Anime: A Brief Guide by Jerry Whitworth
A year ago, Netflix released a documentary entitled Enter the Anime (2019) which purported to define anime and its origins. However, in practice, it was a glorified advertisement for the streaming service’s available Japanese animated series. Recently reminded of the film and the frustration from its lack of educational content, inspiration arose to try and, albeit briefly, discuss anime’s origins and history. Japan’s line from its remarkable and prolific breadth of animation is drawn primarily from one source before blooming into a vast forest (the current landscape dominated by the genre of isekai). Referred to as the God of Anime, Osamu Tezuka was born in Osaka Prefecture in 1928, mere years before Japan’s invasion of the Asian mainland that lead to its alliance with Germany and Italy as part of the Axis faction during World War II. Born into an affluent, educated, liberal family, Tezuka became enamored at a young age with French cinema and American animation, characters like Mickey Mouse, Popeye, Betty Boop, and Felix the Cat a great influence on him. Whereas manga had existed for years prior to Tezuka’s life (the Toba scrolls dating back to the 12th century), the creator blended cinematic impressionism with the expressive nature of American animation to produce a new form of art that became the standard for both manga and anime.