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History Of Anime
Anime throughout the years: some basic history knowledge – By Roriconfan
*UPDATE* Check out my Interview with Roriconfan on DREAMcast Episode 06 HERE
Phase 1: Early 20th century – Pre World Wars Era
Although Japanese cartoons were much older, the animation techniques came from
the west and gave Japan the method to make animated features as well. Just like
in the west, the early works were almost entirely short stories around fairy
tales with their own set of moral message in the end, set to educate and inspire
the children. If there is a difference I noticed, that would be the use of the
occult a lot more than western cartoons of that time, as Japan was still full of
superstitions back then. I have nothing good or bad to say about this era; it is
the beginning of a new form of entertainment, aimed at children.
Phase 2: Mid 20th Century – World Wars Era
This is where things started to get ugly. Just like in the west, a huge bulk of
animated films in this era was used as war propaganda, aiming to turn Japanese
youths to patriotic zealots, while at the same time making all other nations to
appear as evil or stupid. Children are of course raised with fairy tales and
learn all the basic moral values through those stories, so imagine the same
fairy tales becoming a means to brainwash them into becoming killers, proud of
their acts. The movie that defines this era is Momotaro - Divine Soldiers of the
Sea (1945). You can find and watch all of it on youtube. You will notice how
amazing it looks despite being so old, both beautiful and atmospheric. And it
is also plain Axis propaganda against the Allied Forces. What can I say; it is
both beautiful and awful. The west did pretty much the same thing of course
but that does not make it any less bad.
Phase 3: Post World Wars Era – Late 60’s (more specifically 1963)
Japan lost the war and massive disappointment swept through the entire country,
creating the basic difference between the west and the east. Western cartoons
were cheery for the most part, as all major countries producing them were on the
Allies side. They won and a feeling of joy returned to their works. Japan on the
other hand was on the losing Axis side, and felt so bad it integrated all its
fears and angst in their animation. Their navy gone, their emperor worship gone,
heck, Hiroshima and Nagasaki gone, all that produced works full of death,
sadness and fear. All those high ideals they had so far were ridiculed by the
conquerors and their entire nation was forced to change its way of life.
This is the time where the basic appearance of anime characters was made. Before
that, characters looked Japanese for the most part but now they took a more
European look, with big round eyes and small noses. The man who established this
into the mainstream was Osamu Tezuka with his groundbreaking works. His
inspiration was none other than Walt Disney, although his works were clearly far
darker and way too politically incorrect for western standards.
Something to notice is that although anime had really grim settings in this era,
they still left open the notion of happiness, hope and rejoice at the end. And
since Japanese people believe in reincarnation, having the entire world being
destroyed, everyone killed and their puppies kicked was not a bad ending either.
Life would simply go on no matter what.
The immediate focus of all newer stories at this point would focus on technology
and the immerse power it offers. During the WW era it was mostly shown as
positive, as a strong navy or fleet was enough to repel any invader. But now,
technology was presented as fearful and grim. Osamu’s Astro Boy (1963) for
example has the lead character, a boy robot, trying to be human while many
want to use the powers of science as a weapon of destruction. Another famous
work of that time,Gigantor (Tetsujin 28, 1963) shows a scientist making a robot
in order to protect the world from other evil scientists and robots.
This is practically the birth of the second mainstream genre of anime after
fairy tales. The mecha genre! All such stories feature youths controlling or
piloting airships or robots and fight other evil monsters or robots. It is all
part of Japan of that time being afraid of the dreadful power of technology,
without ever making an anathema towards it. So the message in all these animes
had was to use technology to rebuild the country instead of destroying it
further, with the hopes for a better future. Thus, anime kick-started mostly
with light sci-fi based around children maturing in a scary world full of
technology and high demands.
Phase 4: Cable TV Dead Time Era (1965-1976)
This phase is initiated with the first colored anime, Jungle Taitei (1965), as
well as anime beginning to be aired in America, albeit only in weird moments
to fill dead air time. The thing that made it necessary for any kind of series to
be used as filler material was the spread of cable TV, mostly in America. All of a
sudden there were dozens of channels and they all needed material to fill their
airtime. Anime was used here as the aforementioned filler time. Something to
notice is how names and locations were changed during dubbing, to look as if
they happened in America and not Japan, as the Americans were still a bit hostile
towards Japan and Japanese names would make no sense to children abroad.
Thanks to the European look of the anime characters and some
alterations, that went almost unnoticed. An early example of this is
Speed Racer (Go Go Go, 1967) which happens to be the first sports genre
anime but it is actually more famous for its terrible voice acting in the dubbed
version. This also proved how anime could disguise their origin and messages by
simply changing names and occasionally censoring oriental trademarks. This trend
would soon become more common place throughout the years in many countries.
The Godzilla movies for example were in fact the fear of Japan towards nuclear
holocaust (well, Godzilla is after all a radioactive mutated dinosaur) in a
similar fashion the alien invasions of American movies were in fact the fear of
being attacked by Russia.
Now that anime were beginning to spread, several new genres were created to
cover a broader group of people. So far it was mostly shows for young boys but
slowly new series aiming for girls or even adults were being produced.
The Super Robot genre becomes mainstream now and is the bulk of most anime.
Cornerstone titles of this era include Mazinger Z (1972), and Getter Robo (1974).
Since mecha focused more on teenagers, another genre had to take over little
boys. Here is where sports anime came along, with the first being the racing
series Speed Racer as mentioned before. These series thrived in Japan as the
notion of teamwork and competition was very important there and such series
were needed to inspire young children to be team players (and later obedient
workers). Football and baseball in particular were the ones to given the most
attention, topping even traditional sports with more action, such as sumo or
other martial arts. Still, all this focus was mostly given by the parents who
wanted to inspire their children. In reality most children didn’t care as much
about them even though they were supposed to be the target audience. Almost
all of the sports anime ended up being far less exciting and memorable than
Ashita no Joe (1970) which was about boxing and was actually too brutal at times
for little kids. Also at this time no sports anime was as interesting as Doraemon (1973),
a children’s series about a magical mechanic cat from the future!
This marks the beginning of an era where girls and women are not decorations in
the story but protagonists and active members. They were still undermined a lot
as a whole but their gender was still more active than in the era of total male
dominance. Feminism became far stronger after WW2 and that became evident even
in animated series. Girls got their own genre through the first mahou shoujo
(magical girl series) ever made, Mahou Tsukai Sally (1968). It was inspired
by the American show Bewitched and it aimed to show girls how to feel comfortable
while maturing, making friends, falling in love, all through the pretext of magic
that fulfills wishes like a fairy godmother in fairy tales.
Another thing to notice is how anime were never really censored and monitored by
religious or morality groups like they were in America. Many works were allowed
to be controversial as it wasn’t immorally unacceptable by the Japanese people.
That is why a series such as Princess Knight (Ribbon no Kishi, 1967) was aired and
offered at kids without any constraints. It is also an Osamu work and shows a girl
dressing as a boy as means to fool everyone to think she is a prince. This sort of
gender confusion would never be accepted in the west as the cold war was just
beginning and moral standards were set to ridiculously high levels in order to
protect the people from the Red Menace of Russia. On the other hand, traditional
Japanese values decomposed after the defeat of Japan in the war and now most
people were ready to accept change. Which was a huge contrast to some centuries
ago, when Japan was isolated and anything different or foreign was enough to cost
you your life.
There were also series more realistic and bound to real life situations. They
are now all grouped under the Worldwide Masterpiece Theater box set and
most were adaptations of western books, the most renown of those being
a cruel world experiencing all the corny things we usually see in chick flicks. Still,
for an animated series of that time it was very well done. The thing is, the
formula these types of stories used demanded for all girls to be orphans, poor
and frail, in need of a handsome man to fall in love with and in order for the
drama to kick in.
This is also the era where action and fan service begin to show their
naughtiness, as titles like Lupin the Third (1971) became famous for its zany
action and erotic humor. Go Nagai’s Cutey Honey (1973) was actually the
first multi-genre series, as it was action, comedy, drama, gore, and erotic, while
at the same time using the otherwise girly mahou shoujo element in them.
Needless to say, it was amazing and decades ahead of its time.
Also, horror was not a no-no either up to a point as death and pain were allowed
to be shown openly while western animation was avoiding it like the plague. A
fine antithesis of that time is Casper the Friendly Ghost in the west, a cheery
series about the ghost of a boy who wants to make friends, and Gegege no
Kitarou (1968) from Japan, which had comedy with lots of grim occult overtones.
Needless to say, it was never aired in America for this reason alone.
Adults began having their own genre, as hentai (Japanese animated pornography)
began being made in this era. Any reference to sex or nudism was simply
unacceptable in the west back then; even in porn magazines. which is why erotic
comics were scarce and most of the time banned while in Japan they were allowed
to thrive as again the constraints were much looser. Censorship of genitalia was still
a sore spot in Japan though. The first erotic feature was Cleopatra (1970), which
was more artistic than strictly pornographic but still had the element present.
Yet mature series for grown up males that did not evolve eroticism were also
made. Leiji Matsumoto’s space opera Star Blazers (Battleship Yamato, 1974)
presented serious themes and heavy drama, while being more realistic than
other silly mecha stories.
Phase 5: VHS Era (1977-1984)
A major addition in this era is the use of VHS (video cassettes first made in
1977’) this allowed the growing number of anime fans to be able to buy and
collect anime, thus beginning the first anime clubs. Also, more and more series
began to be broadcasted in other countries, and this time during prime viewing
hours and not so much during dead air time like in the 70’s.
The Super Robot genre shapes its basic formula by implementing previous ideas
and adding more, up to a certain point. This is how I see the line of evolution
of the mecha genre. The first to begin it all was again Astro Boy, which was the
first mecha. It introduced the notion of a robot with special attacks, such as
rocket punches, fighting for the good of the people.
Gigantor (Tetsujin 28) decided to evolve this idea by having two characters instead
of one. That is, a human boy and a robot separately instead of just a single
robot boy. That would make the man-machine interaction more interesting. Plus,
the robots used now are huge in size to making it able to take on epically
Mazinger Z (1972) was different as it had a teenager piloting the robot from the inside
instead of using a remote control from the outside. This brought in a stronger
sense of teamwork and interaction opposed to just shouting out blunt commands to
the mecha. Then the kid aspect was dropped for a teenager as it was a more
interesting premise to have teen angst mixed in the storyline rather than a
carefree child as the hero.
Getter Robo (1974) then introduced combining ships or robots into one bigger and
stronger robot. From here on, all robots seemed to transform and combine and
have flashy fighting moves, such as super charged energy blasts and flashy sword
attacks. Also, the number of heroes now increase from one to three with a
typical formula. The kind hearted leader is now accompanied by a grumpy lone
wolf that works as an anti-hero, and then they would add a fat guy, that works
as comic relief. Having three teenage heroes interacting felt a lot more
interesting to watch than just one.
Then came Gatchaman (1972), which is not heavily mecha based but has more
elements of superpower and sci-fi, it grew the 3 team member of heroes to 5 by
adding the strong willed girl, and the smart kid. Add to that the dramatic backdrop of the
characters in a grand scaled scheme, first presented by UFO Robo Grendizer (1975).
It made the story far more exciting by introducing characters with really sad pasts.
The first series to implement all of the above and to be considered the first “full” mecha is
Voltes V (1977).
All the rest of the mecha shows that followed simply played around with all
these different formulas which ultimately produced little substance or
originality. Most of them were identical in terms of character archetypes,
special robot attacks and overall plot. That is why only the ones I mentioned
seem to be the first of it’s kind.
A special place may be given to Transformers (1984) (made in America
by Japanese animators) for having robots that do not need human pilots at all.
All the above titles were all aimed at children and where quite superficial in
terms of entertainment but thankfully that did not stop the production of more
mature titles. UFO Robo Grendizer (1975) and Leiji Matsumoto’s later space operas
Captain Harlock (1978), and Galaxy Express 999 (1978) had quite the dramatic
backdrop to be considered entirely childish. The first Gundam series, Gundam 0079
(1979), also featured very strong social-political themes that were never before seen
in the mecha genre and indirectly created the Real Robots genre. Densetsu Kyojin Ideon
(1980) was also the first attempt to introduce psychology and metaphysics through a
mecha series. Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (1982) became one of the best space
adventures of all time, albeit it was mutated and re-presented in America as part of a three part
which retained drama and a certain degree of realism.
In other fields there was also the historical drama Rose of Versailles (1979)
where for the first time a female protagonist takes centre-stage AND kicks ass
at the same time, without becoming a thing of male lust or a frail woman in need
of a man…well to some degree.
In the comedy department, slapstick school comedies began to be very common. The
titles that defined their formula and most of which copied thereafter were
Rumiko Takahashi’s works, such as Urusei Yatsura (1981). Such comedies work
almost as self-criticism of traditional Japan, as they usually mock all the suppressions
and imposed gender roles of the pre-war Japan. In them women are now crazed feminists
and not just passive marriage material, men are idiots and sex-driven and not always
good-natured, and proud traditions are nothing more than a big cause of trouble and
Technology was now beginning to progress to a standard where human-like battles
were now able to be depicted without looking ridiculous. Previous decades were
drawing human figures too simple and crude to look interesting or realistic and
now animators mostly used ships and robots to do all the action, as those did
not require complicated joint movements. Thus, this decade also gave birth to a
major genre, the perpetual on-going fighting shounen. The first of this kind was
Fist of the North Star TV series (Hokuto no Ken, 1984) which still holds up to a
surprisingly good level of content even by today’s standards.
The 80’s produced a huge number of post-apocalyptic titles, most of which dealt
with the destruction of the world and the dread of the people. Partly because of
the freedom to now express the horrors of war and partly because of the drastic
changes Japan was going through because of industrialization, many anime were
expressing a deep sadness for the loss of innocence of their world. Such
elegiac, ecology or and anti-war themed titles are what made anime to feel
different and more mature than the politically correct cartoons of the west. A
famous title, full of death, grim and gore of that era is Barefoot Gen (1983).
Hayao Miyazaki’s works were also heavy on environmental issues, such
as in Future Boy Conan (1978) and Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind (1984).
In the erotic department, hentai now begin’s to be more pornographic than
artistic. The earliest work is Lolita (1984) which as name implies was about
the sexual manipulation of underage girls. Japan was quite lenient in allowing
pedo-works to be published as long as they had age advisory and censored
genitalia, so a huge number of similar titles began to be made strictly aiming
at sexual stimulation. Still, most of them had a huge factor of psychedelia in
them, portraying indirectly that such acts are lunacy.
Phase 6: CD Rom Era (1985 – 1995)
As the name implies, this is the era where anime could now be sold or burned on
Compact Discs. In this part of history, companies began to develop and improve
marketable plot formulas that increased profits tenfold. Having digital technology
available, anime was now much easier to produce by relying more and more on
computers rather hand-drawn sketches. It also allowed better visual effects and
image manipulation and reconstruction, in case the original material was damaged.
This became obvious when more Gundam series were made with better animation, the
two most prominent being Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (1985) and Gundam Wing
(1995). These were of course series that were broadcasted in many major
channels and got the attention they deserved. There were others less unfortunate
that didn’t manage to be credited as much for the sole reason of being OVA
titles (went straight to video). Such was the case for Gunbuster (1988) (Hideaki Ano’s
first directing title) as well as the masterful Legend of the Galactic Heroes (1988)
(which most acclaim as the best space opera of all time myself included!).
The second fighting shounen ever made was Saint Seiya (1986). Although
the earlier Fist of the North Star was by far more violent and mature, it also had
the feature of killing all its major characters early on. That was found unprofitable
by the toy companies who wanted to sell products of a character for several years.
Also, FOTS had to resort many times to retcon and brought more and more characters
in the story which made far less impact on the story as they were killed right away.
Thus, the rest of the titles preferred to tribute Saint Saiya’s feature of having undying
or easily resurrected main characters that live indefinitely and gain the viewers’
sympathy. This is evident in another famous title, Dragon Ball (1986), which began
as slapstick adventure but during its second part, Dragon Ball Z (1989), turned to
a never-ending fighting series with immortal characters. Many future titles played along
Mahou Shoujo (Magical girl) type anime becomes mainstream as a genre, thanks to
Sailor Moon (1992), which formed the stereotypes everyone else copies thereafter.
Sports series get a lot more focus too, by adding more mature elements and now
targeting teens instead of children. One of the most renowned titles promoting
sports is still Slam Dunk (1993) – basketball.
Other genres that began to be more common were the urban adventure, like
detective/cop City Hunter (1987) and the Sci-fi comedy Mobile Police
Epic fantasy also attempted to crawl in anime form through Record of Lodoss War
(1990). (It was very corny but then again what is epic fantasy other than that?).
There is also the hard boiled splatter ninja action of Ninja Scroll (1993), and
the zany comedy Slayers (1995).
Other great angsty and gore titles of this era are Area 88 (1985), Grave of the
Fireflies (1988) and Akira (1988).
Even animated sitcoms concerning the simple daily lives of normal people began
to be more in fashion, making the Slice of Life genre more mainstream. The two
major series of this kind in this decade were Touch (1985) and Maison Ikkoku (1986).
Urotsukidoji (1987) is the hentai which effectively promoted the “raping tentacles
and demons” trope. Many hentai thereafter try to disguise rape through the use of
tentacles and unworldly creatures instead of just openly admit portraying an
immoral act. This was seen as a step forward to making genitalia invisible or
hidden from sight, as it was still forbidden.
Also, it was indirectly the title that promoted the whole idea of “sex and
violence sell”, which was used in later years in other non-hentai series.
Phase 7: DVD Era (1996 – 2005)
In this decade, the use of DVDs and the internet allowed the widespread of anime
throughout the world at rapid speeds. A major shift in anime themes was the increasing
approach to far more psychological traits. This was evident by the clear economic recess
that struck Japan, as well as the widespread of cults that preached about the end of the
world during the close of the millennia. This feeling of unrest produced a huge amount of
anime full of mental and social commentaries.
The mecha genre, although producing a ton of titles in this decade, fails to
attract the majority of teens. The most interesting is probably GaoGaiGar (1997)
for using over the top elements of Super Robots. It now seemed that mecha fans
where growing up and wanted more mature approaches to their stories,
whereas the newer generation where being turned on early to fighting shounen
instead of Super Robots. Thus, all memorable titles of this decade are actually
far more focused on psychology and dementia, rather than superficial action. In
fact, the title than initiated this era is none else than the mecha smash hit
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995) (Hideaki Ano’s second directing title) which shifted the
genre to a really heavy approach on the mentality of the characters and not just
on the posing of the robots. It goes without saying that following titles such as
more thanks to trying to look like NGE. Its fair to say that NGE influenced all those titles to draw
mecha in a far more slimmer and agile form, leaving behind the bulky designs of previous years.
titles released are, expectably, new Gundam series such as Gundam 08th MS Team (1996),
these titles are the ones that leave a worthwhile impression.
The science fiction genre also advanced without including giant robots. Ghost in the Shell
(1996) and Serial Experiments Lain (1998) are two prominent works that used science and
technology to pass existentialism issues in a very scientific and serious way
and never used technology just for show. This blur between fiction and reality
through virtual reality is what gave room to more interesting stories such as
.hack//SIGN (2002), Chobits (2002), Texhnolyze (2003), Wolf's Rain (2003), and
The Animatrix (2003).
Other famous sci-fi titles are the space western Cowboy Bebop (1998) which although
episodic focuses a lot on the characters and the setting and less on the action, as well
as the space opera Crest of the Stars (Sekai no Senki, 1999) , which focuses more on
the relationship between the two lead characters rather than the intergalactic war waging
around them. Other interesting sci-fi titles here are Gungrave (2003),
Planetes (2003), Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (2004), Mind Game (2004),
Eureka Seven (2005), and Speed Grapher (2005).
And even without implementing science fiction to make a point, a whole lot of
other titles were still full of social commentaries around life and happiness.
Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997) for example, uses a plethora of symbolisms and theatrics
to tell a simple story about a lesbian couple. His and Her Circumstances (Kare Kano, 1998)
(Hideaki Ano’s third series) focuses a lot on the mentality of otherwise simple teenagers in
Rurouni Kenshin, yet focuses equally on the mentality and the drama of the characters
as it does in action and atmosphere. Aria (2005) used beautiful alien scenery ala Venice to
transmit feelings while also telling a very simple story around working girls. Paradise Kiss
(2005) used the glamour of the clothing industry to tell a dramatic story based on a relationship
between a common girl and a fashion designer.
Then we have comedies, like Great Teacher Onizuka (1999) where a major part of its appeal
is the combination ofbold humour next to the adolescent problems teenagers face by
their cruel society.Speaking of comedies, the fandom of anime was now finally big
enough to produce “Otaku culture” titles. That is, series you can understand only if you
are familiar with a lot of anime titles. In these particular titles you would find continuous
anime references and clichés. Most of the time, they are handled as parodies, such as in
became famous not only for its otaku references but also because one of its main themes
was the poverty and hunger of its cat-like characters, which were an allusion to the
economic recess Japan was going through and that appealed to the audience a hell of a lot.
The advancement in technology was of course used for commercial reasons as well.
It produced far more appealing videogames and toys, which in turn produced a
whole line of anime made solely as toy/game promotion. Some famous titles known
for this are Pokemon (1997), Digimon (1999), and Yu-Gi-Oh! (2000). Game/sports
advertising anime are still being made at this time but almost all of them are below
average and are not worth mentioning at this point. The exception to this rule however is
Hikaru no Go (2001) which is both a good advertising of a board game and at the same
time a pleasing series to watch. Even to this day it stands out miles beyond the rest
in its kind. The gambling subgenre however gets a boost too with titles like Akagi (2005).
Mahou Shoujo (Magical Girl Anime) starts getting more and more moe, as a means to
appeal to both genres. The title that succeeds with flying colors and pretty much
became a rule of thumb for the rest was Card Captor Sakura (1998). Later on,
Princess Tutu (2002) broke the monotony of the various Sailor Moon clones.
It stands out for me as the best in the genre to this day.
Harems (erotic-ish comedies) become mainstream too. The title that defined the
formula most copy thereafter is non else than Love Hina (2000). But the truth is
that almost all harems that followed paled in comparison as they were dropping
early on any kind of story or character development and went for sleazy guilty
pleasures. Thus none of them are actually worthy to be mentioned. The only other
harem that is not a travesty for me is a more proper adaptation of one of the
oldest in the field, Ah! My Goddess (2005).
Other famous sport-promoting series are Initial D (1998) – racing cars, and
Hajime no Ippo (2000) - boxing. There is also Beck (2004), a slice of life series
about a music band. It paved the road for many other music-themed series to become
Series about anime fans themselves as leads were also on the rise, the best of
which was Genshiken (2004).
Fighting Shounen becomes the bulk of teen series, topping the mecha genre. The
most prominent of which still remains to be Shounen Jump’s One Piece (1999),
It is observed that most of these shounen titles lose more and more supporters as they
become older. Not so much because newer series with better visuals come along but because
their flaws become more and more clear as the years go by. Currently, One Piece is the only
Shounen series that seems to have lost its zeal but actually on the contrary it is gaining more
support, despite being the oldest in the field.
Although shounen anime generally depicts girls as useless, many anime also
feature dynamic young female heroines, such as in the cases of Full Moon (2002) and
Kaleido Star (2003).
In game adaptations, Fate/stay night (2005) is the best to date and features a female warrior,
while in novel adaptations Shakugan no Shana (2005) promoted the tsundere type of girl even
further. Both however unfortunately end up turning their leads into passive sheep when they fall in
love. There were also titles featuring young girls in really gory and dramatic situations, which
made many yearn for series where females are not always kind hearted and naïve. The
The perkiness of little girls sparked a mass appeal in series concerning the normal daily
lives of cute girls. The first major series that began the trend was Azumanga Daioh (2002).
Dark Fantasy finally starts to have its own representative through Berserk (1997)
and the much more family oriented Princess Mononoke (1997). Great fantasy series
Other great works include the psychological thriller Monster (2004) and the zanny
action / comedy Samurai Champloo (2004).
Finally, Hentai drops the masking or rape and now clearly shows any depravity
being performed openly. One of the most renowned titles promoting this is
Night Shift Nurses (2000). The greatest title in the franchise remains for me as of now
Bible Black (2001) and its several continuations.
Phase 8: Mid 00’s – Today (2010+)
The current decade gave room to HD through the use of Blue Ray, and high speed
internet which in turn gave room to fast and free downloads of most series.
Along with the ever increasing economic crisis, the anime market decided to be a
bit less innovative and focused more on what it already had. Thus the two main
things that changed in this decade for anime were the overuse of aesthetics to
create rather standard titles and what I like to call otaku catering, meaning
the need to please the fans with excessive fan service and eye candy visuals.
Unlike previous decades these two things become equal in importance for future
titles. The series that initiate this era are the mass appeal anime hits like
Code Geass (2006) and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006) which had
eye candy and interesting story concepts.
In the mecha genre the Gundam franchise grows even more as expected through
Gundam 00 (2007) , and the Super Robot lovers get the very exciting Gurren Lagann (2007),
which is one of the best in the genre in general. Another mecha that is flickering between
serious and not is Xam'd: Lost Memories (2008) and a thought-provoking mecha series of
this era is Zegapain (2006) as it blurs reality and fiction. But for the same reason it wasn’t
Action series featuring really butchy women that do NOT decompose to uselessness
are Black Lagoon (2006) and Michiko to Hatchin (2008). But those are just an exception
to the rule as the later half of the decade focused a lot on the cute/sexy aspect of little girls that is
what makes the first half of the decade feel more innocent and pure. The reason for this sudden
switch was the major success of Elfen Lied as well as Higurashi (2006). This gave birth to the
killer loli trend, which in turn created a lolicon sub-gender, where many anime series over-sexualize
are all titles with no significant historical importance.
The success of Azumanga Daioh is what gave room for many more series around cute
girls to be made, such as Lucky Star (2007), K-On! (2009), and Sora no Oto (2010). Unlike
the lolicons above, these play a lot more importance historically.
In general the notion of “moe” becomes quite mainstream and expanded to other areas as well.
Date simulation adaptations also thrived, such in the case of KeyAni works Kanon (2006) and
mature or serious romances being made along with the escapism titles, the most prominent of
and True Tears (2008).
Many of the anime titles in general now go overboard with sexuality and fan
service meaning Hentai itself becomes so bold and extreme characters practically
have no remorse and more titles get licensed overseas wihich means total
uncensorship most of the time.
At the same time, even non-porn titles beefed up their fan service to the point
that most of them are considered borderline hentai. Some characteristic ecchi
titles are Ikki Tousen (2003), Queen's Blade 2009), Rosario to Vampire (2008),
To Love-Ru (2008), and Kanokon. (2008) (not important historically). But even
most non-strictly ecchi titles also featured a lot of eye-candy as a selling point.
It’s quite obvious sexuality had become the norm for every modern title. It was
there before of course but it had become a lot more evident now.
Good mainstream comedies (with the ever present eye-candy factor) in this decade
include Ouran High School Host Club (2006), and Toradora! (2008). There are also
controversial comedies with a lot of meta-culture in them, using symbolisms and weird
animation to tell jokes, such in the cases of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (2007),
Bakemonogatari (2009), and Kuuchuu Buranko (2009). There is also the death metal parody
Detroit Metal City (2008).
Beyond all that there are many good dark stories with interesting plot points
that kept being made throughout the decade. The ones that attracted most
attention were the following:The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), Death Note (2006),
Ergo Proxy (2006), xxxHOLiC (2006), Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (2007),
Terra e... (2007), Dennou Coil (2007), Mononoke (2007), Baccano! (2007),
Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners (2007), Kaiba (2008), Casshern Sins (2008),
Time of Eve (2008), and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
In the fantasy department, Claymore (2007) is actually pretty well made and can be
comedy ala Slayers and there was also Guin Saga (2009) for the fans of classical sword
about otakus in the cases of Welcome to the N.H.K (2006) also some good and easy
Sword of the Stranger (2007).
The anime industry continues to grow and I will always strive to look for the
worthwhile titles whilst giving my take on the evolution and history of Anime.
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