What is Anime?
[Logo: What is Anime?]

[Rotating Slide Show Images: Sailor Moon, Belldandy, Miyuki and Natsumi, Vampire Princess Miyu, Cham, and Gally]

Anime, or Japanese animation, has existed since 1963. Originally made in black-and-white, Tetsuwan Atomu was the television adaptation of the manga (Japanese comic) created by the famous Father of Manga, Osamu Tezuka. Since then, a number of anime series and films have been adaptations of previously-published manga and books.

Compared with American cartoons, anime generally affords much more time and detail to character interaction and development, even in one-shot anime episodes (which generally run 45-60 minutes). For example, the Sailor Moon series, which ran for five seasons on Japanese television (1992-1996), follows the adventures of Usagi Tsukino and her friends as they battle various evils. During the two hundred half-hour episodes and three standalone films, Usagi slowly progresses from a crybaby to a leader of incredible inner strength (but she still has crybaby tendencies in the final season); all the while, character interaction forms an integral part of the group dynamics, and even affects the powers which the members of the group (particularly the Inner Senshi, or the five main warriors) can control.

Tetsuwan Atomu, began broadcast on Japanese television in 1963. The American anime scene began later that year, when that series was first shown on NBC as AstroBoy. The 1980s saw an influx of anime on American television, although few then recognized that it was Japanese - most just saw these animated offerings as "different." Among the anime series brought to American television in the 1980s were Robotech: The Macross Saga, Voltron: Defender of the Universe, and a resurgence of Speed Racer. These series were all dubbed for the (North) American audience, and gained an impressive following in the United States; in fact, many cite Robotech as the main reason they became interested in anime.

The 1990s saw the mass recognition of anime in the American cultural consciousness. While many people still view anime as a form of animation full of "girls with big eyes, big breasts, and big guns" (though not necessarily in that order), the tremendous anime distribution chain (anchored by companies such as A.D.V. Films, Central Park Media, Manga Entertainment, Urban Vision, and Viz) has brought to the States numerous titles which combat this stereotype. Since the mid-1990s, more and more anime has been shown on broadcast television and on cable/satellite television - including Sailor Moon, the Dragonball series, the ever-popular Pok»mon series and its rival series Digimon, Outlaw Star, Gundam Wing, and a resurgence of both Robotech and Voltron. Anime-based magazines including Animerica are easily found at bookstores and other places which sell anime. The sudden rise of the Internet (particularly the World Wide Web) in 1995 gave fans tremendous access to companies worldwide which sell anime and related merchandise, as well as online versions of anime-related print publications; the Internet has also enabled fans to communicate with each other about their favorite anime series, films, and characters. Many high schools and especially colleges and universities have anime screening clubs, and many cities host one or more anime conventions each year. More "mainstream" stores are now carrying anime titles and related merchandise. Books - including academic books - dedicated to anime and anime creators are appearing in the States. Even Disney made a deal with Studio Ghibli to release Mononoke-Hime - the best-grossing anime film in Japanese history - in the United States.

This site is intended as a resource for anime fans, from the newcomer to the otaku (the extremely devoted fan). Each of the links below will allow visitors to explore different aspects of anime and anime fandom in America.

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Site Links:
>Flash Intro<
Anime Canon
Anime Films (USA Theatrical Release)
Anime Merchandise
Anime Self-test (Flash 4 or Newer Required)
Anime Sources
Anime on Television and Cable
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Site last updated February 17, 2003
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