Anime as a Gateway to Modern Culture

Sports as an Example of Anime as a Gateway to Modern Culture

“I remember how I got into basketball a couple of years back. That was when I got really interested in Slam Dunk, an anime show with characters just as inspiring like Sendo, Rukawa. They were all that were pouring from the tongues of my teammates and today this series still inspires me and many others into performing at our best in basketball.” This is just one of the many thousands of tributes to Japanese anime found on the internet, in forums, on Facebook, Twitter and plenty of other places. Japanese anime in Modern Day sports has had a significant impact and this list is going to demonstrate that anime – despite its old fashioned roots – remains a gateway to many things modern.

Prince Of Tennis

What better way to start off with an example of Tennis. This anime shows that age has got nothing to do with the true spirit of any sports. It is passion and talent alone that counts. Many young stars have already been inspired by the show and believe that now is the time to take up the racquet.

Kuroko’s Basketball

This show named after the protagonist, “Kuruko” shows the importance of being special in one’s own way and that a team is at the centre of success anywhere in life, let alone sports. Kuruko with zero upper body strength combines with Kagami and becomes the perfect team. Awesome way to fuel the imaginations of impressionable young minds that nothing is impossible through collaboration.

Slam Dunk

Basketball lovers are sure to get high watching this anime serial. In fact, it is not just inspirational as I showed before but also funny because of the intriguing character depth and detailing of the plot line.

Eureka 7 – Air Surfer

Actually, if you love a sport you have plenty of options. Things as obscure but well appreciated in the sporting world as surfing and paddle boarding too have their own anime. Eureka 7 might be all about surfing in air or actually flying on surf boards like the Silver Surfer from Fantastic Four but it does revolve around inspirational plot lines. Outdoor sports like surfing, paddle boarding, and kayaking are all about not only inspiration but drawing that inspiration directly from engagement with nature and nature’s elements. Basically, any Japanese anime dealing with the sports realm is all about inspiring and entertaining the viewer, which makes sense in the context of sports as this is the purpose of sports for many participants, whether that is an organized team sport or an individualist outdoor pursuit. We would never actually finish this post if we kept mentioning all the anime examples to have graced Modern Day Sports there are so many.

EyeShield

American Football too isn’t immune from Japanese Anime. Diverse but hilarious characters with a plotline revolving around a loser becoming the hero of the day is possibly the most inspiring tale ever in the history of anime. This is a must watch for any manga/anime fan, especially if you are a believer that life gives you a second chance.

Major

Amazing journey and an excellent story revolving around sports, like none other. Enough said, go watch it and figure out why it is so popular.

Hajime No Ippo

Some would believe this to be the best ever sports anime in the world. It has a very feel good theme of a weak character who slowly builds up his strengths by working hard and dedicating his life to his passion. Something that youngsters today should be keen on replicating in their own lives!

Captian Tsubasa

“Legendary Soccer Anime” that is what a fan commented on some obscure forum but it is true. Thousands or possibly millions across the globe agree that this soccer anime has a lot of inspiration. People who seldom watch soccer because its called football in the rest of the world actually have been inspired to live their dream through this anime.

Inazuma Eleven

Well, can’t really leave out Inazuma Eleven with Captain Tsubasa in the list, someone might kill me! The sequel too, named Inazuma Eleven Go, is just as lovable and addictive. Great plot, good animation and lots of inspiration.

The Complex Impacts of Japanese anime on Western Culture

The Complex Impacts of Japanese anime on Western Culture

Although the term anime entered into popular use in the 1970s, it was actually born in the early 1900s as Japanese filmmakers began to experiment with a range of animation techniques developed in France, Germany, the United States, and Russia. In that sense, anime has already heavily borrowed from Western culture, before giving back its own ideas and its own spin on things later on. The oldest known anime in existence is a clip that was first publicly shown in 1917; this is a two-minute excerpt of a samurai attempting to thrust a sword into his opponent, but ultimately failing to win the clash. Pioneers in the anime arena included Shimokawa Oten, Jun’ichi Kouchi, and Seitarō Kitayama.

By the outbreak of WW2, animation had firmly established itself as a popular form of storytelling in Japan. However, it experienced fierce competition from overseas producers and several top animators, such as Noburō Ōfuji and Yasuji Murata, continued to operate using cheaper cutout (one approach for creating animations utilising flat characters, props and backgrounds made of paper, card, stiff fabric and even photographs) as an alternative to ‘cel’ animation, which enabled key elements of each frame to be replicated from frame to frame, hence saving labour.

A good example would be a scene with two characters on screen, which features one person talking and the other staying quiet and motionless. Since the latter has no movement, it can be presented in this scene using only one drawing, on one cel, while numerous drawings on multiple cels will be used to dramatise the speaking and moving character. Other movers and shakers in the industry, like Kenzō Masaoka and Mitsuyo Seo, made impressive advancements, particularly with regards to raising awareness of the art at a government level and persuading leading statesmen of its usefulness as a propaganda tool. The very first anime with sound was Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka, which was developed by Masaoka in 1933. The first feature length animated film was Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors, which was directed by Seo and released in 1945, backed financially by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

However, despite its presence in Axis propaganda, anime owes much to Western animators – especially the famous large-eyed characters! Osamu Tezuka, who is thought to have been the first to start emulating this method, was influenced by caricatures like Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse, and Disney’s Bambi. Tezuka felt that using large eyes would help to convey the emotional state of his characters more effectively, to enhance their expressions.

Universally understood themes of good versus evil or admiring the courage of the underdog resonate well with Western audiences. Anime physics, which is astonishingly gravity defying, is at work in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Speed Racer is now a live action film.

The use of dynamic angles and camera effects is another way anime has impacted on western animation. Instead of simply offering a single point of view, anime typically allows for a number of angles for different scenes. Extreme close-ups, zooming in and panning are a few of the animation methods first utilised in anime that have gradually made their way into Western art in recent years. Finally, anime can now be considered part of the mainstream, as it is now regularly screen on popular TV channels like Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Anime Network, Jetix and Animax. In the United Kingdom, there is AnimeCentral.

Anime News and Resources that Bridge the Gap between East and West, Past and Present…

East and West, Past and Present, Avant-Garde and Rustic…What Anime really Means: 

What does it mean to bridge the gap between East and West, Past and Present, avant-garde and rustic through Anime? In a nutshell, this sentiment provides the mission statement for this collection of anime resources. Anime as a general genre, and the stories of InuYasha in particular, provide a lens into not only our past but also our present, and the process of acculturation by which the anime tradition has formed synergies and tensions with our own cultures provides an immensely valuable pool of knowledge for better understand our own selves and our own cultures. To understand the cultural interactions and cross-evolutionary patterns that this powerful artistic genre has engendered around the world of the mission statement of this journal. We have revamped our appearance and re-committed ourselves to being ambassadors for the wonderful world of anime both to the west and to the world wide web.

The love and passion for anime, and of illustrated Japanese fiction in general, has not been without it’s devout followers in the west. However, there has also been much misunderstanding in this creative genre that blends literature, art, poetry, and folk tradition and weaves them into an entertaining and moving story. In fact, despite the surface differences between Japanese anime and the Western fantasy tradition, there is great synergy and creative parallels in their genesis, evolution, and impact on their respective cultural sets.

Although much of the anime genre is focused towards a more sophisticated and perhaps tech-savvy audience, the core themes that define it’s role in our global culture can actually be argued to have their roots seeded in deeper traditions. Not only does east meet west in the genre of anime, but old meets new with the blending of technology and historical folk traditions.

Anime has opened my eyes to more subtle literary themes that had frankly escaped me in my study of the western tradition. Although on closer examination these themes do exist in the western tradition, if not overtly then surely in subtext, it was not until I was engrossed in the fantasy of anime that I began to understand certain key human struggles and tensions that this genre highlights so well. In fact, coming back to the western literary or artistic tradition, whether it is directly related to the fantasy genre or not, I gain more insight and maturity in my perspective and begin to see subtle insights from my own tradition that I never would have appreciated had anime and it’s heartbreaks and triumphs not opened my eyes.

Although this journal and resources site will focus more on certain stories, themes, and characters, the goal is nevertheless to be a content-rich and well-organized resource for the serious study of anime and it’s complex cultural impacts across the globe. Anime has much more to offer than great entertainment and aesthetic beauty and this journal is dedicated to capturing and distilling those cultural contributions in real time.