've seen Yogi Bear do this, too.)

Another thing that would contribute heavily toward nausea, even more so than the movement, is the moving background, which seems to be pretty common. In order to create the illusion that the more difficult to animate characters in the foreground are moving quickly, there will be, for example, a streaked or flashing stylized background moving very quickly behind the character.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:43 AM on March 13, 2008

[a few comments removed - your tentacle rape jokes are not that funny here.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:57 AM on March 13, 2008

It's hard to say, because the Disney comparison doesn't really strike as fair with me. Modern anime films are much more advanced exercises in animation than anything Disney has done outside of the Pixar money rendering machines. Things get even less distinct as you go into animation studios and their back catalogs. Did you get queasy watching TMNT, Transformers, GI Joe and other "American" animation when you were younger? A large amount of series from that time outsourced their work, and more than likely the material you were viewing was produced by the same company (Toei Animation) that produces Sailor Moon. Thundercats was done by the same studios who would later go on to become Ghibli, etc. Similarly Tokyo Movie Shinsha, who animated Akira, did Little Nemo the following year but it was not released in the states untill 92.

Sailor Moon simply strikes me as the cheapest example possible in terms of artistic expense. Personally, I would probably find you odd if it didn't make you ill. Would you listen to music that was composed entirely of Casio keyboard demo samples and not feel queasy? I think you will find your answers in exploring your past viewing habits and finding different pieces that may suit you better in presentation and technical execution. Hopefully your gastrointestinal tract will be placated, anyways.
posted by prostyle at 6:58 AM on March 13, 2008

I don't think I felt anything particularly weird about GI Joe or Transformers. (That's funny, how did you guess my age range?). I did notice it with Belle and Sebastian. I think something about how the mouth moves and the eyes are scrunched up...those flashing teeth. I mostly avoid it, but someone sent me a link to the Britney video and I was very...Do not Want...
posted by sweetkid at 7:13 AM on March 13, 2008

The overdimensioned eyes fools you into thinking "cute". The stupid facial expressions fools you into thinking "emotion". The quirky economic animation and moving background fools you into thinking "quality craftmanship". The sci-fi dark mood backdrops fools you into thinking "deep story". I guess you just don't like getting fooled. Watch some golden era Tom & Jerry instead.
posted by SurrenderMonkey at 9:19 AM on March 13, 2008

I get the same exact feeling when I used to babysit for kids really into Pokemon. The voices spoke so quickly and were oddly timed (I understand it was probably dubbed, but the timing was still weird). It gave me a headache, and I would always do something facing away from the TV and towards the kids (probably a good idea anyway when babysitting). I didn't get any of the same feeling watching those other cartoons someone mentioned (GI Joe, Transformers, etc. although for me it was all about Jem).
posted by bluefly at 1:20 PM on March 13, 2008

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