June 4th, 2011
Anime in America has had a checkered history. It seems to make a splash for awhile and then fade away, only to rise once more before returning again to its familiar cult niche. Many anime lovers blame overexposure and “Americanization” to its recent dip in popularity, while others see a renaissance as just around the corner. What will it be – renaissance or redundancy?
No one can predict the future, but if those who have the money to invest in big budget anime films are anything to go by, all anime in America needs is a good storyline that American audiences can relate to. Astroboy’s less than enthusiastic welcome at the box offices in 2009 sent shockwaves through the industry, but was also a wakeup call. Astroboy flopped not because of its dazzling 3-D effects, but because he was too westernized for much of his fan base and too foreign for audiences that were not anime aficionados.
Apparently that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from taking another stab at the genre, though. Word is that after a twenty-three year hiatus, Mad Max is going to make his return to the silver screen as a big budget anime extravaganza. Whether or not it succeeds remains to be seen, but the fact that the project got backing proves that the industry still believes in anime. Read the rest of this entry »
May 30th, 2011
Anime has gone far beyond its original roots and found its way into many areas of Japanese culture, including fashion. From Tokyo, the heart of the Japanese anime and fashion industries, it has also spread to the West and can be seen on the catwalks of Paris and New York as well as the streets of almost any major city.
If ever there was a cross-cultural phenomenon, it would have to be anime. In Japan, the early animators were highly influenced by the cartoons of Walt Disney and other Western pioneers of animated cartoons. They applied their own unique style to their creations, however, and anime became a distinctively Japanese form of art based on the manga comic book style.
As manga and anime grew in popularity in Japan, so did the rivalry between their artists and and producers. Ever more complex plot lines and elaborate drawings were created. From the fairly simple drawings of early anime like Astroboy, anime characters and backgrounds became increasingly sumptuous and highly detailed. Illustrators looking for a fresh and exciting look turned to Victorian England and Rococo design for their inspiration. Especially in the anime designed specifically for girls and young women, costumes became a big part of the creation of anime. Read the rest of this entry »