Anime & Manga

An Introduction To Anime: Preview

I’ve finally got around to writing about one of my biggest passions in life– anime (Japanese animation). I love writing about pro wrestling and other subjects, but anime occupies a special place in my heart. Wasn’t that a bit melodramatic! Lol.

I’ve been so busy job searching and trying to make sense out of the current wrestling scene, that I feel as if I’ve been neglecting anime. There was a period between last year and the early part of this year where I was purchasing anywhere from one to two anime shows on a weekly basis. And anime isn’t cheap either (though I always find great deals from Amazon and e-Bay). Some people spend their money on clothes, cell phone accessories and things for their car. Mine went to anime.

I’m at a point where I have enough anime to watch for close to an entire year. At last count I had close to 90 titles in my collection. That includes movies, television series, and other pieces of straight to video animation. The average anime television series ranges from four-six discs, so I‘m in the neighborhood of having around 250-300 discs. Theoretically, if I were to watch a single disc from my collection everyday starting on Jan. 1, 2012, I would  have enough to make it all the way to October.

Even though anime has been popular in America (and around the world) for decades, I often get quizzical looks from my friends or coworkers whenever I bring up the topic. Most casual fans only know about the major anime shows that have gained mainstream acceptance abroad. These are shows such as Dragonball-Z, Bleach and Naruto. However, there is much more to anime than those three shows. Anime has a long and storied history in its native land of Japan and in America.

I plan to write a series outlining the basics of anime. I want to enlighten others as to why anime has consistently been one of the most enduring forms of entertainment in pop culture history. The irony is that more people have probably watched anime at some point in their lives without even realizing what it was, or have watched American shows that were clearly influenced by anime; like Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Everyone has heard of The Matrix, the groundbreaking science fiction film by the Wachowski brothers. They’ve admitted in interviews that their concept for the film was directly inspired by Ghost in the Shell; Mamoru Oshii’s landmark 1995 anime feature film. GITS is routinely listed near the top of every list of the most influential anime created and was the first anime production to fully integrate cell animation with computer graphics; thereby changing the entire landscape of animation on a worldwide basis.

Many thematic elements of Disney’s The Lion King were pulled from Osamu Tezuka’s 1965 anime series Kimba the White Lion. Its been heavily speculated that the 2001 Disney film Atlantis:The Lost Empire (specifically the concept of an underwater civilization), was inspired by  Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water, a very popular anime series from the early 90s. In all fairness, both were heavily influenced by the works of French author Jules Verne.

This article is just a  preview of what’s to come. In my next installment, I will discuss some of the genres and various production types of the medium, as well as many of the common misconceptions that anime has yet to overcome in America. In the meantime I’ll wet your appetite with this video clip detailing the rich history of anime. Enjoy!


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