Although Japanese Anime seemingly sprang on the scene from nowhere, it has actually been around formany years.
Japanese anime has an fairly ancient history, infact. Anime itself began if through manga which began to surface in Japan in the 19th Century. The first manga, and the ideology behind the manga of today was first conceived by a Japanese artist named Hokusai. The Hokusai manga was a collection of sketches, and as time went on, more and more artists took Hokusai’s idea and amplified it. Soon a new style of drawing emerged – the style moved away from the ‘sketchings’ and moved into thick lines and clear colours.
The storylines however, remained as fantasy as ever – manga at this point frequently involved space ships, mythical creatures, superheroes, gods, dragons, and other such fantasy things.
Early in the 1990’s manga began its expansion into western culture. Its distribution spread gradually at first, with very few if any manga style comics being available in western countries. But soon after this, the world of anime and japanimation was set to see a huge explosion.
Eventually manga was adopted by now ‘big name’ companies such as Bandai, and the ‘farout’ ideas that came with traditional manga was introduced to mainstream western society. It is a fact that in 1993, the manga and anime industry was worth a mere few thousand dollars, and that 10 years later the industry went from this poorly figure, to being worth just over 100 million dollars.
The reason for this vast increase in revenue was due to anime and manga being formally adopted by western society. Popular TV shows like Power Rangers (I’m sure we’ve ALL heard of them at some point) were massively successful. Power Rangers is a perfect example of how the the ideology of anime spread throughout the western society – the show itself aired all over Europe, Canada, America, and Japan.
Granted, shows like Power Rangers weren’t anime in the traditional sense, but there is quite obviously a link between the things presented in these TV programmes and those that are still found in traditional anime.
Since then we have seen many more traditonal (actually animated) anime worm its way into the western world. Essentially the non-animated anime paved the way for the traditional type to come in and make a small fortune. Ever heard of Dragon ball? How about Gundam or Hamtaro? If you haven’t, where have you been these past few years 🙂
Animated shows such as those above are practically household names in the west now, which just goes to show the sheer explosion the anime industry produced. In 20 years the anime industry in the west has grown from only being worth thousands, to being worth multi-multi-millions.