Japanese anime has been around for years and years. Anime itself spawned from manga (japanese comics) which began life around the 19th Century. The first style of manga was created by Japanese artist Hokusai. From Hokusai’s original creations, manga developed into the style that we see today, artists using thick lines and vivid colours. The storylines of early manga were fantastical, often involving space ships, superheros, gods, dragons and alike. In the 1990’s, anime left Japan, and its distribution became rather wide-spread over the western world – the Americas in particular. From then on, anime and japanimation went from strength to strength.
The 1990’s and 2000’s saw a rapid increase in demand for anime across western countries. Around 1993, the anime industry in America was worth mere thousands, but 10 years later, we saw the the industry go from being worth thousands, to being worth over 100 million dolars.
Spawning from anime, shows such as Power Rangers and VR Troopers exhibited similar ideas to those found in classic animated shows – fantasy stories about superheros, monsters, and evil villains. It is worth mentioning at this point that these shows, Power Rangers in particular, were hugely successful, airing nicely in America, Canada, Japan, and Europe.
Even though these TV shows weren’t anime in the classic sense, there is clearly a link between the ideas presented in these shows, and those found in traditional anime. Companies like Bandai (the makers of Power Rangers) put an ‘American spin’ on an already successful ‘method’ of producing quality entertainment, and then reaped the profits.
Since that time, we have seen more traditional type anime creep ever so quickly into the western world due to the increased acceptance of it in western civilisation. Animated shows with traditional stylings such as Dragon Ball, Gundam, and Hamtaro, are almost household names in the Americas and Canada. The same is true in Britain and Europe.
With new technology on the horizon, better animation software and more powerful hardware, we can expect to see yet another rise in the fundraising power of the anime industry in the near future.