History of Anime

I'm embarrassed to say that though I write regularly about TV and Movies and consider myself pretty well-informed about all there is to know about the industry, I am completely out of the loop regarding Anime.

So...I found this "History of Anime" article from Variety to be quite informative, including a handy timeline, reproduced here:


"Astro Boy" series starts in Japan, launches in the U.S. later the same year. The original manga was created by Osamu Tezuka, who is considered the father of the format.


-"Gigantor" series debuts in the U.S.

-Another of Tezuka's creations, "Kimba the White Lion," launches.


-"Speed Racer" takes off in the U.S. a year after it was first broadcast in Japan. MTV picks up the show in 1993; Cartoon Network adds it to their lineup in 1996.

-In the same year, restrictions over violent content limit Americans' access to Japanese animation, including such shows as "Devilman."


-"Battle of the Planets'" (aka Gatchaman) and "Star Blazers" series debut in the U.S.


-"Voltron" hits U.S. shores, followed by "Transformers." Both the anime and tie-in toys become popular.


-"Robotech" takes off in the U.S.


-An animated "Transformers" feature earns more than $5 million at the box office.


-Anime feature "Akira" opens.

-Hayao Miyazaki's "Castle in the Sky" receives a limited released in the U.S.


-Troma releases a dubbed version of Miyazaki's "My Neighbour Totoro" in the U.S. Variety critic Leonard Klady says he doesn't get it.

Early 1990s

-Many Japanese animations go directly to video, where more mature titles with sex and violence catch on among cult audiences.

-Video rental stores start to set up Japanese anime sections.

-The word "manga" enters the English language with "pop, erotic, futuristic and artistic" connotations.


-"Sailor Moon" airs in the US, helping to expand the image of anime from being a male-oriented media to something both sexes can enjoy.

-The Japanese trend of dressing up as anime characters (or cosplay) comes to the U.S.


-"Ghost in the Shell" is released on video and hits No. 1 on Billboard's video charts.

-Dragonball Z debuts on TV, with violent scenes edited out.


-Cartoon Network airs unedited "Dragonball Z" episodes as part of its Toonami programming block.

-The "Pokemon" TV series launches, riding the popularity of the game franchise.


-Still largely unknown in the U.S., Miyazaki improves his profile with Miramax's release of "Princess Mononoke." Toon's PG-13 rating and limited release leads to modest box office, but draws strong reviews and attention to its creator. In Japan, it becomes the highest-grossing film of all time.


-Disney releases "Spirited Away," with English-language dubbing personally overseen by Pixar's John Lasseter. The film wins the animated feature Oscar.

-On television, "Yu-Gi-Oh" and "Inuyasha" both launch.


-Cartoon Network adds "Naruto" to its Toonami lineup.

-Nickelodeon debuts Avatar: The Last Airbender, a toon modeled after the style and content of Asian animation (mixing martial arts, mysticism and serial storytelling). Two years later, the show wins a primetime Emmy.


-Viz Media dubs manga-based toon "Bleach" for American auds. The show courts older viewers as part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block.


-Michael Bay directs a live-action version of Transformers hiring Peter Cullen to reprise his role as Optimus Prime.

-Paramount announces plans for an "Avatar" feature to be directed by M. Night Shyamalan.


The Wachowski brothers adapt Speed Racer as a live-action film.



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Jun 3, 2016 7:30PM EDT

Missing a lot of stuff in it

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Oct 13, 2008 11:33PM EDT

Thanks for finding the info- learn something new everyday! I found it refreshing.Did you know that Osamu was apparently inspired by Walt Disney? I'm not referring to Kimba the lion, but the style of his art itself.I feel bad because his style isn't his anymore...artists tend to follow in this trend- but I appreciate shows like Avatar because it expresses inspiration as well as originality.

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Nov 7, 2008 11:41PM EST

Howls Moving Castle nearly made me cry it was so good.

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