Anime is a style of animation originating in Japan, characterized by colorful graphics and often featuring themes intended for an adult audience. The word is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of “animation.” The intended meaning of the term sometimes varies depending on the context.
While the earliest known Japanese animation dates to 1917, and many original Japanese animations were produced in the ensuing decades, the characteristic anime style developed in the 1960s—notably with the work of Osamu Tezuka—and became known outside Japan in the 1980s.
Anime, like manga, has a large audience in Japan and recognition throughout the world. Distributors can release anime via television broadcasts, directly to video, or theatrically, as well as online.
Both hand-drawn and computer-animated anime exist. It is used in television series, films, video, video games, commercials, and internet-based releases, and represents most, if not all, genres of fiction. As the market for anime increased in Japan, it also gained popularity in East and Southeast Asia. Anime is currently popular in many different regions around the world.
Influence on world culture
Anime has become commercially profitable in Western countries, as early commercially successful western adaptations of anime, such as Astro Boy, have revealed. The phenomenal success of Nintendo’s multi-billion dollar Pokémon franchise was helped greatly by the spin-off anime series that, first broadcast in the late 1990s, is still running worldwide to this day. In doing so, anime has made significant impacts upon Western culture. Since the 19th century, many Westerners have expressed a particular interest towards Japan. Anime dramatically exposed more Westerners to the culture of Japan. Aside from anime, other facets of Japanese culture increased in popularity. Worldwide, the number of people studying Japanese increased. In 1984, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test was devised to meet increasing demand.
Even domestic animation industries had made attempts at emulating anime. Anime-influenced animation refers to non-Japanese works of animation that emulate the visual style of anime. Most of these works are created by studios in the United States, Europe, and non-Japanese Asia; and they generally incorporate stylizations, methods, and gags described in anime physics, as in the case of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Often, production crews either are fans of anime or are required to view anime. Some creators cite anime as a source of inspiration with their own series. Furthermore, a French production team for Ōban Star-Racers moved to Tokyo to collaborate with a Japanese production team from Hal Film Maker. Critics and the general anime fanbase do not consider them as anime.
Some American animated television-series have singled out anime styling with satirical intent, for example South Park (with “Chinpokomon” and with “Good Times with Weapons”). South Park has a notable drawing style, itself parodied in “Brittle Bullet”, the fifth episode of the anime FLCL, released several months after “Chinpokomon” aired. This intent on satirizing anime is the springboard for the basic premise of Kappa Mikey, a Nicktoons Network original cartoon. Even clichés normally found in anime are parodied in some series, such as Perfect Hair Forever.
Anime conventions began to appear in the early 1990s, during the Anime boom, starting with Project A-Kon, Anime Expo, Animethon, and Otakon. Currently anime conventions are held annually in various cities across the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Many attendees participate in cosplay, where they dress up as anime characters. Also, guests from Japan ranging from artists, directors, and music groups are invited. In addition to anime conventions, anime clubs have become prevalent in colleges, high schools, and community centers as a way to publicly exhibit anime as well as broadening Japanese cultural understanding.
Viewers may also pick up on Japanese terms either within or related to anime, though at times those words may take on different connotations. For instance, the Japanese term otaku is used as a term for anime fans beyond Japan, more particularly the obsessive ones. The negative connotations associated with the word in Japan have lessened in foreign context, where it instead connotes the pride of the fans.