New to anime, or already an otaku? Then you're probably in the right place. For those of you who need some inside info on the world of anime, I've got it all right here. Take a look, and hope you find this mini-resource helpful in a way. When I get the time, I'll add on the history of anime as well.
What the heck is Anime?
For starters, anime is almost like a Japanese art form. It is short for Japanese animation, a.k.a. Japanimation. The way that the anime-tors draw their characters makes anime a very unique style of animation. Here are some terms to know as a future reference:
OVA/OAV- Original Video Animation and Original Animation Video.
OST- Original Sound Track
Cosplay- A term for "Costume play" or "Masquerade." Basically, it's where fanatics dress up as their favorite anime/manga characters.
Otaku- Japanese word for "obsessive fan or collector." (a.k.a. animaniac)
The Background of Anime
Believe it or not, the actual word is borrowed from the French term for animation! What sets this type of animation from others, though, is the unique style and quality. When it comes to anime, subjects tend to range from scary to the insanely cute.
Related to anime is manga; manga is the name for comics in Japan. Manga is usually drawn in black and white, which somehow gives more detail to the scenes (artists tend to use a variety of shading on everything). The word 'manga' was coined by the artist Hokusai in 1815, commonly translated to mean "irresponsible pictures."
Evolution of Anime
1960's: You may have seen Speed Racer, Kimba the White Lion, Gigantor or Astro Boy.
1970's-Early 1980's: Perhaps you've seen Battle of the Planets and Star Blazers.
Mid-1980's: Robotech, Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years, and Voltron ring a bell?
1990's to Present: Ronin Warriors, Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, AKIRA, Tenchi Muyo, Gundam series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, Fushigi Yugi, Ranma 1/2, Lain, El-Hazard, Cowboy Bebop, Blue Submarine No. 6, Trigun, Outlaw Star, Bastard!, Eatman, Slayers, Magical Project S, Magic Knight Rayearth, Bubblegum Crisis, Silent Mobius, Patlabor, etc., etc., etc.
Oh yes, anime has evolved a lot!!! What was back then the round heads, giganto eyes, big smiles, and the target setting to cute, are not that common anymore. Of course many shows still have those properties, but if you look carefully, not all shows are as cute and happy as they were back then; anime shows designed for more mature audiences have spawned. Also, take note that nowadays, we have even more anime series running than in the past. Notice a difference yet?
Not Kiddy Stuff
To those still not convinced that anime is not always geared toward younger audiences, here's something for you: as said before, anime is for all audiences to watch. Of course, some shows are designed for more mature viewers, but the majority of it is for everyone.
*Warning*: Anime is not a cartoon!!! The basic term 'cartoon' refers to animation (obviously), but cartoon also refers to as being something for little tikes to watch. Anime is not like that!
Basic overview: young people may like anime for the action, humor, and general "look of it." Older viewers will most likely enjoy it for these reasons and some certain subtleties that kids could never really understand unless they are old enough too. Example: take the Mobile Suit Gundam series. There are a ton of them (the Gundam series have been popular for over two decades now), but if you watch, many of the characters really philosophy a lot! My favorite anime, Gundam Wing, is like that; all the characters say something that gets your brain going. It can be educational in a way.
Why Fans Tend to Love Anime
This is basically a list of contributing factors and a few descriptions as to why so many people enjoy anime:
- Great plots/storylines. Most anime/manga consist of a great storyline, plus a great amount of detail which you have to look out for. Anime and manga are usually less cliche'd (big time example: American shows like to have one of those plots where it's a guy who has superhuman powers, wears a costume, saves the world from crime, etc.) and contain much more variety and life.
- Wide variety of topics/styles. There are anime and manga to fit any and every subject, ranging from silly to serious. It could be anything you want it to be.
- The Emotions. Anime and manga tend to be very emotional, no matter what kind of story it is. They fire up emotions that other animation and comics fail to do.
- Great Artwork. Something to not be underappreciated!!! Anime and manga usually far surpasses other animation and comics, both in detail and style. Oh yeah, don't we all love the big eyes?
Recommended Resource Sites
If you're curious as to finding out more on anime and manga, the sites below will give you that 'more' than what I'm offering:
I have this book; I'm sure many Otakus recognize it too! Anyways, the link takes you to Gilles' personal homepage; yes, that's right, he's got a service to fans page, and his duty here is to turn more people into Otaku.
Anime.Com Okay, Anime.com just died, and I'm not kidding either. All that remains of the place is just the front page, which still has that annoying greeting telling you that "we're still awaiting the giant delivery of our robots!" thing. Bah, I'm going to take this link down. I'll give them another chance, which will be about a wait of one month. If it's not back up by then, I'm going to delete this link.
Best place to find links to all sorts of stuff anime and manga related. Basically, you'll find many links on other great resource sites here.