Anime

Primary Author: Joe Georgic
The primary author is the individual who drafted the first version of this section; a section that could have been modified since it was originally published.


To most Americans, anime is a type of cartoon enjoyed by the younger audience. Because they have heard, or even watched, animes duch as DragonBall Z (1996), Yu-Gi-Oh (2000) and Pokemon (1998-2014). These animes, which are a type of cartoon, are the reason most Americans assume anime is only for the younger audience rather than the older majority.

Animes, in general, share many common elements: strong characters draw with colorful images and plots that contain a lot of action. Their art styles may vary, but the coloration and use of strong character development is always an important element. Some animes may choose their setting to be generally dark colored. But the characters portrayed are well developed and animators try to reach out to their audiences using the character's personality traits.

Animes incorporate many types of genres: Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Action, Adventure, Drama, and Science Fiction. Mecha, a type of Science Fiction, that focuses on machines controlled by people can also be found in anime. To discuss anime as a genre is tricky not only because it incorporates other genres, but also because within each genre there are multiple other genres. For example, fantasy usually pairs up with adventure, action, and historical genres.

A good example of the use of multiple genres is The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010) which implemented drama and mystery with a pinch of romance. The story adds a very relatable male protagonist, puts him in odd situations, then solves those situations using crazy methods and ideas. An overview of the film is provided in the Fan Trailer #1 (2012).

Action is by far the most common genre of anime. Sometimes action animes lack of character development or an underlying story. To make up for these flaws, action incorporates fantasy, comedy, or adventure. Some of the animes that have implemented action within them include Shingeki no Kyojin: Attack on Titan (2013), Mirai Nikki (2013), and Nabari no Ou (2008).

Attack on Titan (2013) is the perfect example of the typical action styled anime. In-fact, this anime was one of, if not, the best anime of 2013. The reason for its success is how they used the sub-genres such as comedy and fantasy which made the film appealing to the audience. The adventure the main characters need to over-come is also enjoyable. During an action styled anime, it's very important to use these elements such as comedy, adventure, and fantasy properly to create a film that is not just about fighting.

Romance is also incorporated into anime. Generally, this genre is paired up with comedy and harem. Typically, two characters generate a strong relationship with each other and create an idealistic relationship. A very common romance anime is Clannad (2008). This anime's comedy is very entertaining and creates a stronger relationship between the viewer and the main characters. For example, they may implement sad moments that happen to the characters to make the viewer want to continue watching the series.

Generally anime is based off of either manga, light novels, or visual novels. However, there are occurrences to where the anime is filmed from an original screenplay instead of an adaptation. A manga is like a comic, but with more depth. Manga involve the interaction of humans controlling machines. The illustrations in manga typically come with text bubbles similar to comic strips. These visual representations are generally quite detailed and each picture explains the story more in depth.

Because of their length, mangas are generally longer than the anime inspired by them. There are more specifics implemented in the magnas and they generally go into more detail with plots. Mangas are generally organized in volumes. Common mangas include Naruto (1999), One Piece (1997), and Bleach (2002).

Visual novels are interactive fiction games that feature static graphics often using anime-styled art or occasionally live-action skills. Visual novels are controlled by the person playing them. Players perceive visual novels by actually playing them like a video game which is what they technically are. Players control how the story goes by answering question in certain scenarios.

Visual novels are rarely released on game consoles, but the more popular visual novels were released on systems such as the Sega, Xbox, Playstation, and Dreamcast. Generally about 70% of these games are released for the computer. Popular visual novels include Clannad (2004), Steins;Gate (2009), and Ever 17 (2002).

Only a few of the first generations of anime have been recovered. Like many early films, most have been lost. Katsudou Shashin (1907) is the oldest anime to be recovered and is believed to be the first one developed. This five second clip is about younger boy in a sailor suit writing "moving pictures" in kanji, then turning to the view, removes his hat and offers a salute.

The first generation of Japanese animators were Shimokawa Oten, Kitayama Seitaro, and Kouchi Jun'ichi. Shimokawa was a caricaturist and cartoonist who worked for Tokyo Puck at the time. He animated five movies before returning to his previous work as a cartoonist.

Jun'ichi was a caricaturist and painter. He was known to be one of the more technically gifted animators in the 1910s and contributed to 15 movies including Namakura Gatana (1917), Chamebō Kūkijūno maki (1917), and Hanawa Hekonai Kappa matsuri (1917). Seitaro was very different from other animators of his time because he preferred to make animations on his own. Later on, he founded Kitayama Eiga Seisakujo; his own animation studio but, unfortunately, it closed down due to the lack of commercial success. One of his works was Urashima Tarō (1931).

In 1941, the animation Princess Iron Fan was released in China and was noted as the first animation with a notable length. This revolutionized the industry and opened doors for other animation— Japan's Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors (1945)—to be created.

Tezuka's Astro Boy (1952-1968) revolutionized the anime industry. In 1964, Astro Boy was introduced to US television and was an instant hit. But Astro Boy was only the beginning of the new era of animation in the United States. During the 1990s, animes such as Sailor Moon (1992-2997), Dragon Ball Z (1988 to 1995) and Pokemon (1998-2014) were released. These animes caused the industry in the US to skyrocket, which led to many animations from Japan coming to the US. This migration brought cosplaying, the act of individuals dressing up as a character, and acting as if they are the characters themselves. Popular animes that were cosplayed include Naruto (1999-2014), Black Butler (2008-2009; 2014), and Sword Art Online (2012).

Works Consulted



Screen capture from Katsudou Shashin (1907); the oldest surviving anime.


Watch Animae

Mirai Nikki Future Diary Episode 01 (2011) [23:39]

Nabari no Ou The Awakened One (2009) [23:51]

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010) [2:43:15]

Namakura Gatana--Excert (1917)[:39]

Princess Iron Fan (1941) [1:12:47]

Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors (1945) [1:13:22]