Anime Is in Essence the Term Paper

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Kusanagi Satoshi states that the so called 'anime' phenomenon did not, in fact, rise up all of a sudden within the past few years; in fact, it has been slowly developing over a longer period of time, perhaps from the 1960's onwards. This was the time that very many Japanese shows were in reality produce with such a clearly American style that the final product came to be labeled as an American one, despite the fact that they were really Japanese. What this means is that in a world where American domination of mass culture has more often than not been taken for granted, anime was one art form that began to be recognized for its very cultural resistance. In other words, anime is an art form that has very true Japanese roots, but still manages to exert an extremely wide influence on large areas beyond its natural boundaries. (Yoshida, 2004)

As a matter of fact, the film scholar Susan Pointon has said that this particular medium has a very definite unique and original style which makes hitherto unacceptable narratives possible, to the ever widening American and other world wide global audiences. Numerous anime fans have also stated that this is exactly the reason why they do like this particular genre so much; that is; it is quite unlike the traditional American art forms that they have been used to, and is 'exotic, different', and is completely un-American, and a change from the usual 'candy coated' Walt Disney films that they had been watching.

In addition, anime can be watched by anybody, at any age, and all the plots of an anime form try to be as different from each other as possible. Its aesthetic standards are very different and distinct from those films that are generally produced in the Western part of the world, and this makes it even more interesting to the people of the West, and to filmmakers like for example, Walt Disney, which reflect American values. Today, anime fans have in fact formed a community of their own, and they all share a similar critical appreciation of the various qualities of anime. Anime has thus successfully managed to blur the boundaries between the West and the non-West audiences, and it is also stated that Japan has incorporated itself into American soil through anime. (Yoshida, 2004)

When the 2002 Academy Award for the 'Best Animated Feature' was awarded to Hayao Miyazaki, the master Japanese animator, for his film 'Spirited Away', two important facts came to the notice of filmmakers in America and in the West in general, and these were that, for one, Japanese films were now becoming viable commercially in the West, and secondly, Japanese anime films were of first rate quality and were of excellent craftsmanship. Anime, however, did not just leap over to the Western film world; rather, anime became a very important part of Cartoon Network, a children's television channel, and also on Tech TV, and on other cable TV networks, which recognized its importance. Comic books base on anime are also, today, extremely popular, especially among children. Anime became a 'worldwide cultural phenomenon', and became recognized for its excellent features. (Hollywood heads East, the business of Japanese animation and comics)

Today, in Japan, more than half of all the numerous movies made there are all based on anime, and do not involve live action with real flesh and blood characters. Dr. Susan Napier, the Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Studies in the Department of Asian Studies in the College of Liberal Arts, relates her experience of seeing her very first comic Japanese book named 'Akira', which was later made into a film. She says that it was almost a 'visceral experience' for her, because of the intensity of the experience that she enjoyed when she viewed the film Akira in America. Anime today is the only real alternative to American culture available, and Japanese anime is sturdily making inroads into American pop culture, and has become even more popular than the traditional art forms in America, and in other parts of the Western world. (An anime explosion: The University of Texas at Austin)

Therefore, to say that Japanese anime has had a tremendous impact on American culture is a big understatement, and this is evident right from the 1960's, when the ever popular Astroboy character was created, right up to 2002, when Spirited Away won the Academy Award. When Akira became a resounding success, the result was that efforts were made to bridge the existing gap between Western films and the Japanese ones. One of the more popular evidence of these efforts is the 'Ghost in the Shell', an extremely dark and violent film set in a sort of a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk landscape. It was at this same time that the computer and animated graphics started to fuse together, and this gradually paved the way to the silver screen. Blue Submarine Number 6, Macross Plus, and the Final Fantasy were all the popular video games that followed, and two different mediums were mixed in these games, and this was nothing new to the genre of anime. (Big in Japan, the Impact of anime)

It is often stated that it is these games and the stunningly dramatic and eye-catching animations that they exhibited that led to studios such as Pixar and Dreamworks to creating their computer animated comedies. However, it must be remembered at this point that Disney, with its huge budget for making animated films, has been quite unsuccessful in comparison to the small budget anime of Japan, and today, Disney has managed to purchase all the rights to the works of the Japanese anime master, Hayao Miyazaki, and has been in the process of gradually releasing them to the American public. Some of these works are Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoru, and Castle in the Sky, all Hayao Miyazaki's works. Therefore, it is quite evident that American films are today attempting to incorporate the aesthetics of Japanese anime, and some other such films are '2 Fast 2 Furious' by director John Singleton, and other films by directors like James Cameron and Guillermo Del Toro.

Anime it is clearly evident, will continue to exert its influence on American and especially Hollywood films, and a large number of anime classics are slated for release in America, like for example, Dragonball, by Twentieth Century Fox, and Battle Angel Alta, an epic of immense proportions by James Cameron. However, this in no way means that anime films in the original Japanese will not be produced in its original form any more; rather, it will continue to be made in the same way as before, with the only difference being that now there is a world wide market and also a very appreciative world wide audience for it. (Big in Japan, the Impact of anime)

There is a wide consensus that anime is today becoming more and more commoditized. Perhaps the reason for this occurrence is that these anime shows are all hyped up to a large extent even before they are released, and they are then meant to sell as a mere commodity. This in turn means that the quality is most definitely compromised, and the result becomes a poor version of the original aesthetically appealing Japanese anime. Today, the large quantity of anime titles available in the America market means that one single anime title cannot dominate the market, and this in turn means that it is the outstanding ones that can stand out, while the rest just fade into oblivion. Making something into a saleable commodity has this type of undesirable result more often than not, and this is exactly what has happened to anime today. (Ask John, why are recent anime disappointing?) The world wide marketing of anime is also extremely important in determining how the product will sell in the long run. One of the foremost marketing companies of anime is the 'Manga Entertainment Inc.', which specializes in the distribution of Japanese anime for theatres, for television, internet, DVD's, and for home video releases. Aggressive marketing is the watch word of this team of marketers. (About Manga)

It was on the thirteenth of May 2004 that Manga Entertainment was acquired by a company called IDT Entertainment, and this film company would be able to specialize in an aggressive marketing of the Japanese anime. IDT Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation, the multinational carrier and Telephony Company. However, it must be stated that it was Manga's efforts that made anime reach where it is today, since the time in 1991 when it was established in London, UK, in order to facilitate the distribution of anime outside of Japan. Today, IDT has established itself as a world wide leader in anime distribution and marketing, and is also one of the top producers of animated films. Now that it has acquired Manga, it will definitely enjoy…[continue]

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