Anime About Schools Compete In Wars For Areas Of Japan Anime, A Brief History of Japanese Animation 1945-1970

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Anime, A Brief History of Japanese Animation 1945-1970

After the success of Disney’s 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Japanese anime market came under intense pressure from foreign filmmakers. Early pioneers such as Yasuji Murata and Noburo Ofuji, masters of cut animation, found it difficult to compete against the quality of imported foreign animation. Investing huge profits in new techniques, Disney took the lead, using cell animation and introducing sound.

However, with increasing support from the Japanese government through the production of pre-war propaganda films, animators such as Mitsuyo Seo and Kenzo Masaoka began to improve the quality and techniques used. The local animators received further impetus after the 1939 cinema law. This law emphasized cultural nationalism and encouraged documentary and didactic films.

Government backing and Navy support produce Japan’s first true feature-length animation. Produced by Shochiku Studios and animated by Mitsuyo Seo, Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors was released in 1945. However, it took another thirteen years for Toei Animation to release its first full-length color anime, 1958’s Hakujaden, The Tale of the White Serpent. . While the overall tone of Hakujaden is more Disney than modern anime, with animal sidekicks and musical numbers, it is often referred to as the first “real” anime.

After the release of the films in the United States under the title Panda and the Magic Serpent, Toei continued to develop and produce Disney-like films, as well as dabbling in animated series such as Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, and Digimon. Toei’s contribution to modern anime was to emphasize the animators’ ideas in the production process. This production style led to Isao Takahata’s 1968 film Hols: Prince of the Sun, which shows a stylistic shift from what is considered “normal” anime.

Another important contribution of Toei was the introduction of “money shot” animation. This style of animation was developed to reduce production costs by focusing on the important frames of the film. The main body of the anime was produced with limited animation, using greater detail in important parts of the cells. This production style was further developed by Toei animator Yasuo Otsuka.

In the 1960s, Osamu Tezuka founded Mushi Productions as a rival to Toei Animation. In 1963 he released Mighty Atom, which became the studio’s first hit and Japan’s first popular anime series. Atom’s huge success opened up foreign markets. American television upstarts, looking for content and programming, adapted the Atom for the US market in 1964, naming it Astro Boy. Others soon followed, including Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s super robot anime Tetsujin 28-go, released in the United States as Gigantor.

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