3 key points in anime history
The history of anime begins in the early 20th century, when Japanese filmmakers experimented with animation techniques that were being explored in France, Germany, the United States, and Russia. The oldest known anime is from 1907, a three second clip of a sailor boy.
In the 1930s, animation became an alternative storytelling format compared to the underdeveloped live action industry in Japan. Unlike the United States, the live action industry in Japan remained a small market and suffered from budget, location and casting restrictions. The lack of Western-looking actors, for example, made it nearly impossible to shoot movies set in Europe, the United States, or fantasy worlds that don’t naturally involve Japan. Animation allowed artists to create characters and settings.
The success of the 1937 Disney feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs influenced Japanese animators. Osamu Tezuka adapted and simplified many Disney animation techniques to reduce costs and the number of frames in production. This was intended to be a temporary measure that would allow him to produce material on a tight schedule with inexperienced animation staff.
During the 1970s, there was a sudden increase in the popularity of the manga, which was often later animated, especially those of Osamu Tezuka, who has been called a “legend” and the “god of manga”. His work, and that of other pioneers in the field, inspired characteristics and genres that are fundamental elements of anime today. The genre of giant robots (known as “Mecha” outside of Japan), for example, took shape under Tezuka, evolved into the Super Robot genre under Go Nagai and others, and was revolutionized at the end of the decade by Yoshiyuki Tomino, who developed the Real Friendly robot. Robot anime like the Gundam and Macross series became instant classics in the 1980s, and the robot anime genre remains one of the most common in Japan and around the world today. In the 1980s, anime became more accepted in Japan (though less so than manga) and experienced a production boom. After some successful adaptations of the anime in foreign markets in the 1980s, the anime gained greater acceptance in those markets in the 1990s and even more so in the 2000s.