Anime has become increasingly popular in Western culture ever since the 1960’s with Speed Racer and Robotech in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s Sailor Moon brought a wave of females into anime fandom.
Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Naruto. There’s no end to the monster-of-the week shows.
In this blog post I’m hoping to provide some insight as to why American and Japanese cartoons can be so stylistically different when both generally evolved from the same medium (comics).
Big Eyes: Originally invented by Dr. Osamu Tezuka in Astroboy. (Dr. Osamu Tezuk is the “Walt Disney” of Japanese animation.)
Spiky hair: Evolved from sharp lines used in Japanese animation verses Western animators who tend to draw with smooth and curved lines. (Don’t have a source for this, but I believe it has to do with the fact that Kanji and many Japanese characters are drawn with sharp, straight lines.)
European Japanese: During the Meiji period (1868-1912) Japan ended two centuries of isolation from the rest of the world by discarding many of its traditional ways. Anything modern was automatically “in” and anything Western was definitely modern. (This is where you get blonde Japanese characters.)
|It’s not soft porn, it’s “fanservice”|
Nudity: The Japanese don’t regard animation as a “children only” playground and so there’s a lot more bare breasts and panty shots in anime than the normal American cartoon. This is also due to a cultural difference stemming from the beginning of the world. (Literally.)
In Western culture there was Adam and Eve. In Genesis they sew fig leaves together to cover their nakedness because God saw it as a sin.
In the Shinto creation story there was Isanagi and Izanami, who gave birth to the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu and her brother Susanoo. After being offended by Susanoo’s rude behavior, Amaterasu shut herself in a cave, depriving the world of light. Fortunately, the goddess Uzume put on a strip tease outside the cave which caused the other gods to create a raucous. Curious to see what was going on, Amaterasu peeked out of the cave, which was just enough to let the sun back out to the world.