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: Boris Ivanov 2:5020/496.90 p 01 p 98 08:57
: All p 01 p 98 19:47
: p p ...

Konnichi-wa, All!
               -== ut of ANIMEHIS.TXT ==-
A Capsule History of Anime
by Fred Patten
(Note: for convenience, where English-language titles have been established
for Japanese films, they are used in this article even when they are not
accurate translations. For example, the 1958 theatrical feature Hakuja Den,
or The White Snake Enchantress, is referred to by its 1961 American title,
Panda and the Magic Serpent.)
The earliest Japanese animation was by individual film hobbyists inspired
by American and European pioneer animators. The first three Japanese
cartoons were one-reelers of one to five minutes each, in 1917. Animation
of the 1920s ran from one-to-three reels. A few were imitations of foreign
cartoons, such as the Felix the Cat series, but most were dramatizations of
Oriental folk tales in traditional Japanese art styles.
Notable silent-era animators include Oten Shimokawa, Junichi Kouchi,
Seitaro Kitayama, Sanae Yamamoto (whose 1924 The Mountain Where Old Women
Are Abandoned seems to be the earliest anime title still extant), Yasuji
Murata, and the master of paper silhouette animation, Noboru Ofuji. Most of
them worked in small home studios, though they came to be financed by
Japanese theatrical companies which provided production money in exchange
for distribution rights.
During the 1930s, folk tales began to give way to Western-style fast-paced
humor. These gradually reflected the growing influence of Japanese
militarism, such as Mituyo Seo s 1934 11-minute cartoon Private 2nd-Class
Norakuro, an adaptation of Suihou Tagawa s popular newspaper comic strip
about an unlucky dog soldier in a funny-animal army. After Japan went to
war in China in 1937, the need to get productions approved by government
censors resulted in a steady stream of militaristic propaganda cartoons. In
1943, the Imperial military government decided Japan needed its first
animated feature. Mituyo Seo was authorized to assemble a team of animators
for the task. Their 74-minute Momotaro s Gods-Blessed Sea Warriors was a
juvenile adventure showing the Imperial Navy as brave, cute anthropomorphic
animal sailors resolutely liberating Indonesia and Malaysia from the
buffoonish foreign-devil (with horns) Allied occupiers--too late for even
wishful dreaming, as it was barely released (in April 1945) before the
war s end.
Animation returned to the individual filmmakers right after World War II.
However, they were hampered for the next decade by the slow recovery of the
Japanese economy. They also found their amateur films competing with the
polished cartoons from American studios, which poured into Japan with the
Occupation forces. The first Japanese full-color animation did not appear
until 1955. It soon became clear that the future of Japanese animation lay
in adopting the Western studio system. (However, independent anime artists
have never disappeared. Thus, the first Japanese animator to achieve
international name recognition was Yoji Kuri, whose art films of usually
less than a minute each appeared in international film festivals throughout
the 1960s and 70s.)
American-Style Studios
Attempts to create American-style studios began right after the war, but
the first real success did not come until Toei Animation Co. was organized
in 1956. Its earliest leading animator, Yasuji Mori, directed Toei s first
notable short cartoon, Doodling Kitty, in May 1957. But to the general
public, Japan s entry into professional animation came with the company s
first theatrical feature, Panda and the Magic Serpent, released in October
1958.
Toei s first few features followed the Disney formula very closely. They
were produced a year apart; they were based upon popular folk
tales--Oriental rather than European--and the heroes had many cute,
funny-animal companions. The first six were distributed in America, usually
a couple of years after they were first shown in Japan. The second through
sixth (with their American titles but Japanese release years) were Magic
Boy (1959), Alakazam the Great (1960), The Littlest Warrior (1961), The
Adventures of Sinbad (1962, all five directed by Taiji Yabushita), and The
Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon (1963, directed by Yugo Serikawa
with an avant-garde stylized design by Yasuji Mori). Unfortunately, these
were not successful in the US and Japanese theatrical animation disappeared
from America for the next two decades--unless it could be sold to TV as an
afternoon children s movie.
Something Unexpected
But Alakazam the Great led to something unexpected. Although directed by
Yabushita, it was based upon a popular 1950s comic-book adaptation by Osamu
Tezuka of the ancient Chinese Monkey King legend. The young Tezuka was
Japan s most popular comic-strip and comic-book artist during the 1950s,
who virtually invented Japan s modern manga industry. Since the movie used
his plot and visual style, he was consulted on its adaptation and became
involved with its promotion. This caused him to switch his attention from
comic books to animation.
Tezuka was also impressed by the appearance in Japan of the first
Hanna-Barbera television cartoons of the late 1950s, which led him to
conclude that he could produce limited animation for the new TV market.
More importantly, he realized from the popularity of his comic
books--especially such futuristic titles as Astro Boy--that there was a
strong demand for modern, fast-paced fantasy which the animation
establishment, with its narrow focus on fairy tales in antique storybook
settings, was completely ignoring.
As a result, Tezuka organized Japan s first TV animation studio, Mushi
Productions. Not counting an experimental art film, Stories on a Street
Corner (1962), its first release was a weekly series based upon Astro Boy,
which debuted on New Year s Day 1963. It was such an instant success that,
by the end of 1963, there were three more television animation studios in
production and Toei Animation had opened a TV division. By the end of the
1960s, the popularity of TV science-fiction action-adventure anime was so
overwhelming that Toei began to alternate it with fairy-tale fare for its
theatrical features.
Television animation became much more popular in Japan than it ever was in
America. This was largely due to Tezuka s influence. He had drawn in just
about every medium available, including childrens picture books, romantic
comic-book soap operas for womens magazines, risque humor for mens
magazines, and political cartoons for newspapers. He established the
attitude that cartooning was an acceptable form of storytelling for any age
group; this is in sharp contrast to the United States, where the attitude
became, "Cartoons and comic books are only for children." Tezuka himself
brought sophisticated adult animation to movie theaters with his 1969 art
feature A Thousand and One Nights (which left in the eroticism of the
original Arabian Nights) and the 1970 Cleopatra (a time-travel farce with
anachronisms such as Julius Caesar as a cigar-chomping, American-style
politician). By the 1970s, TV studios such as TCJ (Television Corporation
of Japan), Tatsunoko Production Co., Tokyo Movie Shinsha (TMS), and Nippon
Animation, to name just the major ones, were churning out animated mystery
dramas, older-teen sports-team soap operas and Western literary classics
such as Heidi, Girl of the Alps (directed by Isao Takahata) and The Diary
of Anne Frank, along with traditional juvenile fantasy adventures.
Giant Robot & Outer Space Adventures
There was a flood of toy-promotional fantasies, featuring action-heroes for
boys and "magical little girls" who could transform into older-teen
heartthrobs for girls. Among the most influential was Toei s adaptation of
comic-book artist Go Nagai s Mazinger Z, the first of the sagas about a
gigantic flying mechanical warrior controlled by an (invariably teen) human
pilot to defend Earth against invading space monsters. This combined the
dramatic aspects of knights in armor battling dragons, with fighter pilots
in aerial combat against enemy armies. Mazinger Z and Nagai s direct
sequels Great Mazinger and UFO Robot Grandizer ran for 222 weekly episodes
from 1972 through 1977. By the mid-1980s there had been over 40 different
giant-robot anime series, covering virtually every channel and every
animation studio in Japan. It was these shows, subtitled on
Japanese-community TV channels in America, which started the anime cult
among American fans in the late 1970s.
Closely related were the futuristic outer-space adventures which began in
1974 with Space Battleship Yamato; basically a wish-fulfillment replay of
World War II, with the united Earth armies (Japan) fighting from planet to
planet across the galaxy (Pacific) against the conquering Gamilon invaders.
Yamato was fortunately timed for the explosive popularity of space operas
following the importation of Star Wars from the US; a series of Yamato
TV-series and theatrical-feature sequels followed. During the late 1970s
and early 80s, the hottest cartoonist in anime was Yamato s creator Leiji
Matsumoto, with TV cartoon series and theatrical features based upon his
other space-adventure manga, such as Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Galaxy
Express 999 and The Queen of 1,000 Years.
Miyazaki and Takahata
By the mid-1980s, anime had been dominated by TV production for two
decades. Two developments changed this. One was the return to prominence of
theatrical feature animation, through the films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao
Takahata. The two were friends who had worked both together and separately
at various anime studios in Tokyo since the 1960s.
In the early 1980s, Miyazaki began a science-fiction comic-book adventure,
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, for Animage, an animation-fan magazine
from one of Japan s largest publishers, Tokuma. This led to a
Tokuma-financed feature which Miyazaki also directed. The 1984 Nausicaa was
a smash success, resulting in Tokuma subsidizing a new animation studio,
Studio Ghibli, for the personal theatrical features of Miyazaki and his
friend Takahata. Studio Ghibli has released an average of a feature a year
since then, alternating between the productions of Miyazaki and Takahata:
Miyazaki s Laputa: the Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988),
Kiki s Delivery Service (1989) and The Crimson Pig (1992); and Takahata s
Grave of the Fireflies (1988), Only Yesterday (1991) and Pom Poko (1994).
Many of these have become Japan s top-grossing theatrical films,
live-action or animated. Takahata s Pom Poko was also submitted as Japan s
candidate for being an Academy Awards nominee for the Best Foreign Film
Oscar. Some other notable theatrical features during the past decade
include writer-director Katsuhiro Otomo s cyberpunk thriller Akira (1988)
and director Mamoru Oshii s adaptation of Masamune Shirow s sci-fi manga
novel Ghost in the Shell (1995).
Original Anime Video
The second development was the emergence of the home-video market.
Beginning in 1984, animation began to be produced especially for this
market (resulting in a Japanese-created English term, OVA or OAV--for
Original Anime Video--which has been adopted by American anime fandom as
well). OAV animation is usually higher in quality than TV animation, but
not as rich as theatrical animation. As with most aspects of popular
culture, 90% of it is little better than trash, while 10% may be
brilliantly imaginative and innovative. Video productions can run from a
half-hour to 2 hours, and from independent titles to serials of from 2 to
10 videos. OAVs are often better than either movies or television for
stories which are too long for a standard theatrical release, but not long
enough for a TV series. The OAV market is not subject to the public
standards for television, so it often becomes notorious for its most lurid
examples of violence and pornography. At the other extreme, some of its
better examples (such as the Patlabor near-future police-procedural dramas
or the No Time for Tenchi teen sci-fi comedies) have become so popular and
acclaimed that they have led to their own anime TV series and theatrical
films. There are anime-fan magazines devoted to just the anime video
market, which list an average of 40 to 45 new releases per month, one-third
of which are brand-new OAVs, with the rest being reissues and video
releases of theatrical, TV and foreign titles. These OAV titles are the
main source for the anime being released in America today, since their
licenses are more affordable than those of expensive theatrical features or
of multi-episode TV series.
Today, animation in Japan is considered to be in a creative doldrums. Due
to the sheer volume of the output over the past three decades, the good
ideas have "all been used up." The current trend is for OAV remakes of
anime favorites of 20 or 30 years ago, featuring a flashy 90s art slant and
a more "sophisticated" (cynical) story line--very similar to the American
trend for turning classic live-action TV series into big-budget theatrical
films. But many of the titles and concepts that are stale in Japan are
still fresh to American audiences, so anime still has an encouraging growth
period ahead of it in the US.
Fred Patten has written on anime for fan and professional magazines since
the late 1970s. He currently writes a regular anime column for Animation
Magazine.
(c) 1996 Animation World Network
               -== End of ANIMEHIS.TXT ==-
bi

: Sergei Borodich 2:5005/41.43 p 01 p 98 11:37
: Khachik Ambarian p 01 p 98 19:47
: H S.M.I.L.E.

*** Answering a msg posted in area MY_MAIL (MY_MAIL).
Hello Khachik!
Tuesday March 31 1998 09:06, Khachik Ambarian wrote to Sergei Borodich:
                             "p" ?
               y ? y ?
               y ! ^_^
? :)
Sergei aka Atredi
[Anime - RULEZZ]
[BABYLON5 - RULEZZ]
... E-Mail: brdch@online.tomsk.net

: Alex Lapshin 2:5020/207.8 p 01 p 98 20:00
: Sergei Borodich p 01 p 98 20:10
: H S.M.I.L.E.

, Sergei!
... p p 01 1998 , Sergei Borodich () Khachik Ambarian
H S.M.I.L.E.:
              
                                           "p" ?
              
                             y ? y ?
                             y ! ^_^
              
               ? :)
- , . H p.
! AKA Alex1/2,
- R.An.Ma -- Russian Anime & Manga
e-mail: laputa@aha.ru ICQ#5963203 http://ranma.base.org
... ! !

: Nadine Druzhinina 2:5020/1224.9 p 31 p 98 12:59
: Alexey Izmestiev 02 p 98 12:00
:

Alexey!
16:39 29 p 1998 () Alexey Izmestiev () Vladimir Avdonin
" ". " ? ,
" () . , :
                                           p , Chibi-Usa-y.
                             - __ p !!!
                             p ...
               p py , y
p - ? __ Chibi-Usa.
, p, p p.
All the best, Naria.
[Team ADVENTURE] [Team ]


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