Anime (Japanese: アニメ?, [anime] ( listen))[a] are Japanese animated productions featuring hand-drawn or computer animation. In Japan, the word refers to all animation, being a shortened form of the rōmaji animēshon ("animation"). Outside Japan, the meaning of the word anime can vary slightly; definitions include animation from Japan or, alternatively, a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastical themes. Arguably, the stylization approach to the meaning may open up the possibility of anime produced in countries other than Japan. For simplicity, many Westerners strictly view anime as an animation product from Japan. Some scholars suggest defining anime as specifically or quintessentially Japanese may be related to a new form of orientalism.
The earliest commercial Japanese animation dates to 1917, and production of anime works in Japan has since continued to increase steadily. The characteristic anime art style emerged in the 1960s with the works of Osamu Tezuka and spread internationally in the late twentieth century, developing a large domestic and international audience. Anime is distributed theatrically, by television broadcasts, directly to home media, and over the internet. It is classified into numerous genres targeting diverse broad and niche audiences.
Anime is a diverse art form with distinctive production methods and techniques that have been adapted over time in response to emergent technologies. The production of anime focuses less on the animation of movement and more on the realism of settings as well as the use of camera effects, including panning, zooming, and angle shots. Diverse art styles are used and character proportions and features can be quite varied, including characteristically large emotive or realistically sized eyes.
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 popularly has resulted in non-Japanese productions using the anime art style, but these works are usually described as anime-influenced animation rather than anime proper.
The success of The Walt Disney Company's 1937 feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs profoundly influenced many Japanese animators. 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. He intended this as a temporary measure to allow him to produce material on a tight schedule with inexperienced animation staff. Three Tales, aired in 1960, was the first anime shown on television. The first anime television series was Otogi Manga Calendar, aired from 1961 to 1964.
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" and the "god of manga". 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. 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. 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.
Anime are often classified by target demographic, including kodomo (children's), shōjo (girls'), shounen (boys') 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 typically find unappealing, as well as adult themes and situations.:44–48 A subset of adult anime works feature pornographic elements and are labeled "R18" in Japan, but internationally these works are grouped together under the term hentai (Japanese for "pervert"). By contrast, a variety of anime subgenres across demographic groups 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, incorporation of ecchi elements in anime is considered a form of fan service.:89
Anime's genre classification is different from other types of animation and does not lend itself to simple identity.:34 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".:34 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.:35 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 Oh My Goddess!.:37–40 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 Castle of Cagliostro.:41–43 Other subgenres found in anime include magical girl, harem, sports, martial arts, literary adaptations, medievalism, and war.:45–49
Genres have emerged that explore homosexual romances. While originally pornographic in terminology, yaoi (male homosexuality) and yuri (female homosexuality) are broad terms used internationally to describe any focus on the themes or development of romantic homosexual relationships. Prior to 2000, homosexual characters were typically used for comedic effect, but some works portrayed these characters seriously or sympathetically.:50
Definition And Usage
Anime is an art form, specifically animation, that includes all genres found in cinema, but it can be mistakenly classified as a genre.:7 In Japanese, the term anime refers to all forms of animation from around the world. In English, anime is more restrictively used to denote a "Japanese-style animated film or television entertainment" or as "a style of animation created in Japan".
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, pronounced [animeːɕoɴ]) and is アニメ (anime) in its shortened form. Some sources claim that anime derives from the French term for animation dessin animé, but others believe this to be a myth derived from the French popularity of the medium in the late 1970s and 1980s. 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?") 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. In general, the term now only appears in period works where it is used to distinguish and identify Japanese animation.
In 1987, 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 mass-produced, overly expressive products which rely on fixed iconography for facial expressions and protracted and exaggerated action scenes but lack depth and sophistication because they do not attempt to convey emotion or thought.
The first format of anime was theatrical viewing which originally began with commercial productions in 1917. Originally the animated flips were crude and required played musical components before adding sound and vocal components to the production. On July 14, 1958, Nippon Television aired Mogura no Abanchūru ("Mole's Adventure"), both the first televised and first color anime to debut. It wasn't until the 1960s when the first televised series were broadcast and it has remained a popular medium since.:13 Works released in a direct to video format are called "original video animation" (OVA) or "original animation video" (OAV); and are typically not released theatrically or televised prior to home media release.:14 The emergence of the internet has led some animators to distribute works online in a format called "original net anime" (ONA).
The home distribution of anime releases were popularized in the 1980s with the VHS and Laser Disc formats.:14 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.:14 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.:15 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.:15 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.:15
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. A claim for the earliest Japanese animation is Katsudō Shashin, an undated and private work by an unknown creator. 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. 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.
By the 1930s animation was well established in Japan as an alternative format to the live-action industry. It suffered competition from foreign producers and many animators, such as Noburō Ōfuji and Yasuji Murata, who still worked in cheaper cutout animation rather than cel animation. Other creators, such as Kenzō Masaoka and Mitsuyo Seo, nonetheless made great strides in animation technique; they benefited from the patronage of the government, which employed animators to produce educational shorts and propaganda. The first talkie anime was Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka, produced by Masaoka in 1933. By 1940, numerous anime artists' organizations had risen, including the Shin Mangaha Shudan and Shin Nippon Mangaka. The first feature-length animated film was Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors directed by Seo in 1944 with sponsorship by the Imperial Japanese Navy.