Outline of Japanese anime guide : Anime is one of the most important modern cultural facets of modern Japan. The word ‘anime’ comes from the English word ‘animation’. Within Japan, it is used to refer to any kind of animation. In the rest of the world, it refers only to content produced in the land of the rising sun. Its history goes back all the way to the early 20th century. How did Japan develop its own version of cartoons? And how do they differ from Western-style cartoons?
History of Anime
The history of anime goes back to 1907. At this time, many Japanese artists were influenced by Western animation and decided to create specific national content for Japan. This was very difficult because materials were expensive and Japan suffered several economic crises due to natural disasters and later because of WW2.
In the 1940s, Japan premiered the first animated film which was sponsored by the government. When the war ended, over the years the manga (Japanese comics) were distributed to the population. They served as a distraction from the harsh realities that Japanese people had to face after the war.
Today there are a plethora of anime titles aimed at all types of audiences, and it has grown to become one of the most important export products for the Japanese economy. Anime’s characteristics are having real-feeling plots, full of emotions and drama. In some cases, strong exaggeration of the actions performed by the characters is used. Common anime tends to have characters with large, oval eyes, outrageous haircuts, and very humanized bodies.
Anime should not be taken as being children’s entertainment only, it is more to the contrary. Most titles are aimed at a mature audience. There are anime companies that have managed to create content to satisfy both audiences, such as Studio Ghibli, one of the most powerful companies in the world of animation.
One creator, in particular, deserves a special mention: in the 1960s, Osamu Tezuka created the first modern anime called ‘Astro boy’, and from then on many writers and producers followed his example, and by the time the 80s rolled around, Japan had many anime titles to export. Little by little, the influence of Japanese anime spread throughout the world. Today, titles such as Pokémon or Neon Genesis Evangelion are part of the imagination of a large part of the world’s population.
Around the world, amateur anime conventions are held where experiences are shared and figures, DVDs, cards, collectibles, and any other materials related to anime are sold. In Tokyo, you can find whole neighborhoods specialized in anime culture such as Akihabara and Ikebukuro. Osaka also has a subculture-heavy district in Den Den Town. Anime has an important socio-cultural impact on the population of Japan and the international community, and will continue to do so for people will always have a need to be able to escape their daily lives through fantasy and entertainment.
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