The history of anime began at the start of the 20th century, when Japanese filmmakers experimented with the animation techniques that were being explored in the West. During the 1970s, anime developed further, separating itself from its Western roots, and developing distinct genres such asmecha and its Super Robot sub-genre. Typical shows from this period include Lupin III and Mazinger Z. During this period several filmmakers became famous, especially Hayao Miyazaki and Mamoru Oshii.
In the 1980s, anime was accepted in the mainstream in Japan, and experienced a boom in production. The rise of Gundam, Macross, Dragon Ball, and the Real Robot and space opera genres set a boom as well. The ...view middle of the document...
Ōten Shimokawa was a political caricaturist and cartoonist who worked for the magazine Tokyo Puck. He was hired byTenkatsu to do an animation for them. Due to medical reasons, he was only able to do five movies, including Imokawa Mukuzo Genkanban no Maki(1917), before he returned to his previous work as a cartoonist.
Another prominent animator in this period was Jun'ichi Kōuchi. He was a caricaturist and painter, who also had studied watercolor painting. In 1912, he also entered the cartoonist sector and was hired for an animation by Kobayashi Shokai later in 1916. He is viewed as the most technically advanced Japanese animator of the 1910s. His works include around 15 movies.
Seitaro Kitayama was an early animator who made animations on his own, not hired by larger corporations. He even founded his own animation studio, the Kitayama Eiga Seisakujo, which was later closed due to lack of commercial success. He utilized the chalkboard technique, and later paper animation, with and without pre-printed backgrounds.
The works of these two pioneers include Namakura Gatana (An Obtuse Sword, 1917) and a 1918 film Urashima Tarō which were discovered together at an antique market in 2007.
In July 2005, an old animation film was found in Kyoto. This undated 3 second film, plainly titled Moving Picture (活動写真, Katsudō Shashin?), consists of fifty frames drawn directly onto a strip of celluloid. It depicts a young boy in a sailor suit writing the kanji "活動写真" (katsudō shashin, for "moving pictures") on a board, then turning towards the viewer, removing his hat, and offering a salute. The creator's identity is unknown, but it is thought that it was made for private viewing, perhaps as experimentation, rather than for public release. The discoverer, Natsuki Matsumoto, has speculated that it could be "up to 10 years older" than the previously first known Japanese animation, Imokawa Mukuzo Genkanban no Maki, released in 1917. However, while a date of circa 1915 is possible, there is no actual basis for this extreme speculation.
Second generation of Japanese animators
Yasuji Murata, Hakuzan Kimura, Sanae Yamamoto and Noburō Ōfuji were students of Kitayama Seitaro and worked at his film studio. Kenzō Masaoka, another important animator, worked at a smaller animation studio. In 1923, the Great Kantō earthquake destroyed most of the Kitayama studio and the residing animators spread out and founded studios of their own.
Prewar animators faced several difficulties. First, they had a hard time competing with foreign producers such as Disney, which were influential on both audiences and producers. Since foreign films had already made a profit abroad, they could be sold for even less than the price domestic producers need to charge in order to break even. Japanese animators thus had to work cheaply, in small companies with only a handful of employees, but that could make matters worse: given costs, it was then hard to compete in terms of quality with...