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Anime: What is it? Why is it suddenly so popular?

By Harivallabhi Ganapathy (‘24)

Cartoons were a big part of everyone’s childhood, whether they were four or forty-nine. There are cartoons available for every generation to watch and enjoy like Rugrats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now, shows like Gravity Falls or Teen Titans Go are popular among the younger generation. These shows are a staple in any household across the world.

In the past 30 years, another type of animation from Japan has gained popularity among teens, adults, and even kids in multiple different countries. This style of animation is called anime. A well-known creator named Osamu Tezuka, known for the manga, a Japanese comic book style, Astro Boy (1963). Imaji Animation Studios brought the manga to life by turning it into an anime and soon gained popularity in Japan.

Another creator named Miyazaki Hayao created the world-known Studio Ghibli where he released most of his famous films. Studio Ghibli is a film studio founded by Miyazaki, a fellow animator Takahata Isao and producer Suzuki Toshio. The studio itself is known for the quality of its filmmaking and art. Miyazaki’s style became more known with the anime community when he released Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind). In collaboration with Studio Ghibli, he released Mononoke-hime (Princess Mononoke), which broke Japanese box offices in 1997. Spirited Away, a film still popular today, won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003.

“I have watched quite a few of Miyazaki Hayao’s films and I love them. Their animations and plot lines are amazing and I love the deeper meaning behind each one,” said sophomore Akanksha Rajagopal about Miyazaki’s films.

Miyazaki's films became large hits among audiences due to his unique animation style, and the way the movies educated many people on Japanese folklore/culture. His films set paths for other unique Japanese films to succeed.

Anime started to grow in popularity internationally in the 80s and 90s, such as Dragon Ball Z (1987) and Sailor Moon (1992). A reason these shows gained popularity was because of the style. For example, characters in these shows have larger eyes and are known as “windows to the soul” in Japan. Another unique feature anime has is the detail creators put into the characters, setting, story, etc. According to many anime fans, this makes it interesting to watch.

“I like to watch it [anime] to relax, for the art, and the plotline,” said sophomore Soha Khan when asked about why she enjoys watching anime.

Anime also has the unique ability to grow due to the plotlines like Attack On Titan (2013-2022) and My Hero Academia (2016-). Attack on Titan is very popular between teens and adults mostly for the depth of the storyline. The storyline of this show is unique and different because of how there is no real main villain or character. It also includes references to major wars, like World War I and II. The manga version of this anime has been completed and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. The anime currently has four seasons and on January 9th, part two of the fourth season was released. So far, the feedback on this show is great and the audience is loving it.

"Attack on Titan is definitely not what I expected. The plot was very thought out and animation is just so well done,” said sophomore Jana Elhawary.

My Hero Academia is similar to Attack On Titan but has more connections to superheroes and adventures. This anime is currently ongoing and so is the manga.

Many of the anime that are popular now are the action or shounen genres. Shounen is a type of anime that is usually marketed towards young boys since they include action and/or adventure. The opposite of shounen is shoujo which are animes directed at young girls and the genres included are romance and friendship.

Anime is a type of animation that is forever growing and changing. People of all ages and ethnicities enjoy it for the plotlines, humor, or the unique style of the show. No matter the reason, a lot of people enjoy them and bond with them.

“I think it’s entertaining because of the stories but it also helps me connect with my students,” said art teacher Mr. Norman Chow.

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