A look into the history of anime


Vintage anime DVDs line a shelf in a shop. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, no named photographer)

By Akciri Ortiz, Reporter

Imagine yourself trapped in a world where you hear pencils faintly scribbling on paper, people walking around and talking over and over. Then you turn on your TV and see a screen with characters moving around dancing, walking, and talking. It is animation that comes to life.

In June 2006, this particular image surfaced as a mascot sample for the English Wikipedia’s Wikiproject Anime and Manga, after the previous mascot (a fan-art image of the title character from Midori Days) was removed from the commons due to copyright problems. (Photo courtesy of Kasuga~commonswiki, via Wikimedia Commons)

Anime has been around for an exceptionally long time: over a century, to be exact. The First ever anime or animation ever confirmed to come out was in the early 1917’s names Shingachō: Meian no Shippai even before WWII using just chalk to animate. The first three people to shape the anime industry today are named Ōten Shimokawa, Junichi Kōuchi, and Seitaro Kitayama. They are considered “The Fathers of Anime” since they shaped the industry with their work. 

Even before WWII took place there was an earthquake in 1923 in Japan that destroyed numerous animation studios. During this time there were animators that were competing against companies such as Disney and they had the upper hand because they already were selling profitable products and they could afford Cel animation while the Japanese studios were trying to save money and could not afford it.

Anime that came out during this time with sound would be “Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka”, “The Dance of the Chagamas”, and “Ari-chan” from 1933 to 1941 during this time they served as commercials, educational purposes, and propaganda, since they were hard to produce financially.

In 1939, a law was passed regarding the film industry and how they should follow government regulations and their interests. This led to making propaganda for the military showcasing the Japanese winning, and the first ever full-length anime was made during this time: “Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors” in 1945.

After the events of WWII, in 1958, there was an anime release named “Hakujaden” otherwise known as the “Tale of the White Serpent” which was later released in 1961 in the U.S. The Japanese animation industry was rebirthed in 1948 and has now become the “Toei Film Company”, which shaped the anime industry there is today. 

Now, in the 2000s, anime evolved making much more. Animes commonly known in the industry today, such as “Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”, “Naruto”, “Bleach, “Hunter x Hunter”, and “One Punch Man” just to name a few, were all produced during that era. 

Throughout the years, anime has become a great part of the industry, and evolving a lot from chalk drawings to computer art, and proving everything can change in a matter of time.