Evolution of Anime Timeline: An Overview

By hfjk
  • The First Anime

    The First Anime
    The earliest Japanese animation could be traced back to 1907. Made in Kyoto, Japan, the first 'anime' of four seconds depicts a sailor removing his hat and saluting.
  • World War II Propaganda

    During the 30s, cultural nationalism was enforced by the Japanese government, which led to strict censorship and control over the media. To enforce the Japanese spirit and patriotism, they urged animators to produce propagandistic animations to achieve the full “Japanese spirit’ effect within its people.
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    Cultural Nationalism

    The period in which the Japanese government took strict control over the media to ensure and enforce the Japanese spirit and national affiliation. Animation was mostly used in the context of anti-American propaganda.
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    Military Themed Nationwide Broadcasts

    Shows, films, radio gags and such were all centered around the military in the 40s to carry on with the momentum of war. During that time, both Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei the movie and the show were made and funded by the Navy to appeal to the younger audience. Animation was mostly used in the context of anti-American propaganda.
  • Military Influence: Momotaro's Sea Eagles

    Military Influence: Momotaro's Sea Eagles
    Produced by Geijutsu Eigasha and animated by Mitsuyo Seo, Momotaro's Sea Eagles animation show was produced and broadcasted with help from the Navy.
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    US' Influence

    After the second world war, Japan became known as the world’s second largest producer of animation. Thus during this period, Japanese animations were heavily influenced by the number one producer: the United States (Staff, 2021).
  • Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei

    Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei
    Translating to Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors, the first feature-length anime film depicted the life of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Unsurprisingly, the film was funded by the Imperial Japanese Navy to encourage the Japanese momentum and pride especially during the peak in civil unrest due to the beginning of the the end of the world war.
  • Toei Animation: The First Animation Studio

    Toei Animation: The First Animation Studio
    Toei Co. purchased a small obscure animation studio founded in 1948 that went by "Japan Animated Films" and renamed it Toei Animation, making it the first-ever Japanese animation studio of importance.
  • Hakujaden (The Tale of the White Serpent)

     Hakujaden (The Tale of the White Serpent)
    Release by Toei in 1958, Hakujaden (The Tale of the White Serpent), made with Disney undertones, was the first feature-length color anime film (78 minutes). The film was released in the US in 1961 by the name Panda and the Magic Serpent.
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    The Beginning of Anime Series

    The era of the birth of our childhoods. Worldwide popular shows such as the intergenerational, ever so popular Astro Boy (broadcasted on Jan 1, 1963), Tetsujin 28-go (The first super robot anime, broadcasted on October 20, 1963), and Sally the Witch (the first ever magical girl anime, broadcasted on December 5, 1966) among many others were made during that time.
  • Otogi Manga Calendar

    Otogi Manga Calendar
    The black and white anime series, also known as Instant History, is the first ever Japanese anime series broadcasted. It was directed by Ryuichi Yokoyama and Shinichi Suzukiaired and aired from 1961 through 1964.
  • Japan's Influence

    Japan's Influence
    It was during the golden decade that American companies began to utilize Japanese animation studios and strategies which started the animating of tv series like The Transformers, G.I. Joe. and The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.
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    The Golden Age of Anime

    Popular genre-formula shows were made in the 80's. That of the 1983 with Captain Tsubasa by Tsuchida Pro, which started and set the standards of the sports anime agenda. And that of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam sequel airs, which became the most successful Real Robot space opera in Japan among many. Was also the beginning of the population of anime and anime studios both in Japan and globally.
  • The Disney of Japan: Studio Ghibli

    The Disney of Japan: Studio Ghibli
    After the release and success of the movie Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind) in 1984, Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Toshio Suzuki, and Yasuyoshi Tokuma officialized their presence by opening their own studio firm on 1985.
  • The Start of The DragonBall Franchise

    The Start of The DragonBall Franchise
    The also intergenerational and widely loved DragonBall series franchise started its premier on Feb 26, 1986 on Fuji Television. The series introduced the martial arts genre and became incredibly influential in the Japanese Animation Industry and the overall economical statues of Japan. The series was so popular foreign countries from across the globe started dubbing it in their own language (I grew up watching it in Arabic)
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    Economical Recession pt.1

    Japan’s economy crashed in 1991 and budgets were cut back and many anime film and OAV studios closed. However, the entertainment industry never weathered. Toei released Sailor Moon in 1992, Gainax released Neon Genesis Evangelion in 1995, video game-turned-anime Pokémon was made in 1997, Serial Experiments Lain in 1998, Cowboy Bebop in 1998.
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    Economical Recession pt.2

    Director Hayao Miyazaki's July 12, 1997 Princess Mononoke (dubbed most expensive animated movie, costing $20 million) was broadcasted worldwide, Yu Yu Hakusho in 1992, Dragonball Z in September 6, 1993, Ghost in the Shell in November 18, 1995, Rurouni Kenshin: Wandering Samurai in 1996. Case Closed/Detective Conan in 1996 (still airing. also watched in Arabic when growing up), Digimon Adventure in 1999 (my whole childhood. Also watched in Arabic dub) , and much much more.
    (all anime hits)
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    Globalization and Evolution

    After the globalization of the computer and CGI, what was once almost exclusively animated on cels became much easier make thanks to new digital technology. As computers would quickly handle tedious work, most anime studios had made the switch as soon as 2005.
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    The Blooming Industry: Studio Ghibli

    It was also during that decade that Studio Ghibli really made a name for itself. Producing and winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2002 with Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away), Howl's Moving Castle in 2004, Tales from Earthsea in 2006, and Ponyo in 2008.
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    The Blooming Industry

    After the recession and In the early 2000s, anime was once again flourishing. Long-running mega hits like One Piece (1999), Naruto (2002), and Bleach (2004) that also cross-promoted manga sales, movies, video games, and merchandise buoyed the market domestically and internationally. Making anime one of the top contributors to the recovery of the economy.
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    To sum the position of anime today up, "Anime is now recognized around the world as a reliable source of entertainment and art. Where early Japanese animators were inspired by the works of Disney, now Western shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Samurai Jack are taking their cues from Japan." (Right Stuf Anime, n.d.)