Anime 101: part 1: What is Anime?

Hello readers and welcome to the first installment of a series of articles I’d like to the call anime 101. These articles are in a sense stepping away from my normal format in order to educate the  multitude of people that are curious about anime as an art form. I will be diving in pretty deeply into the culture let me know if you like it. Maybe by getting to know the history behind your favorite medium it will forge a stronger bond the word your appreciation of a piece. Without further ado let’s get started.

What is anime?

In all honesty, the question of what is anime is a cultural one. Here in the States and across the world anime is commonly accepted to be an animation style originating in Japan with a focus on large expressive eyes , storylines focused around Japanese folklore and a propensity towards  the exaggeration of the female form. However, in Japan, any animation regardless of where it is produced or its styling is considered to be anime. Sure series like Attack on Titan and Fullmetal Alchemist   maybe consider anime here, but Japan may consider American made series such as Family Guy and The Simpsons to be part of their anime lexicon. So, in a sense, everything that is animated is anime.

Year after year I come across the debate between purist and non purist anime fans who believe their anime is only anime if it originates in Japan. As stated above this is not true. Culturally speaking this entire debate is invalid due to the fact that anime is nothing more than a general term free animation in Japan. Without this annoying misconception, we can count fantastic pieces such as the popular Internet animation RWBY and French studio Moonscope’s Code Lyoko alongside great anime like Macross and Dragon Ball Z.  We as connoisseurs of animation should see anime as a distinctive style unbound by the limits of where it was produced and the culture that produced it.

As a style,  anime has gone on to inspire American copycats. These were particularly common in the early 2000  cartoons shown on Cartoon Network. Many of these such as Ben 10 and Generator Rex more modeled after such great pieces as The Mighty Atom aka Astro Boy and battle of the planets. In a way, we’ve come full circle as what we know today as anime originated from classic US cartoons made by legendary cartoonist Walt Disney. This cultural exchange led the father of manga Osamu Tezuka. To create the hyper stylized and unique works we know today as the foundation of anime itself.

Now that you know more about anime’s rich history I hope that you will come back and join us for the next installment of anime 101. I plan to continue the series with a discussion of genres. If you like this series please like and comment. Suggestions are also welcome. I hope has been educational for you.

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