An Introduction to Anime

An Introduction to Anime
Presented by Karen Stapleton
English Consultant, AISNSW
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
What is anime?
 Anime: (pronounced ah-nee-may)
The term broadly refers to the shortened Japanese interpretation
of the word Animation referring to animated moving-image films.
More specifically Anime (which itself draws heavily on the
Japanese printed comic tradition known as Manga) refers to a
very specific style of Japanese cartoon-like animation. Anime
emphasizes particular stylistic accents predominantly in relation
to the depiction of human characters.
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
 Has become THE major way in which non-Japanese are
exposed to Japanese culture
 “Otaku” = fan  anime films are NOT cartoons.
 Appeal to a broad audience now – note range of anime film
classifications: PG  R
 Sophisticated and complex films
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
What’s great about anime
 Intricate plots and storylines
 Wide variety of topics, genres and styles
 strong emotive appeal – meant to ‘fire up’ emotions, responses
 importance of values in anime films eg sincerity, courage and
 Quality of Artwork – concentrate on detail (rather than fluidity of
motion); cinematic effects in artwork.
 Combines artistic expression and powerful entertainment
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
Formats of anime
 TV episodes/ series
 OAV or OVA  Original Animation Video: released as direct
videos/DVDs for home rentals
 Full length feature films  for cinema/theatre release
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
How Anime evolved: The early, pre-TV era: 1917- 62
 Originally based on fairy tales (Japanese + Western)
 Used same animation techniques as elsewhere in the world
 1930s and during WW2  studios controlled and censored 
only able to produce propaganda or militaristic pieces
 Post war decade: industry in decline; lack of
infrastructure/buildings etc  growth of manga industry
 1950s – revival of Japanese movie industry; “studio system”
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
How Anime evolved - 1960s, a landmark decade for
 Alakazam the Great (1960) - based on Osamu Tezuki’s comic
book adaptation of ancient Monkey King legend; movie used his
plot and visual style.
 Tezuki – most popular comic book artist (eg Astro Boy);
regarded as having invented Japan’s modern ‘manga’ industry;
pioneered many innovations in style and form and genre;
incorporated many of the stylistic forms of film into his work
 TV animation studio, Mushi Productions founded by Osamu
Tezuki in 1962. First TV anime, Astro Boy, released (preceded
by a live-action show in 1959)
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
How Anime evolved
Tezuka’s influence:
 Popularity of TV animation
 Established the attitude that ‘cartooning’ was an acceptable
form of storytelling for any age group
 Created sophisticated adult animation in a range of genres
 Pioneered artwork styles and techniques
 Productions represented the links: Manga  live-action  TV
 feature films
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
How anime evolved – 1970s
 Flood of giant robot stories and toy-promotional features eg
Tetsujin 28-GO TV series (in US “Gigantor”) – machine
transformations; sci-fi genre
 Appearance, costumes etc influenced by samurai and
Japanese martial arts traditions and hand-to-hand combat
 Great heroes and epic stories became prominent; more
‘theatrical releases’ based on Leiji Matsumoto’s manga tales of
heroism, courage, humanity set against vast panorama of
space and strange worlds  Space operas!
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
How anime evolved – 1980s
 Cinema/theatre anime challenges dominance of TV anime
 Development of anime storylines as well as expansion in genre
and new ‘talents’
 1983 – release of the first OVA , Dallos, directed by Mamoru Oshii
– his rise to fame!
 OVAs – led to new development in anime – the sexually explicit,
erotic story (had long existed in manga).
 Popularity of films by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata: success
of anime film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) led to their
establishment of Studio Ghibli
 Akira – 1988; set in dystopian Tokyo in 2019; huge impact on
American audiences
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
How anime evolved – 1990s
 Rise in anime production companies & greater global
 As original viewers matured demanded more complex
narratives and higher quality product
 Development of OVA/TV/movie crossover series
 Increased popularity of shojo anime (many based on CLAMP’s
 Greater use of computers in animation
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
TraditionalTop 5 Anime Studios & creators
 Studio Ghibli - Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess
 Production IG – Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (Ghost in the Shell, Kill Bill
anime sequence)
 Gonzo - (Chrono Crusade, Last Exile, Hellsin, Final Fantasy)
 Gainax – Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
 Sunrise (Cowboy Bebop, Mobile Suit Gundam) - giant robots!
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
Key elements in anime
 Manga is a major source for anime stories
 Distinctive character and background aesthetics that visually set
it apart from other forms of animation
 Pacing and rhythm of the action; timing and editing
 Framing; camera & other cinematic effects used in the
 Visual structuring of the action/ detailed backgrounds
 Use of music; music can play a major role in the plot
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
Key elements in anime
 Anime filmed and then voices are added
 Long narrative structures + twists and unpredictability of plot /
endings / fate of characters etc.
 Characters (chara) are complex and multidimensional; their
feelings are important in anime and shape their actions
 Inclusion of Japanese cultural details
 Use of comedy
Presented by Karen Stapleton, AISNSW
Main “chara” traits & visual conventions
 Chara are usually of mixed ancestry/race – don’t look Japanese
even if action is set in Japan
 Hair – colour, shades, styles and movement.
 Waists – often slim, small, tiny for females and males, although
some variation for men.
 Eyes – big, large, giant, non-Asian eyes are common
 Female breasts = often large, pert, bouncy - “defy gravity”
 Key thematic motifs = doll with a soul and/or cybernetic
humans; giant robots

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