Simply put, anime is a form of cartoon animation created in Japan, which explains anime formerly-popular moniker, Japanimation. Anime’s history began at the start of the 20th century. This was when Japanese filmmakers began trying out new animation techniques that were being used in the Western world. Anime did not reach mainstream status until the 1980’s, and since then it has blown up not only in Japan, but around the globe.
Part of the draw that anime possesses is the fact that they can target wide ranges of viewers. This is due to the fact that anime are not confined to one category, but run the entire gamut of genres, including action, sci-fi, drama, romance, horror, and yes, even erotica. Many anime do not limit themselves to one particular genre and mix genres together.
Animation itself allows anime creators to convey just about any story line they desire. It is much easier to make a cartoon about large robots featuring huge action and destruction sequences than it is to produce a live-action film including the same things. With recent advances in CGI animators have even more power to transfer their wildest imaginations on to a screen. Story lines, characters, and settings are limited only to what creators can conjure up in their minds.
Though anime seem to be simple cartoons on the surface, many of them have deeper story lines and character development. This may be conveyed through the use of character-based flashbacks, which portray part of a character’s past to the viewer, allowing them to understand why they act a certain way or say the things they say. Juvenile humor may be thrown in sporadically in drama-based anime, but do not be surprised if you see poignant and profound character development in humor-based anime as well.
Needless to say, not all anime are just cartoons for kids. In fact, the majority of anime feature violence, sexual innuendos, and language that may not be suitable for children. This is likely a major reason why anime’s popularity has exploded in the past few years across the world. With animes, cartoons are no longer just for kids, and even adults can find themes of romance and drama that they might otherwise find only in real-life television shows. The unique blend of animated characters with more mature themes is undoubtedly an enticing combination for adult-viewers.
Most anime series find their foundations in manga, or Japanese comics. These manga are usually a few episodes ahead of the actual television series and have become popular among international audiences as well.
When anime are released in theaters, on television, or on DVDs in countries outside of Japan, distributors must decide whether they want to use subtitles or dubbed voices. There are pros to both sides of the issue, and there are strong proponents of both. Some viewers enjoy watching their anime without having to read words on the bottom of the screen, which they say take away from the visual pleasures of the anime. Others prefer to hear the original voice acting and enjoy reading the more literal translations. DVDs offer both sides a satisfying medium, as they allow for either subtitles or English voice tracks.
Now that you know the basics of anime and its history, it is time to find the right anime for you. There are countless resources on the Internet that give recommendations and reviews of numerous anime series, many of which are readily available on DVD and even on television stations. Pick a genre, read up on reviews and summaries of shows that you are interested in, and enjoy.