Creative Anime and Manga Art to Capture Your Imagination

Anime and Manga drawing of several character shiwng profile.

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Are you hooked on anime and manga art? No? Try this! Japanese animated films and cartoons are considered to be a large part of a lot of people’s childhoods. Most people, if not everyone, would have a few memories of watching one or two Japanese animated films or cartoons while growing up.

Throughout the years, Japanese animation or anime has found its way across the world. Having taken the world by storm, anime films, shows and even manga (books or graphic novels that make use of Japanese anime art) have gotten people hooked. From the storylines to its unique artistic style, anime art has definitely carved a place for itself in the world of animation and literature.

How Japanese Animation or Anime Started

Originating from Japan, anime first came about during the time of World War II when the government was in chaos and one could not easily speak out. In order to express their sentiments, a lot of artists and cartoonists made use of their artistic talents to share their thoughts about the ongoing war and how the government was going about.

Artist Osamu Tezuka

After the war, artist Osamu Tezuka started producing comics or manga. His first piece of work, Shintakarajima (New Treasure Island) remains to be one of the best-loved animation works in Japan.

A large fan of Disney's earlier works, Tezuka was able to make a name for himself in Japan as the Japanese appreciated his original style. Creating a name for himself in the animation industry, he was able to put up his own production company. Founded in 1962, Mushi Productions (Tezuka’s own production company) released his iconic work, Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro Boy). It is this piece of work that brought him instant recognition and catapulted him into fame.

The Father of Anime

Touted as the Father of Anime and Manga, Tezuka’s fresh take on animation endeared his work to many. As Tezuka wanted his characters to be able to showcase a wide range of emotions, he made sure that his characters were all drawn with large and round heads while having big eyes that express a multitude of emotions.

Inspiration From German and French Cinema

Getting his inspiration from German and French cinema, his works were full of heartfelt emotion. In 1963, his phenomenal work, Astro Boy, was even shown on television stations in the United States. With the successful reception of Astro Boy, another popular work was released. Jungle Taitei (also known as Kimba the White Lion) also enjoyed good reception from Tezuka's fans. However, this particular work of Tezuka received quite a bit of controversy because Disney released a similar story in the form of The Lion King with Simba as the protagonist.

Some Believed Disney Recreated Tezuka's Work

Although Disney denied doing so, many still believed that Disney recreated Tezuka's work. In 1973, Mushi Productions went bankrupt, but that did not stop Tezuka from producing new comics and animated work.

Some of his other works would include Hi No Tori (Phoenix), Black Jack and Buddha. Apart from the vibrant characters and riveting storylines, one thing that drew fans to his work would be the underlying themes. Being a licensed medical doctor,

Tezuka often tackled themes about human nature and life. Coming from a medical background, his works have nuances of science. Because of this, all his films and even his manga were thought to be quite unique and interesting.

Animation During the 70s to 90s

In the footsteps of Tezuka, many more artists emerged. One of the more popular artists would be Hiroshi Okawa. The president of the renowned film company Toei, Okawa wanted to produce an animated film that can be put alongside those done by Walt Disney.

Two years after founding Toei Animation, the company was able to release its first film, The Tale of the White Serpent. Although the film was at par with Disney films in terms of animation, the themes were slightly darker and lacked the whimsical naivete Disney films were quite popular for. But this aspect made anime movies and cartoons even more popular as they catered not only to children but to adults as well.

The 70s

The 70s saw a change in the way anime art and films were being produced. Albeit some of the films with darker themes, most of the cartoons and films produced in the 50s and 60s were really targeted for children. But with the innovation of Monkey Punch, the renowned manga artist, Lupin III turned out to be a huge hit and has emerged to be one of the most well-loved anime series of all time, Adding an adult sense of humor, the show was definitely targeted to older audiences. It was also during this time that animated shows from the sci-fi genre started standing out. In fact, it was during this period that the phenomenal Gundam series started

The 80s

But what really created the explosion of anime all over the world would be due to the different series that came out during the 80s. Dragon Ball, Ranma ½ were some of the different series that came from this period. The overwhelming success of anime shows during the 80s brought forward the iconic shows and films of the 90s, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, to name a few. With storylines that capture you plus flawless animation, anime films and shows definitely stood out.

Anime in the Present Day

The past ten years have seen the growth of anime art followers, especially in the international market. Pokemon and Sailor Moon are some examples of anime shows which have crossed the border and appealed very much to the international audiences.

Manga is now readily available all over the world. In fact, there are many translated editions of the popular Japanese manga series to be able to cater to manga fans all over the world. Manga fans have also taken to learning the art as many courses are now available to teach people the rudiments of manga art.

As seen throughout animation history, one of the main reason why anime films, shows and anime art in general, is able to succeed would be because the Japanese artist made full use of their creative gift to reach out to people.

The Japanese knew that anime art does not necessarily need to be shown solely to children, but to everyone as well. With the use of anime art, along with complex and diverse storylines that are akin to human nature, people all over the world took to anime films and shows.

Often the usual way in Japan, anime art is still making its rounds across the world as more people are coming to understand and appreciate it. Unique and truly Asian, Japanese anime art is definitely here to stay.