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Origin of Anime
anime is a prominent animation style in Japanese films. Early anime films were largely aimed at the Japanese market, and as a result, many cultural references specific to Japan were used. The huge eyes of anime characters, for example, are often regarded in Japan as complex “windows to the soul.” While much of the genre is geared at children, anime films do occasionally contain mature themes and subject matter.
The establishment of Mushi Productions by Osamu Tezuka, a prominent character in modern manga, the dense, novelistic Japanese comic book form that contributed substantially to the aesthetic of anime, began in 1956 and reached enduring popularity in 1961. Anime like Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (1997) is the modern equivalent of Japanese masters like Mizoguchi Kenji and Kurosawa Akira’s epic folk adventures.
With the Pokémon television series and films like Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2002), which won an Academy Award for best animated feature film, anime began to gain considerable international recognition at the turn of the twenty-first century.
At the same time, anime was spreading far beyond Japan’s boundaries, and throughout the 2000s, massive upheavals threatened its expansion, leading many to wonder if it even had a future.
The first was Japan’s “bubble economy” implosion in the 1990s, which harmed the sector at the time but continued to have an impact into the new millennium. Budget cuts and dwindling industry profits necessitated a shift toward products that were sure to sell; risky and experimental work took a second seat.
Titles based on well-known manga and manga properties (One Piece, Naruto, Bleach) were pushed to the forefront even more. Clannad, Kanon, and other shows that tapped into the lightweight moé aesthetic became dependable, if also disposable money-makers. The focus switched away from OAVs and toward TV shows, which had a better possibility of recouping costs. Conditions in the animation profession, which were never favorable to begin with, have gotten worse: more than 90% of animators now depart after less than three years of working long hours for low pay.