The Wild World of Japan Animation
Have you ever sat down and watched any Japan animation? Japanese animation, more commonly referred to as anime, is getting more and more popular all over the world. I started noticing more and more kids getting into Japanese cartoons when I was in the States.
What makes Japanese animation different that the old cartoons back home? Well, some of the old cartoons back home came from Japan. I’m thinking specifically of Speed Racer and Go-Bots. There’s something about the animation that’s different. Anime is very stylized. The characters have certain facial expressions, and the backgrounds are really detailed.
Some of what makes anime visually unique is the way the studios tried to cut corners. They had to meet tight production schedules and often had to work with a tiny staff, so they developed techniques to simplify the process, and that’s what gives anime its unique look.
For example, Japanese animation usually uses fewer frames per second than, for example, Disney cartoons. This is why the movement in anime looks different. Another example is that sometimes a scene is used where only one part, for example a character’s mouth, might move. Or the eyes might blink. These devices are what make anime so distinct.
Back home, we know anime through such popular movies as Spirited Away and Akira. Akira was the first I saw, and I remember thinking, ÂgWow, this is weird!Âh It was such a fantastic story! Spirited Away is too, and I think that imagination is a big part of what’s made anime so popular back home. I’d never seen like either of them before.
Some of the major studios that do anime productions put lots more into their craft. The best known of these is Studio Ghibli, which produced Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.
Another reason why anime is cool is that the animator/director has lots of artistic control over the whole thing. This is why you can recognize a certain animator’s work so easily. The animation industry back home is much more studio-oriented, churning out cartoons in more of a factory-type process. There’s not much individuality there.
It’s amazing, too, the wide variety of anime out there. The ones I mentioned, and most of the ones everybody knows back home, are of the sci-fi/ fantasy variety, but there are action and adventure stories, love stories, political satire, pretty much everything under the sun. I really recommend if you haven’t seen any anime, to go out and check it out!