Anime Essay, Research Paper
An analysis of American and Japanese Animation
While American Animation is very different than Japanimation in terms of style and content they are both intertwined in that Japanamation stems from American Animation. While there were a few pre ’50s attempts at animated films, the increasingly popular Japanese Animation (Anime) of today started with Walt Disney and his early animated comics. Heavily influenced by Disney’s style of characters with large expressive features, Japanese animators copied the western style concept of animation studios and began to retell their folk tales in an animated format. One of the first Animes to ever become popular in the U.S. was Astro Boy. I show about a robotic boy with amazing powers, created by a kind doctor who made him in the image of his own lost son. Astro Boy struggles to win his freedom after he is tricked into joining a robotic circus. Astro Boy featured realistic plot and character development typical to Anime this did not occur in American cartoons for many decades. Although its audience was children, it dealt realistically with death, struggle, loss, and triumph.
Why it was significant:
Astro Boy was the first Anime series ever produced as well as the first Anime series to run in the
but for the most part
Anime remained the domain of small cult groups until the late eighties.
Many people believe that Anime’s entry into mainstream American entertainment came in
1988 with the release of “Akira”. College fan clubs and societies also played a large role in
popularizing Anime to the point of joint US/Japanese productions such as the highly
successful “Ghost in the Shell”.
The development of the motion camera and projector by Thomas A. Edison and others provided the first real practical means
of making animation. Even still, the animation was done in the simplest of means. Stuart Blackton, issued a short film in 1906
entitled Humourous Phases of Funny Faces where he drew comical faces on a blackboard, photographed them, and the
erased it to draw another stage of the facial expression. This “stop-motion” effect astonished audiences by making drawings
comes to life.
In the early twenties, the popularity of the animated cartoon was on the decline, and movie
exhibitors were looking elswhere for alternative entertainment media. The public was tired of the old
formula of stringing sight gags together without including a story line or any character development.
What the art of animation could accomplish was not yet evident in this period, except for in the
works of Winsor McCay such as Gertie the Dinosaur, 1914. Mccay’s major accomplishment
was the fact that he had developed a character in his dinosaur, something that had previously only
been seen in Otto Messmer’s, Felix the Cat. McCay’s piece had a galvanizing effect on
audiences. The notion of a dinosaur coming to life on the screen was astonishing. Of all the early
animations, Felix the Cat developed the strongest screen personality, but failed to develop any
further, relying on crude visual tricks to entertain the audience as opposed to developing a stronger
At this time, many of the animations were based on primitive gags and violence, which is still true of cartoons today. One character would beat or kill another and by the end of the cartoon the victim would be fine.
A big change came over the industry in the mid twenties: commercialization. Big studios took over
the smaller cartoon industries and set standards for animation. Animators were given quotas on the
number of drawings they had to produce a day. Cartoons now had to manufactured in quantity and cheaply.