35 Surprising Facts About: Anime

In Japanese culture, anime is a revered artistic medium Enjoyed by men and women, young and old, and more recently on every continent—anime transcends cultural boundaries and can be used as a vehicle to tell any kind of story imaginable

Great anime aren’t just quality entertainment; they can also offer cutting social commentary, philosophical musings, and much, much more Not your grandfather’s Saturday morning cartoons, to be sure—thanks to Japanese artists are determined to show you just how thematically deep the realm of animation can be Let’s take a look at some interesting facts you might not already know about anime Around 60% of the world’s cartoon-animation entertainment is Japanese-produced anime The first wildly popular anime was Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy in 1963

Astro Boy was also the first animated television series in Japan Tezuka was greatly influenced by Disney’s work during the golden age of animation, as were many of Tezuka’s contemporaries He followed up with another hit, Kimba the White Lion—which, in turn, is seen by many to have inspired the Disney classic The Lion King Inspiration coming full circle Early examples of Japanese animation in the 20th century were inspired by animators in America and Europe, and most were adaptations of Asian folklore and legends in traditional Japanese art styles

Science-fiction based mecha anime, also known as “giant robot” anime, was one of the first genres to really catch on with viewers during the anime boom of the 70’s Foundational mecha shows like Mobile Suit Gundam paved the way for the modern anime industry, and blazed a broad trail for others to follow Though anime has a reputation of not catering to Western sensibilities regarding violence and sexuality, the mid 90’s series Neon Genesis Evangelion certainly tested the limits of what was considered acceptable Due to the often shocking and controversial content of Evangelion, TV Tokyo began heavily censoring subsequent anime like the acclaimed Cowboy Bebop, resulting in only half of the episodes produced for the space western ever airing on television Akira is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of anime ever created, introducing anime to the western world when it burst onto the scene in 1988

The sci-fi spectacular is said to have been a strong source for the filmmakers behind modern sci-fi films like The Matrix, Chronicle, and Looper The 1995 cyberpunk hit Ghost in the Shell is another visionary anime which inspired artists around the world The Wachowskis drew upon Ghost in the Shell as well during development of The Matrix, while James Cameron and Steven Spielberg are both outspoken fans of the anime Many anime begin life as manga—a popular form of printed media in Japan which shares many similarities with the Western comic book, though in Japan manga doesn’t suffer from the same stigma and is enjoyed by people of all ages After an anime gains enough popularity, feature films and videogames typically follow as well

In Japan more paper is used to print manga, than to make toilet paper Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist is one prominent example of a manga which spawned an anime due to its popularity, though it bears the distinction of having two fully realized and separate anime adaptations of the story that don’t actually agree on what the ending should be The first anime began production while Arakawa was still hard at work on the manga, and it caught up to her before she finished With her approval, it diverged midway through the story and followed the anime’s unique plot threads to their own conclusion The second anime, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, began production during the final chapters of the manga and faithfully adapted the source material all the way to the end

In an unusual turn of events, the wildly popular Pokemon franchise first appeared on the scene as a videogame, with the manga and anime following afterward Many episodes of the Pokemon anime have been banned in countries other than Japan due to content, one particularly infamous episode has been removed from circulation worldwide after causing hundreds of seizures The episode, named “Electric Soldier Porygon”, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the “Most Photosensitive Epileptic Seizures Caused by a TV Show” The Dragon Ball franchise has gone both ways between manga and anime, with the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z anime being adapted from the original manga, while Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super were fit to the printed page after their anime had aired It is common for fans of anime and manga in Western countries to refer to themselves as “otaku”—a Japanese word for people who are wholly consumed by their interests

Though at a glance it might appear similar to the relatively mild English words “geek” and “nerd”, “otaku” is in fact viewed by the Japanese as a sort of “warning” for individuals who obsess over such things to an unhealthy degree and deserve their often self-induced ostracization from society Expect some disgusted looks if you announce yourself as an “otaku” in front of someone born and raised in Japan Many anime receive a localized “dub” when they are released internationally, with re-recorded dialogue for the new regions But this is no small feat—in most cases, the script writers must meticulously craft dialogue that matches up with the existing lip movements of the characters on-screen, as the animation work is already complete Anime characters are known for their large, bright eyes and extremely vibrant hair colours

But they’re eye and hair colours aren’t just plucked out of the air In Japan colours have great symbolic meaning and the hair colour of anime characters is carefully chosen by the animators to reflect that character’s personality For example, characters with red hair are typically passionate, feisty, adventurous and highly opinionated Green hair represents trustworthiness and tolerance but also jealousy White-haired characters are usually mature, ethereal and magical

One of the most beloved anime studios around the world is Studio Ghibli, which has over 93 production credits spread across three decades, twenty of which are feature films Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Ghibli’s founders, named the studio after the hot, dusty, and often rainy winds which blow across the Mediterranean from the Sahara; the Arabic word for the winds was mispronounced as “Ji-bli”, and ultimately became the Ghibli we know today Miyazaki has directed many of the studio’s most successful films, and he has been dubbed the “Walt Disney of Japan” due to his impactful and storied career Like Disney, Miyazaki wasn’t afraid to wade into the nitty gritty work of animated filmmaking During his long and illustrious career with Ghibli, he took on many different roles to bring the stories to life; working as animator, director, producer, storyboard artist, writer, and editor

While directing films, Miyazaki maintained a “hands on” approach—often personally inspecting the key animation and redrawing it when it didn’t meet his standards The famed director also laments the state of the modern anime industry, noting that many people who work in the thriving industry “don’t spend time watching real people” and “can’t stand looking at other humans”, which he speculates is because the industry is “full of otaku” Diehard fans of anime with pipe dreams of making their own in turn—perhaps he’s on to something Besides art, another of Miyazaki’s passions is flight He acquired the interest from his father, who ran a company that machined parts for Japanese aeroplanes during World War II

Planes and other flying machines are featured prominently in Miyazaki’s works Many Ghibli films, like The Secret World of Arrietty and Pom Poko, are simply masterful retellings of older folktales, such as The Borrowers and Japanese folklore regarding the mischievous tanuki spirits respectively As the saying goes: “good artists borrow, great artists steal”—but the truly great artists can bring the familiar to life in exciting new ways Miyazaki’s Spirited Away was the first anime to even win an Academy Award, taking home the gold for Best Animated Feature of 2002 Spirited Away is also the highest grossing Japanese anime film of all time, earning Studio Ghibli $330 USD in revenue worldwide

As animated films began to explore the use of 3D animation and strong CGI elements, Studio Ghibli was determined to continue producing films using traditional methods of animation—only using computer generated imagery to touch up the hand drawn work Princess Mononoke was one of the first Ghibli films to feature prominent CGI John Lasseter, CFO of Disney Animation and Pixar, has fostered an enduring friendship with Hayao Miyazaki The two met in 1987 while Lasseter was visiting Japan, with each having great respect for the other’s work While not quite a rivalry, they have been a source of encouragement to one another, with John noting that “whenever we get stuck at Pixar or Disney, I put on a Miyazaki film sequence or two, just to get us inspired again”

The friendship between Disney and Ghibli goes even deeper, with a 1996 deal between Tokuma Shoten Publishing and The Walt Disney Studios granting Disney the exclusive honor of serving as the international distributor for Ghibli’s films This includes dubbing the English versions of the films, a task which Disney takes quite seriously Thanks to the House of Mouse, many high profile actors and actresses have lent their voices to the English dubs of Ghibli movies Cate Blanchett, John Ratzenberger, Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, and Liam Neeson—just to name a few—have all given their own personal spin to classic Ghibli characters A new species of velvet worm, discovered in Vietnam in 2013, was given the scientific name Eoperipatus totoros as a nod to Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro, due to the worm and the Catbus appearing visually similar because of their many legs

Located just outside of Tokyo in the suburb of Mitaka, there is a museum dedicated to all things Ghibli, where visitors can meet an almost life-size Totoro besides other popular Ghibli characters and exhibits Hayao Miyazaki, speaking as the museum’s executive director, hopes to create a place “that is interesting”, and “which relaxes the soul” Somewhere that “those seeking enjoyment can enjoy, those seeking to ponder can ponder, and those seeking to feel can feel”—echoing sentiments felt in every frame of his films Though Miyazaki has claimed to have retired several times during his career he announced yet another retirement in 2013, stating that “this time I am quite serious”, citing age-related issues with the workload Whether he returns to create more masterpieces or simply enjoys his retirement remains to be seen, but no matter his decision, he has certainly earned his place in history

About Thoughty2

Thoughty2 (Arran) is a British YouTuber and gatekeeper of useless facts. Thoughty2 creates mind-blowing factual videos, on the weirdest, wackiest and most interesting topics. Combining fascinating lists with answers to life's biggest questions.

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