Have you ever heard of Naruto, Ichigo or Monkey? If one of those names ring a bell, then you probably have an idea on what is Anime, the ultimate Japanese animated productions that made a crossover to the United States in the 1970’s and have a distinctive style: colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastic themes. Oh, and big, big eyes!
Anime, a cultural industry that has over 430 production studios, is not only made for little children. It’s often classified by target demographic, including kodomo (children’s), shōjo (girls’), shounen (boys’) and a diverse range of genres targeting an adult audience. Hentai (Japanese for “pervert”), for example, is one of the genres directed to adults, which feature pornographic elements.
The relationship between manga and anime is tight, because historically a big amount of series and anime works are based on popular manga cartoon stories.
Osamu Tezuka, a manga artist and animator, adapted and simplified many Disney animation techniques in the 1960’s to reduce costs and slowly became a legend. His work inspired characteristics and genres that remain fundamental elements of anime nowadays.
Anime was initially hand-drawn but now is developed on computer animation. They gather diverse subjects and genres such as love, adventure, science fiction, literature, sports, fantasy, erotism and many others. They are also produced as movies or in television and DVD’s formats.
Interesting facts about Anime and Japanese
- Tokyo International Anime Fair. It started in 2002 and it has become the world’s largest anime event. It gathers fans from every corner in the world that saves their money specially to attend the fair. It has dozens of stands representing the most relevant companies from the anime industry and they teach workshops and expose original costumes and drawings.
- The district of Akihabara. It’s inside Tokyo and it has gained recognition as the center of Japan’s otaku (diehard fan) culture, and many shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are now dispersed among the electronic stores in the district. In addition to shops, various other animations related establishments have become popular in the area, particularly maid cafes where waitresses dress up and act like maids or anime characters, and manga kissaten (comics cafes), a type of Internet cafe where customers can read comics and watch DVDs in addition to having access to the Internet.
- Mandarake stores. Any manga and anime fan is well familiarized with Mandarake, a chain of stores dedicated specially to manga, anime and related products. The first store opened in 1987 in Nakano Broadway and now they have more than ten stores all over Japan.