Mickey Mouse Essay, Research Paper
Mickey Mouse Ni Ugoku (Move over Mickey)
Cartoons are what most children grow up on. Watching the wacky antics of the talking cartoon animals and comically drawn human characters can amuse a child to no end. Yet when a child grows up, cartoons are no longer a socially acceptable and other forms of entertainment have to be found. Cartoons are classified as juvenile. This is just a tiny glimpse of an American view on American cartoons. It is true that cartons are basically made for children, but what about teenagers and adults? To distinguish between the two groups, (children and teens/adults), we ll call children s television cartoons , and teen/adults television animation . According to Webster s dictionary cartoons are satirical drawings whereas animation is described as a motion picture Animation is a form of cartooning that is taken to a more sophisticated level. Plus animation can be enjoyed by a wider variety of audience. Unfortunately, animators in America try to appeal to a younger market such as children and worry not about the older set of people that enjoy cartoons. This is how animation is different because it can be funny and enjoyed by all, but without the wacky and silly hijinks of satirical cartoons. This is where Japanese Animation steps in. According to Dr. Ken O Connell Japanese Animation has more layers, more complex story lines (News). This is what may make Japanese Animation more appealing to an older audience. To make a generality, Japanese Animation is the happy medium between the age gap of children and teens/adults plus it can be enjoyed by both groups. Besides its entertainment value, Japanese Animation has had a great influence on both Japanese and American culture.
Japanese Animation is like no other animation in the world. Its distinct style has never been seen before and that s what sets it apart from all other forms of animation. The Jakarta Post says Japanese characters have heart shaped faces, perfect bodies, small pointed noses, large eyes and a small mouth. Also in their article entitled Japanese animation films grow in popularity. The author, Gotot Prakosa, tells that in order to show emotion, Japanese animation characters usually use their mouth and their eyes. The mouth will tend to become very large in certain situation and the eyes, being big, show more emotion than normal smaller eyes (Post). In order to fully understand the form of Japanese animation, we need to understand the basic knowledge of it.
In Japan, animation is a growing industry like electronic stores in America. There are three different groups that animation can be placed in. The first group is the industrial group. This group of animation and people is very basic. It is done for the money. This group is where the production of the fine products is done. The artists in this category are usually the best and their work is known throughout Japan. They market the image they are trying to sell through television, laser discs, DVD s, VHS cassettes, and video games. This group depends entirely on the market. If they sell the image then they make more money and if they don t sell the image then they lose money. This group of people can be compared to the PR companies and model agencies of America. Up-marketing the image is what it s all about. The second group is the small groups that independently make films. These artists are unlike the group one artists because they are not as productive. Though despite this fact, these artists try to enter the main stream and boost themselves into the first group. This is easily compared to the new directors of Hollywood that hope to direct a hit film. The last group is the minority group. These are experimentalist artists that are using Japanese animation as a form of expression. There is usually not much substance to their works and they are usually short, but they do have transcendental meanings(Post). This minority group can be compared to the artist of America because they don t try to have too much meaning in their works, but just enough to make a point (Post).
However, in America, Japanese animation is different. Since this is obviously not Japan, we have a totally different way of handling Japanese animation. Instead of making Japanese animation a huge deal, we try to mask it by having big corporate companies take over the rights. For example, famed Japanese animator Hayo Miyazaki created to wonderful movies called My Neighbor Totoro and KiKi s Delivery Service . These two works of art were created in his own animation studio, Studio Ghibli. When the two movies were brought over to America, Disney bought out the rights. When the movies were placed on the market, they had the Disney name all over the box and there was a small little logo of Miyazaki s Studio Ghibli. Then on top of this Disney has its own unit of computer animators at Ghibli (Time). Can we say monopoly on animation? As in Japan, anime (Japanese Animation, as it is called in Japan and in America) is up marketed the same way. Television shows such as Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, and Gundam Wing display perfect examples of anime. Comic books or as the Japanese call it, manga, can be found in any fine bookstore. The most popular form of up market is video games. Since almost all video games are created and first released in Japan, America is always dying to get their hands on the latest games. People while away many an hour trying to beat their favorite video game.
Though how did anime first start in America? The first roots of anime lie in three series of anime that ran from 1963 to 1967. The three shows three shows that started it all were Astro Boy, Giganator, and Speed Racer. As with anything new, it wasn t perfect. Astro Boy and Giganator followed a typical cartoonish base. Nothing realistic came from the depths of it and it proved to be a smash amongst the youth of Japan as well as America. Then in 1979, Hayo Miyazaki created and released his first theatrical film Castle of Cagliostro. Then in 1982, Robotech made its hit debut in America. An attempt at anime was made by MTV when it showed the show Aeon Flux on Liquid Television in 1991. Then in 1995 Ghost in the Shell made its debut by combining computer animation with regular animation as well. Then lastly on our time line of anime is the Pokemon craze. This phenomenal craze hit Japan in 1997 and it bombarded American coasts in 1999 (Time). The rest is history. There is not a person that does not know what Pokemon is. Does this say something about Japanese culture?
Japanese culture is a complex one that even takes Japanese people a long time to completely learn accurately. A good way to teach a nation what its history is is through something it enjoys. An idea was spurred and people thought why don t we put some history into our anime? People agreed that that would give them a wider selection of ideas that they could choose from and it would be interesting to interpret the ancient texts. And so it was born that history would be mixed with anime. This turned out to be a very good idea because Japanese mythology is deep with stories and legends that boggle the mind. One that stands out most to me is the story of the trip to the Dragon Palace. The story goes that an entire town decided one day to go visit the Dragon Palace and have tea with high officials. Since they didn t have cars they decided to ride atop and fairly large turtle. So the entire town went to the Dragon Palace and had tea. When the town had returned to where their town had been, they found nothing was the same. All the houses had crumbled to the ground or where about to. They found a person passing by and found out that 100 years had passed since they had been gone, though none of them aged at all. The moral to this story is that if there are no clocks and no ways of telling time at all, does time really pass at all? Is time just an illusion created by our mind to remind us were growing old? Without the ways of telling time, the entire town forgot about it and it had no relevant meaning to them. This tale can be found in Rumiko Takahashi s movie Beautiful Dreamer where the same situation seems to apply, but the spirit of wishes gets involved and messes things up. In American animation, it is very hard to tell if there is any significant meaning to what the story is about.
Though how does this compare to American animation? If you notice, Warner Brothers (WB) has a way of creating cartoons that are very cartoonish. For example, take Bugs Bunny. (For this example, let s assume that the word cartoonish mean unrealistic and exaggerated). He does not really look like a rabbit. There is the basic form of a rabbit, but that s it. He has a fake personality that is constantly changing. No one can really relate to a character like that unless they are thoroughly schizophrenic and have trouble dealing with others. Japanese animation, however can give an animal life, but the animators will try and give that animal the characteristics of a human and that will stick through out the movie or series that the creature stars in. Speaking in terms of realism, American animation tends to make fun of situations or people. A good example of this is the political cartoons that appear in the paper every day. These cartoons exaggerate upon certain bodily or facial features to get some kind of point across. Also the personalities of people are sometimes ridiculed and made fun of. In Japanese animation, people are drawn very realistically and there isn t really a time when teasing and making fun of something or someone is necessary. Usually the fact that people act like themselves and don t try to conform to some kind of standard that is imposed upon them is what really gives the character personality.
Anime in America is not as complicated as it seems. It appears that only the popular anime in Japan is what makes it to America, for example, Pokemon. These cute and adorable critters (originally called Pocket Monsters) were a huge, huge success in Japan. Then, two years later, they make their debut in America. The success of this anime could never have been fathomed. Not only did children like this anime, but adults as well. To start of with, the animation itself is based upon the super hit Gameboy game by the same title of Pocket Monsters. Then following the anime came all the merchandise. As if this was not enough in Japan and America, a second series was made, still by the same title. What is the secret of this success? It doesn t target one market. If you don t like the video game, but you like to watch the TV instead then you re set. If you like the video game more then the show then you re set. If you like neither, but you think the characters are adorable, there is a huge selection of paraphernalia to choose from. Besides the basic hit crazes that are obvious successes, there are the movies and such that have to be given a chance. This is the case for Hayo Miyazaki s newest film, Mononoke Hime, or Princess Mononoke. This film grossed 160 million dollars in Japan. This was the highest grossing film ever in Japan only outdone by Titanic. When the film was brought over to America, however, it was poorly handled. There was limited to no publicity and spent a very short time in theaters. It is predicted that the movie will do better on film because people became more aware of the movie after it was out of the theater (Forbes). It basically comes down to the fact of how an image is up marketed.
Japanese animation has an endless possibility stream. Anything that can be dreamed up can be drawn. The future of anime is as unpredictable as a storm; it needs to be ridden out. Though one thought for the future is that more computer animations will be used in the creation of anime. It is already being used in American films such as Toy Story and Toy Story2. Besides making movies completely in computer animation, Disney has combined classic animation of some of their so-called masterpiece films with new computer animation. This new form of entertainment may be even more sophisticated then Japanese Animation is now.
In conclusion, Japanese animation is one complex subject. This form of art almost has a mind of its own and the public controls it. The public of both Japan and America is treated like a big market that is constantly being surveyed to see what the next big seller will be. In a sense Japanese and American cultures are not that different. We all like the same things because if we didn t then movies and video games that come from Japan would not appeal to us. Japanese animation is one big culture of it s own and it encompasses both Japanese and American culture.