The explosion of Anime and its influence on Western animation industry.

Aims and Objectives:

The main focus of the project is about the exploration of cross-cultural visual arts which have been developing recently due to globalization. More specifically, I would like to take a deep investigation into an aspect of contemporary moving images practice which is, in this case, the explosion of anime [short for Japanese animation] in Western arts – how it came across the national boundary and has influenced recent Western animations. This investigation may also give me an opportunity to have a closer look at the impact that animation has on society and vice versa, and how social/cultural issues are represented in this type of moving images.


Anime, short for Japanese animation, is an iconic art form in Japan which has been developed since 1960s. Jeff Fleming, Susan Lubowsky and Takashi Murakami in their book “My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation” stated that anime “influenced a generation of artists who grew up during the 1960s and ‘70s in post-Hiroshima Japan” and “Anime is a dominant force in Japanese popular culture. Derived from manga, it is enjoyed by broad audiences and targeted to all age groups. Anime has attained almost cult status among young people around the world through commercial entities, animated series and organized followers. It is technology-friendly, presenting technology as a positive social force.” [2001, pp.16]

Also, in his work “Cinema Anime”, Steven T. Brown points out a fact that “Japanese anime currently constitute an estimated 60 percent of all forms of broadcast animation worldwide, and have shown no signs of slowing down. Anime business (including box-office revenue and licensed character goods) generates $4 billion a year in the United States alone and earns leading Japanese anime studios, such as Tkei, as much as 35 percent of their revenue each year from foreign markets” [2006, pp.6]. That fact is a proof of the undefeated popularity of anime in Western countries. According to Jeff Fleming’s essay [2001], anime nowadays is not only well-known in Japan but also spreads beyond Asia following the success of Pokemon games and Hello Kitty toys and its influence also arrived in European and American art circles. Hence, Western artists in turn have been influenced by that underground popularity of anime.

Some examples of American anime-influenced animations is the Teen Titans series [created by Glen Murakami, 2003], Avatar: The Last Airbender [created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, 2005] and Batman Beyond [created by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami and Bruce Timm, 1999]; all of those are collaborations between Western and Japanese animators and both their plots and illustration styles are very similar to ones in anime. Anime-influenced animations can also be found in other European countries such as French animation Totally Spies [created by Vincent Chalvon-Demersay and David Michel, [2001].

Action Plan:

This research can be a development from my previous research in my final year of BA – Industrial and Theoretical Contexts: The Visual Differences Between Manga and Western Comics since anime is an extension of manga and they both have the same plots and illustration styles. In order to improve the knowledge in illustration aspect, I may come back to my research which was observed by visual analysis and try to link the drawing styles as well as other visual aspects.

Primary research techniques can include visual data collection, observation or visual analysis which can be done directly from observing recent Western animations and evaluating them based on an outline of criticism. Some specific aspects that I will investigate are Japanese illustration styles, expressionism and narrative styles which were adapted in several Western animations. Other methods will be questionnaire and interviews with people who are interested in this subject or those who are working in the animation industry. There are an amount of forums and online discussions which will also be helpful in learning audience’s different opinions about the subject. Moreover, secondary research including books, journals, magazines or going to exhibitions will be carried out.

[still nonsense now, I will edit it later…]