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A cel from <i><a href="/content/Namakura_Gatana" style="color:blue">Namakura Gatana</a></i>, the earliest surviving Japanese animated short made for cinemas, produced in 1917
A cel from Namakura Gatana, the earliest surviving Japanese animated short made for cinemas, produced in 1917

Anime (US: /ˈænəˌmeɪ/, UK: /ˈænɪˌmeɪ/)[2] (Japanese: アニメ, Hepburn: anime, [aɲime] ( listen), plural: anime)[1] is hand-drawn and computer animation originating from or associated with Japan.

The word anime is the Japanese term for animation, which means all forms of animated media.[3] Outside Japan, anime refers specifically to animation from Japan or as a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastical themes.[4][5] The culturally abstract approach to the word's meaning may open up the possibility of anime produced in countries other than Japan.[6][7][8] For simplicity, many Westerners strictly view anime as a Japanese animation product.[5] Some scholars suggest defining anime as specifically or quintessentially Japanese may be related to a new form of Orientalism.[9]

The earliest commercial Japanese animation dates to 1917, and Japanese anime production has since continued to increase steadily.

Anime is a diverse art form with distinctive production methods and techniques that have been adapted over time in response to emergent technologies.

The anime industry consists of over 430 production studios, including major names like Studio Ghibli, Gainax, and Toei Animation. Despite comprising only a fraction of Japan's domestic film market, anime makes up a majority of Japanese DVD sales. It has also seen international success after the rise of English-dubbed programming. This rise in international popularity has resulted in non-Japanese productions using the anime art style. Whether these works are anime-influenced animation or proper anime is a subject for debate amongst fans.[11] Japanese anime accounts for 60% of the world's animated television shows, as of 2016.[12]

Etymology


Anime is an art form, specifically animation, that includes all genres found in cinema, but it can be mistakenly classified as a genre.[13] In Japanese, the term anime is used as a blanket term to refer to all forms of animation from around the world.[3][14] In English, anime (/ˈænəˌmeɪ/) is more restrictively used to denote a "Japanese-style animated film or television entertainment" or as "a style of animation created in Japan".[4][15]

The etymology of the word anime is disputed. The English term "animation" is written in Japanese katakana as アニメーション (animēshon, Japanese pronunciation: [animeːɕoɴ])[5] and is アニメ (anime) in its shortened form.[5] The pronunciation of anime in Japanese differs from pronunciations in other languages such as Standard English (pronunciation: /ˈænɪmeɪ/), which has different vowels and stress with regards to Japanese, where each mora carries equal stress. As with a few other Japanese words such as saké, Pokémon, and Kobo Abé, English-language texts sometimes spell anime as animé (as in French), with an acute accent over the final e, to cue the reader to pronounce the letter, not to leave it silent as Standard English orthography may suggest.

Some sources claim that anime derives from the French term for animation dessin animé,[16][17] but others believe this to be a myth derived from the French popularity of the medium in the late 1970s and 1980s.[5] In English, anime—when used as a common noun—normally functions as a mass noun. (For example: "Do you watch anime?" or "How much anime have you collected?")[18] Prior to the widespread use of anime, the term Japanimation was prevalent throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In the mid-1980s, the term anime began to supplant Japanimation.[16][19] In general, the latter term now only appears in period works where it is used to distinguish and identify Japanese animation.[20]

The word anime has also been criticised, e.g. in 1987, when Hayao Miyazaki stated that he despised the truncated word anime because to him it represented the desolation of the Japanese animation industry. He equated the desolation with animators lacking motivation and with mass-produced, overly expressionistic products relying upon a fixed iconography of facial expressions and protracted and exaggerated action scenes but lacking depth and sophistication in that they do not attempt to convey emotion or thought.[21]

Format


The first format of anime was theatrical viewing which originally began with commercial productions in 1917.[22] Originally the animated flips were crude and required played musical components before adding sound and vocal components to the production.

The home distribution of anime releases were popularized in the 1980s with the VHS and LaserDisc formats.[25] The VHS NTSC video format used in both Japan and the United States is credited as aiding the rising popularity of anime in the 1990s.[25] The Laser Disc and VHS formats were transcended by the DVD format which offered the unique advantages; including multiple subtitling and dubbing tracks on the same disc.[28] The DVD format also has its drawbacks in the its usage of region coding; adopted by the industry to solve licensing, piracy and export problems and restricted region indicated on the DVD player.[28] The Video CD (VCD) format was popular in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but became only a minor format in the United States that was closely associated with bootleg copies.[28]

History


Japanese animation began in the early 20th century, when Japanese filmmakers experimented with the animation techniques also pioneered in France, Germany, the United States and Russia.[17] A claim for the earliest Japanese animation is Katsudō Shashin, an undated and private work by an unknown creator.[29] In 1917, the first professional and publicly displayed works began to appear. Animators such as Ōten Shimokawa and Seitarou Kitayama produced numerous works, with the oldest surviving film being Kouchi's Namakura Gatana, a two-minute clip of a samurai trying to test a new sword on his target only to suffer defeat.[22][30][31] The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake resulted in widespread destruction to Japan's infrastructure and the destruction of Shimokawa's warehouse, destroying most of these early works.[32]

By the 1930s animation was well established in Japan as an alternative format to the live-action industry.

The success of The Walt Disney Company's 1937 feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs profoundly influenced many Japanese animators.[39] In the 1960s, manga artist and animator Osamu Tezuka adapted and simplified many Disney animation techniques to reduce costs and to limit the number of frames in productions.[40] He intended this as a temporary measure to allow him to produce material on a tight schedule with inexperienced animation staff.[41] Three Tales, aired in 1960, was the first anime shown on television.[42] The first anime television series was Otogi Manga Calendar, aired from 1961 to 1964.[43]

The 1970s saw a surge of growth in the popularity of manga, Japanese comic books and graphic novels, many of which were later animated. The work of Osamu Tezuka drew particular attention: he has been called a "legend"[44] and the "god of manga".[45][46] His work—and that of other pioneers in the field—inspired characteristics and genres that remain fundamental elements of anime today. The giant robot genre (known as "mecha" outside Japan), for instance, took shape under Tezuka, developed into the Super Robot genre under Go Nagai and others, and was revolutionized at the end of the decade by Yoshiyuki Tomino who developed the Real Robot genre.[47] Robot anime like the Gundam and The Super Dimension Fortress Macross series became instant classics in the 1980s, and the robot genre of anime is still one of the most common in Japan and worldwide today.[48] In the 1980s, anime became more accepted in the mainstream in Japan (although less than manga), and experienced a boom in production. Following a few successful adaptations of anime in overseas markets in the 1980s, anime gained increased acceptance in those markets in the 1990s and even more at the turn of the 21st century. In 2002, Spirited Away, a Studio Ghibli production directed by Hayao Miyazaki won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and in 2003 at the 75th Academy Awards it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Attributes


Anime differs greatly from other forms of animation by its diverse art styles, methods of animation, its production, and its process.

Anime follows the typical production of animation, including storyboarding, voice acting, character design, and cel production (Shirobako, itself a series, highlights many of the aspects involved in anime production). Since the 1990s, animators have increasingly used computer animation to improve the efficiency of the production process. Artists like Noburō Ōfuji pioneered the earliest anime works, which were experimental and consisted of images drawn on blackboards, stop motion animation of paper cutouts, and silhouette animation.[50][51] Cel animation grew in popularity until it came to dominate the medium. In the 21st century, the use of other animation techniques is mostly limited to independent short films,[52] including the stop motion puppet animation work produced by Tadahito Mochinaga, Kihachirō Kawamoto and Tomoyasu Murata.[53][54] Computers were integrated into the animation process in the 1990s, with works such as Ghost in the Shell and Princess Mononoke mixing cel animation with computer-generated images.[55] Fuji Film, a major cel production company, announced it would stop cel production, producing an industry panic to procure cel imports and hastening the switch to digital processes.[55]

Prior to the digital era, anime was produced with traditional animation methods using a pose to pose approach.[50] The majority of mainstream anime uses fewer expressive key frames and more in-between animation.[56]

Japanese animation studios were pioneers of many limited animation techniques, and have given anime a distinct set of conventions. Unlike Disney animation, where the emphasis is on the movement, anime emphasizes the art quality and let limited animation techniques make up for the lack of time spent on movement. Such techniques are often used not only to meet deadlines but also as artistic devices.[57] Anime scenes place emphasis on achieving three-dimensional views, and backgrounds are instrumental in creating the atmosphere of the work.[17] The backgrounds are not always invented and are occasionally based on real locations, as exemplified in Howl's Moving Castle and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.[58][59] Oppliger stated that anime is one of the rare mediums where putting together an all-star cast usually comes out looking "tremendously impressive".[60]

The cinematic effects of anime differentiates itself from the stage plays found in American animation.

Body proportions of human anime characters tend to accurately reflect the proportions of the human body in reality.

A common anime character design convention is exaggerated eye size.

Hair in anime is often unnaturally lively and colorful or uniquely styled.

Anime and manga artists often draw from a common canon of iconic facial expression illustrations to denote particular moods and thoughts.[74] These techniques are often different in form than their counterparts in Western animation, and they include a fixed iconography that is used as shorthand for certain emotions and moods.[75] For example, a male character may develop a nosebleed when aroused.[75] A variety of visual symbols are employed, including sweat drops to depict nervousness, visible blushing for embarrassment, or glowing eyes for an intense glare.[76]

The opening and credits sequences of most anime television episodes are accompanied by Japanese pop or rock songs, often by reputed bands. They may be written with the series in mind, but are also aimed at the general music market, and therefore often allude only vaguely or not at all to the themes or plot of the series. Pop and rock songs are also sometimes used as incidental music ("insert songs") in an episode, often to highlight particularly important scenes.[77]

Anime are often classified by target demographic, including childrens' (子供, kodomo), girls' (少女, shōjo), boys' (少年, shōnen) and a diverse range of genres targeting an adult audience. Shoujo and shounen anime sometimes contain elements popular with children of both sexes in an attempt to gain crossover appeal. Adult anime may feature a slower pace or greater plot complexity that younger audiences may typically find unappealing, as well as adult themes and situations.[78] A subset of adult anime works featuring pornographic elements are labeled "R18" in Japan, and are internationally known as hentai (originating from pervert (変態, hentai)). By contrast, some anime subgenres incorporate ecchi, sexual themes or undertones without depictions of sexual intercourse, as typified in the comedic or harem genres; due to its popularity among adolescent and adult anime enthusiasts, the inclusion of such elements is considered a form of fan service.[79][80] Some genres explore homosexual romances, such as yaoi (male homosexuality) and yuri (female homosexuality). While often used in a pornographic context, the terms can also be used broadly in a wider context to describe or focus on the themes or the development of the relationships themselves.[81]

Anime's genre classification differs from other types of animation and does not lend itself to simple classification.[82] Gilles Poitras compared the labeling Gundam 0080 and its complex depiction of war as a "giant robot" anime akin to simply labeling War and Peace a "war novel".[82] Science fiction is a major anime genre and includes important historical works like Tezuka's Astro Boy and Yokoyama's Tetsujin 28-go. A major subgenre of science fiction is mecha, with the Gundam metaseries being iconic.[83] The diverse fantasy genre includes works based on Asian and Western traditions and folklore; examples include the Japanese feudal fairytale InuYasha, and the depiction of Scandinavian goddesses who move to Japan to maintain a computer called Yggdrasil in Ah! My Goddess.[84] Genre crossing in anime is also prevalent, such as the blend of fantasy and comedy in Dragon Half, and the incorporation of slapstick humor in the crime anime film Castle of Cagliostro.[85] Other subgenres found in anime include magical girl, harem, sports, martial arts, literary adaptations, medievalism,[86] and war.[87]

Industry


The animation industry consists of more than 430 production companies with some of the major studios including Toei Animation, Gainax, Madhouse, Gonzo, Sunrise, Bones, TMS Entertainment, Nippon Animation, P.A.Works, Studio Pierrot and Studio Ghibli.[88] Many of the studios are organized into a trade association, The Association of Japanese Animations. There is also a labor union for workers in the industry, the Japanese Animation Creators Association. Studios will often work together to produce more complex and costly projects, as done with Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away.[88] An anime episode can cost between US$ 100,000 and US$300,000 to produce.[89] In 2001, animation accounted for 7% of the Japanese film market, above the 4.6% market share for live-action works.[88] The popularity and success of anime is seen through the profitability of the DVD market, contributing nearly 70% of total sales.[88] According to a 2016 article on Nikkei Asian Review, Japanese television stations have bought over ¥60 billion worth of anime from production companies "over the past few years", compared with under ¥20 billion from overseas.[90] There has been a rise in sales of shows to television stations in Japan, caused by late night anime with adults as the target demographic.[90] This type of anime is less popular outside Japan, being considered "more of a niche product".[90] Spirited Away (2001) is the all-time highest-grossing film in Japan.[91][92] It was also the highest-grossing anime film worldwide until it was overtaken by Makoto Shinkai's 2016 film Your Name.[93] Anime films represent a large part of the highest-grossing Japanese films yearly in Japan, with 6 out of the top 10 in 2014, in 2015 and also in 2016.

Anime has to be licensed by companies in other countries in order to be legally released.

In the early 1990s, several companies began to experiment with the licensing of less children-oriented material.

Licenses are expensive, often hundreds of thousands of dollars for one series and tens of thousands for one movie.[95] The prices vary widely; for example, Jinki: Extend cost only $91,000 to license while Kurau Phantom Memory cost $960,000.[95] Simulcast Internet streaming rights can be cheaper, with prices around $1,000-$2,000 an episode,[96] but can also be more expensive, with some series costing more than US$200,000 per episode.[97]

The anime market for the United States was worth approximately $2.74 billion in 2009.[98] Dubbed animation began airing in the United States in 2000 on networks like The WB and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.[99] In 2005, this resulted in five of the top ten anime titles having previously aired on Cartoon Network.[99] As a part of localization, some editing of cultural references may occur to better follow the references of the non-Japanese culture.[100] The cost of English localization averages US$10,000 per episode.[101]

The industry has been subject to both praise and condemnation for fansubs, the addition of unlicensed and unauthorized subtitled translations of anime series or films.[102] Fansubs, which were originally distributed on VHS bootlegged cassettes in the 1980s, have been freely available and disseminated online since the 1990s.[102] Since this practice raises concerns for copyright and piracy issues, fansubbers tend to adhere to an unwritten moral code to destroy or no longer distribute an anime once an official translated or subtitled version becomes licensed. They also try to encourage viewers to buy an official copy of the release once it comes out in English, although fansubs typically continue to circulate through file sharing networks.[103] Even so, the laid back regulations of the Japanese animation industry tends to overlook these issues, allowing it to grow underground and thus increasing the popularity until there is a demand for official high quality releases for animation companies. This has led to an increase in global popularity with Japanese animations, reaching $40 million in sales in 2004.[104]

Legal international availability of anime on the Internet has changed in recent years, with simulcasts of series available on websites like Crunchyroll.

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) valued the domestic anime market in Japan at ¥2.4 trillion ($24 billion), including ¥2 trillion from licensed products, in 2005.[105] JETRO reported sales of overseas anime exports in 2004 to be ¥2 trillion ($18 billion).[106] JETRO valued the anime market in the United States at ¥520 billion ($5.2 billion),[105] including $500 million in home video sales and over $4 billion from licensed products, in 2005.[107] JETRO projected in 2005 that the worldwide anime market, including sales of licensed products, would grow to ¥10 trillion ($100 billion).[105][107] The anime market in China was valued at $21 billion in 2017,[108] and is projected to reach $31 billion by 2020.[109]

The anime industry has several annual awards which honor the year's best works.

Globalization


Anime has become commercially profitable in Western countries, as demonstrated by early commercially successful Western adaptations of anime, such as Astro Boy and Speed Racer. Early American adaptions in the 1960s made Japan expand into the continental European market, first with productions aimed at European and Japanese children, such as Heidi]] Vicky the Viking nd Barbapapa, which aired in various countries. Particularly Italy, Spain and France grew an interest into Japan's output, due to its cheap selling price and productive output. In fact, Italy imported the most anime outside of Japan.[111] These mass imports influenced anime popularity in South American, Arabic and German markets.[112]

The beginning of 1980 saw the introduction of Japanese anime series into the American culture.

Anime clubs gave rise to anime conventions in the 1990s with the "anime boom", a period marked by increased popularity of anime.[116] These conventions are dedicated to anime and manga and include elements like cosplay contests and industry talk panels.[117] Cosplay, a portmanteau for "costume play", is not unique to anime and has become popular in contests and masquerades at anime conventions.[118] Japanese culture and words have entered English usage through the popularity of the medium, including otaku, an unflattering Japanese term commonly used in English to denote a fan of anime and manga.[119] Another word that has arisen describing fans in the United States is wapanese meaning White individuals who desire to be Japanese, or later known as weeaboo for individuals who demonstrate a strong interest in Japanese anime subculture, which is a term that originated from abusive content posted on the popular bulletin board website 4chan.org.[120] Anime enthusiasts have produced fan fiction and fan art, including computer wallpapers and anime music videos.[121]

As of the 2010s, many anime fans use online communities and databases such as MyAnimeList to discuss anime and track their progress watching respective series.[122][123]

One of the key points that made anime different from a handful of the Western cartoons is the potential for visceral content.

In Japanese culture and entertainment, media mix is a strategy to disperse content across multiple representations: different broadcast media, gaming technologies, cell phones, toys, amusement parks, and other methods.[136] It is the Japanese term for a transmedia franchise.[137][138] The term gained its circulation in late 1980s, but the origins of the strategy can be traced back to the 1960s with the proliferation of anime, with its interconnection of media and commodity goods.[139]

A number of anime media franchises have gained considerable global popularity, and are among the world's highest-grossing media franchises. Pokémon in particular is the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, bigger than Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe.[140] Other anime media franchises among the world's top 15 highest-grossing media franchises include Hello Kitty, Gundam, and Dragon Ball, while the top 30 also includes Fist of the North Star, Yu-Gi-Oh and Evangelion.[141][142]

See also


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