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Thesis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ryanmendz
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History of Anime The history of anime began at the start of the 20th century, when Japanese filmmakers experimented with the animation techniques that were being explored in the West. During the 1970s, anime developed further, separating itself from its Western roots, and developing distinct genres such as mecha and its Super Robot sub-genre. Typical shows from this period include Lupin III and Mazinger Z. During this period several filmmakers became famous, especially Hayao Miyazaki and Mamoru Oshii. In the 1980s, anime was accepted in the mainstream in Japan, and experienced a boom in production. The rise of Gundam, Macross, Dragon Ball, and the Real Robot and space opera genres set a boom as well. The film Akira set records in 1988 for the production costs of an anime film and went on to become a success worldwide. Later, in 2004, the same creators produced Steamboy, which took over as the most expensive anime film. The Super Dimension Fortress Macross also became a worldwide success after being adapted as part of Robotech, and Megazone 23 also gained recognition in the West after it was adapted as Robotech: The Movie. The internet also led to the rise of fansub anime. Spirited Away shared the first prize at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival and won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, while Innocence: Ghost in the Shell was featured at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. During the 1970s, the Japanese film market shrunk due to competition from television. This increased competition from television reduced Toei animation's staff and many animators went to studios such as A Pro and Telecom animation. Mushi Productions went bankrupt (only to be revived 4 years later), its former employees founding studios such as Madhouse Production and Sunrise. As a result, many young animators were thrust into the position of director before they would have been promoted to it. This injection of young talent allowed for a wide variety of experimentation. One of the earliest successful television productions in the early 1970s was Tomorrow's Joe (1970), a boxing anime which has become iconic in Japan. Another genre known as Mecha came into being at this time. Some early works include Mazinger Z (1972–74), Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972–74), Space Battleship Yamato (1974–75) and Mobile Suit Gundam (1979–80). These titles showed a progression in the science fiction genre in anime, as shows shifted from more superhero-oriented, fantastical plots found, as seen in the Super Robot genre, to somewhat more realistic space operas with increasingly complex plots and fuzzier definitions of right and wrong, as seen in the Real Robot genre. This shift towards space operas became more pronounced with the commercial success of Star Wars (1977).[citation needed] This allowed for the space opera Space Battleship Yamato (1974) to be revived as a theatrical film. Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), the first Real Robot anime, was also initially unsuccessful but was revived as a theatrical film in 1982. The success of the theatrical versions of Yamato and Gundam are seen as the beginning of the anime boom of the 1980s, which many consider the beginning of the "golden age of anime". This anime boom also marked the beginning of "Japanese Cinema's Second Golden Age", which would last until around the beginning of the 2000s. In 1995, Hideaki Anno wrote and directed the controversial anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion. This show became popular in Japan among anime fans and became known to the general public through mainstream media attention. It is believed that Anno originally wanted the show to be the ultimate otaku anime designed to revive the declining anime industry, but midway through production he also made it into a heavy critique of the culture eventually culminating in the controversial, but quite successful film The End of Evangelion (1997) which grossed over $10 million. Anno would eventually go on to produce live action films. Many scenes in Evangelion were so controversial that it forced TV Tokyo to clamp down with censorship of violence and sexuality in anime. As a result when Cowboy Bebop (1998) was first broadcast it was shown heavily edited and only half the episodes were aired. The censorship crackdown has relaxed a bit, but Evangelion had a major effect on the anime television industry as a whole. An art movement started by Takashi Murakami that combined Japanese pop-culture with postmodern art called Superflat began around this time. Murakami asserts that the movement is an analysis of post-war Japanese culture through the eyes of the otaku subculture. His desire is also to get rid of the categories of 'high' and 'low' art making a flat continuum, hence the term 'superflat'. His art exhibitions are very popular and have an influence on some anime creators particularly those from Studio 4°C.

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