The History of Anime

The History of Anime

astro boy

The Beginning


In 1914, Japan’s cartoonists first began to do experimentations on animated motion pictures. They were trying to create their own version of a cartoon. They wanted to have the Japanese ink style, but at the same time assimilate to technology. Kitayama Seitaro was the first to be successful with Momotaro in 1918. Chikara To Onna No Yononoka was also released by Seitaro before WWII in 1932. Seitaro could be called the father of anime. He not only created the first animation film successfully, but set up the road for future animation artists.


After WWII

kimba the white lion


After WWII in 1948, Toei was the first animation production company to be completely devoted to the animtaion entertainment in Japan. Soon to follow was the artist Osamu Tezuka, basically the Father of Manga. He is the creator of such works as Astro Boy, Buddha, Kimba the White Lion, and so many more classic anime favorites. He adapted his style from Dishney art, being a fan of the films himself. Later it would be disputed that Disney stole the story line of Kimba the White Lion (a whole story by itself!).

With companies and artists such as these, anime and manga were quickly to rise. Over the years, anime’s such as, Dragonball (Akira Toriyama), Gundam and other famous mecha series, Sailor Moon, Rurouni Kenshin, and so much more have put a place in our hearts. Miyazaki set a new level of animation when he came along with Ghibli Studios. When television became a hit over in Japan, anime became a daily program.



 The Adult 70s

As the 1960s anime was created for children, the 70s anime were geared more towards adults. The anime before now was a simple good versus evil formula. Lupin was the anime that changed that though. Instead of following a hero doing good, Lupin’s main character was a thief. Instead of jokes that make kids laugh, Lupin was filled with adult humor.
The science fiction drama also boomed in the 70s. Many shows such as Battle of the Planets and G-Force, Tekkaman, etc all came out around this era. It really was not until Star Blazers that sci-fi became really famous. It was a violent and gritty anime unlike the others of its genre. Leiji Matsumoto was the person who provided the mechs designs for the show. He is also the influence for Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Harlock.
Mobile Suit Gundam is another big series of the 70s. It was a space opera and very successful at that. It is the first anime to produce a human wearing the Gundam as a suit of armor. The nation became obsessed with Gundam. Since then Gundam has spawned many sequels, prequels, live-action, toys, etc. Gundam is a huge franchise in Japanese animation and there is actually a Gundam cafe in Japan. The only two anime space opera’s ever to compete with Gundam and be successful were Sokokihei Votoms and Chojiju Yasai Macross. Both of which have grown into a huge mechs anime franchise as well.
 Basically the 1970s is when anime for adults began. Thanks to Lupin and other animes like that we have complex characters and story lines that not only follow a hero but the villain.



The Explosive 80s


The 1980s was a big decade for anime. At that time it became explosive and even started to head over more to the United States. Two big animation companies came out of the 80s that changed anime: Studio Ghibli and Gainax.

Gainax was founded by Toshio Okada. He gathered a group of creators that were the first generation to grow up with anime. Otaku no Video was their first, followed by the masterpiece Oneamitsu No Tsubasa Oritsu Uchu Gun (The Wings of Honneamise). Gainax was able to establish itself as the leader of episodic sci-fi when it produced Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Studio Ghibli was the creation of Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki. Both men were directors on Lupin back in 1971. They also worked together on Future Boy Conan. It was not until 1978 that Miyazaki created his first of many significant and anime changing films, Castle if Cagliostro. Takahata was also involved in many of Miyazaki’s films, but more so behind the scenes. Between the two creative genius, Studio Ghibli has become one of the biggest anime film studios.


The America 90s



Anime became really popular in America in the 90s. With popular anime’s such as DBZ, Sailor Moon, and Pokemon, Americans accepted anime into their homes.

Toonami is probably the biggest thing to young American children at this time. Starting out with Moltar (from Space Ghost) as the host, anime became a popular genre on Cartoon Network. Eventually they created their own host, Tom, whom everyone knows. Anime’s such as Rurouni Kenshin, Ronin Warriors, many of Miyazaki’s films, and so many more have touched our hearts through Tom.

Soon another time block was opened for more mature anime on Cartoon Network called Adult Swim. Such famous shows like Cowboy Bebop(possibly having the most anime reruns on Cartoon Network) have been aired. Kids would stay up late to see these unedited an great shows.

As the 90s came to a close, anime took a dive in America. It was still popular, but only on an underground level. It seemed as if many people were tired or outgrew anime altogether. But that time would soon pass in the 2000s.


code geass


An art movement had occurred in Japan made by Takashi Murakami. He created the style called Superflat, in which he analyses post war Japanese culture. The only difference is, it’s the view of an otaku during that era. Many anime artists were inspired and influenced by him.

Neon Genesis Evangelion also became a popular trend in anime and anime style. RahXephon was an anime that was touched by the trend and even tried its own trend by bringing back 70s mecha style. Tokyo Mew Mew also brought back the magical girl genre. It seems as though many anime genres are being revived. Gundam SEED revive the whole robot genre in 2002.

Not only are genres being revived, adapting manga’s has also become very popular again. Adaptions of light novels are also popular. A very popular one at the moment is SAO. Not many people knew it was originally a twelve volume light novel series.

The 2000s are also the years of the growing Otaku subculture. Welcome to the NHK is a manga all about being an otaku. The 2000s have brought an overload of anime and manga. With many adaptions and original ideas, anime has gained fans everywhere.